Thursday, July 30, 2015

Introducing: Author Merit Badges

Thanks to a discussion with Erica Cameron, I have come to the conclusion that being an author has rites of passage, and those rites of passage should be commemorated using the age-old system of merit badges.

So tonight, I'm pleased to roll out the designs and requirements for the first several badges in the Author Merit Badge Program (tm).   Authors, if you have ideas for additional badges, please submit them to me.

The One-Star Badge
 To Earn:
  • Receive a one-star review on any website, including Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, etc.
  • Review must come from an actual reviewer, not a sock puppet that you created just to earn your badge. Sock puppet one-star fraud will result in forfeiture of all badges and people will throw marshmallows at you.

The Rejection Badge
 To Earn:
  • Receive a rejection from a publisher, agent, or publication for a piece of writing.
  • Can be for a short story, flash fiction, novel, novella, Readers' Digest joke, etc.
  • No fair sending something in that doesn't meet submission requirements just so you can earn the badge. Rejection encouragement will result in forfeiture of all merit badges, and a crow will take a dump in your left shoe.
The Pre-Release Queasy Badge
  To Earn:
  • Spend at least one day prior to a release feeling like you're going to get sick.
  • No food poisoning, motion sickness, decompression sickness, air sickness, or anything of the like. Feeling sick from drinking too much is okay if the drinking was a means of silencing pre-release butterflies. Pretending you're queasy just to get the badge when you're really cool as a cucumber (jerk) will earn you the unrelenting scorn of your peers and a piece of brown, slimy lettuce buried within your next salad.

The Ball Kick Badge
 To Earn:
  • Receive a writing-related metaphorical kick in the metaphorical testicles. Can include a one-star review, a piece of hate mail, a rejection letter for what you thought was a sure thing, or really anything that makes you feel like someone just kicked you in the ego balls.
  • Also counts if someone actually comes up and kicks you, as long as the kick was somehow related to your book.
  • No kicking yourself in the (metaphorical or literal) balls in order to receive the badge, or every emdash in your next manuscript will be replaced by a poorly kerned ellipsis the moment you submit it to the market of your dreams.
The Ball Kick Hat Trick Badge
 To Earn:
  • Receive three Ball Kick Badges for the same book or on the same day for three separate, unrelated incidents.
  • Orchestrating a Ball Kick Hat Trick will earn you the scorn of your peers, a shoe full of crow dung, flaming marshmallows hurled at your person, badly spaced ellipses for eternity, rotten lettuce in your salad, and an itch in the middle of your back that won't go away. Ever.

 STAY TUNED for more Author Merit Badges!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Afterlife Predictions

I don't know what the afterlife holds, but I'm fairly certain the first moments of mine will go a little something like this...

Friday, January 20, 2012

It's been like five months! Is Marginally Unhinged going away??

Yes, I know, it's been forever. The joys of relocating halfway around the world. I'm now settled in, and I'm getting caught up on work after almost three months of not being nearly as productive as I'd like to be.

Rest assured, my friends. There will be more Marginally Unhinged soooooooon.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another update

I know, it's been a month or so since my last comic. I am once again up to my nose in work, plus I have the move back to the States coming up soon, so be patient with me. I have several ideas for new strips, and I have a new toy to help me draw them (digital pen instead of my touch pad).

Anyway. Hang tight, let me finish a few projects on the "must do" list. Then there will be all kinds of stick figure frivolity again.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Why I Can Never Shock My Family Again.

Finally! Another comic. Sorry for the delay, all. I've been up to my face in stuff I have to do and rather behind on stuff I want to do.

First things first, I'm using a lot of familiar images in this strip because a) I can't draw them to save my life and b) the real thing just looks better. Copyrights belong to the respective companies.


A lot of people ask how my family reacts to me being an erotica writer. The short answer is: they really don't. I mean, they kinda go "...whut?" at first, but then shrug it off like, "Well, I'm not surprised." And I, in turn, am not too surprised, because I've pretty much desensitized my family to my shenanigans. Really, short of appearing on America's Most Wanted, there's not much I can do to shock them. And even that might not work.
But how did this shenanigan numbness come to be? Well, mostly from years of knowing I'm a rather eccentric individual. There was, however, an event that was (so to speak) the nail in the coffin.

Back in 2000, shortly after I turned 20, my grandmother died.
Now, I wasn't terribly broken up over this. I mean, when most people imagine a grandmother, they picture something like this:
I, however, lived with this for 20 years:
No love lost there, believe me.

Still had to go to the funeral, though. Loads of family coming in from out of town, lots of friends attending, and it wasn't quite the time or place to express my feelings about my grandmother or her passing. So, out of respect for the living, I went, and I think I did a damned good job of keeping up appearances.
No one needed to know the truth.
So after the funeral, the family retired to my grandparents' house. Now, my grandfather -- who, by the way, was absolutely cool as hell, and may he rest in peace -- could no longer drink due to health reasons. There was still a great deal of liquor in the house, though, and at some point during the celebra-- er, post-funeral thingy, the liquor cabinet was opened.

And everyone indulged. Mightily.

I, however, was 20.
Now, let me pause for a moment to explain something else that was going on in my life around the time Granny kicked the bucket.

As a part time job to keep me reasonably sane in between my miserable job of selling rocks to rich people, I had recently become employed by an adult film industry. Yes, at the tender age of twenty, I had become...

...a porn editor.
It was quite an interesting job, let me tell you. I mean, the e-mails I'd get from my boss were nothing like the ones most people get from their employers.
To be honest, what I was working on didn't really faze me. The novelty wears off after about ten minutes, and within a couple of days, I was working on a porn video without even really thinking about it. Just like any other job, I'd sit at the computer with a sandwich, listening to music, and work.
Since I worked alone, I had the luxury of being able to make/take personal calls while I edited, which sometimes made for rather awkward pauses during the conversation.
Incidentally, for those of you who enjoy the occasional indulgence in adult films, you should be aware that editors are the unsung heroes of the porn industry. You don't really think about it, but face it, folks. We have to see the things you should be glad you never see.
Anyway, where were we?

Oh, yes. The funeral after party.

By now, the booze reserve has been opened, and everyone's feeling pretty good. Not getting trashed and doing stupid shit, just enjoying a totally badass post-funeral buzz.

Knowing my family, there was some bantering and shit-talking going on. Believe me, I come by my sense of humor honestly. At some point, if I recall, my brother was the target of some good-natured but oh-so-pointed jabs.

As people often do in such a situation, he went for the redirect:
And the reactions...well, they were varied:
Now, I was by no means ashamed of what I did, but I have to admit, it's a suddenly have your entire extended family looking at you and reacting to such a thing.

Needless to say, having my employment in the adult film industry revealed at my grandmother's funeral was a rather difficult act to follow. I'm reasonably certain there is nothing I can do to shock my family.

But that won't stop me from trying...

Monday, July 4, 2011

My childhood, as viewed through the 4th of July.

Today, I'd like to revisit my childhood once again. Specifically, how I evolved as a childhood through the magic and wonder of the 4th of July. I almost didn't post this one, but Jules put a comic bunny -- not to be confused with a plot bunny -- into my unsuspecting head. WAY TO GO, JULES.


I grew up during the 1980s and 1990s. You know, that wondrous time when children were allowed to play outside and scrape their knees without being rushed into intensive care and then put through years of therapy to deal with the trauma. My knees and shins are more scar than skin, bitches. We were hardasses back then. We didn't take shit from the pavement like kids today.

Sorry, where was I? Oh, right. The Fourth of July.

My earliest years were spent being innocently mesmerized by such things as sparklers and bumblebees.
It's hard to believe now that bumblebees are illegal in most places.
Especially the Pacific Northwest where I grew up. I mean, so what if a little paper bee the size of a half dollar goes careening around in the sky while it's on fire? IT'S THE NORTHWEST. Everything is WET.
Anyway, as I got older and was less entertained by sparklers and fiery insects, I developed a love for the wonderful Roman Candle. Oh, the power of holding a stick that shot fireballs up into the night sky!
Yes, I went through a great deal of my youth looking at things in slack-jawed awe. I don't generally look like a blow-up doll in real life, but my Photoshop skills aren't great, so there it is.

Anyway. It happened one fine July (or probably late June...oh, come on, we weren't the only ones who lit off fireworks early!) when I, for whatever reason, took a moment away from the afternoon's backyard pyrotechnics to do something I had never done. I mean, it seemed utterly stupid. Why would anyone do such a crazy thing? But I was a wild child, and I did it.

I read the warning label on a Roman Candle.
And the gears in my head began to turn. They turned and ground like a turning, grinding thing.
And then...

Then it hit me.
Trust me, you would've made that face too if you'd reached the conclusion I had. And when the shock wore off, I went and did what any reasonable child would do in such a situation.

I ran off to tell my brother.
And from that day forth (not to be confused with that day Fourth), fireworks had changed in our house. Well, in our yard. Mom and Dad didn't let us light stuff off in the house. Messy, noisy, etc. Wherever we were, things were different after that.


Because thanks to a warning label, we had discovered...


Because THAT is how you do childhood.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Writing Journey Part IV: Plot Bunnies

This is a plot bunny.
Plot bunnies are little mythical creatures who come wandering in and drop ideas into the brains of writers. Kind of like the Muse, only furrier and less sentient. Basically, if the Muse had a bastard lovechild with a dust bunny, the end result would be a plot bunny.

They come along at the most random times. While I'm driving, walking around, shopping...
...even just looking up at the sky.
I can't even tell you how many have come hopping into my brain while I'm snorkeling.
Wherever I am, the plot bunny will find me.
And this is a good thing, of course. There's a reason I keep a notebook and/or my iPhone (thank you, notepad app!) with me at all times.

BUT. There are times when plot bunnies are not welcome. Specifically, while I'm working on another story.

What usually happens -- to me, anyway -- is this. The story will be coming along nicely...
...which means I'm reasonably immune to the nibble of the plot bunny.
So they wait. Just outside my peripheral vision, they wait. They wait until that vulnerable moment...
When the story stalls. When I need a new idea like I need a damned hole in my head. That, my friend, is when they make their attack.
Some can be quite...demanding:
Now, I've tried telling them I have deadlines to meet. I'd love to play with their new little ideas, but...yeah, can't always do that when I want to. Because in my mind, a deadline should act as a repellent for such creatures.
But...well, let's put it this way. I was raised around Morgan horses. Morgans are what would happen if you ever crossed a horse with a termite. They like to eat barns and fences, and there are these wonderful companies that make such products as ChewStop, which, as its name would suggest, discourages horses from chewing.

And for the most part, it works.

Except with Morgans.

Spray ChewStop or anything like it on a fence, and a Morgan will do one thing and one thing only:
So since deadlines won't do the job, I find other ways to keep plot bunnies at bay.

Sedation works quite nicely.
Of course, like anything, this can backfire. The only thing harder to ignore than a plot bunny is a plot bunny who's drugged out of his gourd.
Today, the sedation didn't work.

The plot bunny chewed through its restraints, and is currently gnawing on my skull, even though I'm trying to work on something else. This happens a lot...but OMG, I do not have time for it. (Yes, I have time to spend an evening making a webcomic. Don't judge me.)

My friend Melissa had a suggestion tonight, and quite frankly, I think she's right.

If this plot bunny doesn't get its teeth out of my head and let me finish the book I'm working on right now, there are simply no other options.

It must be done.
(screencap from Monty Python & The Search for the Holy Grail)