So… last week I went to a writers conference at Johnson County Central Resource Library. It was good. This was only the second one of these conferences I’ve been to, last year being the first time, and it was a good learning experience.

I went to a session about scene and structure, hosted by Heather Snow, and I learned a lot. There were a lot of small things that I didn’t even consider, but made a lot of sense when I heard them. Mostly about conflict within scenes. In fact, I’ve already applied some of these lessons to my current work in progress.

One of the most interesting things that happened while I was at that session was that I suddenly got a lot of ideas for changes and additions to my current work. It was weird, it was like I was struck with a burst of creativity, so I was taking notes on changes to my current work, new additions to my current work, and just general notes about the session. But I suddenly saw that one of my characters was all wrong, and had to be changed. A good character, but a distraction for the story. So I changed her.

It’s strange when ideas will strike me. During showers, while driving, while paying attention to someone else at a writers conference. Usually I don’t have a good way to make notes, but I already had my book and pen out this time, so it was easy.

There was an election the other day, you may have noticed. I’m originally from Kansas, though I now live in Missouri, so I keep a close eye on politics there. I was so thrilled to see Sharice Davids beat out Kevin Yoder for his congressional seat! Kansas will now have an LGBTQ member of congress, and that’s huge. The more LGBTQ voices there are talking about the issues that are of concern to us specifically can only have positive influence on future legislation. I’m not expecting miracles, but just having a voice there is nice.

Kansas also elected Laura Kelly over Kris Kobach! That is huge! Kansas was decimated by Brownback and his policies, and Kobach wanted only to take those same policies to a more extreme extent. Kelly is going to try to improve funding for schools, which need it, and has already announced that she will reinstate protections for LGBTQ state workers that had been in place before Brownback removed them. This is a big deal. If nothing else, it makes a statement that the state of Kansas is going to work toward removing institutional bias against LGBTQ citizens. Yeah, there’s a long way to go, but it’s a start!

Not so happy that Claire Mccaskill lost to Josh Hawley in Missouri, though. He’s nothing but a Trump rubber stamp.

We got our first real snow here in the Kansas City area yesterday. It was a mess this morning on some of the Missouri highways, especially around the Grandview triangle area. Which kind of leads me to one more political thing: On Tuesday, my fellow citizens of the state of Missouri voted down an increase in gas taxes that would have paid for improved and upgraded roads, as well as road maintenance.

What is wrong with you people!?

You voted against having good highways? Seriously? We have the second lowest gas tax of any state in the country. I think the last time it was increased was 1993. Seriously. If the amount of traffic was the same as in 1993, this may make sense. Not really, but… whatever. Our roads are not that good. They need a lot of work, and we can’t do that without the money to do it. This is costing us all a lot by way of extra vehicle maintenance on our own cars and on every delivery vehicle in the state.

The only thing I can think that may have turned some people away from the increase is the wording. At least I hope that was it. It made it sound like the money was going to the Highway Patrol. This is both true and misleading, if I understand correctly. For some reason in Missouri the road fund and the Highway Patrol get their money from one fund, so by increasing the Highway Patrol funding, you free up the money for road projects. It’s confusing, and I don’t know why this was not worded more clearly. Maybe it would have passed if it had been, I don’t know. We could sure use it, though.

That’s all I got. I talk too much, anyway, so it’s just as well.

Have a good weekend!



I… I mean… hello?

Many of you may have noticed that Halloween is coming up.

Pic of witch hitting tree

When I was a wee little tyke, back in the days before fire, nearly all the little children in my tiny home town would go out on Halloween to trick or treat. My town was small enough that we felt safe, and most of the children were allowed out to roam the neighborhood alone or with an older sibling. Those were great times, but I remember every year my mother making us promise not to eat any candy before we got home so she could check it to make sure it hadn’t been tampered with.

She never checked it.

At least I don’t remember her checking it. I do remember she wouldn’t let me eat the occasional fruit that was given out. She was very concerned that apples would have a razor blade shoved inside, for some reason. Which kind of makes me wonder why she just didn’t insist on chopping the apples into tiny pieces before letting me eat them. Of course there was almost no chance I was going to choose an apple over all that candy, anyway, but still…

Sweettarts, Snickers, and even nerds were all wonderful. Apples, not so much. What I didn’t like was all the butterscotch candies people would give us back then. Or those weird, gooey, generic orange and black nasties that we would get. I know some people love those, and I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. Ooh, and candy corn. Ugh. I never, ever, ever, ever liked the stuff. Still, I was happy to get it, because that way I would have loads to pass off to the adults when they came digging through my candy, and that way I could share and still get to keep all the good stuff:)

I really don’t remember what I dressed as most years. I have a really vivid memory of only three of my costumes ever. One was a bunny, when I was very small. I had a fluffy outfit, furry ears, the whole works. And it was about forty degrees that year and snowed, so we barely went trick or treating, and I had to wear a big brown coat over my costume. Not to mention the fact that my dad had to carry me (remember, I was pretty little) so I wouldn’t get too messy in the slushy snow.

Another year my parents bought me one of those plastic costumes from Walmart. Yeah, it was kind of last minute or something, and I think we had to pick from a small selection maybe, because I wound up as Oscar the Grouch. All I know is that I couldn’t see out of the mask at all.

Another year I went as a ninja. I had a homemade costume, made by my mother and my sister, and a pretty convincing wooden sword that we borrowed from someone. Except my mother and sister didn’t quite understand–despite my repeated attempts to convince them–that a ninja costume was supposed to be tight. So half the time people told me I was a very convincing grim reaper.

I think the last time I went out trick or treating was around fifth or sixth grade. It just wasn’t fun anymore for me after that. I was at the age where embarrassment overrode the need for candy, maybe. I don’t know.

Anyway, everyone have a safe and happy Halloween!

Horror Games

Hi everyone!

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about some of my favorite old video games that I used to play when I was younger. I’ve always loved games in the horror genre, when they were done right. The Silent Hill games were my favorite, but I also have good memories of the Resident Evil series. I think these games can be credited for a lot of the style of gameplay we see in games of all genres being released now.

The other day we were out at a thrift store, just searching around for hidden treasures. Some of you may already know from previous posts that this is one of our favorite pastimes. Anyway, I stumble across a copy of Resident Evil for the Gamecube.

Image of cover for Resident Evil Gamecube game.

Hm. No price on it, though. So I asked the worker there and she said $2.

Oh really?

Well, ya know, for just $2 I couldn’t exactly turn it down, now could I? Oh, but it gets better. They were having a sale that day, so it was actually 50% off of that. So yeah, $1. Seriously.

We snagged it up. We have a Wii at home, so we knew we could play it on there. And the game discs, box, everything is all in great shape. The only thing we were missing is the memory card so we could save games, and it turns out MicroCenter had those for a good price.

So yeah, we’re going to give a shot. Just in time, too, since Halloween is coming up. It has been so long since I’ve fought against the Umbrella Corporation, and I can’t wait to have at them.

Wish us luck.

Have a great weekend, everyone!