Book Review: Memoirs of a Mouthy Dame

So, you guys may have seen me talk about +C. Corey Fisk before. You’ve seen me wax all glowing and girlcrushy about her because, frankly, she is crushable on pretty much all conceivable levels of crushability.

Beyond that, though… this woman is tough as shit and frakking brilliant.

If you follow her stream at all, you know that; she’s one of the people at the forefront of the +Virtual Photo Walks™ project, she agitates in favor of the disable, and she’s also a fantabulous geek. And, of course, Corey is a writer.

She wrote much of this book several years ago, and it is finally coming to print. I have had the multifaceted honor of not only being able to read this book, but also to actively partake in working on making its sequel come into being. Memoirs of a Mouthy Dame — Beyond Repair: Living with MS is, as I have told its author, an important book.

That’s not quite right. It’s an Important Book.

I don’t know about you guys, but I used to have only the barest of familiarity with multiple sclerosis. I knew it was a thing, a disease, and it was the sort that if someone got it we’d talk about it with hushed whispers and sad demeanour. MS is, honestly, not something I’d talk about while jumping up and down and playing accordion. But thanks to Corey’s book, I actually have a working knowledge of it without having felt like a moron while it was explained to me.

Even better, she was able to explain it to me in such a way that I giggled while I learned, and then this bold woman went on to ask questions I never would have asked – some of them because I wasn’t consciously aware that I had such questions to ask.

Below is the link to Corey’s book. It’s currently 25% off until March 24, and I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this launch sale – if possible, by two or three copies, so that you can keep one for yourself and give the others away to friend show might otherwise try to steal it from you!

And if for some reason you don’t have the money to snag this jewel of a book for yourself… please share this post. Hopefully one of your friends will buy it.

Then you can yoink their copy.😉

Book Review: Redbacks, by Aaron Crocco

It becomes increasingly tricky to innovate a fairly well-explored fiction genre, and the idea of a zombie apocalypse is no exception – zombies are fast or slow, voodoo or viral, after your brains or simply any iron-rich tissue of the body, a tool for a gorefest or an allegory for society. Sometimes it seems like, in the overal body of work involving zombies, it’s all been done.

Then +Aaron Crocco comes along and gives us something new.

_Redbacks_ is book 2 of his _As Darkness Ends_ series, but can be read standalone (although, having read it, I want to go back and read book 1). It begins with the world ending – or so it seems to some of the characters. An earthquake shakes not just most of Manhattan, where protagonist James Cole works, but the actual entirety of the earth. James manages to avoid upheaving streets and crumbling skyscrapers, and post-quake bands together with a survivor who saved his life in order to try to get through the city to make his way back to his estranged wife.

Then they discover that buckled streets and precarious architecture and infrastructure are far from their biggest worry – the eponymous, violent antagonists of the tale appear, wreaking havoc and killing survivors, moving in animal-like packs, though they clearly used to be human.

And all of this under a sky unnaturally darkening under a black cloud moving to cover the earth.

It’s a quick-paced adventure with roots in zombie literature and religious apocalyptica alike, and one I quite enjoyed – it grabbed me from the quaking get-go and dragged me along through the ruins of one of the great cities of the world, to a conclusion that I honestly never saw coming.


Amazon Kindle:
Amazon Paperback:
Amazon Paperback of Book 1:
Smashwords Book 1:
Smashwords Book 2:

See the author’s site at for more links, info, and a way to purchase an autographed eBook!

Kalli’s Story – Week 3 (Chasing Revery BlogHop)

I’m taking part in a story Blog Hop, where four writers are each contributing a piece of a story over the course of four weeks!

Mine is Week 3/Part 3, so if you haven’t yet read the story up to this point, please do so before continuing.

Read Part 1 by Carrie K. Sorensen at Chasing Revery
Read Part 2 by Nicole Pyles at World of My Imagination

Then continue on below, to Part 3 of Kalli’s Story.


All things considered, it was a pretty quick walk. Actually, it was a bit too quick for Kalli’s liking – she hadn’t gone back to the house since that day, and the closer she got, the more she realized how very, very much she didn’t want to. Her stomach twisted and clenched, her heart pounded like the now-silenced beat that had been thrumming through her earbuds when Jenae had ripped them from her ears. Her heavy boots slowed on the sidewalk, until Jenae stopped too, just at the corner of the block.

“What’s the hold up, Kalli?”

What could she tell her? I’m sorry, I’ve changed my mind, I’m not really in the mood to show you how Claire died, maybe we can go for a soda instead?

“Just… give me a second.”

She pulled her arm free and dropped to a knee, carefully unlacing and retying one boot and then the other, making sure they were firm. Solid. Protecting. She’d be fine – and there’d be no more questions, after.

Standing, Kalli grabbed Jenae’s arm, and all but pulled her into motion again, thudding quickly past the several first houses on the block, toward the victorian that squatted in between a pair of ranches that looked like twins on either side of it. There didn’t seem to have been anybody living in the house since the night Claire was there, and Kalli found herself dryly unsurprised. Although the grass looked mowed, and the bushes still looked trimmed. Even the paint, which had been old when she was here before, had an unexpected sense of freshness to it although spots of flaking here and there told her it definitely hadn’t been painted.

“So we were here, with Claire,” she said without preamble, her boots thudding hollowly upon the steps as she mounted the porch. “Jordan figured out that if we reached between the boards, we could pull the door open just enough for someone to get in. And they- we dared her to go in and stay inside by herself. Not all night, even, just for a little while.”

The new boards were there, just like Jenae said, and yet… there should have been another one, and it was missing. It made it so that Kalli was able to reach between to find the old, carved metal doorknob. It should have been cold to the touch, but it was warm, even here out of the sunlight, and Kalli swallowed hard as she turned it and pulled.

The door opened without resistance, thudding against the inside of the boards nailed across the thick old doorframe, and there was a spot where, if one were so inclined, one could worm in between the boards and slip in through that open door, into the dark foyer beyond.

“So she went in, and we were out here on the porch. And for a while we were just talking, and sometimes knocking on the boards over the windows – you know, to just scare her. I swear to god, Jenae, all we wanted to do was scare her!” Her voice went high and tight with that confession, and she couldn’t drag her eyes away from the dark foyer space.

“That doesn’t sound like that bad a dare,” Jenae pointed out from her shoulder, leaning in past Kalli to squint in at the darkness inside the open door. “Even though that was kind of mean… trying to scare her. But it sounds funny. What HAPPENED, Kalli?”

“She started knocking back. Except… on all the windows at once.”

Jenae’s head whipped around, staring wide-eyed at Kalli for a minute, and then she let out an exasperated laugh and shoved playfully at Kalli’s shoulder.

“You butthead! I really want to know what happened, and you drag me over here for this campfire story?”

Kalli started to protest, but grinning wryly Jenae was already grabbing onto the boards so she could hoist herself and swing her feet through, wriggling past the boards and door to become a shadow in the foyer, her feet thudding gently upon the boards.

“You want to tell me what REALLY happened in here?” she challenged. Kalli’s hand tightened on the doorknob.

Days of Grey: Day 5

“But it’s just a bunch of toys on cardboard.”

“It is and it isn’t. We’re up here looking down on it, see. Lincoln Logs, a piece of fabric draped over Rock ’em Sock ’em robots, a little old silver stereo missing a knob, sitting on top of a doll’s cabinet, some erector set pieces… it just looks like a mess. But it isn’t, I’m telling you.”

“I don’t see how it can be anything other than what it looks like. Didn’t you say your kid built this?”

“Yeah, yesterday when I thought she was napping. But you have to look at it differently, to really see what it is she did.”

“Differently how?”

“Come on, don’t be stupid. She’s a kid. She’s little. Belly down and take a look again, and tell me what you see.”

“This is ridiculous.”

“Just do it.”

“…holy- dude. Is this- did she build the docks?”

“Completely. The tent, the pilons, the cranes. It’s all there, right down to this lego big over here being that one last tie-up that nobody ever used.”

“That’s amazing! And also really messed up, man – what the hell were you doing, taking her THERE of all places?”

“That’s the thing. I’ve never taken her there. She’s never seen it. I’ve never taken her to Pike’s Acres, either, but she’s been carrying a lot of twigs and branches into her sandbox this morning.”

“You think… she’s building the circle?”

“I think she might be. And look, while you’re down there, you see the boat? Give it a nudge.”

“Holy fuck! How did it do that, – it’s on the carpet! It shouldn’t be bobbing like it’s in the water!”

“I KNOW, dammit! But she made it like this, and it does that… and if she manages to make Pike’s Acres?”

“Do you think?”

“Yeah. I think maybe she’s going to bring back the fairies.”


This was written as part of Days of Grey, a daily writing project in which anyone can participate. Just go follow the page. A prompt image will be posted to it each day throughout the month of February, meant to inspire bright, warm, happy fictions – or poetry, haikus, memoir essays, visual poetry – anything to get the mind focused on warmth and light and joy.

The Day Five image prompt is from Alexander Symonette, from GooglePlus.


Days of Grey: Day 4

When she was born, she slept much. Her cries when first she emerged were soft and quickly quieted when place in my arms, and when the midwife was left, I spent hours (tired though I was) contemplating her as I cleansed her skin, gently wiping the effluvia of her gestation from her soft translucent skin. There was barely any hair upon her scalp, and her hands balled up beneath her tiny chin.

They were waiting for me to declare her name, but one had not come to me yet. There was always a sign, among our people, that led a mother to the name of her child. Some names had great auspicion. Some bore ill-luck. Usually the name came whilst laboring, but nothing had happened to encourage me to bestow a name upon her. One would come to us, just as when I had born, the cry of a bird had earned me the name of Avis.

Despite the waiting outside, the village was quiet; I could faintly hear the sound of voices and the crackling of fire as I rested, and along with my own weariness decided night must have come. Indeed, no light spilled into my tent through the cleft between the flaps, left ajar by the midwife to let in air to sooth and cool me.

“Who are you, my sweet?” I murmured softly, running the cloth gingerly under the corner of her wee jaw.

My answer came in the form of another small creature entirely.

Through the open flaps, a moth flitted in. I half-noticed it, darting and sopping, fluttering along the interior of the walls, but moths frequently found their way indoors. I watched it rise toward the oil lamp that hung from the pole above us. But it did not rise to the lamp and circle the glass. It circled but once, and fluttered down like a cherry petal, to alight upon my sleeping daughter’s forehead.

There it rested, a pale, luminous blue-white, with great dark eyes at the base of its feathery antennae. Perhaps it was looking at me, but then it turned, minuscule feet ever so light upon my daughter’s skin as to not even begin to wake her. With its back to me, its wings swept open so sharply as to coat my daughter’s skin with a dusting of the pale powder from the underside of the wings, and its antennae swept in a wide arch before twitching in wee, arcane movements.

I was captivated by the pattern upon its wings. It was one of which I had heard, but never had seen; the interior of its swept-open wings were the same soft, luminescent blue as the outside, but decorated with a pattern of charcoal grey that resembled a single eye, gazing upon me. Somnium Tinea, the Dream Moth. These moths were so rare as to be creatures of legend, and it was said that those chosen by the moth could, in the light of the moon, see things that could not otherwise be seen: glimpses of the future, the truth behind lies and secrets. Paths to the Otherworld.

This one had come to us in the night, and chosen to land upon my unnamed daughter.

The cloth fluttered to the floor beside my cot, forgotten, as I lifted my hand to lay my fingertips gently against my daughter’s temple. “Tinea,” I whispered, naming her. At the word, the moth’s wing’s snapped sharply shut, and then it launched itself into the air, making for the doorway and disappearing into the night. It left behind, though, the thin dusting from its wings, and etched into it by its wee feet and feathered antennae was the same shape that had been hidden inside its wings. A new eye, upon my daughter’s forehead.

“Tinea,” I murmured again, and without stirring her eyes slid open, calm and dark, and she knew me.


This was written as part of Days of Grey, a daily writing project in which anyone can participate. Just go follow the page. A prompt image will be posted to it each day throughout the month of February, meant to inspire bright, warm, happy fictions – or poetry, haikus, memoir essays, visual poetry – anything to get the mind focused on warmth and light and joy.

The Day Four image prompt is from dendroica on Flickr, shared through a Creative Commons Attribution license. If you share or repost this image, please keep the attribution info intact.

Days of Grey: Day 3

The Birds of Blue are commonly mistaken for the Bluebird of Happiness. The mistake is easy and obvious, and happens almost as commonly as the creatures themselves come around – which, thankfully, is not very often. They travel in pairs, the Birds of Blue; they gravitate toward people who are too unrepentantly filled with joy of life and living, of being young and carefree and vital in a world that is often hard and grinding.

Two by two, the Birds of Blue find these people, and in the manner of any bird, they shit on what those people hold dear.

Not in the literal sense, mind you. The Birds of Blue show up and roost around the house of joyful people, and their milk goes too quickly sour, their yogurt spills, their bread becomes infested with weevils. They pick holes into all the fruit, and they tease cats into unused corners near windows most often left open in warm weather to let breezes through, until the cats in their irritation mark the area with their urine and leave it to grow fetid. They fly against windows to frighten babies. They knock down the laundry from the line. And should the joyful victim remain unrepentant, they will soon find themselves set upon by the creatures, attacked.

Only when one has been made miserable do the Birds of Blue move on – unless, by very rare chance, a Bluebird of Happiness appears to combat the problem.

The Bluebird of Happiness sings sweetly outside a baby’s window. It coaxes cats away from the fresh bottles of milk left upon the doorstep, and it pecks through the stems of the fruit highest in the tree or deepest in the bush so that it rolls upon the ground as sweet windfall. It plucks up the windblown woodtrash that fetches up against the house and in the flower garden to use for nesting.

One appeared to a woman, once, as the Birds of Blue were setting upon her, beginning to pluck at the sleeves of her gown and peck at the skin underneath. Her arms were outstretched, fluttering to try to shake them from her wrists, when the Bluebird found perch upon her elbow. It sang out, as the Birds of Blue squalled. It sang out, and she went quite still, singing that single sweet note back to the bird – a note of hopeful yearning.

Destruction and joy warred against each other for that woman, and fixed between them she went still, flesh frozen into wood, and the birds along with her. We make the carvings of her still, to honor the struggle between unrepentant joy and heartless cruelty – and to remember that a single bit of joy is more than a match for twice as much cruelty, for a heart that will strive for it.


This was written as part of Days of Grey, a daily writing project in which anyone can participate. Just go follow the page. A prompt image will be posted to it each day throughout the month of February, meant to inspire bright, warm, happy fictions – or poetry, haikus, memoir essays, visual poetry – anything to get the mind focused on warmth and light and joy.

The Day Three image prompt comes from 4nitsirk on Flickr via a Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons license. Per the license, if you repost/reshare the photo, please keep the attribution intact.