Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, March 9, 2014

In Which I Fan the Flames of Controversy and Wax Rhapsodic About Weevils, Pt. 1

This is Petey, another of our rescue doggies. You've seldom seen photos of Petey because even after all these years he retains a stark terror of having anything pointed at him. But with my new telephoto camera, I can be a great distance away and still catch him being contemplative.

Petey has a habit I've not seen before. To amuse himself, he will scoop fallen leaves or soil into a mound. He does this by keeping his back legs planted, and turning in a circle while digging or scooping with his front paws.

Then, when he has built a mound of sufficient height and diameter (he is very particular about the exact dimensions), he circles it, barking and snapping, as though it were animated and moving.

The other dogs just watch, giving each other 'there's one in every pack' canine eye-rolls. Petey ignores that too, because he's made himself a tiny world of pure joy and he's happy in the moment.

There's a lesson in there for me. Sadly, I lack the delicate motor skills and balance required to shape debris into a properly sloped mound. But I'm working on it.

Pond EVP Session

I've mentioned here before that I can't offer any explanation regarding my experience with EVP captures and locations.

All the EVPs I've captured have been in cemeteries. Which doesn't make any sense to me, so I sometimes go to places at which I am relatively sure no corpses are buried, marked or otherwise.

Case in point: one of the small ponds behind our house.

I was there yesterday, accompanied of course by Supernatural Research Dog Lou Ann, and I brought my Zoom portable recorder and my camera.

It was a lovely day, as you can see. I was in short sleeves, a faux-diamond tiara, and my most elegant evening gown, which sadly was not revealed in the reflection of the water. 

I sat down, took the photo above, and held an EVP session while Lou Ann searched the water for poltergeists, selkies, or inexplicable falls of beef jerky.

This was the view directly above me. As I said, it was a beautiful day.

Oh, and one quick note to any paranormal researchers out there -- dogs CANNOT resist field microphones topped with a fur wind-screen. There's a moment of high drama in the recording in which Lou Ann sees the mic, which I placed on the ground beside me, and snatches it up because the furry wind-screen makes it look like a recently deceased rodent or other tasty treat. 

I got the mic back before she chomped down or dived into the pond with it. But it was close, so lesson learned.

I listened to the recording twice, and like all my other mundane locales, there's not the least hint of anything unusual on it. 

But it was fun watching Lou enjoy her swim while the wind sounded through the bare trees.

Writing Update

The new Mug and Meralda book now stands at slightly over 40 thousand words. I wish I could talk about it without adding spoilers, but there's no way to do that, so details will have to wait. I will say the single word romance. There, I said it. You may now speculate.

Markhat has news too -- I posted this last week, so if you already know The Five Faces is available for pre-order, or that Brown River Queen is now available in print, skip ahead. 

By the way, if you happen to be a book reviewer and you'd like a free print copy of Brown River Queen, email me! I'm franktuttle at franktuttle dot com, and I'll get you a book out pronto. 

Finally, a few words about maintaining a 2K a day writing habit.

I've developed a twitch in my right eye (that's not a joke). Not sure if it's related, but my left elbow appears to be coming apart like a cheap action figure's molded-plastic arm. And I'm going to need a new keyboard when this book is done. 

But the book is getting done, and it isn't taking years. So my arm can fall off and my eye can turn around backwards in my skull and it'll all be worth it if I can maintain this pace.

I want my new robot body NOW.

Thoughts on Anonymous Amazon Reader Reviews

There's a petition going around written with the intent of telling Amazon to remove the anonymous book review feature as it currently exists.

No, I won't link to the petition, and I won't mention the particular author who is the driving force behind it. Mainly because I suspect ulterior motives -- what a coincidence, you've got a new book coming out shortly, and it suddenly occurred to you to push a controversial public petition, using your press contacts to drive it. As SNL's Church Lady would say, "How convenient."

The petition cites the actions of troll reviewers as justification for insisting on real names to accompany reader reviews of books on Amazon.

I believe this is a bad idea on a number of levels. First of all, it's pointlessly intrusive. If you bought my book and read my book and didn't like my book, you have every right to say so without showing anyone your ID. I don't need to know your name. Nobody does.

Too, let's say you're a schoolteacher who enjoys bloody zombie horror, or you don't want your elderly granny to know you just gave 5 stars to Ride Me Cowboy, a Tale of Lust, Love, and Little People in the Wild Wild West. You shouldn't have to trumpet your private reading tastes to every search engine on the internet.

Finally, demanding real names on Amazon book reviews is rude. This is just my opinion, but it seems to me that someone got a couple of poor reviews and couldn't abide the mere idea that someone on the internet didn't venerate their each and every word and turn of phrase, and this is their way of making sure that never EVER happens again.

And that's all I have to say about that.

My Private Mars Mission, and a Background Image

It wasn't easy, building my own Mars probe in my shop using only material sold by Sneed's Hardware on University Avenue, but I did it, and the image above was obtained during my probe's touchdown.

Or was it? A free print copy of Brown River Queen goes to the first person to correctly identify the subject of this photograph. Respond in the blog comments section!

This is my current background image. It's a photo I took of the propane gauge on our tank, which resides under a steel hood but nevertheless manages to pick up a lot of dirt and debris. I like it because, um, I've received numerous sharp blows to the head over the course of my life. 

You can download the whole huge image by clicking  here.

Okay, back to work for me! Take care all, and remember -- there only has to be a snake in your hat once to make checking worth your while. 


  1. Not quite! Think something inedible. Something hard and used in construction, perhaps. :)

  2. Ok, I have a thought about this anonymous review deal. I see your points and understand. The granny comment made me laugh... but, maybe if someone wants something posted anoymously they have to register it with Amazon - it's private, but maybe there's a way for some sort of accountability then for those folks that just want to slam people? I was going to post this anonymously, but changed my mind. :)

  3. I think it's rust. Maybe on an old tractor or something?

  4. I agree with you about not abolishing the anonymous review on Amazon because of my own experience there. I posted an unfavorable review of the first book of a new mystery series by an established author (both print and e-book). It was one of the most poorly written books I've ever read -- full of grammatical errors and misspellings. In addition the characters were boring, one dimensional and unrealistic. The author found out my identity (we have a mutual friend, which is how I assume she discovered who I am) and she and some of her author friends harassed me. So -- I'm in favor of anything that protects the integrity and safety of an honest reviewer.

    Love the picture of your doggy. He looks sweet.

    Can't wait for the new Mug and Meralda book.

  5. Regarding the object -- think building material, formed of baked clay....

  6. Sewage pipe? I also can't wait for the new Mug and Meralda book.