NaNo-ing My Compost Pile

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This NaNo will be my most autobiographical NaNo yet. I will write “Meatful Things”* next month, the story of me and my compost pile, and all the things that did could go wrong… So how many ways can a compost pile go wrong? After all, nature makes compost piles every day, all around the world. Business as usual…

 

Unless…

 

You add people.

 

I mean, unless you add the wills and whims of people into the making of a compost pile.

 

So what goes into the compost pile? Apple cores and onions skins?

 

Absolutely!

 

Coffee grounds and tea leaves?

 

Sure!

 

Bacon grease and chicken bones?

 

Well, that’s not recommended.

 

But pigs and chickens decompose in nature just fine.

 

Well… OK.

 

How about litter box crap and offal from the neighbor’s hunting trip?

 

No way! But I see you’ve already taken the liberty… I see the compost pile is steaming and teeming with flies…

 

Yep, back to nature. How about I add-

 

No! Don’t say anything more! The compost pile is out of control. I don’t wanna know what you’re gonna add next…

 

It’s my spookiest NaNo to date, and it’s in the spirit of the season. Speaking of compost piles and Halloween, these creations are gonna end up in my decomposition pile in a few days…

Kitty-o-lanterns!

Kitty-o-lanterns!

 *

Like this guy…

Fall sunflower.

Fall sunflower.

 *

In the meantime, wanna stalk me and my NaNo-ed compost pile? Click here!

 If you can’t wait until “Meatful Things” is fully decomposed finished and available, here are 11 spooky bedtime stories, just in time for Halloween…

And how about treating yourself for Halloween? Check out these short story anthologies (I have a story in each) – a different theme for each collection:

Theme-Thology: Invasion

Theme-Thology: Day I Died

Theme-Thology: New Myths

Theme-Thology: Real World Unreal

 HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

*Loosely based on true events.

Post Office / Preta’s Realm (books 74 and 75)

Post Office / Charles Bukowski

synopsis – Chinaski (Bukowski) is a hard workin’, hard drinkin’, hard farkin’, hard drinkin’ man. And he drinks. A lot. After stumbling into a job at a post office, he endures over a decade of menial government employment and abuse. After all, he needs to feed his alcohol addiction, and despite his demons, Chinaski has a knack for postal work. Between drinking binges, he somehow manages to get married, get divorced, have a baby, and keep his liver functioning.

reaction – This book read as a somewhat embellished retrospective of Bukowski’s adult life before he became a poet and novelist. The casual tone and structure of the novel melded perfectly with Bukowski’s real life persona of the sloppy, arrogant artiste. “I’ll roll out of bed, down some hair of the dog, take a cab to my poetry reading, vomit in the hallway, stumble onto the stage, and wow the audience with my genius.” And he did, I saw the video. A quick, confounding, voyeuristic read.

recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

get it herehttp://www.amazon.com/Post-Office-Charles-Bukowski-ebook/dp/B000SEGDNG/

*

Preta’s Realm / J. Thorn

synopsis – Drew is your average American family man. He works a tolerable office job to pay the bills and pay his taxes. Good on him, he’s keeping it together. Until the mysterious emails start coming. And two of his co-workers turn up missing. And he suspects his best friend and his wife have betrayed him. Poor Drew. That’s just the start of his trip into the generations-spanning curse on his family. An unholy entity from the past needs to feed, and Drew is just the human to cater the unholy feast.

reaction – This book does a great job of describing a descent into madness without the reader realizing what’s actually happening. The monster is vividly and unusually disgusting. Several twists and turns and some horror-humor, which I always enjoy. The ending is unexpected, and is an obvious cliffhanger. Overall, a solid horror story for horror fans.

recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

get it herehttp://www.amazon.com/Pretas-Realm-Haunting-Hidden-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B005FI5Z0W/

*

Noble Vision / Behind the Voice (books 72 and 73)

Noble Vision / Gen LaGreca

synopsis – A beautiful ballerina. A gifted neurosurgeon. A tragic accident. And a meddling, incompetent government healthcare system. Will the ballerina ever dance on stage again? Will the neurosurgeon be locked away for defying the system? And will the system inevitably implode under its own political idiotology?

reaction – A political medical thriller with a heavy-handed political message. Stereotypical characters and plenty of repetitive dialogue. This story has twists and turns and a fast-paced, suspenseful third act. But at the end, several plot holes and an annoying, eye-rolling epilogue made me grimace. This book is for those who are anti-ACA, or who are in the mood for a fun, silly read.

recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.

get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Noble-Vision-Novel-Gen-LaGreca-ebook/dp/B00514WM06/

*

Behind the Voice / Cassi Gray

synopsis – Cordelia ends up alone on an unmoving elevator. Or rather, she’s the only person in the elevator… but there’s also a disembodied voice talking to her. It even knows her name. Does this voice belong to somebody behind the elevator wall? Is it the voice of a spirit… or demon? Is it the voice of her panicked mind? Or is it something even more mysterious? But now Cordelia has more pressing matters to contend with – the elevator is violently lurching in the elevator shaft…

reaction – The book starts out engaging and humorous. When the voice pops up, the story shifts into a more introspective mood. The major events of the story aren’t explained, and the characters other than Cordelia seem to be little more than blank slates. Awkward, clumsy sentences here and there. An eye-rolling, out-of-this-world conclusion which didn’t really conclude anything. A quick read exploring a disturbing “what if” scenario.

recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.

get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Behind-Voice-Cassi-Gray-ebook/dp/B008LMT8AW/

*

Care of Wooden Floors / Beam (books 70 and 71)

Care of Wooden Floors / Will Wiles

synopsis – Two friends, one a cultured, refined, and successful music composer, and the other a pedestrian, careless, and poor copywriter agree to a house and pet sitting arrangement. The composer must fly overseas for divorce proceedings, and so the writer will stay in his friend’s immaculate, resplendent flat for a few weeks. A dream gig and a fresh environment to get motivated and inspired to finally write that breakout novel. But of course, there are a few flat rules to follow. The most important of which is to NOT DAMAGE THE WOODEN FLOORS. Seems simple enough… right?

reaction – As a professional (paid) house and pet sitter, and a professional (paid) writer, I strongly identified with the main character is this novel. He reflected many of the related life experiences and philosophies I’ve had. Even the self-assessment and friendship dynamics mirrored my own. As he sank further into a self-inflicted quagmire of unintended consequence and catastrophe, my gut twisted and lurched with a “There but for the grace of fate… ” empathy. Each page had a sentence, a paragraph, that caught my breath with its devastation and beauty. I will be reading this book again, it’s now in my top ten favorite.

recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

get it herehttp://www.amazon.com/Care-Wooden-Floors-Will-Wiles-ebook/dp/B008L4KNA4/

*

Beam / Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant

synopsis – In a near-future USA, the Beam supercomputer network monitors and facilitates your daily life. Work, sleep, play, every aspect of existence is automatically analyzed and adjusted for your convenience. And as a national political “compromise,” every six years, citizens choose whether to accept a basic living stipend without the chance at career competition and advancement, or no basic living stipend but with a chance of making it to the top of your chosen field through your own hard work, talent, and luck.

reaction – The premise was compelling and the character-block structure was intriguing, but the characters themselves were distant, and the relationships, haphazard. The storyline seemed more like a “slice of life” description than a point A to point B journey. Little explanation was given to the rise of the Beam and its powers. But at the end of the book, I found myself in deep contemplation of the choices I would make in this future plausible society.

recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.

get it herehttp://www.amazon.com/Beam-Episode-1-Sean-Platt-ebook/dp/B00DHEPVKA/

*

Strings / Black Jasmine (books 68 and 69)

Strings / Allison M. Dickson

Synopsis – A prostitute has one last client to service to pay off the brothel madam. Really big money for a really fun time. Except this particular trick is only fun for the client. For Nina, it’s the worst nightmare she can imagine times 100. Only it’s not a nightmare, it’s now her life. If only she had taken the deaths of the client’s previous brothel girls seriously. If only she had escaped with the Madam’s reluctant chauffeur. If  only the Madam hadn’t been such a heartless sex slave-driver. If only… But what goes around comes around in the end, right… ?

Reaction – Chock full of graphic violence and gore, including various forms of torture and rape, but surprisingly readable, by sheer virtue of the bad guy being a bit unbelievable. He’s a spider man who gets around his creepful, crap-filled house of horrors via a ceiling rope system. And he somehow pulls his wheeled, stuffed corpse collection around with strings while he’s crawling around the ceiling webbing. Furthermore, the main characters make a series of Very Bad Decisions which left me wondering if they were intellectually challenged. But this book is thoroughly suspenseful, and the stakes keep climbing with each new plot twist. Lots of eyeball-popping. A must-read for hard-core horror fans who enjoy a bit of the fantastical.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Strings-Allison-M-Dickson-ebook/dp/B00G6MTXOU/

*

Black Jasmine / Toby Neal

Synopsis – A cop in Hawaii investigates the cliffside death of a Jane Doe. As the suicide investigation turns into a homicide investigation, Lei struggles to balance the demands of her career, her live-in boyfriend, her workout schedule, and her dog. Not to mention the demands of being run off the road, barely escaping her house burning down, and confronting her childhood rapist. And somehow she still manages to get some nookie in every other day, even with her concussions and bruises.

Reaction – Predictable characters and plenty of action. The main character was unbelievably resilient and sexually insatiable. The story held my interest like a roadside wreck holds my interest. The rapist confrontation subplot was a fizzle, and the ending was a fizzle. I did, however, appreciate the accurate descriptions of the Hawaiian countryside and the native Hawaiian culture.

Recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Black-Jasmine-Lei-Crime-Book-ebook/dp/B009LEFUKG/

*

The Red Church / Project Maigo / H10N1 (books 65, 66, and 67)

The Red Church / Scott Nicholson

Synopsis – Deep in the Appalachians, a once-abandoned red church is showing signs of activity again. And the good, Abrahamic God-fearing people of the county are being called to serve the Son of God… again. Make that the second Son of God, ‘cause the first alleged Son was a dud, obviously. Or maybe this second Son is really a monster with wings and claws and livers for eyes. Or maybe He’s the true Savior of God’s children. Hard to tell, ‘cause a monster with wings and claws and livers for eyes had been spooking around the county, scaring people, and occasionally mutilating them to death. Coincidence? Maybe. But what else is a monster with wings and claws and livers for eyes gonna do?

Reaction – The phrase “wings and claws and livers for eyes” really stood out, because it seemed to be repeated every few pages. Really got a rhythm going… wings and claws and livers for eyes and wings and claws and livers for eyes… At the same time, I have to say that every time I read the “livers for eyes” parts, I wondered, “Livers for eyes? WTF?” I even googled “livers for eyes,” but didn’t find anything on it, except in reference to the book. But I enjoyed the campfire spookiness of this paranormal horror story. The characters were believable, and the action was spread evenly throughout the book, though the climax seemed to be in slow motion. Despite a heavy-handed Christianity theme, and a fizzle of an ending, this story was spirited and fun.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Red-Church-Scott-Nicholson-ebook/dp/B0032FPYD8

*

Project Maigo / Jeremy Robinson

Synopsis – Godzilla Nemesis wreaks havoc on Boston. Cue ragtag team of monster fighters to the rescue! Then more Godzillas Kaiju monsters show up to wreak havoc across America and beyond. Time for the monster ass-whuppin’ team to double, triple, and quadruple down! BIFF! POW! KA-BOOM! Will the underdogs save the day and the American way? Or will the Kaiju kill America? Could the world be so lucky?

Reaction – Most of this book is battle description. Crash bang boom. A chore to get through. The characters were flat, and the Kaiju were puzzling, with almost zero explanation. Almost no depth in this story. This is the written version the WWF, except with giant monsters. Go watch a classic zone-out Godzilla movie instead, unless you’ve always wished you could read a zone-out Godzilla movie instead of watching it.

Recommendation – I guess some people would find this book worthwhile in some universe somewhere.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Project-Maigo-Thriller-Jeremy-Robinson-ebook/dp/B00GU1YZVI

*

H10N1 / M. R. Cornelius

Synopsis – The H10N1 virus wipes out most of the American people. So of course, the remaining bad guys form rape and pillage gangs, and the remaining good guys alternately get pounded on and run away. A mismatched couple of good guys make a break for it, and accidentally end up in the same escape vehicle. On the long road to a safer place, they meet up with enemies, friends, and see a lot of death and destruction. Can they put their differences aside, fall in lust love, and live happily ever after?

Reaction – This story didn’t get into the specifics of the H10N1 virus. Rather, it focused on the couple escaping out west. So I thought the title was a bit misleading. The adventures the couple have seemed kind of random, all the characters were goofy and stereotypical, and the ending – predictable. But the scenery and the action changed enough through the story to keep things interesting. An easy adventure read.

Recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/H10N1-M-R-Cornelius-ebook/dp/B005H3ESEO

*

Life Blood / The Devil’s Dream: A Nightmare / Crazy in Paradise (books 62, 63, and 64)

Life Blood / Thomas Hoover

Synopsis – A documentary filmmaker who is trying to get pregnant investigates a mysterious adoption agency. If her on again, off again boyfriend can’t get her pregnant, maybe she’ll adopt one of the Aryan babies the adoption agency is churning out. But first she must follow the Svengali-like agency head to the rainforest of Central America to uncover the mystery of his baby factory, and to rescue her zombified cousin and zombified part-time boyfriend, who have also got mixed up in the cookie cutter baby business. Can she solve the mystery, save her peeps, survive the zombification drugs, and get pregnant all at the same time?

Reaction – The story started out fairly believable, but just got more ridiculous with each new plot twist. All the characters were simplistic, and the motivations and actions were puzzling. Once the main character was in the clutches of the baby doctor, she seemed to develop superhuman strength and endurance to overcome repeated drugging and lack of nourishment. A predictable ending. But overall, the storyline was entertaining, in an eye-rolling sort of way… a fun read.

Recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Life-Blood-Thomas-Hoover-ebook/dp/B0042X9AIO

*

The Devil’s Dream: A Nightmare / David Beers

Synopsis – The mind of the world’s most intellectually gifted person – a former wunderkind turned mad scientist – escapes the most ultra maximum security mind prison again, this time via a rapist’s body. He has one goal – to wreak vengeful destruction and death to payback the uncaring world that let his son be slain. And there’s no stopping him, if he can focus less on raping and more on his own vengeance. He’s played the game before, and this time, he has the advantage of experience. He’ll destroy the Sun, which will, in turn, destroy the Earth, and of course, everybody on it. He can do that, you know – he’s an evil über genius.

Reaction – Lots of suspense, and lots of repetition. Lucky for me, I enjoy repetition. It gets me in the groove of the storyline, like listening to the beat of a catchy tune. Well-written psychological horror. I enjoyed peeking into the mind of a serial killer who was cohabitating in the same body with a serial rapist, and somehow, the serial rapist’s abusive grandmother. The interplay between the personalities was the perfect mix of horror and humor. A solid read for fans of “mad scientist” stories served with gore.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Devils-Dream-Book-Two-Nightmare-ebook/dp/B00LXD6PNO

*

Crazy in Paradise / Deborah Brown

Synopsis – A divorcée inherits her aunt’s house and rental property in Florida. So she packs her cat and makes the move to the Keys for a new life of fun and sun. But wait, that’s not all she inherits. Seems her dead aunt left a houseful of metaphorical baggage for this heir to sort through. Before she even unpacks, she has a mysterious new boyfriend, a dangerous new best friend, a roster of riffraff tenants, and a scumbag attorney who wants her dead. And all her new peeps are connected to her dead aunt. But how? Nobody is telling. Looks like she’ll have to unlock this mystery herself.

Reaction – My eyes nearly rolled into the back of my head reading this one. The characters were groaningly one-dimensional. The action was stupefyingly implausible. And the motivations were as nuanced as a jackhammer. The main character wasn’t relatable or sympathetic in that she seemed to be a pre-programmed bot, lacking any common sense, logic, or reasoning ability. A few funny scenes in this easy read. But not even Florida Man, Florida Woman, and Florida Cat could save this floozy doozy of a book. Read for incredulity only.

Recommendation – I guess some people would find this book worthwhile in some universe somewhere.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Paradise-Book-1-ebook/dp/B0059AJ8V8

*

My First Very Own Garden

I remember…

the 21st day of September…

like it was yesterday. Here’s a selection of what happened this past summer with my first very own container garden* at my very own place…

Sunflower sprouts.

Sunflower sprouts.

Sunflower with bee.

Sunflower with bee.

I'm pretty sure these are carrots.

I’m pretty sure these are carrots.

My glorious non-GM organic tomatoes! They are still green on the vine today. Do you also see the purple green bean? That was my most abundant crop.

My glorious non-GM organic tomatoes! They are still green on the vine today. Do you also see the purple green bean? That was my most abundant crop.

Corpse Plants growing near my compost pile.

Corpse Plants growing near my compost pile.

Next year I will expand my garden with more containers and more plants. In the meantime, my compost pile continues to grow…

*I live 1000 feet from a former Superfund site, so all the gardens in my neighborhood are container gardens.

Crash / From the Wreckage (books 60 and 61)

Crash / Michael Robertson

Synopsis – After the European economy completely crashes, electricity and water are shut off, jobs become nonexistent, the police and government are dismantled, and the 99% rise against the 1%. Or so it seems. As in any mass crisis situation, a specific demographic jumps at the chance to loot, pillage, rape, torture, and murder with impunity. From a window in his once posh home, a (former) 1%-er watches a gang of brutal thugs destroy his neighbors’ homes, torture and murder the males and the pets, and imprison the females as rape slaves in a cage in the back of their truck. With his young son at his side, and his wife and daughter mysteriously gone, the 1%-er must make a series of decisions which will have the lowest high chance of fulfilling the unimaginable suffering he and his son face. Not easy to do when you’ve slowly watched your family fall apart, you’re trapped in a freezing cold house, slowly starving, and the bad guys are strolling up your driveway…

Reaction – This is a very violent book. Yes, it can easily be classified as torture porn, but the violence and gore are broken into manageable (in my opinion) chunks by the interspersion of ridiculously humorous pre-crash flashbacks. Robertson knows my brand of humor. Stereotypical characters and no satisfying character arcs in this one. Not for the easily queasy. For ironed-lined stomachs only.

Recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Crash-Book-One-Michael-Robertson-ebook/dp/B00DJBJVY8

*

From the Wreckage / Stacy Stanford

Synopsis – Head Cheerleader Buffy can’t wait to start her senior year of high school with her two besties and cheerleadin’ side-kicks. Together, The Three MuskeCheers will rule the school! Yea-Rah! But who knew a tornado would rip through town, destroying the high school and killing one of Buffy’s besties? What’s a Head Cheerleader to do‽ She’s got to keep on keepin’ on in her super cute and sexy cheerleading outfit with the short skirt that flips up in the back when a breeze or a tornado blows by. Not only that, she’s got to break up with her wealthy and handsome golden boy captain of the football team boyfriend, and make a play for the mysterious and broody motorcycle-riding loner (but not totally creepy because he was once part of the popular clique) handsome bad boy. Yeah-Rah!

Reaction – An eye-rolling-ly ditzy book. Lots of teen hormone-fueled leering and groping, and lots of intertwining fingers and skirt flipping. Lots of texting. The characters are stereotypes, but they’re fun. The storyline held my interest for its bubble gum-popping teen angst entertainment. A fun fluff book for YA fans.

Recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Wreckage-Michele-G-Miller-ebook/dp/B00KXIJ4H4

*

A Thousand Bridges / Lost Girl of the Lake (books 58 and 59)

A Thousand Bridges / Michael McKinney

Synopsis – Florida Man, not having learned his lesson, gets in over his head again in the Floridian labyrinth of corrupt politics. But it’s not his fault (this time). Florida Woman and Florida Girl are to blame with their tales of shootout and rape survival at the tentacles of a burgeoning band of power-hungry politicos. Can Florida Man bury the memory of his dead girlfriend long enough to (temporarily) save Florida and the USA from the latest batch of rich and rogue Florida Rebels? Will any of this knock http://bit.ly/1vzjEoP off the front page of Florida News?

Reaction – I’m a big fan of Florida Man, and all things Florida (from a safe distance), so this tale of wild and wacky Floridian crime and corruption easily held my interest. The characters – though larger-than-life (I expect as much from Florida) – were palpable, and I ended up caring about the fate of every one of them, even the sick and sleazy slimeballs. I also appreciated the vivid descriptions of the varied Florida landscape as a counterbalance to the alternating rage, wrath and carefree cluelessness of the Florida People. Read this Florida Book if you’re a Florida Man fan, or simply if you’re Florida-curious.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Thousand-Bridges-Michael-McKinney-ebook/dp/B0061YAU5Y

*

Lost Girl of the Lake / Joe McKinney and Michael McCarty

Synopsis – A rich and privileged teen goes on a country club summer vacation with his family. After enduring the glorified boredom of idle childhood wealth, he finally cuts loose and meets a mysterious girl skinny dipping at night in the lake. His joins her, but you know how teen boys are. She has to put him in his place. After the requisite period of teen angst and brooding, she finally shows up again to give him another chance. Only this time she has a posse of snakes. Or maybe she’s a snake and she wants him to meet her snake family. Or maybe the boy has a snake fetish, and he’s imagining all this. In any case, this is the summer he comes of age via the serpent… somehow.

Reaction – A charming tale of coming of age told in a personable, friendly voice. The main character was likeable in a “sympathetic underdog” kind of way. The story was clear and solid for most of the book, but at the conclusion it got a bit tangled up the arcane and esoteric. Did the boy lose his virginity? Did he have a bad acid trip? Was he psychologically disabled? I have no idea. Read this if you like the mystery of the serpent and you don’t mind an open-ended… ending.

Recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Girl-Lake-Michael-McCarty-ebook/dp/B00BODKYOY

*

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