Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Open Book Blog Hop + Tackle It Tuesday: Pacing


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

This week's question:
Do you have any tips on controlling pacing in your stories? How do you manage it? 

To be honest, this is not something I have given much thought to and, therefore, I have no tips to offer. Nor can I tell you how I manage it. It pretty much manages itself. 

While some of my stories are action-intensive, I don't tend to write "fast-paced" stories. During the editing process, I look to remove extraneous details and repetition. I may move certain parts of the story around to make it more effective.

In managing my own life, I have never been good at pacing myself. I am not good about taking breaks. I can become hyperfocused. If I didn't have to eat I probably wouldn't, because it interrupts my writing process. Overall, I'd say my stories are better at self-regulating than I am.

~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~

Ornery Owl
Free Use Image from Open Clipart Vectors

Hangry Wyrm
Free use image from Pixabay
"Damn it, Ornery, I'm hungry! Stop speaking and let's eat!"

Monday, August 8, 2022

Open Book Blog Hop + About Me Monday: Disappointment


Teenage me was nowhere near as pretty as the girl in the photograph, but she believed her life would be perfect if she could become pretty. 

I am not a pretty girl, it isn't what I do.

You may be wondering why I would post a picture resembling my teenage self's ideal appearance. 

Well, today's question for the Open Book Blog Hop is...

Do you think the child you were would be impressed by the person you've become?

Buckle up, Bitches, coz it's about to get real and it's about to get real salty. If you have a problem with profanity or with a frank discussion of topics such as depression and low self-esteem, the back arrow is your friend. I don't take kindly to people telling me how I should feel, what I should think, or whether I should pepper my speech with expletives. 

I tackle some difficult subject matter in this post, including:
Discussion of sexual assault
Diet culture
Eating disorders
Internalized fatphobia

If you think any of these points will be triggering for you, please approach with caution or avoid it. Whatever you deem best for your own mental health.

The child I was is disappointed in what I became, but she doesn't have much to say about it.

The teenager I was despises what I became.

So, what about me does my angry inner teen dislike so much about the woman I am?

I am broke and I am broken.

I became old without ever becoming fabulous first.

I have multiple health problems. These include endocrine problems. Thanks to a completely fucked endocrine system and decades of food insecurity both because of insufficient income to purchase adequate sustenance and because of being brainwashed into trying to hate myself thin, I was often in starvation mode. As Caroline Dooner says in The Fuck It Diet, your body doesn't know if you're in the middle of a famine or if you're trying to fit into a ridiculously small bikini. It reacts the same way.

The Fuck It Diet is the only diet anyone needs. I recommend it in conjunction with Health At Every Size. 

Yes, I digress, but I will never pass up an opportunity to help people escape the prison of diet culture for good.

My inner teen doesn't get that chronic dieting destroys the body's ability to lose weight, particularly if said body also has endocrine problems. She is outraged by my "allowing myself to get so fat." 

Yes, I use the word fat. It is a neutral description of a large physique with a high percentage of adipose tissue. I am an old, fat, disabled woman who lives in poverty. There is nothing wrong with any of this except for the poverty part. Nobody should live in poverty. A society that allows anyone to do so has failed. Because the little town where I live has a monthly food bank, my son and I have adequate provisions.

My son is not able to work a normal job either. He is high-functioning autistic and his sleep schedule is very irregular. He speculates that he may have a 25-hour circadian rhythm. He also has issues with depression and anxiety. He is not on disability because one of us needs to be able to amass savings in case of an emergency. People on disability are not allowed more than $2000 in savings. Considering that replacing a water heater, for instance, costs more than $2000, this is pretty fucked up.

Back to my inner teen. Considering that she hoped to become a beloved actress, a famous musician, a renowned writer married to a famous actor, musician, or fellow writer, or some combination of all of the above, I can understand why she is horrified at being stuck back in the early 1980s looking at me and knowing that I am what she will become.

I can understand why my inner teen despises me. I used to despise her too. I thought she was a horrible, spoiled brat who ruined my life. 

I no longer hate the troubled girl I used to be. In the past five years, I've started to understand why my life turned out the way it did. I craved acceptance but never found it. An older boy sexually assaulted me when I was fifteen, but I believed it was not a "true" sexual assault because there was no PIV penetration. It took me 40 years to realize that unwanted digital penetration is sexual assault and to understand why I started acting out following this incident.

My inner child and inner teen are still integral to my creativity. Even though I am more psychologically fractured than someone who was accepted by their peers and had a normal and non-traumatic childhood, I have managed to become someone worthy of my own respect although I may never find it possible to like myself.

 When I hear people saying you have to "love" yourself, that is such a strange concept to me and I think, no, I do not have to "love" myself. Attempting to do so feels forced and artificial. I need to respect myself and have compassion for myself, including all the fractured, wounded, broken bits. I need to realize that although I am not what anyone else would consider even remotely physically attractive, I am still worthy of being treated with common decency and respect and I will accept nothing less.

This is one of my favorite reasonably current pictures of myself despite the bloated "endocrine face." My Crowley doll makes my inner child happy. My inner teen wishes we had more time for writing fan fiction. Adult me realizes that I am a taskmaster when it comes to myself and I don't know if that will ever change.

I was still able to use Henna when this picture was taken and enjoyed changing the color of my hair every couple of months. Unfortunately, I developed an allergy to the Henna and my scalp became full of scabs and scales. It was itchy and unpleasant, so I gave up and went back to my natural gray. I'm not ashamed of my gray hair at all, I just had fun changing the color. My gray hair is very resistant to most dyes so regular hair dye won't work. I can't be arsed to color my hair at this point anyway.

Yeah, so that probably wasn't a pleasant read, but I'm not sorry. It's as real as it gets, and...

~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~

Free use image from Open Clipart Vectors

It would be a straight-up crime not to share the absolutely tan-fastic deep progressive house mix accompanying my writing on this fine day. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Insecure Writers Support Group 3 August 2022


Image by Shaun from Pixabay

When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?

Before I start letting my mind Post Toastee, I'm coming at you with a warning. I have a tendency to cuss. A lot. If you're sensitive to salt and salty language, the back arrow is your friend.

When I set out to write a story, I don't try to do a damn thing except write the story. I don't try to be original, I am a goddamn original. They broke the mold when they made me. It was a really fucked-up mold, and I often wish it had been broken before they made me. Being an "original" is not always sunshine and roses. Most people despise those who are different. 

I'm not trying to be a shitty-ass thief and claim this picture belongs to me. I'm not sure who the photographer is. If I find out, I'm happy to give credit where credit is due. 

This past month has been a struggle for me. I went off the rails quite a bit. It was nothing anyone would notice. It was all in my own head. One of the few friends I had ghosted me. I don't get over being slagged off easily because I don't have many connections in the world. This is why I'm reluctant to get close to people.

One thing I've been doing because it's been hard for me to work on my own stuff is reading biographies. This is one of the few ways I can connect to people. Sometimes I find out I have something in common with someone I admire. I usually realize that they probably wouldn't like me because I'm a hard pill to swallow, but it helps me feel a little less alone.

Joey Ramone's brother wrote a book about their relationship. He gave the book the cheeky title I Slept with Joey Ramone. Three thumbs up to Mickey and his editor! 

You can check the book out here if you're so inclined. If you buy it through this link, I'll make a teeny tiny commission from Amazon.

So, anyway, I sure as hell don't set out to please the public or give the people what they want. I can't write according to a formula. I couldn't even if I wanted to. I've tried. ADHD always insures that I'm not gonna get away with that shit. Oh, look, a squirrel! And it has a subplot in its adorable little claws! Me likey!

As for trying to be an original, if you're trying, you're not an original. Some of us don't have any choice except to be who we are, even if who we are is totally fucked up. 

I'm in good company, but it doesn't make it any less painful. I wouldn't wish a lifetime of my experiences on anybody. I do wish the people who pushed me to hate myself would have to experience what it's like to be me for a week. 

People think Joey Ramone is cool now, but they didn't treat him cool back in the day. He had some serious psychological problems. As his brother noted:

Jeff Starship would walk out of Birchwood Towers from the third-floor exit, where you had to pass through a children’s playground to get to the street. The kids would climb off the seesaws and monkey bars to view Jeff in his jumpsuit and platform boots, the likes of which they’d never witnessed before (good thing Edna didn’t have the gold lamé). The kids peppered Jeff with the kind of remarks you’d expect little kids to make. Their mothers, who were as spoiled as the kids, did nothing to curb them and made no attempt to teach them that it wasn’t polite to point at and jeer at someone who was a little different. Jeff suppressed his anger at the little brats but later used it as inspiration for a song.

Leigh, Mickey. I Slept with Joey Ramone: A Family Memoir (p. 97). Touchstone. Kindle Edition. 

I like the picture I selected of Joey Ramone because it doesn't show him in performer mode. It shows the vulnerable young man who never fit in regardless of how popular his stage persona may have become. Jeff Hyman had a lot of challenges and not always a lot of support. I'd like to think we could have been friends if we'd met, but maybe we were both too fucked up. 

One thing I think he would have told me is "keep going, Friend, and write it how you want it. Fuck what anyone else wants. You have to write it for you."

I think it's so, and I'm trying to get back to that again. 

I've really kind of had enough of this year. I keep trying to see the good. Sometimes the only place I can find the good is reaching from the shadows of the past. Not my past, mind. My past is what brought me to this point. I'm trying to work through it.

To sum things up, when I write, I'm not trying to be anything or to please anyone but me. I'm just telling a story.

Image by Taken from Pixabay

There's a phrase that people love to apply to folks like me. That phrase is "damaged goods."

People may apply this phrase to someone who was sexually molested as if we are somehow now tainted and impure because of an act committed on us by a predator.

People also like to apply this phrase to those who have psychological problems, as if only one kind of person should be allowed a chance at a good life.

People like me struggle, but our struggles would be less damaging if we knew we could trust someone not to belittle us and tell us to "just stop feeling like that." 

I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid. 

If it was that easy, I'd already have done it.

Delivering the word Ornery style
Whether anyone wants it or not
Free use image from Open Clipart Vectors

Some people have less star appeal than others, but sometimes they shine far brighter than those with more. --Mickey Leigh

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Blow Your Stack Saturday/Snippet Sunday/Weekend Writing Warriors 30 July 2022


The following is ten sentences from my stupid garbage daily diary. I keep kicking around the idea of gathering these thoughts into some kind of memoir/self-help book thing. 

I always wind up thinking "how the hell could I help anybody when I'm such a damn mess?" However, the people I've felt most "helped" by in this world are other messes, not the Shining Stars farting rainbows as they leap across the heavens. 

So, this may be part of a WIP or it may just be filler as I try to pull myself back together and start trying to promote my stories again.


On July 5, I received a few books that I ordered from Thriftbooks.

You, the reader, need to check out Thriftbooks.


One of the books was The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

I wrote my name in my new book the way I did when I was a little kid.

“This book is the property of Ornery Owl, July 2022.”

Okay, I didn’t write the Ornery Owl name when I was a little kid because I didn’t think of that one until 2019. But The Artist’s Way is the property of Ornery Owl, because that is the persona that will heal the rest of me.

One of the first things Julia talked about is writing three journal pages every day. These are supposed to be handwritten. I don’t know if that’s going to happen.  


(Spoiler: it's been happening all month. I'm actually kind of surprised.)

I've really been struggling this year, so thank you for indulging me with this snippet from something that may or may not ever be published depending on how evil I'm feeling. If I'm feeling especially evil, I will probably unleash it on the world.)

Ornery Owl
Free use image from Open Clipart Vectors

Friday, July 29, 2022

Friday Book Hop 29 July 2022

Genre: Music, Memoir, Nonfiction

Buy Link: 

I will earn a small commission from Amazon for any books purchased via this link.

Hey-ho, let's go!

It was one of those crystal-clear evenings in the late winter of 1969. My mother, my brother, and I had recently moved into a new high-rise apartment building in Forest Hills, Queens, with a spectacular view of Manhattan.

Leigh, Mickey. I Slept with Joey Ramone: A Family Memoir . Touchstone. Kindle Edition. 

The first time I came to see Marky in the Ramones, he was mainly concerned with how he looked in his new jeans.

Leigh, Mickey. I Slept with Joey Ramone: A Family Memoir (p. 221). Touchstone. Kindle Edition. 

Book Blogger Hop Question:
22nd - 28th - Is there a hard-to-find first-edition that you would love to own? If so, why? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)

Anything by my favorite authors of the macabre. Imagine having an original, first edition Arkham House collection of Lovecraft's work. I can almost smell the insanity! Or maybe I forgot something in the oven.

Until next time, keep it Cthulhu. Sanity is overrated and I wanna be sedated.

Image by Galletita Arts from Pixabay


Friday, July 15, 2022

Friday Book Hop 15 July 2022


Buy link:


I will earn a small commission from Amazon for any books purchased via this link.

“The study of psychological trauma has an ‘underground’ history. Like traumatized people, we have been cut off from the knowledge of our past. Like traumatized people, we need to understand the past in order to reclaim the present and future. Therefore, an understanding of psychological trauma begins with rediscovering history.”1

The author chose this quote from Judith Lewis Herman to begin her book. Considering the subject matter, it works perfectly.

1 Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2015), 2.

“Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Laura selected this quote to begin Chapter 17. I would argue that there is also strength in knowing when to back off, to re-evaluate, to rest. I was one of those people who went to work deathly ill on more than one occasion. I always ignored health problems until they became critical. At nearly 60 years old, I am now learning to do certain things I should have been doing all along for my well-being.

Book Blogger Hop question:
15th - 21st - Do you listen to audiobooks? If so, do you prefer listening instead of reading? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)

I both listen and read. My audiobooks are essential for long drives when I'm alone. I live in the middle of nowhere and the nearest cities average 55-60 miles away. When I'm at home, I generally read e-books. If I listen without focusing on another activity, such as driving, I'll fall asleep. Not because I'm bored, mind, but because I start to relax. 

Until next time!

Free use image from Open Clipart Vectors

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Make it Happen Thursday: Organizized

I doubt I will ever be fully organizized, but I keep trying. Here is this month's schedule:

Writing Schedule for July 2022

Sunday Selections (Photography)/Poetry Sunday

(Finish and send off entries for Lincoln Poetry Contest)

Mental Health Monday (Encouragement Project)

Tasty Tuesday (Cooking with Ornery Owl), Watkins promotion

WIP Wednesday (Naughty Netherworld Press stories)

Work on editing/formatting The Wizard's Key

Make It Happen Thursday/Blog Hop Thursday/Wordy Thursday (Weekly roundup, editing, reviews)

Make blog posts for the month.

Seek My Fortune Friday (Work on stories for publication elsewhere)/Fanfiction Friday

For July: The First Line autumn entry (Lily)

The First Line Nonfiction: Write a 500 – 800 word essay about the first line from a favorite literary work.

Blog hops: First Line Friday/Friday 56

Not sure I'm going to bother with the fiction entry for The First Line. They've rejected both of my previous fiction submissions. I'm getting this hunch that I'm not their cup of tea.

Sexy Saturday (Erotica stories)/Shameless Self-Promo Saturday

For July: Naughty November story for Cobblestone Press

Do Triberr tweet queue

Specific Events

Release the Beast July 15

Send out the newsletter.

And now, it's question time.

What would I really like to be working on?

All Tales from the Dreamlands/Cthulhu Mythos/Fetchiverse all the time.

But, guess what.

That’s not commercially viable.

I really want to go out and kill everyone who has it all together and put their heads on posts in front of my house to warn all those other well-organized and successful jerkfaces to beware.

Before anyone thinks they have to call the police or animal control to restrain an ax-murdering round owl, slow your roll. I am being hyperbolic. I’m not actually a murderous psychopath, plus I'm too lazy to bother hunting people down and killing them. I’m just aggravated because it seems that all I ever do is struggle while some people have wonderful things throwing themselves at their feet.

Ah well, on we go. 

~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~

Free use image from Open Clipart Vectors