Blog Hop 2013

There is a thing that is going around. It is called a blog hop. I happened to catch it from Jason over at Love Letters and Suicide Notes, one of my favorite cyber-writers. He in turn caught it from our mutual friend mark Stratton, poet extraordinaire.  It’s like the good kind of cybernetic STD, the one you want to pass on to others around you!

The rules are simple:
You get tagged. I was tagged here.

You then receive a cryptic email containing 5 questions.

You Answer those 5 Questions on your Blog.

You tag 3 other writers and force them to do the same through a series of difficult internet shamings.


Marshall Edwards (MarshallEdwards.Net)

I chose Marshall because he is my friend and fellow writer. More importantly, he is also from Kansas City. We Midwesterners have to stick together. He’s crazy talented and a genuinely great guy. If you’re not already reading his stuff, well, you’re missing out.

Marshall is probably the busiest creative type in our small group of Kansas City creative types. He’s polishing a novel, making music with a band, writing a comic book and being a full-time husband all at the same time.

It has been pointed out that I might have a bit of a Man-Crush on him.

Christopher Brown (Yeti_Detective)

Chris has been my best friend for something like 13 years now. The link above will take you to his Tumblr page. Chris is one of those special tumblogers, and he writes about social issues mostly because he’s clinically insane and can’t understand the human condition. He tries to keep his Tumblog mostly Safe-For-Work since he discovered he has an unusually high number of teenager followers, but I can’t guarantee anything. WARNING: He can be pretty offensive. Don’t blame me if he offends you. Blame him. He can be a jerk.

You can also follow him on Twitter and see just how far into the abyss this dude has actually stared.

Tracy Ann Mangold (InkyTwig)

When I first got into the blogging game, Tracy was one of the first bloggers to encourage me to keep going. She is also one of the people who has continued to do so for the last couple of years. Tracy is brilliant, kind, and wonderful.

Her blog is mostly about her life in the frozen arctic wastes of Wisconsin. She loves pumpkins and skunks. She writes poetry.

She also plays World of Warcraft, and that should give you an idea of how cool she is.

Of all the people I’ve met online since I started blogging, Tracy is the one I listen to the most, and that is saying something, because I have met a buttload[1. Buttload is a real thing!] of cool people.

Make sure to follow her on twitter, too! She rules.


1. Tell me about your writing process. Do you plan out what you’re writing
or sit down and do it? What was the greatest surprise about
this writing process for you?


It is a constant struggle for me to get started. I spend a lot of time planning out what I am going to write, obsessing over every detail without actually writing anything, and then at the last-minute wing it anyway.

I think a lot of my creative process was honed in the fields of battle. Seriously, I spent years being the Story Marshall (Game Master) for Eldaraenth LARP, and learned to quickly adapt and write by the seat of my pants. Most of my real prose work and creative writing were focused to that end also. I think it has had a pretty huge impact on how I go writing. It makes it hard for me to stick to a  structured outline.

Writing for the blog here always goes one of two ways:

If I am all hopped up on emotional goofballs, I smash through the words like a wrecking ball, plastering out a post with very little work on my part. Sometimes this is good, sometimes it’s not.

If I’m feeling the onset of anxiety and apathy that I get on occasion, I have to really work to get the job done. I usually spend a lot more time procrastinating and goofing off. In the end I tend to rewrite those posts a lot more often and I think they come out better because of that.

Ultimately, I think my writing is mechanically better when it is more structured and researched, but I think it is evocatively better when I am writing on a manic high. The challenge I am learning to deal with and face is the mixing of the two together. Always be growing, right?

2. What was your worst job ever? (doesn’t have to be about writing) and
why? What did you learn from it?

All jobs suck. That’s why I left mine. Gun to head, though, I’d have to go with the few days I spent in the hottest part of summer 2006 working in house deconstruction. I spent two and a half days shoveling the debris leftover when someone’s life burned away. Pictures, broken drywall, insulation. That sort of thing. It was gross, hot,  and itchy. I struggled through the best I could, but I wasn’t sad when they told me they didn’t need me anymore.

A close second would be the few weeks I spent as a door-to-door salesman.

I suffer pretty heavily from social anxiety, so interacting with people like that wasn’t easy. My feet bled pretty bad from walking in dress shoes several hours a day, and we were away from home from seven in the morning to nine at night or later. I didn’t make any money the entire time I was doing it. I sucked at it. I’ve always sucked at sales, and yet, I find myself in that job a lot.

I wonder what that says about me.

3. If you knew tonight was your last meal for a week, what would you eat?

Fried chicken and pizza rolls.

I don’t see any reason to change from my favorite foods just because I’m going on a fast, or worse, starving in the wilderness.

I can’t think of a scenario where this might happen that doesn’t involve me either being in some sort of medical trial or being destitute. The Apocalypse also comes to mind. In two of those three scenarios my meal would be whatever I could get my hands on. I’m not proud or picky.

4. How do you feel about frogs?

I want to be masculine and say something like, “Giggin’ frogs is what I do best,” but the truth is all amphibians squick me a bit.


Slimy little bastards.

I guess I don’t really think about frogs that much. I do know the difference between a frog and a toad, though. That’s something Missouri kids learn at a young age. We used to catch toads for fun.

When I was in second grade, I attended school in Norborne, Missouri for a few months while we moved from Des Moines back to Kansas City. One day for Show-and-Tell, a kid brought his terrarium full  of frogs he had caught himself. One frog was super huge and crazy. It cannibalized the other frogs. It actually attacked and ate one while we were all looking at the terrarium.

I think that story should give you a pretty good idea about my frog-based emotions.

5. Where’s your favorite place to chill out, and why?

In Pleasant Hope, Missouri, a friend of mine owns a giant farm plot of land. It is where we do most of our Eldaraenth events, and it has basically become synonymous with heaven for me. It is absolutely my favorite place in the world. I’m sure it has as much to do with the people who I see there as the place itself, but for my subconscious they have become irreversibly linked.

I have never experienced the kind of simple, peaceful joy that I get from sitting around a campfire out there anywhere else in the world. It is simply the best place in my mind.

I think it stays that way because it is the special treat of only getting out there a handful of times a year. Still, I have never been able to feel depressed when I’m there. It is just this rejuvenating place of wonder for me.



I’m sure my taggees will be posting soon, so make sure you keep an eye out for their responses. Also, make sure you swing back over to Jason and Mark’s pages and read their answers. Or, even better, read their entire archives. You’ll feel better for it, really, you will.

Also don’t forget that in a couple of days the Scintilla Project is set to begin for 2013. If you’ve got stories bubbling inside of you, swing over there and sign up. It is a great community that really brings the best out of the people involved.