To be fair, I’m not particularly friendly. I don’t bring homemade cookies over when someone new moves to the street. In fact, the only time I ever see my neighbors is if I get the wild notion to leave my house, which usually only happens when I am leaving to go to work. I see all sorts of fruitcakes at that time of morning. There is one lone jogger who apparently enjoys freezing his butt off in teeny short-shorts that are really inappropriate for his age in the early morning hours, and I always pass him on the way to the commuter lot. I used to wave to him, but he never waved back, so now I flip him off when I pass him. Sometimes I swerve towards him like I’m going to hit him, too – it’s a fun little game I like to play with him.
Someone egged the front door of our house once, and I’m pretty sure it was him. Cranky jerk.
There’s a woman who lives in the boarding house across the street who likes to let her dog wander around the neighborhood. I’ve met her twice, both times when I screamed at her dog for squatting in our yard and pooping. She hasn’t spoken to me since I scooped up the dog poo with a shovel and flung it at her. The plus side is she doesn’t let her dog come over any more, either, though that might be because of the air rifle we bought to discourage Fido from coming over to play. Hard to say if it was the flying dookie or the gun that really turned her off from being our friend.
There was one girl down the street that used to stop by occasionally, but she showed up unexpectedly one evening just to say ‘hi’. It happened to be the day that my divorce from my first husband was finalized, and let’s just say I was celebrating. A lot. I might even have been slurring my words. I’m pretty sure I winked at her husband. She’s never come by since. I’m not too sad about that, though, because really, I hate it when people drop by unannounced. Makes it awkward if I want to walk around the house wearing my Hannibal Lecter mask.
So suffice to say we are the last ones on the block invited to participate in the neighborhood tag sale or block party. This Halloween, I decided to make amends. I carefully painted lifelike dummies of all of my neighbors, and laid them around the yard. Then I put out a bunch of animated zombies and made it look like they were eating the disemboweled innards of everyone who lives on our street. If my neighbors don’t appreciate the gesture, well, then there’s just no pleasing them!
The cover art for Daily Bites of Flesh has been released! (I have two stories in this anthology.) Pretty sweet, right?
I am constantly being bombarded with fan mail and questions from my loyal readers. I thought I'd take the time today to answer some of the questions that have been posed.
Where do you get your ideas?
Some stuff comes from real life experiences - I think everyone’s childhood is filled with pleasant memories of the shambling undead and zombie infestations. My short story “Down the Pike”, however, about a woman who is desperately unhappy and plans to murder her morbidly obese husband and his little dog, too, is pure fantasy. It’s purely just coincidence that my morbidly obese ex-husband has a Chihuahua.
What does your family think about what you write?
My mother is wondering when I am going to give up the horror stuff and get cracking on my career as the next Erma Bombeck. My sister is happy that I’m writing at all. My Aunt Joanne, who has a similar sense of humor to my own, finds my stories of mulching with baby mice hilarious. And I suspect my in-laws might not be aware of my budding horror writing career at all.
I think you still owe me $20 from college.
Who is this? Heather?
Remember? When we hung out on Lance’s balcony and we were all going to chip in for beer? You never chipped in.
Debbie? Is that you?
How much does writing pay, anyway?
Not a lot. Unless you’re Stephen King, you may want to keep your day job.
No, I mean, does it pay you enough to pay me back for the beer? With interest?
Nope. I can offer you a free copy of “Rapid Decomposition” when it comes out. Maybe. I have to check with the editor – let me get back to you on that.
Besides killing off your ex, have any of your other acquaintances shown up in your stories?
Sure! The main character in “Good Night, Francine” is based on the sweet little old lady that lived across the street from me growing up. Max Elliot, Exterminator, is a hybrid of actor Sam Elliot and my father. And one of the dispatchers where I work shows up in my short story “In Sickness” as the unfortunate victim of one of the newlyundead. I do try to keep my libel lawsuits to a minimum, though.
Does your family know you’re a deadbeat?
Let’s look at this rationally. It was over 15 years ago. Clearly there was alcohol involved. Of course I didn’t remember to chip in for beer. I probably didn’t remember my name by the end of that party. Let it go!
Why do you mention cat barf so much?
Writers write about what they know. I have two cats, Wednesday and Pugsley, and they both have veeeerry sensitive stomachs. Unfortunately, cat vomit happens every day in my life.
I hope that this has answered all of your questions about my fabulous life as an author. I do not have the answers to what the secret of happiness is, and I do not know which one's Pink. I didn't try to seduce Joe Hill when I met him because I am happily married (really, Mom, what a question!) Any further questions or debt settlement requests should be directed to Attorney Tom Kane, New London Tpke, Glastonbury, CT.
And for the record, that really was a great party on the balcony!