Category Archives: Night of the Squirrels

“This thing doesn’t want to show itself, it wants to hide inside an imitation.”

63. NOS4A2 – Joe Hill

Victoria McQueen felt very familiar to me, and not just because we’re both good at finding things. When I originally read the description for NOS4A2 before the book came out, all I could think about was Regan, the main heroine of my Squirrelpocalypse trilogy . I know that Joe Hill and I aren’t working on the same level, but we are working within the same territory. We’re a little bit like the two camps in The Thing. I’m the Norwegian one, for a variety of fun reasons. And it’s little comparisons such as that one that give me the indications that Hill and I are neighbors. Allusions are part of the fabric of our writing. The Thing is, heh, if you know what one of us is alluding to, you’ll either love the whole story more or start to resent it.

I recognized many things in NOS4A2 just as I have in other Hill works. The one that most significantly sparked for me was the bridge. I knew I’d seen it before. The vision that Vic crossing it put in my head was straight out of something that, at the time I read this, I hadn’t seen in a very long time – In the Mouth of Madness. It’s that bridge. Those lights between the boards. That rickety slapping. NOS4A2 is a masterwork of allusion and it’s also just an amazing damn original story- always what I’m aiming for as well. Christmasland reminded me a little too easily of his father’s work, which is neither here nor there, as it mostly made me worried the ending wouldn’t be satisfactory.

Merricat would’ve burned down both camps. She was a finisher and fierce little pig.

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Filed under Books, Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels, Review, Writing

The album is called Reign in Blood, the song is “Raining Blood.” You’re welcome.

33. Darkest Heart – Nancy A. Collins

It’s recently come to my attention that I still know every single sound in the movie Interview with the Vampire by heart. It was on HBO the other night, presumably in anticipation of that Vampire Chronicles TV series I’ve heard minimal amounts of things about and so I watched it for the first time in ages with Finny, and Peregrine, when Finny got tired of me telling him when a noise I didn’t like was about to come on – like when Louis first dies and when that one prostitute is making that snapping noise at Lestat, and there’s more…there’s always more. I believe the main reason I know it by heart is that I used to listen to it when it was on Pay per View and I couldn’t see it (scrambled), but the sound was perfect. Apparently that’s not what other people were “watching” on scrambled Pay per View but that’s fine.

Anyway, vampires have been of interest to me for a long time, and my mom found Darkest Heart at a library sale and got it for me. It turns out it’s the last in the Sonja Blue series, and I read it first. It did make a little bit of a difference. I wasn’t entirely invested in the character as a vampire who also happened to be a “badass vampire hunter,” perhaps I’ve been tainted by Blade. But I did see a certain familiar conflict between vampiricism and humanity (“Oh, Louis, Louis, still WHINING, Louis!” – best part of the whole movie, unexpectedly) and the plot and action were fast paced (Sonja is not as mopey as Louis, even though I’ve always loved Louis, [named one of my own characters after him – a broody, angry poet werewolf] Sonja is like the Slayer to Louis’ Neutral Milk Hotel) and made it clear that there’s a toothsome quality to the series. I’ve since read more Sonja Blue books and enjoyed them, but I haven’t stumbled across the first one just yet.

"Yes, please, tell me more about all those noises I don't even understand in this movie." - Peregrine

“Yes, please, tell me more about all those noises I don’t even understand in this movie.” – Peregrine

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Filed under Books, Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels, Review, Writing

“I’m not even supposed to be here today.”

73. Horrorstor – Grady Hendrix

Several people saw this book and thought of me. It’s droll, involves the supernatural, and has an amusing title. I also thought of me from both my existence as a writer of that sort of thing and a reader of it when I read a review and then by happy coincidence I found it in the stacks while looking for a different book that was misplaced sometime in the last two years – I hate it when things are misshelved and have no history of being checked out; it just makes me think the first person to shelve it did it wrong and set off a horrible chain of events.

Anyway, I read it in an evening and I did enjoy it quite a bit. I returned it to the library and was told about how I might like this “book with the weird name” by someone, and then later it was given to me for Christmas. I wanted a copy, so I was happy about that, but my aunt was not as pleased that I’d already heard of it and read it. Sometimes things attract me for reasons I cannot explain. The right kind of horror comedy will find me. Preferably. I’d rather the right kind found me early on in its existence, but I have no control over discoverability …as much as I try to be both discoverable and discover things.

Not surprisingly based on the title, it’s a take off on Ikea and the drudgery of working at a giant store. The book is set up in a catalogue format, with a particular product advertisement at the beginning of each chapter. The descent into madness with those products is one of my favorite things about the book – the design of this book is absolutely excellent. It’s quirky as hell, which, being published by Quirk books, makes sense. I have also always been pretty fond of reluctant anti-hero types forced into ridiculous circumstances, as both a writer and a reader (one might say a squirrelpocalypse qualifies as a ridiculous circumstance, they’d be right) and Hendrix does a good job of pushing the reluctant heroine in a believable way. There are a lot of familiar things in Horrorstor, the co-workers, the policy issues, the dead wanting to make their way back into our world, the convenient storage solutions, and I was very amused by how everything came together.

If you need to improve your Kleenex storage options or if you have ever had a guinea pig as inclined to take out Kleenex boxes as Miss Pickles...perhaps there is some sort of haunted store near you.

If you need to improve your Kleenex storage options or if you have ever had a guinea pig as inclined to take out Kleenex boxes as Miss Pickles…perhaps there is some sort of haunted store near you.

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Filed under Books, Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels, Review, Writing

It’s no Guinea Pigs and Books, the flamethrower, but I think it’s close enough for now.

So, I have artwork available for sale now, via my Redbubble profile. I am also currently selling my work at Wizard World Chicago , but, what I’m selling in Chicago I literally painted or printed with my own human hands (except the postcards and posters, I had those made) and there’s only one shirt. It glows in the dark. Redbubble has no tea towels, but it does have several other items I find highly amusing:

This is the throw pillow I've always wanted. Although I would never station it on one lonely chair like this.

This is the throw pillow I’ve always wanted of my little Merricat. Although I would never station it on one lonely chair like this.

 

Not to be outdone in any fashion, Peregrine is also on a throw pillow on a lonely, unfortunately padded chair.

Not to be outdone in any fashion, Peregrine is also on a throw pillow on a lonely, unfortunately padded chair.

Metal prints! This painting went to a good home with the other two Danger Crumples takes over for Christopher Pike paintings, so, the most brutal type of print is maybe the easiest way to get your own. Unless you want it on a throw pillow, or a shirt, or a mug, lots of things really.

Metal print! This painting went to a good home with the other two Danger Crumples takes over for Christopher Pike paintings, so, the most brutal type of print is maybe the easiest way to get your own. Unless you want it on a throw pillow, or a shirt, or a mug, lots of things really.

Stationary too! Pammy, on her mammoth, potentially on your greeting cards.

Stationery too! Pammy, on her mammoth, potentially on your greeting cards.

Okay, back to Merricat. The only piece of apparel I print on when I'm hand silkscreening is the baseball tee. Baseball tees are available on Redbubble, but not in the most obvious way. One must click literally any of the tees first.

Okay, back to Merricat. The only piece of apparel I print on when I’m hand silkscreening is the baseball shirt. Baseball shirts are available on Redbubble, but not in the most obvious way. One must click literally any of the t-shirts first.

Then, use the pull down menu to select the baseball tee. I have officially sanctioned the colors I'll allow for all the shirts, so, if you must have a tee other than a baseball shirt with any of my images on it, fine, but no orange. It doesn't go.

Then, use the pull down menu to select the “Baseball 3/4 Sleeve.” I have officially sanctioned the colors I’ll allow for all the shirts, so, if you must have a t-shirt other than a baseball shirt with any of my images on it, fine, but no orange. It doesn’t go.

This is the gold version of the Danger Crumples with a flashlight image, the one that got me back into printmaking. It would be adorable on a duvet cover.

This is the gold version of the Danger Crumples with a flashlight image, the one that got me back into printmaking. It would be adorable on a duvet cover.

Sometimes, when you move your images around for optimum placement, you end up designing a phone skin with a captive Ozma on it.

Sometimes, when you move your images around for optimum placement, you end up designing a phone case with a captive Ozma on it.

Horace can use an old school computer on your much newer, less possessed computer.

Horace can use an old school computer on your much newer, less possessed computer.

The official Pigs in a Graveyard hardcover journal.

The official Pigs in a Graveyard hardcover journal.

Many of my images are available on scarves, which is pretty damn cool. And then there's the miniskirt. Yes, you can have zombie leper pirates and their undead guinea pig captain Danger Crumples on a miniskirt. Also available as a miniskirt, antichrist Finny.

Many of my images are available on scarves, which is pretty damn cool. And then there’s the miniskirt. Yes, you can have zombie leper pirates and their undead guinea pig captain Danger Crumples on a miniskirt. Also available as a miniskirt, antichrist Finny.

Lastly, I have also painstakingly made "Artist Notes" for each image I uploaded, read them at your own peril, but remember to click back to the products afterwards, lest the point get confusing.

Lastly, I have also painstakingly made “Artist Notes” for each image I uploaded, read them at your own peril, but remember to click back to the products afterwards, lest the point get confusing.

More pillows (and some other random people’s stuff thrown in, sorry random people, you’re getting overtaken by my herd:

Whee!

Whee! Also, there’s that golden Danger Crumples duvet cover in the second row, next to Pammy on a Mammoth. I don’t think it’s too hard to tell which of these are my work and which two are not.

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Filed under art, Books, Night of the Squirrels

I’ve finished 47 paintings, 8 silkscreens, put out 1 e-book, and carved out my own little corner of an online store so far this year. Last year I did a little less. A little.

Seventeen of the eighteen "blind paintings" I finished. All of these will be available for an adorably low price at Wizard World Chicago, but they will also be wrapped up so no one knows which painting they're getting. Drawing and painting eight animal and bird skulls in one weekend is not something I advise anyone to do, regardless of how much they used to like painting skulls.

Seventeen of the eighteen “blind paintings” I finished. All of these will be available for an adorably low price at Wizard World Chicago, but they will also be wrapped up so no one knows which painting they’re getting. Drawing and painting eight animal and bird skulls in one weekend is not something I advise anyone to do, regardless of how much they used to like painting skulls.

 

All the printing for Chicago! I do think my Army of Dangers tea towel is my favorite of the five images I've printed on tea towels this year.

All the printing for Chicago! I do think my Army of Dangers tea towel is my favorite of the five images I’ve printed on tea towels this year.

 

Postcard swag.

Postcard swag. After the reception my images received at Wizard World Madison, I wanted to make it more possible to take home my aesthetic and I’m pretty fond of postcards.

Some of the images on these are no longer available in any handmade format… all three Danger Crumples takes over for Christopher Pike paintings went to a good home. And the one of Danger with the white starburst behind him was solely a commission. But! Fear not, anyone who picked up my cute little Merricat with the Zebras record, turned it over looking for a price, and then had to ask me only to recoil in slight shock (I like that one too), I had both postcards made AND posters. The poster is bigger than the painting, but still looks sassy thanks to my friend Rebecca’s skills.  Enjoy McWikken, Army of Dangers, Danger Dixon (not pictured, previously posted), and both Danger Who paintings (“) are also now available in full color posters – I didn’t get very many made, and of course, they are only purchasable in person from my booth at Wizard World Chicago August 18-19-20-21.

AND, to keep going yet longer, I also made several of my images available to be purchased on a variety of things via Redbubble . A link to my profile page is at the bottom of my blog, also on my About page, and I’ll have a more thorough post coming about my store in a few days so I can showcase all the products I think are particularly amusing. Here is a teaser photo –

The real reason I chose to put stuff up for sale besides being asked quite few times if I sold online (I sell handmade things in person, non-handmade online), I can now get Merricat on a throw pillow. And Horace. And Pere. And I can get a guinea pig skull duvet cover. It's ridiculous.

The real reason I chose to put stuff up for sale on Redbubble besides being asked quite a few times if I sold online (I sell handmade things in person, non-handmade online), I can now get Merricat on a throw pillow. And Horace. And Pere. All the throw pillows! And I can get a guinea pig skull duvet cover, or Finny as the antichrist on a duvet cover, or the golden Danger Crumples (not pictured). It’s ridiculous. I could have the weirdest couch decor ever. So could you, gentle reader. So could you.

 

47 Paintings, 8 Silkscreens, 1 Link – Wizard World Chicago profile

For those who cannot come to Chicago and wish to work on the amount of guinea pigs visually available in their home – my Redbubble profile

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Filed under Books, Night of the Squirrels, Uncategorized

“I thought you’d be bigger.”

48. The Grounding of Group Six – Julian F. Thompson

For me, this book has a bit of a reputation. I knew I had to read it, but I was also dreading it a little bit, because when you decide that you’re going to write this one kind of story and then you hear about a YA book from the 1980s that has a similar plot and you’re totally immersed in pop culture and read a ton of 1980s YA but you hadn’t come across this yet…it causes a rumble of anxiety. So imagine my surprise when I started reading it and got a smidge bored. Surprise.

To me, Thompson copped out, in a few areas. The book could best be described as “murky,” like when I put too much paint in one spot trying to fix something I didn’t realize wasn’t going to work when I started. Losing the light areas means I lose the depth of color I want and The Grounding of Group Six could have used more depth. The characters overlapped a little too much for me and the significance of the situation as a whole was glossed over emotionally throughout the book in favor of somewhat effective revengencing. The antagonists were definitely interesting, but reading about the main group just made me feel like I was reading The Breakfast Club, camping edition. And that would have been okay if any larger, emotionally significant choices had been made. Too many near misses.

The photographic choice I made to let Belvedere's little white pants be the focus in this photo instead of Mortemer's adorable face is my analogy of the process of making choices while writing this book.

The photographic choice I made to let Belvedere’s little white pants be the focus in this photo instead of Mortemer’s adorable face is my analogy of the process of making choices while writing this book.

Mixtape:

1. Underachievers March and Fight Song – Archers of Loaf
2. Fairweather Friends – Queens of the Stone Age
3. Secret Plans – Eagles of Death Metal
4. The Deadenin’ – Legendary Shack Shakers
5. When God Comes Back – All Them Witches
6. Overkill (Live) – Motorhead
7. My Own Bare Hands – Ween
8. Mudslide – The Darkness
9. Got the Power – Eagles of Death Metal
10. I’m Not a Young Man Anymore – The Wolfmen
11. Climb Safely – Restavrant
12. Lazy as Fuck – Evil Cowards
13. Don’t Get 2 Close (2 My Fantasy) – Ween
14. Always Looking – Dum Dum Girls
15. Kissy Kissy – The Kills
16. Staring at the Sun – TV on the Radio
17. Fault Line – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

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Filed under Books, Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels, Review, Writing, YA Megamix Summer

YA Megamix Summer III: Season of the Witch

The school year is already over for some people, so, it’s basically summer…of course some of those people are now done with their undergraduate degrees or graduate degrees, so in their case summer means “life anxiety season,” unless they already have jobs. Good luck to those about to go over the precipice of the shocking lack of opportunity, it’s not fun.

Anyway, I’m continuing my tradition of the last couple of years and “reviewing” only older YA books and including one hour long mixtapes I’ve compiled to go with them. This year’s YA Megamix Summer shall be known as the “Season of the Witch” because I will not be reviewing a single book that has a witch in it – just like the Halloween franchise entry – and it’s the third Halloween-associated movie and this is the third summer I’ve done this, and I am in the process of finishing my “John Carpenter’s Guinea Pigs” painting series so I can bring all of it to Chicago in August.

To kick off the Season of the Witch, I’m going to post a mixtape of songs that have been carrying themes and revision-staples for my Squirrelpocalypse Trilogy. Somehow, these never ended up being chapter titles.

Mixtape:
1. Stormy High – Black Mountain
2. Ah! Leah! – Electric Six
3. Ash of the Mind – Agents of Oblivion
4. My Apocalypse – Zebras
5. Homemade – Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
6. My Dreams – Gun Club
7. You Don’t Own Me – Masquer
8. Queeny Gloom Doom – Zebras
9. Restarter – Torche
10. Hold My Hand – UNKLE
11. Down in the Park – Foo Fighters
12. Filled With Fire – Zebras
13. Skogsdotter – Finntroll
14. Holiday in Cambodia – Dead Kennedys

Also, this is Finny. It may not be clear in this picture, but he is a madman. Not a witch.

Also, this is Finny. It may not be clear in this picture, but he is a madman. Not a witch.

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Filed under Books, Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels, Writing, YA Megamix Summer

Did I ever tell you my favorite color was blue?

In the Mouth of Madness is one John Carpenter movie I won’t guinea pig-ify- because it is just too close to home sometimes. As a writer, who has written while watching In the Mouth of Madness, and who writes horror things that could be considered ridiculous under certain circumstances, and who decided that it would be a good idea to finish her Squirrelpocalypse Trilogy before Wizard World Madison started, I can relate to the “Did I ever tell you my favorite color was blue?” scene from both Sam Neill and Jurgen Prochnow’s perspectives. When I finished Night of the Squirrels, I yelled the same way Sam Neill does. And I wanted some Cheetos, if you read it, you’ll be able to tell that I wanted some Cheetos.  I did not have any Cheetos and it was late enough at night that I decided not to go out for some. Such a dilemma.

Anyway, Night of the Squirrels is up and ready for purchasing via the usual ebook retailers, I’m waiting for distribution to finish to a few retailers, and it’s currently easiest to find via my Amazon Author Page (Who knew that title would be so hard to search for? Me. I am a librarian, so I know some searching, but, still, that’s why I also decided to use “Squirrelpocalypse” repeatedly and I should have used it when I printed the first cover…damn the permanence of printmaking!)

It's all three covers together at last!

It’s all three covers together at last! So squirrely.

 

Of course, I’ve also done some paintings and prints related to my series (I have a few sets of all three book covers, several of the Day of the Robots cover, and several of the Night of the Squirrels cover – all in multiple colors) for Wizard World, today is the last day, so…  Merchandising, where the real money from the novel is made!

 

 

I've always been inspired by the WPA posters. Not only because if I was alive during that time period, I would have been angling for a printing job, I'm also just super fond of the typography. This one recreates a scene from Night of the Squirrels. The travel poster, McWikken style.

I’ve always been inspired by the WPA posters. Not only because if I was alive during that time period, I would have been angling for a printing job, I’m also just super fond of the typography. This one recreates a scene from Night of the Squirrels. The travel poster, McWikken style.

 

Another WPA inspired one (oh, and although I am a printmaker, both of my WPA inspired works are paintings), this time in honor of Babette and Louis. Shiny purple!

Another WPA inspired one (oh, and although I am a printmaker, both of my WPA inspired works are paintings), this time in honor of Babette and Louis. Shiny purple!

 

They call her Regan Brite. This one is a silkscreen also available in glow in the dark green. This print was so involved that I barely came away with any to sell - and so I made some postcards of this version. A few.

They call her Regan Brite. This one is a silkscreen also available in glow in the dark green. This print was so involved that I barely came away with any to sell – and so I made some postcards of this version. A few.

 

Will you endure the placement of this link with me, one last time? my profile on the Wizard World site

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Filed under Books, Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels, Writing

Gotta have you on my wall, ’cause-

I love skulls. And bones. At one point I was tempted to call this blog Guinea Pigs, Books, and Skulls because those are the three things that I’m interested in artistically, but at that point I didn’t think I was going to feature my paintings on this blog- Ha.

The four paintings below are going to be available for sale at Wizard World Madison April 8-9-10 ( my profile on the Wizard World site ).

The star painting, I also have prints of my Bye Bye, Li'l Sebastian design.

The star painting of the most important mini-horse skull. I also have prints of my Bye Bye, Li’l Sebastian design.

 

My signature piece, Guinea Pigs are for Life. Now one person can also have a guinea pig skull painting (I kept the first one I did) and about six people can have guinea pig skull prints. Sometimes I don't have very many available because printing is not always a sure thing when you do it all by hand.

My signature image, Guinea Pigs are for Life. Now one person can also have a guinea pig skull painting (I kept the first one I did) and about six people can have guinea pig skull prints – sometimes I don’t have very many available because printing is not always a sure thing when you do it all by hand.

 

This is what a Columbian Ground Squirrel's skull looks like...when I paint it.

This is what a Columbian Ground Squirrel’s skull looks like…when I paint it.

 

The skull of the other mammal I'm regularly associated with, the squirrel. I made its teeth less scary in this painting than the teeth featured in Night of the Squirrels.

The skull of the other mammal I’m regularly associated with, the squirrel. I made its teeth less scary in this painting than the teeth featured in Night of the Squirrels.

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Filed under Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels

This is my design.

As I have been preparing mercilessly for my Artist Alley table at the Madison iteration of Wizard World ( my profile on the Wizard World site ), I haven’t been posting as much and now I’m posting without very many words…unusual for me. Anyway, the guinea pigs are making their public debuts in a couple of series I’ve painted and I’ve done some prints, and the end of my Squirrelpocalypse Trilogy will be coming out soon, and I’m going to share some painting pictures and some dear god what did I do to my living room printing pictures throughout the month of April, and let’s face it, probably also May because my hands and brain are tired. First up, The Thing-part of my John Carpenter’s Guinea Pigs series. All these paintings will be available at Wizard World Madison – April 8-9-10 at the Alliant Energy Center.

 

Danger Crumples has always been from another world, his role in my guinea pig version of The Thing just confirms it.

Danger Crumples has always been from another world, his role in my guinea pig version of The Thing just confirms it.

 

Peregrine gets to be Kurt Russell by virtue of having the middle name "Plissken." Here she is wearing the wrong jacket for the MacReady character adorably.

Peregrine gets to be Kurt Russell by virtue of having the middle name “Plissken.” Here she is wearing the wrong jacket for the MacReady character adorably.

 

And here's Peregrine as MacReady with the head monster, which ended up looking a mite Trumpish, not sure how I feel about that. I blame yellow ochre.

And here’s Peregrine as MacReady with the head monster, which ended up looking a mite Trumpish, not sure how I feel about that. I blame yellow ochre.

 

Blood test! Horace, Ozma, and an unhappy Danger Crumples await the sizzle noise in their sweaters.

Blood test! Horace, Ozma, and an unhappy Danger Crumples await the sizzle noise in their sweaters.

 

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Filed under Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels