Tag Archives: Day of the Robots

It could’ve just been The Cretins.

Welcome to year four of YA Megamix Summer! This year’s theme is “Class of Soon to be Nuked High” in honor of the the world teetering on the brink of destruction based on the whims of a moldy orange madman. Good luck having a future, enjoy these glib reviews and mixtapes for the next three months and if the country is still here at the end of August, we’ll resume our mental health/horror programming.

 

24. The Night Walkers – Otto Coontz

Way to not end the story, man. Maxine is cured, no one else is, and there’s no resolution beyond blaming the guy who runs the dump for the pollution. Writing is about making choices. When you bring things up, like “the soul” a few times and have Nora the Cassandra thinking that’s the “leg up” they have and then never resolving anything… At 163 pages, you could have added another chapter or two and resolved the story. I expect more of an author that admits to being the puppet and mask maker for the San Francisco Mime Troupe AND being concerned about environmental protection in his bio.

 
Mixtape –
1. A Forest – The Cure
2. The Number of the Beast – Electric Six
3. Home Sick Home – Faith No More
4. Damned If She Do – The Kills
5. Time for Death – GWAR
6. Under My Chin – Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
7. Infected Girls – Electric Six
8. Burning in Hell – Electric Citizen
9. Iron Moon – Chelsea Wolfe
10. The Angry River – The Hat
11. If Wishes Were Horses – Witchcraft
12. My Mule – Abner Jay
13. Sore Eyes – Widowspeak
14. Old Pine Box – Those Poor Bastards
15. Forest Clouds – Windhand

Duncan was in charge of emotional support while I wrote the outline for Day of the Robots. She didn’t even put that in her bio because it took second fiddle to seeing works from the Louvre at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art in 2009 and almost auditioning for a season of So You Think You Can Dance? in the same day.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Day of the Robots, Review, Writing, YA Megamix Summer

Write. Print. Repeat.

Two squirrels! Two robots! So appropriate for the second book of a trilogy.

Two squirrels! Two robots! So appropriate for the second book of a trilogy.

The Guinea Pig-style (Duncan Hills) first edition of Night of the Squirrels: Day of the Robots, sequel to Dawn of the Interns and the middle section of the Squirrelpocalypse trilogy,was initially available on Amazon in May of 2013. Now, in June of 2015 (well, sort of May because it put it up in May, but there are always delays while I wait to see my cover and not a grey box on websites before I say anything), the “Call of the Merricat” second edition is available with its more squirrelpocalypse-appropriate cover and two less typos.  I’ve been told it’s better than the first one – but! – I don’t think that matters unless you’ve read the first one, so maybe it’s an Evil Dead II situation and maybe it’s Gremlins II, there really aren’t enough horror comedies with sequels that remind me of my work, so it’s tough to be sure.

It’s also occurred to me lately that it might be interesting to show my work, at least in terms of how I create my clearly a-mah-zing squirrel covers. I do have a lot to say about cover art on here – that’s because I’m an artist. I use my human brain and hands to write my novels and also to draw and print the squirrel versions of their covers through the bewildering process of silkscreening. Silkscreening is the process of shoving ink through mesh to put images on things, in my case, card stock. In order for the ink to make the images I want it to, I hand paint the mesh of my screens with screen filler.

The dark red business is screen filler. Everything that’s covered with filler will remain the color of the card stock I’m printing on.

The dark red business is screen filler. Everything that’s covered with filler will remain the color of the card stock I’m printing on.

Many people can get their drawings onto their screens much more easily using photographic methods (light and photo emulsion). I can barely breathe most of the time because of my severe allergies and chemical fumes will destroy me very quickly, so I hand paint. It’s, um, not very easy to maintain the level of detail I want because I still only have human hands, but I do my best.

Pre-print Robots, post-print Interns, with discerning critic Danger Crumples. It is possible to remove the designs from screens, it’s called “reclaiming.” I am able to keep my designs on the screens by only washing out the ink when I’m done printing. Cold water takes out the ink, hot water is required to remove screen filler.

Pre-print Robots, post-print Interns, with discerning critic Danger Crumples. It is possible to remove the designs from screens, it’s called “reclaiming.” I am able to keep my designs on the screens by only washing out the ink when I’m done printing. Cold water takes out the ink, hot water is required to remove screen filler.

Once all the screen filler is dry and I’ve held it up to several light sources five million times to check for pinholes that will ruin my feelings while I print, I sort out the paper I want to use (I have to run a veritable shitload of prints when I silkscreen) and get the screen secured into the t-shirt press that hooks onto my coffee table. And then I print. On my knees. I ran this print sixty-one times.

Here’s my print-covered floor and the screen upright in the hinge clamps of my t-shirt press just before I went to wash the ink out of it.

Here’s my print-covered floor and the screen upright in the hinge clamps of my t-shirt press just before I went to wash the ink out of it.

I pretty much throw my prints everywhere there’s space because I need to run the print until the ink runs out, gets too dry, or some sort of blobbiness takes over. I had an ink-thickness issue this time, so I only ended up with twelve great prints and thirty-two mostly good ones. That’s a pretty good ratio considering I haven’t printed anything for over a year and my ink was definitely too thick for all the teeny details I wanted to come through.

Peregrine critiques my print from above.

Peregrine critiques my print from above.

I should mention that I’m leaving out a lot of details about the process of silkscreening, like tool names (squeegee!) and how you should have mylar on hand for proofing and registering your print and other things, so if you want to silkscreen in your living room you’ll need to research actual tutorials. I took silkscreening in college way back in 2003, and I didn’t put enough time into it, but I’m kind of glad I didn’t because of the chemical processes and my lack of allergy treatment at the time. I could have learned I have allergy-induced asthma earlier by passing out in a creepy basement room trying to coat my screen with emulsion, but at what cost? Actually, the cost would be these prints and all the others I’ve done since being able to re-visit silkscreening. Too much. It would be too much. And I retained a large amount of what I learned in that class over twelve years’ time, so…peaches. Of course, the guinea pigs would be much happier if I didn’t do so many things that take my attention away from them. A cost I must pay.

Horace and Danger Crumples don’t think I paid the cost to be the boss.

Horace and Danger Crumples don’t think I paid the cost to be the boss.

Anyway, that’s my cover creation process and if you want to support projects done completely by hand by someone who is nearly extinct because of their allergies or just want to know what happens next in my Squirrelpocalypse trilogy, I will list some linkage below and add to my “About” page. Oh, and since it’s YA Megamix Summer and my chapter titles tend to be song titles, here’s a sixtyish minute mixtape of chapter title songs to go with Day of the Robots:

1.     “Bang!” – The Raveonettes
2.    “Underdog” – Kasabian
3.    “Incubation” – Joy Division
4.    “Be My Wife” – David Bowie
5.    “River Styx” – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
6.    “Worm Tamer” – Grinderman
7.    “It’s Gonna Be a Long Night” – Ween
8.    “Sistinas” – Danzig
9.    “I Wish This Song Was Louder” – Electric Six
10.    “Retrovertigo” – Mr. Bungle
11.    “Deep in the Woods” – The Birthday Party
12.    “I Think That I Would Die” – Hole
13.    “Running Up That Hill” – Kate Bush
14.    “Dog Eat Dog” – Adam and the Ants
15.    “Heart of Stone” – The Raveonettes
16.    “Cat People” – the Danzig version
Linkage:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Smashwords
Kobo
Bol
Itunes

P.S. One important thing, there are several “Rachel Smith”s writing and self-publishing. Accept no substitutes. It can be confusing. I have only published two novels so far, both are pretty clearly linked thanks to that new cover and the adoption of series specification (Night of the Squirrels/Squirrelpocalypse Trilogy) – even that other “Rachel Smith” who wrote an ebook about guinea pigs is not me. I would think that anyone could tell the difference between her writing voice and mine and her cover aesthetic and mine – I just wanted to make sure we’re all clear that she’s not me. And I haven’t written any books on shopping addiction either. Just YA fiction about the squirrelpocalypse thus far.

Leave a comment

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

I’m just going to pretend he’s playing that saxophone for Daryl Dixon.

Welcome to YA Megamix Summer the Return!! This summer I’m not even going to pretend that I will stick to the Point Horror/Thriller imprint, even though I love it so; instead, I’ll be sticking to my Year of the Ladies only reviewing books by women rules, which isn’t very hard. Just like last summer, the track listing will make one sixty minute mixtape – and I made the first one extra hard to duplicate unless you received Electric Six’s Mimicry and Memories project by shoving money at them like I did. Sorry? Anyway…

40. Graveyard Moon – Carol Gorman

Sax solo! Occasionally I read a book that has a scene that stands out so much that I can’t help but forget a large amount of what happened in the story. In the case of Graveyard Moon, that scene is Miles’ sax solo. I’m going to go ahead and retroactively claim that I named my character Miles (of Schad, Miles, and Hirsch the “dude” saying sort of Greek chorus in Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, and the perpetually forthcoming Night of the Squirrels) after Miles in Graveyard Moon because of the sax solo. It does not really happen organically – Miles is not in the school band, he doesn’t frequent jazz clubs, and he is not Duke Silver, he’s the town outcast (of course) – it happens because Kelly the main character asks him if he played for Darryl, and then asks him to play for her. It is so bizarrely fantastic and ridiculous that I could barely stand reading about it. And that is what I have chosen to share from Graveyard Moon, the teenage murder mystery. Also, I really enjoy Carol Gorman’s writing. Damnit, sax solo, you’re killing me.

Murderface and Pickles demonstrate the ways to respond to an impromptu sax solo – hiding… or surprise.

Murderface and Pickles demonstrate the ways to respond to an impromptu sax solo – hiding… or surprise.

Mixtape –
1.    “Tired Eyes” – The Black Angels
2.    “Stop, I’m Already Dead” – Deadboy & the Elephantmen
3.    “Superstition” – The Kills
4.    “Follow You Home” – The Creeps
5.    “Ritual Knife” – Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats
6.    “Easy Lover” – Electric Six
7.    “So Young” – Suede
8.    “Endless Night” – Graveyard
9.    “Doom and Gloom” – Electric Six
10.    “Chocolate Town” – Ween
11.    “Perennials” – Widowspeak
12.    “Taxidermy” – White Lies
13.    “Somewhere Else to Be” – VAST
14.    “Snakes Are Charmed” – Torche
15.    “Bad Reputation” – Thin Lizzy
16.    “Blood Red Blood” – The Ettes

Leave a comment

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

Operation Impending Doom II

It has been updated.

Doomed? Doomed.

Now there’s a squirrel on it! Appropriate rodent!

This is the new cover of Night of the Squirrels: Dawn of the Interns, the first book in my squirrelpocalypse trilogy. I made it myself via my handy printing and drawing abilities. It more appropriately represents the story and the trilogy theme. Here is the previous cover, featuring my beloved Pickles:

Pickles was with me during the initial writing, and the outlining, and so I miss seeing her on Amazon all the time in her seventies horror modeling debut.

Inappropriate but most adorable almost-not rodent!

The Pickles cover is still on Good Reads (I like that color scheme damnit and that’s why I rated it five stars…I also like the other cover so I also rated it five stars, and yes, I am the only one who rated it five stars on goodreads, so maybe that was a silly thing to do…Rachel Shukert, one of my fave authors, did it too so I felt less shame). Anyway, I’m clearly attached to the Pickles cover but the squirrel cover represents the updates that I have made. I haven’t made any gigantic story changes, I did fix quite a few things and now there is more zazz. It’s fitter, happier, and more productive. Or something. It’s also been given a new blurb and appears in many more online purchasing venues, like the Apple store and Barnes and Noble. Humans (non-humans too) who have chosen to not use the Kindle store can now read about the squirrelpocalypse…Finally! I know everyone who reads this blog was worried about that. Very worried.

Also, I don’t want to jinx myself, so I will be as vague as possible… This may also be available so you can hold it in your hands someday, it is closer to being available than it was two weeks ago, anyway. Whee!

Here are links to the various purchase pages (they will also perpetually be available via my About page):

Amazon

Apple Store

And, okay, full disclosure, I did rate it at five stars on itunes too. I got excited that it was on there. Plus I do think it’s good and fun to read, it’s been nearly four years since I wrote it and I technically started the idea in 1998 so I feel like it’s fine to five-star my entrance to the gateway to miscellaneous purchasing known as itunes.

Barnes and Noble

On Good Reads, the B&N link refuses to take anyone to my book. But it’s there, my link is direct. Plus, if you’re into work, title searching will prove Good Reads wrong.

Diesel ebooks

Kobo

Smashwords

Sony ebooks

I couldn’t see the cover yet on the Sony ebook store, but it should be forthcoming. It took B&N forever to put that two color work of majesticness up too.

So ends the shameless self-promotion. Or wait, no it doesn’t. The sequel will be going up (just on Amazon at first) towards the end of this month. It’s called Day of the Robots and it’s like Gremlins II meets Cabin Fever. The first one is like Cabin in the Woods meets Ginger Snaps, if only movie-related comparisons are available. They’re short and effective.

Leave a comment

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

Digression Post

So, the last post I made mere seconds ago made me super sad. And then, I noticed that someone found my blog by searching for “adjectives for guinea pigs” and my mood changed slightly – cute didn’t instantaneously come to mind, searcher?

Belvedere! I miss Belvedere!

Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty cute. Belvedere knows how to sit.

 

The other adjective that comes to mind (beyond like fifty synonyms for “cute”) when I think of guinea pigs is: Demanding.

I miss Mortemer too.

Yes, demanding is so much more than an adjective. I think it’s obvious that Mortemer wants something here.

Also, I wanted to mention that this week I screenprinted the new cover for Dawn of the Interns and I am super happy with it. I am quite fond of my Pickles model guinea pig cover , but it seems relevant to make a slightly more appropriate cover, since I have the skills. I would say I have the technology, but I’m a hand done art kind of person. My silkscreens are hand drawn, hand stenciled (no photo emulsion, it goes bad and might get on the carpet), and hand pulled – which often leads to tragedy. Twiglet, subject of the sadness inducing post and anchor pig forever in my heart, will of course be on the guinea pig version cover of the last book in the Night of the Squirrels trilogy. I haven’t written that one yet, but the new cover and the second volume in the trilogy, also with a guinea pig cover (featuring the beautiful Duncan) will be out in May.

I don't have to miss Thaddeus because I can hear him whistling right now. Phew.

“Snazzy” also comes to mind. Check out the Abyssinian moustache on Thaddeus. One could also use the adjectives: smart, fluffy, fuzzy, portly, or perfect to describe any number of guinea pigs.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dawn of the Interns, Night of the Squirrels, Uncategorized

Jingle Bells…Jingle Yay…Jingle Good for You

A second jump into the murky seas of search terms. I mean into the fresh smelling forest of Douglas firs of search terms. I am trying to sound more winterish. There’s no snow, yet, in my area, but the bitter bleakness remains. I should change my voicemail to that “Hello, you’ve reached the winter of my discontent” thing from Reality Bites. Or I could listen to less doom metal while it’s totally cold and bleak outside. But it seems like the best time to listen to doom metal! And I just found out the singer dude from Finntroll (not doom metal at all) is cute and that made me nearly happy. Damn, I am rambling. I guess in this vein of trailing off I could mention that the purchase I’m happiest about lately is the game Cards Against Humanity. It’s free to download if you don’t feel like buying it. Damnit, Jerry!

7. Why are so many people looking for this? : son of rosemary incestuous

What kind of a world do we live in? Why can’t people just search for random incest? I mean, it’s on Game of Thrones, not just in these old tomes from the 1990s. Son of Rosemary…is the worst

Are Jon Snow and Daenarys Targaryen related? I hope not.

I originally wanted that review to be only two words: Shit Sandwich. And I loved The Stepford Wives and Rosemary’s Baby so I felt really guilty about how much I hated Son of Rosemary. It just sucked so hard. And it’s hard to see good writers write shit sandwiches. That’s why Pammy is hiding.

8. Amusing terms: guinea pigs named Lois

I wonder how many guinea pigs named Lois there are? I don’t have any, the only Lois here is Lois Duncan: Twisted Window , Lost in Time

Who watches Ozymandias? Will anyone keep from his detonating his Doomsday device? I watch him,  but I wouldn't.

Maybe in his previous home, Ozymandias was named Lois. Probably not.

9. Things I hope don’t exist: ebook on taxidermy of guinea pigs

I’ve never thought about having my pigs freeze dried or stuffed. Mostly because the idea of having their glares become lifeless and frozen in time is a little too much. Also, taxidermy has not progressed to the point where the adorable snout and ears of the guinea pig can be preserved exactly as they are, forever. I don’t think an ebook is going to help that.

Why specifically an ebook? It’s hard enough to find physical books on guinea pigs and you’d think a squirrel mold would probably work.

Twiglet – Not meant for stuffing.

10. Not on my watch, son: guinea pig rat cross

I have heard terrifying tales of escaped hamsters mating with mice and producing offspring. I have never heard about that happening with guinea pigs and rats and I never want to hear about that happening. It just makes me think of the Fly. And the Fly II.

Thaddeus and Pammy, so fresh and so clean clean

Thaddeus tells Pammy it will never happen. Just like he hopes his next bath will never happen.

11. Self-indulgent edition: captain sparkles

Next year, I will be putting up the sequel to Night of the Squirrels: Dawn of the Interns on Amazon. The sequel is called Day of the Robots. The character that I have nicknamed Captain Sparkles appears in both books and will also be included in the conclusion to the Night of the Squirrels trilogy: Night of the Squirrels. It is always darkest before the dawn. Anyway, I reviewed Nightlight , the Twilight parody book by the Harvard Lampoon people and utilized that nickname (which is also in my book in the spirit of Twilight parody, but there are no vampires in Night of the Squirrels, despite what that visiting Canadian writer decided in workshop, not bitter, there are also no particularly forlorn romances, just funny bad things happening, good grief this is a long aside) in the title of that review.

The main characters are people! They’re people! (to be said like you’re talking about Soylent Green)

Pickles is on the cover because she’s a clue that the content is kind of unexpected in a variety of ways. And she’s so cute.

Night of the Squirrels: Dawn of the Interns – a slightly more thorough explanation

Night of the Squirrels: Dawn of the Interns – purchasable

12.  High concept spelling issues: ginny pigs ghost hunter

So I started a series of paintings and silkscreens about this very issue… I also had Ginny dolls as a child. It’s like this person is psychic. Anyway, the first time I included the concept was in a painting for Mr. Cheese that is somewhat visible in some of my photos – Thaddeus and Pammy take over for the Ghostfacers from Supernatural investigating the Murder House from American Horror Story. Danger Crumples is their intern, kicking the pink flamingo from the Electric Six song. It’s basically the only area you can see behind Ozymandias besides Belvedere being Ryan Gosling from Drive and the bottom of Pickles dressed up as Constance from AHS standing on the end of the Chevy from Drive Angry.

Discussing my artwork in this capacity reminds me of the Maria Bamford bit about taking art classes from Wizard. “The last time I saw that look… Ojai, ’74.”

Are there ghosts behind this pumpkin? This chair is known to be haunted .

Leave a comment

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