Blogger Turned Self-Published Author

I don’t write book reviews often (or pretty much ever), but I wanted to give a shout-out to another blogger and help spread the word about his first self-published book.  (Plus, his protagonist is a squirrel and I have a soft spot for those furry troublemakers.)

The Woodlander, the debut novel by Kirk Watson, is the tale of John Grey, a squirrel who has lost it all– his illustrious career in journalism, his family, and his zest for life– and is at the end of his rope.  After yet another evening of one too many drinks, a chance encounter with a transporter tempts him into sniffing out one more great story.  Instead, he find himself in over his head, sent into a perilous, forgotten land where rediscovers his will to live and the strength to fight for his own life and the lives of others.

The story is enjoyable and whimsical, with a slight Hunger Games vibe during the pre-hunt evaluation and judging sessions.  Though not directly marketed as such, I think the book is appropriate for the teen/young adult (7th grade up) set.  While there are a couple of suggestive passages, the language is, for the most part, quite tame- more so than prime time television or reality tv.  The novel contains moments of death and bloodshed, but nothing that would damage my tween/teen more than the local news or internet headlines.

Please take a moment to visit his Woodlander (The Grey Tales) blog and say hello.  He’s a great guy who dishes out solid writing advice.  Plus, he posted the prologue online and created a trailer for his book.  Busy man.  Maybe we’ll be able to drag this Austinite away from his laptop for a night or two for the Blogger Interactive.

Congrats on publishing your book and good luck to you, Kirk!  I look forward to reading the next book in your series.

The Way of the Dragonfly

Dragonflies are the masterly pranksters in my fictitious land of milk and honey koontaka punch.


They’re not evil creatures, as one might suspect from their creepy, disco-ball eyes and ever-present five o’clock shadow, but bored creatures.  They will gleefully buzz your head and then lead you down a chicken scratched trail into a pond teeming with leeches, and when you ask why, they will lick their appendages, rub their balding heads, and say, “Well, you did say you were looking for a leech, yes?  What?  No?  Bleach?  You need bleach?  Well, that’s just silly.”  All because their lives are humdrum and they find humans an incredibly gullible species.

Priti will whisper to them– the humans are too close and there are more lessons for them to learn before they may leave— and suddenly the dragonflies romance you onto a barge full of highly intoxicated little people who love karaoke and clog dancing and have no concept of direction.  Or they’ll coax you through the chalk drawing doors, which never open to the place you wish to go, but usually lead you directly into to the jazz bar, where you become blissfully intoxicated on koontaka punch, listen to Miles pluck away at his cello, and forget that you even had a different destination.

The dragonflies listen to Priti and kneel before Sigmund, bouncing and clapping their front legs when asked to mislead and confuse humans.  Yes, Master!  Yes!  They are the Igors of the insect world.

They do have a few redeeming qualities.  They make lively dinner guests as they always have amusing stories to tell and their petit fours are to die for.  Their a cappella humming is an exceptional treat– especially if you catch them while they’re traveling through the canyon of the Wet Divide.  And they will never, ever lead you in the direction of a hungry woolly bear.  Unless the swarm is led by a brain-washing, suicidal dragonfly like Pepé.  Then you’re screwed.

*A side note: I had no idea the cello-playing, wine-drinking cat picture existed until five minutes ago.  Love it.

An English Composition Soap Opera

Coming soon to E!*

“F@&* It!  Tales of Life and Love Gone Awry in the Land of Grammar, Punctuation, and the Alphabet”

The searing ancestral accounts of a bygone era, including these unforgettable tales:

  • The “Lilliputian Letter Movement”- the lowercase letters’ attempt to extract themselves from under the totalitarian thumb of the UPPERCASE class- which escalated into the UPPERCASE/lowercase Conflict until the enactment of the Capitalization Resolution
  • The bitter feud between the consonants and vowels, fueled by the careless whispers of the (supposedly) silent “K” and resolved only after “Y” reconciled his innate consonant self with the deep desire to be a vowel and became a transletter
  • The collage of torrid love affairs and marriages: the clandestine affair between ( ) and [ ], resulting in baby {}; the near-pornographic adventures of the trickster triplets there, their, and they’re; and the quarrels between sisters “I” and “E” over the cocksure “C”, followed by the desperate, rebound marriage of “I” with “S” from which sprang forth future world dictator $

 (All taking place prior to the Strunk & White evolution and, therefore, before the Declaration of the Constitution of English Composition, of course.)

*Even though it sounds plausible, I made that up.