Listen to “Bad Vibrations” on the Toasted Cake Podcast


My paranormal comedic short, “Bad Vibrations,” has risen from the dead!

This story was originally published in Alternate Hilarities: One Star Reviews of the Afterlife, an anthology that, sadly, is no longer in print. Thus, “Bad Vibrations” has been floating in the ether for a bit.

I’ve always loved this story. It was one of my first forays into humor. Writing this piece helped me unlock a style and voice I didn’t know I possessed. And it gave me an excuse to be colorful and inappropriate and to let some freak flags fly!

I was so excited when “Bad Vibrations” was picked up for the Toasted Cake podcast. Today, I’m straight up fangirling! Tina Connelly, the creative mind behind the podcast, is a comedic badass! Her timing is impeccable. And the voice she uses for my protagonist? She is Gabby! The recording makes me laugh, which is a joyful experience and such a gift.

If you need a chuckle, which just might evolve into a fully belly laugh, give “Bad Vibrations” a listen HERE.

One final note: As Tina so aptly states in her intro to the story: “There is a content warning on this one for some mild swearing and some totally grown up discussion of sexy sex topics.” (If you’re alone, blast it! In public, headphones, my friends.)

Enjoy! And if you like Tina’s reading, subscribe to the Toasted Cake podcast for weekly idiosyncratic flash fiction goodness!

Skits and Giggles (Or I Signed Up for Improv Classes)


Sometimes, serendipity is more than random happenstance. And from time to time, some serious coincidence inspires you to sign up for improv classes.

A couple weeks ago, I met my friend, Jacob, for drinks at Seven Grand to celebrate his completion of Corepower’s yoga teacher training program. Amidst sips of old fashioneds, we started talking about how we both, as former dancers, miss being onstage. Jacob has found a kind of performance in leading yoga classes, which is scratching the itch for him—and he asked me what I plan to do about my craving for creativity and the stage. Since dance isn’t a viable option for me anymore, I’ve thought about doing more theater, but the time commitment always keeps me at bay.

Jacob asked if I’ve ever thought about doing improv…which got me thinking. Yeah, that could be fun. It’s less of a time commitment than traditional theater, and it would get me back onstage, in a completely new way. I helped to establish and direct an improv troupe in high school, but I never performed with them. I was always behind the scenes.

It was a brilliant idea, but, of course, life and work took over that night, and I completely forgot about it…until Friday, when the suggestion came back full force—twice.

On Friday, I attended Creative Mornings San Diego, a monthly breakfast lecture series for creative folks. The topic du jour was “Game,” and the speaker, Gary Ware, recounted his personal story about getting caught up in a career that left him exhausted and stressed, with very little room (or dedicated time) for play. One of his mentors suggested he…wait for it…take improv classes.

And it was like getting smacked with coincidence. Here it was again, this mention of improv as a constructive, fun, creative outlet. As Gary talked more and more about how improv helped him create space for fun in his life, and how it changed the dynamic of his work life and his relationship with his team, I started thinking, You know, I should really think about signing up for improv classes.

The final sign from the universe? My husband, unprompted, asked me as we were walking back to our cars if I’ve ever considered taking improv classes. Okay, universe, I hear you.

That afternoon, I looked up Finest City Improv and signed up for a seven-week session that starts in June, because clearly, I can’t ignore all these signs pointing toward improv. Here’s to challenging myself with something new, learning to think on my feet, carving out time each week to play, and listening to the universe.

In the meantime, I’ll be watching every episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? I can get my hands on. Let’s hope I can rise to this level someday:

On Discovering My Very First Gray Hair

Gray hair 1

This morning was marked with hilarity. I woke to social media shoutouts from my good friend, Sara, for sharing a side-splitting movie review of Tarzan with her (which, let’s face it, is really a love letter to Alexander Skarsgard’s abs). In the shower, my close-to-empty shampoo bottle omitted a noise that sounded like Donald Duck cursing. And then, while I was applying my makeup, I noticed it – a single, wily gray hair decorating my hairline. And I laughed.

I laughed at its audacity. While the rest of my red hair was slicked back, this little sucker Gray hair 2was curling every which way, reflecting the morning light like an over-ambitious star. And then I spent a good two minutes trying to get a selfie that would feature my lone gray hair and its ridiculous arc. Observe.

I announced the discovery to my husband. He came into the bathroom, where I gesticulated at it wildly, smiling and laughing. He tugged on the strand and announced, “Yep, that’s yours, not a hair from one of the dogs.” We wondered together whether more of my hair is secretly silver. I get my hair dyed regularly, so it’s hard to know exactly what’s under the dye. I stared in the mirror and imagined myself with a gray coiffure.

Hipster silver fox much?

(Note – I love having red hair way too much to dabble in this experiment, but I do wish there was a way to instantly strip away all my hair dye and see what my natural color is right now.)

As far as my little gray hair’s unexpected reveal this morning? I’m not assigning blame. This isn’t about stress or the universe being unfair. Instead, I’m celebrating that I got here.

You guys, I’ve been living the my life so hard that I’m changing the very color of my hair. Perhaps I should start telling people I’ve developed superpowers.

All joking aside, I think our societal concept of aging is pretty pessimistic and messed up. There are so many products out there designed to cover up who you are and not nearly enough messages that tell you it’s okay to change over time.

Scars, laugh lines, extra cushion, gray hairs – to me, they’re all markers of a life well lived. I don’t necessarily want to reverse those things, as long as I’m healthy and happy. I want to embrace them and recognize them and move forward, rather than expending energy trying to reverse that which can’t be reversed.

So, it’ll just be me and my little gray hair over here, killin’ it with humor and acceptance.

No Joke: Read “Bad Vibrations” in Alternate Hilarities V: One Star Reviews of the Afterlife

Ebook Cover

Since I began publishing fiction in 2012, I’ve billed myself as a horror and fantasy author, someone inclined to write about monsters and mayhem and mythological creatures. For a few years, I was completely satisfied writing about time travel, ghosts, devils, sirens, succubi, and devious drug plots.

And while I will continue to write about these things, I’ve started to play with new genres and writing styles. The other night, I finished my first romance novelette. Before that, a comedic, satiric take on a fairy tale. Comedy and romance are becoming a regular part of my repetoire, and it’s a really exciting and fun shift. (My writing group back in Phoenix, Arizona, would be so proud, a group that often requested I write something in which someone didn’t die or the conflict was resolved happily.)

So it’s fitting that today, April Fool’s Day, marks the publication of my very first piece of straight-up comedic writing. No joke, I’ve written something that I hope makes you laugh, not shiver in terror.

Today, Alternate Hilarities V: One Star Reviews of the Afterlife is available via Strange Musings Press, bringing you 33 crazy, wacky tales from the great beyond and outlining just what could go wrong with it:

As you shuffle off this mortal coil, many things will go through your mind. Will you be remembered well? Did you live the best life you could? Did you leave the iron on? And most importantly, did you remember to delete your browser history recently? But the big question that will finally hit you full on, is there something after all of this? And if so, will it suck? If only Yelp! had a category for the afterlife.

Here is a collection of humorous tales of the afterlife that covers the I.T. woes of Heaven, the dangers involved in using out-of-date occult tools, the perils of not saving appropriately for the hereafter, the shock of finding out that not every good deed will get you through the pearly gates and the cold hard fact that paradise just isn’t for everyone.

So go to the light at your own peril.

It could be life everlasting, or it could be an oncoming train.”

My contribution, “Bad Vibrations,” explores the motivations of a ghost’s very first haunting – and the truly embarrassing secrets she wishes had followed her to the grave.

Pick up your copy today, and be on the lookout for a blog takeover by Alternate Hilarities editor Giovanni Valentino on April 11 and my author interview with Strange Musings on April 14!

What Have I Been Smoking?

Photo by flickr user "**RCB**

Photo by flickr user “**RCB**

Do I have a doppelganger here on Earth or a twin in some alternate universe hitting some cough syrup or hallucinogens on the daily? Because I have been having some incredibly trippy and entertaining dreams. Really vivid ones, the kind you only experience in deep REM—or if there was something in the water.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. In fact, I want these dreams to continue to flicker through my brain at night, because who wouldn’t want a semi-private concert with Prince while they sleep?

Here’s a roundup of my nighttime cranial romps. I hope you’re half as entertained by these as I am. And if anyone out there examines the meanings of dreams, please enlighten me as to what they are trying to tell me!

The Count and the Castle—In this dream, Count Dracula was alive and well in modern day Romania and his castle had become a full-fledged tourist attraction. There were 13 floors to explore, and people would flock from everywhere around the world to check it out. Of course, I was Dracula’s human girlfriend and since I was so badass, it made perfect sense for me to walk around topless—perhaps because we were in Europe?

Chris Pratt and Fringe—In this dream, Chris Pratt decided to become a pop star and his first single was a cover of a Queen song, although I can’t tell you which one, because I’d never heard it before. Anyway, Chris did an open call for backup dancers and naturally, I jumped at the chance. I showed up in a gold dress made entirely of fringe and shook it on set for hours. I was in about five seconds of the final music video, but it was totally worth it.

Anne Rice Likes Earl Grey—A few days before I went to the Anne Rice and Christopher Rice book signing at Changing Hands in Tempe, I dreamed that only 12 people showed up for the signing. (Crazy, I know, because they are both such phenomenal writers with huge fan bases!) Anne and Chris proceeded to hand out a bunch of free books to us and at some point, Anne said she wanted something to drink. So, what did I do? I made her a spot of Earl Grey tea and we talked like old friends.

Private Purple Party—In this dream, I was attending a generic music awards show and my musical boyfriend, Prince, was scheduled to perform. Prince asked about 20-30 of us onstage, hugged each of us individually, closed the heavy, red velvet curtains, and proceeded to treat us all to a private concert. He just sat behind a piano and sang to us. He even took off his mic, so everyone in the auditorium couldn’t hear him. The impatient audience on the other side of the curtain got restless and everyone left. But Prince wasn’t done partying. The curtain opened again, we went back to our seats, and we were treated to a full Prince concert with tons of dancers and theatrics.

High Heels and Hawks—In my latest dream, I was not only a newbie vampire but a hardworking and fabulous drag queen. And I’m talking a big, bold, and beautiful lady of the stage. The middle of the dream got a little fuzzy, but I do know there was drama surrounding my two boyfriends (that’s right, not one boyfriend, but two!). A little later, I’d found some human companions who wanted to help me control my vampiric powers so I could learn to use them for good. I woke up just after we’d taken in an injured hawk named Amy, who was destined to be my sidekick. How’s that for a superhero origin story?

So, what do you all think? What the hell have I been smoking?


Photo licensing**RCB**

I Don’t Have the Patience to Float


I have a number of friends who’ve recently raved about saltwater flotation therapy, so when a Living Social deal popped up in my email during a particularly stressful week, I bit. I mean, I’ll try anything once―sometimes twice.

Saltwater flotation therapy involves climbing into an isolation tank which deprives you of all your senses. It’s pitch black, soundproof, and filled with about 10 inches of lukewarm water and tons of Epsom salt. The high saltwater content allows you to float without any effort.

These isolation tanks were originally developed by John C. Lilly in 1954, a medical practitioner and neuro-psychiatrist interested in conducting experiments in sensory deprivation to study the brain’s natural state, minus outside stimulus. Since then, saltwater flotation has been used to detoxify, relax, and energize the body.

I thought I was ready. I’m so gullible sometimes.

I climbed into my isolation pod in my own little room completely nude and I immediately starting picturing myself in a sci-fi movie. Gattaca came to mind. The pod was completely white, egg-shaped, and lit internally with a soft blue light (which you can shut off to float in complete darkness, but we’ll get to that later).

During the first ten minutes, there was soothing music, the kind of stuff you hear in massage studios or yoga classes. I settled back and let my arms float on either side of my head like a bank robber who’d just been caught. Everything was going great―and then the music stopped. And I was alone with my mind.

The idea of this tank is to calm your mind and let it wander. Apparently, you can have some pretty psychedelic experiences if you just let go. Sans music, I, unfortunately, couldn’t shut my brain up.

Immediately, I was concerned I’d fall asleep floating and then startle myself awake, which of course would result in splashing my face with saltwater―or have a dream in which I had to, uh, use the restroom. The paperwork I’d signed expressly said that if any sort of…bodily accident…occurred in the water, there would be a substantial fee. Despite having a lot of control of my body, I was a little terrified of being “that girl.”

Stop it, I said to myself, you bought this deal to challenge yourself to relax on a deeper level. Get the full experience. Get control of your thoughts.

And with that, I hit the button to turn out the blue light. Darkness bloomed around me. Because my eyes were still open, the loss of light played with my sight and suddenly black shapes were swimming on the pod ceiling. And they were trippy and fun and they didn’t go away, even five minutes later. I could feel myself smiling.

Then, I started to wonder if astronauts in space feel this way when they’re in zero gravity. Of course, that prompted me to start pushing myself back and forth through the pod so I felt like I was flying and floating through the stars.

And then, the paranoia began and I started to imagine that there was something in the water with me, something slick and with big teeth…It is Shark Week, people. I flipped that blue light back on pretty quick.

I tried to calm down and stay still again. I thought maybe a new arm position would help. I could get comfortable again. I tried to put my arms by my side, palms up, corpse pose in yoga―and my arms, buoyant as they were, floated right back up to over my head. Which, of course, made me laugh at the complete lack of control of my body.

Suddenly, I realized that the blue light came from behind me, submerged in the water like a pool light, and I could manipulate it. That’s when the shadow puppets began. And it all went to hell in hand basket pretty quick.

In my last five minutes in the tank, the music came back on and I got ballsy and flipped onto my stomach in a skydiving position. Wheeeee!

When I got out of the pod, my body did feel great. My skin was smooth from the salt and my limbs were relaxed. I also slept amazingly well that night and I was super energized the next day. Overall, the experience was pretty fun. And the place I went was super professional, top of the line, and had a really fantastic atmosphere.

Will I float again? I honestly don’t think that I have the patience. An hour is a long time to lie completely still while conscious.

It’s also really hard to shut off this writer’s brain. My imagination goes wild during the most mundane of activities, so bring in something novel like this―and I’m done for.

I am clearly the problem.

I don’t have the patience to float.

And I’m okay with that.

Because this crazy over-imaginative brain is all mine.

Beware the Brides of March!


Would you pass up the opportunity to ironically wear a wedding dress and traipse from bar to bar in downtown Phoenix for cool beverages on a hot day? Yeah, I wouldn’t either.

This past weekend, I joined about 100 other blushing brides for the Brides of March pub crawl, an event that includes high-heeled footraces, bouquet tosses, lots of very creative wedding attire, oodles of cross-dressing, and cocktails aplenty. Yes, these were my people.

I think the photos tell the story of the day, so I’ll let the images speak for themselves.

Needless to say, I’ll be back again next year―in something way less conservative and little more avant-garde.

Beware the Brides of March!

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