Standard Year in Review post

The problem with having a blog is that it all feels self-aggrandizing and a year-in-review post is the nadir of self-aggrandizing posts. It’s even more self-aggrandizing than using ‘nadir’ in a sentence. So with that out of the way I got drunk on flowery umbrella drinks and wrote one. Any typos I made will be left intact to help tamp down on the aggrandizement. Hopefully it just doesn’t even look like a word anymore.

Excerpts from the Diary of Theodore Miro, competitor on Season 2 of CryptoChefs
My second time out with the awesome folks at Mad Scientist Journal followed a contestant into the seedy underbelly of televised cooking competitions. If you’ve been binging the Great British Bake Off but think all their pies needed 240% more blackbirds, have I got the story for you!

To Another Abyss! from Spaceboy Books
Having my first novel published by a small press was definitely the highlight of my year. I knew that a Wodehouse-style comedy of errors steeped in Western Mass regionalisms (the different types of artists who congregate around the Five Colleges, a small but tenacious punk scene, Bob’s Discount Furniture,) would have a wicked niche audience and be a hard sell to agents. When I found Spaceboy’s submission call and saw their catalogue included a weird SF dystopia leaning hard left, I had a good feeling about sending them my manuscript. And now after rounds of revisions and an anxiety-addled blurb-busking — sincerest thanks to Erica L. Satifka and Wayne Gladstone — my farcical foray into fine art, film, and fish-people is out there in the wild, doing whatever books do when you aren’t prodding them with a red pen.

Oh Ghost of Mine
Something I really like in a novel is when the POV character isn’t entirely sympathetic and it’s to an extent the book is all a joke at their expense, but I understand how that can be super annoying to other readers. I was glad I got it out of my system with To Another Abyss, and this tie-in story follows Decca trying to start a little supernatural side-hustle. I’m wicked proud that it got picked up by Speculative City in print online, and produced as audio by The Overcast.

InFringe Festival
I’d been out of the loop with live readings for a year or two, but my friend Picolla invited me to be part of their Fringe show “Moved: an Evening of Poetry Inspired by Burlesque.” I was paired with a dancer named Eros Sea, who sent a brief description of the themes behind his set and the song he was performing to. It was from Frozen… which I’d never seen. So I wrote a flash piece about a ghost hitchhiker getting over his moping-on-the-roadside routine and hoped for the best! It went over well with the crowd, but honestly, there was no way I could’ve written something that measured up to the actual act from Eros. The man has poise for weeks and of course you shouldn’t click that link if you’re at work.

Oh god, conventions. Aaaaaah.
I tried to jump right in to the Published Author thing and went to a couple cons. I attended Readercon where I got to see some super interesting panel discussions and hopefully not be too socially awkward while meeting some of my favorite authors. Contraflow, a small con here in Louisiana, invited me as a guest. I got to sit on a couple panel discussions and even moderate a pretty thorough panel about SFF affecting change in the real world with Trisha Baker and Ernest Russell.

Many nerves were wracked in the process, but two stories and one novel makes this my most productive year so far. And I didn’t even have to handcuff myself to Twitter’s offices to get the attention.

New Years Resolutions

Here’s my list of New Year’s resolutions for 2015, as performed at Esoterotica last night.
(For those of you not from New Orleans, the Tulane Avenue Bar I reference is not too subtle about being a gay bar. And yes, I am that oblivious to people’s come-ons.)

 

  1. Actually get over your crush on the barista you wrote the piece about having the hots for for last New Year’s. Even if she still has that Clea Duvall hairstyle.
  2. Stop referring to your flirting abilities as “that old Zach magic.”
  3. Develop some degree of flirting abilities so that you can start referring to them as “that old Zach magic” and then stop.
  4. Understand that when a guy buys you a drink at the Tulane Avenue Bar it is not just because everybody’s so much friendlier down here.
  5. Institute a total ban on referring to sex with exercise terms. Women are right to be offended by your prior use of the phrase “low weight, high reps.” And referring to that as a protein shake won’t bring anybody to your yard.
  6. Actually read Infinite Jest instead of just using a hollowed-out copy to stash condoms.
  7. Stop eating bananas, hotdogs, churros, and popsicles while you’re at the Tulane Avenue Bar. You gave the wrong impression. You should have gotten the hint when you noticed their food truck only sold those four items.
  8. Get a new bathroom mirror so women online don’t think it’s your abs that are always smudged.
  9. Stop hanging out with hippies just because you think there’s a greater chance that a woman of that subculture will use the phrase “wanna climb that like a tree.”
  10. Stop asking your dentist if there’s an operation you can get to help you tie cherry stems with your tongue. Again, you gave him the wrong impression.
  11. Make sure the next fancy Uptown house you hop the fence to try and do it in the backyard of doesn’t have security cameras. Or make sure you’re both wearing masks — maybe wait until Mardi Gras.
  12. Come to terms with the fact that somebody who lets people eat sushi off of them as part of their job will not be interested in doing so with you on their personal time.
  13. Stop putting on music when having sex at your apartment. It’s less embarrassing if your roommates know you’re getting laid than if they know you still listen to Blink-182.

“Can I Call Her Fairuza?”

Slightly out of season. This was originally performed for Esoterotica’s Naughty New Year 2013.

 
Can I Call Her Fairuza?
by Zach B
 
My New Year’s resolution is to stop drinking coffee. Not for any problems I have with caffeine, but because I keep thinking the barista with the pixie cut has a crush on me simply because she happens to remember the same order I make five times a week.

Not that I wouldn’t want to capitalize on that possibility should it exist. Pixie cut, after all.

I couldn’t make the attempt because I know ladies in service jobs get approached all the time by guys whose orders they don’t even incidentally remember. I think those guys are tools even when the woman they’re asking out isn’t potentially my secret admirer. Whenever some guy does work up the bravado to give it a try and inevitably gets shot down, it embarrasses everybody in line behind them who had also been thinking of asking her out.

What should one even fantasize about for a barista, anyways?

– Pressing her up against the espresso machine so hard that steam shoots out each time you thrust?

– Maybe sitting her on the bean grinder for the same effect that you get when doing it on a washing machine?

– Would I get to pull out and finish in to one of those tiny little espresso mugs?

“Excuse me, ma’am, I asked for light whip.”

I couldn’t just write my number on a fiver and put it in the tip jar, that’d make me a john if it worked.

My Christmas list this year:

1. Bags of Earl Grey, in bulk.

2. The Craft on DVD.