Shinies: Fall Edition!

Posted in Uncategorized on November 11, 2010 by Jaym Gates

Because I might flood Twitter otherwise. This is the problem with some free time to browse DeviantArt!

Leatherwork Drow Costume!!

There are a lot of beautiful masks, but this one is one of the more unique ones I’ve found: Fighting Koi

But this dragon-mask is just lovely!

If anyone ever needs to bribe me, this will get you *almost* anything!

More masks: Plague Doctor and a great steampunk mask

A must-have for the Cthulu-lovers: Necronomicon

demon stormtrooper!

Very Twisted Kingdom King costume

And, to wrap this all up, an *awesome* steampunk Captain’s dress!!

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Chaos

Posted in Uncategorized on November 5, 2010 by Jaym Gates

Why do I push myself to collapse, avoid sleep, take on ridiculous amounts of work, and surround myself–constantly–with heart-pounding music and stimulation?

Because, if I don’t, if I rest or relax or stop stuffing my mind full of everything I can, then I have nights like tonight. Four songs pounding through my memory–simultaneously, with words and music perfectly clear–on totally different beats, at that. I have to multitask, run specific patterns to keep things from tightening and winding into a high-tension spool.

And that’s only one of the things that will happen. Intentional madness is better than unintentional.

Monsters Under the Bed: A Draft

Posted in Uncategorized on September 12, 2010 by Jaym Gates

So, I’m trying to write 300+ words a day. Anything that comes to mind is fair game. Of course, an idea popped into my head last night for an urban fantasy novel. So I’ve sketched out the main voice here. Male antagonist POV, my favorite to write from, oddly.

If I get back in the habit of writing, and can get a hold on this one, maybe I’ll have another draft, soonish.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Someone once told me that werewolves have long memories. They remember their mates, long after death. They remember every hurt done to them, every slight and snub.
I have to wonder if that someone ever met a werewolf, if he ever stared into their maw as they changed in his arms, lost their humanity and became a slavering beast.
Then again, I can’t remember a damn thing, unless something triggers it. My memory is shit. Just like my mind.
Ok, I admit it. I lost control. I was one of those wolves that gets on the news. “Rabid Wolf Kills 15 Schoolchildren, Hunt Underway. Story at 11.” “Official sources say an unidentified attacker brutalized three women, trashed house on Broad Street. Manhunt underway. We’re waiting for details, but in the meantime, stay inside, and keep your doors locked and lights off.”
Stupid, stupid people. Darkness won’t stop a raging wolf. I couldn’t be heard in the darkness.
More than sixty people died before they caught me, although most of those were never connected to me. I’d been killing for years, and only one person had ever known.
One person who tried to save me from myself.
Too bad she was wrong.
She said I had to give in. I couldn’t fight the wolf. I was the alpha, the leader of the pack. The strongest in the state, perhaps the region. She wanted me to give in to the evil, to submit and take my place as King Monster.
And then she walked away from me, and I lost it. At first, I was only hunting her. I wanted her back. But she wouldn’t be hunted.
She was the only person I knew who didn’t die. I couldn’t kill her. I tried, sure. But she knew I was coming. Hid herself in plain sight, where I didn’t dare reveal myself. Walked right past me, waved at me, once. When I did catch her alone, she refused to fear me. I tried everything to get her to run. She was in the hospital for months after I was done with her, but she just laughed in my face and called me an idiot.
It was her fault I went on the rampage, her fault all those people died. I told the doctors that, but they don’t care about her. She still looks normal, and it’s bad business to experiment on something that looks human.
But with silver seeping through my blood, holding the madness at bay, the monster in chains, they set me on her.
After all, I knew what she was.
The real monsters don’t hide under the bed.

Recipe: Croutons (+bonus!)

Posted in Uncategorized on September 1, 2010 by Jaym Gates

I never use up a whole loaf of bread without getting creative. So, usually, I just don’t buy it. But, every now and then, I can’t help it.

What to do when scraps start accumulating? Croutons! SO easy, SO good.

Grab a loaf of bread. Go nuts with the knife. Throw it in the oven at 250 until it is hard, no moisture left (usually about an hour, depending on the bread). Voila. Ten times better than store-bought. (If you want to season them, spray the fresh bread lightly with cooking or olive oil spray, and then season.

Last year, I made butternut squash and sage soup and topped it with feta cheese, walnuts and pumpernickel croutons. I made asiago and walnut quick-bread into biscotti for Christmas gifts, to go with homemade roasted red pepper soup.

They also make good snacks, either on their own, or with some dressing.

Today’s versions:

Pumpernickel with chili and cumin and pepper blend
Multi-grain sourdough with smoked paprika and coriander
Multi-grain sourdough with oregano, thyme and onion
Kalamata olive bread with some homemade spice blend

Bonus recipe from last night’s dinner:

1 cubed butternut squash
6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
3 chunks of candied ginger
Glaze of 2 parts extra-virgin olive oil, 2 parts honey and 1 part balsamic vinegar, chili and salt to taste
Toss ingredients in a roasting pan, stick in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally.

Serve over:

Cheater’s Black Risotto

(No measurements here, sorry!)

Black or wild rice (yes, you can use any rice. Black is lovely though.)
Amaranth or Quinoa (extra protein for us vegetarians)
Salt and pepper.

Cook rice according to directions. Add amaranth or quinoa about halfway through cooking time. When just a bit of liquid remains, add a bit of butter and a handful of cheese (I used an Italian blend) and stir until cheese is melted and rice is creamy.

Dish onto plate, add squash, and top with slivered almonds and cacao nibs.

Perfect autumn or holiday dish, but is equally delicious in summer.

The Dust on the Doors and Lintels

Posted in Uncategorized on August 27, 2010 by Jaym Gates

Given my rather un-linear perceptions of time, I suppose it isn’t surprising that my ‘first’ memories are from when I was 2…and when I was 8.

One was watching my aunt die. Or, more accurately, the aftermath of it. I swear there’s a photograph of it, that I’ve held it in my hands. But the photograph is moving.

I was 2 years old.

The second memory is the clearest. No snapshots. It happened at school. There was an archeological dig on the corner of the playing field, leading into the towering hill behind the school. Some of us kids got to go into it. The last thing I saw was several black cats around the entrance.

Inside, thick drifts of dust covered the floor. Bone-white. My tongue was silky with it. Suffocating.

I think I was seven or eight.

One of these is a dream. But I remember the taste, the touch, the smell.

I didn’t get lost in those tunnels, but I couldn’t muster the energy to escape. I couldn’t think. Black cats followed me, and the dust eddied around my ankles.

I’ve had dreams of dying, of all manner of horrible things. My family has a history of dreams that sometimes usurp living memories. Those aren’t always pleasant.

No dream ever scared me half so much as the tunnels.

I realized, last year, that I never left those tunnels. When I woke up from that dream, I could still taste the dust. That dream has haunted me ever since.

Last year, I found myself in those tunnels again. The same dust, drifts of it on the doors and stairs. Oh yes, that’s right. I was in a different part of the tunnels. I wasn’t a child any more, and I wasn’t afraid.

I had a sword. A name. A purpose. I followed a river out, and met an old, blind man by an old tree under the full moon. The moon wasn’t in the sky, but reflected on the water.

I don’t remember what he told me.

But I remember the taste of bone-dust in my mouth.

It’s a taste that you’ll find in nearly every one of my stories.

Two recipes: Greek Yogurt Dressing and Corn/Avocado Salad

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2010 by Jaym Gates

Yeah yeah yeah, haven’t been here for a while.

Anyways, recipes for my diet staples right now.

I love salad, but dislike almost all dressings. Lowfat tastes like crap, and regular…yeuck! The calories and sugar!

This solves all problems, and is quite easy to make. It will separate a bit in the fridge but is good for a week. Can also be used on sandwiches instead of mayo. It is high-protein, and only has good fats.

Lowfat Greek Yogurt Dressing

2 cups 0% or 2% plain greek yogurt
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp soy sauce (Healthier: substitute Bragg’s amino acid, which tastes like soy, without the downsides, and is gluten-free.)
1/2 tsp rice vinegar (Use the Trader Joe’s stuff, if you can!)
1/2 tsp garlic-infused oil, or olive oil and a pinch of powdered garlic
2 tsp dill, dry or fresh
Pinch of unbleached sugar or drizzle of honey (Trust me. I didn’t put this in the first time, and it nearly scalded my mouth.)
Pepper and chili powder to taste

Mix thoroughly. So good!

The salad is another quick, refreshing summer dish.

1 avocado, chopped
1 cup unsweetened canned corn
salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin to taste.

That’s it! You can also add black beans, chicken and cheese for a 1-dish meal. Green chilies are delicious in it too.

I Am A Fraud

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 28, 2010 by Jaym Gates

This is a joint post with Don Pizarro. His take on feeling like a fraud can be found at (link will be added when he WAKES UP!)

I’m a fraud. I don’t deserve to be here.

Those were the thoughts, on repeat, in my head as I left the bar. It was Friday night, Boston, my first ReaderCon. I’d been drinking with friends, old and new, discussing writing, music, fandom, relationships.

Normal-people stuff.

Apparently, no one guessed that I’d been so afraid to walk into the room that I’d paused outside, literally too sick with fear to move. But the group was filled with genuinely wonderful people, and I at least stopped cuddling my wine so closely.

After a while, Don Pizarro and I, in desperate need of coffee, took our leave of the group to venture into the depths of Cambridge. By this time, my hands were trembling, my voice was trembling, my heart was trembling too.

Silence reigned for a few moments, and then we both let out a deep breath. One of us made a comment about being a fraud. Suddenly, words couldn’t come fast enough. By the time we got back to the hotel, we were both breathing a little better.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been crippled by these fears. I hate it, having lost out on opportunities because of it. I tell myself, other people tell me, that I’m talented, that I deserve to be here.

But, when you’re standing in a room of some of the best writers and editors in ‘the business’, it suddenly crashes down. “I haven’t done all that much.” “I don’t deserve to be here.” “I’m not worth talking to.” “Ooo, I like this corner. No one will trip over me here.”

I have an excuse, in a way. Words are my life, my love, my perspective on life.

If I have a religion, it is a religion of the mind. I worship the weird, the jagged, the extreme and tortured and shocking. Not for the shock value itself, but because of their courage in looking at the fringe.

I’m a synesthete. Reading The Scar was emotional, physical. Words are experience, touch, taste, scent, sound. I am there. I am there because someone went there first, led me by the hand into a world only they could imagine.

So when you are standing in a room of your idols and heroes and role models, it’s hard to keep perspective. I was raised with a keen understanding of my own inadequacy, and the respect and distance awarded to age, experience and talent. Added to that, my personal devotion to their work, and the pedestal has soared perilously close to the ceiling, and I’ve forgotten that they are just like the rest of us, award-winning or not.

We raise them on too high a pedestal. Not that they aren’t that good, not that they aren’t worthy of respect, admiration or perhaps a little awe, but because they are not gods, but humans.

I’ve talked to many authors, many people I respect. From each, I hear a variation on the same tale. Their path was no different from ours. They have struggled, and failed. Picked themselves back up, dusted off, taken another run at the next hurdle. They have collapsed beside the trail and cried, and wailed, and berated their gods for callous indifference.

They have felt like frauds, like failures. They have made stupid mistakes. They have stood up, squared their shoulders, and kept going.

That emphasis is necessary. Too many of us shamble through life, afraid that our incompetence will show, that someone will realize we didn’t come through the same door that everyone else did.

But we did all come through that door. We just couldn’t see it because of all the people blocking our view of the empty door, and the sign over it, saying The Right Way.

It isn’t a matter of success or failure, of genuine talent or hackery. It is a matter of honesty, within as much as without.

You will never succeed because someone else believes in you.