Category Archives: Pari Noskin Taichert

Must see, must read

by Pari

Ever since my children have come to the age of true intellectual analysis, I’ve wondered how best to give them a rich understanding of their heritage as Americans, New Mexicans and so forth. To me, one of the biggest gifts I can cultivate in them is a cultural fluency that goes beyond Hannah Montana and Disney.

I know this sounds heady, but I take my work as a parent quite seriously. Plus, it’s fun to introduce these bright young people to what I consider iconic examples of the best works—or the most representative of the best minds of our past and present—for the first time.

With the glorious advent of Netflix, my husband and I have been able to show our kids movies such as Gandhi—where we’ve been able to talk about nonviolence which then triggers discussion of the Civil Rights movement in the U.S. and what’s happening with racism and intolerance in contemporary society. We showed them Modern Times and talked about industrialization and its impact our economy and the human soul. Last night we watched the astounding The Great Dictator and, yet again, I was flabbergasted with Chaplin’s incredible prescience and articulation of the madness of embracing maniacal dictators like Hitler.

My children are also voracious readers. No books in our house have ever been off limits though I did, at one point, put some on the highest shelves so that my then eight-year-old—who was reading at a high-school level—wouldn’t get something with social implications that she truly wouldn’t understand. At least if the books were high enough, and she walked by with a stepping stool, I’d have a clue that she was trying to get at them and we could discuss their appropriateness.

Though my children are no longer pipsqueaks, we still read together every night. We’ve read Shakespeare, Austen, Bronte, Pratchett, Tolkein, Rowling and more. At school, my older child is reading John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, Harper Lee and other thought-provoking authors.

But now I’m searching for masterpieces, the best representatives of genre works.

Of course we’ve gone through the kid stuff already, the beginner mysteries that are tame or clever, but written for a younger audience. We’re waaaaay beyond those now. Without bragging, I can say with confidence that my kids are sophisticated when it comes to themes and language. Dine with us sometime and I guarantee you’ll be fascinated by the depth these kids bring to our dinner conversation.

So . . . I need your help. Please.

What are the fabulous examples of mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, romance that every person needs to have read to be truly literate in these genres? Which books had a profound influence on your world view, tastes or—for authors especially—your own work?

Was it a Heinlein or an Asimov? A Poe or Doyle? Did Ender’s Game change your life? Did Listening Woman? What do you consider the must-reads to give this new generation a solid grounding for the future?

On the same topic, are there movies that encapsulate an important point or time in our history? Is Citizen Kane still relevant? Is the first Star Wars seminal? Should we go back and watch all the original Star Trek episodes?

 I really can’t wait to read your responses.

And thank you for helping me to be a better parent.



Are literary agents necessary?

This is the kind of question that can get a person into trouble, isn’t it?

After months of going back and forth with my agent about my new manuscript, a little frustration comes naturally. After rewriting said manuscript completely at least once more, revising it again, and cutting out nearly 60 pages from the original work, I’d have to be brain-dead not to wonder if I was doing the right thing.

Why did I listen to many of my agent’s suggestions?

Well . . . some of his points made incredible sense to me. On top of that, I respect his knowledge and sensibilities about the genre. And I’m hungry to be a better and better and better writer.

The members of my critique group thought I was insane to do all that to a manuscript that they thought would’ve sold anyway. They urged me to send out the book myself. I’m sure several of my cohorts on the ’Rati would’ve had the same advice.

Yet, I made the decision to listen. In the end, will all that mishmoshing result in a sale?
I’m waiting to see.
My agent has had tremendous success with other writers; we’re both hoping he will with me.

In the meantime, my question remains: Are literary agents necessary?

When I was learning the business side of writing, everything I read and learned about the industry would’ve answered, “YES!”

It seemed like an immutable law, as much a given as the sun rising in the east and dogs liking liver treats.

Sure, there were tales about people who’d gotten published without an intermediary, but those were the exceptions, the stuff of myth.

Then came 9/ll, the anthrax scares, and the word on the street was that publishers wouldn’t open anything from anyone they didn’t know. In this new and paranoid environment, agents became even more essential.

However, quiet success stories continued to make me wonder about conventional wisdom. One that comes to mind right away is Pati Nagle who negotiated a three-book deal with Del Rey. She used an entertainment lawyer after the contract was offered.

Her answer to my question would be “NO!”

So which answer is right? Which would benefit the many writers — the ones reading our blog for advice — that are striving for publication right now?

IMHO, people need to really weigh the pros and cons of seeking literary representation in their careers. As Toni wrote yesterday, they need to look at what makes the most sense for them.

Below are two lists to begin the conversation. I note the pros and cons in no particular order — and am sure I’ve missed many in both categories — but hope that we can examine this question frankly for everyone’s benefit.


  1. Contacts: access to — and attention from – editors who make the real decisions in publishing
  2. Business advice
  3. The abililty (to potentially) negotiate larger deals than a writer might do on his/her own
  4. An advocate for the author to the publisher—editors and accounting
  5. Legal and other specialized knowledge about the industry and trends therein
  6. Up-to-date knowledge of the good, bad and the ugly about the publishers themselves
  7. Current knowledge of the movements of editors across imprints and houses
  8. Editorial advice (at least I like that in my agent)


  1. It’s often more difficult to get an agent than it is to get a publisher
  2. Time wasted researching and querying to find a good, reputable agent
  3. Another block between the writer and the publisher/editor
  4. Loss of income to a “middle man”
  5. Potential pressure to write what you don’t want to write
  6. Dishonesty/lack of transparency in money/editor querying
  7. Lack of enthusiastic representation or, worse, misrepresentation
  8. Personality or ethical conflicts

What do you think?

Are agents necessary?



A program note:

Tim Hallinan will be my guest at Murderati next Monday, August 17. He’s written a provocative piece “Bleak is the New Black” that I think will spark a fascinating discussion. Please stop by and make him welcome.



I am a writer

Enter the moment when now becomes yes
when dreams fly free, unbound from gravity and logic.

I sit in this place
in the second, the minute, the hour of possibility.

A woman looks at her lover;
I’ve got the introduction to a story.

A child screams in a store;
I’ve imagined whole chapters: the angry mother, the abusive husband, the lost job.

An old man coughs;
I’ve decided on the poison he imbibed.

All this in an instant.

Then comes the work
the butt in chair, pedal to the metal
BEWARE the cliché
SHUN the formula

WORRY about the industry
the agent
the publisher
the editor
the distributor
the bookseller
the future reader uploading scanned stories, downloading pirated novels on a cellphone/computer/mini-mobile-office.

DAMN my computer! It’s crashed again.
FUCK YOU, reviewer! How dare you take my baby and shred it so?
WHY did she win that award?
WHY did he get that incredible deal?
Co ops?
Paid Book Tours?


I won’t do it.


I go outside.

I breathe, let my shoulders relax.

The warm air is velvet in my lungs, smooth and soft and elegant.
Above me the sky is the most amazing blue.
I’ve never seen anything like it.
Do you know . . .
I think this blue isn’t of the Earth.
It’s magic.


A magic blue from another world.

Or another time.

Perhaps it’s . . .


Honesty in writing

When it comes to writing, I think too many of us try to outguess the market, to look into an imaginary retail crystal ball and write to what we think will sell in one, two or three years from now.

That’s why so many bestsellers beget whole cities of stepchildren that don’t share any of the remarkable DNA of their non-biological parents.

All this determining up front what genre our novels are, trying to dissect demographics and reader habits, going onto listservs and designing our works to please readers who like dogs but hate cats, is both useless and self-defeating.


When creative people spend that much time devising the perfect strategy for success vis a vis other people’s responses, they lose sight of their own unique gifts and voices.

The seed that started this particular vine of thought came from a comment a fellow novelist made about the first few paragraphs I’ve written in a new book. This one isn’t a mystery; it’s just a project I’ve started because I want to write every day and am giving myself permission to explore different styles and ideas.

My friend said, “Pari, I think that’s the most honest piece of fiction you’ve ever written.”

She wasn’t saying this as a condemnation of my other work, but simply out of surprise at the rawness of the emotion in the piece I’d shown her.

Honesty in writing? I was so flattered, I didn’t ask her what she meant.

Last Saturday I was on a panel at a local bookstore with John Maddox Roberts, Jane Lindskold and Pati Nagle. Betsy James was in the audience too. We started talking about writer’s block and a bit about process. I said that I’d felt a change in my writing during the last five months or so since I’d come to terms with not penning more Sasha books for now.

I’ve begun to write what I want to write without worrying so much about where it “fits” into the market. (I’ll deal with that later in the editing or selling process.) And believe me, just because I’m playing with new approaches doesn’t mean I’m forgoing the hallmarks of good fiction for some kind of freeform lark. It’s also not a rejection of the idea of genre or categorization; I’m just not writing to any of those goalposts right now.

As a result, I’m working harder than I ever have, but the quality of the experience is different. I’m getting much more satisfaction from my daily effort. It feels – dare I say it? – more honest, more from the sincere heart than the analytical head.

Will my new fiction sell?
I sure hope so.

What if it doesn’t?
I’ll be very sad . . . but not defeated.

Either way, this slightly new focus is giving me a level of creative freedom that I think will serve me far better in the long run. At the very least, I’m not so damn worried about every publishing hiccup and trend.

The truth is I’m enjoying myself within the struggle of disciplined creation; the journey itself is becoming a lot more interesting.

Today, I have many questions that I’d like to discuss:

1. Writers: Should novelists write to a particular market? Should they follow the conventional wisdom of knowing where their books will go in the bookstores BEFORE they begin?

2. Here’s another bit of conventional wisdom: you should write what you’ve written so that your audience can understand and stay with you. Readers, what do you think of that?

3. Readers: do you know when you’ve found an “honest” writer? Or honesty in the fiction you’ve read? Can you give us any examples?

4. Everyone: Does honesty in writing even matter?

5. Everyone: What the heck is “honesty in writing,” anyway?





What if?

Most writers I know adore a good what-if. That simple question is akin to creative crack, a cheap addiction with an extremely generous dealer.

After all, any topic is fodder for the what-if treatment. It’s the gift that, well, you know . . .

What if the Brits had won the American war for independence? What would our world look like today?

One particularly odd image in my answer to the above questions is imagining the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico singing God Save the Queen. It evokes a wonderful commercial I saw decades ago where the stereotypic Native American – one with long gray braids and a craggy face—eats a piece of pizza with a big smile and says, “Ah. Just like my mother used to make.”

You can bet those writers were playing with what-ifs.

What if Poirot grew tired of puzzles and opened a men’s clothing store?

Can’t you just see him measuring someone’s in seam? Of course, Poirot’s brilliant little gray cells would probably commit suicide from lack of stimulation.

What if Nancy Drew decided to drop out of high school and hitchhike through South America? What if she’d started toking reefer in junior high? What if her mother was in the picture?

I don’t know if Nancy would’ve butted into other people’s business or worked to solve crimes if her social horizons were broader, or if she’d broken a few laws herself. And, I doubt a mother would have let her do some of the things her father permitted simply because he couldn’t supervise his daughter all the time.

What if Sherlock had been well-adjusted? What if Watson was his true intellectual and observational equal?

What if Jane Eyre had had loving parents? What if Rochester had been a pleasant, happy fellow?

The mind just boggles, doesn’t it?

I know readers play with what-ifs all the time too.

My children derive quite a bit of their literary pleasure from extrapolation. My-daughter-the-Harry-Potter devotee has applied her innate logic to several questions about the characters as adults. She has a sensible theory about whom Cho would marry and why. She’s got a good idea about what Teddy (Tonks’ and Prof. Lupin’s son) would be like today. She’s certain Draco would still be a prick.

My other daughter has spoken with me about Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice and has wondered aloud about what would’ve happened if Lizzie had been attracted to Darcy from the beginning.

“I can tell you one thing,” my daughter said to me yesterday. “It’d be a pretty short book.”

Every time I write a scene, I make dozens of decisions that feel monumental in the moment. When I commit something to paper –or computer screen –it seems like the only possible option. The best one ever. When I’m in that frame of mind, I bristle—a little—to think other people might rewrite my endings or create their own narratives around my characters’ actions and motivations.

But when I’m in a what-if mood, writing is so much more fun. I let myself play and see where alternate decisions take me. And I love that people might invest so much emotional/mental attention to my work that they’d think about other possibilities.

Today, after the long weekend, I think it’s time to get our own little gray cells working. So, let’s stretch our creative muscles with this exercise:

Ask a what-if about any literary character, story or book
       and then – if you’re willing – give us an answer.



One of the enjoyable and unanticipated results of being the sole ’Rati that posts on a weekly schedule is that I now get all of the guest bloggers. The next two weeks are going to provide me with a much appreciated mini-vacation. And, dear readers, you’ll have the treat of two excellent writers. Talk about a win-win.

Look for

Julie Kramer on Monday, July 13

Rhys Bowen on Monday, July 20

Giving up

by Pari

I know I’m not supposed to admit it, but sometimes I feel like throwing in the towel. Most of the time, I have this fierce belief that I’ll be able to “make it” someday. But it’s those other times, the downhearted ones, that knock the air out of my lungs. That’s when I realize that if success is in the eye of the beholder, my eyes feel like they’re wide open in a sand storm.

My up-down measures of “making it” vary. When I think of it in financial terms such as: Can I make enough money to pay for my children’s education through college? It seems daunting. Other times I tell myself I know I will have succeeded if I make the jump to a respected NYC publisher, win a recognized mystery award, have one of my books optioned, or meet someone who really understands the themes in my works or . . . or . . . .

Yes. There are many moments of happy victory. There are also many of sheer discouragement.

The impetus that throws me into quiet exasperation or frustration isn’t always obvious. It can be as simple as a really unproductive writing session. It can be as complicated as a bracing analysis of the impact of early business decisions in my career and their future ramifications. It can be a bad review. It can be envy, jealousy or even an unearned sense of superiority.

No matter the cause, these times of self-questioning and doubt are corrosive. They eat at my resolve, my determination to continue.

Last week, I found myself thinking too frequently about life without writing toward publication. Should I just go out and get some shit job to start bringing in more money for our family? Would I be happier? Would I even write my fiction without a goal of selling it?

While I wallowed in the muck of these questions, I also began to think of writers I’ve enjoyed who did just what I was considering. There is Stephen Greenleaf. I’ve read every one of his books, grateful for his gorgeous prose and plotting. I don’t think he’s writing anymore. Deborah Donnelly had a wedding planner series that was both intelligent and great fun, but she hasn’t put out a book in years. Lee Killough’s paranormal fantasy/mystery works are beautiful psychological analyses of ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Is she writing anymore?

I’m sure there are many other novelists who’ve stopped due to exhaustion, disappointment, spent dreams.

When I pause and look at my future, I can’t truly imagine quitting yet. Without being romantic, writing fiction is a creative endeavor that requires heart and dedication. To give up that focus—at least with the written word—seems to me to be a very empty proposition.

But some days, some weeks, the temptation becomes frighteningly attractive.

Writers: How about you? Have you ever felt discouraged? What brought on the feeling? What helped it pass?

Readers: Do you miss any writers who are still alive but who’ve thrown in that towel?


Other people’s houses

I’m interested in other people’s houses. 

This fascination isn’t voyeurism; it’s the stuff of fantasy.

I first started thinking about my approach to other people’s houses in March.  That’s when I started our new dog on his canine fat camp regime. In order to get our 3-6 miles/day in, Chance and I explored neighborhoods I’d never traveled before on foot. We’d pass a beautifully manicured lawn and I’d think about the person who cared so much about creating that perfect expanse of green. Was he obsessed with order in other parts of his life? Did he have walk-in closets with clothes organized by color? Was he a loner. a retiree with only one chair at his dining table?

We’d walk a little further and spot a house with solar panels on its roof. Were the homeowners former hippies? Did they hope to get completely off the grid someday? I imagined their floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in a skylit foyer. Their master bedroom would have a real fire place rather than than a gas one. And they have to have a vegetable garden in their backyard.

What about that place with high fences and growling dogs? Why all the secrecy? I mentally wrote the bullet holes in the wide wooden table in the living room, the mildewed carpet with cigarette–or dope–burns. Was there a safe room with gun racks in it? Was the building used for cooking meth? A nice neighborhood would be the perfect cover.

I had many questions but . . .

On the rare occasions I actually saw someone from one of those houses walk outside to pick up the morning paper or trim a hedge, my imagination spluttered.

I didn’t want to know the reality.

I didn’t want a peek at their furnishings or the insides of their cabinets.

I had a lot more fun with the truths I made up myself. Building worlds in those houses, peopling them with the characters I imagined, gave me a wonderful creative rush. A buzz of pure pleasure.

Ever since I noticed this curious tendency, I’ve been reading books with an eye toward how authors handle the little things in their characters’ homes. The extra-enjoyable element in this process is playing with what’s left out of the descriptions.

What type of faucet is in Poirot’s bathroom? I like to imagine a really cool deco one with sleek lines and, maybe, some kind of interesting black and white marble inlay.

What does the dresser in Sookie’s bedroom look like? I think one of the drawers might stick, maybe a handle is a little loose?

We know Susan spends time in Spenser’s kitchen, but do we know what color his stove is? I suspect he’s a black or chrome appliance kind of guy.

Nancy Drew’s kitchen could very well be done in avocado green with a cheery yellow dinette set, the kind with plastic-covered cushions that stick to bare thighs on hot summer days.

I don’t know if all this fantasizing will influence my writing. I’ve found that most creative exercises flex muscles that often get used in ways I don’t anticipate. But that’s not why I play with this. It’s just a kick to let myself go with these vignettes, to see what I come up with.

How about you?

Is there a house or building in your neighborhood you’ve already populated and furnished in your mind?
Tell us about it.

Is there a room in a favorite character’s house or place of work that you’ve spent time imagining–filling in the blanks left by an unsuspecting author?
What does it look like?

My two fathers

“I forgive you,” my dying father said.

A week later at his memorial service, as the eulogies droned on, I endured the confused glances from Dad’s friends and acquaintances. No one knew who I was; they had no idea Dad had ever had a family before his current one—even though we’d all lived in the same town for nearly forty years.

Sitting next to Dad’s second family in the funeral home, I thought about what it meant to be a parent.

What had gone through my father’s mind when he left my mother with 18-month and 6-year-old daughters? Even in his anger toward her, how could he so immediately divorce himself from our young lives?

During the drive to the cemetery, I sat in the limo with Dad’s second wife and children. I felt alone, save for my baby daughter whom I clutched in my arms. Looking out the vehicle’s window on that hot July day, I held a different father to my heart, a man who’d totally taken responsibility for my sister and me from the moment he married my mother.

It couldn’t have been easy.

“Don’t touch me!” I yelled the first time my stepfather Paul tried to spank me. “You have no legal right to touch me!”

That defiance presaged years of trouble: Fifth grade—I ditched two weeks of school. Sixth grade—I started sneaking out of the house at night. I was labeled an “underachiever” by the time I was ten. I hung out with hippies, smoked dope before I hit adolescence. This isn’t bragging; I’m merely exposing a fraction of my rebellion to give you an idea of what Paul had to put up with.

And he did it with love, grace and a good dose of stern discipline.

Through the years, a change occurred. Perhaps it was those Sunday morning breakfasts, just the two us, at the restaurant before he went to play golf and I had to go to religious school. Maybe it was when I won those academic awards or wrote the long letters home during my year as an exchange student to France.

Somehow, along the way, the two of us—we mighty adversaries—became dear friends.

My biological father always lingered in the background. I had to see him at least every six months because mother had gotten into the habit of having him provide our free dental care. (Which, btw, left me terrified of dentists until I was 43.) I had this vague idea that I was supposed to love him, but wondered why? He didn’t seem to care about us, didn’t try to be part of our lives.

My young confusion turned into wrath. I hurt my father deliberately at times, excluding him from important moments of my life.

Then I had my first child.

What good was my anger doing anyone?

I decided it was time to stop the nonsense. How could I be a good parent if I carried my past grudges and fury, transmitted them actively, to another generation?

Through both of our efforts, Dad and I finally found a gentle peace. It still had its edges, but most of the time we focused on being compassionate to each other rather than bringing up past pain.

During Dad’s final illness, I was struck by the love my father’s second family had for him. Listening to them talk and joke, watching them change his urine bag and give him sponge baths, it was obvious Dad had embraced his new family as thoroughly as Paul had embraced my sister and me.

It was a seminal realization.

In fairy tales, blended families never work.

In my story, the miracle is that both of my fathers got a second chance. Even more astounding—they succeeded where they’d failed before. And what a blessing for all of us stepchildren that we understood what a gift we’d been given.

Paul was a wonderful father to me.

Dad was a wonderful father to his new family.

Somehow, in these circles, I find comfort.

There is enough love to go around.

Happy Father’s Day.



Somewhere today

by Pari

Somewhere today a young woman sits in a muddy blind, her uniform wet through.
She knows she needs to pay attention to what’s happening, that she has to distinguish between a clap of thunder and the burst of a gun.
But all she can do is think of her baby graduating from kindergarten back home . . . without her.

Somewhere today a boy reaches for an automatic with only one hand.
The wind blows dust into his teeth and eyes.
He manages to prop his weapon against a sand-filled sack, using the stump of his other arm—the one where the rebels sliced it off at the elbow—to keep the rifle steady.

Somewhere today a mother waits on the tarmac, watching the military plane land.
It bounces two times on the runway.
Her son would’ve laughed at that.
Through the blur of tired and salty tears, she sees them lift the unadorned casket.

Somewhere today a father stares at the last letter his daughter sent to him.
He’s memorized every word, read between every line so often it’s merged with the next in a confused gray.
Three weeks and nothing.
Not a note, not an email, not a text.
He looks to the broad blue sky and wonders where she is, if she’s all right.

Somewhere today a young woman is shot in a border town —
wrong place, wrong time —
the “collateral damage” of a drug war she’s never played a part in.

Somewhere today a group of young men claim a village for their tribe.
From behind a bush, a lone survivor sees them crushing children’s toys underfoot while laughing at the fall of former friends.

Somewhere today war will blast dreams away
cut lives short
and make sorrows long.

I pray
we’ll have no need to remember the lives lost in wars close and far,
that new memories will be forged, will grow clean and pure like the tiny pines bending in a simple breeze
on a mountainside
once charred but now bringing forth hope.

Somewhere . . .
Someday . . .



Fat Chance

by Pari

How do we do it?

How do we get anything done?

I have good reason to ask those questions because I’ve accomplished squat for a week. Yeah, sure, I’ve had some incredible coups for Left Coast Crime 2011 (more on that in another post), but I’m talking about writing . . . getting the damn words on the page.


I can trace the current chaos in my life to an exact moment.

One month ago, the breeder of our late dog Finn called.

“I’ve got this puppy,” she said. “Now. . . I know you probably will never buy an animal from me again. But I’ve got this ten-month old pure bred yellow lab and his owner just had a stroke. If you like him, you can have him for free.”

I didn’t dare speak.

“I understand he’s a little fat,” she said.

Could we do it? Could we bear to bring another dog that wasn’t a little puppy into our home after we’d failed with the previous rescue dog merely two months earlier?

“Well you can bring him on by. I’d like to meet him at the very least.” O, foolish, foolish me!

Fat didn’t begin to describe him. The dog looked like a harbor seal. He was also incredibly sweet, totally loving with my children and . . . unable to run across the yard without looking like he might have a coronary.

We fell for him hard.

That was it. He was ours.


There was one little problem. We’d already entered into a contract with another breeder for a brand new puppy—a black Labrador.

Last week, we brought said puppy—his name is Loki—into our home. He’s now eleven weeks old.

I feel like I’m dealing with an infant and a toddler all over again. Unless I stick Loki in his crate and put Chance in a separate room, I can’t even hear myself think let alone attend to whatever muse has the courage to enter our house.

Did I mention that it’s the end of the school year and there are all the last-minute chidren’s activities that strangely crop up this time of year? Did I mention that my husband is working gawd-awful hours because the company he works for is splitting from another company and he’s right in the middle of it all?

Wah wah wah.

I have no tolerance for my children’s whining, but I find myself doing it now. I manage a sentence or two in the new book and then it’s time to take Loki out for a potty break. Another sentence and Loki and Chance are going at it—growling and barking so that I can’t begin to concentrate. A word more and it’s time to pick up one of the kids from school or get the food to a classroom for some end-of-the-year party.

I know it’s going to get better. I do.

Chance is looking good; if I ever fail as a writer, I can open a doggie boot camp. The poor guy has lost at least 10 pounds and is looking quite suave. He’s settling in very nicely.

When the kids are out of school, I’m actually going to put myself on a schedule — 8-noon, Monday-Friday – so that I can get back to my own business.

Five more days . . .

I’m embarrassed that I’m not more of a super writer, more of a professional, who gets up at 3 am to write. But right now, I’m pooped, or, actually . . . Loki just pooped in the front room. Oh, no!

Stop that, Chance! Let go of that pair of underwear!

Loki! That table isn’t for chewing . . .


Tell me,
when was the last time your life was utter chaos? How did you handle it? How did you manage to regain, to tame it?