Category Archives: Writing

A Retrospective Look at Jane Austen’s Brain-eating Habits

Can you believe it’s been 5 years since the release of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies?  And just over 200 from the release of the original novel? Well, to celebrate, the folks at Quirk Books (who published …and Zombies and its followups, as well as many other fine collections of pulped trees) asked me to do some digging and explore the past, present, and future of their massive mashup mega-hit — where it started, how it worked, and what it did for the company over the last 5 years. The short answer is that it basically launched their entire fiction line, which is now tremendously successful — and also served as an accidental omen to our current pop-culture status of zombie overload (seriously! They beat the trend! But barely).

For the long answer? Check out my 3-piece retrospective on Pride & Prejudice & Zombies on the Quirk website.

 

 

Plastic Paddy’s Wake (and Bake)

 

To celebrate the occasion of St. Padraig’s Day (specifically the 73 people arrest at UMass Amherst’s “Blarney Blowout” this past weekend), I’ve taken an old traditional Irish song and updated for the dudebro crowd. You’re welcome.

five by five hundred

(to the tune of “Finnegan’s Wake”)

Plastic Paddy lived on Linden Street,
A mutt with a tinge of Irish blood.
His North Shore accent wicked sweet
and in his life, smoked too much bud.
So he had a sort of a tipplin’ way
With a love for jäger bombs he was born.
And to help him get to class each day:
Sambuca in his Dunkies ev’ry morn.

CHORUS:
Chug, Chug, Chug, bro, let’s do shots
’til you hit the floor and your stomach aches.
Dudebro, it’s a rager here
At Plastic Paddy’s wake and bake!

One night he shotgunned too much beer.
His head felt heavy, which made him shake.
He fell from the second floor balcony
And they gathered around to help him wake.
They moved him to the futon
where they slapped him twice upside the head.
Someone panicked, “Call the cops!”
when they felt for sure that…

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That Was The Homophobic Girl I Poured A Beer On And Then Got Her Kicked Out Of The Bar That Was

This is a story.

(I assume there is a parallel universe where someone wrote this from the opposing point of view and called it “That Was The Homo That Poured A Beer On Me And Then I Got Kicked Out Of The Bar”)

five by five hundred

I recently attended a bachelor party in a strange dystopian place that was not unlike a Terry Gilliam movie, and while I’m not legally allowed to speak of many details, there is one anecdote that I feel obligated to share.

At this point in the evening, we were, of course, terribly inebriated and acting generally inappropriate in public, as these things tend to go. For what it’s worth, this was fairly common in our chosen destination, and with the exception of one horrified mother, most people seemed to be entertained by our behavior. We met a group of girls, one of whom was celebrating her birthday. They appeared to share our debaucherous attitude, and agreed to pose for a photograph with the Man Of Honor.

Naturally, I decided to photobomb their picture with the Bachelor, because alcohol. Another friend in our group joined me in the fun, and we posed…

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This Blog Post Will Make You Understand Why Amanda Palmer Is The Worst

I’ve established a bit of a reputation for myself as a Professional Amanda Palmer basher, ever since I wrote an angry little parody poem in response to her “Poem for Dhzokhar” which ended up exploding onto BuzzFeed and The Guardian UK. I was never particularly fond of her, even before that — some of her music is fine, sure, but her Neutral Milk Hotel Jukebox Musical left a very sour taste in my mouth1, and her production of Cabaret at the American Repertory Theatre was the single worst (not to mention most masturbatory) professional theatre production I have ever experienced — but it wasn’t until recently that I really started seething at the mention of her continued existence on our shared plane of reality. That might sound a little extreme — she hasn’t, you know, killed anyone or anything — but the cognitive dissonance between the message that Amanda Palmer conveys and the things that she actually does fills me with such vehement anger, that I feel the need to articulate the ongoing problem that she continues to present.

I’m choosing to write about this now is because I’ve had a number of people bring my attention to her latest blog post about Justin Bieber’s arrest, all saying that they awaited my snarky response to it. And while sure, I could do that (hell, maybe I still will), I thought it would be better for me to take the Amanda Palmer approach and express my feelings in a rambling blogpost which I can then in turn proclaim to be “art” and thereby diminish any and all criticisms of my own shortcomings by blowing a raspberry at my detractors and say “IT’S JUST ART YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND I’M JUST TRYING TO EXPRESS MYSELF AND THAT IS BEAUTIFUL.”

Continue reading This Blog Post Will Make You Understand Why Amanda Palmer Is The Worst

Upcoming Stuff & Events & Things (Nov. ’13)

Hello, website! Long time, no update! I swear that one of these days I am going to actually train myself to just make brief updates here as they happen, instead of these info dumps.

ANYWAY. I’ve got some stuff going on, because of course I do. It goes like this:

  • Saturday, December 7, I’ll be returning to MORTIFIED and performing some hilariously terrible songs that I wrote when I was 16. The performance will take place at Space 538 in Portland, ME; tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Do I know anyone in Maine that I can even embarrass myself in front of? I don’t know, but I can tell you that it is definitely worth it to go to Maine to laugh at my terrible, terrible songs.
  • I’ve also got 2 new short plays in the 4th Annual Boston One Minute Play Festival, January 4-6 at Boston Playwrights Theatre. They’ll be directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian and Meghan Mueller, which I’m sure makes my sister proud in some way.

Meanwhile, in addition to my normal duties at Five By Five Hundred, I have a review of Eric Smith‘s new book The Geek’s Guide To Dating on Tor.com, and some coverage of SpeakEasy Stage Company‘s world premiere production of Make Up Your Mind, a brand new play by Kurt Vonnegut even though he’s dead.

And then, ya know, the youge (like, the slang/shortened word for “usual,” but spelled phonetically? Is that right?): Workin’, writin’, so on and so forth. Tonight at the Huntington we start performances for The Cocktail Hour by A.R. Gurney, which is directed by Maria Aitken, a favorite of ours at the theatre. Here’s a little video I made for that:

I also wrote some fun stuff about ghost stories at the theatre on the Huntington’s blog which is still worth reading even though it’s after Halloween, as well as two pieces of flash fiction in this “Quantum Shorts” competition that you can go read and vote for so I can win some monies: I Kill Dead People and Not Dead Yet (which was the basis for my story in Grayhaven Comics’ Fifth Dimension anthology).

Wow that’s a whole lot of dead stuff. In that case, I should end this on a happy note, which is that Maurissa Tancharoen both listened to and enjoyed my song “I’ll Fight A Whedon For You”; unfortunately, her husband Jed was less than impressed.

So now I’ve pissed one Whedon and armwrestled another, which only leaves Zak for me still to cross. But overall I think that means that I’ve successfully become a Whedonverse villain?

Holy crap, I’ll be 28 in 2 weeks.

Oh, and One More Thing…

Who’s got two months and totally has picture (along with the rest of his talented Clarion 2013 cohort) in this month’s issue of Locus Magazine, like some sort of real-life science fiction/fantasy author? THIS GUY.

That’s me in the center, with the Red Sox shirt and sunglasses. No, not that guy with the sunglasses, that’s Will Kaufman (though you should probably know him, too, because the dude writes the weirdest fucking stories that will absolutely break your heart and blow your mind and he’s kind of brilliant and hilarious and also I love him dearly). I’m the handsome one next to him.

*This month’s issue of Locus also includes features on two of my incredible Clarion mentors, Nalo Hopkinson & Cory Doctorow, as if my handsome mug weren’t reason enough to check it out.

The Origins of Pumpkin Beer

New post on Five By Five Hundred about the secret history of that wretched poison that people actually pretend to like. Ugh.

five by five hundred

It was nearing sundown on that late autumn evening, and soon the frost would settle in for the long winter months. Mordecai Willington III was tending to the last of his crops, surveying the remaining gourds that littered his field in a tangled mess of pulp and vine, like a spider’s web in orange, brown, and yellow, speckled with flecks of green. It was the end of the harvest season, and though his yield had been high this year, he wasn’t selling as strongly as he had hoped. Soon the gourds would go to waste, buried beneath the snow along the cold Atlantic coast. Without the money he had hoped to make, his family would be forced to ration their goods until the spring.

Mordecai was gathering the final fresh gourds when a blinding white flashed across the field. It was radiant and burned without pain, as if God Himself…

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