I Made Exploding Bon Bons

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 Getting in over my head is one of my favorite things to do. I’m impulsive and excitable and when I’m bored, I make things. Since 2017 marks 20 years of Harry Potter, my house has been going into Potter overload. It means wands (hand carved from sticks,) leather working with magical themes, and knitting various house gear. To date I have knitted fingerless gloves in various house colors, two Ravenclaw Scarves & one Newt style Huffelpuff scarf.

It was time to branch out into snacks!!!!

I used this recipe: Three Baking Sheets to the Wind

First stop was the local Walmart to get supplies. I zipped up and down the aisles picking out dark chocolate, heavy cream & melting chocolate to coat. I spent a half hour in the candy aisle looking for PopRocks. They are supposed to explode. I needed explosions. But no such luck. PopRocks was extremely popular when I was a kid and it is out there (I even saw it in candy shops in the UK in the American section) but Walmart said nope. 

Fortunately my Walmart is Mall adjacent. Unfortunately, it was 90 degrees outside and along with my Exploding Bon Bon ingredients, I had also treated myself to chips, salsa annnnd ice cream. I was on the clock.

Slipping into the mall I made my way to FiveBelow which used to be a toy store called KB ToyWorks in the ’90s and someone I know (me!!!!) had worked there for a decade and had made lifelong friends. Still weird to see no one I know in there. Jackpot though… They had all the PopRocks a mad chef could want for chocolate science projects.

The woman behind the counter was dead inside. I can’t blame her. Retail kills. Say thank you people. Say it!!!! She seemed shocked by my overly aggressive friendliness. I made eye contact and told her I didn’t need a bag with a David Tennant style, “Nope!” (Yep, popped the ‘p’ and everything.)

Quick detour into the FYE store to see if there were any Capaldi Doctor Who Tees (Nope. Damn.) and off to the car. I raced home and cursed at the people who had double parked to pick up their kids at the school on the corner and then it was baking time.

Actually I took a half hour fanfic reading break. I love fanfic. Love it.

Then I made the ganache:

 

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This part was easy peasy lemon squeezy. You pop a bunch of dark chocolate into a bowl. Simmer some heavy cream then dump on top, wait a minute and whisk. At first it turned a weird pale milk color and I was worried. But I persevered (panicked and whisked faster) and it turned into this lovely, glassy, delicious chocolate goop. 

It needed to chill for three hours in the fridge. I retired to the living room to write fanfic. I really love fanfic. Also to read some fanfic and work on a ghostwriting project that has been fun but challenging. 

The website I stole this recipe from recommends watching a Harry Potter film. I watched MTV’s Catfish. I’m single and this makes me feel better because everyone is a damned fool liar!!!! (Yet I am still a hopeless romantic.) A walk, a bunch of writing, a knitting break and a Strongbow later, I was ready to move on to the fun part.

The delicious goop was probably not as chilled as it was supposed to be. I made a home for the PopRocks and dumped out Cherry, Tropical, & Strawberry. It was a messy job but I enjoyed how any little bit of moisture set the PopRocks off. It was a very noisy kitchen!

This is what these bad boys looked like before I popped them into the freezer to firm up.

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So… I chilled them for ten minutes in the freezer and did some dishes, taunted Dayna with the promise of snacks and wandered off. The timer brought me back and I melted a bunch of chocolate waffers in the microwave. I did not burn the chocolate and am now a hero.  When I was dipping them, they snapped and popped again. It is a silly process!

I rolled them in chocolate, dropped them on parchment paper and sprinkled them with leftover PopRocks. Here is the finished product:

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And here is Dayna happily enjoying them:

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They taste fantastic! The dark chocolate centers stay soft. The PopRocks maintain their ability to pop surprisingly in your mouth and the fruit flavors really blended well with the chocolate. The only complaint I have is that they are super duper sweet. 

We also washed them down with homemade butterbeers. (They were kind of a bastardized version: Cream Soda, Butterscotch Schnapps, & whip cream.) 

I would definitely make these again. I think they taste fantastic. The process is easy as hell. Mine weren’t fancy and perfect. The balls were lumpy and misshapen but the melting chocolate smoothed them out. The PopRocks garnish makes them festive af.

I thought this was going to be harder but the process was simple. Do this! It is magical when you eat it. It does feel explosive. It is definitely a magical recipe. Do it now. Let me know if you would change anything & if you do change anything, tell me how it worked out. Add liquor. Add newt. Add fun.

Sick…

So I have been a completely useless lump this week.

I enjoy excellent health as a side effect of having horrendous allergies. But this week my allergies combined with a new office work environment to murder me very slowly with congestion, weakness and a lovely hacking cough. This shit super storm happens every once in awhile and knocks me on my ass for a week. Luckily this means no more illnesses for me for like a millennia. So there’s that.

Unfortunately it happened right after I had a huge mental sit down with myself about getting my poops in groups and working on my nano novel from last year. I spent a night destroying and rebuilding the plot. I saved nothing but the main character, her love interest and her dog. The rest of the story went into the chipper shredder because it was garbage. Armed with my new shinier and more logical plot line, I sat down and banged out chapter one. Excited to begin chapter two, I went to sleep and woke up in a brain fog.

I lost a week of writing time to the fog.

I’d like to say I’m exaggerating about the fog, but I literally, not figuratively, drove past my work, ended up in a neighborhood I had never heard of and had no idea how to get back for fifteen minutes. I pulled into a gas station and sat there not comprehending how to work my phone’s GPS. It was a full on ‘sun downing’ moment. I was terrified until Google Maps reminded me that it knows where everything is and took me to work where I pretended to um, not be experiencing dementia.

Now it is clearing up and I can’t waste anymore time. Well, I can waste a few more minutes writing this nonsense. But then it is back to the MS Word to make chapter two happen. Although I am considering never, ever getting sick again, or at the very least getting a bracelet that tells strangers to call my mom in case I am found wondering around in a fever dream.

 

 

A Night in Northern Liberties

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Thursday. Last Thursday now. I’m too busy a bee to get things down on paper seconds after they happen. And by busy, I mean I went home and passed out. Where was I? Last Thursday, Heather reminded me for the 400th time that we had concert tickets for Red Sun Rising. My memory is crap when it comes to anything time related. So she even created a Facebook Event to remind me to pick her up and take her to Northern Liberties. This is entirely necessary or I would have been on the couch watching Almighty Johnsons on Netflix. But Heather is a clever girl and I picked her up at 7ish. I’m not punctual either. Not sure why she puts up with me… I am an easily distracted friend.

After a half hour of driving and a further half hour of me bitching about not being able to park downtown (even though we were clearly in Northern Liberties,) we parked on 5th and Green. Heather stared at the sign and said, “You sure it’s Green?”

“Yes,” I said. “There is the sign. Here, look at it. You better remember it because I won’t.” (I use a GPS for everything. I have no idea how to get places, just a preternatural feeling of what direction my apartment is in.) Heather assures me that she has pinned it on her Google Map. I don’t have a smart phone. I have to trust these words. I should not have trusted these words. For I was dealing with buzzed Heather at this point, a double rum and coke in. Blithely, we continued on our way to the Ortlieb.

Unlike the big bars up in Far Northeast, the bars “downtown” are cooler somehow, smaller, divier and full of mysterious corners. They are in fact: cooler than the ‘Burbs. The Ortlieb is no different. Outside boasted a few bearded guys smoking cigarettes. Inside was all hot, warm reds and browns. The wall sported a bull’s head draped in the American flag. The bar was long with a brass rail and full of people drinking. The first booth was open. Heather slid in and sat on the red leather tufted booth side. I sat on a high stool. I’m short. This made me feel like a kid in a high chair. I’m mostly used to this feeling by now. Heather’s tall and seemed to fit the adult sized furniture.

The Ortlieb is not wide but stretches long and in the back is the venue. We haven’t been here before and I hope it opens up, since the bar is a bit cramped for me. I head to the bar to get us rum and cokes, which is the drink choice of champions. Trust me.

I stand at the corner being blatantly ignored. That gives me time to observe a few people around me. The girls to either side of me seem friendly. I smile. They smile. A young guy walks up and trades what might be an acid tab for a Yuengling. I raise an eyebrow and my twenty. The guy notices me and drinks are served! I debated getting us multiple drinks but my hands are tiny so I leave off. The drinks are a decent price. Bartender is a friendly young guy in a white tee.

Back in the booth, we discuss our flagging careers, since we both work in the same dead end data entry job, and our friends, family and random bullshit. It’s girl bonding time and we don’t give a shit who’s around us. The table to our immediate left is a bunch of older guys all in black band tees and jeans who are not interested in being friendly. Heather notices the band is at the table past the older guys. I goad her into getting her picture taken with them. She isn’t drunk enough to be brave yet.

The opening band’s music gets to us all the way out at the front of the bar. They’re good but doing covers. I never did find out who they were. We were there to see Red Sun Rising, that was it. Oh and maybe harass my brother who works in a bar ten blocks or so down. I made the mistake of teasing Heather about nursing her drink. She pounded it. I bought us more.

“These are so strong,” she says, “That I can’t tell which one is Coke Zero and which one is Diet…And I don’t care.”

“Mine is the diet,” I say with the air of an expert. “I think. It isn’t making me sick. It’s all rum though…so no way to tell. Do they put the lime in the diet? Or the lemon?” I ask, eying the citrus in our drinks.

“Lime,” Heather tells me. “Because sometimes limes are on the Diet Coke cans.”

This is as expert opinion. I agree and get us more drinks. At the bar the the brunettes are still there. The bartenders still have an aversion to me. It might be my devilish red hair. Relax everyone, it’s Vidal Sassoon! One bartender actually points to the other and says, “He’s got you.”

But he didn’t.

I amused myself by talking to the girls. I told them the band was swirling around talking to the crowd and were a few tables over. Girl on left says she’s seen them but hasn’t talked to them. A band member, I think it was Dave McGarry approaches her and asks, “Have you been in the back room? Are you going back there later?” Her shocked face entertains me. He charms her and I finally get more drinks.

Heather and I amused ourselves with people watching before heading to the bathrooms and the backroom after the band disappeared. Both of us come out of the bathroom angry that the dryers didn’t dry our hands and the soap was especially soapy. We get ‘O’s drawn on us as we get out tickets scanned and I give the guy shit about the tiny weird ‘O’s. He smiles and says, “It’s for Ortlieb but this marker sucks. The other guy took my good marker.”

Aaannnnd we were into the venue. Which if I’m honest looks like an old paneled library with a lot of red fabric on the ceiling. The stage at the end has red bunting that faces the band? So we see the sad wrong side of the fabric which was a bit orange-y. There’s a drink rail and an open space the size of my living room. We were about to be packed in like sardines.

Tall people start surrounding me. I will never understand why tall people always move to the front. I am 5’ 3.5”. Why do you feel the need to make me feel like I’m in a forest of redwoods? The guy to my left actually says, “Let me know if I’m blocking you and I’ll move. This margarita was $5. That’s good.”

All is right with the world. Also there’s a hot guy around my age to Heather’s left. But since his son is in front of us, I decide not to hassle him for being cute. The lights dimmed and the band came out. We were practically in their laps. The venue is that intimate.

Red Sun Rising starts with “Push” according to Heather. I know lyrics to most of their songs but for some reason I’m light on the names. What I’m not light on is the charisma that lead singer Mike Protich brought to the tiny stage. The band did not hold back. They seemed as excited and happy as the crowd as we all jumped around, singing, dancing and bumping into each other. Sometimes I lost sight of the band because I’m short and tall people were taking advantage of their camera phones. But most people were too into the music to care about recording it.

Comfortable and friendly, the guy on my left commented on the heat. Heather commented on the heat. We felt very closed in and people wished for open doors and fans. It didn’t stop them from dancing or reaching out to Mike when he out his hand out to us, we returned the favor. I got the feeling he was some sort of psychic vampire and he was living off our positive vibes. I didn’t mind. I wasn’t sure how many sexy incubi lived in Akron Ohio, so it was good for him to get out and make friends. Maybe with Gavin Rossdale? That one was definitely living off charisma stolen from me at Feastival I took my cousin to years ago (Wednesday, December 12, 2001 at First Union Center.)

I took my large green pea coat off and slung it over one arm. I wasn’t as uncomfortable as the rest. I lived for tropical weather and worked in greenhouses previously. It’s the cold that is my mortal enemy. I was happy to be warm.

The energy in the room was growing as they worked their way through the album. I clearly remember them doing “Amnesia.” I listen to that song every single day at work. It’s on my Spotify playlist. I went crazy and sang loud as hell. It was nice to get out of my head for a few minutes. “Emotionless” also riled the crowd into happy bouncing and clapping.

I was sad when the music stopped. It was like being cut off from all these people and being alone again in your own head. Heather is normal. So probably was just thinking, “How do I get a picture with the band?”

We stood around chatting and this guy I know from my days of dating the drummer in “the Jawn” walked out and started rolling up cables. I’ll be damned if I could remember his name. He might have been from the Great SOCIO? No idea. I went to a lot of band shows then. It was a good time. I was sad for a second, reminded if my ex. But I shrugged it off and laughed at myself for feeling like this ‘random guy’ was a good memory in a weird hipster sweater.

People did the job for us and started asking to take pictures with Red Sun Rising. I was on it. I moved forward and said, “Us too.” An impossibly tall woman said she would take out picture if we took hers. I obliged and took two lovely shots of her. She took a great shot of Heather with the band. I am not pleased how I looked in it. (Vowed immediate diet, which I am currently on..thanks a lot bad camera angle!)

Heather and I made our way out into the cold air where we immediately began enacting “Dude Where’s My Car?”

Now remember, I told Heather it was at 5th and Green. Heather started heading off in what I thought was the right direction. I have no sense of direction at all, so I am fucked in these situations. I have a system of memorizing turns and landmarks that I did not employ because I had brought a navigator.

My navigator was drunk.

We were initially going in the right direction. But it was taking too long. Also a guy from the bar who seemed friendly in a creepy way was trailing us. I kept an eye on him until Heather said, “This way,” and led us across the street. “I thought you’d appreciate getting away from that creeper.”

“He did seem creepy,” I said.

He was probably fine. We weren’t taking any chances. Northern Liberties isn’t the greatest neighborhood. I ask her to check the pin, and gave her the cross street. She makes a joke that that probably isn’t where the car is. I am undermined. I refuse to give in. “5th and Green. We looked at the sign. I thought you pinned it?”

It’s not in here, too many pins. Google maps hates me. I put too many pins in.”

“Can you look it up? 5th and Green,” I repeat.

“Are you sure that’s the cross street? I don’t remember Green…” I don’t know if she is kidding.

Minutes pass. I remember nothing of the landscape. We head toward a bar with an awesome robot sculpture out front. I stare at it. “I would have remembered that!” I say, pointing.

“I don’t think this is the way to Green,” Heather says. “No big deal, we’re on 5th. We can always go back to the bar and start over.”

She teases me about the cross street as we pass a lady and a dog. I ask her. She says it’s one block over and points. We go that way and I am extolling the trustworthiness of dog owners. I shouldn’t have. She sent us in the wrong direction. We wander for awhile. I am confused. Why won’t the magic Google Maps thing take us to 5th and Green? Are there multiples?

I sit down on the steps of St. John Neumann and remember I may have sung there once when I was in the chorus in high school. Ugh, no I am not thinking about high school…I repress the memory and look around. “I’m scared. I recognize none of this.”

Heather does magic on her phone. “That is Girard,” she says and points.

“Where is Spring Garden? That’s where the car is.” I say. I am confused by her smart phone. It seems to be deliberately leading us astray. Technology hates me. I think it’s trying to get revenge on me for that time I dropped my old flip phone on concrete and it exploded.

Heather points back the way we came and says, “That bitch sent us in the wrong direction. It’s 6 minutes away.”

Her phone thinks everything is 6 minutes away.

We walk around in the dark, loud as hell and mostly alone. The snow and ice are thick in spots. We are beyond caring. The stress of being up for like fifteen, sixteen hours has given me a headache at this point. I really haven’t been sleeping right since we went to overtime at work. This makes me stroppy. I try to keep my temper in check. This is no one’s fault.

Drunk Heather says alcohol makes her:

  1. Giddy
  2. Truthful
  3. Loud

I agree, laughing. She decides to send this revelation to her brother. I wonder if we’ll ever get to my brother’s bar. I am debating. Do we go home when we finally find the car? Or do we go to Mark’s bar? Hell, we’re already out and I am never in Northern Liberties. Frankly, I want to see my brother. I never get to see him outside of family functions. We are stupid, busy adults. Debate over.

“Ah, there it is,” Heather says.

I still don’t see the car. Beginning to think this is all some hallucination. Somehow I got that bartender’s acid tab in my rum and diet… But there she is! My dented, side swiped, glued-on passenger mirror, dented hood and dirty Alero is sitting in the slush looking smug. We hop in like heroes on our way to rescue…ourselves I guess.

“Put the bar address in your phone thing,” I say.

“I already did, pfft, go that way,” says Heather, vague pointing.

My head is pounding. I am exhausted. I’m also happy. I like adventures. I tell her if we can’t find parking we are out and she agrees. We loop around the block and are told to go to Green…another Green and now we know why Google Maps has failed.

“There’s too many Green streets!” I yell as it tells us to turn on it after we pass it. We loop around while Heather bitches about how Green streets are awful, evil things we can’t ever go near again. Down a bit and across the street from the bar, we see a poor bastard in an adult size car struggling to get into a snowy parking space. We wait. He leaves. We pounce.

Our Alero is tiny and mighty and probably going to fall apart at any moment. (The car was a gift from my brother when my Dodge Colt died. Mark had bought a new car and no one trusted the Colt. Except me…well until oil leaked all over the engine and it basically shit the bed to car heaven. I miss you Dodge Colt.)

“Remember where we parked the car,” I tell her.

“I’m not that drunk anymore,” Heather says.

“You’re a terrible navigator,” I say with a laugh.

“Only when drunk. Sober Heather knows it’s that way,” Sober Heather says and leads us across the street and down to where the Institute Bar is.

I hear about this bar all the time on my brother’s Facebook and in person. But what I remember most is: Franklin the Cat lives here. We walk in to a nice clean bar with awesome pipe for handrails and a real industrial feel to it. It’s half empty. But that’s okay, Mark said he would be upstairs.

“What’s up Franklin?” I say to the fat orange tabby warming himself in front of an electric fireplace. He flicks an ear in acknowledgment. I speak cat.

Upstairs people are nuts. Everyone is in pseudo bike riding/running gear. They’re huddled in a circle and saying crazy shit. One says, “Oh, they’re letting civilians in now?” as we pass. I stare him down. I’m the bartender’s sister. I am better than a civilian. I’m hoping I’m comped.

Heather and I climb up on to bar stools. My brother is there and he looks loopy. “What are you drinking?”

“Rum and cokes, diet for me,” I say.

My brother nods. He knows we drink Captain Morgan. Rum and cokes are the family go to drink. Although I’m sure he’s expanded to fancier drinks now. “There’s no ice. Get your drinks downstairs and come back up.”

We did. And we overheard hipsters being oh so hipster-y at the bar. I would have punched the guy at the bar on principal-he was that annoying-but we ordered fries and that made me feel peaceful. The young dark haired girl behind the bar hooked us up. We paid and roamed back upstairs. But not before Heather got a chance to hang out with Franklin.

I didn’t hear what they talked about but knowing Heather, that cat told her the secrets of the universe and she forgot instantly. Because I handed her a rum and coke. We headed back upstairs. We reclaimed our stools and let the bullshitting begin!

My brother and I have similar storytelling styles. We are loud and melodramatic. We talked about comics, his upcoming trip to Colorado and he bitched at us for complaining about being up since 6am. Apparently he had only had 5 hours of sleep and I was supposed to pity him. Pfft. He broke off talking to us randomly to get people drinks. Tell other people there wasn’t any ice and to bring us our fries.

He spent a few minutes flirting with a girl about Italy. I love how he plays up being Italian. I play up being Irish/German. We’re American mutts and we know it. But whatever works to get the girl, I guess. She was okay looking. Eventually a cute guy with long-ish hair took her back into the circle.

Mark tells us they’re part of a run where they go crazy and come here to drink and talk shit on each other. Heather eyes them up. I ignore them mostly. One of Mark’s regulars comes in and his name is Mike. Mark and I are talking about a stripper he used to date. He’s still weirded out that the guys at my old work bought me a lap dance from her. I don’t know why. I’m straight. The stripper was straight and apparently we shared a birthday. I think I’m way more flexible about gender norms than my ex-military brother. She also had no pasties on, for those who care about such things. I was 27 and it was forever ago.

I turn to Heather to explain that I worked in a factory where I was the only girl. Mike, the friend gets up and tells us rudely that we weren’t talking to him so he was going to talk to other people. I tell him he wasn’t talking o us. Heather says, “We don’t know you.”

The fries were amazing. I believe they are loaded with bacon and cocaine. If so, I think I’m addicted to bacon. I down some cokes. They’re weird. Not flat, not fizzy and strange tasting. Mark shrugs, “It’s dark, thick and weird up here. I have no idea why.”

It’s after midnight and the ball is over. We have got to go home and get some sleep, so we can type our data into entries. Not that it matters. But you gotta pay the rent somehow. We leave and I say goodby to my brother and Franklin. I think Heather will miss the cat most of all.

She doesn’t understand the significance of meeting my brother. I have friends who have been around me for decades who may have seen him once, interacted with him never. It’s a unicorn evening.

We didn’t even get lost on the way back to the car. When I show Heather the rough draft, I asked her if I captured everything? She told me, “I remember most of this, but rum took the rest.”

Review: The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath by Ishbelle Bee

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FROM THE BACK COVER:

1888. A little girl called Mirror and her shape-shifting guardian Goliath Honeyflower are washed up on the shores of Victorian England. Something has been wrong with Mirror since the day her grandfather locked her inside a mysterious clock that was painted all over with ladybirds. Mirror does not know what she is, but she knows she is no longer human.

John Loveheart, meanwhile, was not born wicked. But after the sinister death of his parents, he was taken by Mr. Fingers, the demon lord of the underworld. Some say he is mad. John would be inclined to agree.

Now Mr Fingers is determined to find the little girl called Mirror, whose flesh he intends to eat, and whose soul is the key to his eternal reign. And John Loveheart has been called by his otherworldly father to help him track Mirror down…

In this disturbing fairy-tale for adults, a little girl called Mirror is being chased by a demon called Mr. Fingers. Mr. Fingers is determined to eat her and use her powers to solidify his reign on the Underworld. The only thing between the girl and certain death is a shape-shifter called Goliath Honeyflower.

Set in Victorian England, this book is full of dark characters in darker situations doing terrible things under the guise of being upright citizens. A clockmaker, well sought after, fills his clocks with the souls of children. A boy named Loveheart is taken to the underworld and driven mad. Even the heroine, Mirror, is more than she appears after having been stuffed in a ladybird clock by her grandfather.

There is such a bright and beautiful level of madness in this story. The way the pages are laid out with text that grows and swirls around the page adds to the lovely level of crazy. Our heroes are insane. Our villains are also insane and in the middle is a little girl who isn’t human any more just trying to escape back to Egypt.

I think this is the closest you could come to going mad safely. It has the same feeling as falling down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland but the level of madness is higher, more dangerous and definitely bloodier. The world is well built and easy to slip into. Scents, colors and typography are used to make it into a full body experience.

You are drawn into the world from the first page. Each chapter choses a character’s head to be trapped inside, making you feel closely related to all the characters. Loveheart is more the protagonist than Mirror and he quickly became my favorite character with his flamboyant outfits and black eyes. But Mirror holds her own, aging rapidly to meet the dangers that surround her. And Mr. Fingers is the stuff of nightmares.

For me this was a perfect read. I zipped through the book, caught up in the insane imagery and unusual word choices. It feels very visceral, using all the senses to keep you engaged. If this were a painting you could stare at it for days, the layers would be thick and full of hidden gems.

I highly recommend this book if you are a fan of Lewis Carroll and don’t mind squelchy bloody, gruesome bits in your fairy tales. I would give it five out of five stars. The only thing I can complain about is that it isn’t longer. This story features epic world building with well developed characters.

I am looking forward to reading more from Ishbelle Bee in the future and can’t recommend her enough.

Her website is : http://ishbellebee.com/

Scott Spotson Friend to Wizards & Author of My Wizard Buddy

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I recently sent a lot of emails back and forth with self-published children’s author Scott Spotson. We met on Goodreads and decided to read one another’s books. He was kind enough to read and review my book: Spooky and The Ghost Chorus in return for me reading and reviewing the delightful My Wizard Buddy (Book 1) which he co-wrote with Brian Wu. After I was done I had so many questions I just had to badger Scott a bit.

Writers are curious creatures and I just had to get to the bottom of just what makes Scott tick. We’ll start off with my Amazon/Goodreads Review and follow it up with a short interrogation of Scott Spotson. Enjoy!

My Wizard Buddy by Brian Wu and Scott Spotson is an entertaining magical romp. Tyler is a sad lonely boy who never has any of the newest games and is terrorized by his older sister. But one day he decides to accept an invitation to be best friends with an odd boy named Dirk. That’s when Tyler’s life gets exciting because Dirk is a wizard! Dirk’s magic is more of the wish variety and he and Tyler cause all kinds of fun. There are no real villains in this story except the demons that live in our own minds. Ryan, a popular boy lost his father to cancer. Dirk seems to be dealing with issues he isn’t saying and of course Tyler is dealing with the urge to be accepted. I enjoyed the read. Fun book. I would recommend it to the YA crowd.


KK: Where did you get the idea for your series Wizards Wars?
Scott: The imagination that comes from having an imaginary friend was the impetus behind my wizard series My Wizard Buddy. What if you could have a friend who could make anything happen, but such a friend could be kept a secret from the rest of the world?

KK: What made you decide not to have an antagonist? 
Scott: Many children’s books do not have an antagonist. That’s because children are looking for a slice of life, to reflect their experiences to date. They’re not looking for an ultimate battle, they’re looking for something that perks their interests. Think of several books that show a slice of life, such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid; Judy Blume books such as Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; Ramona Quinn books; James and the Giant Peach; and The Phantom Tollbooth. 

KK: Why did you decide to self publish?
Scott: I think self-publishing is a good idea, rather than take up too much time of the established publishing industry. If your book is any good, prove it with your sales and reviews, then show the publisher what you’ve done. Makes sense!

KK: When we meet Tyler he is a very lonely boy. Was your intention to deal with issues like bullying and loneliness? 
Scott: I don’t think it was my intention to deal with bullying and loneliness, but rather than these nicely worked into the plot. Definitely loneliness, since that is a reason we often have imaginary friends. Also, I wonder if due to the increase in entertainment and tablet technology, if loneliness among children isn’t increasing. 

KK: In the first book Dirk uses magic indiscriminately. Are there consequences for each spell cast? Loss of energy?
Scott: No, there are no consequences for Dirk. This is not accidental. In all my wizard books, every wizard is infinitely powerful with magic. The only things wizards cannot do is bring people back from the dead, or control people’s minds, and if you think about it, these obstacles actually render wizards pretty powerless with controlling humanity.

KK: Self publishing is risky business. How are you using social media to promote your book?
Scott: I don’t rely heavily on social media. I do have it, but I find that the quality of the books–and getting them out there to start with–are more important factors. I’m very grateful to the marketing whiz of BookBub though, because they listed one of my books, Life II, twice.

KK: Are you currently working on any new books?
Scott: I am ghostwriting three books–one, an epic fantasy; two, a dystopian humour book; and three, a mystery/adventure novel (actually, that is co-authored with another).

KK: Where can people find your books?
Scott: People may go to www.scottspotson.com or just type in “Spotson” on Amazon or Goodreads. 


Bio: Scott Spotson is a novelist who excels in imagining scenes of intrigue and adventure within ordinary lives while daydreaming, then pulls together various plots to create a compelling story. He likes to invent “what if?” scenarios, for example, what if I could go back to my university days, and what would I do differently? What if I could switch bodies with friends I am jealous of, like the guy who sold his software for millions of dollars and does whatever he pleases? What if I had the power to create clones of myself to do my bidding? Scott then likes to mentally insert himself into these situations, then plot a way to “get out” back to reality. This is how “Life II” and “Seeking Dr. Magic” were born, within weeks of each other. He’s still working on dreaming up a situation where he gets to smash a pie in the face of his boss, with no justification whatsoever – how to get out of that one?

Why am I writing about General Hospital?

I love General Hospital. Just accept this. And for anyone who writes and doesn’t watch a soap (nighttime, daytime or web) you are missing out. When you watch a soap opera you really learn a lot about building a character and story line up slowly and then punching people in the face with your insanely awesome payoff. It’s a study in patience. Especially this week on General Hospital.

Being a fan of AJ Quartermaine has never been an easy experience. He’s the son of Monica and Alan. When he was born Alan thought he was Rick Webber’s son so he didn’t bond with him right away. In fact he never bonded with AJ until he got a substance abuse problem and suddenly realized his alcoholic son wasn’t as weak as he had always thought. He was raised with his golden boy brother Jason Quartermaine and his cousin ‘holier than thou’ Ned.

His character was blamed for everything bad that ever happened ever. It turned him into a drunk and once fateful night his dumb brother Jason got in the car with him when he was drunk and got brain damage when AJ wrapped the car around a tree. Even though AJ was going to turn himself in and take the blame for it, the family refused to allow him to do that and he spiraled. And damn it if we didn’t have to put up with his now really boring brother Jason Morgan (Quarterbrain.)

No while everyone continued to love Jason even while he hated all of them, AJ pulled his life together and was doing well until he met train wreck Carly. She destroyed him. She got pregnant and lied giving the baby to his brother and then to a mob boss. AJ spent years just trying to be near his son. After dying and coming back from the dead to bond with his son, AJ was tragically murdered by Sonny the man who stole his son.

But today…ah today was glorious.

Franco revealed a video showing Michael that Sonny killed his father in cold blood and Carly helped him cover it up. Oh how brilliant! Oh how emotional! Justice finally! Sonny and Carly are now dead to Michael. The story line from start to inevitable comeuppance took 17 years.

Amazing. Imagine if I could harness an audience and make them wait 17 years for their payoff? I would be a genius and a millionaire maybe.

Spooky & The Ghost Chorus (Available on Amazon.com)

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I haven’t written anything on my blog since my disastrous time at the greenhouse in Feasterville (not the popular one.) I’ve been in a crazy whirlwind of inspiration and madness. I put my Doctor Who novel aside because frankly I hated it. The plot was hackneyed and it was going nowhere fast. I will be picking it up again for this year’s National Novel Writer’s Month.

So what have I been doing? Well I got a temp gig at a great company. Met a bunch of brand new weirdo friends who I am incredibly grateful to have. But what am I writing? Glad you asked!

While getting sorted with a day job I also wrote a 40,000 word novella in September. After having it professionally proofread, I decided to self publish it through Amazon. That’s right, I went insane and wrote a novel in a few weeks. Not only one novel but I have mapped out a 13 part series for Halloween Hollow the world where Spooky is the Guardian of Halloween and Halloween themed wacky adventures abound.

Check it out here.

It may look like fluff for kids but we all know I grew up in the 80s. Themes abound. Themes like bullying, racism, being different and self acceptance.

The second book is going to be called: Spooky & The Underground Hollow. I have a chapter written already and a second one started. I started almost immediately after the book went to print. I love these characters so much I actually missed them when I wasn’t writing them for a week.

Next thing I will be doing is trying to figure out how to promote my books. I want to do a Blog Tour ( I read about it today…it’s like a world tour for my book the lazy way since I never leave my Ikea desk chair.)