Horse Sketches and Fictional Workplace Hijinks

Horse sketches by P. KirbyI start off with a plan. “I will practice drawing people today. Because I still can’t draw people. I will not draw horses. Because horses are easy to draw. Seriously, no horses!”

Five minutes later, and I’ve got this. Four quick horse sketches. Because I can’t stop myself. I’ve been drawing horses since I could hold a pencil. People are hard to draw, with their weird round heads and walking on two legs.

Anyway, I’m making this a sketchbook dump Friday and excerpt Friday. Technically, the sequel to The Music of Chaos is about 90-percent done. First draft, anyway. I got stuck on a scene at the end, and then wandered off to two other projects. The problem is, I got two author voices–Hello, Sybil!–the snarky, first person, Mary Sue-ish voice of The Music of Chaos and the third person voice that I use elsewhere. The second voice has been in control lately.

In this bit of dialogue from Chapter One, Hallowbone Holiday (working title), Regan O’Connell leaves work, the day job, early…. Continue reading

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Things that Go Beep in the Night

It all started with a beep.

At 3 AM in the morning.

Remember that episode of Friends where Phoebe’s fire alarm keeps beeping? She unplugs it, takes out its battery, beats it with a shoe, and then throws it in the trash, but it keeps beeping.

Yeah, it was like that.

Beep! Then blessed silence. Just as I start to doze off again, “Beep!” Like the flipping Roadrunner, but without Wile. E. Coyote and his army of ACME toys. (Roadrunners, btw, don’t beep; they don’t eat seed–they eat cute little bunnies; and coyotes don’t fuck with them because they’re mean.)

After about a half hour of this, my husband growls and staggers out of bed and into the living room. He returns a minute later and flops back in bed. On the floor, the greyhound stretches his long legs, claws scratching on the bed, sighs and goes back to sleep.


“Fucking alarms,” says my husband after the fifth beep. He gets up again and turns on a fan to block the noise.


“I hate the Continue reading

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Slaughterhouse Kirby

greyhound needs more toys

Needs more toys

Saturday morning at Casa de Kirby. At the obscenely early hour of 6:30, the greyhound hops up from his pile of bedding on my husband’s side of the bed and starts making slobbery snorting noises. A few minutes later, my husband crawls out of bed and feeds the early morning chow hound.

I stay in bed until around seven, when it becomes impossible to ignore the sound of the shrieking Wonder Horse. (If I could understand horse, I’m sure his ranting would be R-rated.) Get up; put on whatever’s on the floor and head out to the barn to feed the horse and clean up his paddock. The day has begun.

While I’m doing the morning garden chores, my husband walks the greyhound. They’ve returned by the time I come back in the house.

“What’s that?” I say, bending down over a red streak on the Continue reading

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War Horse

War Horse

Why the long face?

Alternate title for War Horse: Cursed Horse. Because nearly everyone who climbs on that animal’s back, gets dead.

War Horse, the movie, is epic. As in epic disappointment.

In a picturesque Devon, Albert Narracott (Jeremy Irvine) watches a horse grow from colt to horse in a neighbor’s field, wishing the horse could be his. He gets his shot at horse ownership when his drunken father, Ted (Peter Mullan), purchases that horse at an auction. As with most decisions made under the influence, it’s a poor choice, since the family needs a sturdy draft horse, not a Thoroughbred, to plow their rocky field. Albert’s mother, Rose (Emily Watson), is appalled, but Albert insists he’ll train Joey to do the necessary landscaping work. Looming in the background is the menacing landlord, Lyons (David Thewlis), who is eager to take the family farm if rent isn’t made.  Albert, who knows nothing about horses, trains Joey to come when he’s called, while Dad gets drunk and Mom makes excuses for his alcoholism.

The story moves to a predictable mini-climax where, against Continue reading

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Brave, the movieIt seems that even critics who liked Brave thinks it’s not as inventive as previous Pixar fare. I disagree. It breaks the fairy tale mold in ways that go beyond its strong female protagonist.

No, Merida is NOT the typical Snow White/Cinderella-style vapid heroine, whose only aspiration is marriage to a total stranger–handsome, but still a stranger–her reward for being pretty and well-behaved. Merida is a strong, capable, self-rescuing princess.

But the film busts other tropes, as well. For instance, there are no evil stepmothers or wicked witches, driven to destroy the princess out of jealousy. Because, you know, the princess is now the fairest in the land?  Why is that, by the way? Male villains are given straightforward motivations like greed and lust for power, but the typical female (Disney) villain’s megalomania is nothing more than a beauty routine gone out of control. For once, I’d like to see a villainess who isn’t hung up on beauty, who wants to rule because she knows she’s bigger, badder and smarter than the current crop of idiots who are running things.

Speaking of big bads….Brave departs from formula there with Continue reading

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A Dance with Dragons

A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. MartinBecause I’m a pathetic little shit who needs to have her opinions validated, about halfway through the monstrous tome that is A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin, I went looking for reviews on Goodreads and Amazon and was relieved to see that I wasn’t the only one who was less than impressed with the latest installment in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. (One reviewer, rather hilariously, refers to it as Twenty-Four Characters in Search of a Story.)

Well, okay, maybe I’m not that insecure. Frankly, I don’t give a rat’s hairy little ass about other people’s opinions. At the same time, I’m self aware enough to feel a smidgen distanced from humanity, when said humanoids all worship at the altar of what I think is a mediocre book. Rather than “pathetic,” call me…”curious.”

FWIW, A Dance with Dragons is entertaining, but at the midpoint, I renamed it Public Administration for Lords and Ladies in Westeros and Beyond, because the bulk of Jon and Daenerys’s chapters consist of endless haggling with the bureaucracy. Alternately, it could be A Guide to Dining in Westeros, The Free Cities, and Valyeria, given the amount of verbiage spent on eating. (Note to self, when in Mereen, don’t eat the meat, because, *cough*, dog. Also, avoid long marches through the snow with Stannis Baratheon unless you develop a craving for horse meat.)

Many readers’ complaints can be summed up as Continue reading

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Lost in the Opposite of Paradise

Kelly Marquez and Eric JonesIt’s summer in the desert; it hasn’t rained in months; it’s hot.

In other news, water is wet.

As the blog name suggests, “But it’s a dry heat.” By comparison to the deep South, this is true. Except we’re edging up on our so-called monsoon season, which is New Mexico for “if we’re lucky, three inches of rain will fall in about a month.” The season announces itself with blithering heat and slight bit of humidity. The problem is that many of us still rely on evaporative cooling, i.e., the swamp cooler. Basically, a metal box that pushes wet air into the house. Works great in bone dry climes; add even a touch of humidity, and it’s not even an improvement over a fan.

It’s too damn hot to do anything but work on my current WIP, a romantic space opera. But I am writing, and as proof, I give you, an excerpt. Along with an appallingly bad sketch. This, kiddies, is what happens when artists who can’t draw people draw people without using a reference photo. Setup: Kelly, mild-mannered bookstore owner attends the gallery opening of Eric, an artist and escaped convict from another universe. Although, Kelly isn’t aware of the latter. (Unedited, in the raw.)

****Lost in Paradise, WIP, excerpt****

The first painting looked like a photo from Continue reading

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The Curious Case of the Dead Lagomorph

My little killer pony

Stone cold killa?

Rewind, several years ago, on another hot summer day….

I get home from work and trudge out to the barn to visit the Wonder Horse. Heat is pouring down like scalding rain and splashing off the pavement and sand. A roadrunner sits on a fence pole, beak open, panting like a dog. Nothing else is moving, even the little gray lizards have gone to ground in the midday sun.

The Wonder Horse, tough Arabian horse of the desert, is under his shady porch. I hear the clomp of hooves on rubber stall mats as he stamps at flies. Seeing me, he whickers, leaves the shade and comes to the gate to greet me.

It’s too hot to do anything that expends more than a thimble-full of calories, so I grab the halter and a brush. Lovely, occasionally Continue reading

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Bosque Fire

Corrales bosque fire june 2012“It’s a dry heat” is another way of saying, “It’s combustible.”

I started a funny little post about the Wonder Horse’s murderous tendencies, but lost heart when I saw this. Just a mile or two up the road, our Bosque is on fire. At any given time in New Mexico, something is on fire, but until now, our bosque has escaped the summer conflagrations.

Sigh. Not this year, I guess. News helicopters are rattling overhead, but the footage they’re showing is utter worthless. Dear Channel 7 KOAT, you suck, donkey balls. Typical.

Anyway, horsey post to come in a day or so. Provide the fire doesn’t get worse.

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyI expected to like this movie.

Instead Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy turned out to be a Black Swan, dripping with the slobber of critics who probably didn’t understand the convoluted mess either, but needed to flex their intellectual superiority complex.

I mean, it’s a spy movie set during the Cold War. Given the genre, it’s not unreasonable to expect a taut plotline and measure of suspense. It doesn’t have to be The Bourne Identity with a multitude of explosions and high-speed chases, but a decent thriller should convey the feeling that something is at stake, quite possibly the protagonist’s life.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a lugubrious crawl, like a Galapagos turtle trudging through tar while on lithium.

The movie begins with Control (John Hurt), the elder spy, assigning Continue reading

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