Tami Parker

Fantasy Author & Other Duties as Assigned

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Hawaii – Research

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Note to my readers: This is not a “post”, per se. It’s a compilation of the research I’ve done on Hawaii in preparation for a book that takes place on a similar (but not exactly the same) set of volcanic islands. Because I’ve never been to Hawaii, I rely heavily on tourist guides and online resources, but it’s nice to have a single place to reference what I find.

I post it mostly in case you’re curious to know what kind of research I do. And heck, once the book’s done, maybe you’ll be interested in going back and seeing where things were influenced.

(more…)

An Oil Change

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So a few weekends ago I changed the oil in my car for the first time.

To some of you, this is a pretty boring topic, I realize. For me, however, it was the first time I’d ever even CONSIDERED doing it, and it was … interesting.

It’s all my mom’s fault, really. (more…)

What is this Blog?

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The History of My Blogging

I find myself at a conundrum.

I’ve had a blog ever since college. (Livejournal peeps in the hoooouuuuuse)

I used that original blog for some randomness … but mostly for posting Blue Moon serially.

I had a blog for my weight loss way back when, and nixed the blog once I hit my goal weight. (No, I won’t give you a link, and yes, it was hilarious to re-read younger me’s writing voice)

I had Egotistical Priest for a long time, which focused on World of Warcraft … a game I no longer dedicate that sort of time and effort to.

There was Choose, which was for posting another story. And TavenMoore, which focused rather strongly on the writing craft.

The Present Tense of My Blogging

Now, I’ve been struggling with what to post.

I’ve never been a slice of life blogger, and it feels weird to even consider a blog based solely on what’s going on in my life right now. I never like that sort of spotlight anyway. Even my facebook is primarily cat photos (though I’m down to checking it maybe once a week, so even that is a waning endeavor).

When I think about the sorts of things I would blog about with a focus on slice of life … it rings hollow. False, like a bell made of plastic.

The writing prompts that I posted for much of last year honestly didn’t generate much commentary — I don’t really know that anyone was reading or enjoying them (which is totally fine, so please don’t rush to their defense in the comments). They weren’t serious writing for me anyway, more like rough sketches to keep my writing from completely atrophying.

Book reviews also — I enjoy sharing the books that impact me, but I’m not sure any of the readers here really care to have an alternate stream of reading suggestions and I don’t want to start posting negative reviews just because they’re more entertaining. Positivity, yes. Negativity, no thank you.

Thinking Thunky Thoughts

So I’ve been doing some thinking. I do like having a blog. I like the link to the readers, most of whom I have no other real contact with. I get to check in on YOUR lives a little every time you comment, and it makes me happy.

But I don’t want to blog JUST to blog, either. I want to have some kind of content that makes ME feel fulfilled and that I hope you would enjoy reading.

I don’t feel comfortable posting my next work in progress here. I am itching to throw my hat in the traditional publishing ring, even if just to see whether I get any bites. That means no early chapters posted anywhere. Plus, it allows me the luxury of crappy writing that can be edited later … and also for purely selfish reasons allows me to keep you (my pool of alpha and beta readers) unsullied by previous knowledge when I beg you to read it later.

So what’s a Tami to do?

Learning is My Bag, Baby

Well, I’ve evaluated my history and I think that I am happiest when I am sharing things that I have learned.

Whether it’s a new recipe, a video game trick, or a writing technique — that’s when I’m happiest as a blogger.

So that’s what I’m going to try. And if that doesn’t work … well, I can always convert it to a static site if I need to.

So on that note, I hope you’re all SUPER interested to learn about Hawaii, because my next book takes place on a volcanic island and I have PAGES of hand-drawn notes to transcribe.

Finish the Story: Mother

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Join in for a lighthearted, no-pressure writing prompt. Leave your perfectionist at the door and follow a dangling story thread to see where it leads you.

I always post my story doodle in the comments, and I’d absolutely love to see yours as well if you feel comfortable sharing it!

Even after a long day at work, my mother’s hands worked tirelessly: chopping vegetables for dinner, stitching our clothes, whatever needed doing. I loved her hands and admired them. I wanted to be strong like her. But at the time, I couldn’t be. I would have, and gladly, if I weren’t so …

Finish the Story: Kids

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Join in for a lighthearted, no-pressure writing prompt. Leave your perfectionist at the door and follow a dangling story thread to see where it leads you.

I always post my story doodle in the comments, and I’d absolutely love to see yours as well if you feel comfortable sharing it!

Sometimes kids are the only ones willing to say what’s really on their minds, and our family needed a little dose of honesty. We almost never said something straight out. My mother was the worst. All she would do was …

Finish the Story: Family

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Join in for a lighthearted, no-pressure writing prompt. Leave your perfectionist at the door and follow a dangling story thread to see where it leads you.

I always post my story doodle in the comments, and I’d absolutely love to see yours as well if you feel comfortable sharing it!

I stopped for a breath before cutting the turkey. I wanted to appreciate the moment. Seeing everyone there, sitting around the table, almost felt like we were family again. But if we had been a real family …

Memories of Prissy, The Motherliest of All Shar-Pei

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Prissy the Shar-Pei

Growing up, the first dog I remember in our family was Prissy. A rescued Shar-Pei, she was one of the sweetest and gentlest dogs you could hope for.

I remember her wrinkled cinnamon-roll tail and her round manatee-like muzzle with equal fondness.

Mother

The most interesting thing about Prissy wasn’t her breed, however. It was how devotedly she approached the life calling of “Mother”.

She gave birth to exactly one litter of puppies while in our care. Apparently, that wasn’t remotely sufficient for her big heart.

If a puppy ever graced our backyard, her cinnamon-roll would spiral in the closest thing to a wag she could accomplish, and she would scootch under the old truck we had in the back and produce toys we didn’t even remember giving to her. Anything to please the young pup. Balls, frisbees, dirty rags that used to be stuffed animals … whatever she could find.

Bella’s Kittens

I had a cat named Bella who would routinely balloon with kittens. (No, we were not conscientious pet owners. I now know that unfixed outside pets are neither normal nor acceptable, but middle-of-nowhere Texas was not known for its forward-thinking)

Now, Bella would wait as long as possible before having her kittens. I swear, it seemed like their eyes were already open at least once when I first met a littler.

Additionally, she would suffer through the only the merest brush of motherhood. She grudgingly suckled her kittens until such time as they could be trusted to eat solid food, then soundly ignored them forever.

Prissy, on the other hand? ADORED these so-young castoff kittens. She took over their raising, which included suckling them from teats that long ago should have dried up after her own litter was gone.

Many times, you could look out the back window and see her lying in a patch of sunlight, a nearly-grown catling suckling happily at her belly.

Stray Kittens

One night, I was driving home with my mom when I thought I saw the glint of light off tiny eyes.

“I think I just saw some kitt–” I began.

“–NO YOU DIDN’T!” mom tried to convince me.

Alas for her, I was not convinced. We turned around and found ourselves the new owner of two teensyweensy kittenthings.

We took them home (one short-haired and black, the other long-haired and gray) and set them in a wheelbarrow so the rest of the backyard menagerie could get used to their scent.

Bella hopped up next to them, arched her back like she’d landed in water, gave me one VERY offended look, and proceeded to disown even the notion that the other kittens existed. She tolerated their presence in her domain, but did not stoop to share square footage with them. Ever. Their sin of existing simply could not be forgiven.

Prissy, on the other hand, circled the wheelbarrow like a mad thing, whining and begging to be given the kittens. When we finally gave in and let her mother them, I’ve never seen her more relieved or happy.

Poncho the Goat

Then there was Poncho.

Poncho was a goatling we bought at a flea market called First Monday probably hours after her birth. She was a frail, black and white darling of a kid, and we bottle-fed her for months.

Prissy adopted her instantly, which led to some very interesting moments where you could look out the back window and see Prissy, standing, allowing a baby goat to drink milk from her, and looking at least a little bemused about the whole thing. Kittens and puppies knew to drink laying down, of course, but whatever this weird tall dog needed, Prissy was going to offer. Even if the creature DID headbutt her in the belly in the middle of a meal.

Coco – An Animated Movie You Should See

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Last night, a friend and I watched Coco.

It. Was. GORGEOUS.

And super good, to boot.

But GORGEOUS.

And Tumblr-approved for avoiding even a whiff of cultural appropriation, which may not matter to all of you, but which did make me feel relieved.

I enjoyed every moment of it, from the art (did I mention GORGEOUS) to the beautiful music and the wonderfully tender storyline.

And the seriously goofball dog.

It felt like stepping into another world and there was a part of me that ached to leave it.

Definitely a recommended watch, and one that I’m glad I caught in theaters. The sheer awe-inspiring scale of the City of the Dead would be lost on my tiny screen.

P.S. I want a flying catbird alebrije.

How I Accidentally Became a Member of the NRA

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The National Rifle Association (Eddie Izzard voice)

So … I’m a member of the NRA, and it happened by accident.

A couple of years ago, I’m tooling around on Groupon. Just seeing deals in my area, that sort of thing. Shoes, manicures, haircuts … the normal shabazzle.

An offering caught my eye — a gun safety class at a crazy good discount.

I’m a writer, I says to myself. And I sometimes write stories with guns. Also, I am currently afraid of guns, and this is not a great situation to be in.

So I bought the class, thinking I’d get a little experience in safely handling a gun. You know. Nothing fancy. I just wanted to know more than “point that end away from you and pull the trigger” as far as guns were concerned. Get some experience actually shooting a gun so that when I wrote about it, it would be more authentic than just regurgitating things I’ve read in other books.

Right? Right. So this all sounds great.

The Class

We drive out to the gun range where the class was being held, and enter what I recall as feeling like a big nice garage. There are chairs and tables set up, an old tube tv on a rolling cart, and a long table filled with different types of guns up at the top.

Pretty close to what I expected.

The room fills up pretty quickly and I thinks to myself, “Self,” I says, “That is more people interested in basic gunmanship than I thought would be here.”

Turns out, I was right on both counts.

  1. The class was super full because laws in Wisconsin were changing so that you had to have a license if you wanted to carry a concealed weapon.
  2. This was not “basic gunmanship” (I’m assuming that’s the right term. Please don’t disabuse me of the notion if I’m wrong.). This was a “concealed carry” licensing class.

So the room was filled with people who knew more about guns than I do about horses, all of whom were forced to watch painfully contrived videos about the benefits and dangers of concealed carry.

AAAAAHHHHWWWKWAAAARRRD.

The Students

Two of us in the class stood out.

Me, because my still-ignorant self sat at the front of the room and so was one of the first people to introduce myself as “an author looking to know more about guns.” — when everyone else was like “Joe, and I’m here to get my license.”

Awareness of context clues, I do not have.

A fellow in the back who may NOT have been in some sort of mob/mafia situation … but who DID have two “bodyguards” and who ALSO happened to have a gold-plated pearl-handled something  of a gun that the man leading the class requested he display because it was so cool it needed to be shared. Also, I remember something being said about either a chain of massage parlors or dry cleaning companies.

I tried not to listen too closely. There are some things I’m happier not knowing.

The Lesson Plan

ANYWAY, so the class was almost entirely “watch this series of videos,” all of which showed various situations that were defused by the hero having a concealed gun handy. A woman followed into a bathroom. A guy attacked while his car was broken down on the side of the road.

There was also a lot of advertising for various gun-themed vacation/training packages? It’s been a few years, but I do remember feeling bemused at the amount of advertising in the class.

Right. So. The teacher clearly was torn between “oh god, this young lady in the front is clearly in the wrong class” and “everyone else is so bored and is only here to get licensed” so it was a very strange vibe.

I never did actually touch a gun.

On a practical note, I did learn that the teacher strongly recommended mace as a self-protection choice, which I appreciated. Laws about gun use and concealed carry are not straightforward, but peppering someone is far less likely to lead to jail time for a victim to may or may not be able to prove they were defending themselves.

Licensed to WHAT now?

Anyway, end of the class and we were told that we now had our licenses to carry a concealed weapon.

I realize I was slow on the uptake here, so you’ll have to forgive me, but it wasn’t until THAT INSTANT that I realized … I can carry a gun. Secretly. Hidden about my person.

AND I HAVE NEVER ACTUALLY FIRED ONE.

Additionally, I found out via the mail that I was now a card-carrying member of the NRA, to boot.

Um.

Politics about gun ownership aside, I think we can all agree that unless I get some serious training, -I- should not have a weapon. Concealed or not.

Me. Tami. No guns. Checkaroonie.

And yet.

Looming Future

Some day, I feel like someone is going to find out I’m a member of the NRA and that I have a concealed carry license, and I am going to have to answer some very serious questions.

I just … don’t know how to answer them without pointing to groupon and saying “oopsie.”

Finish the Story: Deal?

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Join in for a lighthearted, no-pressure writing prompt. Leave your perfectionist at the door and follow a dangling story thread to see where it leads you.

I always post my story doodle in the comments, and I’d absolutely love to see yours as well if you feel comfortable sharing it!

“Deal?” he said, extending his hand toward me. I hesitated then reached out. Frank thought he had the upper hand, and in a sense he did. What he didn’t know was that …

Tami Parker Fantasy Author & Other Duties as Assigned

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