Tag Archives: Romance

Book Review: That Semicolon Bitch Had To Die

That Semicolon Bitch Had To DieThat Semicolon Bitch Had To Die by Tom Conrad

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can a man obsessed with punctuation find love? Can a man who finds that love keep it? Can that man avoid possible litigation and potential prison time?

Tom Conrad doesn’t quite answer these questions, but even if he did, I wouldn’t tell you. You have to read the book.

Like many books, I picked this up on a whim. I’ve enjoyed Conrad’s public musings and quips via Twitter and his blog and there comes a time when a man needs to be a man and download a book and dig in. And if he’s a TRUE MAN, he reviews it on his blog that also features sensitive poetry.

This novella is a darkly humorous introduction to Conrad’s Frankie Drake, a struggling and somewhat easily intimidated aspiring writer (and the star of Conrad’s full length novel That Coxom and Blondage Affair). When he meets Abbey, a fellow writer, as well as a kindred-and-potentially-more-talented spirit (soul mate?), he’s all in. Based on the title of the book, one can surmise what direction the relationship ultimately takes.

The story is refreshingly in the moment, with several key moments happening via Twitter transcripts. In time, it will seem quaint, but for now — it’s very now. Conrad has a good grip on word play and the general techno-babble silliness that is modern English, as it has seen some storm damage courtesy of the ever-influence of technology and an alarming simplification (abstraction?) of interpersonal communication. He nicely balances a statement on the post-existential world of online love with a deft, timeless depiction of the great no-no: two artists of the same medium should never start a relationship. (Also, never date an actress. Seriously, it’s a bad idea.)

As an American reader, I didn’t have any difficulty with the more English aspects of the story (mainly descriptions of rain, lots of rain) but then again, everything I learned about the finer nuances of living in the UK came from The Young Ones, so I am properly educated in these matters. Once you have mastered the insult, “Codpiece Face,” the rest is nothing but tea and strumpets.

Love, the sweet and the sour, is something Frankie has difficulty handling. It’s fun for the reader to watch him try.

View all my reviews


Teflon Girl

Flashback Fridays! I’m very much enjoying ruffling through the old crate of notebooks. These poems are better than a journal. Less minutiae, more emotional memory. This one goes back to late undergrad and speaks of a young man who is having a hard time wrangling someone he cares about. Poor guy.

Teflon Girl


My Teflon girl

So slick and unable to wrangle

How did you get so slippery

So slick and beyond my grip


Maybe I should scrub your surface down

With harsh abrasives

Pocked and scarred it would be

So easy to get into the cracks


I don’t want to wear you down

I adore your smooth surface

I want to preserve it

So I may enjoy it forever


I know how to treat you

But I cannot even get a hold

And because of your nature

You could not help if you tried


I hope my will is strong

And my eyes accurate

So that I can catch you at

The perfect moment


Or watch you slip away for good.

Why do you Write?

Anais knew how to get you hot and bothered.

If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.
Anais Nin

Sober thoughts in a time when something like 50 Shades of Grey sells a shitton of copies. They are crap books filled with crap writing. Pure pablum.

Read Anais Nin instead. Actually challenge your brain…and your heart.

There are Great Stories, and There are GREAT Stories.

It’s been quite a week. I just spent the last several days at an educator’s conference, where I had the opportunity to present on the use of interactive mapping tools in a classroom environment. Although it was a fantastic experience, it did disrupt my usual schedule somewhat. I want my blogging family to know that I was still keeping up with all of their posts, but I pretty much just had to lurk.

However, I couldn’t let the week escape me without posting. So I saved me a good one.

Tomorrow my wife and I are celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary. We had a roller coaster courtship, almost eloped, and got married at sea — where there can be no backing out, unless you feel like dealing with sharks and other things with sharp teeth. My wife and I, not much has been standard issue in our time together, and that’s how we like it.

We decided to get married before I actually proposed, so when the time came I knew that I would have to be creative. There would be no going down to the beach, sitting on the pier and slowly setting her up. She was already a lock, and more than likely I could have done nothing and probably still would have stolen the prize.

But you should know me better by now. That’s not how I roll.

Being a writer, I did the writer thing and wrote her a story — with the proposal at the end. If you’re going to have a punch line, make it a big one. I lied to her and told her it was a competition entry — would she please proofread it? Then I waited for the awesomeness.

Was it the greatest piece of writing I have ever crafted? Hell to the yeah it was. I’m freaking happily married. And now this story, only seen by a select handful, is available to the reading public. Cue marching band! It features bad weather, a post office, and a mysterious package!

The fine folks over at The Write Place at the Write Time (a great online lit-mag), accepted the story for their — amazing coincidence — fourth anniversary issue, which just hit the virtual stands on the 22nd. I’d love it if you cruised over there and checked it out. Here’s the link, you have to scroll down a bit past halfway to get to the story, as it’s a Web 1.0 kind of site.

Also, for all of my writer friends out there — I took second place in the last issue’s writing competition. My prize was that I earn the right to create the prompt for this issue’s writer’s challenge. I invite you to submit an entry, there are a number of fantastic writers on the site, and you will be in very good company indeed.

If I Were to Write to You…

Please feel free to use this for any purpose involving an EX-whatever. Happy Friday!

If I were to write to you…
Wait, does anyone still do that?

If I were to contact you…
That’s better, it pretty much covers everything.

If I were to contact you,
What would I say?
How are you?
What’s the haps?

What a laugh. A hoot, really.

Have you wondered how I am doing?
Doubt it.
Do you compare your new obsession to me?
Heh. You have the attention span of a hamster on meth.

I’m shaking my head a bit now.
I’m morbidly curious to see
What the opening sequence of your TV show life looks like.
How is that art project?
How is your writing?

Snicker. Snort.

To think I wrote so seriously about you.
Have to stop writing for a sec, my side is cramping.

What pink animal are you chasing these days?
Perhaps a beast of another color? Purple?
What were you thinking?
What are you thinking?

What a dream it was.
Why did you get to wake up first?
You don’t deserve that kind of luck.
I’ll tell you what kind of luck you deserve.
Horror movie, car broke down in the desert luck.

Hang on, just need to take a sip of this. BRB.
Ok, back.

Did you ever figure me out?

You are nothing I thought you were.
You are not down, sorry to report.
Sorry if my knife is a bit sharp,
I’m just throwing out the trash.

You know you’re just being set up.
You’re making terrible choices.
Everyone thinks you’ve made an awful mistake.
It’s going to be hard to watch you take that fall.

Oh, I meant to tell you thanks.
For that letter.
It read like a bad yearbook signing.
I read it aloud to a friend. Then several more.
We laughed all afternoon.

I laughed for days.
What’s the forwarding address for that pumpkinhead planet you are now living on?

I imagine that I will see you around the holidays.
We do know so many of the same people.
I’ll try to hold back my shit-eating grin if I see you.
Can’t say the same for our friends.

You Made a Terrible Mistake

If you allow me to wonder

How this all began

You have given me a permit

To destroy at will

If you don’t allow me to wander

I will brood and plot

And find a way

To blast through your walls

Lock me up and I will steal

Free me and I will undermine

Conspire and outline

A nefarious blueprint

No winners here

No losers either

Ambiguous goals

And means beyond justice

So prod me in my cage

Rattle the lock

Bang the bars

It will get my attention

If I escape

I’ll wrap my calloused hands

Around your frail neck

And twist until I am done

You never should have captured me

The reward isn’t worth it

My wrath and scorn

You could not resist

You are flooded with indecision

Fear and paranoia

Because my people know

Exactly where you are keeping me

And they are very impatient.

My Gift, Your Torment

Hmmm, to give this one an intro or not? Best not, I think. This one is up to your personal interpretation, no context to provide. Message me and I will tell you why I wrote it.

I am your gunman
Trained to kill
By those who know best

Unlike the sniper
Eyes, I fill them
I am close to you

My breath is on your neck
My lips whisper
In your ear

About the world
This glorious world
We live within

My description is flawless
It’s beauty your beauty
I soothe and relax

My sweet words
Distract you from the
Clicking of my gun

For I was assigned
By fate to destroy you
To leave nothing behind

My weapon is undetectable
Almost impossible
And far from good intention

You smile I smile
Your eyes shine
Your lips mouth sincerities

That smile is frozen
In the moment
When I pull my trigger

And then it crashes
Like your body
To the floor

I stand over you
As you bleed
I watch you

I didn’t want the job
I didn’t want to kill
I never thought it would be you

Assigned for a terrible task
A job given for
Your destruction

Standing, watching
Your heaving form
Your torment so apparent

My feet are locked
As are my fists
My eyes dilated

My head so unclear
My hands so unclean
My heart so unsure

Immovable in my justice
Gun still smoking
Oh how you bleed

The gun is my hand
It cannot be removed
It is a part of me

The floor so wet
With blood and tears
A lake of pain and fire

I am Shiva
I am Armageddon
I am Destruction

Behold the end
Its clever disguise
And obsequious mask

You will always die by my bullet
My actions, faceless monsters
That hunt all that is meaningful to me

I will be taken out
I will be destroyed
1000 of my eyes
1000 of my teeth

To pay for each of yours.