Tonal Travesty Tales: A Dearly Murky Summer (Part I)

(Hello, welcome to a new series in which I write simple short stories, but there’s a twist! I start the story with a beginning, middle, and end as usual. Except with the continuation of each short story something must change drastically. For example, I could write a story about a business manager running a peanut butter factory. For the first part of the story nothing changes since it is the introduction.
However, for the next part of the story I must make one of several noticeable changes. Those changes could involve adjusting the genre, characters, backgrounds, or maybe how a character pronounces certain words. The possibilities are endless so long as they garishly clash with the tone of the story. Hope you enjoy, or at least find this idea interesting enough to keep reading!

It was summer at Olive University, a time of rejoice for the youth. The beaches were open and featured a brimming variety of hot summer bods. Parties were thrown in the mountain top just north of the university, but only the famous and rich were invited. Enter Veronica Idelson, a freshman turned sophomore in college who aced her interview with the campus administrator to get into OU A girl with a smart head on her shoulders and the free spirit she maintained since living in a small town all her life.
Veronica knew three of her childhood friends at OU These three friends were Cassie, Henry, and Evan. Cassie was Veronica’s fashionista friend who always had her back. Henry was the quarterback for his high school team who is now hoping for lightning to strike twice as he gets into the OU football team. Then there’s Evan, the dork of the group who is really into computers and helps Veronica out with her homework.
These friends were inseparable and they all managed to get into OU together. During the first day of summer the gang went out to go celebrate at Henry’s favorite spot, a diner called ‘Terry’s BBQ Eat-Out!’ Everyone was having fun, jesting at each other. Cassie was pointing out how Evan’s tie looked tacky, and Henry reminiscing about some of the best plays he had in high school. Then there was Veronica, gazing through the window and daydreaming. Henry smacked the football in front of her face to get her attention, “Hey, is Veronica in there?”

Veronica tossed her fry at Henry as she says, “Yes and she sees a jackass trying to get her attention.”

“Don’t blame me for trying to get your attention when you’ve been saying nothing for the past five minutes.” Henry had the brain of a goofball, yet maintained a premium body forged by the Greek god Hephaestus himself. He wore his stainless varsity jacket proudly but underneath that jacket he had the same fashion sense as any farmer boy. White short-sleeved shirt, with dusty jeans, and with muddied boots. The most distinct feature about Henry had to be his long flowing blonde hair which never seemed to stop glistening.

Cassie devolved her attention from Evan as she then said to Veronica, “You have been acting really weird, Veronica. Was it the nail polisher I gave you? I know the chemicals are super strong, but you totally can withstand the after-effects.”
There was never a day where Cassie wore something boring. Whether it be using vibrantly colored nail gloss or wearing dolphin shaped earrings, Cassie refused to be anything but ‘loud’ about her fashion choices. During the week she would always tie her hair in a single bun-knot. However during the weekend she would let hair down with thoroughly flattened curls.

Evan raised his glasses as he tried to comfort Veronica, “Did your computer need some rebuilding? I have the tools needed to soup up your PC, and the specs look delicious.” For a rigidly smart person like Evan he also was quite unorganized with how he presented himself. Wearing mismatched shoes and unproperly fixed ties, as well as wearing his shirt backwards. He even had his previous two glasses broken and made a new pair by using duct-tape and Gorilla Glue to combine two separate lenses together.

“Quit stealing my personality, Evan. You know I’m infinitely more charming than you, maybe stick to being a cube made of dork.”

“Is that your best comeback? I can think of a million more comebacks better than a ‘cube made of dork.’”

Slightly frustrated, Veronica turned to everyone as she said, “That’s enough, I’m just having…inner problems.”

Henry asked, “What’s wrong, beachball?” That was Henry’s cute nickname for Veronica whenever she seemed pouty.

“I don’t know, somehow I’ve just been feeling less unfulfilled with my life. Like I’ve been missing out on something important, do you get that feeling?”

Evan said with an agreeing nod, “You’re right, I did miss out on something. It was Cassie downing that entire plate of hot wings by herself.”

Cassie scoffed at Evan as she retorted with, “You know I was going through a serious dieting phase.”

“What diet involves eating off the entire entrée menu at a Buffalo Wild Wings?”

“Well I guess when I’m super frustrated and can’t pig out, I’ll take that frustration out on you.” She viciously slaps Evan across his noggin as he recoils in pain.

Henry elevates his voice as he demands everyone’s attention. “Hey, this is Veronica we’re talking about here. She’s done so much for all of us. Like what about that one time she looked after your pet gerbil, Evan?” Evan nods his head as Henry pivots the discussion to Cassie.
“And Cassie, you brag about how much you were there for Veronica her entire life. What about when she spent a whole month modeling outfits you designed for that local fashion show?”

Cassie looked down at her half-full plate of food, takes a deep breath, and looks over at Veronica. “Henry is totally right, Veronica deserves our utmost attention.” She turns to Veronica, “So what is it that doesn’t make you feel fulfilled about your life, girl?”

Evan says, “You practically have everything you wanted, what more could you even want?”

Henry chimes in with, “An escape from being ordinary.”

Veronica focuses her eyes on Henry’s dreamy waxed eyebrows as she says, “Yes.”

The night from there was livelier thanks to Veronica’s friends listening to what was on her mind. When the restaurant closed for the night everyone went home. Cassie was picked up by her mom, Evan took off on his electric scooter, and Henry rode on a bike coated with faded blue paint. Veronica however used her phone to contact an Uber, sitting on a bench near the sidewalk as she waited. The night grew darker as she continued sitting there, her nervousness kicked in.
Suddenly in the corner of her right eye she sees someone walking behind her in the shadows. She couldn’t tell who this person was, but he was fit and had broad shoulders. The mysterious figure walked underneath one of the streetlamps as he crossed the street. It was revealed that it was a boy wearing a black biker jacket, torn jean leggings along with a belt that had a chain, and a silver wolf emblem on the center. But that face when Veronica saw him…that gaunt facial structure with a powerful jawline.
His nose was small, but sharply pointed just like the tips of his hair strands that crept from his hairline. The hair itself was slicked back with each strand of hair perfectly drawing down from the back of his head to the neck. Eyes not that of a human, but an undomesticated animal who howls at a full moon. He wore no shirt underneath his jacket either, just a beaded necklace with white, green, and yellow colored beads. Veronica was alarmed and heavily breathing as she could not stop staring at the gorgeous mysterious boy.
Then the mysterious man noticed Veronica gazing at his impressive visage. He walks toward Veronica with a scowl on his face. At this point Veronica was a deer caught in the headlights, unable to move and observing this boy menacingly walking toward him. Before she could yell for help, the mysterious boy moved his lips and opened his mouth, speaking his first sentence…

End of Part I

For part II, click here!

Bad Animal Poetry: Mundane Moles

What a mole does beneath the ground is its own business. Even if it’s something you wouldn’t normally expect a mole could do. Like feed its goldfish, trim its whiskers, or know braille. These may seem ‘boring’ tasks to you, but they don’t have to be. Mundaneness is only a label to be put on something when the attempt at performing an action comes with a shallow purpose.
If there is any animal that can prove doing light jogging around 6 in the morning while listening to ‘NPR’ does not have to be mundane, it is the mole! So, let’s restructure what it means to be mundane, because moles sure make the impossible seem achievable!

Eastern Mole (Scalopus aquaticus)

By Kenneth Catania, Vanderbilt University, CC BY-SA 3.0,

A beautiful orb swims through the dirt,
Just another normal day of physical exercise,
Then it is time to eat worms and roots,
Every mole knows the ultimate prize,
It is to dig, make tunnel, and create societies.

But this Eastern Mole wants to break ties.
A mole with big imagination in a small town,
When breaking the mold they raise their brow,
A society covered in brown,
This mole wants to be a swimmer.

Digging can be more than it is on the surface,
It is a form of art,
Even if it makes no sense to wear a towel,
This Eastern Mole has heart,
Because this mole can churn dirt to soil.

Star-nosed Mole (Condylura cristata)

By US National Parks Service – which was linked on ; English WP: uploaded by en:User:Big iron, Public Domain,

Behold a hero no one has ever seen,
The Star-Nosed Mole is here to save the day,
A mole with the power to detect seismic vibrations,
Evil tremors should pray,
Because the Star-Nosed Mole does not play around.

Its nose is a blessing,
A physical trait both symbolic and key,
It may cause people to scream,
However it also has caused glee,
If only it could visibly shine.

Not all heroes wear capes,
Sometimes they have a horrific nose,
So evildoers watch out,
Because this mole just got the hose,
Time to wash away your sins.

Townsend’s Mole (Scapanus townsendii)

Scapanus townsendii.jpg
By jkirkhart35 –, CC BY 2.0,

A ray of prosperous sunshine hath appeared,
Townsend’s Mole has arrived,
With a luxurious black coat,
Many felt revived,
To be thankful of Townsend’s Mole.

Nobody knows why they are thankful,
This mole is unknown to many,
Yet it is Townsend’s Mole,
It should be on the penny,
Our physical currency is a disgrace.

We honor those who we forget,
Or did we ever remember,
Just look how cute this mole is,
It is already September,
Yet I still pine for Townsend’s Mole to return.

Positivity in Writing

There is no shortage of ideas and inspiration that spring to life on every page. Every typed word is always followed by an idea. This idea usually evolves to become the main theme of the piece you are writing for. Perhaps its a way to bridge your points together. Wow does this sound like I’m presenting a business seminar on how to boost sales with the power of ‘putting imagination into letters.’ Except no free donuts here or comfortable seats, well, no seats in general.

This is admittedly more of a soapbox I wanted to dive into. I mostly just want to talk about how important your current mood can be when it comes to writing. Yes, the article is titled ‘Positivity in Writing’, however positivity is not something that can just be turned on. Therefore your writing is going to be massively improved by just thinking positively or by pretending. This sort of process requires a very methodical and comprehensive breakthrough of what makes you tick as a writer and as a person.

For example if it was a rainy day and you hated rain, that would outright affect your mood. Although that doesn’t mean you should stop writing. It means you should naturally work through the weather because that could have the right positive impact on your writing. Maybe there’s a scene involving a train that for some mysterious reason has skirted off a rail and is diving into a lake. Then you figure out how the characters are going to get out of this situation — if they even make it.
Water is arising at a fast pace, the doors are probably jammed, and furthermore there may be other people who are stuck in a specific spot on this sinking train. It sounds like I’m pitching a cheap straight-to-DVD sequel to some 90’s action film, but a rainy day could give that extra ‘boost’ you need to make the scene work.

Writing can be a beneficial process that not only improves your skill in the field, but as a person. Deducting why this character feels off with their dialogue. Perhaps you noticed how great the chemistry was between two feuding factions/people on a page you wrote on a frustrating day. Solving these issues and being self aware of your own personal issues is part of any process in whatever job field. The difference with writing is that it becomes more apparent the more you do it obviously.
Scenery will start to change, characters act slightly different, and chapters will have completely different tonal structures.

My first book was basically me learning my own anxieties and why they occurred. I was able to slowly self-diagnose why I felt so high strung on certain things that didn’t matter at that point in the rough draft. The answer was simple; I felt that I needed to write at a fast pace. Not just with typing, but with thoughts and conveying dialogue. I was forcing myself to go at a fast pace as opposed to forming a tempo of my own.

A tempo has more than one meaning, it is the rate/speed at which you conduct an activity. This doesn’t mean, “Oh my god, I have to do this fast because how am I going to get anywhere if I can’t do a single page in less than thirty minutes!” If anything a fast tempo can prevent your writing style from evolving. Cooking for example isn’t about how fast you can grill a burger — it’s about the timing and the effort in the way you do it. Going at your own pace and not caring about getting it done, but just knowing that the product will be done on your own terms.

That to me is what I think of when it comes to positivity in writing. It’s not about just putting in dragons with rainbow scales who soar over a beautiful peak with bright glowing red flowers (although I do like the imagery). Behavior, learning from mistakes, and self analyzing your behavior are the main objectives that will lead to a more positive writing experience. It’s a habit that will take time and a steep learning curve. Issues will persist in life, but getting there will award you with an excellent writing experience.

Bad Animal Poetry: Big Lizards

On this week’s Bad Animal Poetry I will be showcasing several lizards who look like they might have radioactive breath of a different sort. Since I am a big ‘Godzilla’ fan and his titular movie, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters‘, is already out I thought I would write something to coincide with its release. Although I’m hoping none of these lizards accidentally stumble into a canister of radioactive waste.

Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus)

By Charles J Sharp – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

So my car keys are lost,
They are at the bottom of the ocean,
How did this happen Sea Iguana,
I trusted you on this notion,
We were ready for the concert,
Everything was set in motion.

Is that red algae I see on your lips,
Are you on the seaweed,
This is a serious problem,
I thought you were having a nose bleed,
The show is about to start in an hour,
This is quite a kerfuffle indeed.

Okay this time I drive,
Sea Iguana you must obey,
Put on your seat belt this time,
Ignore what is beyond the bay,
The sea is a dangerous life to live,
Why are you sipping on my nasal spray.

Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis)

By Markofjohnson – Own work, CC0,

You are the coolest,
Komodo Dragon why are you so bad,
Is it because of your awesome tats,
You make the concept of cool a fad,
With those wicked sunglasses,
Clearly you are such a Chad.

There is a treasure trove in your stomach,
I wish to see it one day,
Maybe I’ll see discarded bones,
Or perhaps a workbench that says ‘SLAY,’
Your organs are your home,
Yet you remain a stray.

A bad lizard with no rules to follow,
On your own with a shiny motorcyle,
That I am sure also came from your innards,
Fighting some chump named Carmichael,
The baddest there is,
Yet it is so sweet that you still recycle.

Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus)

By Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE – Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus), CC BY-SA 2.0,

An image to behold,
Nile Crocodile sunbathing,
Getting that pre-summer tan,
People can be scathing,
Discriminating body types,
The only thing they are good at is hating.

Yet here is Nile Crocodile doing her thing,
Not letting the negativity settle in,
She worked hard for her vacation,
No one can remove that grin,
Her confidence is unshakable,
I dare anyone to get under her skin.

She may not snap now,
There will be a time when she will,
I assure no mercy when it happens,
She finds their regretful words a thrill,
That may be problematic to the victims,
Just another cozy vacation in Brazil.

“Did that skull plate just cough?” A Silly Explanation Behind My Silly World Building

The construction of a new universe goes as far as the creator’s imagination. That will be the only genuine thing I say throughout this entire post. Okay, maybe not since world building requires some actual thought and rule setting. When Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings he obviously took some liberties with Norse mythology and made his own unique world. Does that mean that all worlds that are constructed from the inner thoughts of a writer not original?

The answer to that is not as clean cut as one would imagine. However for simplicity sake, I’d like to say that is false. What a writer does with their own material and how they leave their mark on it is how influence turns into originality.

The Necropolis Corporation was always intended to be this multi-layered business conglomerate with different tiers of corporate management. There are the Gate Inspectors who keep track of who gets sent to certain standard housing or prison domains. The Radiant Consultants decide what people are allowed passage into the the angelic yet mysterious place called the Uppercore. Lastly there are the Chasm Brokers, who deal with gritty and serious matters in the Undercore.

The Trolley-Coaster started out as a simple trolley that operated similarly to the cable car system in San Francisco. However I wanted to showcase the chaotic engineering behind the city and its massive structures. So I thought; what better way to show this than to attach a giant trolley to a rail system. All of the flair comes from the antiques, the skull plate, and the conductor of that silly contraption. And that to me is where the charm comes in, because otherwise it would just be a ridiculous trolley that swings around the city like a roller coaster.

The infrastructure behind the central Necropolis Corp. building and the way domains are constructed are tonally opposite in terms of contrast. Necropolis Corporation was practically polished to perfection with how much each section is dedicated to their respected job fields. While Domain 224 was about the incompetence behind someone who had similar power, but was too inept to use it.

A lot of my inspiration for how I introduce a world comes from not just societies uprising, but their follies and how they recuperate. It would be fun to see a fantastical city brimming with crystal-like skyscrapers, rolling street tunnels, and flying bikes everywhere. But how did it get there, what is the cost of such an advanced society, and was there an economic downfall in the past, present, or future? Admittedly this took a rather straightforward turn here, but it’s also a necessary for making a living and breathing world.

The fun comes in when you have such a detailed world that seems familiar, and yet hijinks ensue due to the naivety of characters that matter to the plot. Or maybe it’s background world building to distract the reader from the cold harsh reality that our main characters are living in. Not that every post-apocalypse story should constantly have moments of someone mentioning a mutant octopus juggling car parts in front of a pair starving wanderers. However if you find that a scene seems too weary with its tone, add a couple of subtle human moments with background characters who are just being themselves.

I lean a lot into humor with my writing when I can, but there are times where I delve into the imperfections of the human mind. World building isn’t just about creating something from scratch, it’s also about the levity of human nature that we bring to this world. There is obviously more than what I talked about, but I’ll save that for another time. Also the clownfish in the spa tub? That’s a secret…

Future Update on The Quietus Breaker & More

This will not be a long post, but one that I’m sure will be interesting to readers nonetheless. Since the release of my first book I’ve been working on refining myself as not only an author, but as a self publisher. A lot of work has been put into the first book and I’m hoping that people have been enjoying it. It has been a dream to put the book out in the public along with the pleasure of seeing it come to life. However the real work has just begun and I plan on making sure the writing train doesn’t just keep going – it has to sky rocket into space (also I like the idea of trains in space).

First off, The Quietus Breaker was not just written in mind to cover one book. This is obviously a long story that requires several installments to reach a satisfying and bombastic conclusion. For this current arc I have written three books that tie the central plot threads together so that it’s self contained. Book two will be titled ‘Nature of Creative Mortalities‘. Then book three will be titled ‘Jade Angel‘.

Why bring this up now when the first book was just released? Personally, I feel that readers would want to read a beginning if they know that parts two and three are right around the corner. All three of these books were originally written in mind as an epic length novel that felt too long and exhaustive. Instead I separated this story into three books, but made sure that they weren’t awkwardly separated. There are no set dates planned for the release of these books, but I will make an announcement when I’m ready.

As for Lounging Lizard, my blog where one day I will actually talk about lounging lizards, expect to see me posting on a weekly basis. Whether it be about the book, funny looking lemurs, or a book about funny looking lemurs – I will deliver on the content! Also maybe I’ll sneak a few smaller posts about something cool I found underneath a bench I was sitting at, or the time I found a street lamp that looked like an ominous floating eye from a certain angle. Kidding of course, but I do have stories to tell and tangents to spout so keep an eye on this blog for future wackiness.

Lastly, those who have spread news about the first book have been truly helpful. I only ask that to those who have read the book to please leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Keep telling people about the book, express your critiques (good or bad), and definitely recommend it to people who feel that this book may be up their alley. For contact information please message me on my facebook page and I will respond as quick as I can. Thank you once again for the support and stay tuned for more news regarding The Quietus Breaker.

‘The Quietus Breaker: Brother Death’ is now on sale over at Amazon + More!

If you’re looking for a book that can deliver a humorous yet surreal journey through the eyes of a quick-witted young woman who loves raspberry filled graham crackers, then check out ‘The Quietus Breaker: Brother Death.’ The first volume is currently available on Amazon through Kindle/e-book format. Other plans to expand to other services will be announced when ready. The book can also be lent out to a friend or family member for 14 days free of charge on Kindle.

Here’s the description:

Joanna Collins is ready to clock out of her abysmal night shift at a rundown retail store in Colorado, however she instead checks her life out by the hands of a cloaked stranger. After a vivid reawakening, Joanna finds herself in a dark grove and learns about a business conglomerate referred to as the Necropolis Corporation. A crisis has occurred at the front doorsteps of the company and Joanna gets sent to a place called Domain 224, receiving a bizarre watch with untapped potential in the process. Trapped in a city with almost zero population and a mystical watch at her disposal, Joanna must figure out what morbid secrets lie in this abandoned concrete carnival. As well as discovering her true self in this first installment of a three part trilogy.

I will also be updating this blog with updates pertaining to the series, future installments, and explaining just how much I prefer crustless bread over crusted bread. Oh, and all the details along with background work that went into ‘Brother Death.’ It’s mostly going to be about sandwiches though, don’t worry.

The Deathly First Phase of Crafting ‘Brother Death’

There’s no easy way for me to explain the process for constructing the entire universe of my first book. I had the foolish aspirations of thinking, “Well, the Statue of Liberty was no easy feat to make. So why not go back to basics and make a smaller one, but this time out of blueberry muffins and creamers!” It’s silly, foolish, and in no way was going to require much work. Boy was I wrong about that last part.

This story initially had the intent to be more in line of a Douglas Adams book. Early stages of the draft were mostly set up for gags and ridiculous set pieces. Although I became aware early on that the story had no sense of progression and just seemed more like a roller-coaster of action sequences (totally the opposite of what I had wanted). Once I realized what I was doing I then trashed what I had worked on. Having a basis is important, however if that basis is what’s preventing you from evolving as a writer then it’s time to destroy that blueberry muffin made Statue of Liberty!
Don’t do that, because you never want to waste a good blueberry muffin.

My ideas became less aligned to what I adored as a fan, and more in line with my own vision. I let my imagination run wild as I spent time jotting down what I personally wanted to see. That is why one of the first characters that Joanna runs into is a talking Catfish living inside a glass man’s body. A good portion of my characters and world building were a result of my desire to see something ‘weird’ or ‘different’ than what you normally read in a traditional fantasy book. Not just their design, behavior and mannerisms had to be on point as well.

I only necessarily held back when it came to the plot and character motivations. Balancing a character like Joanna was tricky since she could easily be more of an exaggerated caricature than an actual fleshed out character. My rule was that if the reader cannot relate to Joanna to a certain extent then she falls apart completely. The events of ‘Brother Death’ transpire through Joanna’s thoughts as she is recounting this story. So I had to build this fine line between Joanna’s lively personality and her sarcastic quippy side.

The length of the book was a big determining factor to how comedic it should be versus how much it should emphasize on character drama. I still made a focus on trying to inject humor and lighthearted antics into the story because…well, death. The dark undertones were still there, but with a good dose of humor it was at least something easier to swallow than just making the characters wallow every page.

There was obviously more to the process than what was listed. However the important steps were that the characters were expressive in both design/character, the main character was captivating but not too annoying, and that there wasn’t a stark divide between the humor and character development. Ultimately this culminated into me internally saying, “Just make the characters good.” That astoundingly simple point became an important aspect of my overall plan for rebuilding the book from the ground up. I’d say that beats my original blueberry muffin disaster, but it would never sadly be just as delectably edible.