April 2020 PAD Chapbook Challenge Countdown Catch-Up: Time

Image by FelixMittermeier from Pixabay

you can't
stop the passage
of time flowing away
rushing into the distant past
heartbreaking memories leak from my eyes
when thoughts of pain become too much
tears form a misty veil
heart of glass breaks
last time


NaPoWriMo 2020 Preview Poem: American Breakdown

Image by moonzigg from Pixabay

America, America, alas
the cracks in your facade are on display
how many dead when all has come to pass
how many dead because of the delay
addressing a disease that came to stay
you told us it would all be over soon
deluded jackass braying at the moon


Image copyright juliahenze @123rf.com
Sly and Snarky

This Rhyme Royale was penned by my snarky political alter-ego Sly Fawkes with love to the village idiot currently occupying the White House--as much love as he deserves, anyway.

The prompt was to write a poem about my favorite birds. The bald eagle is one of my favorite birds. This one looks angry.

IWSG Book Club: Questions for Chill Factor

Disclosure: If readers purchase a copy of the book through the above link, I receive a small commission from Amazon. I really wasn't a fan of this book, and I don't recommend it. I gave it two out of five stars. But you're welcome to check it out if you like.

1. In the opening of Chill Factor, I love the way Sandra Brown begins with setting, weaving in character activity and then details to create this uncertainty when we meet Ben Tierney. He is out in the open air of snowy mountains with a shovel where there are four unmarked graves. Then, as it continues, his thoughts detail the event and mystery of the graves, as he finds his way back to his vehicle. The introduction of the character, setting, and mystery are powerful. It makes you quickly flip the page to find out what happens next.

QUESTION: The first chapter ends in uncertainty. At that point, did you think Ben Tierney was a hero or a killer?

I thought there was a fair likelihood that Ben was a killer (or one of a group of killers) at that point.

2. In the second chapter, Brown is in the female POV and she reveals the thoughts of the ex-husband in such a subtle way through the female's thought summary that you almost feel like you are hearing his thoughts, not hers. It’s so seamless it feels like you are in the room with them.

QUESTION: How do you handle deep point of view between characters?

I don't think I really give it much thought. If it works well, then it's a good technique.

3. A. Which characters did you like the most in Chill Factor? Why?

I liked Scott the best. He seemed like he was trying to do the best he could with a horrible situation.

B. Which characters did you like the least in Chill Factor? Why?

I thought every male character except for Scott was awful. Dutch and Wes were both abusive. Ben was passive-aggressive. William was a nasty little weasel.

4. Throughout Chill Factor, we’re not positive if Ben is a good guy or a bad guy. Have you ever put your readers on this roller coaster ride, tricking them into thinking a good character might be bad, or vice versa? And what techniques did you use?

I've written characters who were somewhat ambiguous. I never start out with any particular technique in mind. My characters are pushy jerks who write themselves.

5. As a fellow asthma sufferer, it was nice to see that as part of the heroine's character development and nicer to see that it didn't stop her from being depicted as strong. Too often asthma and allergy sufferers are portrayed as weak.

QUESTIONS: What other characteristics often make a character seem weak? What other characters have overcome weaknesses to be portrayed as strong?

I really don't feel that Lilly was a strong character. The line about her "not wanting to play the feminist card" made me say "oh boy, here we go" early on in the book. I have asthma, and I found it rather insulting that the author used Lilly's condition as a plot point to make her "need" Ben.

I was not a fan of this one. My review is here.

Come As You Are Party: Hiding in Plain Sight

Image by annca from Pixabay

I go through stretches of time where I tend to be very open about myself because I want to educate people about what it's like to live as someone who is seen as a pariah. By teaching people through my lived experience, I hope to open minds and hearts so that perhaps others won't have to be as lonely, ostracized, broken and broke as I've been.

I don't think it's worked very well. 

Sometimes I say "fuck it" and do it anyway, because maybe my words are what someone else needs to hear.

Sometimes I withdraw.

At this point, I'm withdrawing and restructuring.

I've decided that the Horror Harridans blog is, overall, a really stupid place to share my poetry. I've started publishing my poetry and sometimes submitting it to other places for potential publication. It's possible that readers think my poetry is pretty damn horrible, in which case it belongs on a blog called Horror Harridans. Like Trent Lane, I've been thinking about changing the name of the blog, but I'm not sure what I'd change it to just yet. Maybe just Team Netherworld Creations.

In any case, if you still have a burning desire to read my poetry, it can be found at--get ready for it--my poetry blog, which is currently called Dark Hearts Love Too.

If you appreciate reading the mental health stuff, it can be found at the Crazy Creatives Cheerleading Camp.

If you want to find out what's going on at the Grover Hotel, including cooking tips and products I'm selling and/or recommend, Good Stuff from Grover is where you want to be.

I'm still going to cross-post snippets on the Horror Harridans blog, but if the snippets are all you want, you'll probably prefer the official Naughty Netherworld Press blog.

If book reviews are your thing, head for The Ornery Book Emporium.

For product reviews, affiliate marketing, and things of that nature, head up to Aunt Cie's Attic.

If you want to read about philosophy and such, try One Love.

Maybe you just want animal posts. In that case, you can follow along at either Animal Anarchy or Aww the Animals.

Maybe you just want pleasant pictures with no bitching. In that case, you are looking for Cie's Wonderful World.

Want nothing but shitposts? Then That's So Netherworld is where you need to be!

This is something I wrote back in 2014. 

My writing may seem like so much weird shit to those who happen upon it. It may seem the product of overactive imaginations, oversensitive hearts, people who can’t hack reality but whose sober thought processes conjure up scenarios way weirder than any drug trip.

That may be how my work appears to the casual observer.

My stories are actually saying:

The stuff that’s going on in the world hurts me so damn bad to witness.

I just want to make a world where things are maybe a little crazy, often a whole lot of fun that I'm never able to have in reality, and where everything turns out okay in the end.

If that’s crazy, then I'm proud to be crazy. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Real Cie
(aka Cie Cheesemeister)
aka The Ornery Old Lady
Head Buttmunch in Charge
Team Netherworld

Wordy Thursday + Ornery Reviews: Chill Factor

Romantic Suspense

Two of Five Stars for Goodreads and Audible

This is a duplicate of my review of this product on Goodreads.
If readers purchase a copy of the book through the above link, I make a small commission from Amazon. The book isn't so bad that I refuse to link to it, it just was not my cup of tea. If you like tawdry thrillers, you might enjoy it.

I listened to this as an audiobook, and if I had taken a shot every time I found myself blurting out "oh, for Chuck's sake," (what I actually said rhymed with Chuck) or "ew," I would have been unconscious on the couch oozing alcohol out of my pores. 

It became clear pretty early in the game that this book was not going to be high on my list of favorites. Every one of the male characters aside from Scott, the eighteen-year-old high school senior and long-suffering son of the school's abusive athletic director, was odious. Ben was a passive-aggressive mysterious hunk. Dutch was a macho cop with anger issues. Wes was a military wannabe and an abusive husband and father. William, the pharmacist, was a creepy little weasel.  

These characters sound interesting, but they were tropes. From the moment that Lilly decides that she "shouldn't play the feminist card," I knew it was going to be one of THOSE books where the "strong, independent" female character learns that she needs a man to complete her. Most of the story's sex scenes were cringy because I can't stand it when women give in to passive-aggressive macho men. 

I finished listening to the book because I was curious who the killer was, and I have to admit, it was someone I didn't expect. Still, the ending seemed forced. Overall, I was not impressed.

Ornery Owl
Free use image from Open Clipart Vectors on Pixabay

Weekend Writing Warriors 22 March 2020 (PA, SF)

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The previous snippet in this series can be found here. A pair of Cockney ghouls visiting the carnival in Xura have just noticed Ketil Nagel, a spectral death metal musician with a storied reputation, outside the infamous Xura Dream House with Yitzy, a renegade member of the Great Race of Yith.

The stout ghoul’s companion was small and impish. He wore a similar outfit to his companion: a reddish-brown newsboy cap, a gray sweater over a collared shirt, and a pair of ragged blue trousers. His clawed feet were bare as well. His large ears were pointed with tufts of white hair at the tips. Strands of coarse white hair peeked out from beneath his newsboy cap.

“I daresay, Rob, old China, coming to Xura was just the thing,” the portly ghoul declared, his voice surprisingly mellifluous despite his thick Cockney accent. “I’ve not had a haunch so perfectly trimmed with gold in an age! I simply don’t know why we ain’t done this before.”

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

A Pot of Poetic Gold

All right, it's nowhere near as good as finding a pot of gold, but from March 17 until March 21, 2020, you can pick up the Ornery Old Lady's first book of poems absolutely free. But don't wait because, on March 22, the price returns to 99 cents.

Enjoy varied verses from melancholy to wacky in this virtual treasure trove of rhyme and free verse. Grab your copy today!

Why would you wait? Getting a good thing free is the second best thing to finding a pot of gold. And if you decide that the Ornery Old Lady's thing really isn't your thing, well, you spent exactly nothing to make that discovery, so you still come out ahead!

Ornery Owl
Free use image from Open Clipart Vectors on Pixabay

Weekend Writing Warriors 15 March 2020 (PA, SF)

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This snippet comes from Team Netherworld's novella Ketil and Yitzy's Adventure in the Xura Dream House. The previous snippet in this series can be found here.

Ketil Nagel is the spirit of a Swedish death metal musician who sacrificed himself to the vampire goddess Mormo on his 25th birthday, 6 June 1991.

Yitzy Yithian is an exiled alien scientist.

This unusual pair has traveled to Xura, the Land of Lost Dreams, in the hopes of finding a way to save the Cosmos.

As Ketil and Yitzy discussed their shared mission and the pros and cons of entering the House of Lost Dreams, they were unaware that they were being watched. A pair of ghouls had wandered over from the carnival which ran day and night, three hundred and sixty-five days per year. These longtime chums hailed from London and had never previously visited Xura.

The pair looked for all the world as if Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy had made a pact with nefarious forces to become ghouls upon their departure from the world of the living. One ghoul was tall and remarkably burly. He wore a faded green and brown checked newsboy cap, a tattered gray cable-knit sweater over a threadbare collared shirt, and ragged brown trousers. His clawed feet were bare. His skin was grayish-green, and he had an extended snout and small, sharp ears which poked out from the sides of his newsboy cap.

~Cie from Naughty Netherworld Press~

Little John Tamboli

Robin Roberts
Image copyright Chaosium

Blow Your Stack Saturday: Why Blogging Awards are No Reward

This is a response to a post on Hugh's blog regarding the problems with blogging awards.

Please don't give me an award for this post!

When I was new to blogging back when pterodactyls filled the skies, I very eagerly participated in blogging awards, being quite excited to receive them. 

"Someone likes what I'm writing!" I said excitedly. 

However, the bloom came off the rose fairly quickly.

I had people get really nasty with me for giving them blogging awards, telling me not to annoy them with that crap. I genuinely didn't know I was doing anything wrong and felt really hurt.

I found receiving blogging awards to be more stressful than enjoyable. Fortunately, they don't come up very often anymore, but if they do, I decline them politely. Honestly, there's no reason to be nasty about it as some people are.

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~

Ornery Owl
Free Use Image from Open Clipart Vectors on Pixabay

Enlightenment Senryu

seek enlightenment
inside or outside myself
sometimes fragile peace


There was a wall hanging depicting the picture above in the Buddhist Temple in Boulder. I used to enjoy going for Sunday meditation, although parking down there sucked. Then I had to start working nights again, and it just wasn't possible. Currently, these Haiku are my form of meditation.

Many Temples Senryu

Image by Little MiMi from Pixabay

so many temples
away from the daily stress
enlightenment here?


I don't want to spend too much time rambling on, but I want to give credit where credit is due. This poem was partly inspired by the prompt, of course, but also inspired by a line from the song She's Come Undone by The Guess Who, which pretty much sums up the way I've felt about things for most of my life.

I know that some people get comfort from religion and I'm not saying they can't. However, I never have. Religion never did anything except make me feel worse about how flawed I am. 

Further, people tend to conflate religion and spirituality. A lot of the time, I believe that there is a higher power and that the soul continues following the death of the body. I believe in the possibility of reincarnation. I don't need to believe in any specific deity or dogma to hold the aforementioned beliefs. 

The Norwegian black metal musician Gaahl said that God is not in some building, God is in nature and God is in each of us. I wish we would extend kindness to one another's souls rather than being hateful to one another for our external differences.

Sometimes I reckon I'm just fucked and there is nothing but a life of pain followed by nothing. That possibility just makes me feel worse, so I try not to entertain it for too long.

Too many mountains, and not enough stairs to climb
Too many churches and not enough truth
Too many people and not enough eyes to see
Too many lives to lead and not enough time

 It's too late
She's gone too far
She's lost the sun

She's come undone

Carpe Diem Shikoku Island Pilgrimage: Kanjizai-ji Senryu

I wonder if you
are there, and can you help me
I am too far gone


Kanjizai-Ji is situated in the town called Ainan and is devoted to Yakushi Nyorai or the Buddha of Medicine and Healing. He is still one of the most important Buddhas especially during rituals that are performed at funerals because he is also the Buddha who leads the Buddhists to Nirvana.

Insecure Writers' Support Group 4 March 2020

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your stories?

My family is extremely dysfunctional. They have ended up in various stories in various situations. I'm not trying to paint them as bad. I'm trying to understand things that happened in my youth through much older eyes.

I'm too tired and my health is too precarious to be angry anymore. Mostly I'm sad for what could have been when I have the energy to feel much of anything.

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~
(yes, I am)

Heeding Haiku: Senryu for Sadness

never leaving me
I carry you in my heart
sadness, my partner


Carpe Diem Tan Renga Wednesday: White Chrysanthemum

White chrysanthemum
I look holding it straight
no dust at all
nothing can remain unchanged
all will become dust in time

~Basho & cie~

The Hokku was written by Matsuo Basho (1644 - 1694). The Ageku was created by me.

Carpe Diem Shikoku Island Pilgrimage: Vulture Peak

Vulture Peak

view with reverence
standing strong against the sky
mighty Vulture Peak


Carpe Diem Shikoku Island Pilgrimage: Sakura Temple

Sakura Temple, Shikoku Island

Sakura temple
I sang of cherry blossoms
when I was a girl


When I was in the fourth grade, we learned about Japan. We sang a little song about Sakura. These days I wonder if the school would have been accused of some sort of disrespect or cultural appropriation. I have trouble understanding how learning about other cultures is a bad thing. Shouldn't we try and understand each other? I guess I'm just too old to be "woke."

Closing Comments on This Blog

At this point, this blog is only a place for sharing links, and the only comments I've been getting are comments like the following fro...