Monthly Archives: September 2013

Fandom Retirement Homes

Supernatural, Misha Collins, SPN, Alica Mckenna Johnson, Gage Skidmore

Oh no don’t go there!
Photo by Gage Skidmore

Someday we will all get old, our brains will turn into mush and we will live in the past. Some lucky people will live in their own past, but for those of us with dysfunctional, obsessive, active fandoms what if we live in our stories?

They will need to make fandom themed retirement homes.

“Yes, Dean, we had the orderlies salt all the windows and doorways.”

“Sam, the priest will be here in thirty minutes to bless all the water. Yes, even in your water guns.”

“Ellen put the camera down and stop encouraging Castiel, Dean and Sam to have sex on the table.”


“Yes, Agent Hill, the repairs are underway. Yes, we have removed Galaga from the computer systems.”

“No, Director Fury, there have been no worldwide threats made today. You can relax.”

“Agent Romanoff, put the camera down and please stop encouraging Thor and Loki to have sex on the table.”

Harry Potter, Alica Mckenna-Johnson, Lucius Malfoy, Hagrid, Neville Longbottom

Who will you be?
Photo by Sarah_Akerman

Harry Potter

“Yes, Dark Lord Voldemort, I will make sure that Harry bloody Potter stops touching you and causing you pain. You’re right—it just isn’t fair.”

“Mr. Black you aren’t in your animagus form. Please stop licking my feet and peeing in the bushes.”

“Miss. Granger, sorry Mrs. Weasley, today is it. Please put the camera down and stop asking Harry and Draco to have wild hot dragon sex on the table.”

How many Sherlocks could one home hold and have the staff stay sane?  Photo by touchedmuch

How many Sherlocks could one home hold and have the staff stay sane?
Photo by touchedmuch

BBC Mysteries

Memo to all staff: Mrs. Campbell died in her sleep last night. Five of the college kids will be up to play different detectives, they’ve all been here before so they know the drill. Marcy is manning the phones all 911/ 999 call shall be routed to her. The local police have also been informed just in case our Sherlocks have managed to get cell phones again.

“Residents! I’m afraid Mrs. Campbell passed away in her sleep last night.”

“Watson, the game is afoot, get that medical report, where’s Lestrade?”

“Indeed, could you tell me what time?’

“Of course, Miss Marple. Her body was found at six this morning.”

“Oh really? How peculiar.”

“Well, that is sad. We have to go plant the begonias. Come along, Rosemary.”

“Mr. Frost, please put the camera away and stop encouraging Sherlock and Dr. Watson to have sex on the table.”

Of course some people are going to switch fandoms, so we would need some multi-fandom or crossover fandom retirement homes.

“Don’t worry Bobby, Luna is a good witch. She was born this way. She didn’t make any demon deals, so please stop throwing holy water on her.”

“Captain Rogers, please calm down. I know their clothes are a bit unusual, but you did get into the TARDIS with Dr. Who to go see Spartacus.”

“Mrs. Potts, put the camera down and please stop encouraging Mr. Stark and Mr. Potter to have sex on the table.”

So what fandom retirement home will you be in?

Alica Mckenna-Johnson, cosplay

Photo by styeb

I’m Invisible My Daughter Can Now Date


Concealment Shorts, a must have. Photo by Optics Planet

Concealment Shorts, a must have.
Photo by Optics Planet

There is a new kit from Optics Planet, the Invisible Man kit. They say it is great for hunting, hide-n-seek and dating. But I think they are missing a valuable marketing tool, although it would make for a truly epic game of hide-n-seek.

I saw this kit and the first thought I had was Thank goodness. I can now hide from my children while still keeping an eye on them.

Just pop on that ghillie suit and you can watch the kids play in the backyard and eat your favorite treat without children trying to steal any. Oh, yes, I thought this is truly a brilliant idea, and then hubby came home, saw the kit and said. “Okay, Tala can date now.”

“Um, what?”

“Well now I can ‘watch’ her and the boy on dates, so she’ll be safe.”

I looked at the kit and smiled, oh yes.

Look at all the goodies. Photo by Optics Planet

Look at all the goodies.
Photo by Optics Planet

Ghillie suit for instant camouflage—woodland and snow!

A tactical vest to carry all your equipment.

Pro ears to make sure that boy is speaking kindly to our daughter.

Binoculars, night-vision and thermal scopes. You will see them anywhere!

And of course, in case the boy is stupid and didn’t take your threat—um, friendly warning—seriously, a knife and shovel.
Oh there is so much more to this kit, the possibilities are endless.

Don’t worry, I hear your cries. Yes, it’s true supernatural boys are all the rage these days, and yes, a werewolf, shape shifter, or vampire could detect a normal person’s presence. But you won’t be a normal person—you’ve chosen to buy the Invisible Man kit, and they have thought of everything!

Even more goodies. Photo By Optics Planet

Even more goodies.
Photo By Optics Planet

This preternatural boy won’t be able to smell you as you monitor the safety of your daughter because the Invisible Man Kit comes with four—yes four—different scents: skunk, cougar, white-tail deer, and boar! (Please don’t use animal scents on the full moon around werewolf boyfriends.)

What about your own scent? They have that covered, too. The Port-A-P hunting urinal seals so tightly that sensitive noses won’t sniff out your presence no matter how long you perch in that tree watching the den of sin. Or as your daughter said, “Relax. It’s just a party. I’m sure his parents will be there somewhere.” Never rely on other parents again! With the Invisible Man kit you can make sure your daughter is safe. It won’t matter if she’s dating a tattooed drummer or a hundred-year-old vampire, you will be there!

For more ideas watch the Invisible Man video.

What is your favorite part of the Invisible Man kit? How would you use it?

For only $20,000 I’m expecting one for Christmas, and hopefully hubby will splurge and go for the $20,009.99 kit so I can also get the hat!

Two Things That Have Helped Me So Much!


Photo by Lynn Kelly Author

Photo by Lynn Kelly Author

As a rule I bounce between being a gung ho, do everything perfectly, type-A person, and a lazy, whiny, couch potato. But I have finally found a solution! Now this might not work for everyone, but I wanted to share the two posts that for the past six weeks have kept me focused, goal oriented, and getting the things done that are important to me.

The first is this post by Kristen Lamb. She talks about ADD and writing, and there a bunch of funny and useful information, but the one that hit home for me is FEELINGS LIE. At some point I had mixed my instincts with my feelings, my whiny, lazy feelings that told me I didn’t have to write if I wasn’t in the mood, that if I was too tired to exercise it was okay, and of course if I was craving nachos then there must be something in them I need.

Alica Mckenna Johnson, Kristen Lamb, 40 yard line

Feelings lie, you might be tired but it’s not time to nap.
Photo by Kristen Lamb

Now I take a deep breath, remind myself that feelings lie and I focus on my long-term goals and not whatever emotional numbing food or behavior my emotions are trying to trick me into doing.

It doesn’t always work, there are days when I lie in bed reading and eating foods that aren’t going to help me get healthier, but I’m not eating things that I’m allergic to, which is a huge improvement to my binges.

The next blog that helped me is Ginger Calem’s Writers Butt Wednesday. She gives you small, simple things to do throughout the day. When I started this I wasn’t working out at all, and for me having a small exercise that I do all day was really helpful. Writers Butt encourages you to do 10 squats or 10 push-ups every time you go to the bathroom, and of course since she has you drinking a lot of water you go a lot!

Lyyn Kelly, Alica Mckenna Johnson, bathroom

See plenty of room for squats.
Photo by Lynn Kelly Author

Because taking care of myself and getting myself healthy was in my thoughts all day, it really helped me stay focused on my long term goals. For a few weeks it was just push-up and squats and the water, then I added small work-outs. Spark People has free work outs on their website. I also have two DVDs that have 10- or 15-minute exercises. A few weeks after that I added yoga, because I missed doing yoga. And now I and a friend have started going back to the gym.

You might roll your eyes at doing squats or push-up after going to the bathroom, but really the squats are very easy to manage in almost every bathroom, and I save the push-ups for when I am not working. To help inspire you I have taken a tally of how many squats and push-ups I did in one day.

Squats 60
Push-ups 20

Not too shabby obviously I need to even it out.

So what pieces of advice have inspired you? What words of wisdom or even offhand comment helped you see things clearly? What small steps to you do every day that helps you to stay focused on your long term goals?

Need a Dose of Sherlock Holmes?



As we wail and languish in fangirl purgatory waiting for Sherlock to come back we have a wealth of past Sherlock Holmes movies and shows to keep our addiction at bay.

I just finished watching With Out A Clue a wonderfully funny Sherlock Holmes mystery filmed in 1988. Michael Caine plays Sherlock and Ben Kingsley plays Doctor Watson. Dr. Watson is the brilliant deductive mind and Holmes reminds me of Inspector Clouseau.

Do you have favorite Sherlock Holmes? Well other than Sherlock 🙂

Trying to be nice to hubby and he scares the crap out of me


2012-10-22 13.12.02
So yesterday on they have this cool video camera that is ideal for paranormal research. It does night vision, and it’s small, has a stand, also films in regular non-night vision and has all sorts of fancy words and letters and numbers attached to it, so I’m sure it’s a great find.

I tell my hubby who I think is going to be happy- he would love to do paranormal research. And this is what he does to me.

Me- “Look, my dearest most beloved husband ever, look upon the treasure I found for you.”

Hubby- “Just another thing I don’t have time to do.”

Me (trying to stay up beat)- “But listen to the awesome,” I read the description.

Hubby, face totally serious- “Maybe you should get that, I can set it up and find out what has been going in and out of your room at night while you’re sleeping.” *

And then he walks away.

WTF!!!! Um hello, what’s coming in and out of my room??? Why would he say that to me? What did I do to deserve such vile treatment? And how quickly can I get one of these things? And how am I going to fall asleep?

* I have a room downstairs in the group home while hubby and kids sleep in the apartment upstairs. So I am now alone, at night, wondering what is getting past the security system and the locked doors. Where are the Winchester brothers when you need them??

Hold My Hand I Have to Plot


Photo by aarongilson

Photo by aarongilson

I have the best critique group. We support of each other, and always find the gems in a steaming pile of shitty words and clichéd actions. Not only can we find the gems, we help each other get rid of the crap so the story can shine. We put goals above ego. Because we are friends, we forgive each other for not instantly loving our works and we have learned how to curb our tongues to soften the blows. No need to use a broadsword when a stiletto will get the job done just fine.

Mary asked Kilian and me to help her plot her first cozy. I said ‘yes,’ not only because I want to help my friend, but this meant three weeks before I would have to bring any of my work for slaughter. Kilian, our editor, is the one who has to drive the dagger into our stories with her battle cry “PLOT HOLE!” Leaving us gasping for breath and curled into a ball on the floor.

It took three weeks, one week for each act. But what Mary achieved was a great structure that hit all the major points with room to pants as she wrote them, and, most importantly, no plot holes. This aspect was a bit more painful, but with the help of chocolate and wine we got through it.

When we finished Mary’s book, which is going to be awesome BTW, she turned to me an evil glint in her eyes and said. “Alica, I really want to plot out your third book.”

As a pantser, I cringed and threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Agreed, and so the next week I brought poster board, sticky notes, and a rather adorable pout.

In the past when I have plotted, I have felt the energy of my story bleed away and it takes weeks for me to be able to write any of it.

I can’t recommend plotting with your critique group enough. Not only was it fun, but it has saved so much time in re-writes because several plot holes were found before I even wrote a single word. We hit the major points, creating a skeleton for me to work with, but nothing was done in detail, allowing my pants self to dance and frolic as I write from one scene to the next.

Now I will admit before I started writing, I still wore my adorable pout and felt like maybe this wasn’t really my story any more, but once I started writing it, adding dialog, action, and TONS of description the story came to life for me.

And, yes, I still have the sticky notes. I also wrote a summary of each act before the next plotting session to help up remember what we did, and I am using the summary. When I get stuck on what to write next, I open my summary and highlight what I have already done and read over the bits I still need to add.

In the past week I have written over ten thousand words! They’re flowing because I know the basic structure of what comes next.

So not only do I suggest getting an awesome critique group, who are willing to kill your darlings, but also try plotting with them, especially if you are a pantser like me.

Do you plot alone, or do you need to hold someone’s hand?