How Not to Babysit a Snake, plus an only slightly-related Merlin pic

When I was about 15 or 16 years old, I had a friend who worked in the mall near the apartment complex in which I lived. I can’t remember if she worked at the pet store or the record store, but I do remember that one day, she bought a ball python while she was at the mall working.

Since she still had some hours left in her workday, she asked me to babysit the snake for her. Hang out with a 4-foot ball python? Heck, yeah! So I took the snake home back to my apartment.

I had no knowledge of how to handle snakes. I had no snake accessories, no fish tank in which to keep it, no cage, just a snake.

It was a sweet thing, very well behaved, but I was a teenager with a short attention span and who really wants to actively monitor a snake for hours on end, anyway?

I put the snake in the bathtub. I believe that my thinking was, even if it escapes the tub, where is it going to go? The bathroom door was closed. The room was small, no windows.

Yeah, snake is in the tub. I left it unattended to…I have no idea. I might have been watching Gilligan’s Island. I went through this weird phase in which I watched Gilligan’s Island reruns every day.

I did eventually go back to check on the snake. I was just in time to see its tail ready to disappear into a hole in the bottom of the cabinet under the sink. Apparently, at snakes-eye view, there was an escape route. I don’t spend much time lying on the bathroom floor, so I had no idea it was there.

I tried to grab the tail, and it slipped out of my hand.

I don’t remember if I called the maintenance man or I called my mom and she called the maintenance man, but he did arrive. He had to bust open the floor of the cabinet to get the snake out. I got the snake back, unharmed, and my friend picked up her snake later. I have not been asked to snakesit since.

Now, to make this a fully 100% reptile-themed post, please enjoy this fantastic picture of Merlin on a car ride. Photo credit: the girl.

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Mish Mosh Applsosh

I’ve been listening to the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard. I’m actually on book 2.

It’s a lot like The Hunger Games, and when I say a lot, I mean A LOT. Both stories are YA dystopian fiction. It’s the ruling class versus the lower class. Main character is a spunky female who isn’t satisfied with her situation. Both heroines are thrust into the midst of the ruling class. Both trilogies contain arenas and rebellion. There’s a Peeta-like character and a Gale-like character, a Prim-like character. The list goes on.

It really does.

I don’t have an issue with this. I actually like the books so far, but the similarity reminded me of a podcast I listened to recently. The author on the podcast advised other authors to find books and themes that are popular and mimic those if you want to sell books.

I wonder if that’s what the Red Queen author did, if she took the main plot points and mushed them and tossed in a few extra ingredients.

Is this really what writing has come down to?

I hope not. I have a binder of notes for books and none of those ideas were exactly lifted from popular books, not consciously, at least. I mean, given how many books there are, it’s impossible to come up with an idea that no one before you has ever come up with, but there’s a difference between that and using someone else’s work as a road map.

The idea feels icky to me. Of course, that Aveyard lady is making mountains of cash, so she must be doing something right.

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Audio Schmaudio

I am such a wimp when it comes to audio recording. My makeshift sound booth is HOT and I stand too long and my feet hurt. Both my mouth and my eyes do their best to dry up. Nevertheless, I finished rerecording Iyrico, so yay! This last round was the longest. It was about 45 minutes. The recorded file was only about 36 minutes. All that will probably boil down to about 20 minutes of edited audio, maybe slightly less.

In other audio news, I’m putting up the AnnaBeth trilogy on ACX to take auditions for an audiobook narrator. I do plan to work my way up to recording full-length audiobooks eventually, but I won’t record that particular trilogy myself.

The first couple of those books, especially the first one, came about really early in my writing career. I imagine putting myself through reading every word and then listening to/editing every word would be a bit like staring at my junior high school yearbook photo for hours on end. I’d see nothing but awkwardness and flaws.

So, if someone takes that business on, there will be AnnaBeth audiobooks!

The next book I plan to record myself is one that’s in final edit right now. It’s a kids’ book that’s about 30,000 words. The print version of the book should be finished very soon. I have no idea when the audio version will be out, but I’ll keep y’all posted.

Now, please enjoy these pictures of Bleu in a fashionable tote bag.