Buy my stories
  • NECRONOMICUM #2 (NECRONOMICUM: The Magazine of Weird Erotica)
    NECRONOMICUM #2 (NECRONOMICUM: The Magazine of Weird Erotica)
    by Gary Budgen, Julian Darius, Richard Greico Jr, Nikko Lee, K. A. Opperman, Alice Renard, Rose Banks, Paul St. John Mackintosh, Michael Seese

    Contains Instabiable by Nikko Lee

  • Zombiefied Reloaded: The Search for More Brains
    Zombiefied Reloaded: The Search for More Brains
    by Carol Hightshoe, Cynthia Ward, Terry M. West, Christie Meierz, Dana Bell, Mary E. Lowd, Patrick J. Hurley, Francis W. Alexander, Liam Hogan

    Brainatarian by Nikko Lee

  • Coming Back
    Coming Back
    by James Arthur Anderson, Brian Barnett, Dave Fragments, Shawna Galvin, Vince Darcangelo, Ken Goldman, Michael Lindquist

    Contains A Mother Knows by Nikko Lee (paperback available at

  • Wolf Warriors: The National Wolfwatcher Coalition Anthology
    Wolf Warriors: The National Wolfwatcher Coalition Anthology
    by Jonathan W. Thurston

    Contains Great Mother Wolf by Michelle Knowlton

  • People Eating People: A Cannibal Anthology
    People Eating People: A Cannibal Anthology
    by Frank Larnerd, Tony Peak, Geoff Gander, Shenoa Caroll-Bradd, Robert Hart, Nikko Lee, Kyle Yadlosky, Edward Martin III

    Contains Bouillon de Bebe by Nikko Lee

  • Valves & Vixens: Steampunk Erotica
    Valves & Vixens: Steampunk Erotica
    by Nicole Gestalt, Crysta Coburn, J.T Seate, Nikko Lee, V.C., Zak Jane Keir, Blair, Regina Kammer, Jim Lee

    Contains Boson's Mate by Nikko Lee

  • The Big Book of Bizarro
    The Big Book of Bizarro
    by Rich Bottles Jr.

    Contains Honey-Do by Nikko Lee

  • Between Love and Lust
    Between Love and Lust
    by Nikko Lee


    Print-on-demand paperback

  • Templar and Other Stories of Suspense and Terror (Vampires 2, Volume 4)
    Templar and Other Stories of Suspense and Terror (Vampires 2, Volume 4)
    by J. Troy Seate, Patricia McCarthy, Nikke Lee, Andrea Saavedra, James Hartley, Edward McKeown, Mike Graves, J.E. Gurley, Zakk Erikson, David Bernstein C.C. Blake

    Contains Pure Delight by Nikko Lee

Connect with me

Writing Worry #29: Spinning wheels

The sad truth of life is that there is more things to get done than hours in the day to do them. Between work, family and writing, I find myself drawn in multiple directions. The ones that pull the hardest get my attention first.

We've recently moved Bean into a daycare closer to work. This means a shorter commute and more time in the mornings. My goal is to carve out a few minutes to work on writing. Reading has been delegated to the commute. I'm reading a great book about Griffith Pugh and his contribution to high altitude climbing and hope to have a review up in a month.

In my precious few writing minutes, I am working on revising Safe Word. I almost feel like a broken record at this point. The first draft is done. I did a word edit only to realize that what I needed was a review of the plot and character development.

So I wrote a plot summary while my husband drove us to Quebec last month. But I still find myself stuck.

I tried writing some character sheets. Now I have a few character sheets.

I went back to my plot summary and realized I needed a scene summary with the POV character labeled.

So that is what I am currently working on. I feel the gap between this draft and a submittable product. I know there are many re-writes ahead. I'm just not sure what is needed.

Life goes on and Safe Word remains in editing mode. I've submitted another horror flash fiction and am eager to get Wolf Creek edits back from my editor. Point me in a direction and I will edit.

Then the marketing begins.

Lil Bean is rolling more. It won't be long before she is on the move. Then life will get really interesting. Maybe it's more about spinning plates and hoping I don't drop too many.




GMO-free: Just another label?

I am more than a little mystified by the number of products at my local grocery store with the label 'GMO-free'. It strikes me as being akin to the gluten-free fruit cups or the fat-free Jello. Are these food companies worried about how much gluten, fat or genetically modified organisms I consume? I don't think so. GMO-free labels are the latest marketing trend to capitalize on public opinion.

When I heard about the push for state legislation to require labeling of GMO containing foods, I felt like the horse had already left the barn on the issue. Genetic engineering (e.g. manual pollination and crosses) has been around for over fifteen years and has contributed to the majority of commercially grown crops such as cotton, corn and soy. It accounts for the rise in pest resistance strains. Genetically modified organisms go one step further by introducing genes from a different organism in the laboratory instead of the field.

Beyond a doubt there is a growing portion of the population that is worried or even opposed to any GMO or even GE crops. I was surprised to see a seed company taunting that their seeds were neither genetically engineered or modifier.

Yet there is a growing disconnect between the scientific community that views GMO as just another tool that can improve production, contribute to pest resistance, reduce herbicide usage and add key nutritional benefits to existing crops and a growing portion of the public wanting to avoid GMOs. Why is there such a gap between public fears and scientific confidence?

In sharing some pro-GMO posts on Facebook, I was able to discuss the issue with some decidedly GMO-concerned friends. I walked away from the conversation with the distinct impression that what non-scientist fear is not necessarily GMO's in themselves but the negative impact of industrial agriculture.

To me, GMOs are just another product. There's nothing inherently dangerous about the technology. While it offers the ability to produce new products to improve agricultural practices or nutrition, it still leaves us with the impact of industrial farming (e.g. overuse of herbicide, pesticides, fertilizers; soil erosion, water pollution etc.).

I can't blame people for wanting to know what's in the food they buy. I am disgusted every time a product sneaks an artificial sweetener into the ingredients list without a label on the front. GMO's aren't so easy to identify. So I can't complain about people wanting to know they are consuming GMOs. I just fear that the label of GMO-free is more about sales and less about sustainable farming practices.

People should know what they are consuming, but that means the responsibility is on each of us to separate the facts from the hype so we can make informed decisions.



Bean Hiking: Flying Mountain

It's that time of the year again. The snow has finally melted for the most part. The trails are drying out. The weather is getting warmer. Time to hit the trails again.

Last year, I was lucky enough to hike through almost all of my pregnancy only skipping the dicey trails. I was still hiking passed my due date, although with poles and at a more modest pace. This year the Bean is on the outside, which presents new logistical complexities.

We were recently able to switch to a daycare much closer to work. Of course the first few hikes are closer to the old daycare. Factoring in drive time, feeding and changing, and bedtime, we have a narrow window where the Bean is happy to ride along. This week was our first attempt at hiking after work.

Flying Mountain is located in Southwest Harbor, Maine. It's a modest climb from near sea level to around 284'. From the parking lot, the trail rises quickly. Within 10-15 minutes you are at the summit. With only a minor rock wall scramble on the way up and another on the way down on the loop round, this trail is easily managed by most people able to climb steep stairs. The view of the sound and beyond is unobstructed. The loop brings you right back to the sound along a sheltered cove before returning along a grassy fire road.

My husband packed the Bean. She's approaching 15.5 lbs. The Osprey Poco Plus pack she is in weighs in around 7 pounds plus water and gear. We love this pack because of all the strap adjustment and the Bean doesn't seem to mind riding in it either.

We paused for a moment at the summit but hurried on once the Bean grew restless. Packing with an infant is all about keeping them happy. The shade cover is great to minimize sun exposure. The trail is only 1.5 miles long. Even so, it took us an hour to do.

The fresh air was great for us all.



Maine Crime Wave 2015

Not quite a month ago, I fed my little Bean at quarter to five in the morning then hopped in the car and headed to Portland for a day of crime.

I'm pretty excited to have this kind of a writing conference in Maine. Even though it takes me almost 3 hours drive either way, it's worth it. The Maine Crime Wave is great place to meet other crime fiction writers at all levels and people in the business of publishing and selling books.

There were the usual mix of panels and workshops.

Paul Doiron, Gayle Lynds and Lea Wait opened the morning panels with a discussion about the realities of research. The most interesting thing I took home was that if in doubt take it out of the realm of reality. It's better to make a fictional town than to describe a real town incorrectly. If readers can check up on it, make sure you facts are right otherwise you risk losing credibility.

I attended Barbara Ross's workshop on revising your manuscript. If you don't follow the Maine Crime Writers blogs, it's well worth it to check out her posts about book promotion and publicists. She presented a great overview of her process without toting it as the only way to revise. I actually loved her process and did something similar with Wolf Creek. I'd reverted to my old ways with Safe Word only to hit a wall. Ross's workshop gave me a frame work for revision and pointed me in the right direction to get unstuck.

The second workshop I attended was run by Jim Hayman about designing believable heroes, victims and villains. I was a little disappointed in this workshop. Although Jim presented a great list of questions that authors should consider when getting to know their characters, the session was basically him telling us how he answered each question for his characters.

Lunch break was short for me. Besides pumping every three hours, I also signed up for a 15 minutes with an agent. I've been struggling with query letters that haven't even gotten a nibble. I met with Ann Collette for a critique of a potential query letter for Safe Word. She was brutally honest and a hoot at the same time. I loved it. She set me straight on where I was going wrong with my summary. I was writing a book jacket summary instead of a short synopsis. Well worth shelling out the extra money to meet with her.

In the afternoon Kathy Lynn Emerson, Sarah Graves and Al Lamanda spoke about writing series. It was an interesting discussion about consistency, traps and writing a stand alone versus a series. Although some stand alones can turn into series if there is demand and the desire in the author to write more.

In the last session of the day, Chris Holm, Ann Collette, Barbara Kelly and Barbara Ross spoke about other aspects of writing as a career. I can only dream of one day being good enough to make it a career. But it's clear that writing the book and getting it published are just the beginning if you want to be paid for another.

New this year were social gatherings the Friday before, including 2 minute readings. I'm sorry to have missed those. Maybe next year when the Bean can travel more easily.

My goal this year was to be more social. I brought business cards with me and used them as conversation pieces. Not that it's hard to talk with people with a passion for writing about crime. What surprised me the most was that every author comes to their story with a unique background. I met a yoga practitioner writing about crime, people with a love of steampunk, an artist who wrote, and so many more. Everyone has their own history and their own interests that they bring to their writing.

A big thank you to Joshua Bodwell, MWPA's executive director. He arranged for me to have space to pump in private. Kudos!

Can't wait until next year. Now to write/edit/revise... get something done between working, commuting and baby pacifying.


Division of Labor and Gender Roles

I grew up on a farm where a pair of hands was a pair of hands regardless of gender. Throughout my university studies, there was little if any differential treatment of the men and women in my field of study. There were often more woman who stayed in karate throughout the years until the black belt level. I feel lucky to have grown up in a relatively gender neutral environment.

Still there were a few differences. I never learned to use a chainsaw even though my brother did. While there were a lot of women in my undergraduate classes, the numbers dropped off beyond graduate school. There were far more men with black belts than women in most of the clubs I studied in.

Since becoming a mother, I've given serious thought to division of labor and its influence on gender roles.

It started when I got pregnant. I was tired and nauseated so much in the first trimester that I didn't have the energy to do anything but hold down the couch after work. By the time I crossed into the third trimester, picking up cut wood for 15 minutes in the sun was my limit. As I could no longer help my husband in a meaningful fashion with the outdoors work around the house, I took on more of the cooking and indoor cleaning.

Then the little Bean came along and my primary role became big milk machine. It was a job uniquely tailored to me. My husband helped bottle feed the Bean for the 2 months I exclusively pump and when I am away.

I am among the frugal mother who thought the free cost of breastfeeding - along with the health benefits - made it the obvious choice over formula. But breastfeeding does have a cost. It limits how much I can be away from my Bean and still maintain my supply. By default, I tend to take on most of the diaper changing and entertaining the Bean. My husband does those things as well, but on balance I am just there more. Even though I returned to work at 12 weeks postpartum, I still get up 2-3 times a night to feed the Bean.

With home improvements on the horizon, I'm looking at my ability to participate in a whole new light. I don't know how to install cedar singles. I've never re-routed plumbing. From a practical view, my former carpenter husband is better suited for accomplishing these jobs. Since someone needs to be watching the Bean, I have become the default babysitter.

It's not a role I begrudge. There are benefits. I see so many smiles and giggles as well as firsts. I also see a lot of poopy diapers, crying fits and struggle to make the most of my time while providing my daughter the interaction she needs. As long as I am breastfeeding, my place will be near her.

I try to remember it won't be for long and that I have other roles - scientific curator, author, outdoor enthusiast. I knew motherhood would change how I defined myself, I just didn't realize it would include roles that I don't want to be defined by.