Book Birthday/Birthday Week…yay!

TDA_FrontCover (1)Salut, all! I hope you are thriving as well as you can these days. This week has been a sky-full-of-lights, all-hands-on-deck busy week for me, WHEW. /collapses

My new sci-fi novella Temporary Duty Assignment is finally out in the world, waiting to be read, to find a home on your shelf or nestled amongst the other lovely e-books on your reader of choice. I would be honored if you bought it…what greater compliment to a writer than purchasing her work? You can order it by clicking on the link above, or find other versions on The Book Smugglers site! <3

You can also read about what inspired me to write this novella and create this world over on The Book Smugglers site where my Inspirations and Influences essay awaits if you are curious and need perhaps that extra little nudge before buying the book. Check it out–you know you wanna! <3

It’s also my birthday today…I’m 42! You know, that amazing number? The one Douglas Adams wrote about? The answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything? I was too bombarded/blasted/tie-tie/zzzzzzzzz to have a party this week, birthday or book birthday, but I want to celebrate amidst some messed up, crazy, enormous things going on in my country and the world. I want to celebrate my hope that things can be better. I want to celebrate my fervent wish that maybe, at 42, I can finally start to chip away on that whole life/the universe/everything quandary and make some sense of it all. Wish me well, dear readers…I would like that so very much.


Thank you as ever for reading, for supporting my work and here is wishing you a safe, relaxing and kind weekend! <3

Tasty Tuesday: Isn’t Food Nice?

Howdy, all…I hope the week is treating you well so far!

Recently I was having a conversation with a friend about how much I adore people’s food pics on social media. I’ve seen rants from naysayers, people complaining about UGH ANOTHER PICTURE OF SOMEONE’S STUPID DINNER and it never fails to make me a sad kitty. I love food, you see. Not just some casual, ‘you’re kinda alright’ feel but a deep and abiding love. I love how food brings people together–so many holidays and life milestones, happy, mournful, or indifferent–involve celebrations revolving around food. Food brings us together. We all must consume organic matter to convert to the energy our bodies need to function…alas, we are not yet transcended beyond flesh.

Which brings me to the fact that in most of my longer fiction, I try to include at least one little hint about the kind of food my characters eat or have available to them. Engaging all of the senses of a reader, communicating the smell of sauteeing garlic and onions or the warmth of a cup of fragrant jasmine tea–these details shift the world into a recognizable and relatable focus (or so I hope), and make everything just a little more real. This is incredibly important in speculative fiction, where worlds can be alien and strange.

In Nice, my story in the newest Book Smugglers Quarterly Almanac, I introduce a  place called Super Gyro. It’s an ad-hoc, hover-truck gyro joint that is so freaking good that even the transit cops in this cyberpunk metropolis love it enough that they’re willing to “forget” to enforce traffic laws whenever it shows up. Super Gyro connects Kitsune, the heroine of Nice, to Sam, the kitten-shirt wearing spec-ops soldier you’ll meet in my novella set in the same universe and coming from The Book Smugglers in August. I like to think that people from any walk of life can identify with the satisfaction of well-prepared, nourishing food…that enjoying the simple act of treating ourselves, if we’re so lucky to be able to do so, is something we can all agree upon.



Stop by if you are so inclined, to join Kitsune in her appreciation of good food before the whole world falls down around her. Happy Tasty Tuesday, and thank you as always for reading! You’re really the best for that, you know! <3

If you’ve read any good meals lately, by the way, I’d love to hear about it on Twitter or in the comments!

before/after the streetlights (a poemy thing)

When I was a kid, I was a bit obsessed with streetlights. Not just because I was allowed to stay out till just past the time when they came on, but for other reasons…harder to explain reasons. Imagery from the Book of Revelations via terrifying sermons, post-apocalyptic scenes courtesy of 80’s sci-fi shows and movies, and sci-fi odds and ends from books and school all mingled in my mind to give me thinky-thoughts. I would look up at the streetlights with their buzzing, orange light and wonder–what would it take to turn off all the lights in the world? If that thing happened, would they all go out at once, a sudden there-then-not kind of thing? As I grew and my understanding of the world (power grids, physics, post-apocalyptic narratives stemming from post Cold War tensions and the 80’s Star Wars propaganda) matured, I started to see that these things that preoccupied me as a kid were still pretty scary. These things come out even now in my poetry and fiction. Streetlights, powerlines stretching for miles over grassy fields, windmills with their blinking red pilot lights, the kinds of strange machinery and structures I’d see at the edges of the military bases and the Port Authority where I grew up all blend together with my young mind’s questions, creating this personalized, complex iconography of tech. To this day, I write about when the streetlights go out. To this day, I still get chills thinking about it. I hope you are all having a good week so far, and thanks for reading!

And now, a new poem:


before/after the streetlights


Be in before the streetlights come on, mom calls out

and her voice slaps flat against the sides of houses

and the summerhot asphalt

and my scrambling footfalls echo back–


I run till the street ends in woods and it’s darker.

Before the streetlights, what was there?

Fireflies and distant blinking stars only go so far

in holding back the night–


Before the streetlights, one kind of darkness

and after? What happens when the white light

eats the sky, when the generators die–will the streetlights

and stoplights and house lights all go out at once?


Will I be able to see to run? Be in before the streetlights

come on, I tell my blue shadow and look up at the metal

and orange light and down at the crumbling street

and I hum and I try not to be afraid of the after

Horrorscopes, V-Day Edition 2017

zodiacn2Why hello there, Starchildren! Welcome to this February 2017 edition of Horrorscopes, the Valentine’s  Celebration special!

Love is a strange thing. Even stranger when we consider the enormity of what we think and feel against the dogged practicality of the phenomenon itself.  We survive in part because we love, or so biology seems to indicate–safety in numbers, herd to hide, love to make more of whatever we are. Does that freefall crash we experience when we realize how much we care for someone result from pheromones, from instinct, from a complex cocktail of neurotransmitters and the sensory responses and impulses that follow? Is it a meeting of minds? Co-mingling of souls? Or all of the above?

Or is it nothing?

Oh, stalwart Capricorn, inquisitive Aquarius, gentle Pisces, determined Aries, sensual Taurus, capricious Gemini, sensitive Cancer, bold Leo, dignified Virgo, harmonious Libra, subtle Scorpio, independent Sagittarius…the time has come.


What time? You may well ask.

The time to put aside your thoughts on love and your feelings on feelings and to consider your vast, unending aloneness at the end of all things and the beginning of all others. Though time as we like to imagine it—linear, parsed, neatly arranged in seasons, cycles, calendars, ticks and tocks—does not exist, we must make time to consider the monster in the room—your thorough, ineffable sense of isolation against all of that which society tells us love means. It was time to think on this before you existed and will remain time to think on this long after you are dust and even longer after the world itself is a blasted shell and again when all folds around on itself, it will still be time.

For in knowing at the end/beginning of all things  that we are only who we are with no reference to any other being, there is power. So yes, it is time to think on YOU.

Time to assert your personal strengths and to sound your roar through the vast nothingness.

Time to own your weaknesses with good humor yet an almost grim desire to remedy them.

Time to know you are exactly enough to exist now, here, precisely as you are.

Time to give your love to your shadows, your fears about who you are beneath all those layers. Time to give your love to what you wanted for the world.  Time to give the world your best even when it has not given what you want.

Time to whisper those three words we adore and fear into the void, the chaos, the dawn, the beingness that slips between the cracks when the world seems to be collapsing around you…



Breathe it in, let it fill you with strength you never knew you had, with strength you never knew anyone could have.

I am here. WE ARE HERE.


I҉̳ ̱̝͕͖̞̞A̗̤̪̝̦M͟ ͚͔͇̬̯̜ͅH̲E̞̦̬͎͍R̷̤̫̗͚E̶ ̙̯͍̳͖̝͠
̬̠W̧͕̙̖̣͉͈̥E͈̞ ̻̲A̬̫̙̤̲R̞E̯̕ ͇̯̹͖ ̳͉͘ ̲̲͔̺͖̗ ̜͖̰̫̟͓̯ ͏̞ ̬̺͓̝̞͞ ̼̦̻ ̬̼̹̱̫̱̹Ḥ̘̪E ͏̱͙̲̯͎͍͉ R̤̟̀E̼̱̱̘͍ͅ
̣̤͘ͅT̻H̗E̛ ̖̙͚̪̠̭ ̸̤̥̗̤̼ ͜T͈͕I͉̜͟ME ̩͢I̛S͈̮͎̟̭̗ ̖Ń̲͕̼O̬̰͓̖̘͠W̙̩̲̩̙ͅ
̖̹̬̪͈H ͎̖͇̼E ̠̼̖͕R͉ ̝̤͓͇̜͓͖E͇̙͟
͔̪̦̀N ̸̠̱̟̺ ̠̣̣̟͈ ̛̟̱ͅ ̠̣͍O͕͇͕͘W̸ ̤͙̝̹I̛ ̰A͍͕̮̫̼͖̲̕Mͅ ̞̟̟̻̮̯H͎̪̮̝̲̯̖ ͘E̸̺̙̦̼ͅR̶͎E ̛̦̟̬ ̙̪̗̙͓̫ͅ ̯͙͖̲͔͘ ̢̖̖̥̮̯̰͓ṰH̜̻̪̞̳ ͇̙̙̺E̷̮
̵̟͉̬̜T̶͍̪̖̪͕̯̰Ì̲͉̣̫͍͈͔ ̸͚̘̱̞̱͔M̦̪̭͍̩̝̀ͅE͏̟̻͕͚ ͏͙I͔͚̩̙̼S̷̙̯̲͖͙̝ ̦̬̱̦Ņ̤̖͔̭̜̗͎O̗̰̺͇̲͉ͅ ͖̥̘W͕̺͖͘ ̞̳̭̞W̮̱̘̗͚̝E̤̱̙A̧̩̹̫R̸͖̥̜E̳̺̰̦͉̙H͏̩͇͚̪̤E̪͎͕̖̥̙R̻͓Ȩ̮̖͈̳ͅT͚̰͇͈͇̱H̵̰̞̲ ̯̪̰͕E̻̜͞ͅTI͕̘̹̩̞̻ME͙͍̣̲̘ͅĮ̜͉͈S̸N͙͉͓̱̱ͅO̮̰͇͓̫͕͜ẂW̧͇̻͉̪̙͈̳Ẹ̷̱̝͓A͍͕̰̖̼̠R̯̥͙̫͔͖E̵ ̗͓̖H̸̻͉̰̻E̶̳̩̘R̫̙E̦̹̝̼̟͚͘ͅT̹̳̞̖͜H̘̠̝͍̦͎͡E͔̘̲͢
̺͈͇̺H̞͇̲̟̤ ͉̜͟E̯͔̼ ͚͓̱̺͖͞ͅR̶̝ ̗͖E


here h


e nough

Haintsong–a Hallow’s Eve Poem

Hello all, and happy creppy, spoopy day! I wanted to celebrate with a new poem I wrote while thinking about the woods where I spent so many youthful days rambling, dreaming up stories of valiant last stands against armies of evil creatures, the pines whispering all around me, the Spanish moss dancing in my path on breezes I could not always feel. *shivers* I don’t normally use much rhyme in my work and though I did not employ a strict form, this piece was a challenging little exercise in word choice. I creeped myself out a bit while writing it, so in the spirit of Halloween scaring-is-caring, I hope you enjoy! <3



swish of pine needle, stir of fir

borrowed silk snags thorny branch

bare feet striking frozen dirt

thud of footfall, doesn’t hurt


run like the devil’s on your tail

and all the world’s on fire

run, she’s nearly through the veil

hurry girl you better run


spanish moss shapes an arch

breaths of night stir the fronds

swish of pine needle, stir of fir

all that waits for you is her


nowhere left to run my girl

there’s nowhere left to hide

the fire is licking at your feet

and the devil lives inside


she waits for me in a thistle-vale,

her smile of smooth old bones

an echo of a darker day,

rotting silks all turned to gray


she sings to me in night-time wind

in words all shades of gray

cathedral stone and charnel ash,

cat’s eyes and freezing skies


her promises are gossamers

laced with motley grays-

cold rain, mother’s hair,

shipwreck waves, mossy graves


she tells me I am like her now

creature with a life gone gray

clouded ice, mind of smoke

soul of lead, heart stone-dead


Horrorscopes: Fall 2016, Election Edition!

zodiacnWhy hello again, Starchildren! Here in the Northern Hemisphere of the planet Earth, it’s autumn…time for cozy sweaters, those first chilly evenings, the re-emergence of the Disciples of the Cult of PSL (pumpkin spice latte) into the unsuspecting human populace, and why yes, the Fall Edition of Horrorscopes! I have to say, this is an exciting time and this year is a special year—a year in which Americans cast lots to determine the fate of our people.

I͍̯̚ṭ̲̯̫ͩ̄ͫ’̸͕̜̭͖̏s͉̤̜̳̟̝̉͌̇͞ ̬̪͈̩͉͎͒ͮ̑̅e̺̜̬̺̱̻̍̽ͨ̏͗l͐̈̎ͧ́̈́ͫe̵̩̣͉͓̗ͯ͂ͫc̲͔̩̙͛ͨͧ͂ͪ͗̏t̴̺͖̟̰̬͖̐͗̇ͦͦi̠̓̓͟o̠̻͇̦̲̦̓ͨ͐n̮̆̌̆̄ͅ ̳̰̬̻͔̐̀͆y҉̹̤̣͚̹͈̞e͇̼̝͌̈́́ͪͩ̚a͖̝͕͚̞̦̋ͦ̃̑͡r͔̗̺͍̺ͫ͛ͨ.̢̪̌̂́̋̚̚̚

In this special edition, friends, we will look a little closer at the inscrutable skies and find out what the coming months will bring for each of you! Hold on tight…it’s going to be a wild ride!

All Signs:

This is one of those rare occasions when there is a message for ALL of you! With the onset of a new season and bigger still, a new season of change for the American people, remember that style cannot be underestimated. Dress for confidence—dress for success. Dress for the journey ahead, and be sure that your new wardrobe has plenty of pockets…you’re going to need them for hoarding food and resources, for hiding your shaking hands, for the utility of knowing you still have places within you the others cannot see. In relationship news, things will be more exciting than ever for each of you! Hug your loved ones, high-five or show them your affection by cooking a meal or making sure all of your vehicles are fueled, your wallets and mattresses stashed with cash and gold and silver currency, and that any and all batteries are replaced with new, longer-life models. And finally, don’t forget to have fun! In the face of the unknown, in the path of the storm, in the wake of all that is achingly new, painful and strange, embracing the unique ability to see humor in the whole of who and what we are is essential to a full life in the coming days, and a just dandy part of being h͕̘̮̹̱̰̤͘u̝͇͇̣̠̻͝m̨̦̟̹̩͢ḁ͎̩̙̻́͝n̛̮͙͝!

Now, without further ado, your Fall 2016 horrorscope:

Hamal, the brightest star of Aries gives light to its void as do all things which burn at their hearts and in their souls but do not trust to the hearts of stars to hold fast in the wake of what will be. Do not trust the orange titan Aldebaran of Taurus, though once steadfast; do not petition mighty Pollux of Gemini and the meteoric lights that tear through Janus’s domain. Do not strain your sights to distant, glowering Cancer or trust that Regulus, Alpha Leo and a legendary light will persist as what scouts the edges of our universe sends outriders, ever bolder and more clever, to pick away at what is known and bright. Virgo boasts Spica and Libra preaches her balance and in the wake of war, Antares marches beneath the banner of Scorpius but even he may now know despair and though the archer Sagittarius lets fly his arrows and wise Capricornus, quick Aquarius and subtle Pisces all rise from the Sea of Water in a show of timeless, beyond-ancient power, their lights flicker in a coldness not new but newly remembered, not alien but of our universe’s own heart.


It was the song on the legionnaire’s lips it was the arrows of Li Guang it was a Maasai victory feast it was the cry of Boudicca it was Artemisia’s ships set sail it was written in blood and ink and time it was the reverent chant around the Plains bonfire and it is now silence and the fires are doused and the Elysian Fields empty and the Valkyries turn their heads from this feast of crows for none are worthy of hallowed halls and guys, hey ya’ll, calm down because maybe it is a crazy joke. We’d call it whistling in the dark but that would imply that sound carries in the Void and we have no longer teeth or lips for whistling or the voices to laugh.


When She wandered the wasted plains in the unnatural winter, so many layers bundling her body that She tottered and slowed, a lump on the landscape, She sang to herself then She lost the words to songs so She began to speak and when her voice was tired and frayed She wrote in the dust with a withered branch:



Then seeing her words She felt a sound rise from her chest, felt it bubbling up, pouring out, a raucous intrusion on her world’s silence and She laughed, She laughed until She collapsed into the dirt, weak from the joke of it and She lifted a bundled arm and wiped a gritted tear from her eye and She took a breath and knew how it would play out, how it begins again, and again, an ouroboros, a feedback loop, an assertion of being.

An assertion of life.


Will this year bring me luck? Money? Love? A journey by sea? What does the seer see for me?

The answer is no.
The answer is no.
The answer is no.
The answer is no and
The question
The question was
The question is
The answer and the question are


Don’t forget, Starchildren, that autumn is a time of gratitude, of harvest bounty, of the warmth of family and friends. Do not forget to cherish these moments of light and warmth and love. Do not forget to be the best that you have it within you to be, to love with the radiance of a universe of stars.

Do not forget to be beautifully, humanly you.

Creative KC: Sara Kincaid, Writer Vs. World


Hello, all! Welcome to my first installment of Creative KC! For those of you who’ve never been to the Kansas City metropolitan region, let me just tell ya’ll…there are exciting things going on in this city in the arts and makers’ fields. I’m crazy-lucky to know talented folks (who themselves know many more I’ve not yet met!), and I am excited to share their stories with the world. The series will be ongoing, and I plan to highlight local artists, writers, musicians, and other creative professionals and hobbyists in metro.


Photo by Whitney Knutson Photography

First up on the docket is Kansas City writer Sara Kincaid, who published her lyrical, absinthe-tinged historic mystery novel in August. Sara, I’m going to ask you the same question I’ll be asking everybody I interview—exactly what do you do that has landed you here in a column about Kansas City creative professionals? I wanted to know the how’s, the why’s—as a writer, I can’t help but be curious about what makes other creatives tick.

I am a writer and have been since I was seven years old. As long as I can remember, I have been inventing places and stories. I was a child who loved to play pretend and loved the escape aspect of reading and writing. I still do in many ways. I enjoy inventing new places and crafting beautiful sentences. I always used to say that the only thing better about being a writer over being a reader is that you get to control what happens to the characters. 

Are there any influences or inspirations for your writing generally? I know you’ve talked a lot about your love for Poe, and that you have a pretty fantastic appreciate for and knowledge of Gothic literature–

My writing is definitely influenced by my education. I have a M.A in literature and am an expert in Gothic literature. I have read so many Gothic novels… I am inspired by Hawthorne (not a Gothic writer) for the way he describes an inanimate object to the point that it almost becomes a character. When I write, I aspire to write like Carlos Ruiz Zafon, one of my favorite living writers.

Being a writer and having a full-time Other Job sounds quite challenging—how do you personally manage to stay so creative in a busy work-a-day world?

A lot of times people say to me that they don’t know how I do it. How I write. And that my life makes them tired just hearing about it. I don’t know how to live and not create something. I think my life would be very boring if I wasn’t a writer. Even if I am being lazy and not writing, my mind is always tuned in. I get ideas driving down the highway or while listening to a song. They pop up everywhere. Maybe some day I will be lucky enough to be able to write full time. It’s the ultimate dream. 

the-green-lady-0413You had a book birthday in August—a big one, from the sounds of it (congratulations!). Are you currently working on any Projects Of Pure Win And/Or Awesome? What’s going on in the world of Writer Versus World? :D

I just published my first novel,  The Green Lady. It is a historical fiction piece about a lawyer in 1890s Baltimore who is addicted to absinthe. He witnesses a murder and then is accused of committing that crime. He tries to prove that he didn’t do it. But, he’s just not very good at life so he kind of bumbles his way through it. This was a really fun piece to write, but also really tough. 

My current work in progress is a completely different genre. It’s an urban fantasy story with a hint of dystopia in it titled Withered World. I hope to have it ready to publish by the end of 2016. One of my favorite things about the fantasy genre is the way different authors conceptualize the mechanism of magic. This plays into my story very heavily. I can’t wait to share this new story with the world but I have to keep it on the d/l for now :)

I also have a couple of other projects in the back of my mind. We’ll just have to see what develops next! 

book-on-shelf-3Since your interview is the first in a series I’m calling Creative KC, how would you say you engage with or rely upon others in the KC Community to do what you do? Do you have any causes or charities that you support, any active professional networks, or other ways that you interact with the Kansas City metro and its denizens?

The most significant way that I interact with the Kansas City community would be through my writers’ group. We have a fantastic group of women who are supportive of each other’s projects and triumphs. We beta read for one another and serve as a cheering squad for one another. 

If I had more time, I would love to volunteer more frequently. I have done a couple of activities with Literacy Kansas City, an adult literacy program in KC MO. I adopted my pup Lilah from Great Plains SPCA. They’re a great organization. If you’re local, I would recommend supporting them! 

Writing is a lot of hard work, at least in my experience–and adding day jobs, social lives, and other hobbies can be tough for any creative person. Are there any challenges that you face in wake of choosing writing as a vocation in addition to Other Life Stuff? If so, any pro-tips on how you personally deal with them?

For me, the hardest thing is balancing my career with my writing. I am also a writer by day so it’s really hard to force myself to sit down in front of the computer once again after I get home from the office even though the type of writing I am doing in each place is very different. The best way I have found to combat this is to meet up with my writer’s group. We may all be sitting together silently working on our own individual projects, but we are still together. This somehow satisfies my need for people, even though it’s quiet!

Now that I’ve asked you about what you do, and how and why, where can we find your work? I’d love to foist your words upon the world, and let people know where to go if they are looking for darkly lyrical fiction of the literary variety!

You can check out my website and blog at: 

You can find me on Facebook at: @sarakincaidauthor 

Twitter: @writervsworld

My book is available via Amazon in both a print version and an ebook:

I would love to end this interview with something I’ll call Non Sequitur Corner. Is there anything you want to share, Sara Kincaid, that may or may not at all be related to anything else you’ve said here? A quote, an image, wisdom of the ages, a really awful knock-knock joke?

Find people who build you up, respect your dreams and support your endeavors. This includes friends and significant others and anyone else who should rightfully embrace who you are because writing is a huge piece of what makes you who you are. Writing is a solitary endeavor in many ways. But in just as many ways, it doesn’t have to be. Those supporters are part of your writers’ arsenal as much as your favorite pen, notebook and chair. And be sure to give what you get. Be a support system to your fellow writers, not their competitor. 

Be a support system indeed–what wonderful advice! And in light of that, I want to thank you, Sara, for answering my prying, nosy questions, and for letting the world know how one woman is doing her part to keep Kansas City creative.

That wraps up this first installment of Creative KC. To all who took the time to read Sara’s story, thank you sincerely, kindly, and perhaps a bit effusively and I can’t wait to roll out more posts featuring Kansas City creators!