Nine Ways to Enjoy Your Haunt Experience (While Spoiling it For Others)


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Credit where credit is due:

It’s that time of the year again! (It has been for a month). If you’re hitting a haunted attraction for Halloween, here are some ways to make it great. For yourself.

1. If entering with a fearful child, SO, spouse, or friend, position him/her in such a way s/he can be easily used as a shield or decoy.

For instance, the around-the-waist, front-facing hug works especially well for girlfriends. Reassure her of her safety if she mentions how close this is to a hold abductors use.

2. If on entering, you are the fearful one, sublimate your fears by making a joyful noise. Use any praise songs you remember from VBS (i.e here ). Bonus points if you whap a ghoul across the head while doing the motions. Double bonus points if the devil is involved (30-second sample here here, starting :28ish.)

3. You can also sublimate your fears by putting on a tough persona. Remember, nothing’s more courageous than telling
heavily made-up non-mainstream drama geeks they suck and look lame.

4. On the other hand, if you belong to the Be Nice campaign, Be Nice. When the pale, hollow-eyed girl in the rust splattered cage groans about being hungry, offer to buy her Taco Bell. She will love you. You will not be the 52nd person to make the offer tonight.

5. If you remain fearless, sneak behind a monologuing actor and put the fear in him. You’ll be surprised what one little “Boo” can do.

6. If you have any haunt savvy, now is the time to verbalize it. Now means all of now:

“That’s an actor pocket…that’s an actor pocket…someone’s gonna jump out of that shower…there’s a drop panel…that picture’s a drop panel…one of these corpses is real, yep…nope, this is a fakeout, this is not the real ending, this is totally not the end…that’s a pocket, but it’s empty, they must be really understaffed tonight…Hey! We used that Demonic Dino-dog back in ’08! Oh, memories,” etc.
Carefully point everything out as you speak, to be sure other paying customers are relieved of all tension.

7. When needed, verbalize loudly.


This is so the group behind you will not be surprised when the scared couple in UofM sweatshirts they see up ahead get throttled by a wall dweller.

8. If your fear gets the better of you and you’re escorted backwards through the show by an actress who does a bang-up job staying in character, to preserve the other patrons’ experience, balance her performance (and preserve your dignity) by doing the chicken dance as she shows your wuss ass the exit.

9. On exiting, don’t wait until you reach the car the comment on how unfortunate it is that they cast all the black kids in that voodoo section. It’s unlikely that said kids, who are still in earshot, have noticed this themselves.
I don’t plan to say which of these I’m guilty of.

Happy Halloween from

The Wednesday Woman

Something Women Are Not


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More to come on what women are not, but number one is the same.

(Which means not all women are not not things on the future list. That’s the right number of “nots”, right?)

Anyway, unless I’m the odd one out, and every other woman on earth (or at least in the western world, or at least in the part of North America that isn’t Mexico or the Yukon) is dialed into the same Feminine Hive Mind, or at least meets at an annual Schlubby Loud Western/American Woman Conference (break-out session title: “Fleece Your Fiance: How to Snare Yourself a STEM Sweetie While Letting Divorce Laws Work in Your Favor”), I can pretty fairly assert that not all women think and behave the same way.

There are a lot of us, after all, and especially a lot of us who don’t live in the part of North America that isn’t Mexico or the Yukon. It’s impossible to nail down any one thing each and every one of us has in common–by some standards, a second X chromosome doesn’t apply–except for the fact we’re different.

So, as if anyone needed me to point this out, it’s kind of poor form to imply that all women do the same bad things (i.e “women are out to Fleece Their Fiances.”). Same goes for assuming that one thing or another is good for, or liked by, all women.

Take one of the top quotes from my online dating stint: “I bet you like romance novels too. I mean, you *are* a girl. LOL.” In a different context, effectively saying “I bet you’re pro-abortion, too. I mean, you *are* a girl. LOL” is also pretty reductive.

On the off chance you were wondering.

The woman who’s so speshul and unique she’s thinking of changing her blog name to allow for an easier schedule.

PS: If this comes off as obstreperous then I’m very sorry. Here’s my cookie recipe again.

Yesterday’s Lunch: Broccoli and Soup


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(Welcome to Yesterday’s Lunch, the feature for when I’m seriously strapped for time and/or ideas. This week it’s a time strap, in more ways than one.)

I’m on a revision/rewriting kick.  For the past few days I’ve actually looked forward to opening my giant scary Word Document and diving in.

This was not an easy place to get to: starting  a rewrite, after no matter how many, is harder than starting a draft. I also enjoy it more once I’m there, but that’s tough to remember from session to session.

I want to keep up this streak until I finish, with minimal interruption. So yesterday, I needed both a quick lunch and a quick post.

I also felt a little pre-fall-congestion coming on, so I finally broke out this soup.

With scenic old-fashioned percolator in the back.

With scenic old-fashioned percolator in the back.

Here’s the  all-important side panel.

That’s 4 Points Plus, for those of you counting.

That’s 4 Points Plus, for those of you counting.

I like to think that  everything before the sugar makes up the bulk of it, and the rest was lightly sprinkled in for flavor.

When I bought this soup, I had ambitions of filling it out with lots of fresh veggies and maybe some chicken.  But as well as time, I was low on appropriate/cookable veggies this week, so I finished off the last of the broccoli.

It's on the brink of being a bit sad.

It’s on the brink of being a bit sad.

I cut it up.

The part in the upper left corner is edible, but your organs won't like it.

The part in the upper left corner is edible, but your organs won’t like it.

We read Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear once in elementary school. It made a lasting impression on me in that I feel all I’m expressing cultural sensitivity when I use as much of the broccoli as possible.

Incidentally, if you Google “Yang the Youngest,” the third or fourth suggested search is “Yang the Youngest Lesson Plan.” Most of its Amazon reviews are written by people who taught it  and the kids they taught.

One standout is by a now-nine-year-old who’s still discussing with his/her friends how much they hated the book when they were assigned it last year.  Maybe he/she will also grow up to not waste broccoli.

I always cook the center part of the broccoli. This time, I threw in a few of the florets, but put the rest in with some carrots to snack on at work.

We have a couple new office mates. I wouldn't  blame them for having some concerns about my excessive crunching.

We have a couple new office mates. I wouldn’t blame them for having some concerns about my excessive crunching.

Also, for my last-stretch-of-the-shift snack, I put some fresh strawberries on  part-skim ricotta.


I actually used more strawberries. This picture is just so you can see the ricotta.

I actually used more strawberries. This picture is just so you can see the ricotta.



Finally, while we’re on the tangent, this was yesterday’s dinner.

We're not looking at the ingredients here.

We’re not looking at the ingredients here.

Back to lunch: I splashed a little turkey stock in a saucepan and added the broccoli. This is how you can steam, BTW. You can use any liquid. Any liquid you want to consume, anyway. That includes alcohol.

Remember how my stove's not terribly well lit?

Remember how my stove’s not terribly well lit?

I turned the heat to medium and let the broccoli sit. I held off on heating the soup, because it wouldn’t take as long.

Later, I decided to add some pepper and lemon pepper. I’d have tossed in some lemon juice, but I’m out, and lime would’ve been pretty gross.

The broccoli steamed for about ten minutes, so it came out al dente. Normally I’d prefer it softer, but remember we’re in a time crunch here.

That was a pun. Huh.

That was a pun. Huh.

The soup was hot before long. I dished everything out.


I felt I’d reached my carb quota for the day, otherwise multigrain crackers would have rounded this off nicely.

I felt I’d reached my carb quota for the day, otherwise multigrain crackers would have rounded this off nicely.

I also had some milk and an apple.

And that was yesterday’s lunch.

Happy heating,

The Wednesday Woman



I Just Bought Peanut Butter That Has Dried Cane Syrup In It

I’m trying here.  

I’m trying to eat less sugar. I think I’ve consumed at least one major sugar bomb once a day for the past week. Every morning I get up and think, “I’ve gotta stop that,” but then evening comes around and that Ben and Jerry’s blueberry graham froyo seems like a fast and tasty and reasonable source of the protein I’m still craving for some reason. 

I’m getting there now, thinking, “I’m still hungry–and there’s room for sugar today!”, before I remember that Jimmy John’s oatmeal raisin from after lunch. 

I think that cookie has been my only source of carbs today. Then I remember those little multigrain crackers I scarfed when I got home. 

I got home and I went to the grocery store to put off blogging. Then I ran, despite my butt being sore from going to that first power-flex class yesterday.  I feel like I didn’t exercise enough last week.

I’m trying. 

Now I’m doing this. 

I’m trying. 

I’m trying to finish a story that I thought I’d have finished last week. I’m trying to finish it so I can go through the massive amount of editing I know it’ll need when the planned ending comes around. Meanwhile I can’t stop thinking of that other story I started almost a year ago.

I’m trying to set aside enough time to go through and revise that Big, Scary Story that’s not a scary story as such but scary to me when I consider all that dithering I’m more and more convinced is lying in wait in the middle and turning off prospective agents. Meanwhile I want to do more than chip away at that other Big, Scary Story that’s still so scarily unwritten. 

(Big, Scary Story = Novel, btw.) 

I’m also trying to blog.


Next week, I’ll be back on the work schedule I was used to before this summer. Hopefully that routine will help get me on track, if only for a few key pushes writing wise.


I have a few ideas for this site knocking around. Some have been knocking around for quite some time. Like, that full review of a book about a little boy born into an eleven-by-seven foot space that I was working on when a non-fictional little boy who happens to be my nephew and is also my soon-to-be-godson decided to be born, which threw a lot of things off and made said review harder to write than it was going to be. Plus others.

I’ve written things.

I’m trying.

This evening, I bought the kind of peanut butter I might actually want to eat. In a little bit, I’m going to eat some. I mention this because it seems likely this title will bring page clicks, and hey, no lie, there is food on this blog. 

I’m trying. 

Then I’m going to bake cookies. Nothing special, just to prove to a friend/coworker that oatmeal cookies with dried cranberries and white chocolate are a thing that exists and that she should try. Maybe I will blog about them as well, sugar aside. 

You know cookie dough will not go uneaten. 

I’m still trying here, folks. Thanks so much for your patience. 


The Wednesday Woman


Non-exhaustive List of Non-Americanisms in Room (novel)


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Room cover

A more comprehensive review of this book is in the works, but life intervened and this section outgrew itself. So.

Is “Anglo-American” still a legit label? I read it in a very old-school YA novel and thought it was pretty nifty.

Would it be totally pretentious to use it for myself? Aside from being nifty, “Anglo-American” just sounds a lot cleaner than “I have an American parent and an English parent and was born in the US but spent a lot of time in England and around English people growing up and I’ve lived in England for a year. (Plus Ireland for eight months if that’s relevant, which it is right now.)”

Anyway, whatever I call it, that’s the way it is. This hardly makes me an expert, but it means I recognize some words as common to one culture’s English vs. the other.

Like how all our recess group said “bangs”, except for our Australian friend and I, who said “fringe.”

Or things like, “Yes, Mummy calls them ladybugs, Daddy calls them ladybirds.”

That was actually a family my siblings and I overheard on a plane once—our parents are the other way around—but we’re talking stuff on that level.

This in turn means when I read fiction, I read characters’ accents in what they say. Sometimes I also read an accent in the narrative voice. It plays a big role in grounding me in a setting.

Nothing special here, by the way. I suspect this works for loads-and-loads*/lots-and-lots** of readers (*UK/**US).

Last week I finally read Room. In case you missed the buzz back in 2010, this novel’s the story of a heinous crime told through a child’s voice. It was kind of a big deal.

I knew going in that the author, Emma Donaghue, was Irish (Irish-Canadian, it turns out). For the first few pages, I assumed the characters were also Irish. Later I decided they could just as easily be English, though I wondered why the kid was watching only American cartoons. Then the latter part of the book makes clear the whole thing is meant to*/supposed to** take place in the States.

A hazy setting isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It works for the right story. At least one reviewer believes it works for this one, that it adds to the unsettling quality of the whole book, which is after all all about being dislocated.

I don’t disagree. What bugs me is how unlikely it seems that this was the author’s intention.

By its nature, the story relies on key details (like rhythmically creaking bed springs) whose significance the narrator misses but the reader can catch. A few of these (like an up-close view of a nickel, a brand new sight for the viewer seem designed for Donaghue to let the reader know where we’re supposed to be, nation-wise. 

Also, Donoghue tries for American speech a few times, (“sucker”, “Mom”, and at least once, “butt”)– it just doesn’t go far. And a Irish character turns up at one point (and very welcome she is too), and her dialogue shows an attempt at contrast.

But these details are as far as the authenticity of the American setting gets. This leads me to believe that it was chosen because this is where one of the high profile cases that inspired the book took place.

The language/diction/word choice/minor cultural details were a big part of why the setting didn’t feel natural, or worse, too natural, like the book was written in the author’s default setting.

In her defense, she had the five-year-old’s voice to focus on, which is certainly a project in itself. But if you’re taking on the task of writing a five-year-old American’s perspective, why not take the extra step to make sound American as well as five?

If that won’t work out, there’s no shame in making all these folks Irish or Canadian. No one’s going to complain something like this story would never happen in one of those countries.

Finally, this could be oversensitive, but it seems a little disrespectful to just assume Jaycee Dugard says “fringe” when she means “bangs”.

These are nitpicks. But nitpicks are easy fixes, which is why it gets to me so much when they’re not fixed. It got to me enough that near the end of the book, I started writing down words Americans wouldn’t say or concepts that don’t quite fit the culture, both as I remembered and as they came up.

I;m due at the bar** in a few minutes, so without further ado, here’s a non-exhaustive list of non-Americanisms in Room. (**Like, “bar” as the American. equivalent to “pub”. An American “pub” is what this place is trying to be.)


-“Fringe” (vs. “bangs”, though in this context, “cut in a fringe”.)

-“meant to” (vs. “should” or “supposed to”)

-Construction: “Will you go play”? (vs. “Do you want to go play?”. Like, “Will you build a snowman?” doesn’t have quite the same metre.)

-“bits of”/”bit of” (vs. “parts of”/”pieces of”)

-“a bit modifier” (vs. “little”/”kind of”)

-“beside” (vs. “next to”)

-“Duvet” (That’s what it says on our duvet packages, but “quilt” or “comforter” are more likely to be used casually. I think?)

-Construction: “Sentence sentence sentence, yeah?” (vs. “sentence sentence sentence, right?”)

-“Any joy?” (“Any luck?” is the best translation I’ve got.)

-“partner” (vs, in this case, “wife”/”girlfriend”/”woman with whom he’s had a child and still lives.” When I first moved to England, I was used to hearing “partner” to refer, euphemistically, as someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend of the same sex. It took time adjusting to the broader meaning in England. Meanwhile the middle class in my part of this country is still in the habit of getting married before they have kids. Otherwise why bother with marriage equality?)

-Cheap veggie curry in a can (Someone want to hook me up with an American source of cheap veggie curry in a can?)

-“LEGO”, i.e “box of LEGO”, “play with LEGO”, “life without LEGO”  (vs. “legos.” This brings back repressed memories of English Cousin possibly saying “LEGO” as plural. I’m all for lingual diversity but without “legos” how do you distinguish a single “lego”, such as the one you just stepped on?)

(FYI the original Legoland is in England DENMARK, the home of LEGO/what we call legos. Thank you vRob in comments! The Windsor Legoland is pretty cool, and the real original Legoland has gotta be pretty cool too.)

-“Safe as houses” (If you’re American and didn’t just go “Bwuh?” let me know so I can buy you a Guinness.)

-Canberra (As a place a stressed out fifty-something American man would retire to for a fresh start. Guy that adventuresome is not going to play the stock uptight family member who can’t accept the reality of the situation.)

-“Stabilizers” (vs. “training wheels.” I did not know this before. Thanks, Goodreads reviewers!)

-Bronwyn (as toddler name) (an American toddler named Bronwyn would raise a few burning questions, such as “Should we be adding an “Anglo-” or “Irish-” on there?”)


Basically, if you have a manuscript you’d like read for stray British/Americanisms that fall where they don’t belong, hit me up. This needs to be a standard editing position, outside early Harry Potter (and that was different).


The Wednesday Woman


Born: 1 small male relative

Still Grateful He Was Born “Outside”: One blogger, who was kept awake by Room all last week. Hey, if it weren’t worth it, this post wouldn’t exist.

Six Things You Might Like to Know About Me as a #PitchWars Mentee

(Note: Non-#PitchWarriors may wish to wait for the post that’s being drafted in my notebook right now.

1. I think haunted attractions are pretty sweet, both up front and behind the scenes. I think the world needs a really strong, thoughtful novel about one. I also think the world needs a YA novel featuring a love triangle where the heroine isn’t the ipex and her rival isn’t a villain. Whether this a novel people actually want to read remains to be seen. But I’ll keep doing my darndest to make it that novel.

2. Broader: I’m fascinated by how people are simultaneously repulsed and entranced by horror fiction (and film, and interactive theater aka haunted attractions, etc), why that is, and how and why someone creates something that scares even them.

Basically I’d like to explore that in in a YA novel without shoving a copy of Danse Macabre down readers’ throats with a crowbar.

3. Blunt and detailed critique is just peachy with me. If it leads to a long constructive discussion that’s even better.

4. I’ve worked on this project a long time. I’m committed to the basic story, a few character’s choices and motivations, and all names except the town’s. But anything else I’m happy to change and revise if it serves the novel as a whole.

5. I read compulsively, anything, and for a living, audiobook scripts and synopses.

6. Coffee, chocolate, power ballads, musicals, thrift stores, baby mammals, pop culture, vintage teen novels, and late 19th century Brit lit, and lots of other stuff is pretty awesome too.

Bonus: If it wasn’t clear above, I usually write new material by hand. This started back in college, so I could draft essays without spending most of the time on the Internet.

Thanks for stopping by.


The Wednesday Woman/The writer whose tweet you clicked to get here.

Things I Wish I’d Learned Before I Started College


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It’s that time of year again.


In case she needs to fill a space on her wall, I made a frameable version of this, with thoughtfully varied fonts and text in the school colors. But I figured a plain version would make an okay blog post.

Note that these are all things I wish I’d learned before I started college, not necessarily things I learned *in* college. Some didn’t get through to me until well into grad school (thanks, guy who brought that punch with the grapes for the party I came to hungry.)  “Drama’s gonna drama” didn’t truly click until, like, March (when I realized I was an adult who was free to leave a dramatic situation and did.)

Additions are appreciated.

It’d be nice growing up was as fast as reading a list.


Things I Wish I’d Learned Before I Started College

Don’t go to class hungry

Eat lots of vegetables

There is no good reason to put things off

If you have to choose between staying  in and going out, go out

If you choose to stay in and work, actually work

Sometimes, professors will contradict each other. Your job is to figure out who’s right

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Think through big choices

Get sleep

Drama’s gonna drama

The world extends beyond this

House parties are more fun

Don’t go to parties hungry

Don’t eat fruit from the punch

Use the buddy system

Time won’t go by this slowly again

Act as though you’re confident

Surround yourself with people you like

Most women don’t look like women on TV

Make your bed and fold your clothes

Have fun

Be smart

Stay hydrated


The Wednesday Woman

PS: Sad things have happened this week. In case you wondered how I feel about sad things, I feel sad. I doubt you wondered–correct me if needed. 

I’d go into more depth on the subject of social media and sharing feelings and why we would or wouldn’t, but that could be a few volumes of essays and I have dinner plans so I’m only taking a half hour lunch.

Also, in my world, sorting out tough stuff is what fiction is for.


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