Monday 29 February 2016

Maze 2:12:4 Storytelling

Book 2
Daughter of Darkness Series
Chapter 12:4

In the last episode 2:12:3 Kell uses Oxycontin to escape the reality of her bloodlines. She crushes on her brother's friend - a wannabe cowboy - who sells dope and turns her on to the stuff. 

Review: Thérèse Raquin

Thérèse Raquin Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was walking through my friend's house when I found this book randomly on a shelf. A 99 cent penguin classic. My friend's mom had died and she was preparing the house for an estate sale. Her parents smoked Marlboro Lights for fifty plus years in that house, and everything - including Thérèse Raquin - was yellow and smelled of tobacco. The flesh and body of the narrative turned out to be the same, yellow, describing the decay over time of a couple of cowards who sought to fool the world, and ended in fooling only themselves.

I chose the book the same way I choose any book; turn randomly to a page and start reading. I was excited because I had not read much of Zola. This was his first major novel, published in 1867 when he was 27 years old. Zola was quite wealthy and famous by his writing and politics, both of which had an impact in 19th century Paris, and may have been murdered (over the latter) when a chimney sweep later confided that he plugged up Zola's chimney deliberately, causing him to die by carbon monoxide poisoning in 1902. Zola now shares a crypt with Victor Hugo in the Panthéon.

The first half of the book was interesting. A good story. I was pretty excited to discover what would happen next. All the characters were set up in rubber band like tension against one another, and I was just waiting to see which one would snap! And for sure they did snap. The aftermath (the second half of the book) was a big let down. There's a whole lot more telling than showing, and Zola goes into long-winded psychological analysis of the characters as they quickly become unhinged. Apparently he called this a study of 'temperaments'. But there is little development of plot and the scene is planted rather firmly inside a dingy house above a haberdashery. The story dries up in there, and I felt pulled alongside the author in his psycho-babble for far too long.

This story could have been a winner if you cut out about two thirds of the second half. I imagine something got lost in translation. I should try and polish up my French and try reading the original text. The book was met with widespread disapproval if not condemnation by the general public in 1867. I can see why. There's not much in the way of redemption, it is nihilistic. Even François, the house cat, is not spared. I thought to myself: come on, now! Zola! Give us somebody to love!

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Saturday 27 February 2016


If i was playing scrabble and had the letters in front of me, I would spell out this poem. It would take an awful lotta time though, typing is easier. But if I had scrabble it would be right in front of me, the big letters carved on chips of wood, smooth and each with a number identifying it's value. Some of the more unique letters, like X and Q and Z, are more valuable but used less. I feel like that, too. Maybe I'm a narcissist. Or just terminally unique. It would probably be best that I disregard all numbers on letter chips of wood. Why can't those goddam numbers have their own chips of wood anyway? Why do they have to go ahead and latch themselves on to the letter chips? I mean, get a life already. Well, I'm sure they have one anyway. Otherwise the entire universe wouldn't be able to be broken down to a numeric mathematical equation only the ancient Greeks could solve. I prefer the Greeks to the Romans. They especially know how to scam the Europeans for money when economic times are hard. Anything to keep the party going. I used to be that way. Party always going. I got real tired of it and now I'm the opposite. Life is still a party. But it's a goddam working party. 
K self 02.2016

 KatYa, 2016

Thursday 25 February 2016

Maze 2:12:3 Storytelling

Book Two
Daughter of Darkness Series
Chapter 12:3

In the last episode 2:12:2 Blood on the streets of Oakland! Panic on the streets of Oakland! Murder on the streets of Oakland! 

And here is the latest -- 5 star review -- for Maze. 

Wednesday 24 February 2016

the farm

i bought the
farm and i planted crooked rows
of anything but corn
between the
ears between the

i let the children come
after school
and play themselves
to tired

when you're dead
you can do so much

- KatYa

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Review: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

King's book on writing (written around 1999).
I thought it was helpful. I particular took a mental note on his comments about drafting. How he works it. Also the importance of having a beta readers, or someone like Tabitha King in your corner. I like how he also recognized the 'magical' part of the writing process. I think both beginning writers and tried and true authors could learn something from this book. And it is etched with King's trademark sense of humor and some really cool anecdotes.

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Monday 22 February 2016

Maze 2:12:2 Storytelling

Book 2
Daughter Of Darkness Series
Chapter 12
Part 2

In the last episode 2:12:1 Maze and Ame and Kell are taking the subway back under the San Francisco Bay when they spot a bottom feeder of a guy who is planning to prey on a drunken girl. Little does he know, he is being watched. And he will be taken. 

Saturday 20 February 2016

reduce me

by KatYa

put me ona stove
ina pot

blue flames burst forth

beneath the pot
and i

its gettin warm in
here someone please
open the fenetre

i see you through the windows
we have cleaned

the windex was blue
then turned green

by the pines and redwoods
on the autre side

those lil bubbles forming
all along our sides
and bottom

the surface begins
to circulate

a young mist sprouts
out and hoverin

awaitin you and
me in the aquamarine
sky we seen

Thursday 18 February 2016


by KatYa

waitin for my fix

chick passes me
like im a telephone pole

unlocks the glass door
i say HEY

all i need is a filter
and some water under
boil SEE

i got this fukkin maxwell

OFF the street
while waitin


she snarls but
comes back with the
smokin teapot and

my shaking hands
take the paper
lean my head back
on my nekk

empty tin into
paper put paper
over mouth

lift teapot over
head and POUR

now im really


Review: Hilda the wicked witch

Hilda the wicked witch Hilda the wicked witch by Paul Kater
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a lighthearted story introducing a wicked witch made famous now by prolific author Paul Kater in his ongoing series of many books. I have been reading one of the other tales, Lycadea, which I am enjoying, so I wanted to get back to the first book where Hilda arrives through a mishap with a mirror and an attempt to confront a black-haired beauty who may be stealing her thunder. She comes across to the humans like that stereotypical 'crazy lady', but when she manifests her magic, she gets your attention for sure. I found this an easy read and rather fun and playful. Most of the characters were not really well-developed, but this is a novella or novelette, so this was understandable. I wasn't overly impressed by the writing, but it is interesting to see the evolution in Kater's writing (compared against his later work). This author from the Netherlands weaves a good tale with comedy and magic. Many readers have grown attached to Hilda and follow the series religiously.

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Wednesday 17 February 2016


crisis started quiet

got real loud


like a morning

become afternoon

new york city

© KatYa

Review: Valley of the Dolls

Valley of the Dolls Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Such a great cover and title, and the synopsis / blurb lured me in. But it was a long and rather dull read with lots of trite remarks and careless writing, and the story seemed to drag on forever, possibly because the characters were shallow and unlikable. An exception to this was Neely. I really liked Neely. She should have been the star, all along. All the other characters are in some sorta finishing school for robots and stepford wives and materialists and breeders. Fakers. Oooh, I really was waiting for an apocalyptic moment, to turn the whole thing around and feature a world run by roaches, with Nelly as the grand puba at the top of the Empire State Building, or what was left of it, anyway.

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Tuesday 16 February 2016

Review: Only Human

Only Human Only Human by J.D. Estrada
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Only Human is the debut novel by JD Estrada, and the first in a series. The world-building here gets five of five stars. There's a very rich imagination churning through these pages which kept me reading when otherwise I might have fallen off. I was confused and uncomfortable throughout the first third, stumbling alongside our courageous protagonist, Nathaniel, a human minority in a world full of demons, vampires, angels, therians, and a conscious plant kingdom. The story is 'high fantasy'. An about-face for this career journalist turned author. You find yourself transported to various places (some on earth), from oceans to battlefields to forests to strange labyrinthine settings where shadows come to life and god knows what else. Step aside Naked Lunch, it's time for dinner! The characters are quirky. Some are clearly dark and demonic, while others are beyond good and evil, and have settled into a murky (and endearing) gray area. A few fallen angels. And good news: the tired old morality play is mostly shoved in the trunk. Estrada emphasizes questions over answers. But there is a ripple through his universe which demands that an alliance form between disparate groups to defeat a vile enemy force, if only they can all get along for a minute.

Many of the characters enjoy deep and abiding friendships, particularly the vampires who have lived long enough to form them. I particularly enjoyed the interplay between Liam and Daniel and Nathaniel. Wonderful, cheeky dialogue. The main characters are robust. They cover a lot of ground, both physically and metaphysically. There are an awful lot of periphery characters (I had trouble keeping track of them all), and yet there is an unspoken ground always beneath them, which has something to do with mother's lemon cake. The protagonist was endearing from the start, as he blunders his way through confusing new worlds and experiences; Nathaniel is an inquisitive human with a compelling sense of loyalty and justice. From the gate he is challenged by vampires who for some odd reason have decided to let him live (they will need him). He goes through many manipulations of body, mind and feeling, all of which are very well described. I got especially hooked when nature began to manifest around him in all sorta fascinating manner, just past the halfway point. Only as the story evolved did I begin to feel attached to his struggle in having to dig down deep to survive.

Nathaniel has to contend with the chaos and everyone around him, and when he exceeds everyone's expectations, it does not go to his head. You get the sense that what he really has to contend with is himself. < sigh > Don't we all? This is where he grabbed my heart. I really liked how loyal he was, putting his life on the line for his new friends. He has a wry sense of humor, I laughed many times. By the end I was pleasantly surprised by my own attachment to this story. I guess the emotional connect crept up on me. Which is good! I look forward to more adventures. This is an impressive and ambitious start for JD Estrada, and author with a talent for world-building and dialogue, and a most expressive imagination.

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Monday 15 February 2016

Maze 2:12:1 Storytelling

Book Two
Chapter 12
Part 1

In the last episode 2:11:4 Ame and Maze and Kell go to the Mission in San Francisco to hear the third billing. Kell was finally able to meet Maze, after Ame tricked the Pakis by dressing up as Maze. She might not remember, though, she was high as hell on Oxys. 

Sunday 14 February 2016

Maze 2:11:4 Storytelling

Book Two of the Daughter of Darkness series
Chapter 11
Part 4

In the last episode 2:11:3 Ame is challenged by a petty security detail but nothing will stop her from seeing her love. I mean, Maze.

Saturday 13 February 2016

killing off central characters -- but what if they die first?

My stories always go in directions i did not expect or plan sometimes, and i get to decide if that's where they were supposed to go or not. This is the excitement and burden of writing off a minimal outline. I have a friend who is a writer who was saying that his friend who is also a writer had a central character who stepped out of car in the middle of the book and got run over on the freeway. His character just offed himself without his permission! The author apparently was really upset he lost his protagonist, but he went on with the story because he believed that's what had to happen. Now isn't that bizarre? It floored me! I mean, I don't see how i could have Ame (my star in 'Grand Theft Life' and 'Maze') just fall in a hole one day, against my wishes, and force me to write the story around her? that seems ludicrous! but its funny to think about anyway.  -K

Review: Ideas And Opinions

Ideas And Opinions Ideas And Opinions by Albert Einstein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Einstein's own words, what could be better? Some scientists struggle to bring their ideas to the general public, and many scientists require you to have a working knowledge of biology, chemistry and physics to translate their writings. I was thrilled when I discovered this book and the easy way he writes about his life and theory. He was to science what Carl Jung was to psychology... both of them visionary, both humble. They both took the time to decodify their fields for us. Kinda like Bodhisattvas. Committed to the attainment of enlightenment for the benefit of others.

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Friday 12 February 2016

do not be confused

Today is your day to kick ass. Even if someone's got you imprisoned, even yourself in your own mind, but even then you can ask for a book cause that is your right. If whoever has you locked down won't let you read,  try and exploit the weakness in their rigidity, all the way to your freedom. Today is Friday and your chance to shed the skin of the past and come out all bright and shiny and new. People will notice you if you simply show up. I like to walk somewhere, under the sun, walk a mile or two and find a cafe and sit and watch and think and write. Maybe let a friend know I will be there, so they can come see me if they want. Today is your day to kick ass. Don't let social media hold you back. Get back to your sacred expression. In whatever form. Respect yourself and they will respect you, too.

If you get tired, by all means meander, online or off, but come back to yourself and your connection with what only you know and let it speak. Make that fashionable statement only you can make, whether its how you dress how you walk how you talk how you write how you sketch how you  skate how you run how you gesture how you preach how you teach how you fight how you give how you help how you see how you feel how you deal. Be you. Be free. Be real.
  - K

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Maze 2:11:3 Storytelling

Book Two
Chapter 11
Part 3

In the last episode 2:11:2 Maze and his mom, well, the distance between them was growing. Consider them divided by headphones and the sound of Pantera or Disturbed. Consider a wedge of court tv and Highway to Heaven reruns. But really, that's not even half the distance.

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Maze 2:11:2 Storytelling

Book Two
Chapter 11
Part 2

In the last episode 2:11:1 we return to the story of Maze and his mother. She took him across the border via a coyote and they started over, and she got work in LA. On the surface his life looks common for a young American boy, until he begins leaving home all night, all the time. She doesn't know where he's been or what he's been up to, and prays it's not what she thinks. She searches his room hoping for any sign of typical teenage angst and rebellion but finds none. She thought she was protecting him by leaving Mexico, but she realizes she cannot protect him from himself. 

broken ends never end

Sometimes I paint my nails. Or I polish them, without painting. French manicure is my favorite style. I like to grow my nails out and the paint helps strengthen them so they won't break. But I play guitar so I usually cut them back. Or they break when I am doing the dishes or working on my bike. I have not been to a salon in over a year. I highlighted my hair myself, and there are many broken ends, but I don't care, just let it grow. Life is full of broken ends so you might as well do yourself a favor and accept it and move on.

I don't mind if I look wild. I rarely wear high heels or dresses. I never really did much anyway. I am fluid in gender expression, identity and sexual orientation. I have been with men and I have been with women. I have fallen in love with them, or not. I never really saw myself as one or the other, exactly, but somewhere in between. My fashion is mostly androgyn. I wear what makes me feel comfortable and confident. Because confidence is sexy. I am tall and thin. Light on the dimensions.

I'm not at all interested in being admired for my looks or my intellect. I would rather be known for a kind heart. I challenge myself on a daily basis to convey the loving spirit in my heart. I tend to get shy and reticent with people, I mean my spirit, which is why writing has been my medium. I learned early how to express my true self to you with words. And it is essential for anyone to shine in their own chosen way. So go on. Let's not be shy. Shine!

Monday 8 February 2016

Maze 2:11:1 Storytelling

Book Two
Chapter 11
Part 1

In the last episode 2:10:5 Ame finds sustenance and nourishment in love with Maze. Tide pools and Hollows and love. 

Saturday 6 February 2016

dare to dream

while sucking dark chocolate
and dripping ice cream
dare to dream

dare to dream

k self 2016

Friday 5 February 2016

Book Review - 'The Virgin Suicides' by Eugenides

The Virgin SuicidesThe Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book is told from the perspective of a young boy (and his friends) in suburban Detroit whose lives are basically put on hold as they are captivated by a mystery of 5 girls in adolescence. They watch the girls from behind trees and fences and blinds and a treehouse where they have - over time - collected minutia (photos, hairbrushes, shoes, etc) related to the girls whom they almost publicly obsess over. Suicide is obviously (from the first page) a topic of great concern.

Eugenides writing style is accessible and engaging throughout. He finds delicious language to describe the most common (and boring) affairs of suburban white America in the 70s, irony, like the city's aspirations to save the Elm trees by removing them one at a time until they are all gone. Their is an underlying sadness in the story, related to us through various characters from the OCD mom to the alcoholic neighbor to the unemployed teacher; an impotence against the fate not only of these young beauties but also of the home, the street, the neighborhood, the culture itself. You wonder if anything is sacred anymore.

I had a lot of fun reading about these boys and there efforts to establish contact if not connection with the girls, how they go about it. They report back on their mischief and it's all very entertaining. There's a desperation which drives the narrative of the spies. How can they get around the carefully constructed bubble the parents (and the culture) have created, to touch the objects of their adoration?

Something strange happens. Eugenides power of characterization could have really brought the girls to life (and I did begin to have feelings and bias towards each and every one of them), however the premise and setup prevent us (like the boys) from getting to know these 'virgin suicides'. I found myself thirsting at times for more direct quotes and closer proximity to Lux and her sisters. So the established POV is very powerful this way. I'm not sure I liked this aspect of the book. I mean, I think I wanted to get a more intimate view of everything. It's not always fun to be made into a voyeur by the author. But it's his book! And so the mysteries are not always gonna unravel.

In the end you are left to make your own judgments about everything. The narrator has his opinion and gives it to us, but not in a preachy way. Mostly we are given an intimate window to a place (post white flight suburbs of Detroit, the automotive center of the universe) and time (1970s) which will never exist again. Which makes me happy, because Eugenides kinda immortalizes it all in this book, so maybe something is sacred, after all.

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Thursday 4 February 2016

Maze 2:10:5 Storytelling

Book Two
Chapter 10
Part 5

In the last episode 2:10:4 Ame talks about her relationship and what happens when pride and ego get between her and Maze, and what can happen when we encrypt our own wisdom to the point where it can become inaccessible even to us.

Interview with Jaideep @ 'Pebble In The Still Waters'

Pebble In The Still Waters: Katya Mills - Urban Fantasy Series :

Published Author Interview with Katya Mills
by blogger and author Jaideep Khanduja

Tuesday 2 February 2016


I don’t know about this crazy world, all I know is I found this guy on lonely street in the midst of summer heat. He was rollin on wheels against the crackling pavement, facing me and my mismatched socks. I was a child of life size arcade games, Tab, phen-fen, the Who and it’s hard. Ragged was my mind and torn were his clothes, chrome tops of lighters he placed strategically clasping the collar so they sparkled in the sun, this kinda fashion statement allured me, I might be yours, I’m done. His military green vest covered with punk patches, Crass and Minor Threat and Bad Brains. Another sign of order versus chaos, or perhaps just a simple taste in music. 

Oakland. California. I found home there with our matching lack of tan and lack of plan. The noise all around us, all the cacophony of cell phone signals and street trades happening fifty handshakes at a time and stab you in the back, all the street artists tagging ten walls a time and crazy out there talking themselves into some kinda trouble by pure accident…  (Ame and the Tangy Energetic, Book#3)

Book Review: Mr. Mercedes

Mr. Mercedes (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #1)Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is what you get for an impulse buy in Safeway, I mean, a grocery store is a place people go to buy groceries and liquor, not paperbacks! Being accustomed the cold and hard grip of my kindle lately, I just could not turn down the irresistible feeling of all that paper in my hand. And Stephen King has and always will have captured a piece of my heart, so I consider him a trusted source of quality fiction. But his niche is horror - not whodunits!

I enjoyed the first hundred pages or more. A good setup, very interesting characters. Dialogue was sharp, and King's wit was splashed across the pages. He's not always convincing me he has his finger on the early twenty-first century, which is when the book takes place. I mean, sometimes, with words like 'milquetoast', I cannot help picturing an elderly white man penning this book. Not that there's any problem with that, but some of the language is a bit old-fashioned is all. Another nice touch is the exchange of narration from the perspective of the criminal to the perspective of the detective from chapter to chapter. He gets well inside the head of the sick bastard, that's for sure. One of King's strengths, I suppose. But the writing wasn't really special or anything, it was a bit cookie cutter. I kept on thinking, if I took the name King off this book, would I still be reading?

I think this book may have been outlined to perfection, before it was written. It just lacks that certain magic of natural discovery you find in books that are written with less of a perfect plan in place. It is very tidy. All the pieces fit snugly together all the way to the end. Like an editor took it and cut all the juice out of it, to make it more marketable, more salable. Somewhere towards the last couple hundred pages of the book, I started doing those calculations in my mind and that thing where you grab the pages between your forefinger and thumb to save your place, and check for the back matter to see really how much is left to get to the end. It just happened, I couldn't help it.

I really wanted to feel deeply immersed and captivated, after all, King was an author I grew up on and he will always be a champion of horror! Alas, this book is not horror.

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