Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Post Before the End

I figured if the world is supposed to end tomorrow, I better get one last blog in...

Let's see...I'm officially a 5-time NaNoWriMo failure, but I'm okay with that because I got an A+ in my class.  Priorities....

My contributor copy of The Snuff Syndicate arrived and I'm pleased to see my story "Tipping the Odds" in print. 

I did get a rejection for my story "The Witches in the Walls," but the editor was kind and gave me some really good criticism.  Now I have a new twist for the story, but I can't quite bring myself to write it yet.  We'll see what happens.

Right now I'm enjoying the first day of my vacation and gearing up to make almond bark and stories sing.  If we're all still here after tomorrow, I'll do something fun on the blog.  Maybe share a story for free or post bits from a project (hint:  cartoon crabs)...hmm.... 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Holiday Spirits

I've been dreaming about my dad a lot lately.  They aren't nightmares and aren't anything horribly emotional.  He's just there, smiling.  I miss him a lot and yesterday was strange without him watching football and hollering with the guys.  As I looked around the table after dinner, it struck me how much older we look.  I don't know if it is all the things this year has put on us or if I just finally took a moment to really, really look at my family.  My youngest niece is almost taller than me, the nephews have abandoned their video games for girlfriends, and my sisters and I have similar twinkle wrinkles.  It made me wonder how long we'll all have to be together and it made me grateful for the time we have.  I think my dad was with us, or his spirit was.  (maybe that's what got my husband so excited about the game???)  At any rate, I'm thankful for the time.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

It Lives!!

Haiku Horror Stories is now available on Kindle and as a real book!  I'm really proud of this book and hope people enjoy it.  I've been smiling and basically floating on a cloud since this little runt went live.

Self-publishing, for me, was hard at first.  I'd never worked with Gimp (I'm a novice user of PhotoShop) and I really struggled through the ins and outs of the cover.  (pixelation is my enemy)  In the end, I'm happy, but wish I could have the title and my name on the spine of the book.  But, now I know in order for that to happen, I should have over 130 pages.  Gives me something to work for.

NaNo isn't going as well as I'd hoped, but I'm writing strictly as my evil, evil vampire, Roman, and I'm seeing his motives much clearer.  He's almost sympathetic.  Almost.

One final thing before I get back to homework and NaNo.

I want to say thank you to all of our veterans.  (especially my big brother!)  As I get older, I understand the sacrifices you and your families make in defending our freedom.  Thank you!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

What Happens When the Sugar Wears Off...

Halloween is done and gone and while I feel satisfied, I'm sad.  Christmas has taken more square footage at the stores and my neighborhood looks so plain now.  I even took down the Halloween decorations at work.  The hubby and I are already making plans for next year, so that helps lessen the blues.  There is just something magical about opening your doors to share treats with total strangers and letting yourself be whatever you imagine for just one night.  I wish we could capture this spirit and sprinkle it throughout the year.

The second proof of my book had a wonky cover so now I'm eagerly waiting for proof three.  I could do this again and again...but hope I don't have to.

No More Heroes is finally available!  I can't wait to see what the world thinks of that project--it was truly a labor of love.

Well, I'm off to snack on leftover candy and work on my NaNo project.  It feels great to be with my bad, bad vampires again. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October is BIG

The big day is almost here and I am so excited...a few of our neighbors are having spookiness for Halloween as well.  Right now my house looks like this...
...and it keeps getting creepier!  Gotta love Halloween!

I'm patiently (yeah, right!) awaiting the arrival of my second proof copy of Haiku Horror Stories and then she'll be ready to unleash on the world!  It has been a fun learning experience and I think if I self-pub again, I'll be more prepared for the amount of work it truly is. 

The amazing Zombies Gone Wild! is now available on Kindle with a print book out soon.  My story "Being Neighborly" appears in it alongside some pretty great authors and I can't wait to get a copy of this book. 

Have a happy Halloween if I don't make it back to the blog before then!!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Stomach Virus Diaries

Ah, to the person that passed the Stomach Virus to me, I thank you.  I was upset about gaining that half pound last week but after having severe diarrhea and not being able to keep fluids down (thus getting dangerously dehydrated), I think I've lost that half pound AND MORE! 

The chills, fever, and general body aches made me appreciate sick days so that I could lay in one spot all day in my own sweat and misery while I hallucinated.  The headache?  Oh, that just gave me a reason not to think.  (as did the lightheadedness)

But the sudden, violent nosebleed this morning?  Oh, that was the BEST part.  What horror writer doesn't like blood, especially when it cascades from your own face to be cupped into your hands?  That gave me divine inspiration, so thank you!  Thank you for exposing me to your virus.  I think I already have a story worked out. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Crazy 6 Weeks

Why hello there, been a while, hasn't it?  So much is going on right now and I finally have a blessed moment of peace before it starts swirling around me again.  Let's see....

...I've completed my Haiku Horror Stories book and it is in the hands of the beta readers right now.  I've been experimenting with a back cover and think I've discovered something dreadfully fun. 

...the Slimming continues and I've lost 11 pounds so far with quite a few more to go.  I jogged recently.  Properly jogged (nobody saw me, I made sure of that!) and wheezed and sweated.  It felt pretty nice.  I haven't really jogged since I was 14.  Wow.  Don't I feel old now?

...I believe I've got an A so far in my online class and have learned that I do not want to leave anywhere near a volcano or earthquake zone.  No thanks.

...tomorrow night I teach a jewelry class with the loveliest of Swarovski crystal combinations.  Here it is:

 
 
...and finally, I've got quite a haul of jewelry for an upcoming craft sale.  If it doesn't all sell, I'm thinking about opening an Etsy shop but not until I get the rest of my life in order.
 
 
With any luck, I'll be popping in here more and more.  

Friday, August 31, 2012

Bring on the Orange and Black!

Tomorrow is September 1st, which is the beginning of my Halloween season.  When not working my ass of at the gym or working on homework, I shall begin the fun that is decorating my house.  This year's theme is birds and I can't wait to bring my raven friends out of storage. 

I'm nearing completion of my Haiku Horror Stories book and with any luck it should be out for Halloween.  That is if I don't screw something up in the self-publishing process...wish me luck with that! 

In the past 3 weeks I have lost a total of 6.5 pounds and feel a lot leaner than I did before.  I start week 4 on Monday and hope to lose another 2 pounds.  Slow and steady.  I might even get brave tomorrow at the gym and ask to see what my percentage of body fat is. 

As indicated by my latest credit card statement, I believe I have a booth at an upcoming festival to sell my various jewelry and crafty wares.  It will be a family affair with items from my sisters, brother-in-law, mother, and amazing niece.  There will be haunted birdhouses.  Oh, yes there will!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Squinch...Unsquinch

Hi there!  So much is going on right now, it is hard to get a moment to be calm and puke the words out.  Let's see...what to share....

First, I've begun a new diet plan which is amazing me every single day.  I was a huge fan of the Fat Smash, but this is better and (surprise) it is from the same person--Dr. Ian Smith.  I've lost 3 pounds in 7 days and feel amazing.  I started the 2nd week on Tuesday and I'm still going strong with a only one slight "oopsie, did I shove that into my gaping maw" incident with cookies.  Oh, there were cookies everywhere I went on Tuesday...bad day.

Second, the haiku horror story is nearing completion and I've been scraping some of the weirder images out of my brain right into this book.  I just hope others find them as weird and creepy as I do at 3:33am when I wake up and get freaked out.

Third, I'm back to 8 hour days and working on Fridays so my habits/routines are all squinched up.  I don't like that feeling so this weekend I shall work on unsquinching and getting back on task. 

Fourth, Halloween is drawing closer!  Looks like we're taking another trip to Hell, Michigan and I'm excited to hit the haunted houses and soak in all the kitch.  Loves me the kitch!

And now, this sick little girl is going to go to bed and hope whatever this illness I have doesn't turn into something uglier. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Spiders and Contracts and Books...Oh My!

I haven't been blogging because I've been writing, working out like a crazed woman, and trying my best to get done with my haiku horror story book.  I'd like it to be out before Halloween, so I need to get in gear. 

One thing I'm figuring out is making a contract for my artist.  We agreed on terms and I'm so very, very excited!  Now for the nitty-gritty paperwork...

While on vacation this past weekend, I discovered a very unsettling thing.  On our last morning, I saw a piece of something floating past my head.  I watched it and noticed that it wasn't falling or being blown by the wind, but actually moving.  As I stepped close to it, the sunlight reflected off a long, dangling filament of web.  I looked up and saw the spider and by god, it wiggled the piece of whatever was on the filament.  Was the spider fishing?  If so, what for? 

Whatever it is, I don't want to know and I'll never camp at that particular spot again.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Getting Ready for NaNo!

This year I think November will be a cake walk because a craft show I normally do most likely isn't happening.  That means I won't be making jewelry every single day and not writing.  Hot dog!  Instead, September will craziness as I prepare (I think) for a show on October 7th.  I've got lots of jewelry ideas and some Halloween doodads to throw together including something similar to this:

So NaNoWriMo can have November all to its self and I can finish my novel with a smile on my face.  Let's hope life cooperates with the plans...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Doing Good

I'm 55 pages and 2,351 words deep into my haiku horror stories book and am shooting for a nice, round 120 pages.  The more I write (and type) the more certain I am that I will self-pub. 

Right, so now to take a break on that project so I can shift my focus back to the novel.  This Friday I should reach my 5K goal and I couldn't be happier. 

Since the Dover contest isn't over yet and they've okayed multiple entries, I'm also working on a little skeleton sign with an original poem. 

On a serious note, a writer friend of mine could seriously need help and positive energies/prayers/virtual hugs right now.  His wife is battling cancer.  You can read his story here and if you can help by ordering his book, that would be 100 kinds of incredible.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

To Self-Pub or Not Self-Pub...I Have No Idea!

I've got a collection of horror story "haikus" that I've written and am on the fence about self-publishing.  A dear friend created an amazing cover for it and I just need to take that terrifying leap...but then I read this and once again, I'm not sure.  Perhaps another few days of contemplation will make me decide for sure.

Friday, June 29, 2012

5K Fridays!

"I haven't made 5K yet, but hell, I'm writing and that's what matters.  Right?"

Wrong!  I need to get over this mental state pretty darned quick so I can finish this novel that has itself wrapped around my neck like a too-tight scarf.  Comforting and strangling all in the same breath. 

With that, I bid you farewell and a pleasant weekend!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Call Off the Search Team

The big clean-up went rather well and the office looks great.  Now I can get back to fun stuff like writing and dreaming up silly Halloween decorations for myself.

I went through my flashdrives the other night and rediscovered shorts that I wrote for fun and haven't touched since.  There's a couple gems in there and my goal for Friday (or maybe today...) is to send them out to different publishers. 

I will also be starting "Five Thousand Fridays" where my goal is to write 5K words in one day.  If I do that for the rest of the summer, I'll get my novel finished.  Rock.  On. 

Looks like some cool things are happening with two stories of mine. 

1.  "No More Heroes" might be taken on by a comic publisher, which would be incredible.

2.  The tentative cover of "Zombies Gone Wild" is pretty rad...

Should be a great summer!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Send in a Search Team...

I'm cleaning up the office today, which means the closet as well.  I like my closet, it is pretty well-organized, but there is A LOT of crap in there.  We're talking a shelf stacked with 5 huge plastic tubs of Halloween and I always worry that they will come tumbling down ontop of me one of these days.  Will today be the day?  Will anyone find me other than the 2 curious housecats that get excited at the new playroom Lady creates when she opens the door in the office?  If you don't hear from me for a while, consider sending in search dogs, but don't let them play with my Bethany Lowe kitty cat...he's a collectible!

Also, don't let them pee on my works in progress.  I know some of them are rough, but come on. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

There Is More Than Corn in Indiana...

We just got back from a camping trip to Indiana and even though I wish it would have lasted forever, I'm glad to be home.  The small seed of a story idea I got on the way there was germinating all weekend and I'm thinking pretty soon it'll be ready to harvest.  It'll be pretty bloody and there will be body parts.  Lots and lots of body parts. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I Think Our Truck is Possessed...

You may recall back in February I slammed the truck door on my right index finger resulting in a broken, disgusting-looking finger.  Well, today my husband fell victim to the driver's door slamming on his right index finger.  It isn't broken, but he said some rather...spicy things and I laughed.  (after asking if he was okay)  See, he has made fun of me and my boo-boo (aka Cobra) finger for over 3 months so now, it is my turn.

It makes me wonder though, is it just that we're both clumsy or does the truck really have it out for us?  Did it not like going to our particular hometown?  (my accident happened in that town and his happened when we were getting gas to go to that town)  Either way, we got a laugh from the gals at the bagel shop when we shared our tale and even got to have the owner regale us with her story of getting pooped on by a bird yesterday.  How that figures into slamming your finger in a door, I don't know...but it made us laugh. 



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What Happened to April and Most of May

Well, I've finally taken a moment to get back to the blog, so here I am.  Not much has changed in my absence--I'm still struggling with the slimming down and still pouring my soul onto paper (or keyboards).  I think those are two constants in my life.  Anywho...

I was one of the lucky winners from the EHAG giveaway and I have the CUTEST Halloween plaque and then I won a copy of Flush Fiction, thanks to William Todd R.D. Wood! This is the luckiest I've been in quite some time. 

When I wasn't "getting lucky" this month, I've been reading.  A lot.  Way more than I probably should have been, but it was good.  I finished Suzanne Robb's "Z-Boat" as well as Richard Marsden's "Traveling Tyrant Casual Fridays" and I slapped up a couple of reviews for them on Amazon.  Eventually, I will add them here.  It wasn't all fun zombie and science fiction, no, it was reading a first-hand account of Coronado's travels and learning about Hungarian churches in the 1300s.  Oh, and a lot about Hungarian peasant costumes and gypsies.  Yes, that's a mixed bag of weird, but believe me, it all comes together.  At least in my brain it does.

Researching and world-building is fun for me, lets me release my inner history geek.  She's crazy (or as my nephew says 'cray') and is getting out of control.  Soon she'll be checking books out without me even knowing it.  I fear her.  She cray.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Candy, Candy, Candy I Can't Let You Go

I didn't get to wear a tiara Saturday, but I had a candy buffet for my birthday and it was awesome!  Pixy Stix, Snickers, Fireballs, Smarties, Dove eggs, Butterfingers, Whoppers...and that ain't the half of it!  We still have two huge bowls filled with sugary goodness and I hope they never run dry.  Next year, I'm doing it again!

It was so hard coming back to work after a week off, but I've been keeping myself busy non-stop so the days go by quicker.  I've been encouraged to write more teasers about our programs and activities and it feels good to be creative at work.  I wish more of my colleagues had the same encouragement.  Imagine what we could accomplish!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Vampires and Silver...Don't Usually Go Well Together

I think my 20K challenge for this week was a bit...optimistic.  I neglected to factor in real life, which tends to get in the way of writing a lot.  Anywho, I have made progress by finishing a short story, nearing the end of another, and creating a scene in my vampire novel where my main character meets...wait for it...Vlad Dracula.  The real, historical Dracula, with impalements and all.  I've been doing quite a bit of research on Hungary and Romania and well, it all just seemed to fit.  We'll see how it rolls in the final draft, of course.

For a while I've been wanting to make PMC Silver jewelry but lacked a kiln to fire it in.  Since there's no kiln in my future, I enrolled in a continuing education class and made 2 pendants plus a bead.  I get to pick up the fired pieces next Tuesday and brush/polish them.  Once I get them home I will definitely post pictures--even if they look like silver crap.

Taking the class has given me a few inspirations for using polymer clay and once the insanity of this weekend is over, I'll try my hand at making a bat pendant and a squirrel pendant.  I hope they turn out as cute as I imagine them.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Something Cakey This Way Comes!

One day a year I get to be the Queen and that is today.  38 is looking great and there's cake in the fridge.  They call it "Cake for Two" but let's get real.  It is "Cake for Me" and I'm just biding my time until I can snarf it all down.

I worked on "Hunting the Boogie Man" all day yesterday and shall get back to it after lunch.  There will also be some action on my caterpillar story and I'm thinking of changing the title.  "Forced Migration" doesn't quite fit now that I know why they were moving. 

I've slapped up a couple reviews on Amazon:  one for Hater by David Moody and another for Black Corners of a Blood Red Room by Patrick Rutigliano.  Both great reads--you should give them a try!

Now, to enjoy a bottle of Coke and hang out with some vampires.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The 20K Challenge

This is my birthday week and staycation all rolled into one.  My goal for this week is to write at least 20,000 words.  I will work on my NaNo novel "Hunting the Boogie Man" and finish up a few other projects and if I break 20,000 words, I will wear a tiara all day on Saturday.  If not...well, the guilt will be suitable punishment enough.

My story "Being Neighborly" has been accepted into the upcoming anthology "Zombies Gone Wild" by Collaboration of the Dead.  I'm particularly jazzed about this because the story was slated to be in a different anthology but was killed.  A zombified story about zombies...rock on.

Okay, better boogie if I want that tiara!

Monday, March 19, 2012

I've been sitting here for thirty minutes, touching the keyboard for a few seconds then pulling my fingers away like they're about to be smacked with a ruler, only to put them back again and repeat the process.  This is the hardest entry I've made, deciding whether I want to share with you (if there are any of you) that my father died last Monday. 

It has been an exhausting week of reliving my entire 37 years with him in my head and even though I keep telling myself I cannot change the past, the core of me refuses to believe it.  Someone I love said "I wish life could have been different" and I wish it too.  The rational side of me knows it all made me what I am today but I still keep on wishing.

Someone I didn't know said he talked about me all the time and I hope I made him proud.  I loved him, for good or bad, and miss him.  My niece said "I can't stop thinking of him" and that's how it should be, no matter how much it hurts because to forget is worse.

Rest in peace, Daddy-o.  You're with the ones you love, the fish are biting, and the races are about to start.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Back in Black

Turns out my "booboo finger" is actually broken and the nail is turning a lovely blackish hue.  I always have loved black...

Even with a busted finger I've been trying to keep busy with reading and writing and submitting.  Black Corners of a Blood Red Room by Patrick Rutigliano is well worth the buy and I'll be working on a proper review to post on Amazon soon.  When I'm done with Autumn by David Moody I think I'll skip genres to true crime.  Too much horror makes Carey go something-something...  On the writing front, I sent a flash zombie piece to Pill Hill and it will appear in Daily Frights 2013.  Now I need to submit just 9 more stories to different places to meet my 2012 goal.  Oh yeah!

Lately I've been having more and more Halloween dreams and think my brain is telling me to start making goodies.  The ideas are there, I just can't make anything out of clay or paper pulp until this finger stops hurting.  Ah well.  At least the ideas are there.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Smashing!

There is nothing like slamming a door on your own finger to make you appreciate the complex mind-hand connection.  It is like I'm learning to type all over again and it isn't pretty.

So it turned out I submitted three stories to different publishers.  That means I'm only 9 away from my yearly goal.  Fancy!  I was going to write the ending to a couple stories tonight, but that was before the whole slamming of the finger, so that will wait until sometime in the future.  If you could see the typos I'm making here you would cringe.  Seriously!

Slimming isn't going so well today, but I'm trying.  Somehow I'm pretty sure I may have gained a little weight over the weekend...just a hunch.

Okay, gonna quit the blog now because it is taking longer to fix the typos than it is to type the blog.  Bah!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Salvaged Zombies!

It looks like Rapid Decomposition (an e-anthology by Twisted Library Press) is coming to completion!  My two stories "Outbreak" and "Zombie 101" will appear in it and I'm dancing a jig that they will see the light of day.  Happy times!

I've been going through all of my stories I've written and realized that my organizational skills aren't what you call "good."  That said, I have tomorrow off and part of the day I'll be culling extraneous copies of anything I've saved.  With any luck, I'll get it all done in a day...I hope!

Tomorrow I will also be submitting a couple short stories.  They too became homeless when the anthologies were killed.  Here's hoping they find homes again!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It Lives!!! (mostly)

Well, I did not die over the weekend, though it sure felt like it on Friday...  I'm now convinced I've been having gallbladder attacks and decided to take steps to ensure that they are fewer.  (aka cutting out that damned FAT from my diet)  Seems like everytime I had an attack was after eating something with fat in it (grilled cheese...fries...ice cream...pasta w/ olive oil and parm...) so I'm trying to cut as much fat from food as I can.  It actually coincides well with jumping back into The Slimming project.

Last night I spent two hours working on a very old story that might just see print in the future.  It was neat to re-read it and try to weave in the editor's suggestions.  I think it totally works and am excited for him to read it.  Hopefully I will complete it tonight and send it his way.

Another project has been weaseling its way into my head and I fear all other projects will be pushed aside until this little boy's story can be told.  It breaks my heart and I just need to get it out.  Funny how stories are like parasites feeding off a writer's soul until they take what they want and leave.  Or die.  Now THAT's a lovely thought...

Friday, January 27, 2012

What Gall...

For the last few weeks I've had a pain in my abdomen that at first I thought was my GERD acting up.  Well, this morning around 3am it woke me up, demanded my attention, and hasn't left me since.  This isn't GERD.  This is something else.  I fear it might be...gallstones!  I know WAY too many people who have had gallbladder issues and they keep saying that's what I've got.  So, do I wait until Monday to call my doctor and try to get an appointment or do I go to the ER?  Decisions, decisions...  My gut (haha) is telling me to go to the ER.  We'll see what tonight brings.

In happier news, I'm perhaps nearly finished with "Forced Migration."  I can't quite tell because the caterpillars still don't know why they're headed where they're headed but they have (thankfully) arrived there.  They keep saying it is something big but in all honesty, everything is big to a caterpillar.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Pain in the Neck

I had an epidural injection yesterday and am really feeling the pain today.  I'm hoping it eases up on me but I'm taking tomorrow off just to rest.  Good times!

So I had sent out a query on Saturday and got a reply today...in the negative.  She was very kind and I'll keep plugging away and sending out queries and working on the novel until someone decides to snatch it up.  I think I may have to change it from a narrative to a third person.  Might have to re-do the first chapter too.  Good thing I gave myself a year!

In other news, I'm going through all of my stories that got reverted back to me and trying to find fits in the current market.  I've been scanning Duotrope and lurking on small press pages but nothing is grabbing me just yet.   Something has to be out there. 

Been working on a tale called "Forced Migration" that is just turning very weird.  I've got points of view of humans, wooly bear caterpillars, and birds so far.  Not sure what else will crop up, but it has me intrigued at least...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Arizona Dreaming...

Days like today (everyday, really) I miss Arizona.  The grit beneath my feet...the mountains on the horizon...the veil of smog hanging over the Valley...I miss it all.  Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to be back close to my family and old friends.  I just wish I could sprout Snowbird wings and fly away to see my friends and soak up a little warmth back in Tempe.  Just for a while.  I finished the final revisions of my novel No Small Sacrifice today and my character lived in Arizona for a while so she made me miss it, I think.  Way to go, Molly!

Anywho, now I need to buck up and write an epic query letter.  Wish me luck.

I'm finally getting reviews posted for Benjamin Rogers' Faith and the Undead and Tony Schaab's The G.O.R.E. Score:  A Review Guide to All Things Zombie.  With any luck I'll finish reading Patrick Rutigliano's Black Corners of a Blood-Red Room either tonight or tomorrow and get a review up over the weekend. 

Oh, and someone has an author page on Goodreads...

Friday, January 13, 2012

January Has Flown By...

Happy New Year!  The hubby and I decided to quit TV for the year (maybe longer?) and besides the incredible savings each month, we're getting so much done.  I'm nearly done with my amazing sticker album and I've picked up the dusty old novel and am revising it one last time before firing off a few query letters.  I've only got 20 chapters left to read so I should be done tonight.  But, a story is never really done... 

I've been reading a lot of books lately and decided a good way to flex my writing muscles is to post reviews on Amazon.  I'm the WORST review writer, but I'm working on that.  Eventually I'll put the reviews up on the old blog and spruce up my Goodreads page which, sadly, has been neglected for so long it didn't recognize me anymore.

Oh, we've also had the time to clean out our dryer vent.  So should you.  Seriously.  It is amazing how much lint builds up in those suckers and that is a big fire hazard.  Be safe!