Disney Dreamer: Stunt Squirrel and Forever Love

Earlier this month, Dreamspinner Press held an author workshop in Orlando. We worked hard. And when we were done working, some of us got to play at Disney. The other day, Lex Chase posted Disney food reminiscences by Lex, Charlie Cochet, and me. If you haven’t already read them, go do it. Then you can come back here and read about the stunt squirrel and transpecies m/m love. Really.


Charlie Cochet

Movie rideHello all! Thank you again for joining us as we chat about our Disney adventures. It had been a long time since I’d visited Hollywood Studios. In fact, the last time I was there it was still called MGM Studios. It’s no secret I’m a big movie buff. I love movies. Always have. The Great Movie ride always makes me a little teary at the end during the montage. So many amazing and memorable movie moments. As we made our way around the park, I couldn’t help but think this theme park had Dex written all over it. Movies, the Indiana Jones stunt show, Star Wars, an Aerosmith roller coaster? He’d be right up there with the little kids at the Jedi Training Academy.

TaylorSpikeCaelOne of the shows I remember seeing since I was a kid is the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. This time was no different and I still enjoyed it. By this time, Cael had joined us. Here he is with Taylor and Spike. The show was as fun and entertaining as always, and I still get a little thrill from seeing “Indy” and watching him crack his whip.

Indy 2I have to say that this show was particularly special because of an unexpected guest. I wish I had taken a picture. I felt like Dex, ridiculously excited and laughing like a kid. If you’ve ever seen the show, the end is pretty epic. They capture the big action finale with the plane. There’s chaos all around while Indy fights the baddies. There’s machine gun fire blazing, stunt men falling, tumbling, getting shot down, and then a squirrel appears. I have to admit, at that moment I thought of Amy Lane. LOL. So in the middle of all this epic action, I’m all “Squirrel!!” So squirrel runs into a bundle of old gasoline tanks and props. I think poor squirrel is finding a place to hide away from the crazy humans fake-punching each other.

The stunt show continues. Indy gets in with a right hook. Watch out for the propellers! Up above on the cliff there’s a line of trees. Explosions follow the line, and who emerges from the flames and smoke as bombs go off? Squirrel!! I kid you not. I sort of lost it then. It was amazing. Like something out of Apocalypse Now. This line of explosions against the trees and ‘Merica (because that’s what we named him) the stunt squirrel is bounding and leaping behind the explosions more hardcore than Rambo. He wasn’t fazed by the explosions, he just kept moving. I half expected him to stop and the end and give us a salute.


So the three of us will forever remember ‘Merica the stunt-squirrel. I think he needs a bigger role in the show. See the little hill in the background with the line of trees? That’s where the explosions were and where he ran. Like I said, hardcore. See you at the movies!



Charlie_Cochet_by_madison_parker150Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From Historical to Fantasy, Contemporary to Science Fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

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Lex Chase

Lex Chase and Princess Kitty Taylor… Once Upon a Dream

So, Nerd Confession Time. I totally went to Build-A-Bear and got a pink princess kitty and a Princess Aurora dress and decided the kitty was a boy and his name was Taylor. Because, of course I would.

I had announced to the DSP Group, Taylor was making the trip to Orlando and please don’t look at me weird for being such a dork with a pink kitty plush in an Aurora dress. Thank the lord for Kim Fielding and her beloved Spike action figure. And so, Spike and Taylor met Once Upon A Dream….

Taylor and Spike had a meet-cute in Hollywood Studios via Charlie Cochet breaking the ice.

In their travels, Spike and Taylor had many fascinating conversations. Spike is quite the globetrotter and Taylor was very impressed! He hadn’t been out of the South very much. He hadn’t even been off the Build-A-Bear rack that long!

Lex and Kim further assisted in making the two make their soul connection. Over in France in the World Showcase their slow burn sparked into something else.

In England, love was definitely in the air!


And then at Hollywood Studios, Cael appeared to hang out with the happy couple during the Indiana Jones: Stunt Spectacular. They all had the best seats in the house!

Cael and Taylor had some alone time while being completely smitten with the Indy stunt double!


But all too soon, the clock struck midnight and it was only once upon a dream. Spike was gone, but Taylor will wait for him next year at the EPCOT Geosphere, hopfully to share their travels and encourage bright new things. But Taylor is loyal. He wll never stop waiting.



Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” She knew then she wanted to make the world a little more interesting too.
Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure and epic love—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. She loves tales of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. She believes if you’re going to going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.
Lex is a pop culture diva and her DVR is constantly backlogged. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is incredibly sentimental, to the point that she gets choked up at holiday commercials. But like the lovers driven to extreme measures to get home for the holidays, Lex believes everyone deserves a happy ending.
Lex also has a knack for sarcasm, never takes herself seriously, and has been nicknamed “The Next Alan Moore” by her friends for all the pain and suffering she inflicts on her characters. She is a Damned Yankee hailing from the frozen backwoods of Maine now residing in the burbs of Northwest Florida, where it could be 80F and she’d still be a popsicle.



Kim Fielding

If you follow my blog–or follow me on Facebook–you may be aware that I have a constant travel companion: Spike. He’s been to something like 16 countries and about a dozen states. He’s been on planes, in cars, on trains, and in boats ranging from tiny to cruise-ship size. He’s fallen in a lake (and been rescued) and he’s even posed with a celebrity. Spike gets around. Don’t believe me? Oh, I have many pictures. 066 038 teller Here we see just a few examples of Spike’s adventures. From top to bottom, that’s Spike in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina; Spike in Joshua Tree National Park; and yes, Spike with Penn Jillette and my husband.

Spike makes a very good travel companion. He’s quiet, he never asks “Are we there yet?”, and he fits in my purse. He has amused and confused people in many locations.

But poor Spike travels without a love interest. Now, I suppose I could lug along my Xander or Angel dolls too, but that would be weird, right? And we can’t have that. Spike had consigned himself to loneliness. Until he met Taylor, of course. 085 091

At no time were we in danger of being tossed out of the Disney parks, although I think we got more than a few puzzled looks. My only regret was that my 15-year-old daughter wasn’t with us, because I missed so many opportunities to be a thoroughly embarrassing mother.

(PS–I’d like to also mention that yes, Charlie does always look adorable, and yes, between the two of us, Lex and I had most of the rainbow spectrum represented in our hair.)

And now Spike is back in California, perhaps dreaming of a reunion with Taylor. At least at home he has some pals to keep him company.



Join us on Saturday at Charlie’s blog, where we’ll be talking more about our Disney adventures.


Stranded is a new anthology that just came out from Wayward Ink Publishing. Here’s the book blurb:



• (of a boat, sailor, or sea creature) left aground on a shore.
“a stranded whale”

• left without the means to move from somewhere.
“he offers a lift to a stranded commuter”


The boys in this collection of short stories have most definitely been left STRANDED!

They’ve been shipwrecked and abandoned.

Marooned and cast away.

And left helpless and high and dry.

But you should never underestimate the tenacity of the human heart…


My story is called “Standby,” and poor Tom is stranded in an airport when he misses his connection. I travel frequently, so I’ve been in his shoes. But here’s a photo from a happier trip I took last year:


I was the only passenger on this flight. It was a small plane and a short flight, but I was the sole passenger. It was so fun! The flight attendant and I had a great chat. She still had to do the safety stuff over the PA system–FAA regulations–and this time I had to listen.

I’m flying tomorrow. Let’s hope for no mishaps–or at least good outcomes if mishaps occur!

You can buy Stranded:

at Amazon

at Wayward Ink Publishing

It’s called karma

I flew to Seattle this weekend for GRNW. The conference was fantastic. Got to hang out with some great people and had a lot of fun. I’m pretty sure that if she wanted to, Tracy Timmons-Gray could take over the world. I gave away a lot of unicorn ducks.

018But first I had to get to Seattle, which meant driving to Sacramento and getting on a plane. it’s a short flight–only about 90 minutes. Perfect for reading the newest installment in Amy Lane’s serial novel, Beneath the Stain. But then these two ladies sat next to me and proceeded to chat nonstop with each other, very loudly, about Jesus. Then we landed and had to spend 30 minutes or so waiting for our gate to clear, at which point the ladies’ loud conversation turned to ex-husbands and their gardens, and how their pansies miss them but they don’t get along with their oleander. They did voices for the flowers. I wanted to open the emergency exit and boot them out, or at least read aloud from a particularly juicy part of Amy’s book. But I am a grown-up. So instead I complained about them on Facebook.

And then I got to Seattle and had a lovely time. Most of the conference was in the main branch of the public library, which is a really cool building. I had a view of it from my hotel too.


And it’s a nice hotel. You can borrow a goldfish to keep you company (I didn’t, but it’s nice to know there’s an option). But I am so annoyed when hotels pile on decorative throw pillows, which are unhygienic and will only require removal, and I will probably trip on them if I get up in the middle of the night.

002But I recovered from my slight pillow-related trauma, in part because the lovely Andrea Speed discovered that the café across the street has margarita gelato. With tequila in it.


And the weather was gorgeous and I met all sorts of fun people, and I generally had a great time. On Sunday I even got to sleep in and then have a nice walk around downtown.

So then I headed back to the airport–congratulating myself for avoiding the people on their way to the Seahawks-Broncos game–and I checked in, and I had some lunch and walked some more, because I really do try to get 10,000 steps each day.

And it was time to get on the plane so I lined up. I was spacing out when someone tapped my shoulder. I turned and who did I see? The Jesus ladies. “Hey!” said one of them. “We shared a plane on the way here!”

Yes. Yes, we did.

Not only that, but they ended up sitting one row in front of me, where they talked Bible stories the entire way. Nonstop and loudly, although at least I couldn’t hear them as well this time. And I’m sure this wasn’t coincidence. It was my karma for complaining.

As we deplaned, I noticed that the lady who’d sat next to them on this trip was glaring at them. I wonder if she complained on Facebook. I wonder how karma will bite her on the ass if she did.

On the good side, the gate agent in Seattle for Virgin America looks like Robert Pattinson and, although he was in Washington state, he did not sparkle. At least, I don’t think so.020


(PS–When I got home, I had news that Brute releases in French on October 7. Merveilleux! That means I have 5 releases within less than 30 days. It’s a Fieldingpalooza!)

Knights Ferry

I live in California’s Central Valley. It’s a long way–culturally, at least–from the hipness of the San Francisco Bay Area or the palm-trees-and-movie-stars vibe of Southern California. This area is hot and dry and conservative and poor. The bulk of the economy is agriculture-based. It’s not a part of the state most people think about much. And sometimes I whine about living here.

But the truth is that there are some great things about living here. No snow and ice, but I can easily visit wintry weather in the mountains. I can grow nearly everything, and there are abundant produce stands very close by. Our oven-hot summer days are also very dry, and in the evening the Delta breeze usually comes through, cooling us down by 30 to 40 degrees. And there are about a million interesting places to visit within about a 2-hour drive.

The other day we took a short drive–less than 45 minutes–to the tiny town of Knights Ferry. It was founded in 1848. Named after William Knight, who–obviously–ran a ferry across the Stanislaus River, at least until he was killed in a gunfight.

119Knights Ferry has the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi. It also has the oldest still-operating general store in the state. There are the ruins of a flour mill along the river, and the old jail still stands.

133 127

I love exploring old cemeteries, and the one in Knights Ferry didn’t disappoint. I love the “no horses” sign at the gate. My older daughter spied the 141-year-old typo on one stone, while I admired the lichens on another. It’s very difficult to read the lichen-covered one, even when you’re there, but I did make out that the man was killed while mining his claim.

145 146 142.

136The area around Knights Ferry is cowboy country–horses and cattle–but at least one local rancher has chosen slightly more exotic stock.

I know of at least one other person not far from me who has a camel, but this may be the only zedonk in the region.

Knights Ferry may be tiny, but it’s colorful. And I love how places like this give me ideas for my stories. It’s a good reminder that we don’t always have to travel far to find inspiration.

Do you have quirky places near where you live? Please share in the comments.