May 22, 2017


Alexandra Queen



[News] [Short] [Nonfiction] [Opinion] [Serial] [Poem] [Comics] [Essay]

News

Aliens Invade Lathrop! (2002-04-15) news aliens

Lathrop Tower Mart has interesting inhabitants.

Lodi's Cherry Blossom Festival (2002-04-15) News

Japanese art, culture on display in local festival.

Pest Control for Peanuts (2002-05-06) News

Blue jays as inexpensive organic pest control

Future Supreme Interplanetary Ruler Born (2002-06-10) News

Birth of Lillian

National Nude Recreation Week (2002-07-13) News

News item

Student Demonstrations (2003-04-07) News

A Pro-Troop Rally at Modesto Junior College gives students an opportunity to express their opinions.

Tiffany's Wish (2003-11-22) News

Tiffany always wanted her mother to open her own craft store. Tammy Wagner had no idea that wish would save her own life and sanity when her daughter died. A true local news story.

Weston Walking Group (2003-11-29) News

That's not a parade, that's the local herd of stroller mommies stompin' down the street.

Working Like A Dog: 2 by 2 Petcare (2003-12-06) News

They say that if you take a hobby and figure out how to make money off it, you'll never have to work another day in your life. Meet Terry and Lori, two professional pet-sitters who have managed to do just that.

Duplexes built to benefit orphans (2003-12-13) News

Nick Groen Realty has donated land in a posh $400,000+ neighborhood and others have donated materials and labor so that a humanitarian organization can raise money to benefit orphans and abandoned children in Romania.

Carota's Calling (2003-12-20) News

Several houses. A successful career. Peter Carota had it all -- and gave it all up to become a priest.

St. Patrick's Dilemma (2004-01-17) News

The little church out on Hwy 120 is already overcrowded and dangerously close to the busy two-lane highway. Now the state transportation department wants to take away 28 feet of their property to make the road bigger, faster and much, much closer. What's a parish to do?

Coffee 101 at iRoast4u (2004-01-24) News

A local coffee shop offers a delicious class to teach people the ins and outs of drinking coffee. Be prepared to throw everything your mother taught you about good table manners right out the window, because slurping and spitting is classier than she thought.

Greetings from Reno! (2004-03-13) news

Cover story.

NVS Salon (2004-05-08) News

Nothing says "I love you" like the gift of a hair salon. Nina Gulley, a local stylist in the small town of Ripon, got a wedding present from her new husband that she'll never forget.

National Trails Day 2004 (2004-06-05) News

Cover story

Write Fiction Like Cheryl (2004-08-07) news writing contest

Contest.

Interview with a Makeup Artist (2004-10-23) news biography artist

Cover story. Interview with Vance Whitaker, professional theatrical makeup artist.

Our 3rd Anniversary (2005-04-10) cover story news announcement

A word from the editor on the third anniversary of the Piker Press.

Websurfing 30 (2005-08-15) news internet opinion webcomics

Guest columnist Alex Queen takes you on a tour of some of the more interesting webcomics outside of the Press. From silly, crude fun to some simply amazing examples of art and story-telling.

Websurfing (2005-08-29) news internet opinion tourism

Guest columnist Alex invites you to join her in a bit of armchair tourism, whisking you to the marvelous little resort town of Zermatt.

Websurfing (2005-09-12) internet opinion humor

Guest columnist Alex Queen takes a moment to bring you some of her favorite web spots for the football season. NFL.com, fantasy football links, funny football articles and lots of links to Jon Gruden shouting at people. Bonus -- must-see William Shatner links.


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Short

The Grandmother Staff (2002-04-15) short

Part One

The Grandmother Staff (2002-04-22) short

Part 2

The Grandmother Staff (2002-05-06) short

Part three

La Fiesta (2002-11-18) short

A ghost story of the perils of temptation and the evil that waits to prey, based on a traditional family story Great-great-grandmother swore was true.

Margo Embargo, P.I. 01 (2004-09-18) short

Private investigator Margo Embargo is called down to the Des Moine airport to investigate a strange... well, it's not a crime to ship barrels of cooking sherry. ...or is it? A "Write Fiction Like Cheryl" entry. Part 1 of 2.

Margo Embargo, P.I. 02 (2004-09-25) short

A "Write Fiction Like Cheryl" runner up. Mislabeled barrels of cooking sherry filled with chalk. Scraps of poetry. And someone willing to kill to keep a secret. Margo and NAFTA Agent Hertz are close to solving something big. Part 2 of 2.

The Devil Chicken (2005-04-10) short

The man with the wooden leg gained fame, fortune and all the whiskey you could drink before he lost it all - to the devil chicken. First appeared 2002-12-02

DogDoo Speaker (2005-08-15) short fiction contemporary fantasy

With permission of (and apologies to) fellow staffers Josh and Audie, you are invited to take a step backwards in time, to visit con-man and spiritual psychic Vince Raines long before he met the strange creature who opened his mind to the whispers of demons. Meet a younger Vince, lower on the food chain of scam artists, posing as a pet psychic. And meet "September," the woman whose fecally fluent Scotty dogs prompt Vince to look into a career change...

In The Garden (2007-04-16) short fiction mythology

A creation myth.(Originally appeared 04-17-2004)

Angel of Death (2008-04-07) short fiction, contemporary

Ever wondered exactly who holds that job? Be careful what you say. It might be you. Originally appeared 2002-11-25

Raccoon Mansion (2011-08-29) short

Some places still have enough magic left to make wishes come true. (First appeared 8-24-2002)

Eternal Monday Afternoon (2015-11-23) cover story fiction death

Peace, joy, hope, happiness. All these are found in love...so how can we leave what we loved behind?


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Nonfiction

Bonsai! (2002-04-22) nonfiction

Big adventure in tiny trees

Everything Zen (2002-04-29) nonfiction

Zen Buddhism as practiced locally

Art History: The Edo Era of Japan (2002-04-29) nonfiction

A silly look at a fascinating era of art history

Japanese Tea Ceremony (2002-05-06) nonfiction

Layers of meaning in meditational tradition

Bird Scat Alley (2002-05-20) nonfiction

Watching wildlife close to home

China's Han Dynasty (2002-10-05) nonfiction

A brief introduction to one of the world's most exciting eras. An evil empire, an illiterate peasant, a story that even Hollywood couldn't make better.

Dia de los Muertos (2002-11-04) nonfiction

Mocking mortality and dining with the dearly departed, the 'Day of the Dead' means never having to say 'goodbye'.

Sara's Heart (2004-01-31) nonfiction biography health

Tattoo symbolizes victory over rare heart condition. Cover story.

Dia de los Muertos 2004 (2004-10-30) nonfiction myth culture

Cover story

Veggie Spa Cleanses Body (2005-02-20) nonfiction health

With its "Christian health principles" approach, no solid foods for the first six days, and only raw, vegetarian foods after that, the Bella Vita Lifestyle Education Home sounded a bit radical, but Lynette Rubio was encouraged by word of mouth, especially from cancer patients who had experienced positive changes to their health from adopting Bella Vita practices.

Small church lends hand in Ethiopia (2005-03-13) nonfiction people humanitarian

Ripon is a small town whose population barely exceeds ten thousand, and only a small percentage of those folk attend the Ripon Church of Christ. But a handful of people here in the States have made a tremendous difference on the other side of the world.

Tomato Tips For Top Crops (2005-05-09) nonfiction gardening

Gardeners, plant your seedlings — tomato season is about to begin! Competitive tomato gardening is a traditional neighborhood sport, and Certified Nursery Professional Nanci Nichols has several tips to keep you at the front of the pack for producing this juicy summer crop.

Untori (2005-07-18) nonfiction history editorial

The strange events surrounding the Milanese Plague of 1630 seem more suited to a sci-fi thriller like Outbreak than a city just out of the dark ages. Several aspects, however, make a tragedy of four hundred years ago unusually easy to relate to today.

Herb Gardening (2005-08-29) nonfiction gardening how-to

Looking for a small-scale gardening project with a large-scale reward? Try easy to care for herbs for year-round fun.

Peek of the Week 026 (2006-01-23) photo art

A lemur at Micke Grove Zoo examines a scent marking on a branch.

Peek of the Week 040 (2006-05-08) photo art

Blind bald eagle at Micke Grove Zoo.

Peek of the Week 042 (2006-05-22) photo art

A portrait of an ibis at Micke Grove Zoo.

Mes de los Muertos (2006-10-30) nonfiction

Welcome to Month of the Dead here at the Press.

Growing Up Wrong (2015-08-17) essay memoir

Napalm. True tales of misspent youth.


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Opinion

The Land Decent Screenwriting Forgot (2002-05-13) op_ed

Head-bangingly bad dialogue and character development so shallow you couldn't float a bug in it, Dinotopia is one made-for-television miniseries that shouldn't have been made at all.

Extreme Nude Recreation Week (2002-07-13) op_ed

Commentary on nudism now and ideas for improving the nudism's image. So to speak.

Fishfaces of the Rich and Famous (2003-03-31) op_ed

Looking for that special something to liven up your aquarium? Consider these exciting fishface celebrities from Uncle Edgar's Fishface Farm.

Macaquebeth (2003-05-12) op_ed

The Monkey Manifesto - The Plymouth University experiment giving monkeys access to a computer has opened a whole barrel of social issues.

Oort Cloud Oddities: National Nude Recreation Week 2003 (2003-08-18) op_ed

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, and writers tend to drift in from someplace even further. This week: a rehashing of an old favorite. National Nude Recreation Week 2003. Huh. Everyone's outfit looks a lot like the ones they wore last year.

Oort Cloud Oddities: The Devil's Agent (2003-09-01) op_ed

If the story the Exorcist was based on is indeed a true one, then the devil doesn't seem to do a very good job of marketing himself. He needs a new agent.

Oort cloud oddities: The rise and fall of the gastropod Mafia (2003-09-15) op_ed

Some people make gardening look so easy. I hate them.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Celebrity Relationships (2003-09-29) op_ed

Demi Moore is said to have moved in with Ashton Kutcher. Because he's, um. So ...smart?

Oort Cloud Oddities: Pride comes before a wet pants leg. (2003-10-13) op_ed

An object lesson in why it doesn't pay to brag in the near vicinity of your dog.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Weapons of Mouse Destruction (2003-10-20) op_ed

Looking for a "bunker buster" to roust terrorists out of their underground hideouts? Forget the nukes, go with little creepy-crawly things. Alex's dad can attest to their effectiveness.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Mes de los Muertos (2003-11-08) op_ed

An introduction to Dia de los Muertos and some food for thought.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Uncle Buddy (2003-11-29) op_ed

Another Mes de los Muertos piece. The life, death, and remembrance of Great-Uncle Buddy teaches a sharp lesson. We're not sure what, but it's probably a good one.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Night of the Satanists (2003-12-06) op_ed

A held-over tale for Dia de los Muertos detailing the adventures of two young men who grew up to enforce curfews for their own children. With good reason.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Grandpa Queen and the Chicken of Doom (2003-12-13) op_ed

The final Mes de los Muertos piece. A story about the struggle between a man of good and a chicken of evil. Thank God for the wooden leg.

Oort Cloud Oddities: World Beard and Mustache Championships (2003-12-20) op_ed

Forget about the arms race -- America's problem is lagging behind in the hair race. Our men (and women) can't make the grade when it comes to growing stuff on their face.

Oort Cloud Oddities: New Year's Resolutions (2003-12-27) op_ed

Oh, sure, you could be like the rest of those sheep and try to make yourself a better person this year. Or you could come up with a list of resolutions like these and be the same person you were last year -- just more so.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Eat or be eaten (2004-01-03) op_ed

Mankind's place on the food chain is in serious jeopardy. If you didn't pick up on that by the fact that Joe Millionaire got a second season, then let the "ant incident" clear any doubt from your mind.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Who wears the dress in this kitchen? (2004-01-10) op_ed

The gender wars continue to wage in the kitchen and around the house. In the end, however, perhaps we are not so different. After all, none of us, man or woman, knows what the hell to do with three bottles of "dill" in the spice cabinet.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Aunt Mary and the Pumpkin Pie (2004-01-17) op_ed

Dust off some Thanksgiving leftovers this week and learn how giving a relative their 'just desserts' can affect your family karma. Then give it to 'em anyway.

Oort Cloud Oddities: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas (2004-01-24) op_ed

Christmas isn't about snow and the decorations. No, it's about people clawing and scratching and gouging each other's eyes out in the shopping centers.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Bodice-Rippers and Football (2004-01-31) op_ed

Love and the editors of romance novels are blind. It's one thing to enjoy a good book or a good game, but why are we compelled to suffer through crap?

Oort Cloud Oddities: Christmas Gifts (2004-02-07) op_ed

What do you get for the relative who hates everything? Here are a few gift ideas that prove it is infinitely better to give than to receive.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Real Estate Crocs (2004-02-13) op_ed

When real estate agents get out of hand, there's only one thing to do. Train crocodiles to eat them.

Oort Cloud Oddities: The Enzo vs. the Metro (2004-02-14) op_ed

Sure, you could buy a Ferrari Enzo for $670,000. Or you could purchase a Geo Metro for $8,000. When the chips are down, how do you get the most mind-blowing automotive fun for your money?

Oort Cloud Oddities: Mad cow (2004-02-21) op_ed

It's a mad, mad, mad cow ridden world out there. A simple trip to donate blood turns into an eye opening experience.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Coffee Shop Offices (2004-02-28) op_ed

Fashion. Gossip. Lattes. Is there any better office for a writer than a small table in the corner of a coffee shop? Maybe.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Free-verse Neanderthal (2004-03-06) op_ed

For better or for verse, some people's sense of "art" hasn't evolved out of the Stone Ages. Has Robert Frost written some stupid poetry? Some Neanderthals think so.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Presidential Candidates 2004 (2004-03-13) op_ed

From before the primaries, a look at the 2004 Presidential Campaign for Dummies

Oort Cloud Oddities: Extreme Hobbies (2004-03-20) op_ed

How come high school sports stick to things like football and tennis when there are so many more interesting activities out there?

Fashion Beat Summer 04 (2004-03-27) op_ed

Cover story. The theme for this summer is "back to nature," so throw away your razor and let it all grow out! An April Fools Day spoof.

Oort Cloud Oddities: The Mommy Voice (2004-03-27) op_ed

Mothers have a unique tool to strike fear and terror into the hearts of those around them, a power that borders on the supernatural. We call it, "The Mommy Voice".

Oort Cloud Oddities: The 55 MPH Pig (2004-04-03) op_ed

Some people raise livestock because it's their job. Other people just like to eat the stuff below them on the food chain. But even the most hardened of carnivorous farmers sometimes get soft spots.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Clarence Darrow (2004-04-17) op_ed

Long live Democracy -- despite everyone who participates. Lawmakers and politicians have always been a bunch of crooks.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Hemingway (2004-04-24) op_ed

In hating "The Old Man and the Sea", one comes to learn its true meaning. But it still stinks.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Child rearing (2004-05-01) op_ed

Why don't we eat them while they're still small and tender? It can only be a miracle of nature.

Oort Cloud Oddities: 2004 Campaign Advice (2004-05-08) op_ed

Since the 2004 Presidental campaign is shaping up to be a clash of the intellectual titans, here's a little advice for both candidates to help their images.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Haiku War (2004-05-15) op_ed

War is never pretty, but bad poetry is even worse. Based on the true story of a Piker Staff meeting.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Zombie Infection (2004-05-22) op_ed

A simple zombie infection simulation run on a computer sparks the Week of the Living Dead, sapping the brains and the will to live from one hapless couple.

Oort Cloud Oddities: CAPTCHAs (2004-05-29) op_ed

Can't tell if that's a loved one or an evil cyborg replica cooking you breakfast? You need a Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. There's several of them out there -- Gotta CAPTCHA'm all!

Oort Cloud Oddities: Ground Squirrels (2004-06-05) op_ed

The ground squirrel instinct to dart out in right in front of the only car to have passed that way in weeks, also known as nature's recipe for road pizza, is a widespread phenomenon.

Oort Cloud Oddities: The Pickle Jar (2004-06-12) op_ed

If you think the warning labels on cups of coffee are unnecessary, then you've lived a sheltered life around intelligent people. Meet the Face of Stupidity: he is Fourmyle, the family cat.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Body Image (2004-06-19) op_ed

Crimes against nature used to be priced too high for anyone but criminal masterminds. Then came easy credit. Now, plastic surgery isn't just for Michael Jackson anymore.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Peevil Knievel (2004-06-26) op_ed

Peter Pan isn't the only one who never really grew up. From mis-reading books about space to using the bathroom as an arena for personal challenge and showmanship, some people - men, mostly - never change.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Nazgul Gardeners (2004-07-03) op_ed

If your lawn mower or weed trimmer can't make a decent showing at a Nascar event, it's not good enough for this elite squad from the Dept. of Landscape Security.

Oort Cloud Oddities: The Horse Whisperer (2004-07-10) op_ed

From the time he was a young boy, John Queen always had a certain way with horses. That's why they didn't like him.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Galapagos TV (2004-07-17) op_ed

The marriage of documentaries and reality television: sure, it might be dumbing down science a little bit, but who wouldn't want to watch Paris Hilton try to harvest live electric eels for scientific research? (BZZZZT! "Omigod, owww!!!")

Oort Cloud Oddities: Cheap Summer Travel (2004-07-24) op_ed

It's not where you go that makes a good summer vacation, it's the PR spin you put on it. With a little creative marketing, you can convince yourself that any destination is a great one.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Summer Movies (2004-07-31) op_ed

The heck with a good book. This summer, let's set aside the time to watch some bad movies. From Kiera Knightly's flat chest to Halle Berry's enormous hat, there's sure to be something for everyone to make fun of.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Clothing (2004-08-14) op_ed

When it comes to clothing, older is better. Well, maybe not better, but you just can't trust new clothing. Plus, as in the case of the dreaded Nipple Shirt, if it's gross enough, people won't bother you.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Writers Online (2004-08-28) op_ed

Writers are the most interesting people. With the advent of "instant messenger" technology, writers from all over can connect to network, share their progress and discuss Buddhist androids. Which is really important to their careers. Swear to God.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Lotion (2004-09-04) op_ed

The first time leaving your baby and husband alone together while you go out of town is always tough for a new mother. But apparently, it's even tougher on Daddy and Lillian. They'll live through it, but just barely.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Movie Merchandise (2004-09-11) op_ed

Marketers just don't seem to think when they create merchandise to go along with films. Faux Dalmatian hide? Extra copies of Sauron's Ring? A Wiggles Tarot Deck? Sick. Just sick.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Sightseeing (2004-09-18) op_ed

A semi-true account of the first annual Piker Press Conference. After the business was taken care of, there was plenty of time to show everyone around the Valley. Home is always a lot more interesting when described by a writer.

Oort Cloud Oddities: The Genesis of Gender (2004-10-02) op_ed

"Why is pink considered a girl color and blue a boy color?" It's a little known fact that gender was invented in the 1930's to combat the Great Depression.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Learning Poetry (2004-10-09) op_ed

Poetry should rhyme. It's the law, and anyone who says otherwise is a pinko communist.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Clerihews (2004-10-16) op_ed

Who appreciates fine poetry any more? Your family definitely won't. Compromise with Clerihews: lose the "fine" and replace it with "fast" and "funny".

Oort Cloud Oddities: Mohawk Mommy (2004-10-23) op_ed

When a friend finds out she's going to undergo chemotherapy, Sand shaves her own head to show moral support. Hilarity ensues.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Key Ring Synergy (2004-10-30) op_ed

Marriage is a mysterious thing. A normal quirk in one partner can combine with a normal quirk in the other partner to create a synergistic insanity that outsiders find boggling.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Halloween Costumes (2004-11-06) op_ed

A good costume should be topical, relevant, witty and not too expensive. Don't worry about the good taste -- that's pretty much not a requirement.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Viking Sanchez (2004-11-13) op_ed

When your daughter's first and best loved dolly, the one named after a dearly departed family member, is just too decrepid and smelly to go on, there's only one way to dispose of it. Break out the little horned helmets: it's time for a Viking Dolly Funeral.

Veteran's Day 2004 (2004-11-13) op_ed political military essay

Cover story

Oort Cloud Oddities: Meaningful Books (2004-11-20) op_ed

It's hard to take meaningful dramas seriously. They're just so unreal. A touching moment between a married couple, the faithful guard dog protecting family from danger, even an attractive woman riding her motorcycle down the street: in the books, that all works perfectly. Since when does real life let any of those people get away with even a scrap of dignity?

Oort Cloud Oddities: Napoleon (2004-11-27) op_ed

Europe's tiniest dictator has gone from the amazing feat of using the French army to thrash almost the entire world to appearing on the cans of baby corn. Ponderous, baby.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Bruce-Free Thanksgiving (2004-12-04) op_ed

With the holidays approaching, your only hope is to contract some mysterious and highly contagious disease. Otherwise you'll have to put up with... the relatives.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Birthright Pie (2004-12-11) op_ed

Back home, Jack-O-Lanterns are for decorating yards, and "eatin pumpkins" are for making into pies. But the rest of the world has no idea what variety of vegetable an "eatin pumpkin" might actually be. In fact, the rest of the world does a lot of things different than they did back home. And upon careful reflection, that might just be for the best.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Rainy Day Raiders (2004-12-18) op_ed

Being stuck inside on a rainy day with toddlers and animals is enough to drive any adult mad. Or inspire them to write bad poetry about the Oakland Raiders. In the end, the cat says it best.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Kid Rock Dog Farts (2005-01-01) op_ed

Between Kid Rock stinking up the TV and the dog's back end polluting the air, working from a home office is impossible. Unless you've got a little help from a supportive spouse.

Oort Cloud Oddities: 2004 In Review (2005-01-16) op_ed

While other people have presented 2004 the way it was, this is a look at 2004 the way it might as well have been, but wasn't. Includes resolutions that may as well have been made and predictions for 2005 that will never happen, but should.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Fantasy Playoffs (2005-01-29) op_ed

The tumultuous first year of the almost victorious, entirely fictitious San Diego Thunder.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Yeast (2005-01-30) op_ed, humor, food

Yeast is no ingredient. It's alive. Sure, when you first get into baking, all you see are innocuous little packets of granules -- dry and gently slumbering "kitchen helpers". But once you delve into serious bread baking, you'll find the kitchen is a setting straight out of Lovecraft or Poe, and it's all because of yeast.

Oort Cloud Oddities:LibraryDay (2005-02-06) op_ed, humor, libraries

Next year, they're going to plop the cast of Survivor down in a small town like Ripon and make them try to get books to and from the library with a toddler in tow. It ain't easy.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Squid-Eye Love (2005-02-13) op_ed

Drink to me only with thine squid-like eyes.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Beese (2005-02-20) op_ed, humor, kids, parenting

Long for the simpler, less expensive toys of yesteryear? Be careful what you wish for. As a simple, pink helium balloon demonstrates, imagination can be an annoying thing.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Health Care (2005-02-20) op_ed

Oort Cloud Oddities: Cantina (2005-03-06) op_ed humor health care

What would you do to be able to eat all the fresh, delicious donuts you want, in beautiful surroundings? Would you give blood? A lot of blood?

Oort Cloud Oddities: Squid Eye (2005-03-13) op_ed, humor, romance

Just in time for Valentine's Day, a team from Brown University has discovered that the human eye is gross. But it takes a married couple to make science downright nauseating.

Oort Cloud Oddities: FishinFoo (2005-03-20) op_ed, humor, fishing

Fishing isn't a hobby - to this family, it's a disorder. Giant fish, demon fish, fish so mean you gotta beat 'em with a hammer: it doesn't matter when you're a mad fishin' foo!

Oort Cloud Oddities: HMO blues (2005-03-27) op_ed humor health care

Signing up for health insurance is almost worse than life threatening diseases.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Cry Room (2005-04-03) op_ed, humor, kids, church

Don't blame parents for bringing that brat to church -- Jesus was the one who said, "Let the little children come to Me." We have to assume that God gets a kick out having the little critters around. Even with their incessant nose-picking.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Gift Enema (2005-04-10) op_ed

There's no better way to say "I love you" than with the gift of a home enema kit. First appeared 2004-12-25

Oort Cloud Oddities: Oscar Birthday (2005-04-17) op_ed, humor, kids, parenting

Nothing ruins a birthday like the Oscars. Don't try to emulate celebrities, people, they're professionals.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Mrs. Mike (2005-04-24) op_ed humor book review

A look at the classic novel, "Mrs. Mike" — romance and dead cows in the Great White North.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Steroids and Baseball (2005-05-01) op_ed humor editorial sports

Just call em the St. Louis Carnies and be done with it, because this whole steroids-in-baseball freak show isn't going to be over until the Bearded Lady strikes out.

Oort Cloud Oddities: DIY Therapy (2005-05-09) op_ed, humor

Don't bother with all the high cost of psychiatric advice -- better mental health is just a bowl of cereal away.

Book Review: The Mark of Voodoo (2005-05-16) book review

Review of The Mark of Voodoo, a book by Sharon Caulder, PhD. Terrible scholarly treatise, great trashy read.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Safe Surfing (2005-05-16) op_ed humor family computers

If you want to know how to surf the Internet safely, go ask an old fashioned Baby Boomer. You may have thought your parents were out of touch, but it turns out that they were just ahead of their time. And in the wrong industry.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Finger Food (2005-05-23) op_ed humor current events

Nothing spells portion control like a severed finger in your fresh chili. A commentary on the gripping tale of customer Anna Ayala, who claimed this past March to have been literally given the finger while dining at a Wendy's in San Jose.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Picasso (2005-05-30) op_ed humor art kids parenting

Dali. Rembrandt. O'Keeffe. Picasso. You can lead children to art, but you can't make them like it.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Stuck in a Tree (2005-06-13) op_ed humor family

An undignified accident brings a welcome shift of the spot light. Writers of humor columns beware! Don't ever rip your pants getting stuck in a tree!

Oort Cloud Oddities: Night of the Living 'Do (2005-06-20) op_ed humor hair supernatural

Stay away from the hair lightener, Carol Ann! Too much abuse of home care products has grave consequence, and even after the color has been fixed, there's something supernaturally creepy about that glamorous new style.

Oort Cloud Oddities: British Sporks (2005-06-27) op_ed humor current events

Get the bride a set of sporks, because times are a-changing! Yes, the Brits are seriously considering banning pointy knives.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Growing Pains (2005-07-04) op_ed humor kids parenting

A pre-schooler's first activity without mom right beside her proves that growing pains are always hardest on the parents. Now Mommy needs therapy.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Hempopotamus (2005-07-11) op_ed humor

Industrial hemp! It's the answer to everything from clothing to our dependency on foreign oil to underarm deodorant. Well, our answer to everything but deodorant, at least...

Oort Cloud Oddities: Axing the TV (2005-07-18) op_ed humor

Time to follow in the footsteps of Basil and get rid of the demon television set -- quick, before you turn into Anna Nicole Smith!

Oort Cloud Oddities: Martong Theme Restaurant (2005-07-25) op_ed

Weenies in a blanket used to sound unappetizing. Then along came Eric Wang and his Martong Theme Restaurant - now a chain of diners in Taiwan were you can eat while sitting on a toilet, out of a plate shaped like a toilet, from a menu featuring food like soft-serve chocolate ice cream. Pass the weenies, please.

I Hate Tom Cruise Week (2005-07-25) cover story

Oort Cloud Oddities: Astrological Hair (2005-08-01) Op_Ed humor astrology astronomy

Disbelieve astrology if you must, but don't mock the stars. They will get you. Alex allows her hair to give a horoscope, then allows her mouth to get her in trouble with the planets.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Forum Fonts (2005-08-08) op_ed

A rare look behind the scenes at the Piker Press. A regular contributor who shall remain nameless (JEFF!) sends the senior editor and her main tech guy, who shall also remain anonymous (Josh) on a quest for new design. Along the way, they discover that cool fonts can, apparently, make you stupid.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Hydrophobic Felines (2005-08-15) op_ed humor pets

You think the Halloween or Nightmare on Elm Street movies were scary and violent? If you want a mix of terrors, screams and bloodshed, just get a cat within ten feet of a swimming pool or shower. Cats and water do not mix.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Miss Plastic Surgery (2005-08-22) op_ed

China has recently held their first "Miss Plastic Surgery" pageant, opening up a whole realm of ethical debate that should have been closed long ago when we had the chance. Now the world is finding out that tampering with nature isn't just dangerous, it's undignified. When we're all heads in jars (with perfect teeth) you can blame those Claymation raisins from back in the 80's.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Dragonfly Swarm (2005-08-29) op_ed

Writing ad copy to sell clothing is tricky when other people don't buy clothes for the same reason you do. I mean, heck, if swarms of dragonflies aren't a factor, then there's really no reason to bother wearing clothes at all, is there?

Oort Cloud Oddities: Beer and Football (2005-09-05) humor sports gender

Beer and football - two timeless topics that should no longer belong to men only. They're dramatic, they're fascinating, and since they lead to frequent urination, women have the advantage anyway. Our restrooms are so much cleaner.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Mutant Mice (2005-09-12) op-ed humor genetic engineering ethics science

The British have been under a cloud of suspicion ever since the Spice Girls, but while they may have assuaged our fears temporarily by taking Madonna off our hands, it seems that it was only a ploy to distract us from their real mission -- cloning an army of mutated mice.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Talk Like A Pirate Day (2005-09-19) humor holidays

Break out yer polka dotted bandana, strap a patch over yer bad eye and gird up yer loins with the pantaloons that don't have that embarrassing zipper problem, because September 19th is National Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Review: Kung-Fu Hustle (2005-09-26) film review

This is no roll-your-eyes B-grade film. It is a beautiful, breath-taking, hilarious film that acknowledges and embraces the most ludicrous aspects of martial arts films, uses them to make you howl with laughter, and then continues on to make what is actually a wonderful martial arts movie in its own right.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Spinach!! (2005-09-26) humor gardening

Ah, the ancient rhythm of harvest and planting is deeply soothing to the soul. Almost so soothing as to distract one from the ancient rhythm of making one's relatives angry. But, wait -- you can do both!

Oort Cloud Oddities: Corrupting Games (2005-10-03) humor

Computer games are the source of all evil. Seriously. Especially solitaire.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Two-Stroke Engine Man (2005-10-10) humor

You can't pick your neighbors. And it would be boring if they were all completely well behaved, without any strange little idiosyncrasies. You come to be fond of "Decorates Every Holiday With Lighted Lawn Art -- Even The Obscure Ones Like Boxing Day and Dental Floss Week -- Woman." And what neighborhood would be complete without a "Two-Stroke Engine Man"?

Oort Cloud Oddities: Foraging (2005-10-17) humor wild foods

Foraging: It's what's for dinner.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Potty Helmet Laws (2005-10-24) humor kids

The heck with makin the little critters wear helmets when they ride their bicycles. Make em wear protective gear when they're learning to use the toilet.

Dead by 25: Ghost of a Chance (2005-10-31) book review bad

Some people will toss a book if it doesn't thrill them after the first two or three pages. Alex made it to page 25 of Yasmine Galenorn's supernatural-romance-mystery and then gave up the ghost. Here's why.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Cats Hate Winter (2005-11-14) humor pets

Hell hath no fury like a cat with cold, wet feet. If only they were migratory creatures. Then we wouldn't have to make statements like, "Cat: it's what's for dinner".

Oort Cloud Oddities: Naughty Wasp (2005-11-21) humor animals

A summer day is shattered when a woman pulls on her one-piece bathing suit only to find that a wasp had been snoozing in the garment's crotch. Neither the wasp nor the woman will ever be the same.

Oort Cloud: Pot and Brain Growth (2005-11-28) humor health

Marijuana promotes brain cell growth? Ritalin is the new illegal drug of choice? If the headlines are to be believed, the psychiatric industry is getting a little weird. And when Tom Cruise starts making sense about something, you know things are going seriously awry.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Black Friday (2005-12-05) humor social

What's full of hostility, brawls and senseless violence? Holiday shopping on Black Friday, Wal-Mart style. We can't always blame Capitol Hill for our bad image.

Oort Cloud Oddities: State Slogans (2005-12-12) humor political

New Jersey's state slogan is getting a new makeover -- and you know if someone says, "makeover," California has just got to join in.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Gross Gifts (2005-12-19) humor Christmas

Friends mocking you because what you want for Christmas is a little weird? Here's an array of inexpensive (and disgusting) gift ideas that will make your wishlist seem positively mundane.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Kentucky Fried Christmas (2005-12-26) humor Christmas

Christmas belongs to everyone. No matter how weird they are.

Oort Cloud Oddities: 2005 in review (2006-01-02) humor

2005 in review... to the tune of a popular Christmas carol. Get ready to sing along as we cover the high- and low-lights of 2005.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Scary Workout Videos (2006-01-09) humor exercise

Sure, I'll resolve to work out more this year, just like I have every year before this. But only if "feel the burn" applies to my muscles, and not my poor eyes.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Worm Guy (2006-01-16) humor

Money, status, plastic surgery... none of it means anything to a snarky writer. What does it take to impress Alex? A pile of worms.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Smarter Clothes (2006-01-23) humor fashion

Geek chic adds brain power to boutique? It just may be that clothes really do make the man.

Oort Cloud Oddities: 50 is better (2006-01-30) humor

People in their fifties get all the cool benefits. Is there even any point to ages 30-49?

Oort Cloud Oddities: Cupid and the Tomkitten (2006-02-06) humor

Time now for another exciting round of "Ask an Expert," where I call upon years of half-paying-attention in school and watching "documentaries" like Fox's Alien Autopsy to answer questions that were never directed towards me in the first place.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Fourmyle and the Hat (2006-02-13) cover story humor animals

Cruelty to animals is wrong. Wearing fur just might be, too. But when kitty falls hard for a raccoon skin hat, the resulting ethical tangle is one that only hardcore ALFers could figure out. That ain't bad manners, that's just good lovin.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Internet Birthday (2006-02-20) humor

The Internet was fifteen years old last November 13. And like many fifteen year olds, it's primarily obsessed with computer games, celebrity gossip and porn. But with all the things out there to care about, it hardly tops the list.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Sharkey the Impaler (2006-02-27) humor politics

Minnesota's gubernatorial elections first brought us Jesse Ventura. This year, they bring us candidate Jonathon Sharkey, self-proclaimed vampire. That's wrong. Wrong and stupid. Not that he's running, but that a delusional wacko has a better grip on some of the concepts involved than many mainstream politicians, educators and rights activists.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Pizza Parent Pain (2006-03-06) humor parenting

Kids love the place. Parents can stand it. Since they don't serve adult beverages there, just have a slice of generation gap with sausage and pepperoni on top.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Birthday Worms (2006-03-20) humor parenting

Can a parent raised by wolves handle the inevitable invitations for her child to attend birthday parties? Not gracefully.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Skidmarks and Gay Cowboys (2006-03-27) humor

Time to ask the psychic hair questions of deep importance. Where do skidmarks go when you wear a thong? And what's with all those gay cowboys, lately?

Oort Cloud Oddities: April 15 (2006-04-10) op_ed, humor, taxes

What are the two most stress-producing words in the english language? Venomous spider? Super volcano? Prostate exam? Small beans, all of them. If you want to pack the maximum amount of anxiety and aggravation into two words, you need only to say, "April 15th".

Oort Cloud Oddities: Family Travels (2006-04-17) humor family travel

Travel. Good for the lungs. Good for the brain. It's too much to hope for that it would be good for the bowels, too.

A Filthy Piker Guide to Uranus (2006-04-24) op_ed humor astronomy

For everybody who's ever had to sit through a planetarium show or an astronomy class on the seventh planet and try not to snigger, here is an enlightening little summary just for you, complete with talking cow cartoons. (Originally appeared 2003-04-28)

Oort Cloud Oddities: Coffee Feng Shui (2006-04-24) op_ed

Sun Tzu, the Art of War, corporate America and drinking coffee. They're all more closely entertwined than most sane people realize. (Originally appeared 2005-01-23)

Oort Cloud Oddities: Off the Path (2006-05-01) humor

In the horror movies, traveling off the beaten path always means sure death for the vacationing family. Thank goodness real people aren't stupid enough to do that.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Florida Pizza (2006-05-29) humor

The hurricane season won't start until June, but Florida's residents face a new devastating threat. Iguanas and giant snakes. Fortunately, the answer can be delivered in 30 minutes or less.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Name Branding (2006-06-05)

Oort Cloud Oddities: Spring Horoscopes 1 (2006-06-12)

Oort Cloud Oddities: Women's Equality Day (2006-08-21) humor

"Ph Balanced for a Woman" Ain't Near Enough

Editorial: Two Years of the Piker Press (2007-04-16) op_ed

The Piker Press from conception to two years of age. An editor's retrospective.(Originally appeared 04-10-2004)

Oort Cloud Oddities: Ford (2007-05-14) humor automotive industry

Ford - Found On the Road Dead. Fix Or Repair Daily. Fire Or Recall Disaster. Whatever you want to say it stands for, Ford is as much an American institution as consumerism and road congestion. Can it survive this latest setback?

Notes From The Office 05 (2008-02-18) Announcement

Professional and creative? Not once you become a parent. Because Mattel's Barbie is there to eat your brain.

Red Hot Art Review (2008-07-21) humor, art, review

Is it a book review? A humor column? An artsy "how to"? No. It's just one of my pre-migraine days when everything is really agitating. And -- fabulous me! -- I'm bringing YOU along for the ride.

Review: Death Race (2008) (2008-09-01) movie review

A film that is perfect for what it is: a vehicle for blowing up bad guys.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Bird Flu (2011-06-27) humor health epidemiology

Oh, sure the bird flu has the potential to wipe out most of the globe's population. But so far, it's only killed about sixty folk. Compare that to the number of people who have died taking Viagra. Death in perspective.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Efficiency Kitchen (2014-09-08) essay life humor

Someone once said an efficiently designed kitchen minimizes the number of steps you have to take from food preparation areas to food storage areas. That idiot obviously didn't have a family. Or dogs. Or run the risk of visits from the Angel of Obesity. (Originally appeared 08-21-2004)

Oort Cloud Oddities: James Lick's Monument (2014-10-27) op_ed

Sure, James Lick looked like Abraham Lincoln with a drug problem. He was, after all, one of California's first crazy rich dudes. But he's also a great example of someone who put a lot of thought into how they wanted to be remembered when they die.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Art is suffering (2015-03-16) humor art

If art is suffering, doodling sure beats paying the therapy bills. But it's not without its hazards.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Bathrooms (2015-05-04) op_ed

To pee or not to pee, that is the question. A look at how great acoustics and clever designs can still result in a very bad bathroom.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Alternative Pest Control (2015-05-25) essay humor

There is more than one way to skin a cat. Or kill a spider. Or shoot a fish. Some of them involve aerosol flammables and dressing up like your favorite comic book character. It's just better for the environment.

Oort Cloud Oddities: A Woman Who Likes Football (2015-09-21) op_ed

It's not easy becoming one, and there are a couple of quirks involved in being one, but they do exist.

Unfit Mother Goose (2016-06-13) op_ed

Nursery rhymes in the hands of new parents can be horrible weapons of brain cell destruction. Truly it is Nature's plan that little critters aren't born able to understand what their parents are singing.

Oort Cloud Oddities: Shoe sizes (2016-06-27) op_ed humor shoes history

So why is it if a husband and wife have identically sized feet, no two pairs of shoes in their closet are the same size? Because a size eight sneaker by any other name...


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Serial

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 01 (2002-06-28) serial fantasy humor

Seven foot of half orc. Fifteen foot of chain. Add romantic inclinations, an obnoxious thief and a stroke of pure dumb luck. Stir.
Episode One - Everyone could use a little change.

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 02 (2002-07-05) serial fantasy humor

Episode 2: The Hammered Hand - Home Away From Home

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 03 (2002-07-13) serial fantasy humor

Episode Three - Go West, Young Orc

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 04 (2002-07-20) serial fantasy humor

Episode Four - Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 05 (2002-07-27) serial fantasy humor

Episode Five - The Bloodport Market - Number One in selection and customer mortality.

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 06 (2002-08-03) serial fantasy humor

The Joys of Distant Relations or Blood - and Skulls - Are Thicker Than Water

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 07 (2002-08-17) serial fantasy humor

Episode Seven - The Journey Begins and a Wool-Earned Rest

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 08 (2002-08-24) serial fantasy humor

Episode Eight - A Mysterious Hole

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 09 (2002-08-31) serial fantasy humor

Episode Nine - Minerva's Monstrous Secret, or "She's in it for de-mony"

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 10 (2002-09-07) serial fantasy humor

Episode Ten - A Night at the Inn

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 11 (2002-09-14) serial fantasy humor

Episode Eleven - I got yer 'fishwife superstitions' right here...

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 12 (2002-09-28) serial fantasy humor

Episode 12: The Fellowship of the Ring

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 13 (2002-10-05) serial fantasy humor

Rumors of the Demon King

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 14 (2002-10-12) serial fantasy humor

Episode 14 - Waymeet and "Wee Master Dingle"

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 15 (2002-11-04) serial fantasy humor

Episode 15 - Running Errands

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 16 (2002-12-02) serial fantasy humor

Episode 16: Justice is Done

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 17 (2002-12-16) serial fantasy humor

Episode 17: The Road to Darkdim Crux

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 18 (2003-01-11) serial fantasy humor

Episode 18: Cons and Fish Stories Seven foot of half orc. Fifteen foot of chain. Add romantic inclinations, an obnoxious thief and a stroke of pure dumb luck. Stir.

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 19 (2003-01-18) serial fantasy humor

Episode 19: Con. It's spelled C-O-N... Seven foot of half orc. Fifteen foot of chain. Add romantic inclinations, an obnoxious thief and a stroke of pure dumb luck. Stir.

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 20 (2003-02-10) serial fantasy humor

Episode 20 - "The curse of the mace" or "May I please die and go to hell instead?" Our half-orc hero, off finding his roots, tries to be a nice guy. This is what he gets for it.

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 21 (2003-02-17) serial fantasy humor

Episode 21 Life in a Mace - Trapped inside an enchanted mace with 14 other thugs, Ozzie learns the ropes. Will Riordan and Minerva save the day?

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 22 (2003-03-03) serial fantasy humor

Episode 22 - Freedom! Aw, you knew Ozzie wouldn't spend eternity stuck in the mace with those morons.

Tam Lin 01 (2003-05-19) Serial

First draft serial fiction - a modern-day fantasy romance based on the traditional fairy tale Tam Lin. This week: Michelle returns to the boring town of her childhood. A handsome stranger, a chance encounter - could anything be more romantic? Yes, yes it could.

Tam Lin 02 (2003-05-26) Serial

First draft serial fiction. Another chance run-in with the handsome stranger and his hawk leaves Michelle with ten missing hours and some very disturbing questions in part 2 of the traditional fairy tale retold.

Tam Lin 03 (2003-06-02) Serial

First draft serial fiction. Waking up in a dark, empty lot with ten missing hours is nothing to mess with and Michelle vows to avoid the mysterious stranger and his bird of prey. But when the falcon shows up in her front yard and eats the neighbor's cat, it becomes obvious that something greater than coincidence is at work. Michelle takes the bull by the horns and seeks some answers in this week's episode of the traditional fairy tale retold.

Tam Lin 04 (2003-06-09) Serial

First draft serial fiction. The trapped knight breaks his reluctant silence and tells of his imprisonment in the land of the Fae. If he's more talkative, he certainly isn't more polite. Michelle doesn't let a little thing like being told to go away stop her from penetrating deeper into the realm of the Fae. The verbal sparring heats up in this traditional fairy tale retold.

Tam Lin 05 (2003-06-16) Serial

First draft serial fiction. Ignoring the lost knight's attempts to safeguard her, Michelle enters deep into the realm of Fae. Close to the source, the commands summoning her become frighteningly clear, leading her further into danger. Fortunately, "foolhardy" could be Michelle's middle name in this traditional fairy tale retold.

Tam Lin 06 (2003-06-23) Serial

First draft serial fiction. Having entered deep into the realm of Fae, Michelle finds herself summoned into a lair filled with secrets. The reason she has been summoned, DeSorcy's scandalous past, and a dead body await in the darkness below in this episode of the traditional fairy tale retold.

Tam Lin 07 (2003-06-30) Serial

Summoned into the realm of Fae to solve a murder, Michelle and the lost knight, DeSorcy, track down leads to discover who has slain a mortal and brought forbidden cold iron into the lands of the Sidhe. Rejak the Troll may be able to devour Michelle in one bite, but it's a tough call as to which one has the bigger mouth in this episode of the traditional fairy tale retold.

Tam Lin 08 (2003-07-07) Serial

Michelle may have begun finding answers, but all DeSorcy has come across has been the business ends of trolls and gorgons. Time to limp home and patch the knight up a bit. Michelle gets a peek through DeSorcy's cracked ribs to what the lost knight is really like inside in this week's episode of the traditional fairy tale retold.

Tam Lin 09 (2003-07-14) Serial

First draft serial fiction. Some amicable conversation, some cracked ribs, a few hours to rest... why, it almost sounds like a recipe for romance, except that DeSorcy is above such things and Michelle is not hitting on him. Of course. There's nothing going on in this episode of the traditional fairy tale retold.

Tam Lin 10 (2003-07-21) Serial

First draft serial fiction. Michelle and DeSorcy return to the capital city of the Fae to question Bowgren the fletcher about a murder, but there's still a little time left over for DeSorcy to try to show off and for Michelle to pick a fight. It's a trip to the mall, Fae-style, in this episode of the traditional fairy tale retold.

Tam Lin 12 (2003-08-18) Serial

A mortal slain in the realm of Fae -- by cold iron. Michelle and DeSorcy have rooted out the last person the victim was seen with, a man willing to kill to protect his secrets. Michelle shoots her mouth off and nearly gets her mouth shot off in this episode of the traditional fairy tale retold.

Tam Lin 13 (2003-08-25) Serial

Mystery solved, cold iron collected, Michelle has done the bidding of her sinister summoner. All that remains is to return home... and the small matter of a reward. Will Michelle get what she asks for in this episode of the traditional fairy tale retold?

Tam Lin 14 (2003-09-01) Serial

First draft serial fiction. Michelle has been rushed off rather unceremoniously to the realm of mortals. Was it all just a hallucination? Five missing weeks to explain and one very important loose thread to tie up in the conclusion to this traditional fairy tale retold.

Extinction's Brink 01 (2004-01-24) Serial

Work. Serve. Obey. It's not a bad life when it's all you know. But Rho Five knows in his heart that the girl he's loved all his life is going to be the one who changes everything.

Extinction's Brink 02 (2004-01-31) Serial

Heresy upon heresy! Psi Two has led Rho Five into the forbidden Caves of the Fire Rune where no male dare tread! She's contradicted every belief the eldest Daugh'ters have taught! And she's the one to finally speak to the gods again -- just like Rho Five knew she would be. It's a good thing. ...right?

Extinction's Brink 03 (2004-02-07) Serial

Psi Two's heresies have proven to be truths as she unlocks the secrets of the Fire Runes and summons the gods of old before Rho Five's eyes. What should have made them heroes and provided salvation for their people ends in damnation and disgrace instead.

Extinction's Brink 04 (2004-02-14) Serial

Nine years is a long time to keep hope alive, but Rho Five's faith is finally rewarded when the gods return. Finally, everything is going to change. Meanwhile, 27 is just trying to stick to the daily routine, but there's always some twit trying to change things for the better. Can't people leave well enough alone?

Extinction's Brink 05 (2004-02-21) Serial

The gods may have taken him, but Rho Five's first day in the heavens isn't exactly what he expected. Speaking of not exactly what's expected, resident angel 27 finds out what her big surprise is. The gods must be crazy.

Extinction's Brink 06 (2004-02-28) Serial

Rho Five might call it folly to try to understand the minds of gods. But 27 is a professional translator, and deciphering aliens is what she does. Not that the tentacled Waymakers or the plant-like Snap make it easy on her.

Extinction's Brink 07 (2004-03-13) Serial

27 meets the newest member of the crew. For someone who specializes in Human Culture and translation, she's having a difficult time communicating. Meanwhile, Rho Five is finding that the transition into a new job is always a little bumpy.

Intro to Ozzie (2004-10-02) serial fantasy humor

It's been a little over a year, but Osgun the half-orc is back. Next week will begin the second set of his adventures as he pursues the woman he loves deep into the lands of the demon king. But first, a little refresher as to the plot so far.

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 23 (2004-10-09) serial fantasy humor

The caravan guards are rude to him. His partner-in-crime is rude to him. And every time he opens his mouth, nothing but ill luck comes of it. Life is never easy for a half-orc, but Osgun isn't too worried about it. Sooner or later there will be heads to crack open.

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 24 (2004-10-16) serial fantasy humor

A new land and a new life are almost in sight for Osgun the half-orc and his small-time associate, Riordan. But speculating on the future shows only that little people have big dreams, and big people don't dare to dream at all.

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 26 (2004-10-23) serial fantasy humor

Osgun the half-orc thought he was having a bad day, but spending a little time with the lovely Minerva makes it hard to feel down. Partly because she's so wonderful, and partly because nobody does bad days worse than Minerva. Ranting ghosts, battling gods, strange monsters carrying her off... yeah, she wins the bad day contest hands down.

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 27 (2004-10-30) serial fantasy humor

It's a chicken the size of a rowboat, and it's got Minerva! Heedless of his own safety, Ozzie is willing to charge up a mountain, off the side of a cliff, and into the bowels of a mountain to save the fair lady. She's kind of a scrapper, though, and it looks like there will be more saving to do before the day is over.

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 28 (2004-11-06) serial fantasy humor

A cache of hidden writings lead to a chance to bring an old god back from the dead and weaken the hold of the demon king.

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 29 (2004-11-20) serial fantasy humor

The western lands at last! Finally, Osgun and Riordan get to see the sights, eat the food, and use the tiny little restrooms in the lands of the Demon King! But while Riordan is busy eating his weight in exotic foods, Osgun finds himself face to face with another half-orc.

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 30 (2004-11-27) serial fantasy humor

His name is Ahman Abd'Zhejaran Najir, and he's everything a person of mixed heritage could hope for. A prosperous, educated, worldly, well-groomed, well-spoken self-made man, with a thriving business and a beautiful human wife. Osgun is thrilled at the chance to speak with him and mortified by his own lack of accomplishment.

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 31 (2004-12-11) serial fantasy humor

Arrangements must be made to enter Noksheoth Heights. While bartering might be a little different in the west, life on the streets is the same all over.

The Rubiyaat of Ozzie 000 (2005-01-30) serial fantasy humor

A length of chain, a mug of ale, and thou.

Before we jump back into the novel-in-progress, here is everything you need to know about the adventures of Osgun, a half-orc dock worker whose education is limited mostly to four-letter words and how to gut fish, but whose heart is about to lead him deep into a land of richness and danger.

Tam Lin 11 (2005-04-10) Serial

Michelle knows she'd kick herself if she didn't pause in the murder investigation to climb the Escher-like stairs in the fae Hall of the Hunt. It provides ample time to discuss theology, magic, and which way your lunch would fall if you lost it on the enchanted stairs in this episode of the traditional fairy tale retold. First appeared 2003-07-28


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Poem

Rameses and Helen (2005-04-10) poem

Cover story

Providence Watches O'er Even the Many-Legged (2005-12-05) poem unrhymed acrostic

Turgid (2007-04-16) poem

Senior Editor Alexandra Queen tries her hand at writing truly awesomely crappy poetry -- and shows that she really has a knack for it!

Heart Brake (2010-07-12) poem unrhymed humor

When it comes to poetry, no one says it more ... turgidly ... than Madame Senior Editor.

Rain, Rain Go Away. (2014-04-14) poem

April showers bring what, again?

&#%*in' Harvest (2014-10-13) poem rhymed

Get that dang cornucopia outta my face!

Isoflavones and Black Cohosh (2015-06-08) poem humor

At certain times, one gets really opinionated...


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Comics

WikiWikiWebster 01 (2005-08-08) comic

The definition of a mandarin collar.

WikiWikiWebster 02 (2005-08-15) comic

The definition of a johnny collar.

WikiWikiWebster 03 (2005-08-22) comic

The definition of a cell phone.

WikiWikiWebster 04 (2005-08-29) comic

The definition of a loose leaf binder.

WikiWikiWebster 05 (2005-09-05) comic

The definition of wine coolie.

WikiWikiWebster 06 (2005-09-12) comic

The definition of bar stool.

WikiWikiWebster 08 (2005-09-26) comics

Wicci Wicci Web.

WikiWikiWebster 09 (2005-10-03) comics

The i-pod.

WikiWikiWebster 10 (2005-10-10) comic

Chicken pot pie.

WikiWikiWebster 11 (2005-10-17) comics

Snow White and the Seven Worfs.

WikiWikiWebster 12 (2005-10-24) comic humor

Peter Pancakes

Lichloved 01 (2005-10-31) comic humor dark fantasy

Ever wonder how wicked souls embark upon the path of eeeevil?

Lichloved 02 (2005-11-07) comic humor dark fantasy

General and Mrs. Lichloved throw a party. And, darling, everyone who's anyone is there.

Lichloved 03 (2005-11-14) comic humor dark fantasy

"Nothing lasts forever," or "They don't make upper story windows like they used to."

Lichloved 04 (2005-11-21) comic humor dark fantasy

Out with the old, in with the new. Mommies, that is.

Lichloved 05 (2005-11-28) comic humor dark fantasy

Star light, star bright.

Lichloved 06 (2005-12-05) humor dark fantasy

A new step-brother who studies necromancy has to be good for something.

Lichloved 07 (2005-12-12) humor dark fantasy

Ashlinne's new step-mommy is a waste, but will the creepy new step-brother prove himself friend or foe?

Lichloved 08 (2005-12-19) comics humor dark fantasy

Ashlinne studies diligently at reanimating Mr. Bear. Meanwhile, Hazzanghoul tries to explain exactly what went on with their parents that caused them to end up this way. If only everyone had known the safety word.

Lichloved 09 (2005-12-26) comics humor dark fantasy

Under necromancer-in-training Hazzanghoul's supervision, young Ashlinne successfully reanimates Mr. Bear. Ah, youth.

Lichloved 11 (2006-01-09) dark humor, fantasy

Ashlinne and her little friend Byzantium bring their pets together to play, talking as young children do about their futures. Because growing up is hott.

Lichloved 12 (2006-01-16) dark humor, fantasy

Ten years have passed. Ashlinne's a teen now, and Hazzanghoul's off at the Academy of Dark Arts, studying, er, diligently. But he's about to learn that even the thinnest of family bonds are difficult to get rid of.

Lichloved 13 (2006-01-23) dark humor, fantasy

Ashlinne has gone down to Hazz's dorm room at the Academy of Dark Arts to demand his help in learning death magic. Hazzanghoul doesn't want to waste his time. It's a battle of wills.

Lichloved 14 (2006-01-30) dark humor, fantasy

Hazz and Ash walk through the grounds of the Academy of Dark Arts while Hazzanghoul explains exactly why he will not tutor young Ashlinne in the arcane magics of necromancy.

Lichloved 15 (2006-02-06) dark humor, fantasy

Whatever his reasons, at least Hazz has agreed to start tutoring Ashlinne in the arcane magics of the dark arts.

Lichloved 16 (2006-02-13) dark humor, fantasy

Ashlinne finally gets the tutoring in death magic that she needs to get accepted into the Academy of Dark Arts.

Lichloved 17 (2006-02-20) dark humor, fantasy

Vacation time! For the artist, not the characters. Oh, what the hell. Vacations all around...

Peek of the Week 031 (2006-02-27) photo art

A mountain lion watches small children raptly at Micke Grove Zoo, California.

Lichloved 18 (2006-02-27) dark humor, fantasy

A brief history lesson while the author of the strip enjoys her vacation.

Lichloved 19 (2006-03-06) dark humor, fantasy

Hazzanghoul breaks it to Ash that she doesn't have the mastery over magic to become a necromancer. Ash has a little news of her own for him, though.

Lichloved 20 (2006-03-13) dark humor, fantasy

Hazzanghoul takes Ashlinne on a tour of the shadow knight side of the Academy to show her why, no offense, she doesn't fit the mold. Don't worry, Hazz. None taken.

Lichloved 21 (2006-03-20) dark humor, fantasy

A bonus double-length comic. Ashlinne presents an eloquent rebuttal to Hazz's suggestion that she can't ever become a shadow knight.

Peek of the Week 035 (2006-03-27) photo art

Sailing through the cosmos, the Universal Seal of Approval transverses dimensions with ease.

Lichloved 22 (2006-03-27) dark humor, fantasy

Where did that girl learn those moves? Flashback week! See the street Ashlinne grew up on and catch a glimpse into her home life.

Lichloved 23 (2006-04-03) dark humor, fantasy

Spring fever. Another vignette from the future while the artist flakes on y'all.

Lichloved 24 (2006-04-10) dark humor, fantasy

It's one thing to talk big and get in a few lucky punches, but does Ash have what it takes for real combat? Um, literally?

Lichloved 26 (2006-05-01) dark humor, fantasy

It ain't pretty, but Ashlinne's first fight real fight is over. How much of your head has to be left uneaten before you can call it a "win"?

Lichloved 28 (2006-05-15) dark humor, fantasy

Hazzanghoul heads home to talk to his once-upon-a-time stepfather and the man who murdered his mommy about why Ashlinne wasn't at school today. Ash seems to have things well enough in hand, though...

Lichloved 29 (2006-05-22) dark humor, fantasy

The trials are beginning, but having no reason to watch them, Hazz is making the best of a wasted trip. But wait...!

Lichloved 30 (2006-05-29) dark humor, fantasy

The Academy trials are beginning. Will Ashlinne make the cut in the martial testing? Will the instructor even let her compete?

Lichloved 31 (2006-06-05) dark humor, fantasy

It's on! Ashlinne squares off for the martial combat phase of her initiation testing!

Lichloved 32 (2006-06-12) dark humor, fantasy

Hazz arrives just in time to offer some much needed emotional support for Ashlinne. And some interpretive services. Did she pass that martial test or not?

Lichloved 33 (2006-06-19) dark humor, fantasy

Now for the spell casting test. Ashlinne meets the arcana professor.

No Lichloved (2006-06-26)

I'm too tired this week.

Lichloved 34 (2006-07-03) dark humor, fantasy

A vignette from Ashlinne's anatomy class.

Lichloved 35 (2006-07-10) dark humor, fantasy

The results are in! Ashlinne has passed all the tests. But sometimes, hard work just isn't enough...

Lichloved 36 (2006-07-17) dark humor, fantasy

To come all that way only to fail at the end for not being evil enough. Ashlinne's not the type to give up that easily, though...

Lichloved 38 (2006-07-31) dark humor, fantasy

General Lichloved and Floyd get ready for dinner.

Lichloved 39 (2006-08-07) dark humor, fantasy

The dinner guests await, anticipating a lovely evening at Chez Lichloved.

Lichloved 40 (2006-08-14) dark humor, fantasy

The General arrives at the table. Ashlinne introduces her new guest and outlines her plans for the future.

Lichloved 41 (2006-08-21) dark humor, fantasy

General Lichloved expresses his opinion of Ashlinne's new "suitor".

Lichloved 42 (2006-08-28) dark humor, fantasy

Ashlinne and her father have an after dinner chat about murderous tendencies.

Lichloved 43 (2006-09-04) dark humor, fantasy

General Lichloved has a final conversation with his daughter, Ashlinne.

Lichloved 44 (2006-09-11) dark humor, fantasy

While the General takes a long trip, Ashlinne assumes command of the household.

Lichloved 45 (2006-09-18) dark humor, fantasy

Denouement. Ashlinne wraps up some loose ends before attending her hard earned classes at the Academy of Dark Arts.

Peek of the Week 060 (2006-09-25) photo art

Convergence of architectural angles

Lichloved 46 (2006-09-25) dark humor, fantasy

Interlude. BitBit's Midsummer Night's Dream.

Lichloved 47 (2006-10-02) dark humor, fantasy

Ashlinne's undead skeletal pet seems to have a cozy life. But is BitBit's life as idyllic as it seems?

Lichloved 48 (2006-10-09) dark humor, fantasy

In the dead of night, Ashlinne's undead skeletal pet, BitBit, dreams of his past life.

Lichloved 49 (2006-10-16) dark humor, fantasy

The sound rattling through BitBit's nightmare follows him into the waking realm. What awaits him on the other side of the heavy oak door?

Peek of the Week 064 (2006-10-23) photo art

Dancing through the shadows and lights of an oak tree with Photoshop

Lichloved 50 (2006-10-23) dark humor, fantasy

The sound rattling through BitBit's nightmare follows him into the waking realm. What awaits him on the other side of the heavy oak door?

Lichloved 51 (2006-11-06) dark humor, fantasy

BitBit is in dire peril, and the ruckus has awakened the other residents of the castle.

Lichloved 52 (2006-11-13) dark humor, fantasy

Awakened by a disturbance, necromancer Hazzanghoul and shadow knight Ashlinne spring into action, with an insightful revelation into strategy.

Peek of the Week 068 (2006-11-20) photo art

Lighting as craftsmanship and art at McHenry Mansion.

Lichloved 53 (2006-11-20) dark humor, fantasy

Ashlinne pounces!

Lichloved 54 (2006-11-27) dark humor, fantasy

The big sex scene.

Lichloved 55 (2006-12-04) dark humor, fantasy

In which we learn more about the proper care of undead pets.

Lichloved 56 (2006-12-18) dark humor, fantasy

Now that Ashlinne is attending the Academy of Dark Arts, let's take a peek at her typical day.

Peek of the Week 073 (2006-12-25) photo art

Luscious Victorian Bling!

Lichloved 57 (2006-12-25) dark humor, fantasy

Ashlinne's typical day at school -- the messy aftermath.

Lichloved 58 (2007-01-01) dark humor, fantasy

By way of contrast, Hazzanghoul's typical day at school.

Lichloved 59 (2007-01-22) dark humor, fantasy

Hazzanghoul's typical day, continued.

Lichloved 60 (2007-01-29) dark humor, fantasy

Ashlinne walks home from school, past her Wheatie neighbors up the street.

Lichloved 61 (2007-02-05) dark humor, fantasy

Ashlinne has a confrontation with her neighbor up the street, a cleric of the Harvest God.

Lichloved 62 - Valentine's Day (2007-02-12) dark humor, fantasy

A double-length Valentine's Day special.

Lichloved 63 (2007-03-26) dark humor, fantasy

Lichloved returns! Hooray! But Ashlinne is in no mood to dwell on the cumulative effects of even small deeds ...

Lichloved 64 (2007-04-02) dark humor, fantasy

Atone for your misdeeds while you may.

Peek of the Week 085 (2007-04-02) photo art

Armless, headless, she still haunts the room where she met her fate ...

Lichloved 65 (2007-04-09) dark humor, fantasy

Ashlinne is interrupted mid-homework.

Lichloved 10 (2007-04-16) dark humor, fantasy

Little Ashlinne voices her hopes for the future. But if "Daddy" has already murdered your mommy and your teddy bear, what chance does a dream have for survival?(Originally appeared 01-02-2006)

Lichloved 25 (2007-04-16) dark humor, fantasy

This isn't stealing lunch money from the choir boy up the street, this is Ashlinne's first real fight, and it's for keeps! Well. Actually that may be a matter worth some debate.(Originally appeared 04-17-2006)

Lichloved 27 (2007-04-16) dark humor, fantasy

Nudity! Skanks! It can only mean... the return of Byzantium. Two years later, it's orientation week for the new freshman class at the Academy of Dark Arts. (Originally appeared 05-08-2006)

Lichloved 66 (2007-04-23) dark humor, fantasy

Hazzanghoul begins to lecture Ash about her skeletal pet, because of course he knows best. And actually, when the chips are down, he really does.

Lichloved 67 (2007-04-30) dark humor, fantasy

Hazz persuades Ashlinne to ditch school, because he IS higher education.

Lichloved 68 (2007-05-07) dark humor, fantasy

On the road again...

Peek of the Week 091 (2007-05-14) photo art

Silver and roses ... somebody knows how to set a table!

Lichloved 69 (2007-05-14) dark humor, fantasy

Segue page.

Lichloved 70 (2007-05-21) dark humor, fantasy

Our Friend Fashhad. A flashback to school, where Ashlinne continues to make friends in arcana class.

Lichloved 71 (2007-05-28) dark humor, fantasy

Our Friend Fashhad. A flashback to school, where Ashlinne continues to make friends in arcana class.

Lichloved 72 (2007-06-11) dark humor, fantasy

Our Friend Fashhad. A flashback to school, where Ashlinne continues to make friends in gym.

Lichloved 73 (2007-06-18) dark humor, fantasy

Our Friend Fashhad. A flashback to school, where Ashlinne continues to make friends in arcana class.

Lichloved 74 (2007-07-09) dark humor, fantasy

Our Friend Fashhad. A flashback to school, where Ashlinne cements an alliance that may prove very beneficial indeed.

Lichloved 75 (2007-07-30) dark humor, fantasy

Our Friend Fashhad. Ashlinne plays with little forest creatures while she and Hazzanghoul discuss her new friends at school.

Lichloved 76 (2007-08-13) dark humor, fantasy

The Mounds of Scorpid Hominae. Hazzanghoul's destination comes in view.

Lichloved 77 (2007-08-20) dark humor, fantasy

The Mounds of Scorpid Hominae. Hazz's description of chimeric magic gets sadly derailed. Never talk to thugs, children.

Peek of the Week 116 (2007-11-12) photo art

McHenry Mansion, Modesto CA.

Peek of the Week 120 (2007-12-10) photo art

A cattle egret, common to the area, seems to enjoy spending his mornings with the two male sea lions at Micke Grove Zoo.

Lichloved 78 (2008-01-07) dark humor, fantasy

The Mounds of Scorpid Hominae. An explanation of anatomy.

Lichloved 79 (2008-01-14) dark humor, fantasy

The Mounds of Scorpid Hominae. Scorpions have up to twelve eyes, but are not so gifted in social graces.

Lichloved 80 (2008-02-04) dark humor, fantasy

The Mounds of Scorpid Hominae. We have learned much about chimeric magics, scorpions and scorpion men. Now, catch a glimpse of both monster and where Hazzanghoul might have been going with this whole business...

Lichloved 81 (2008-02-11) dark humor, fantasy

The Mounds of Scorpid Hominae. Hazzanghoul's big revelation regarding chimeric mages, scorpions, men and eyeballs is lost on Ashlinne.

Lichloved 37 (2008-04-07) dark humor, fantasy

One or two ales too many doesn't stop Ashlinne from revealing her plan to commit her first truly evil act so that she can seize her destiny and become a shadow knight. You can't keep a good woman down. Originally appeared 2006-07-24.

Lichloved 82 (2008-07-28) dark humor, fantasy

The Mounds of Scorpid Hominae. The troop isn't listening, so Hazzanghoul uses small words...

Lichloved 80-somethin' Synopsis (2008-07-28) dark humor, fantasy

Holy crap, it's been a while. Let's get caught up on the story, shall we?

Lichloved 83 (2008-08-04) dark humor, fantasy

The Mounds of Scorpid Hominae. The troop STILL isn't listening, so Hazzanghoul finishes up with a tidy object lesson.

Lichloved 84 (2008-08-11) dark humor, fantasy

The Mounds of Scorpid Hominae. Aww. You know when mama cats bring half dead mice for their kittens to practice on? Yeah. Hazz is lazier than that.

Lichloved 85 (2008-08-18) dark humor, fantasy

The Mounds of Scorpid Hominae. Ashlinne is putting everything she's got into this relationship. Why doesn't her new friend want to stay and play?

Lichloved 86 - Bonus! (2008-08-18) dark humor, fantasy

The Mounds of Scorpid Hominae. ...because Hazzanghoul can't resist being the homewrecker. Bonus strip!

Lichloved 87 (2008-08-25) dark humor, fantasy

The Mounds of Scorpid Hominae. Finishing off the scorpionman.

Lichloved 88 (2008-09-01) dark humor, fantasy

The Mounds of Scorpid Hominae. You can hit what isn't going to be there.

Random Comic (2009-03-30) comics

Tilda was not concerned when her temp agency assigned her to filing payroll for the Cherokee...

Peek of the Week 224 (2009-12-07) photo art

Graphic art in GIMP -- a semi-aboriginal platypus.

Peek of the Week 229 (2010-01-11) photo art

Alex Queen shares a recent experiment in Photoshop with the aid of a graphics pad.

My Friend Clucka (2010-04-05) satire

Well, SOMEONE saw a film she didn't much respect ...

Red Shirt (2010-04-12) comics

We all knew who would be the next victim ...

Peek of the Week 244 (2010-04-26) photo art

Different eyes see different things ...

Food for Thought (2010-05-03) comics

Perhaps it was her highly developed powers of perception or maybe it was her uncanny sense of empathy, but whatever it was, something told Yvette that Mr. Baguette did not like his new cat food.

Peek of the Week 285 (2011-02-14) photo art

A bit of fun with color and line.

Monkey Business (2011-03-21) photo art

In a fit of creativity, Senior Editor Alex Queen toys with an entirely new subject for her art.

With No Announcement (2011-03-28) photo art

Spring in the Valley of Orchards

Blair Witch Snail Swap Project (2011-07-18) essay humor snails science

What happens when science and icky things merge on a dark and stormy day?

Peek of the Week 333 (2012-01-23) photo art

White and furry -- is it a dead cockroach in disguise?

WikiWikiWebster 07 (2015-02-02) comic humor

Software pirates.


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Essay

Riding in Cars with Cherries (2013-06-10) essay food

Things to do with summertime fruits, responsible and not-so.


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Alexandra Queen
Alexandra Queen
Alex.Queen@gmail.com

Alexandra Queen is a freelance writer and cartoonist living in Central California. She does editorial cartoons, commercial advertising copy, web content, training clinics and news articles. Better still, she writes a humor column, which she has managed to get people to pay her for, and fiction, which she hasn't. She has participated in NaNoWriMo since Josh Brown talked her into it in 2001, an experience which inspired them to found the Piker Press in April of 2002.

Alex is surrounded by a family which includes a fascinating husband, two larger than life daughters, one or the other of which is destined to be Overlordess of the Known Universe, parents who are witty and wise, two enormous dogs, one verminous cat, and a frog and newt duo that survive against all odds died within a year of each other at three and four years old, respectively.

On the Web:

http://www.pikerpress.com/

Tam Lin by Alexandra Queen

Deep in the heart of soulless Fae, where no one dies and no one who has tasted its pleasure may ever leave, someone has been murdered with cold iron. Now Michelle and the knight whose sins have denied him heaven but whose faith remains pure must find the source of the cold iron and remove the otherworldly taint from the timeless realm of Fae.

First appearing in the Press in 2003, this contemporary fairy tale of mystery, humor and romance is now available in paperback.