I am a cradle Catholic, although my family didn’t attend Mass regularly until I was an adult. (My dad, who is now a deacon, wasn’t even Catholic at the time.) In college, I did some exploring of other faiths, but Catholicism felt right. I love the reverence of the Mass, I love the history of great minds and greater souls who have really thought out what it means to be brothers and sisters of Christ. I love that there are standards, that if we believe there are ways we should act.
When I started my writing career, my first non-fiction job was writing for Wyoming Catholic Register, and my first fiction was short stories about nuns who do search and rescue in outer space (because, yes, geek.) I have since written a Rescue Sisters novel, a small devotional – with my deacon daddy, no less! – and have some other surprises in the works.
The day I met my husband, we traded puns so fast and furiously, our friend crawled under the table to escape us. While I don’t have the stage presence to be a comedienne, I do have a love for wordplay, slapstick and irony that I play with in my writing. My DragonEye novels feature a snarky, noir-style dragon who tells it like he sees it, and since he’s a dragon, it’s from the view of a superior being. (It’s very liberating to write Vern.)
My zombie novels – there, I cut loose. It’s a badly kept secret that I’m not a big fan of zombies, but when I set them 30 years in the future as household pests, it made a great playground of slapstick and political and social humor. The zombie apocalypse meets reality TV. Rabid environmentalist zombies! Zombies on skis! And coming eventually, casino zombies!
I’m not a know-it-all, but what I do know, I like to share with others. I’ve been teaching different aspects of writing online and in person for over 15 years. I’ve helped create online conferences, teach in webinars and forums, and do the occasional live class. While I’ve slowed down on this because of my busy life, I am still available. You can check out my standard courses, or if you have a specific writing need, contact me and we’ll see what we can do.
…and a Geek
One day at work, we were discussing which superhero would end up doing laundry – a discussion inspired by the Justice League meme with Spiderman washing everyone’s suits. I suggested that Aquaman was the best choice, as he could direct the water through the clothes. “Spiderman would hang them up,” I said, acting out Spiderman shooting webs around the room to attach the clothes to the ceiling. But I used the wrong hand gesture. How embarrassing!
I love science fiction and fantasy (as evidenced by what I write). I think superheroes are awesome. I binge-watched Once Upon a Time with my husband – all four seasons in less than a month; you can imagine how my productivity ranked/tanked during that time. I think space colonization is the next logical step for humankind. I work at an online tech media company that reviews products and services, and where the first question new employees are asked is “Fly or teleport?” and you are sorted into your Hogwarts House.
I am not the ubergeek who spends hours listening to podcasts about Marvel vs. DC or hanging out on forums arguing NASA vs. Commercial Space, but when a topic interests me, I jump in. I had a space blog for laymen, and I write on SFF and science topic now and again. And, when work allows, I participate in Aquaman vs. Spiderman discussions – even if I do get the hand gesture wrong.
Want to know more?
It’s an old photo, but it’s one of my favorites because it exemplifies to me our family at its best: unified, happy and a little goofy. The Fabians are all big geeks. We started playing D&D when Rob deployed to Iraq as a way to stay close. (He Skyped in to play a gunslinger dwarf who rolled an unusual number of 20s.) We still play today.
Steven, the oldest, likes to build his own light sabers. Our daughter, Amber, is getting her degree in 3D modeling and texturing from Full Sail this year and will be working in the computer gaming and animations industry. Our third-born, Alex, is working on his pilot’s license and is a band geek as well as a gaming geek. Liam, the youngest, started a D&D club at his Junior High and recently killed a god with a rock. (As my android fighter explains as he crows about it, “It wasn’t much of a god.”) They’re my first readers and my fans. Sometimes, they help me with stories. Alex figured out I’d miscounted minions in a scene of Live and Let Fly, while Liam has helped with fight scenes for Neeta Lyffe.
Of course, my husband Rob is my best friend, my True Love, and the absolutely best husband a writer can have. Not only is he incredibly patient about the house and meals slipping when I’m on a deadline, but he’s always available to help me work out a scene, give me an idea or tactical advice, or the perfect word. (This week’s: bowdlerism.) As an added bonus, he still thinks I’m sexy despite the fact that all the time at the desk has made me pudgy and puddingish.
Writer of Non-Fiction
I’ve written all kinds of non-fiction, from articles about pregnancy and childbirth to interviews of artists and businesspeople. I’ve written devotionals for Catholic and non-Catholic Christian publications as well as saint biographies, and my dad and I wrote a devotional (Why God Matters: How to recognize Him in Daily Life. It’s out of print now, but won awards and made an impact in many people’s lives.) I’ve written lifestyle articles for conservative magazines and farming articles for the local rural papers.
Currently, I work full time at Top Ten Reviews as a writer on the Business Team. I review all kinds of business products and services, sometimes testing them; other times writing the reviews based on information from others on the team. I’m the jack-of-all trades for the team, which is great fun. I’ve learned about webinar software and online reputation management companies and learned things about marketing that I hope will help me to be a better marketer of my own works. Plus, the Business team is the zaniest, geekiest crew I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Go Business Badgers!
In 1996, we went to Pueblo for my dad’s retirement. The neighbor’s cat had had a litter of kittens who were running wild in the neighborhood. My sister brought one into the house to show me. “Don’t you love her? Don’t you want to take her home?”
I answered that she was adorable, but I had two toddlers and a husband who didn’t like cats, so no, I would not be taking her home. I think the cat heard me.
That evening, we were out on the porch and husband Rob was laying on the porch, propped on his elbows. This little kitten marched on in, climbed up on Rob’s chest and started doing the happy claws while purring and butting her head against his chin. He was enchanted. “She thinks she’s a dog! Let’s keep her!”
Elbereth, named for an elf in LOTR because both have pointed ears and attitude, has lived through four kids, six dogs (including one that wants to eat her), seven moves (with “vacations” at my parents’ house.) She lived to be 19 years old. In her last days, she was mostly fur, bones, and sinew; she eats as many as four cans of cat food a day without gaining an ounce and kept missing the cat box. However, she still jumped into our laps and purred while she butted her head against our hands.
Elbie died July 17, 2015. I’d come home to find her so weak, I knew the end was near. After much cuddling, she insisted on being put down and crawled under my desk, where she passed quietly to the sound of the keyboard clacking. She was definitely a writer’s cat.
Dog Lover, Too
It started with Riff and Raff, two lab puppies that showed up on our porch step and refused to move. I was eight months’ pregnant at the time, and the shelter said they’d probably kill them if we brought them in. Those were sweet dogs and just getting nicely trained when we got orders to Rhode Island and had to give them away. They found a nice family with mountain land.
After a valiant effort trying to train a nervous and hyper beagle, I decided I wanted a mellow dog and called the shelters. We found Layla, part lab and part min pincher. She was a darling with kids and people, though not well socialized among other dogs. (Our bad.) We loved her to pieces. She died of cancer while Rob was in Iraq. It broke our hearts, but Liam was hit hardest. He depended on Layla as a friend and confidant, and he wasn’t sure how he’d handle a new school year without her.
So Rob and I Skyped and started a search. Rob saw the beautiful black and brown dog at the Utah Friends of Bassets website and asked us to go check him out. It was love at first site. Toby is a coon hound/German shepherd mix, so he has the beautiful coloring but the soft fur. There’s nothing better than coming home and having him approach me with his head tilted funny and then lean up against my legs in his version of a hug. Big as he is, he’s a lapdog, too.
Next came Beaux, a “foster failure,” as UFBH calls it. We agreed to take him for a weekend – one weekend! – to give their volunteers a break, but Amber fell in love with those big ears and basset eyes. I loved the wide feet and barrel chest. So much for giving him back. He went with her to college for a bit, then returned to us. He had a stroke this year and we had to put him to sleep. He was a sweet ol’ boy and the inspiration for Hambone in the Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator novel, Shambling in a Winter Wonderland.
Toby bonded with Alex, who is very patient with him, so when Amber took Beaux to college, Liam was again without a dog. I decided to let him volunteer with UFBH, thinking he’d get his dog fix. That lasted one time. I came back from leaving him to help with the dogs at a farmer’s market to find him with his arms around a bassador (basset hound/Labrador mix), and the begging eyes. So Marley came to our home. We found out later, he’d been given to the rescue because he’s a chicken killer, and he seems to think Elbereth is a chew toy, much to her chagrin and our occasional panic. However, he’s a super cuddly dog, exactly what Liam needed.
After 21 years of minivans, I got the dream car. And regardless of what Rob says, I was not intending to get a hot sports car. Our minivan was starting to go – just some minor things, but our track record with minivans told me that when the little things start, we were on the long road of car repair. Frankly, I was sick of that. Also, I had a job in Ogden, a 25-minute drive on the highway. Something more economical would be good. So I started looking at economy cars.
Well, it was a bad week and I’d ended up in an awful fight, first between two friends, then with one of the friends. Ironically, he’s talking to me now, while the other his broken off all contact. However at the time, I was frustrated and upset, so I started looking for economy cars and there was a link to “economy sports cars” and suddenly I was looking at Miatas.
Then Rob came in, peered over my shoulder and said, “Let’s test drive one!”
So really, it’s the menfolk’s fault. Yep. That’s my story. Blame testosterone.
But you know what? This is the most awesome fun car evar! She’s a joy to drive. Everything about her sounds so good – from the stereo to the purr of the engine to the solid sound the shutting doors make. (Would you believe I took a satisfaction survey that asked if I liked the sound of the shutting door?) Putting the top down is so cool to watch, and I only have the top up when it’s raining or snowing. Seriously, it would be 24 degrees in Utah, and I’d drive at highway speeds with the top down, the heater blasting and a scarf around my neck, and I’d be warmer than in my office at work. I have gotten the best reactions, from the Mormon who told me he was “momentarily covetous” to the black Dodge Charger that was posturing for my car on the highway. (Racing ahead, then falling back, gunning the engine. He never got a look at me until the very last; it was all carro a carro.)
And I still giggle every time I see it in the sunlight. It’s darling with the top down and 007-ish with the top up.