Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bye bye, Blogger! Hello, real website!

Hi, folks. This will be my last post to this blog. From now on, you'll be able to find me at instead!

It's always been my dream to be a full-time creative person someday - writing and doing art for a living - but that's a long ways down the road. I recently realized that if I want to get there eventually, the first step is becoming a part-time creative person. So that's what I'm doing. I just launched an Etsy shop where I'm selling drawings, paintings, wood burned plaques, and eventually prints and coloring books. I'm buckling down on shopping my novel around to agents. I'm getting business cards with wee little birdies on them. I've also got some changes going on with my day job and student status, which I'll talk about on my new site once things are official.

All these changes equal one seriously excited Nicole. I hope you'll update your links and follow me to the new site!

P.S. Yes, the Max sweater pattern is still go - and soon! Watch the website for an announcement.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Update, sort of

Busy working on big things. Things which may rhyme with "Betsy" and "mebsite."

Lots of changes in the works.

Back in a bit.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The story of my epic bike humiliation

Allie Brosh's Bicycle post brought up a resurgence of emotions in me: nostalgia, pain, and hatred for that most secretly malicious of transportation devices, the bicycle. My traumatic bike experience came when I was 19. It was then that I learned the horrible truth about bicycles: given the chance, a bicycle will gleefully turn on you in the most embarrassing way possible. This is their way. Every bike accident I've had has been in front of a public audience, with a high humiliation factor and a low chance of dignity recovery. This one took the cake.

I was home for the summer, and classes at my high school across the neighborhood were still in session, so it seemed like a great time to visit my old English teacher. Hopping on my bike, I thought of how awesome I was gonna be, walking into his classroom like a BAMF college student and regaling him with tales of, like, literacy or something.

Still daydreaming, I decided to cut through the parking lot of the middle school next door to my high school. And still daydreaming, I saw the curb coming up and thought, "I'll just jump it." I don't know why I thought this. I'd never jumped a curb before.

My front tire slammed into the curb, and I went flying over the handlebars. My face hit the sidewalk and skidded, making this horrible grinding sound. When I sat up, blood pouring from the left side of my face, I couldn't see anything out my left eye. I started sobbing hysterically, convinced I'd ground my eye out against the concrete.

A mom waiting nearby in a minivan came over to help and escorted me to the front office of the middle school. Everyone in the office gasped when I entered, making me even more certain that I'd irreparably mangled my face. the rest of my life was going to be like that Mel Gibson movie, and I'd have to find some underappreciated kid to teach stuff to. But what stuff? WHAT STUFF?

A student aid took me to the nurse's office. The nurse sat me down, wiping blood and grit off my face, and said, "What grade are you in, sweetheart?"

"A--a--c-college fruh--freshman."

The sympathetic look fled from her face as she realized I was just a short, wussy pseudo-adult and not some poor child, and she said, "Oh, stop crying. This won't even need stitches."

Fifteen minutes later, fresh from the middle school nurse's office with a bandage over one eyebrow, a black eye already forming, and my dignity severely injured, I skulked into my old English teacher's classroom. "Oh my god," he said. "What happened to you?"

I told him, and he tried really hard to keep from laughing. I did not regale anybody with tales of literacy or something, because every time one of his students wandered in, they immediately asked what happened to me, and I had to repeat the tale while my former teacher tried not to laugh.

On my way out of the building, I caught two middle school pricks trying to steal my bike. I should've let them take it. Haven't used the damn thing since.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Kiah and I moved into our new apartment Saturday. I have no brain or photos of the place (two facts which might be related), so have some doodles about the new place.

Our landlords, who live in the apartment below ours, have a gorgeous German shepherd named Heidi. She's friendly in a voyeuristic sort of way and will follow you in the windows if you're outside the duplex. It doesn't matter if you're juggling furniture or just standing there staring at the concrete - SHE MUST KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING.
The big disappointment of the move was our couches. Kiah and I had two giant 90's furniture monstrosities that were extremely comfortable and well-loved. They fit in the front door, up the stairwell, around the landing, and up to the inner door to our apartment...and then got stuck between the wall and the door, unable to angle their Sasquatch-proportioned frames far enough to slide inside. So close, and yet, so impossible without a chainsaw.

We set up the couches on the curb and put up a free ad on Craigslist; they were gone in less than three hours. What we're left with is something like this:

There's also a chair with cardboard boxes wedged decoratively around it. We're investigating options for new furniture that doesn't involve cardboard.

Until I figure out whether I'm going to be dropping several hundred dollars on new furniture, I'm trying to avoid spending more money before payday by eating what's already in the fridge. The previous tenants left some stuff in the freezer, and it's not...completely terrible.

One of these days I'll have food and furniture again. Will report back when that happens - or when I have photos, whichever comes first.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Break out the champagne and obnoxious party horns!

I got this news less than twelve hours after the writing contest news, but it was immediately followed by a four-day weekend of con, sleep deprivation, and very little internet access, so this kind of got lost in the chaos, but...


My short story, "No and the Walking House," is now online in the first issue of Kazka Press. They write:
It’s tough to create memorable, believable characters in such a short space, but Nicole Lorenz does so with her No with energy, sharp language, and a strong sense of direction. We’re proud to have her short story, No and the Walking House, as our first published short story here at Kazka Press.
So much flaily hands, you guys. SO MUCH FLAILY HANDS.

I love Kazka's philosophy on drawing out new voices in fantasy. They pitch themselves as a place for "the fantasy author looking for a home," and that idea couldn't be more fitting for this story.

"No" is my favorite piece of short fiction I've ever written. It's about about a little girl whose touch brings well-loved objects to life - and the dangers of leaving such a child in garage sales, artists' living rooms, and mid-renovation 1910's Sears homes. To me, the heart of this story has always been No's struggle to find a home where she's welcome. I never expected this story to be published - I wrote it at the last minute for my Clarion application two years ago, praying it wouldn't suck, and only showed it to friends and family before submitting it to Kazka on a whim. The fact that this is the first story of mine to find a home gives me both the writer happy and the Nicole-sees-symbolism-in-everything happy.

"No" is dedicated to my Aunt Suzy, whose perpetually mid-renovation house was its inspiration and the place where it was written. Credit for publication must be given in part to my friends on the Very Longest Thread on Ravelry, whose loud love and encouragement for this story first made me think it might be worth submitting anywhere.

Read "No and the Walking House" here.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2010 MISFITS/GPS Writing Contest results...


*happy dance*

GPS (formerly MISFITS) is a fabulous organization, and I'm proud to have been involved with them in some form or another over the course of the past decade. Congratulations to the other winners! Including Abby! Because she placed second, and I'm going to share part of my Amazon gift certificate with her!

What a perfect way to kick off con weekend. I was wrapping up my workday when I got the news. On the walk home, my iPod launched into "Rock of Ages" as if it wanted to make me feel even more awesome. Now I've got four days of nerdery, costumes, and friends ahead of me. Then fireworks.

Rock on, life.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pre-move WIP round-up!

CONvergence is in a little less than two weeks, and I move in a little less than three weeks (squee! flail! embarrassing squeaky noises!). Moving prep and con prep are near the top of my priority list, so some of my work-in-progress projects have had to be pushed to the backburner. My novel WIP and illustration project are now on hold until I have time again. Because of that, I've currently got fewer WIPs on the table than I've had in years. There are four, total.

1. "Liashlynn Vs. the Kudzu" - the custom short story I donated to the CPAaG Haiti auction in January - is almost done. It's just had a major rewrite and currently stands at 42 pages and 11k words. This week I'll be rereading it, forcing it on others, and tweaking it to (with any luck) call it finished.

While I was typing this, a bunch of crows perched on the power line outside my window and started chattering back and forth. Crows play a big part in this story, so their timing gave me a dorky grin.

2. The multi-chapter fanfic I've been working on is inching along, as usual. Yes, I'm working on fanfic instead of original fiction - it's low-stress, purely for fun writing that I can knock out anytime, and that's what fits into my life right now. Plus, it has zany road trip sequences. I mean, c'mon, how can I say no to that?

3. I've been finishing up some woodburning pieces for the CONvergence art show. They just got their first coat of varnish.

I might make more if I have time between packing sessions. Woodburning is weirdly calming, and in the past, it's sold well at the con. After I move, I'm planning on finally setting up the Etsy shop I've been plotting for years, so I'll have someplace to sell these things more than once a year.

4. My second Max hoodie is almost to the hood now, and I've been revising the pattern as I go. Because of the hands, this sweater goes through an awkward phase where it looks like I'm knitting a muppet.

Accordingly, the curmudgeonly muppet-dog has taken to using it as a pillow whenever I set it down. I think he feels a camaraderie with it.

A bit of advice: If you plan on varnishing a project and knitting something in the same day, don't do the varnishing first. Unless you enjoy having little bits of wool stuck to your fingertips all day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

+5 Apartment of Awesomeness

A while back I mentioned Kiah and I having found a new apartment. We signed the lease weeks ago, but the reality of it didn't really sink in until yesterday, when we got the chance to go over to the place to take measurements and pictures.

The apartment is the upper level of a duplex built in 1922. It's a little over 1000 square feet, with three bedrooms, one bath, and a sunroom. I'm paying extra to have one of the bedrooms as my office. (I didn't get a picture of it, but my office has a frosted glass window on the door like a detective agency, and I'm going to get window cling letters and spell out "WRITER" on it.)

Our landlords are empty nesters who live in the lower level, and they seem like very kind, laid back people. (The wife sings ABBA around the house, speaks with one of the best Minnesotan accents I've ever heard, and has "warned" us that she might feed us her baked goods. She asked if I'd be willing to teach her to knit. Um, only YES TOTALLY, AWESOME LADY.) The two homes on either side of this building are occupied by their family, so they can vouch for the neighbors, too. In the years I've been renting, I've never felt like part of a community, but we've already had an offer to join a neighborhood book club here. So, awesome landlords, lovely neighborhood, and oh, did I mention the apartment itself is GORGEOUS?

I mean, look at it.


That's where our mail will go. And this is our sunroom!

You can't really see it from the picture, but that sunroom? Freaking HUGE. 15'x7'. And it faces out over a park. Behind these trees is a totally epic playground with like three sliders. Our hands are going to build up some great calluses.

90-year-old lightswitch!

I think I'm going to love cooking in this kitchen. It has more counter space than my last three places, a built-in spice cupboard on one wall, and two huge windows facing out over the neighbors' yards. Plus, we have geektastic decorating plans for this room. Oh ho ho it's going to be fun.

You might have noticed the pink. There's a lot of it - including an eye-searing Pepto Bismol shade in my bedroom, which isn't pictured here. All of these pink rooms will be not pink when we move in, because we get to choose our own colors and the landlords paint for us. The previous tenants were three college girls who'd never gotten to decorate their own space before, and...well...yeah.

That ~*~inspirational~*~ message is on the wall in Kiah's room, which is going to be sage green. The Pepto in my bedroom will be painted over in a denimy blue, the sunroom will be a pale blue-green, and my office will be a sunny yellow.

This is where I'm going to finish my next novel.

And the one after that. And hopefully the one after that. It feels like a place we can really make into a home.

We move the second weekend of July.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


If anyone was following my plan earlier this spring to build the world's largest paper mache fist and punch the universe in the crotch, you may be interested to know that the universe's crotch is on the move. A few months ago, Google Maps pointed to a small bookstore in New York City when I searched for "universe's crotch" - now, it points to a sports equipment store in Madison, Wisconsin.


Not that I actually need to punch the universe in the crotch so much at this particular moment. I mean, I did just finish a major revision of a story I've been trying to finish for months, and I get the keys to my new apartment in just a couple of weeks...but still. It's kind of maddening to have the object of my vengeful punching suddenly within my reach juuust after the thirst for vengeance starts to wane.

Someday, universe's crotch. You and my gigantic paper mache fist. Right place, right time. I've got my eye on you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Costumes and gender fuckery

God, I love costumes. When I was a kid, I wanted Halloween to happen every month so I could do multiple costumes each year. Now that I'm a grown-up geek, that's what conventions are for. I didn't do much for WisCon because it was my first year, but when CONvergence rolls around, it's gonna be Halloween all weekend.

I am so freaking excited. And not just because I get to pull my corset out of the back of the closet, or wear my Max hoodie in a place where I'll be recognized as that character instead of the weird girl in the bunny coat. This year at CONvergence, all day Saturday, a group of friends and I are going as girl versions of the main cast of Supernatural.

Can I get a FUCK YEAH?

There's something freeing about spending a day in costume - but even more so if you're with a group of people who are similarly dressed and willing to totally nerd it up with you. And if you're all fucking with genders while you're at it? Better still. Much as I love Supernatural, the series is Man Town, population: MEN, and it's difficult to find myself reflected in those heroes. Swapping out all the lead characters for women, even in cosplay, makes me absurdly happy. (I've had two novel ideas with female protagonists spawn from this show because I want so much to see female characters in a world like that. One of the novels is my current WIP.)

Kiah and I took a Goodwill trip today and assembled most of the missing pieces of my Dean Winchester costume. I now have the hair, the jeans, the shirts, and the boots. A Sculpey amulet is currently cooling on my kitchen counter. The costume so far:

They had better have "Eye of the Tiger" at karaoke.

My favorite part of this plan is that instead of two 6-foot + dudes, the Winchester siblings will be two short, busty chicks with girly voices who giggle a lot. Well, that, and the day before this, I'll be wearing a boobtastic corset with a poofy sleeved shrug and full-on glam makeup. And the day after this, I'll be running around dressed like an eight-year-old girl.

I can't wait for CONvergence, OMG.

After Goodwill today, Kiah and I were at Arby's, talking about how awesome our girl!Winchester costumes are going to be and how we should put them on immediately when we get home and watch TV in character. We had a brief in-character conversation then, in Arby's, about pie.

Then a guy passed by outside dressed in a trash bag poncho, speed-walking in the barely drizzling rain, and we stopped mid-sentence.

"Wow," I said, "what a nerd."