Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Here's an early bit of fun.  Early because it has elements of a "Throw Back Thursday" to it, and this is being posted on a Wednesday.  Also early because even as I type, Rick Geary is working on sketches and final art for The Blackberry & Other Tales That Creep.  (I am so excited!!!)

Not to let the cat out of the bag either literally or metaphorically: it is no secret that I am among the "cat-owned" and have been for most of the last 30 years.  Elements of each of the unique feline personalities I have had the pleasure of sharing my life with are in my 2013 collection A Trio of Cat Tales.

In The Blackberry & Other Tales That Creep three of the four stories have cats in them: "Sprinkles" from The Blackberry; "Miss Kitty" from Her Own Words; and "Spot" in Gorak the Gobbler.  That last one is a tribute to Commander Data's "Spot" from Star Trek Next Generation. My cat friend at the time used to love Spot. She would always come up to the TV when Spot was in an episode and pat the screen.

The character of "Sprinkles" from The Blackberry is definitely taken from Miss Sadie, my current cat-panion.  This is not the first time Rick has drawn Sadie (though he has no idea of this cat-nection).  Back in 2002, when Miss Sadie was the resident cat at Tacoma Little Theatre, we commissioned an image of her as she had become the mascot of one of our Education programs.  So here is the Sadie art from 2002, the sketch of Sprinkles, and Miss Sadie in her current capacity as resident art and literature critic.

Sadie as depicted by Rick Geary for Tacoma Little Theatre in 2002 (I own the original!)
Rick's sketch of "Sprinkles" from "The Blackberry"

Miss Sadie, in all her "felinious" glory: cat-panion extraordinaire

Also, check out this great video of Rick talking about his art and process. I think it is way cool that he loves his pencils as much as I do, and still uses Rapidograph Pens. Mine are still around here somewhere, and probably need a good soaking.

STILL TIME TO BECOME A PART OF The Blackberry & Other Tales That Creep.  15 days to go and even though we have made goal, more money means more books in libraries, wider distribution, and just possibly more art!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


I'm feeling both lucky AND Irish today.  With "The Blackberry . . ." Kickstarter campaign live for less than a week, we have over 77% of the pledges needed to meet our project goal.  A huge thank you to all of my backers - you are amazing and I am honored and humbled by you all.  

Here's a little "where are we at?" fun in celebration of our achievement and this day.    Check it out - like, share, comment.  These are all helpful things and cost only your time. 

We are so close!  Thanks for joining in on the journey.  If you are seeing this and haven't joined in, come on along - there's plenty of room!

Okay - remember that it was probably not even 6am yet when this was shot!  You can check out the "The Blackberry. . . "  Kickstarter Campaign HERE.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Yep!  The Project broke 1K yesterday, after just four days! So I am going to celebrate!

I will be reading the draft in progress of the entire story "Gorak the Gobbler" which is scheduled to be part of the upcoming THE BLACKBERRY & OTHER TALES THAT CREEP three times over the next few weeks. They will all be live readings in virtual worlds, and on each occasion I will also run it on my stream.


Wednesday, March 18th @ 7pm (PDT) in Second Life 

Sunday, March 22nd @10am (PDT) in Kitely

Saturday, March 28th @Noon at InWorldz (a selection only, not the entire story)

Check out the Judy's Stories Live tab above for help in determining how to listen to streamed audio on your computer system.  Check back here for updates in case we have any huge breakthroughs in linking to a player that can be embedded here on the post.

Check out the Kickstarter Project Page and consider becoming part of the project that is this book. Every little bit truly helps.  A pledge of $5 means one more book that can be donated to a Library, free to be read by many people. Many thanks to all!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Have you ever in your life done something you ever imagined that you would do, and realized that most every learning experience you have had in your life has contributed to it?  Well, that's the way it is with this.  I jumped into it 100%.

I am working to raise $1350 to finish the illustrations for The Blackberry and Other Tales That Creep, and to distribute the book to a wider audience than just making it available for sale on Amazon and telling everyone and anyone about it.

Check out the project page for The Blackberry and Other Tales That Creep and find out why I am so excited about it (excited enough that I actually put my face ON camera) and learn some of the stories behind the creation of it.  There will be periodic updates with new information and new stories over the 30 days that the campaign is live.

Kickstarter is an all or nothing venture.  If we raise more than $1350, then Kickstarter honors the pay-out of more and we do more with the project - more illustrations, more distribution.  If we fall short, we get nothing at all, and The Blackberry and Other Tales That Creep gets published in its simplest form, just like all my other releases.  That's not tragic, BUT the book has so much more potential than that.  You can help it realize that potential. You can be a part of a group effort to bring some great original stories to life in a unique way, and share them for the pleasure of readers of all ages.

Take a look!  I invite you to consider joining me in making this vision a reality.

Friday, March 6, 2015


Check out the Kickstarter Project Page THE BLACKBERRY & OTHER TALES THAT CREEP  which will include this story, and some wonderful art by Rick Geary.  If you enjoy the story, and have the means and interest to do so, the number of finished, inked illustrations in the book are in direct proportion to how successful the campaign is.  PLEASE NOTE: The images in these posts ARE NOT by Rick.  They are shot in virtual worlds with a little avatar that inspired the character. If the Kickstarter Campaign is successful, we have some hope of seeing Rick's take on Gorak, which could be nothing BUT completely delightful!

What's going to happen to Jamie next? . . . 

(SPOILER ALERT:  Gorak himself doesn't actually appear in this week's installment - this is a transitional scene where where we start to see the impact Gorak's presence is having on Jamie's view of things.)

by Judith Cullen
(c) 2015

It was three days into the “Call Me James” initiative and Jamie was walking home from school.
“Hey!  Wait up!”
Helen McCormick was running to catch up with him.  She was the smartest girl in class.  Jamie stopped and watched her.  Behind the big glasses and the generous head of untamable hair, she was kind of cute.  Jamie had thought it on more than one occasion.  She was totally unaware of that, and it made Jamie wonder what it was about him that other people saw which he was completely clueless about.  Based on his daily hecklings, he wasn’t sure that he wanted to know.
Hee hee hee - all starting to come together!
“Hi Ellie!”
“Hey Jami … James!”  She just barely corrected herself before the “ie” sneaked out. She blurted out, “Robbie and Buddy are jerks!”
“That’s not news,” Jamie replied.  A new name had done nothing to diminish his personal abuse target.  If anything, it had made it worse.  Now they had a new topic to spin their taunts from.
“Did you really think a new name would change things?” Ellie asked.
“I hoped it would.” Jamie sighed.
“Well, what you can never change is that those two can only build themselves up by tearing other people down. It makes them feel big to make you feel small. Kind of pathetic, don’t you think?”
“You really think so?” Jamie had not thought of it that way before.
“Sad, really. Robbie, at least, wasn’t always that way.  He used to be okay.  But these past few years, I dunno.  He has just turned into a real pain.”

Saturday, February 14, 2015

ON VALENTINE'S DAY ~ Remembering to Listen

This "Happy Heart Day" or "Universal Love Day" I am re-posting this poem from early 2014.  It is a reminder to myself, shared with others, that Love speaks differently for different people - even when our native languages are the same.

So while it is the duty of loving to try and communicate in a way that your beloved(s) will understand, it is also the responsibility of being beloved (and loving in return) to listen for the many ways and many voices in which love expresses itself.  More than that, it is one of the ultimate expressions of love to learn to accept those ways and voices as they are, and not as you would have them be.

Listening for Love
By Judith Cullen  (c) 2014

Love doesn’t sound like
What you expected it to
It sneaks up on you
And takes various surprising forms

You want it say,
“Let me move these things out of your way.”
But it ends up saying,
“I made tuna salad.  Want some for your lunch?”

You want it to say,
“You look tired, let me do the dishes”
But it ends up saying,
“There was a sale on strawberries. I bought five flats!”

You have to listen hard
And with your whole heart
The voice of love is cunning

It sneaks up where you aren’t listening

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

NEW ESSAY: How a Non-Sports Fan Finds Satisfaction in the 2015 NFL Post Season

The Journeys of Triumph and Adversity
 Photograph by Rama, Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr
By Judith Cullen
(c) 2015

I am not a huge sports fan.  I am not a hater either; it has just never been my thing.  Acknowledging that we are none of us ever completely of one “type”, I am the art-theater-literature geek in the family.  Yet I have found myself in the last two winters being the “sports fan enabler” in our household.  I cook hot dogs, make cocoa, popcorn, and dish up ice cream or whatever else might be the desired accent to the game-watching experience.

I think my dis-relationship with sports goes back to early days.  I have never had much athletic prowess or even a glimmer of talent.  My one brief, shining moment in sports came in elementary school where it became clear I was a desirable player to have on ones team in dodgeball due to my great skill at avoiding the ball in question.  I had enough arm strength to lob the red rubber sphere over the heads of the opposing team to my team in the “jail” section, while managing to avoid being out myself.  A talent for avoidance is not really highly prized in most sports outside of recess time.

Yet, for the last two winters I have gotten wrapped up in the ascendancy of the Seattle Seahawks, our “home” team, in the annals of American football history.  For dyed-in-the-wool sports fans, I am sure the appeal is familiar.  Since we have established that I do not possess a strong competitive gene, then there has to be something else which appeals to my nature.  It is the stories that swirl around it that fascinate me, and observing the great drama of reactions to those stories.  Colorful characters, expanded plot lines (sometimes painfully so), moments of high drama and ludicrous comedy: it’s some of the best theater I have seen in years!