Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Stumbling and Challenges.

So, I said several things that ended up not happening: I was going to try and have the entire month of November blogged ahead, and I was going to try to pull no NaNoWriMo. I ended up falling behind on both fronts because I've had some serious things change in my life


Monday, November 21, 2016

No limits? No Thanks

Pulling another topic from my friends list, and it's something that feels like a sensitive subject: Unconditional Love. I have an opinion on it that's probably not commonly shared.

I think it's either dangerous or a crock of shit.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Getting Gone

If you've been reading these Monday posts, it should come as no surprise that I'm an avid cyclist. I'm on my bike every day, and use it as my primary method of transportation.

But I've never taken a trip on my bike. I want to. I want to travel with just my bike and what I can carry on it, traveling some long distance. I'd have to build myself up to be able to do it, but it would be an accomplishment I'd be proud of.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Round 1... Fight!

I've been chasing a kind of memory for several years; something that's a fragment of my youth. Sitting in a friend's living room as we toss a controller between ourselves in a round robin session of Dead or Alive 2. Battlecon is a board game, but it does something that I think helps me to capture a little bit of that feeling.

It's a board game that is a fighting game; each player picks a character from the roster of fighters, you place your token on the board, and then proceed to try and beat the ever-loving crap out of the other guy. And you're not going blind at it; you can see exactly what your opponent has in hand before you chose your action every turn, the custom cards each player has in their deck is on a card you trade at the start of a match. You pick what you're going to do by combining a "base" (what you do) with a "style" (how you do it). You reveal your choices at the same time, and then based on the moves chosen, the order you execute is decided.

I've played maybe ten games, and I'm already starting to dig into the mindset the game asks you to have, thinking and trying to outguess your opponent. It's pretty easy to learn, but the depth in the game is kind of impressive. I don't have any idea how long I'd have to play to reach the point where it feels like I've explored all the play space in the game.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Observer

I've been a daydreamer forever; I think it's part of why I like writing, it gets those stories that are spun in my head out and gives them a life.

But actual dreams? I've always had a hard time remembering those. But recently, even though I've gotten no better at remember the details of my dream, there's been something that's felt strange in them:

I'm not there. I wish I remembered some of these so I could give solid examples, but it's something that has just carried through in what I wake up with. I dream in the third person. There's not a character in my dreams that I feel like I'm inhabiting, but instead I'm watching the story play out.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Day 2

900 words. It feels like a better day in general, and it was nice to be able to actually enjoy my coffee tonight.

Putting life on Hold

How the hell am I planning on doing NaNoWriMo?

When this post goes live, I'll be one day into November and trying to climb the hill that is NaNoWriMo. It's not going to be my first attempt at this mountain; but I want to make it a successful one. That's going to require some things.

I'm going to try and have all of November written up by the time the month starts, so anything you see on this blog posted in November of 2016 was written... To be honest, it was written in the crunch time of the last week of October while I enter "Oh shit, the paper's due" mode.

I'm going to be making more of an effort to get writing done. On a weekend, I usually have a little bit of free time, and I've occasionally struggled with what I'm going to do with it. Not this coming month. I'll be pushing myself to write in every moment I can manage to spare.

Less time with my Girlfriend. This one is going to be easy enough; she's got several research projects that she's pointing to the bleachers on, so both of us are going to be rather wrapped in our writing.

The biggest X factor is going to be how well I can keep myself from burning out. And that's something that's not entirely on me. I'm going to need to lean on my friends, make time to relax with them.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

NaNoWriMo Progress: Day 1

There may be better ways to start such a project: I ended up running out of my house this morning and forgetting my lunch. I was running around at work from the time I got there until I left 9 hours later. And I did it all on a handful of coffee cordials that I'd bought as a personal supply of Halloween candy.

So I reached my writing place frazzled, fraying at the edges, and swearing away from any more caffeine tonight. Tonight's opening was 500 words, which means that when I bring myself back here tomorrow, I will not be fighting blank page syndrome.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween

It's Halloween! Happy Samhain to all of my pagan friends of that persuasion.

I like wrapping myself up in a costume; it's fun to be able to escape into that other mode of self, where you aren't you: you're the party version of yourself, the version who's given themselves licence to be just a bit silly.

I've been leaning on a single costume for much of the last decade, one that works for me on October 31st and at the Renn Faire equally well: A Wizard. I have a staff, cloak, large arcane tome, and boots. In some ways it's more of a solid start to a costume, I have all of the ephemera, but not the shirt and pants. I hope to pick those up before next summer.

This year, I'm going to try and pull off a pirate outfit. I've got a blue corduroy jacket with red lining that's been vaguely piratical for years, so I should be able to pull it off with a certain amount of ease.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Get into the Road

I don't own a car, and for all that I waxed on about the cars that I've owned, I feel happier in my current lack than owning a rolling bomb that threatens my wallet with desecration on a regular basis.

For those of you who think I'm being a bit sour on the principal of car ownership, I point you to the record of vehicles I've owned. The only issues the PT Cruiser had were from an ex's bad driving. I prefer the simplicity of taking care of my bike and getting around on it.

I just wish the other people on their bikes didn't annoy me quite so much.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Making an (In)Decision

Today's musing post isn't pulled from any list, but inspired by looked at a few of them.

There are times where I feel like I have a hard time making decisions; it crops up mostly when I'm trying to buy something for myself. There are certain things that I can reel off and grab because I know I'll need them; others I'll hem and haw and walk away from the opportunity.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Lost

All they had intended to do was look inside. The doorway had stood in the alley for as long as anyone could remember, a strange blue wooden door that looked wildly out of place in the gray brick of the building it was attached to.

The building it was attached to was an old tenement house. Alex had lived in the building for all of his life, and he knew that the door didn't connect to the boiler room that was on the other side of the wall. He'd peeked through the door for the first time when he was six; it had been a dare from Rosa, the daughter of a neighbor who was the same age as Alex.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Lean Close and Listen to my Earbuds

There are times I wish I was doing a podcast, because then I could be sponsored by Audible. Because I freaking love Audible. I first joined the service years ago, and rejoining recently has been one of the big signs that I've been putting my life back together.

I want to share some of my favorite Audiobooks in my library.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Another Face

It's time for another item from the "Bare your Soul"-hit list.

"If you had to be someone else for twenty four hours, who would it be and why?"

Friday, October 14, 2016

Now Hiring: Xenobiologists

James loved working at NASA; it's pretty much the dream for any kid who's looked up into the sky at nights. He got to do things that most people in the private sector would be astounded by, designing and creating machines that rivaled the greatest wonders of man in how much of a beating they could take. The biggest problem? A workplace full of Star Trek Geeks who had just been given the mother of all straight lines:

"It's life, Jim. But not as we know it."

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Falafelling flat on your face

I've eaten a vegetarian lifestyle at times, some of it was at the urging of my partner at the time. The rest of it? I think I just wanted to try it, I even ended up having a vegetarian Thanksgiving that year. There's one recipe that I picked up from that time that's stuck with me.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Cars, I've had a few.

I was born with a great deal of advantage that I don't think I really understood until I was well into my late 20's. I grew up in the suburbs, the son of two middle-class professionals; that means that even though they were divorced, things never got too rough. And I had access to one of the better public schools in the country, in spite of stupid bullshit that got us in the news my freshman year. (A subject for another day) I had my driving classes at my high school, though I can't remember if the classes were public or something my parents paid for (Like I said, privileged in a lot of little ways). This was in Michigan, so I was fifteen, and walked out of the class with my learner's permit.

Which I then kept for the rest of my High School Career. It wasn't really something that was important to me, and maybe it was the fact that we only had the one car until I was maybe a junior or senior, but I never took the final step to get my full license until the end of Senior Year and I had a job that was far enough from the house that I couldn't bike to it.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Redecoration

As I roll my bike through the door to my apartment, I don't notice anything wrong at first. That's probably helped by the layout of the one-bedroom that I call home: the front door open directly onto the door into the bathroom. So I adjust my bike in the narrow hallway in the dark, and I'm in the living room before the little details have piled up into a unmistakable conclusion: I had been struck by break-and-enter decorators.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Too Cute


Loki is my 12 pound American Chinchilla Rabbit. He's an adorable little guy who one of my dear friends named "The Lettuce Ninja" after she had to watch him while I was on vacation.

I had rabbits when I was a kid. I did not know how to care for rabbits back then, and was a poor pet owner of them. Rabbits, for how common they are, are exotic pets when compared to dogs or cats. Loki is fed a mixture of standard animal-specific pet food, green and leafy vegetables, and Timothy Hay. The hay is the biggest stumbling block that I deal with in taking care of him; it can be very expensive. When I first adopted him, we bought hay from local small pet stores, national brands that gave me three pounds of hay for ten dollars. It was gone, every single time, every single week.

After that, I went to a local farm supply store, and I bought a bale of hay. It cost $6, and it gave me hay for almost a year. But the hay bales from them is somewhat dried out, so I'm currently getting it from Small Pet Select. It's more expensive, but the hay fills the wire cart that I've turned into a hay hopper for the hopper. He's got free access to as much hay as he wants to eat.

Note if you ever think about getting rabbits: They need to eat primarily hay! This is the biggest mistake I made as a young rabbit owner, not understanding this fact.

Loki's too big to live in any cage that could fit in a one bedroom apartment, so he's a house bunny. I got him from the local humane society litter-trained, so aside from a fondness for wires (and I've had cats that did too), his care is a little like a cat's: feed him small portions, keep an eye on the water, and clean the little box.

And it's worth it. Isn't he adorable?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Promises

This is something that I've talked about for a long time, and have had a rough path getting towards. In the next year, I want to publish the next novel in the Spellchaser Chronicles. I've been focusing more on my writing in the past several months, and driving myself to get better at both the craft and the practice of writing. And I need to keep pushing on that point until I have results to show for it. The next novel is that, so is keeping this blog active for more than a brief flash of light once every two years.

Because, at some point, I would like to be able to do this as my profession. I'm not sure what that will mean in the long string of time: maybe at some point I'll feel like I have enough out there that doing something like putting up a Patreon won't feel like an absurd move. Maybe I'll start selling enough books that I could get by on what I earn from my book sales alone.

And that's something that runs squarely into my own conflicts with myself. Doubt that I'll ever be good enough, and fear that I'm thinking I'm far better than I am. Like in the back of my head, there's this little voice, "You're just a poser, you don't really value what you say you value. Scratch away the surface, and all of your worst fears about yourself are true." When I can shout down that voice, I know it's just doubt, that I can rise past it, and push myself to actually be better.

That's why I need to keep working, keep that promise to myself. Because every step is putting that doubt behind me, hoping that one day I'll be able to bury it.

Friday, September 30, 2016

No post today, and two announcements

I've had a really hard time writing these Friday posts, trying to write a bit of flash fiction every week has been something that's been hard for me to do. I've been so focused on getting my current project written, that every time I sit down, I want to put words into that.

But the whole narrative of me doing this blog is trying to get better. Blog Ahead October was pointed out to me by a friend, and I think I'm going to take advantage of that, because I'm going to be making myself busy in November.

I'm going to be trying to get written the third book of the Spellchaser series in NaNoWriMo, or at least, hit the month's 50k word target. I'll try and post little snapshots of my progress as the month goes, and hopefully? I'll be editing both books come December.
Blog Ahead 2016-Oct

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Monday, September 26, 2016

Where doesn't matter.

Back this week to a prompt from the list. "Where would you want to be right now, if you could just go?"

Friday, September 23, 2016

Victoria and Ari

Ari Safecracker hated few things more than a job going sideways. It always felt worse when you knew, absolutely knew that you had all of the angles covered, the right men bribed, and your getaway planned. It brought a scoundrel’s heart to breaking, it did, when things fell apart. The job had even been a simple one. The law firm of Clacher, Mason, and Muraro had just won the contract for managing a large number of farms on the western reaches of Ashalia. The jobbies running the shop had no clue what constituted proper security for holding onto that much shiny, being too new at the game.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Writing Progress

My brain is one that seems to straddle that line between the raw artistic and the analytical. I think that may be one of the reasons that when I try to create art, I write. Stories have a structure, a flow to them, but also the unbridled wild ride of creation. So, I write; but I also have a spreadsheet where I keep track of how much writing I've done.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Change is normal, Change is everything, Change is Scary.

Trying to pull a prompt out for myself this week, instead of pulling from the list my friend's been supplying me. I think some of that is fear; there are certain topics on that list I don't want to hit for another month or two, until I've sorted out certain things in my life.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Stories End

It had been a thousand years since I'd walked the surface of my home world.

Earth had managed to recover quite well from the depredations of her least grateful children after they had the grace to move out. The sky was the blue you see in the old images, not the streaked red and gray that it was the day I left.

We'd destroyed it, raped our world until it couldn't sustain us anymore. We caught onto what we were doing just soon enough that we'd been able to put together the sleeper ships to carry the last of us away. We ran from what we'd done, cowards afraid to face the consequences.

When the first of our new friends found us, Humanity, what remained of it, was humble, a penitent race whose brow was wreathed in ashes. It's too fucking depressing to say that we weren't the first to stumble onto the galactic stage like, but it's true. We had brothers out there in the stars, peoples who'd found a peace in the wake of their mistakes.

We didn't become saints. We were better, treasured every chance we had; waste was considered the great vice now.

"How is it, Jim?" The voice of my dispatcher crackled in my ear. She was a kid, spacer-born and smart as a whip, but not able to make sure journey surface-side without a heavy suit. She'd been my only company for the last month as I reminisced about the days before we left on our approach.

I looked around me, standing in an clearing of an old growth forest that had once been one of the greatest cities in the world. It was perfect. "It's a wasteland." I climbed back into the jump ship, killed the scans and collection, then deleted the data.

I curled myself up in the cradle, and pulled out my pistol. Another antique, like myself. Perfect memory of a time filled with mistakes. And there are some mistakes, I thought as I slid the barrel between my lips, you shouldn't get to walk back from.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Power Fuel

I currently live alone, which means that my food habits are not what a person might normally consider... sane.

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Choice I Couldn't Make


Another Monday, another deeply personal topic for me to talk about. This week's question is whether I'd prefer to be attractive or intelligent. The problem is, I can't even treat this question the way it's framed seriously. I'm putting my own spin on the idea, big surprise, huh?

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Call


There are few things as good for your mood as finally sending in the last payment on your student loans. It had been a millstone around my neck for the past two decades, and I'd finally managed to clear myself of the last of the obligations. No more random calls by people who wanted to try and extract some pound of flesh for a debt I owed.

That's why I picked up the phone without hesitation, what did I have to fear from it anymore. "Can I help you?"

"Yes, sir. We'd like to know if we can have some of your time." The voice sounded young, and I remembered when I'd had to sit in a call center for a year as I tried to get my first job with my degree. It hadn't been fun, having random people screaming at you and trying to kill you through the phone. I must have lost myself in that thought, because I heard the voice on the line breaking my reverie, "Sir? Are you still there?"

I laughed and fidgeted, all gestures the person on the other end of the line couldn't see. I coughed as I collected myself, "Yeah, I'm still here. Sorry, just remembering when I had a job like yours. Phone sales suck at the best of times. I can give you a few-" Even as I was saying the words, I heard the step-down sounds of the call disconnecting. I figured it happens, though I thought call centers had better connections.

As I was writing it off as just one of those things, I was pulling my phone up, double-checking my messages. I'd pushed back a response to evening plans to get the last check mailed. But there was something wrong with the phone. Because there was no way that it could be midnight.

Just a few minutes of your time...

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

When it comes to formatting, Work Smart, not Hard.

In Reckless Magus I've got a number of characters who communicate with each other using mental communication. As I was writing, I threw the text between <<>> to indicate when a character was speaking psychically, like so:

Abe looked at the Esper with a sour expression, "Was that really needed?" 
Simon looked to at Abraxas and responded, <<He was not going to to assist us otherwise. He will not help us knowing you are a Spellchaser.>>

That worked in my first draft, but by the time I went back to edit the book, I thought I needed something more to make the text stand out, so I changed the text inside the angle brackets to italic. It looked much better, but every time I had to process the text, I would lose all formatting.

But before I could start to groan about having to send each draft through a second pass to edit back in the formatting, I caught a post from Evil Hat's Fred Hicks about using Indesign's intelligent styles. It really helped save me from headaches, and I just wanted to tip my hat to one of the people who I've been paying attention to in the business of creativity.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Walking the Edge

I can't seem to do these prompts correctly. I'm holding a card asking me to talk about happiness, and I want to talk about Depression. Capital is fully intended and deserved there, since it's something that I've dealt with for a long time.

I think the biggest reason that I realize that I've been carrying this with me for so long is what's missing. It's always felt like other people are better able to remember their childhoods, the things in their life. But all of my memories seem to drift in, with maybe a few snap-shots of things that stick out, the rest blurred and indistinct. I can't really put my finger on any given incident that might have pushed me into depression.

But it's been there for a long time. I've built coping mechanisms as best as I can, but... they're just coping. In some ways, it feels like I'm always walking the edge of the deepest parts of my depression. To the point where it felt... right that I would think about killing myself at least once a day or so. Even when things were good, I'd still be there, standing on the edge.

I've broken down a few times. Once, in the middle of gaming with my friends, I couldn't stay there anymore. We gamed on our college campus at the time, and there was a small forest crisscrossed with walking trails only a short walk from the building we were in. I went there, hoping to clear my head; but the longer I spent walking around, the more I just wanted to end things. I tried to open my wrists with my keys. It feels pathetic to say it, but it wasn't attention seeking behavior: I use my keys as an impromptu edge to open boxes, and it was the sharpest thing I had on me at the time. I really didn't want to walk out of there, just find someplace in the snow where I could bleed out and leave.

But it's very hard to cut yourself with a set of house keys. And I eventually went back to be near my friends and just mope in the next room. On the way home, my roommate noticed how close to the edge I was. We went to a bookstore and Toy'R'Us, buying nerf guns at the latter. That's probably one of the reasons that I remember that night so well, him reaching out and pulling me back.

I'm on medication now, and it helps. I'm not always walking the edge of the cliff, staring into the abyss. But it's not perfect; early in 2016 I almost did something very stupid. And I still find the concept of growing old a strange one... Like I don't ever expect to be here to reach that age.

I try and find things worth living for: friends, family, stories. These help ground me. And I'm grateful for all of the people in my life who are here for me.

Friday, September 2, 2016

A Drop of Compassion


A bit of flash fiction based on this image from io9.
___
Payday comes around again, and once again I'm just a little bit short of the money I need to make rent.
I know, I know. I was supposed to be good this month, but James, my idiot roommate, decided to drink away most of his rent. Now, you can't exactly blame him. We're both three years out from grad school and still neither of us have a job that lets us do anything but feed ourselves ramen and pay the bastards at the banks just enough to keep the wolves away from the door. He cracked this month, so I covered for him. He did the same for me when I cracked two months ago and threw my money down the drain at the casino.
But we have a way to earn a little bit of the cash back. There's this clinic, just around the corner from our rat-hole. They offer some free services, but they make most of their money from Extraction. Heroin's been gone three decades, and still people have track-marks running up and down their arms from where the clinic's needle goes in and takes away the pain. Just a little prick with the needle, and they sift and sort out from your blood the wonderful chemical cocktails that drive you to fuck up.
I started getting extracted six months ago, right after Lucy walked off. Walked in, coughed when they put the stethoscope against my chest, then had my ten minute session with the needle. That was my first experience with "the lows." Right after I walked out, Lucy's departure stopped hurting so much. I got almost $1,000 for all the love I had for that girl and the first good night of sleep I'd had since she left.
Amy's at the desk again when I walk in the clinic doors, and when I caught her eyes I saw the despair in them. "Bob, I thought I said I didn't want to see you or Jimmie here again for another three months." We'd known her back at Uni and she used to hang out with us before her girlfriend, another mutual friend, cut her wrists and left a note saying, "Let's see them get their money out of me now." They got $328.67. "You're coming in too often."
Her compassion did her credit, and I told her so, "You take a trip with the needle, you'll get a couple thousand of compassion easy, Amy." She looked at me hard for a second, but before she could say anything I went on, "I've got to. We need rent money, and James drank up half his rent money at the bar last night. This will be the last one for a while, I just need the $250 for a standard extraction."
"And we're not going to deny Robert his freedom of choice, are we, Amy?" Amy's supervisor, the clinic's owner, had come up behind her while we were talking and set a hand on my friend's shoulder, giving me a wide smile full of teeth. "A standard? Follow me, Mister Gibon." I followed the old woman down the hall of the clinic back to the machine. "You were just in here a few weeks ago. Your last psychical is still in effect, so we can dispense with that bit of business." I nodded, because that was an extra $20 in my pocket if I didn't have to take a deep breath and cough.
The room with the machine was in what used to be the operating theatre of the clinic, back before PP had been run out of business by the Paul administration. It was a gleaming mess of tubes and steel filters attached to a new-looking clinical chair. I settled into the chair, relaxing back into it. I could already feel it, that numbness that the machine gives you, even before I felt the prick of the needle in my arm. After a few minutes in the machine, I heard the doctor's voice, "Robert, I'm not getting enough through the filters on the normal setting."
I turned my head to look at the neat little row of bottles, all my emotions dripping into medical vials beside my head. I could see that she was right. The vials labeled "love" and "hope" were dry, while "joy" was almost as empty. The only vials I had filled even to their first markers had been "peace" and "empathy". I knew she was right, I wasn't even producing enough to earn me $100, much less the money I needed for rent. I started to panic, my voice catching in my throat. Then the trickle into "peace" stopped. I stopped myself long enough to take a deep breath and ask the doctor, "Can't we turn it up? I need the money for rent. Just enough to make rent?"
She nodded in the affirmative and played with something on the controls, then I felt the machine kick into high gear. I think I also felt the doctor slipping more needles into me, but all I could feel was the oncoming lows as all the chemicals were filtered out of my system. I lost myself in that low trip, or maybe I just passed out from the pain.
When I woke up, I was alone in the operating theatre. On the tray beside me was my receipt and a stack of bills. I folded the bills, thinking about why I was here. What right did James have drinking away my rent money? I decided I was going to head home and straighten the fuckstick out.
And on the tray, the receipt: 30ml compassion, $350. 15ml Peace, $100.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Story Forge

Last week, I talked about ritual and what part I feel it plays in helping me focus and shut away all my distractions and write. Today I want to talk about a tool that I've used as both a writing exercise for my mind and something to help me switch my brain into writing mode after a full day working. I found Story Forge on Kickstarter a long time ago, and the concept looked really neat: a deck of cards like a tarot deck with ideas on them. If you want to pull together a random idea, you just shuffle up the deck and draw yourself a reading just like you would with a tarot deck. I like it, the cards are pretty open-ended, much like tarot, though in this you're being honest in your fictions.
The booklet that came with the deck has offers a selection of potential spreads that could be used, ranging from quickly generating a minor character to a full layout if you wanted to build a hero's journey. Before I get to work each day, I've built up a minor character. I'm not sure if all of them are going to get used, but it should eventually offer an excellent draw file for when I need to flesh a character out.
I think I'll offer up one that I know is going to show up in the second book, even if only in a round-about fashion: The Beggar King
  • Highest god of the Pantheon, The Beggar King
    • Base Nature – Order
      • The Beggar kind is the driving force behind to compact of the gods, the agreement that holds the stasis in the world of the Shamans. He is the one to whom has been given the position of judge of the gods.
    • The Influence of the Universe – The Mentor
      • Order and The Mentor combine to make me see this character as a the sage king and judge of the gods, the one who seeks to teach them discipline and control.
    • The Achilles’ Heel – Chastity
      • The Beggar King has, in service of his position, cut himself off from passions. He stands in judgement over a world that he no longer truly is passionate for. Most of the other gods have begat children who walk the world, but not Him.
    • The Influence of Family – Poverty
      • To accept the position as leader of the gods, the God was forced to give up all his possessions and mantles, to give up even his name for the right to rule and judge from a stool or simple chair, never to take a throne.
    • Driving Passion – Innocence
      • The Beggar King seeks to give his subjects the peace of not knowing, believing that the compact is the best way to protect them from the wars that drove the council to first shatter the world.
    • Their Destiny – Victory
      • The world is forgetting the old ways, even the spirits who live in the near Dream Lands no longer remember the nature of the wide multiverse. The king is a scant few generations away from a world in which none of the threats can reach them anymore.
    • What stands in his way – The Doctor
      • This one I'm editing out, if only because I think it gives way too much in the way of potential spoilers.

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Frightened Heart

I've got a dear friend who's mentoring me, throwing me topics to blog about, to get me in the habit of blogging and sharing because I have always been very bad at online presence social situations. She asked me to write about the first crush I can remember. But I feel like there's a broader topic that I can write on here.

I don't know if it's social anxiety or another factor, but I took a very long time to open up my shell. For most of my life, I've built a small group of tight friends around me. People who I connected with, and stuck with them through thick and thin. It's not always been the best decision at times, as relationships and people change and connections go toxic.

I think a great deal of it comes down to fear. Fear of stepped outside of my comfort zone, dealing with the world beyond the safe places I build for myself. Those places, those people, are the only places where I feel like I can be myself. Everywhere else, I feel like I'm wearing a costume. That the me I show the world. The more I've been able to come out of that shell, there are some things that change; I've built more of those costumes, the faces that show only a facet of who I am. But it's still a role, a costume I wear to try and insulate myself from the world.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Time Long Past

The first sign that something is wrong is when I wake up for a reason other than twelve pounds of rabbit leaping into bed with me, nudging me that it's time to "wake up and feed me!" Not that I spend every morning dancing to the whims of the trickster god's rabbit incarnation, but... it's most days.

The fact that I notice the lack of my rabbit before I realize that it's not my bed, not my room, and not even my body? I point you again to the twelve pounds of exhibit R. But the other factors creep in as I open my eyes, looking at the plain white ceiling above me and I twist in bed, swimming in the sheets, trying to kick myself free.

My life gets all the more strange when I see my mom come in to check on me. She ages well, people usually miss a decade when they guess her age, but thirty years gone? It's looking at a different person. She comes over to my bed, puts her hand on my forehead and asks me what's wrong. Do we have a few hours and a PowerPoint presentation?

I've always been good about swallowing my words, so I just shake my head and say I don't know, that it was maybe a bad dream, and I should be okay. She lets it go, and I get to take stock of the room around me. I see certain things that memory picks out for me, the particle-board shelves along one wall and the white metal of the closet door, already festooned with several of the stickers it would bear until I moved out for college.

I'm somewhere in the hazy years, that period of my early childhood where my memories are fractured and scattered. There's a moment of panic as I hear my father, pieces falling into a kind of place. It seems I'm still working at the level of someone in their mid-30's instead of however old I am. I start to pick out ways to identify when I am, ways to try and manipulate the future.

Could I get my parents to divorce sooner? Could I convince either of them to trust their prepubescent son as a stock market oracle? As I work through the possibilities, I throw on a pair of shorts and a t shirt, the cynic noting that thirty years doesn't change some things.

And then I reach the living room, and it all stops mattering. Because right there, on the ugly print couch is curled up a small golden shape. Tomorrow? It can wait. For today, I'm just a boy spending time with his dog.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

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The Importance of Ritual

This post was originally a guest post to The Faerie Review

I’m currently writing, which means that sitting between myself and the keyboard of my Chromebook is a vessel of coffee. Whenever you see me writing, this is the case. I could give you many reasons, like the fact that caffeine is supposed to help you concentrate, or that I’m addicted to the stuff.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely am addicted. I get massive migraines if I miss my java fix two days in a row on day three. And there’s a smattering of science to support the concentration argument. One quick note on Science before we get deeper into this article: I’m going to brain check things I’ve come across and give quick references, but they are just going to be the first Google result when I check on something. I am not a scientist, and you are reading a blog, not Scientific American.

But that’s not why I have a bottle of Wegman’s cold brewed coffee on the table in front of me. I have it there because it’s part of my ritual. It’s one of the things that I do to help summon up the part of my brain that can put the words to paper. I don’t, strictly speaking, need it. But I find it easier to focus and put words to paper if I follow these steps.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Metaphorgotten

"Putting words to paper"

"Hanging up"

We know what these metaphors mean, but do any of us actually do the associated action any more?

I hate writing long-form. I feel like the words are cramped and I have trouble getting all the words that I need to write out. In High school, I would do what I could to write a paper or take a test on the computer. But I still refer to writing as putting words to paper or talk about my pen.

Is it because that's what I grew up with? These metaphors have been around forever. I also fall heavier of the F side of SF/F, so it's more a part of the words I stew in. But what does it mean, the further we get away from that grounding? Is our vision of fantasy going to change as our metaphors change?