Non Compliant

The worst year, in my memory at least, is wrapping up in the worst way possible. Before I head home to carry out some extremely heavy drinking with a few close friends, I just wanted to address a sentiment I’ve seen going around:

If you think people are protesting and angry because “we lost” and are being petty, you either haven’t been listening for the past year or I don’t know what.

An extreme minority of Americans (60 million is 18% of 325 million), fewer than voted for the last two losers who ran for his party and fewer than his opponent, have managed to get elected a con man whose rhetoric and campaign promises have emboldened the worst elements of the populace. Not half. Not a silent, aggrieved majority. 18%. I’m not attacking these people, or the over 90 million people who sat out this election. This is about him.

The policies that he’s promised are a direct danger to a number of our friends, family, and neighbors who happen to not be straight white men. There are already reports of suicides and hate-based attacks as a direct result of this. Regardless of why people may have voted or not voted, this is the effect. Trump hasn’t even taken office yet, but this is the effect. We can’t even hope that his festering, lie-filled heart gives out on him, because his vice president and the other ghouls he’s surrounding himself with are just as bad if not worse.

We’re protesting because some of us are likely going to lose what little health care we’ve managed to eek out over the past few years. We’re protesting because some of us stand a good chance of having our marriage dissolved. We’re protesting because some of us might have to watch our parents or children deported because they didn’t fill out the right paperwork. We’re protesting because those of us who care about the environment are about to watch even the slim chance we had of averting disaster are completely torched. We’re protesting because our choice of religion might have us put on a list of potential enemies of the state. We’re protesting because those of use who stand a decent chance of being summarily executed in the street by an officer of the state are going to have to watch those officers receive even more money, weapons, and impetus to harass us and imprison us.

I could go on. Maybe we consider these things more important than blocking a road for five minutes. Sorry for the inconvenience. Sorry if it seems like we’re overreacting by taking seriously the things this man has said and done in the past and has strenuously, repeatedly promised to do in the future.

So yeah, people are going to protest and resist, and are going to continue doing so, and ill-informed condescension isn’t going to change that.

I’ll wrap up with this, a picture my daughter made the day before the election, her own vote for president. She thinks it’s weird boys can even be president. Another kid at school suggested to her that her Hispanic teacher might get kicked out of the country. Obviously this utopia of hair bows and puppies for everyone wasn’t going to happen, but at least we wouldn’t have had a rapist for president.

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Interrogation Cupcakes Live

Old pals Every Day Fiction have had a rough go of it this year, with server crashes and a site redesign and new submission system that they’re putting through the paces. They’ve relaunched today, starting with a new story of mine, Interrogation Cupcakes. It’s mostly about the ways we talk to kids in times of distress. I see in the comments some people are already missing the point, and it’s barely noon. Good old internet.

Also, cops are awful. That seems timely for some reason.

Ultimate Dino Fighting

Excited to report that a Kickstarter I’m involved with has fully funded! It’s called Ultimate Dinosaur Fighting, a dinosaur pit-fighting board game that’s quite fun. I’m helping write/edit the rule book and whatnot as well as providing some in-universe fiction for it. I’ve written a short piece for it already and may be writing something a little longer and more complete. I enjoy sports fiction, but have never really written any, so it should be an interesting challenge to stretch myself. And hey, you can never go wrong with dinosaurs.

In other news, I also have a flash fiction piece ready for Every Day fiction for when they get their submission system back in place. At the very least I can help them test out the new system, but if they actually can use the story then you’ll get to read that sometime soon.

Terra Nullius

Wrap your year up in style with my new story, Terra Nullius! Will the people of ∞ null +1 save the unsuspecting citizens of today? Find out inside!

It’s been a crazy couple of months for the folks over at Every Day Fiction, with their server and website crashing. I was invited to write a story for them as they scrambled to put together a month of stories to close out the year.

I’m rather fond of this one, and I think it represents something I’ve been seeking out for a little while now: a voice. I’ve been struggling to come up with a reason to write, since straight white dudes aren’t exactly rare in the marketplace, and I think this story sort of puts me on a path of finding things to say while being fun at the same time. Hope you guys like it.

Aftermath

I’m declaring my Writoween efforts a success, more or less. I got, let’s see…15 out of 31 days, about half. The weekends were pretty much impossible, so I wrote those off after the first, and I spent a week of the month sick with a sinus infection, so it’s more like 15 out of 20, which is pretty dang good. A couple of them were actually mildly entertaining, I think? At any rate, it’s more writing than I’ve done in a while.

I think my favorite is the one about the Goblin bard, just because I want to write more about that little guy, but I don’t think anyone read that one.

I have one story out looking for a home, since I gave up on Zero Gee. I rather like this one and hope you guys get to read it soon. I’m working on a couple of other things that may or may not ever see the light of day.

I also have some ideas for a story for the Star Trek Strange New Worlds contest, but I dunno. The restrictions on what you can submit are pretty tight, and I’m not really comfortable writing other people’s characters. If I introduce new philosophies or radical politics, they’d likely have to be from the villains, and I’m not really satisfied with that.

Abandoned: Things to do in Zero Gee

It appears nobody wants to purchase this story from me, and frankly I’m tired of sending it out. So here it is for you guys to also not want, I guess? For some reason or another I guess it doesn’t quite work. About 1,400 words, too long to shorten to flash. Maybe someone will enjoy it.

(I do quite like that Pallax Seven bit, though, I may use it in another story someday.)

Things To Do in Zero Gee After the End of the World

He was beautiful, crouched on the hood of Trevor’s BMW, boots crunching on shattered fragments of the windshield. In his hand, a light winked on the side of his laser pistol. He reached down to help me climb free of the wreckage of the car. His outfit was very snug and ohmygod his lips.

“It’s getting a little hot out here,” he said, pulling me up and holding me close. My brain refused to come up with the thousand responses I thought of later.

“I’m Bonaventure,” he said with a smirk. His voice was deep and tinged with an exotic, measured accent. Continue reading Abandoned: Things to do in Zero Gee

Skull

They descended the stairs and found themselves in the fifth underdungeon of the labyrinth. Argo stopped at the bottom step, kneeling to peer into the vast, dark room beyond. His sword gleamed blue in the light from the mage’s staff.

“What see you, Argo?” whispered Bolivar. The cleric, next in line behind the warrior, gripped his staff in one hand and the faintly glowing scepter of Kolineer, his holy relic, in the other. The rest of the party, the mage and the other warrior bringing up the rear, huddled close behind them.

“Nothing,” Argo answered. “All is dark. Send in…Arik.”

The cleric nodded, his face grim. Arik had died during their trip through the fourth underdungeon. Bolivar had done what he could, but the results were less than satisfactory. Arik now existed primarily as a skull, floating in a hazy cloud of dust formed by his own skeleton.

Bolivar directed the scepter of Kolineer, and the remains of Arik drifted forward through the party and into the room. The skull rotated left and right, searching out the darkness.

“It feels unseemly to keep him like this,” Argo muttered.

“Worry not,” Bolivar said. “His nobility of spirit remains. He is happy to help. And as a bonus, he is virtually indestructible now, as long as his skull remains intact.”

“Maybe we should get him a helmet,” said Argo.

“I liked him better with a body,” spoke the mage. “He was beautiful.”

The cries of stone goblins split the air, and crudely fashioned arrows began whistling through the air, and through Arik’s useless powdered-marrow body. Argo raised his shield, grunting as the arrows clattered against it.

“I, too, miss his body,” Argo growled.

Creature from the Black Lagoon

Aidan thought it was a bad idea to even keep a black lagoon on the property. It could have been drained, or just opened up to the ocean and turned into a nice beach and tourist trap years ago. As is, it was useless. But tradition was tradition. What would the Black Lagoon Winery be without a black lagoon? Just an empty logo, that’s what. Was there anything more tragic than a brand with no identity?

He hauled two buckets of fish out to the lagoon every morning. Today, young Leon would be helping him, as it would eventually be up to him to keep the thing in the lagoon sated. He’d slept in once in 1987, and, well, after their daughter came home in utter shock from a brush-in with what she described as a gilled man, the neighbor family had moved out and nobody had ever moved in. Eventually, Aidan had just bought that land cheap as dirt. In the long run he was able to work that land and turn a tidy profit, but still. It was a damned shame how neighborhoods can go into decline sometimes. Continue reading Creature from the Black Lagoon

Amulet

The boy found it, pulling the ancient, rusted chain free of the muck and grim in which it had been entombed for centuries. As he started tugging on the amulet itself, still embedded in the soil, I swatted him away and took the chain from him before he had a chance to foolishly damage the thing.

It was magnificent. Once pried from its resting place and gently washed, it gleamed as though it had just been pulled from the fires of its forge. Made of solid gold, it was diamond in shape, encrusted with rubies and emeralds around the edges. Intricate rune patterns adorned both sides. I muttered a few words of old Altartongue and the runes began to glow. I patted the boy on the shoulder and we began making our way out of the catacombs, back toward the bright streets of Paris.

I picked at the gems. They were a little loose after all this time. “Once we pry this shit out it’ll be useful,” I said.

“Is that the magic that will bring mommy back?” the boy asked.

“Perhaps,” I said. “Or perhaps the magic is inside you already.”

He stopped and stared with wide eyes. “Really?”

“No,” I snapped. “Don’t be an idiot. It’s the amulet.”

a writing sketchbook