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Inktober 2017

There’s this thing called Inktober, which is a fun little drawing exercise for artists. Thirty days of prompts are provided, and each day the participants draw something inspired by the prompts. A couple of years ago I adapted something similar, called Writoween, and wrote a bunch of little flash pieces, some okay, some meh, over the course of the month. I think maybe I’ll give it a shot again this year?

inktoberI’m kind of thinking though – what if I do one story, using these prompts as sort of chapter titles? At the end I would have something like a 20,000- to 30,000-word novella. Crazy? Or just crazy enough to work?

So I’ve spent yesterday and some time today throwing together a little outline, doing some world building, and some character creation. This material is pretty outside my typical comfort zone, so who knows how it will turn out? It may be terrible. It may be readable. We’ll see! There are witches.

I have, at this moment, the first 13 days plotted out. Hopefully that will give me the proper skeleton to hang some skin on. Wish me luck! Or abject failure, whichever would amuse you more.

Argh

By the Seven Pillars of Gulu, it’s already fucking June.

Whelp, this past year and a half has been a real shit show, for a variety of reasons, very few of which are about me. I’ve completely stalled out on doing any writing other than the odd bit here and there. I’ve been doing some fun freelance editing, but that’s about it. I went to a writer’s conference not long ago and really enjoyed it, but haven’t even gotten around to looking at the handouts and notes I got. I’m sad about all this!

It’s time for that to change! I’d love to get back to the long-neglected Critique Fantastique, but that’s super labor intensive and I can’t see that happening. Besides, it’s not like there’s some shortage of dudes talking about old comics.

What I’d really like to do is get back to writing regularly, even if it’s just flash fiction I publish here. There’s hardly a point to “selling” flash fiction, so I might as well. The whole point of setting up this site was to do exactly that, so I’d like to return to the original mission statement. I had a lot of fun doing things like my month of Halloween stories, so I want to get back to doing that. If through that process I can shake off my writing funk and maybe find my voice again, then hooray!

So look for this space in the future for half-formed writing exercises and prompts and the like. I may treat this like a webcomic, writing some to give myself a backlog and then doling them out in scheduled posts. Many will be bad! Apologies in advance. I hope a few will be fun. I’ll keep it mixed up with whatever genres and themes strike me at the time, and will probably have some fun with crappy drawings or photo accompaniment.

Please feel free to join me, comment, link to your own, whatever. Or don’t, and let me just howl into the void. I’ll be here either way.

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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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.

Busy Season

My 9 to 5 (7 to 4 actually, but whatever) has been insanely busy of late. I thought we were over the hump, but it hasn’t really eased much. So that explains why you haven’t seen any new Critique Fantastique lately, if that’s what you’re looking for. I have, like, half of the next one written. Those take some work, though, and I just haven’t been able to finish. My apologies! I’d intended for it to be a more regular feature, but it’s hard to find the time. Those articles are more work-intensive than they seem.

Even now as I write this, there is a report sitting here I have to look at. Guh.

I’ve managed to finish a new story, though. It’s a little bit about being a dad, and a lot about being a robot trying to solve a murder. It’s out at the writing group for review! More on that as it develops.

Rules of the Road

The Coyote / Road Runner shorts were my favorite of the old Warner Bros. cartoons. I loved them as much as I hated Tom and Jerry. Tom and Jerry just seemed cruel and spiteful, and the violence was never clever. There’s no animosity between the Coyote and Road Runner, though, you know? They don’t hate each other. The Coyote just wants something to eat – his greatest enemy is himself and his failure to perceive that the laws of physics are not his friends. The Road Runner doesn’t want to be eaten. The Coyote was my favorite cartoon character and so I found this delightful.

Hat tip to Mark Cognata (@markedly on Twitter) for this photo from the Chuck Jones exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York.

Welcome to the Fantastique

I’ve created a new set of pages for my Fantastic Four recaps that I hope is a little easier to navigate and organize, and won’t clutter the main page for the odd person or two who wanders in here from my regular fiction writing. You can find them all under the “Critique Fantastique” drop-down on the upper right there. Probably I’ll have to further nest the menu to keep it usable, as we get into the double digits, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

People seem to like them, so I’ll keep it up on as regular a schedule as I can manage. It’s actually a lot more work than it seems, so I may have to settle down to doing them every two weeks.

In writing news, I just the other day sent in a few minor corrections to Bill over at Big Pulp for Mercier’s Flight. Mine is the very first story in the issue! Probably it’s just an alphabet thing, but whatever. I’ve seen the cover and it’s pretty awesome.

I have two other stories out looking for homes at the moment. More on those rejections as they appear.

Citizen Journalist

I have a photo and a blurb I wrote about my commute up over at the esteemed Guardian. Check it out!

In other news, the writer’s group critique of my latest story went really well. I have a bit of work to do to polish it up, but I’m looking forward to you guys getting to read this one. It’s a lot of fun.

Other thing I learned from the meeting? Apparently lady-on-dinosaur erotica is a thing that exists. I will not link to any of it for fear of ruining your fragile, delicate minds, and can only recommend that you heed my advice not to look it up. Now it’s on you if you decide to look up “Taken by the Pterodactyl” on Amazon. Perhaps it was naive of me not to assume long ago that it existOH god, oh god, there’s a “Taken by the Minotaur” someone please kill me.