Here Comes the Storm

You can read all about it here, but right now there the remnants of Typhoon Songda are off the left coast making things very wet and very windy.

While not a hurricane this is a big deal. We haven’t seen anything this bad, in fact, since 2006 when another instance of bombogenesis blew down trees and powerlines during a cold November.

We’re hunkered down for the time being. Electricity and the internet are still working, but I don’t imagine that this will last for too much longer. If you’re in the path of this beast, take it seriously. These are hurricane force winds headed our way, and you live in a place stupid with trees that love to blow down given the least excuse.

I support I-732

This is a no brainer. Seriously, I strongly support I-732, the revenue-neutral carbon tax swap, which will help to reduce Washington State’s greenhouse gas emissions, lessen the regressiveness of our tax system, and serve as a potent bipartisan model of long-term action for the rest of the nation. More information here.

The October Omnibus Update

I’m going to drill down on what’s up with the words. That’s the part that you’re likely interested in the first place, and it’s certainly at the core of everything I do.

Short Stories

Since I sent Shadow Over Your Shoulder out into the world, I’ve been working on another short project. The working title is “Running,” and it’s a refugee story about a woman caught between her culture and an alien invasion.

This has been a difficult writing exercise for me because I’m not a woman and I’ve never been pregnant. For that matter, I’ve never been a refugee, so I’m always reaching. Asking myself, “Given these conditions, how would you react?” It’s an exercise in empathy that can often be very draining.

Currently, Running is about 2,000 words, and there are easily four or five more chapters I need to write.

Plague of Contentment

About mid-September I put this down. I ran into a speed bump, and I needed some time to figure out how to get around it. One of the problems with being high-speed, low-drag I suppose is that don’t always have the elevation to clear these hurdles.

The good news is that Frank and Alice now have a way out of Cle Elem and I know how I’m going to rob them of the RV (without sending them back to the ranch). Ever tried sucking diesel fuel from an underground well through a hose?

Up Slope

Yeah, so I spent the later part of September solving structural issues which were a byproduct of having written the original manuscript as a novel. A lot of this involved moving parts of the story around so each episode had both its own arc and ended on at least one cliffhanger.

I feel that I’ve done this and now I’m digging back into revisions, edits, and rewrites. I’m not sure if there’s enough time for art this month, but if all of these things come together, Episode 2 could be out this month. At this point, I guess you won’t see it until November, and that may be for the best. Lots more time for us to polish this one.

Bone Eaters

I got my NaNo reminder today, and oh yeah, I’ve been using a lot of spare cycles to outline, in great detail, the particulars of a slipstream novel called The Bone Eaters.

The draft synopsis I’m working from is as follows:

”Centuries after a solar flare cooked the planet Ji Practitioner Taego Bou, a young Ax from the Western Cloister of the Pinan Sangha, toils to ensure that this island of a lost world will continue under the protection of the Dragon’s Egg. At the center of the city stands a grand stupa where four bodhisattvas exist in a half-life between Nirvana and death to maintain a pinch in space-time that protects the inhabitants below.”

“Over the centuries, a once benign dogma has become an all-encompassing influence of the time population within the confines of the Dragon’s Egg. Strict population and genetic controls are tightly and blindly managed by a pedantic administration class who clings to the power and privilege of their position.”

The outline is already more than 2,000 words and growing quickly. The novel is about intransigent cultural influence, indoctrination and the revolution of mind and awareness necessary for people to expand. For this novel, I’m targeting around 75,000 words, and I’m planning out all the details (no more pants-ing it).


Yeah, I spent Saturday at Seattle’s very own celebration of fandom. My first impression was that this was a whole lot bigger convention that I had anticipated. Despite my social anxiety I persevered. I’m rewarded for sticking with it.

So much of the CosPlay was beyond believable. The panels were often so well attended that they were turning people away. And I had sushi at Blue-C (with the first grain I’ve consumed in more than a month; they didn’t have sashimi).

My favorite part of the whole thing was getting the opportunity to talk to so many creative, thoughtful people; I walked away from the Con with much to think over including a handful of up-sights. Later this week I’ll get through the stack of contact information and do my best to untangle all these memories in a blog post.

Musical Touchstone

Considering the rollercoaster that the last week became it’s a small wonder this section is chocked full of angry punk anthems. Probably a sign of my aging mind, but those albums are statistically insignificant through September and now October.

Rather, I’ve been diving into downtempo, trip-hop. My ears have been craving harmonies vibraphone, a steady beat and steel strings. Skye Edwards singing “The Sea” for Morcheeba played over the rambling susurrations of the coffee shop.

World Domination

In September we passed the second funding goal for this project, thank you one and all for your participation reaching Incremental Assassination. What this means is that I can now afford to have some prints of cover art made.

The next milepost is just visible on the horizon. I’ve been dreaming of an Isley Scotch Whiskey from Jura, heavily peated. For me, this smokey flavor is reminiscent of my fire-fighting days. I’ve had my eyes on Ardbeg’s “Supernova.” Antici …


Let me reiterate my September call-to-action. If you enjoyed SYOS and know someone else who might as well, please feel free to pass it along. With that same sentiment.

JasP, Thank You!


I called my Dad yesterday, ostensibly to make certain he’d been able to sort out some technical issues with Kindle. Good news! We’ve apparently fixed that mess.

But we got to talking. While at a community center shin-dig we stayed on the line so long he went outside to sit in his jeep. We touched on a bunch of topics, but Dad one was the value of reviews. Specifically Amazon reviews. At the end of every Samuel Peralta anthology, he writes an appeal to readers to review what they’ve read. My Dad wanted to know which ones I found valuable and why.

My summary is that an anthology as a whole gets value from even silent reviews. Give a book a few stars, and you’ve added weight to Amazon’s scale for that title. Over the long term, this helps put the title in front of new eyeballs. More eyeballs mean more sales.

Individually, however, general or star-only reviews do very little for individual authors. “It was nice. I enjoyed the stories,” while adding stars, and consequently weight to the title don’t help authors improve their craft.

I talked out the details of what I find useful and why. And now I’m trying to capture some of that conversation post hoc so that I can think about it in greater detail.

Near the end of our phone conversation, we talked about some of my writing plans and projects. He reminded me of Jack London’s story, and Dad encouraged me to take a look at some of the newer reviews on Amazon.

Sometimes it feels like I’m writing in a vacuum, and I’m not complaining because that’s what everyone does. That’s how it’s supposed to work. But recognition, and I mean someone pointing out why they value what you’ve created, sure is nice.

Thanks Jas P, whoever you are, you filled up my tanks when I read this. I’m glad you enjoyed LUMP.

It’s Not About How Strong You Are

I’m going to ask you to pretend for a moment. I’m going to request that you empathize with me and try to imagine yourself within the context of my experience. I’m making this request because recently Donald Trump spoke to a group of Vets.

When people come back from war and combat and they see maybe what the people in this room have seen many times over, and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it,” he said.

The implication I and many others took away from this exchange was that some of us are somehow lesser because we can’t cope. Apparently, we lack strength, as if volition and an iron-will would be our only protection.


Now picture yourself laying down on a gurney. It’s one of those nearly solid, foam rubber ones that you find in hospitals. You can feel the cracked vinyl covering through the rough cotton sheet. It’s uncomfortable, but that discomfort is increasingly distant. This isn’t your first time, you’ve been here before. The IV in your arm and the plastic mask situated over your face are taking you very far away from the echoing sounds of nurses and surgeons preparing your body for yet another surgery.

You’ve got misgivings, unresolved concerns, but as the chemical cocktail suppresses your life — a mere breath from death — the drugs obscure all this. You couldn’t struggle even if you wanted to.

Now imagine that some hours into this surgery you’re suddenly awake. This time, it’s not a gentle wash of gasses and counter-agents the anesthetists uses to bring you back. This time, it’s an excruciating pain. Your mind is roused. Your heart races, thumping like a hammer inside your ribs. Bob Marley is blaring from a white and silver boombox in the corner of a room that smells of blood and antiseptic. There are people with instruments and masks at the foot of your bed. Your foot is flayed open. Wrenched open and held that way with metal hooks.

All of your senses are working overtime in an instant.

You scream.

This scream is not an act originating in your conscious mind. You don’t think Oh shit. Now the script says to scream. You just do. For the first time in your life, you experience a primal rage. You express this anger, as a response to the hurt coursing through your body.

Hands push you against the bed. Secrets, and there are many of them, spill from your mouth. Anything to make it stop.

Eventually, they put you out. Ultimately, you move on.

But this experience sticks to your soul, like fallout from a dirty bomb. You don’t know this, not on a conscious level, but you wake up sweating, heart pounding most nights. You can’t hear Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved” and not break down in a quaking fear. Your animal brain is consistently coiled and ready to pounce. You leash this part of your mind, but it will push you to rampage despite your best efforts to contain it. Your relationships will crumble in your hands. You’ll add eternal shame to your pile of dysfunction.

Time passes and things will seem to be getting better. One day you’ll wake, you’ll begin your day like any other. Like every other. You’ll walk into the kitchen, bend over to kiss your youngest child and discover that the beast has found a new way to mess with you.

You’ll writhe and convulse on the kitchen floor. You’ve lost control of your mind as much as your body. Soon anti-seizure drugs will conspire to rob you of all the good left in your life. They’ll transform you into a husk of yourself. They’ll suck the color from your life. You’ll abandon hope.

They’ll do this for nearly two years. You’ll know what it means to disassociate. You’ll lose all grasp on reality, experience psychotic episodes, and end up in the ER more times than you can count.

You’ll unravel. You’ll lose your job, have to sell your car, your insurance claims will be denied by the VA and your private provider alike. You’ll spend your retirement trying to figure out exactly what could have gone wrong. Strangers will judge you. They’ll imply that you’re to blame.

Eventually, if you make it through that gauntlet, you’ll only find a little peace as your family struggles to prop you up. You know that they’ll love you despite all this for as long as they can. They don’t understand. You can’t put it into words.

You’ll brave this singular demon accidentally created in the middle of a surgical ward every day, whether you want to or not. Whether you have the energy necessary to confront your beast or not. You’ll do this all day, every day.


This characterizes my struggles with PTSD and later PNES. Yes, there were other events which may have contributed to my condition or subsequently complicated my life. Ultimately, this is what lies at the core of my experience. It’s fear. An animal fear that no amount of will or fortitude can overcome.

In fact, the only relief I’ve ever found from this fear has come in my vulnerability.

I think it’s important that I share this dirty secret because there’s apparently still much misunderstood about PTSD and it’s consequences.

As you probably know, I’m not a fan of Trump, but in this case, not for the reason you’re imagining. I know he tried to show a modicum of sympathy for Veterans suffering from PTSD. In doing so, however, he exposed his chronic lack of empathy. Beyond the very narrow bounds of his experience, Trump seems incapable of imagination.

Combat isn’t the only cause of PTSD.

Effective therapies that help people who have PTSD do not rely on the force of their will or the strength of their character.

PTSD isn’t about weakness.

PTSD isn’t about strength.

Owning It

Yesterday I posted “The Great October Update” after reading a similar update post from an author who’s good opinion I value highly. Monica Byrne is an excellent storyteller, and she’s also got some amazing insights into Patreon as a platform.

Consequently, when I see her doing something, I follow it closely. I read what she writes and listen to what she says, because, as I said yesterday I see how important Patreon is for me as a writer.

But I made a big mistake yesterday. I adapted an update Monica wrote on her Patreon for my use. I didn’t bother to credit her for the ideas I expressed. Ideas that I mirrored.

So while I didn’t copy her word for word, I did take her ideas and pass them off as my own.

It wasn’t until she confronted me today that I realized that I’d plagiarized the essence of her post. And while I never had any malicious intent, that doesn’t excuse my behavior.

I’m posting this now for a couple of reasons.

First, I want to own up to my mistakes. We all make them, but just as I want to own triumphant moments I’ve got to own all my blunders if only so I can learn from them.

Second, it’s important to me that you like my writing and my ideas because they are mine. If anything, this negative encounter with Monica helped me come to this realization. If there is any good that I can take away, it’s that I’m able to empathize with the person I’ve wronged in this instance.

Finally, I’m writing this because I want to apologize. I feel remorse for what I unmindfully did, and I take responsibility for the post. Perhaps most importantly, I promise to think long and hard about what I post before I repeat this mistake. My hope is that by writing this, I’ll have made some amends.

I’ve since taken down the offending update post, and I’m currently beating myself up for messing up another relationship. Monica if you read this, and I don’t expect you will, I am sincerely sorry to have wronged you as I did. My intent was to emulate your success, not steal your words.

I realize that what I wrote wasn’t just inspired by Monica’s post. It followed her words too closely. However, I do wish that she had contacted me and asked me to take the post down or alter it substantially, rather than assuming deliberate malfeasance on my part.


“If you look into the eyes of a person that you discriminate against or that you think is so different than you that they deserve less rights than you then it becomes almost impossible to deny their humanity. The complicated part of that is — and I’m not trying to say that we are all the same — what I’m trying to say is we are all completely different, and that’s the beauty of it.”

-iO Tillett Wright

This interview was an incredible insight in my opinion. I found it almost right after watching a pair of “Trumpettes” extolling the god-like virtues of their favorite demagog so that you can imagine I was a little upset. Then I got to this part:

“The most dignified gift you can give them as a human, as part of their family, as part of their family-of-friends is the right to change.”

The scope of this statement is so broad, so much impact and truth. iO hit this one out of the park.