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.

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.


“Yes! ‘Never play to the gallery,’ I think. But you never learn that until much later on, I think. But never work for other people in what you do. Always … always remember that the reason you initially started working was that there was something inside yourself that you felt, that if you could manifest it in some way, you would understand more about yourself and how you coexist with the rest of society.”

So Close

I’ll begin by offering my sincerest thanks, seriously, I am overcome with gratitude. Writing is a rollercoaster, one where you almost never see where the tracks are headed, and since launching this Patreon near the end of last July I’ve been surprised by the support little-unknown-me has been able to generate. So, also a huge thank you to the makers of Patreon. Seriously, you guys are the best because this whole thing is helping me find new readers.

But, I’m not writing this to thank those of you who have already helped me turn my short fiction into a living. Rather, I’m looking for new eyes. In the last couple of days, we’ve added four new readers to our ranks and we’re five readers away from breaking my second funding goal.


So, I’m reiterating my request from a few days ago, I’m encouraging you to make a bet on me. If you can put down a dollar you’ll be helping create something new and special. If you can’t put down a dollar, maybe you can tell a friend. Thank you for helping, thank you for sharing.

Shadow Over Your Shoulder

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’ve just posted the short story for September on Patreon. I’m very proud of this creation and Shadow Over Your Shoulder arguably one of the better pieces I’ve written. I’d describe it as literary speculative fiction, a fantasy of sorts where the magic can be found in the mundane. It’s also a bit of a love story — not the spicy, passionate kind, but the stuff of commitment and compassion.

If you haven’t subscribed yet, don’t fret, there is plenty of time. If you’re not interested in subscribing, but would still like to read Shadow Over Your Shoulder I’m going to try something new. FeetForBrains is henceforth a small press all on its own, and that means you can buy my short stories directly.

Here’s how it should work. You can purchase access to Shadow directly, no monthly commitment, by clicking on the PayPal button below. You’ll run through their purchase rigamarole and eventually get a link to a Scribd version of the story. Keep in mind that my overhead is increased with this method of distribution, consequently so is the cost of the story (yep, $2 whole bucks). Go, go gadget micro-transactions!


Buy Now Button

However you choose to support my art, thank you! And that’s what this is all about, we’re building a creative empire in increments. Of course, I’d love to hear your comments and impressions.