Hey There Spring and News

It has been a wet, wet, moisty wet first season so far, but today the sun is out, and there is a seasonably light breeze blowing over the island. I’ve spent so much time focusing on my house, my yard, and my head that my writing has necessarily taken a back burner.

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For a health status updates, you should know that I now, after years of searching, have a diagnosis that isn’t one of exclusion. Functional Neurological Disorder which is, in equal parts, both a blessing to know and an epic gut-punch to know about. I guess my dreams of becoming an internationally renowned opera singer are on pause, unless or until stuttering with a growl and facial tics ever comes back in vogue.

For somewhat obvious reasons I’ve yet again missed an opportunity to submit to Clarion West, but I will remain sanguine about it and hold onto all the work I did for submission until next year. C’est la vie n’est pas? At least I didn’t have a stroke.

What I’m working on:

Currently, I’m two chapters into a short-ish story about engineered genetic specialization as a sort of currency set in the caldera of Mount Olympus. The title eludes me at the moment, but I’m having lots of fun with it. I’ve also forged on with a couple of novel-length outlines which include “Friend of Bees,” “Winter City Above the Clouds,” and re-writes to “Distance.”  I’ll pick all of these up when I’ve got the short done or when I’m stuck on the short story.

What I’m reading:

It’s been a while since I’ve done anything review-y, but I should probably pick that back up again.

I’ve just finished the complete audio set of Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe’s Series. Unfortunately, I couldn’t locate a copy of Sharpe’s Skirmish, but I have and have listened to all the other stories in that extensive series. Add to this, I’ve been entertained. It’s always a bit of a soap opera, but I guess I like that and Cornwell‘s action scenes are a study in the best way to write those sequences.

Also, I received a recommendation for “The Sparrow” by Mary Doria Russell as a colonization space opera that’s going to make me think. I’m about 2/3rds of the way through the audible version of the story, and there have been a handful of reflective moments, but I’m not giving this work the whole can of beans.

Finally, after reading Tobias Buckell’s multi-nominated work “Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance” I decided to dust off my cover of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert Pirsig. Both of these are worthy reads, but for different reasons. Although, it is my opinion that they’re improved in juxtaposition.

What’s next:

Bees, garage door, more painting and work on the van to name a few big projects. I’ll be headed over to Puget Sound Overland and Coffee at Mule Expedition Outfitters on the 28th of this month with my van to talk about overlanding and maybe find a full-length gear shelf for my roof. Also, I’m going to try to get to the coffee shop at least once a week for some writing time. Likely Wednesdays, but it will vary.

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Good News

Mago is not impressed.

Mago is not impressed.

Yeah, a short story I sold just dropped today. New Year’s Eve for all that it’s worth. Talk about good news, this is the best. Oriental Excess put out a call for authors back in September. I took up the challenge, pitched a story, and got a spot in the anthology. All that remained then was to write something so awesome that fans of cyberpunk and Japanophiles alike would dig it so much they’d want to butter their morning toast with it.

Yeah, the hard part. I slaved over this thing for the next two months. Writing and re-writing because I just couldn’t be happy with it. Tokyo Yakuza: Mob Dance has had about ten endings, all of them where underwhelming. None of them qualified to butter toast. Especially cyberpunk toast. Then in November, with some isolation and dedication, I had a breakthrough. This story is now whipped butter nicely warmed and ready for any variety of toasted bread. Even $9 toast, although we’re only charging 0.99 pennies for it.

Thanks Matt Amend

Thanks Matt Amend

The anthology, in hard back, is supposed to come out this spring, so wait if you must. But if you enjoy frenetic story telling doused with plenty of funky tech with a sprinkling of the fantastic from the Korean Peninsula you’re going to love-love Jihoo. It’s unique and new, and for the first time since I left these parts of Asia I feel like I got to use some of what I learned there. And just a brief reminder, it is the holiday season, your reviews are the only thing on my wish list.

Right now I’m plotting ways to get in on future editions of the anthology. Despite the challenge of writing in someone else’s world and needing to interweave plot threads across multiple authors and story lines I had a lot of fun with Mob Dance. I hope you enjoy it.

I Give You ON THE LEFT FOOT

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you ON THE LEFT FOOT. A short story as wild and wonderful and full of weeds as I could manage in about 7,000 words. Write what you know? Write what you don’t know? Well I did both. Take a look. Enjoy. It’s cheep.  It’s Saturday. You’ll likely want more. I’m writing.

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Backcountry ranger Jack Isen has had a bad year. Once school gets out he is anticipating some time alone, working the back country of the Flat Tops Wilderness. Something strange happens and he finds much more isolation than he was planning for.

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Yule Goat

If you missed it, I have been working on turning this simple blog into a full-fledged author site. Things are getting moved around. I’ve even been known to review my posts before hitting that blue “Publish” button on the right. With the pending release of my first book, a growing list of SciFi and comic conventions I’m figuring out how to attend, and an ample helping of optimism, I’m trying to put my best foot forward.

I just finished a short story entitled “Joulupukki (pronounced “yo-lu-pu-ki”) which is set in the chilly chaos near Mars’ southern pole. It’s a coming of age story about a Saami solstice hunt in the distant future. While not really a Christmas story (it is the extension of a pagan tradition in a genetically-engineered and terraformed Martian future), it has some of the holiday flavor about it, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as it thrilled me to write this piece.

As I get more short pieces edited and ready for reading I may also put them up for your enjoyment. All I ask is that you let me know what you think of my work.

Happy Holidays!