Shout Out

astronaut-1388582

Please find enclosed a letter to a friend I’ve found myself missing lately.

Sir. Greatest of nerds.

You may remember I met you while trying to meet someone else. And with the other, I barely know why I bothered.

You sat down, so casually loud, abrasive, and gross talking to the girl at the table suddenly seemed like it had been easy.

I never would have guessed that you, like some heavyweight Loki to my overwrought Odin would prove a most intriguing friend. But unlike Loki, who’s friendship with the ruler of the gods would prove part and parcel of his undoing, I think I only benefited from knowing you.

My friend, however much I sometimes wished your volume was under my control, you always seemed to understand me as a parent understands a child, and that includes the part where I never appreciated it at the time.

If I’m a basket case, now I can only imagine how crazy I was then.

And yet when I tried to be mean or cruel, you told me something like “That doesn’t work for you.”

So, I’m grateful, king of nerds, for those bits of self-knowledge that broke the surface of the madness that is thine ocean.

Yeah, I’m a bit uncomfortable writing this, knowing it won’t go unseen.
I’m sitting here in the cafeteria where I first met you. And I wonder how you’ve been.

Thanks for reading.

Lightning, Rain, and Prerelease Eve

 

magic-the-gathering-card-back

I’ve been a bit remiss about blogging after Monday in recent weeks. Well, not this week, because I have some things to talk about.

Lightning and rain marked my morning walk over the past couple of days.

But there’s far better news than interesting weather.

I am going to a Magic the Gathering prerelease event at midnight tonight. I’ve played magic on and off for years but I’ve never gone to anything like this before.

For those who do not know, Magic has these events for every new set of cards at stores around the country, and they feature the cards from the new set in a sealed-deck format tournament. Sealed means you get a limited number of cards to build a deck from (And there is no draft of cards). I think my rusty card-skills should be of some use in the competition side of things, but luck is also a big factor in what cards I am given.

Fingers crossed. And excited.

Also, I gotta get to the pages of my book. There’s fiction to be done.

Hope you all have a great weekend, and I’ll chat with you on the other side.

Rem’s Dream and Hunter and Seed are still out there in the world. If you haven’t checked either of those novels out, go get you some.

Thanks for reading.

Am, Am Not (Poetry)

streetlights-792133_1280

Hold your nose! Poetry awaits.

* * *
Grendel

I am human.

I am a writer.

I’m not a missionary.

I don’t want to preach, no matter how much I rant.

I don’t like people who act like me. What kind of complex is that?
Never mind.

I am often afraid.

I am not a coward.
Maybe that one is a little presumptuous.

I am trying to get better at what I do.

I can lose focus easily.

But sometimes I obsess about something with intensity.
I appear to have conditioned myself to feel bad after about an hour or two of this kind of focus, however.

So, let’s say I don’t wander.
What then?
But first of all how?
How do I keep the mind from traveling?
What can I do to drop my anchor?

Obstacles await. Monkeys await.

Oh, so many monkeys. So many lights that shine. So many beacons of hope brighten the Grendel hours, but what good are they if one does not walk to them. Even once you stand beneath a streetlight you cannot take its luminescence with you to the darkness between it and the next.

Beware the darkness where Grendel waits in the gray morning.
All that hatred is within him. And he will rend your limbs without light to guard you.
Legend is your warning.
Poetry your shield.
And prose your sword.

Time to don your armor, and throw down the beast. Then you may wander at will.
Without fear of the darkness.

Superhuman was Beowulf, to destroy the monster the way it killed men.

All too human, Grendel, the monster, to die from being disarmed.

Are you going to see me again, Grendel? I am no Beowulf.

And you, you are not less mortal than I. And I know this.

Because we are not separate beings, not archenemies that fight in the shadows until one of us emerges bloody and victorious and the other rests unmarked in an early grave. We are the same being.

Would killing you be murder or suicide?

Would it be justice? Would it be self-mutilation?

You see, Grendel, we both live in fear of Beowulf. The night.

Thor, the thunder.

Apollo and the sun.

And if we wage war on ourselves, weary while. Then who will pay the debt we incur?

Only the mind that. Only the heart.
Only the face we see the in the mirror the moment before it shatters from trying to contain our Gray visage.
Yet find in this insult, salvation.
For what contained in a mirror does not change over time?
For what the broken glass shows is something else, not ugliness, but hope.
The void is hope. The truth is hope that our state is not permanent, Grendel.

Perhaps, though we may never be free of each other, we may, in some hour not so distant from now, accept our connection.

And face the world as we are.

Not as I am.

Not as I am not.

Dichotomy, my friend, my monster, is on the inside.

And with it, beauty. As the cliches go, let them carry an understanding. That we are not some abomination.

No rough beast are we. Nor is anyone in humanity.

* * *

Thanks for Reading

Buy Rem’s Dream today!

Diplomacy

handshake-1513228_640

I know a thing or two about personal diplomacy, mostly because I can be very blunt if I don’t concentrate on my language and approach.

By personal diplomacy, I mean talking to people about something difficult in a way that does not wreck your relationship with them.

Like anyone I can be careless, and to be honest, I’m not always great at putting my knowledge into action. I could blame this a bit on my Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome, but I hate it when other people do that. Really, it is just the way I am.

After a chat with one of my brothers the other day, I realized how little many people understand about the language (Or lack of language in some cases) they use. When approaching someone about something you think they should change or think about, it pays to use a bit of honey to open them up to your point of view.

Again, I’m not usually good at this. I don’t have any particular qualifications. I do know, however, that I react badly when I feel like I’m being accused, or criticized for something I did not think was a problem.

This issue readily arose in my writing groups both past and present when people either wanted more information or told me I was conveying the wrong information. They all may be right. Some of them were definitely better at conveying this in a way that encourages me to be perceptive than the reverse.

So. Diplomacy.

It’s useful on every level, from interpersonal to professional to international. Obviously, there are differences in technique as the scale and stakes change. However, I think starting from a place of generosity has real benefits at least on the smaller scales of interaction.

Anyway, I wish I could be more specific about the reason this is on my mind, but I’d rather keep my friends’ information private. Anyway, I hope this post can at least serve as a reminder to think about adding a bit of kindness to your interactions, especially the tense ones.

Thanks for reading.

Straight from the Subconscious! It’s Urban Fantasy!

buildings-123780_1920

 

So, I’m writing this blog post from the depths of my near-delirious state. I hope it is, at least, understandable when I post it.

Stayed up late last night talking to my twin brother online.

This kind of 2-3 hour conversation was of the sort of scale I have fairly often with my brother, but last night’s talk was something special as far as the amount of fun I had. It reminds me how well these conversations can go.

We discussed A LOT of different story stuff, mostly related to dark stories (Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Narcos, Joe Abercrombie’s First Law books), and the anime Ghost In the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Now, of those four TV shows and one book series, I have only barely read or watched about half of the total stories. However, these are all up my brother’s alley.

I told him he really seems to like dark stories to a degree I do not (Though I like at least some things about most of the stories I mentioned above). While I don’t think I really fall in love with the dark stories, I do enjoy them. Of course, as a writer, that distinction is important.

The most powerful ascendant element of fiction for me right now is adventure, not tone or grit. I enjoy adventure stories and having realized recently how much Urban Fantasy I’ve been writing over the past few years, I think this is an important element to emphasize. Some Urban Fantasy goes more toward horror, while others lean on romance. Mine rely on adventure, at least at this point. And I do not plan to fight this (Apparently) natural development.

With a mighty mental leap, I managed to fit my thoughts into Urban Fantasy. My brother and I also talked about genre last night.

My first released novel, and the sequel I’m working on, the whole Maker Mythos really, is Urban Fantasy. That point is fairly clear to me now. It has a contemporary setting in which technology from present Earth can have an effect on the supernatural and fantasy elements (Unlike something like Harry Potter where guns and phones are pretty much unknown among wizards, for example). So, that one fits.

Many of my other series ideas surprised me a bit in this regard, but I realized I could just slightly tilt them and have them fit as kin to the genre of Urban Fantasy if not quite fit them in as kind.

A few examples from other story-worlds I have not released much stuff for yet…

Rem’s Dream has a novel out, and even though I’ve categorized that as cyberpunk, I realize now how much magic and crazy fantasy elements are effectively present in the story. Young people can alter the dreamworld at will. Nightmares become real monsters. There is a lot in just those two sentences that make the story as much fantasy as near-future.

Next up, my short stories.

Stolen Parts deals with necromancers in the modern United States in a small-town setting. It is DEFINITELY Urban Fantasy in the most customary sense of the moment, a la The Dresden Files.

Weirder to think of as Urban Fantasy for me is Ludosensitivity. This is a VERY short story I released a bit over a year ago. It’s also set in a setting I always thought of as Science Fiction, near future, but still. However, there are people who gain psychic abilities temporarily by drinking the blood of strange nonhuman characters as a major part of the story and world. It takes place in a city on Earth. Huh. And the technology level is basically similar to the present, despite the year listed. So, my point? This could easily qualify as Urban Fantasy too, even though my personal prejudice wanted it to be some kind of science fiction. The larger, unreleased stories from this universe fit the family even more clearly.

Does that not cover all my current releases (Except for Tenlyres I, which probably does not fit)?

One last example is a book I wrote years ago, with no consideration for genre whatsoever.

This novel’s working title was Hanging Jupiter, and it takes place in a modern city on a different Earth (Much like a couple other unreleased stories I will not go into here because they are not as complete at the moment). There is magic in this book, side-by-side with technology. There are nonhumans, a protagonist with a dark past. Huh. I guess this is pretty close to Urban Fantasy tropes too.

You see? I write and have written a goodly amount that can be classes in the Urban Fantasy sub-genre. I don’t think that is a big stretch.

Anyway, my point is this: I can fit a lot of stuff into this genre, world-wise.

So, I’m waking up now. I’m happy to report that this post actually has helped me get my thoughts together this morning.

I can only hope you will get something out of it.

What are some favorite books of yours in Urban Fantasy? Do you like dark stories or prefer a lighter tone?

Let me know in the comments if you like.

And you can check out Rem’s Dream and Hunter and Seed today on most online stores.

Thanks for reading!

For Tenlyres

It’s tough to care about something when you think no one else cares about it.

Tenlyres has been going rough for me lately. If you have been enjoying the story, I am happy to say I will finish it. But I need a break. A chapter a week pushed to publication has been an interesting experiment but the story has grown A LOT since I began. I don’t think the serialization is the best format for this piece.

Serialization of Tenlyres is suspended effective immediately.

I’ve been reluctant to do this but wanted to since July. I like to split between my works, but the time-frame of switching that Tenlyres presented has proved itself overly difficult for me. My enthusiasm has cooled and I know if I keep trying to force it the book will go on to be worse and make me feel bad all the while. I hope you all understand.

I will finish the story. Most likely, look for the ebooks next year at some point. But I’m tired of making promises I can’t keep to myself and to my readers.

Thank you for joining me in this experiment.

As always, thanks for reading.

Think Less. Breathe More.

ape-1052567 - Copy small

I’ve been listening to Hamilton a LOT lately. One of the main themes of this musical is the dichotomy between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, as anyone who has heard it could probably tell you.

Hamilton: brash, open, and abrasive.

Burr: soft-spoken, cautious, and diplomatic.

And that leads me to a recurring line Burr has to Hamilton throughout the early parts of the play: “Talk less. Smile more…”

So, you now have an idea what this post is about.

My professor on the trip I took to India back in college told me I have the worst monkey mind of anyone he ever met. Monkey mind is, funnily enough, the opposite of monk mind, in Buddhist parlance.

I was diagnosed with ADHD over fifteen years ago. So I already knew my monkey mind was extreme. Different words for the same thing. Different ways of understanding a concept.

So. Monkey mind. ADHD. Regardless of the name, I think a lot, and in a scattered way. As much fun as I can have in the confines of my skull, I typically run into problems with thinking too much about negative things and memories that hurt me. I’ve also been known to silently recite incredibly damaging affirmations as mantras.

When I was a kid, I would think: I hate so-and-so over and over as I fell asleep at night.

Yes, I was a troubled kid. I probably gave myself all the nightmares I have to this day.

These days falling asleep is still challenging. I no longer deliberately dig pits of hatred in my mind. But I tend monkey mind my way back to events and things I regret. Like how, after my grandfather passed away last year, a few of my aunts suggested I write some words to say for him. I never did. I was too nervous I would fail or sound silly. I worried.

I am a worrier. It’s true. But this is a function of my disorderly mind. My monkey mind.

This is an issue I am beginning another try at tackling.

I’ve devised a new mantra.

“Think less. Breathe more.”

And then, I take a few deep breaths. In through the nose. Out through the mouth. The action draws my focus.

“Think less. Breathe more.”

And that brings me back to Aaron Burr.

I think this character is actually very likable throughout the story. That’s one reason I enjoy the musical so much because Aaron Burr is the foil of the piece the way it is presented.

I often identify with antagonists, villains, and the like. Burr in the play does not strike me as a sympathetic villain, but rather, a sympathetic character burdened by his role of opposition to the protagonist, Hamilton.

Perhaps this is a strike against the play for some. It nearly is for me. But if I can’t love something just because it has a few warts, what does that say about me?

That last sentence reminds me why I need my mantra.

Think less. Breathe more.

Thanks for reading.