Sunday, December 20, 2015

The time is 12:34

The biggest news of my week, I almost avoided spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but was bum rushed by someone who thought they were being clever and funny.

A little PSA about spoilers kids. If the thing that you're spoiling is universally adored, with no way to have any prior knowledge (i.e: from a comic franchise or book that it was adapted from) of the event, then it's a dick move to spoil it for anyone. Sure, it's frowned upon to spoil anything, but if you've never seen King Kong, and someone tells you about him being shot down by airplanes, you can't be mad at that. It's part of the cultural memoriate and it's your own fault for not being up on it. If you don't know Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father by now, where have you lived for the last 30 years? Hell, the last decade? But say if a new Indiana Jones came out and Indy died at the end and Shia LeBeouf takes over the hat and bullwhip, and you blurted it to anyone that hadn't seen it yet, especially in an open space, that's fucking rude.

Now that that's out of my system, I'm glad I had faith in JJ Abrams to do justice to the SciFi franchise he actually wanted to make since he was a kid.

Aside from that, another boring week trudging through the holidays. Still enjoying a mini-vacation from writing stuff. I wrote a lot this year and I'm pretty burnt out for the time being. Still haven't tacked on the ending to that short I've been talking about for three weeks. On the bright side, knowing I have a weekly obligation to update 3 people on the status of my writing does make me feel guilty for making no progress.

Anyway, I'm out of words for now. I'm gonna enjoy this lazy Sunday while I can. Make sure you do the same. If you don't, I'll know.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Dispatches from the edge of a whole lotta nothing.

What a terrible blogger I am. I skipped a week and almost skipped this one.

To be fair, I haven't really been doing any writing. After NaNo, I've spit out about 2300 words into my current short. I barfed out a cool intro really fast and realized I had no way to wrap it up cleanly by 5000 words, so I've been mostly reworking the story and writing myself out of a corner. I have the ending all planned finally as well. For a change, I'm trying to write something for publication opposed to something I want to write just for myself to self-publish and retain full control.

I have been giving a lot of thought regarding the indie book/self-publish scene in light of "the establishment". Unfortunately, as much as my punk roots are showing, DIY is awesome to keep things how you always wanted them, but you can't get established without an establishment. The great publishing beast has been in existence since people started putting writing implement to surface and handing it out to people too lazy to remember oral stories. It's seen every technology come and go from cuneiform to eBooks, and it's just adapted every time. So, if you can't hunt and kill the great beast, get eaten and become one with it.

But yeah, really I'm trying for actual publication not just for the legitimacy, but because it's more of a sure paycheck as well. I mean, if you want to make a living doing what you love, you kinda need to make money to live. And working day jobs is bullshit.

The new story is kinda on a solarpunk kick. Mostly because the "movement" (as it's been described in like 3 articles that have been reposted all over the internet) really has nothing to read as far as I've seen. Outside of some book from 1996 written by some spirit-den-mother hippie chick. But it's more optimistic in regards to trying to actually rebuild a world after great catastrophe.

If it doesn't get legit published, it'll fit in nicely with the first wave 2 short story collection I have partially completed. I really need to get on some rewrites with my novel so I can close out wave 1 already. Why do projects never complete themselves in the way you plan them?

So, yeah, that's been my last couple weeks. Farting around writing a story for an aborted genre that claims to want to supplant cyberpunk by sticking solar panels on postcyberpunk, and working/finishing school. About to take my last final of community college. After about 3 years of attending classes over a 15 year span of time, it'd be nice to stop being a statistic and finally transfer to a real university. One can't attend Greendale forever. Right Leonard?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Yellow Ocher

I finished my book for NaNoWriMo yesterday morning. And by yesterday morning I mean like 2 AM.

Granted I'm typically awake at that hour and I made myself useful. It's a little disjointed, and there was some laziness in regards to continuity, but I'll have to go back over it with some notes. I'm kinda disappointed that Johnny goes out like a punk, but I made an executive decision that Johnny's absence is a disappointment in general and the closing of his arc should reflect it. I managed to salvage it and make it a little bittersweet. It still sucks, but he gets his reward in the end. I really didn't need 50,000 words to tell the story, and I was tossing in shit tons of fluff just to hit the goal, but I can take it out in the next draft. Regardless of length, I'm really proud of what I made, and think it has some great bits. I just need to cut it, clean it and cook it into its final shape.

I always pictured Some Call Me... as being part of another novella bundle anyway.

Speaking of bundles, I'm working on a new set of short stories. Trying to flesh out a little more of the history of the future. Working on the rise of Pharrel Inc. on the west coast and introducing a major player/villain across a majority of the pre-futuristic Lilim Chronicles. It's all in prep for wave 2 which will begin after To Slice The Sky is released. Some Call Me... will be the kick off for it. What sucks is the more I write the more directions I want to run in and the more stories I want to tell. But I still have so much history and projected tales to write, I wonder if I'll get to them all. I'm still sitting on research books to read as well before I tackle some projects.

Granted, I've been going through all sorts of feelings of self doubt lately. I've had a busy first year of publishing work on my own, but I feel out of touch with the people that consume art out there. It feels like everyone's too scared to step outside of their well defined boundaries of what they think they're supposed to consume or enjoy. Genre lines feel so hard and defined in a world of infinite subgenres. The slightest variation from the norm becomes too odd while adherence to the code is too vanilla.

I was thinking about this today, and my best guess is everyone has a varying level of imagination. It's a shitty answer, but it's probably closest to the right one.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Red planet blues

Ah, the beginning of a fresh week.

Well, I'm all done with By Starlight. Been plunking away at my NaNoWriMo book, Some Call Me...

The whole exercise of writing a novel in a month is quite mad. I hope you all know this. The people that finished their books days after have more drive than I do. I'm currently ahead of the curve, Sitting at 40.5k words. Making the last crawl towards the finish line at 50k.

My book started out easily enough as Django on Mars and it's sort of mutated into a revolutionary tale with meditations on the nature of consciousness, what value is a synthetic life, and where people call home. I'm a little upset with my going off on an AI tangent. But that's mostly out of fear that I'm not smart or interesting enough to not repeat old ground when I write about AI later. Granted this time around it's looking at an AI that "deserves life" opposed to an AI trying to destroy all humans. I toy with the notion of that, but I took the cowards way out to avoid a Shakespearean tragedy ending.

I was planning on posting my days work every day, but since I was pecking away only a few hundred words a day at some points, it felt like it would be pointless and annoying to do that every day. But when I'm doing rewrites in a month I think I'm going to post the chapters I'm working on.

I find it funny that I have plenty of stories and novels in my head ready to start writing, but this book really sprung up in the last couple months. I jotted down a bunch of notes right at the beginning of my fall semester of school, had a bunch of ideas in my head that clashed together that I realized I could blend into the same work. When I finished up By Starlight - Before Dawn right at the end of October, all the stars aligned to make this book work.

I've always wanted to write a story on Mars. I had an idea for a weird west story with vampire and werewolf cowboys that still needs some fleshing out before it becomes anything workable. And I've wanted to do some kind of more limited tech than cyberpunk allows. All of that together has become this novel that I'm going to get back to work on.

I'm hoping that this newfound dedication and speed of process rubs off when I start rewrites on my first novel I'm going to release next. That's my December project before shipping it off to the editor. Lots of work to do.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


It's been another week, and what a week it's been.

Still plugging away at the NaNoWriMo book. I cracked over the halfway point of 25,000 words just after midnight Friday. Making the slow but steady climb to 40k by next Saturday, keeping at least a day ahead in regards to word count. It's a good thing they give out badges for this thing. I will do anything for imagined prestige and internet points. Or at least my gamerscore agrees with that sentiment.

All my energy has really been focused full force on Some Call Me... as I've been mucking about in Act 2. I really hate falling prey to the slowdown in the middle period, but when I obtain enough writing skill to pen a Mad Max: Fury Road style, balls to the walls, non-stop action thrill ride, you better believe I'll do it. Of course, while I'm totally an action genre fan, and love to write fight scenes like erotica writers make fuck scenes, I also enjoy contemplating my navel when I'm allowed the open freedom of novel writing. I hope that some day in the future that doesn't come back to bite me in the ass on a review. I can see it now... 

"Bollweg's prose is as bloated and over-indulgent as a King Crimson album. He meanders about tired concepts with hardly any new insight on the subject. In the rest of his work, he builds a house of sticks surrounded by a paper thin facade of flashy gimmicks and hyperviolence..." - Guy Someone LA Times Book Review

Wow, future me has not grown at all as an author.

Speaking of growing as an author, this week is the post of the final chapter in my latest novella, By Starlight. We've gone from Cyberspace, to the real world, and now we're in the subconscious of the Universe itself. It's now time for our intrepid heroine Tressie and the ravenous Succubus Gribelle to end this chase. Who will survive, and what will be left of them?!

I've got nothing left to say this week. Enjoy the story after the jump...

Sunday, November 8, 2015


This past week has felt like a year.

Sales were actually existent for By Starlight - Before Dawn. Thank you to everyone who bought a copy in eBook or Paperback. If you bought it in paperback, you can get a free kindle version through matchbook. If you bought it on Smashwords but would like a paperback, I'll be running a promotion Thanksgiving weekend for 50% off. And while I make sure all my products are the best quality I can make them, I'm a fan of the printed word, so the paperback is the preferred version in terms of formatting and style. And it looks great on a shelf when you're not reading it!

My busy week has mostly been filled with me plugging away at Some Call Me... for NaNoWriMo. I'm at the close of Act 1 and 15,813/50,000 words in. I've also been annoying about my progress on social media already, so I'm less excited to be throwing up my hands in the air and celebrating the first week of my new novel being written.

I really should be more excited, because the story is turning out really fucking cool. Of course it's a mess currently, and being done for the word count at this point. But, there's definitely a diamond surrounded by a bunch of coal in there. I've been wanting to write something set on Mars ever since I read Bradbury's Martian Chronicles back in 11th grade English class when I was supposed to be following along in Huck Finn. And while I've read more than my fair share of cyberpunk and generic Science Fiction, I haven't really delved into Steampunk as a literary genre (really only read Bruce Sterling/William Gibson's The Difference Engine. If you have suggestions where to go from there, please share in the comments). Or westerns.

I've never read a western. Watched tons of sing-songy Gene Autry ride alongs, rough and tumble John Wayne and Henry Fonda fodder, and blood and whore drenched Spaghetti Westerns, but never read one. So translating the feel of the idealized Wild West on a planet that will kill the shit out of you if you step outside, all won by the power of your steam powered sidearms, it felt like a fun challenge. And it really has been. I've been having a blast writing it, with only one day of slogging through that dreaded but necessary exposition so far. I haven't been this stoked about writing something than I was when I first wrote To Slice The Sky.

But you didn't come here to see my rattle off things that I'm currently writing (unless you did. Did you? If so, sorry, your time in this world grows short. The collectors will be by shortly with pliers and hacksaws to make sure you never make that mistake again). You're here to read what I've already written and polished into a presentable state. We're almost at the end of By Starlight. Our players are gathered into place, and shit is about to get real as we slide into the action packed climax.

So here we are this Sunday. Part 7/8 of By Starlight.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Where the latex meets the skin.

Welcome to the show. Today's a big day. Hope those of you that are celebrating have an awesome Halloween.

You might notice that today's post is not just on time, but early. Well, that's because the story that I've been unfolding for you the last four weeks, By Starlight, is finally available in the world. You can purchase your very own copy in eBook format on Amazon or Smashwords. Or if you prefer the weight of a tome in your mitts, the paperback is also available on Amazon and CreateSpace. If you purchase the paperback, you can get a Kindle copy for free on Amazon for use on your Kindle device or app.

Of course, the first book in The Lilim Chronicles, Urban Legends of the Future, is still available for free in eBook format at Smashwords.

I'm also posting early because tomorrow being November 1st kicks off National Novel Writing Month, or it's more affectionate name, NaNoWriMo. I hadn't heard of it until 2012, and by then I was balls deep in writing my upcoming novel, To Slice The Sky, and didn't want to switch gears or grandfather in. 2013 I was working on short stories that would eventually become the aforementioned Urban Legends of the Future. And 2014 I was compiling Urban Legends for release this February. But this year, this year is different.

For one, I'm actually in between projects perfectly at the start of the month. For two, I actually have a novel I want to write that I'm excited for. For three, it gives me an extra excuse to update more on this blog, particularly above the next two weeks when I wrap up posting the rest of By Starlight. I'm hoping that keeping myself updated with what I write for my word count per day will be added encouragement to pull myself through.

I'm writing a retelling of Sergio Corbucci's Django/Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo with Steampunk cowboys on Mars. I already finished the basic plotting and storyboarding for it. In 24 hours, I'll get to begin hammering out the first bits of the story. It's going to be all kinds of fun, as well as still tie into The Lilim Chronicles. Johnny Marko from By Starlight and Sucking Out Loud will also be a major player in this title, making good on his promise to get the hell out of Hollywood.

Continuing on with the ballad of Tressie, Johnny and Gribelle in By Starlight, we left our heroes and villain all in precarious states. It's time for the big party we've all been waiting for, and a showdown in meatspace between Tressie and Gribelle. Who will survive and what will be left of them?!?!?!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

BlastingOff to Ramping Up.

Hey there sports fans.

We're at week 4 of me posting the chapters of By Starlight. Since both chapters 4 and 5 are pretty short, I'm sandwiching them together for this post. We're at the middle of the story, getting everyone into place to then move into the ending. So, I can understand if this point isn't as exciting as what has gone before and what will come after. I probably shouldn't be saying that, but if we're honest with ourselves, no story is truly a non-stop action thrill ride. Even Shoot-Em-Up has a slow moment in the middle where Clive Owen gets to bang Monica Belluci in front of that baby they're protecting before busting caps into invading mooks. Let's not even get into a discussion about what a disappointment Liam Neeson's Non-Stop was. Let's just say it would have been better titled, "Full-Stop".

Besides the impending release of By Starlight - Before Dawn this Halloween, I'm also participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I'll be posting updates and such to this site to keep myself motivated. I'm writing the book I was planning on doing next, Some Call Me... It's a retelling of Sergio Corbucci's Django/Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo set on Mars with Steampunk cowboys. I've been itching to write this for the last few months, and seems more fitting than the other works I had planned next. Ultimately, I feel I write too slow and want to challenge myself to finish a novel in a month. If I'm writing something I feel strongly about, I hope it'll give me enough encouragement to power through and get it done.

But in the present, here is the next installments of my upcoming work By Starlight. I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Feeding the mind, body and soul.

This felt like the longest week in between posts. By all means, I could have done this post at any time during the week. I felt that keeping with the regularity of updating was good for me in regards to continuing a consistent blog in the future. That and it afforded me with plenty of time to play videogames. Taking a little post book release breather. It's good to give yourself a break here and there, since usually other people won't do it for you.

Aside from all of that, it has been an uneventful week in the aftermath of getting By Starlight - Before Dawn ready for purchase. I pulled the typed out manuscript for the novel, To Slice The Sky. Time to pick up at the halfway point in rewrites where I left off. Funny enough that I stalled out at the exact same point I stalled out while writing it. Granted the back half all came to me at once and I knocked it out in a fraction of the time it took me to write the front half. It's going to take a lot of work and some professional help, but there's something pretty underneath all those rough edges. To Slice The Sky follows Trip and Decker, whom we first met back in Urban Legends of the Future (now available for free at that link), in a big whirlwind adventure across New America that's about half their fault. It also features Manner, who was introduced in her standalone story Mind Your Manners in Urban Legends, and the clone team we'll meet in The Clone Wars, a story bundled in with By Starlight - Before Dawn. It's a story about two best friends and the price of achieving your dreams set against the backdrop of the Clone Rebellion. If it was the year 2099, that shit would be Pulitzer material.

This week brings us to part three of eight in the story of Tressie, Johnny and Gribelle. Plans are undertaken, investigations are afoot, and meals are had. This section is a little longer than the last one. Enjoy:

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Startling revelations about the mating habits of fictional characters

Welcome back. Continuing on with promoting By Starlight - Before Dawn, we now arrive at the next step in the tale of Tressie, Johnny & Gribelle. Rising actions and fun with body mechanics await you in the text below. The covers are complete, the proofs have been read, and at least the eBook versions are available for pre-order. I wanted to stick with Halloween as a release date, opposed to releasing whenever, mostly because I think I deserve at least one release date to be Halloween in my bibliography. If only I could write fast enough to Long Halloween it and release a new horror upon the world every holiday. One day.

So, about those eBooks: Amazon. Smashwords. Each version has a separate cover. While the Amazon version is the "True" cover, I still like the Smashwords variant better. I fear I may be trying to make eBooks like comics. The paperback is still being worked on. The paperback sports much nicer formatting than the eBook. Both of which have better formatting than this blog.
Beyond cover variations, the Smashwords version of the first book in the Lilim Chronicles: Urban Legends of the Future, is now available for free. Non-related to the Lilim Chronicles, my poetry book, Pretty Words for Hateful Bastards, is also available at whatever price you want on Smashwords.
If you download, please review. But I've talked enough. It's time to give you what you came for.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Universally Subconscious

Hello again dear reader. With my next book, By Starlight - Before Dawn, being released at the end of the month, I figured what better way to entice one to read it than by letting them read it. Over the next few weeks leading up to the release day, I'm going to be releasing the chapters of the novella through this site. When the book becomes available (pending the completion of the covers), this site will be the first to let you know. I will also be reducing the eBook price of Urban Legends of the Future to the low low cost of $0.00 on both Amazon and Smashwords. Like Urban Legends, By Starlight - Before Dawn will be available in paperback as well as all eBook formats.

The following story is the first chapter of the novella that makes up the By Starlight portion of the book title. By Starlight picks up 25 years before Sucking Out Loud. We meet DJ/Slicer Tressie Unknown in the flesh and see Johnny Marko as a young, 17 year old punk in the SFV818 district of Hollywood. It's another story revolving around the Incubi/Succubi, so be prepared for sexy cyberspace fun.

Without further ado, I present to you: By Starlight.

Monday, September 28, 2015


So I'm watching Riddick right now. I'm pretty sure it's almost over, but I just witnessed the coolest payoff in the series. It's a shame that most of the movie has been laboriously building up to a climax. Any time Riddick isn't on screen, the movie drags. I will say it's been better than Chronicles of Riddick, which really should have been a hard R.

But I digress.

I've been catching up on my Netflix DVD queue now that I've been watching Community on Hulu. I've finally gotten to that point in my queue where I'm getting movies at the bottom of my queue when I first signed up for the service. Yes, I'm blogging about my media consumption habits, and yes I'm going to say queue a fuck of a lot.

What excites me is that I'm going to get a bunch of cartoons in the near future. I was really high, scanning for things to add to the 140 slot of my DVD queue when Netflix recommended me to add Animaniacs. Animaniacs fed several afternoons of my middle school days with entertainment while I was doing my homework, so the nostalgia bug infected me and I went digging. I unearthed Freakazoid, which was by far my favorite Sunday morning cartoon. The Tick (which is also on the horizon) on Saturday and Freakazoid on Sunday. What a time the early '90s were.

So that's cool for me I guess. That and I'm also expecting the Harold & Kumar trilogy...

Harold & Kumar go to White Castle really was an excellent comedy. G-Mo, not so much. I haven't seen the Christmas special yet, but it can't be worse than any other Christmas movie ever. Really, outside of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, all Christmas movies are pretty wretched.

I also tried to watch every Keanu Reeves movie in his filmography. I unironically love Keanu Reeves and he is my favorite actor. Which reminds me that I have yet to see John Wick. Why? I don't have an answer. I should rectify that finally. It's ridiculous I haven't seen it yet. It's not like I don't have access to HBO Go where it's on the streaming list.

Besides my unabashed love of cartoons, Kumar, Keanu Reeves and Riddick my Netflix queues are a wash of "maybe one day I'll watch this." Like all those movies and shows you hear people talk about and think, "Oh yeah, I should like totally watch this and stuff. It will expand my horizons and make me seem cultured at the next three social engagement I attend. Or, like, you know, whatever."

I have no doubt that I'll end up seeing 100+, and if it's one thing I know about old people, they sit around and watch TV all day long. What else are you going to do with yourself? Some people have the TV on the same channel all day long and a lot of cable stations play endless marathons of various shows in four hour blocks. I'd like to think I have plenty of time to watch everything I've wanted to eventually. After all, I did watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on repeat until the VHS wore out. Granted, I'll be 100 in 2082, and by then I've predicted we'll have holovision with multiple smart-display options. So who knows if the future will hold up to my imagination and if television will be as awsome when I'm a geriatric.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Toying with emotions

I've been reading a lot of tvtropes again while on break at work. It's a blessing and a curse because it eats up time real easily. Some folks crush candy, I read wiki articles.

I was reading about Shipping today. As I browsed the examples, It got me thinking about all the sitcoms I've watched recently and thought about all the relationships I've rooted for and hexed.

I'm not one for romantic subplots, or main plots for that matter. They don't appeal to me to write them, but I do so love them in media like everyone else. Folks that claim they hate romantic subplots are only doing it for the show. But if a story does have a romantic subplot, the politics of romance handling is a field of daisies riddled with landmines.

At the behest of a friend, and a recent acquisition of a hulu account, I've started watching Community. I just finished season 2, and so far Troy and Abed are my OTP. In that tiny, yet incestuous study group, it's rife with potential pairings. And thanks to the show's style of humor, it also points out their analogs from previous ships. i.e.: Jeff and Britta are Sam and Diane from Cheers. Aloof, vain and boorish meets caustic, false-worldly and psychotic.

What makes us root for surrogate relationships in media? Why did we always wish that Joey and Phoebe would bang? Why did we want Jerry and Elaine to get back together? Why were we so disappointed when How I Met Your Mother defied all logic and broke up Barney and Robin. Maybe we're made to get into everybody's business by design, or maybe it's our inquisitive nature, but fake relationships are serious business.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Excuses for procrastination

Still in the process of banging off the rough edges of By Starlight - Before Dawn. My excitement for quick release is only tempered by my desire to make it as close to perfect as possible. Though, as I'm learning from my previous two books, even when you have multiple sets of eyes on a project, and your own anal retentiveness, it never ends up perfect. Hell, even the Lord of the Rings still has typos in it 61 years later.

And it's stuff like that that makes me paranoid. As a self published author, you have way more scrutiny from the uncaring public because the mass has let them down before. Getting your head above water in a sea of mediocre suck is never easy. I applaud anyone who's done it, even if the product you did it with was absolute stylistic drek. Granted, I write genre fiction like a gonzo journalist. Literary fiction snobs would probably say I churn out nothing but pulpy stylistic drek, so I can't fault anyone making a living off of the same.

But the greater concept of "ruining it for the rest of us" is why gatekeepers existed in the first place. And why there is a huge bloated corporate machine that's had decades and centuries to build itself up into an unstoppable juggernaut that's being slowly bled down to size. We're just in the current phase of figuring out something new from a long history of bad mistakes. And all those bad mistakes are going to die the great death of being forgotten in name by the beast of history. But they will live on in the cracked foundations of human society as all the reasons why we have to live in whatever way we'll be living in the future. Because some stupid asshole in the long ago said they'd do something that's awesome, and they produced anything between jack to shit.

Because of this, creative freedom has been stifled by the gatekeepers and people behind the gates. All by virtue of what they allow to be associated with their names, the ones inspired by those works are forced to work within the perceived parameters dictated by those behind the gates. This can work out great for those that want to work within confines, but it's also a surefire way to wallow in the derivative and plagiarized. It's also stifling to those with bigger aspirations than what's being handed to them.

I spent my teen and adult years living the punk ethos of doing it yourself, and getting shit done as cheaply and excellent as possible. Granted, I'm the type of person that usually ignores production value if the product is awesome enough and has an energy that I vibe with. I've listened to enough 4-track demos that were way more awesome than the slick, overproduced album counterparts to know you need a little dirt on it to be perfect. But not everyone else is like that.

We've cycled into a very antiseptic time. Everything is very clinical, and we're afraid of everything. Allusions could be drawn to classic science fiction literature, but that's for some other asshole to ramble about. I entered my tweens when grunge was exploding, and the world I see now is dull and too formulaic. We've theorycrafted all our little life hacks and now no one deviates from the prime directive. I've heard all about great men having set schedules and all that shit, and it seems everyone took it more seriously than I did. Granted, real life is made more chaotic in thanks to everyone trying to maximize their life and time and meet deadlines they made up. Except when there's a new set of 32 GIFS that only 00's kids with a disability that work retail will get, then set schedules are a myth.

I'm a believer in getting things done when they need to be done. Sometimes it's sooner, sometimes it's later. If it needs to be done, it'll get done, and it'll be complete as soon as possible after starting. However, taking the time to do something right, is always better than just getting it done. Which is why I'm insisting on taking my time with getting By Starlight - Before Dawn into the best shape possible before it's released into the wild.

It will be released by Halloween. How soon before Halloween is up in the air, but by Halloween is for certain. My commitment to that release is why I spent all day fixing drafts instead of making a blog post on Sunday. And this blog post was just a roundabout way to justify procrastinating on writing it. At least it got done.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Office Space


I hate work. I really do. Having to do things for other people to make a tiny, necessary, percentage of their profits, brings up vitriol in me. I understand its necessity in regards to getting shit done that needs to be done, but let's just say I'm all for automating business. I say that as someone who's lived in the working class their whole life.

My ideal world: robots do the sucky work for us at incredible rates. 3D printers make most manufacturing needs obsolete, personalized goods are the norm. Money is pointless and everyone gets to do whatever they feel like.

But no. We worked our way through barter systems to bitcoins, and we're still in that stage where people believe you have to work to make a living. That fucking sucks.

I don't particularly enjoy the company of others. I enjoy those that I'm close with, and I enjoy most people one on one, but I don't like big groups. I also hate being made to treat someone like they're the only person that matters when they act like an asshole. It's not how humans are supposed to be handled and counterproductive to making that person not an asshole.

Writing is the only thing I've gotten paid for that makes me feel good about myself.

Speaking of which, I should be writing a new draft for the last story of By Starlight - Before Dawn. Coming soon, to an internet retailer in your bookmarks folderrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Near distant futures.

I've been working on the new book. Been putting in that work on the paper. Or screen as it would be.

I'm doing a collection of three shorts and a novella as part of wave one of The Lilim Chronicles (just like the title of this page!) It's the follow up and companion to a few of the stories in Urban Legends of the Future. Its title? By Starlight - Before Dawn.

It's the novella By Starlight, which tells the tale of Johnny Marko and Tressie Unknown from Sucking Out Loud. It's the first time that we'll witness my vision of the future internet in action. It's also a more full melding of the cyberpunk and urban fantasy genres than the previous short stories of Urban Legends. By Starlight is the foundation and nod to a lot of the events that happen through the history of the Chronicles, both past and future. It's an even better stepping stone into my world than Urban Legends was to be honest.

In between the title tracks, there's You're Just Data and The Clone Wars. Both stories tie in with Mind Your Manners, the aforementioned Sucking Out Loud, and Say Goodbye, Hollywood from Urban Legends of the Future. And all of those stories tie into the novel, To Slice the Sky, at the end of Wave 1. You're Just Data is the introduction to the big bad of To Slice the Sky. The Clone Wars, much like the stories it ties into, fills in dead space that gets glossed over in the novel.

Bookending the novella collection is Before Dawn. It ties in with Things That Are Cold in Urban Legends. Before Dawn is a closer relationship with the unnamed antagonist of the previous story.

So that's pretty much where I'm at right now. Still kicking around which era to tackle next. Lots of cool stuff coming your way in the future.

And to give an image to this post, here's the initial cover images for By Starlight - Before Dawn

Cover (no text)/alternate back cover

Back Cover/alternate cover(no text)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Waging war against sleep.

Man, I've been getting awful about keeping up to my schedule of blogging.

I've been working on the follow up to Urban Legends of the Future. Doing a novella with three short stories attached as a follow up to my previous post, "Sucking Out Loud." It's the second part of The Lilim Chronicles first wave.

Man, I am beat. Sorry, don't work a normal human weeks anymore. I'll try to post consistently. This is hard for me right now. So tired.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The story of a home.

Post is late. Sorry about that.

Yesterday I got caught up reading old scripts for a wedisode series my friends and I wrote about this apartment complex I used to live at. They need some cleaning up, but it's good stuff with sharp characters. But all of those characters are composites of residents we knew back at said apartment complex.

This place is an artist community that various friends of mine have lived at during different points in their lives. My tenure there was at a transitional point in time, but it supplied enough stories to last a lifetime. Of course, being an, "artist community," I expected to be creating stories while living there. Which I did. But only the good ones came after I left.

One such story originated with a random day sitting around the common area wondering about this random apartment/shack that would sort of constitute as a fourth floor. A group of us neighbors were day drinking and enjoying each others company, just chit chatting about what great things could be done with the random floating shack that sat watch over the courtyard.

It became a story in my first book, Urban Legends of the Future.

This is my spin on what's going on up in the shack on the 4th floor. To fill up content space, I'd like to share it.


Sucking Out Loud

“So you think anything’s even up there right now?” Seven heads followed the line made by Lex’s finger.
Johnny, Trip, Decker, Thorn, Prez, Terry and Hiro squinted at the corrugated aluminum shack/unit. It perched gargoyle-like above the third floor of Das Haus against the sunshine. Prez went back to plunking out, ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ on the baby grand turned bar fixture.
Thorn covered her eyes from the sunset, “Anyone ever see a light on in there?”
“What say you, Johnny Markoolname?” Decker baby sipped his martini from a bendy straw, head rocking on the piano bar, “you’ve lived here the longest.”
“Not to mention you’re physically closest to the thing,” Trip wiped sweat out of his eyebrows.
“Fragged if I know,” Johnny Marko snort-an-horked a sinus clogger into the dirt, “never seen anyone go in, never seen anyone come out,” Johnny uncrossed an arm to scratch at his stubbled lazyhawk.
“I bet there’s like an axe-murderer that lives up there, and like, in the hours when no one’s in the courtyard, he like digs graves for his victims,” Thorn got tired of holding her head up with her hands.
Decker scoffed, “Yeah. Right. Like there’s a time when peeps aren’t awake and corralling all around this place. Who’s JumpUp are you huffing?”
“Johnny’s,” Thorn positioned herself so she could scowl at Decker through the open piano lid, “same as you.”
Johnny scratched his back on the wall he was holding up, “Neither of you go to my shows.”
Prez, speaking through her fingers, needed to get to the airport and be put on a plane.
“Well, awkward silence brought to you by DeMolition Lab,” said Lex, “if nothing’s up there, you’d think someone would do something with the place.”
“I heard Dahng say once it’s the same rent as a studio,” Johnny took a slug from his tallcan, “who wants to rent that instead of a unit where they’d actually want to live?”
“I wouldn’t want to live up there,” said Trip.
“You can barely stand our place,” Decker sipped more.
Lex perked up, “Oo. You know what’d be cool?” her Valley girl accent dragged, “If all of us pitched in and rented it out as, like, a studio. For like. Whatever.”
“I’m fairly certain the axe murderer is already renting it,” said Thorn.
“Dahng will evict anyone for more money,” Terry exhaled smoke through her nose, displeased with her hand.
“So that’s why someone’s already moving into Spencer’s place,” Hiro dealt Terry fresh cards, “Has anyone seen a light up in there?”
Decker loosed the straw from his lips, “I haven’t. But when I did work on the grid, I saw that there’s active media and power.”
Prez tinkled the ivories on the final, ‘sedated’. A round of applause from the audience. “Maybe there’s some creature that’s been locked away for centuries up there,” Prez said, “and the seal that’s been keeping our world safe from its day of reckoning will break if we open the door.” Prez looked around, “anyone else got a smoke I can bum?”
“Well, that’s about my quota of crazy for the day,” Johnny Marko pulled himself away from the wall. He pounded his tall can, crunched it in his fist and dropped it in the recycler with a belch. “Bye, people.”

Johnny hunted faces in the cottage cheese ceiling above his bead, hands behind his head. He hadn’t found new ones in the ceiling of apartment 301 for a decade.
‘72 was when he first started slumming around Das Haus. He came for the parties his old girlfriend, Tressie Unknown, used to spin at. Had it really been twenty-five years? Johnny lived another adolescence trapped in the so called artist haven.
He was still in the same band, playing to the same people who had jobs that supported his own lifestyle. He was selling Designer Molecules from friends who crafted them to friends that used them. He was bored and old.
This is exactly how he wanted to live his life at seventeen when he first came to this place. When Tressie was still with him. Before she went over the rainbow that one fragged up night.
There’s no point in thinking about her, man. No point wasting time on what can’t be. The logical part of Johnny’s brain told the rest of itself. And speaking of what can’t be. Why can’t I leave this skagpit complex?
Johnny craved nicotine. He regretted quitting for the nth time. Instead he clutched under his bed, clinking glass bottles about, till he found a slosh of something. Johnny unscrewed the cap and sniffed hard. Wincing at the tang of piss, Johnny spun the cap back on and chucked the bottle out his screenless window. His head hit the pillow before the bottle hit the ground with a satisfying splash/shatter sound.
Johnny gave up the search for more liquor and shut his eyes.

Rapid thuds at the door jolted Johnny out of bed, hand gripped around his classic M9 under his pillow, eyes scanning for intruders.
More thuds, “Jooooohnyyyyyyyyyy. Oh Mr. Marrrrrrkooooooooo,” Thorn’s falsetto piercing through the plywood door.
Johnny debated shooting her anyway, loosed his grip on the pistol, and opened the door as far as the chain allowed.
“Johnnycakes, whatchyadooooooooin?” Thorn bounced through the crack.
Johnny looked around his studio. Sodium floodlights cast shadows through the open window. His clock faced towards his bed, shining red against yellow light in a dark room. Thorn scratched her arm, hopping from foot to foot. “I guess I was sleeping. What, got the crawls?”
“Yeeeeeaaaah,” Thorn tried to be adorable. Her sunken eyes looked dead in the stairwell light outside 301. If it was from the JumpUp or makeup who knew.
“Johnny ‘Dadfraggin’ Marko. My main man in the DeMo lab,” Decker’s voice echoed up the stairwell with the rattle of his footsteps, “Dub-Tee-Eff, Thorn. Jumping in on my fraggin’ sale time?” Decker stank of coffee and chocolate in his work get up over Thorn’s patchouli and rosepetal perfume.
Johnny sighed with his whole body and shut the door in their faces. Chain undone, Johnny opened it up again on the two of them making faces at each other. “C’mon,” Johnny waved them in, “let’s get this over with.”
Decker pushed his way past Thorn, “Anything fancy in your stash tonight?”
“Why do you guys hate sleep so much?” Johnny shook a vial of tablets and an inhaler pod in his hand, “Decker, you looking for anything in particular?”
Decker shrugged and stuffed his hands in his pockets, “No, not really. Work sucked, could go for something that would help me forget about it.”
Sounds of the common area coming alive downstairs came through the open door. 22:23 shown in the clock’s numerics. Johnny shook the vial, “Mescaline research moli. Puts you into some kinda RPG, spirit journey, trip.”
“No way. That’s like something out of a comic,” Decker said, “frag it, I’ll take ‘em.”
Thorn stepped in front of Decker, “You haven’t forgotten about my Up, right? Could go for some of that tonight,” she b-movie laughed, cheek skin twitching.
Decker and Thorn tapped their cryptocred cards to Johnny’s for the appropriate amount. Thorn gave Johnny a kiss on the cheek and fled with her JumpUp.
Decker pocketed his DeMos, “So what’re you up to tonight?
“I dunno man. Same skag as every other fraggin’ night,” Johnny shut his drawer and took a seat on his bed, “what’s it matter? You’re going on a quest.”
“Just doing the dealer/buyer requisite chat,” Decker shrugged with his hands in his pockets.
“Think we could save it tonight?” Johnny rubbed his face.
Decker rattled the vial in his pocket, “Yeah, sure man. Look, if you do need to talk. I’m here for more than altered perception, dude.”
“I don’t want to talk tonight.”
“Well, you know where I live,” Decker turned to go, “I never sleep, and tonight, I’m going on an adventure,” he said over his shoulder, flicking the vial of pills in his pants.


The Cobalt was packed for an all ages show. Johnny squeezed into a table in the back with a cola he emptied a flask into. Bodies of tweens to twentysomethings sardined together around the step up stage.
A girl of no more than fourteen-crowned in liberty spikes-stalked back and forth on the stage, sneering at the crowd. She snarled something into the mic that could have been the band name or song title followed by a shrill “1-2-3-4!” Buzzsaw guitars revved up to mosh speed. The crowd reacted with pushing, shoving, and pogoing.
Johnny used to be one of those thrashing bodies. Now there were gray strands in his collapsed hawk. All the latest DeMolition Lab songs they’d written sounded like these OldxSchoolxHardxCore punks on stage, which sounded like the songs they’d been writing when he was a teen. All the same anti-corporate government skag being spit over and over again. Everyone shrieking the same message that’s been ignored by the people who need to hear it. The worst part about shouting against a corporate government is discovering how little shouting accomplishes. Especially at pay-to-play clubs.
Johnny downed half his drink. The singer had some boy around her age by the shirt, shouting something in mocknese in his face. When’s the last time I felt anything from this?
Johnny stared into his melting ice and carbonation bubbles. There wasn’t anything remotely like a buzz in his brain. Feedback assaulted his ears. Another “1-2-3-4!” and distorted thirty-second notes with a D-Beat. Johnny left his half drink and the establishment. Some punk kid swooped his spot once Johnny was out the club back door.
“I’m tellin’ ya man, that’s like my fraggin’ dream, man,” some skinny punk with his arm around another, “just, like, playing music, making art, fraggin’, partying and burnin’ down the fragging establishment, man.”
“Frag the establishment,” a girl with too much eye makeup pumped her fist in the air.
The skinny punk replied, fist in the air in solidarity, “Frag the fraggin’ establishment.”
“And I can design your band shirts,” The guy in The Skinny Punk’s arms nuzzled his boy.
Johnny walked hard away from the scene with a, “Fraggin’ kids,” under his breath.

Das House’s gate rattled behind Johnny. He tossed the empty bottle of tequila at the recycle bins next to the gate. His feet ached through the drunk haze from his walk home. No one was in the courtyard. Lights glowed in apartment windows, except on the 2nd floor on the right.
Hiro moved in six months ago, wanting to write the great American novel, with his rat cage and a duffle bag. When Johnny looked inside the studio there was no sign of any of these things. Hiro was playing cards in the courtyard today, and now it’s like he never existed. Not even left behind take-out condiments like the previous tenant of 301.
When Johnny left the dismal, open, apartment, he looked up towards his own. Not sure if it was the tequila, but Johnny could have sworn the fourth floor shack just switched their lights off.


//Johnny. Johnny Marko. C’mon guttersucker, pay attention.// a dark figure standing in the stre
ets of 삼성타운 Korea with an umbrella that looks
an awful lot like a katana sheath. //Johnny.//
who spoke your name Johnnycakes? The dark stran
ger with the wild hair or the lady in the seat?
Johnny knows he has to turn around right now an
d look right down the street——there will be so
meone he knows with something important——//Joh
nny, what I have to say is important. Now are
you going to join in the conversation or is th
is a strictly one-sided…// Johnny finished hi
s turn to catch the figure’s lips flapping as
a rush of passing shoppers melted into the li
ghting that surrounded the inkblot intrusion.
Johnny shrunk at first. When he looked back t
o who he was talking to at the outside seatin
g of some establishment. There sat

Tressie Unknown.

Her hair, still a bunch of dreds beneath a bowler derby, gave her away. It was tea time in this parlor with its waitstaff frozen in stiff armature poses, dressed in finery.
I can’t keep them at bay any longer, Johnny. :T
Why are you interrupting this dream to haunt it? :J
Think Johnny. Think back. It’s happening again, just like last time. But this time we know why. :T
You never told me what’s going on. Then you went braindead. :J
That’s what you want to believe. :T
I want to move on. :J
If you want to move on, you have to move. :T
Everyone else is moving out. :J
//No. They’re not.// and rainclouds fill the sky outside as the roof we believed in now does not exist rainwater drips into our tea and the walls glow in the neon of 삼성타운 shopping district //I can’t protect you anymore, Johnny. Not against this many.// Tressie closed her eyes and the light from her augments showed through the lids burning bright green painting the rain sluicing off of her hat brim into emeralds lightning forks above their heads reflecting dozens of violet eyes and she sidewalk chalk drawing washes away in the rain
//Expect bad dreams.//


Someone skagged in Johnny’s braincage to over capacity, pressing against his eye sockets, till it spilled into his mouth. That or he was hungover. He gulped the first bottle next to his bed with his eyes closed. After two warm chugs, Johnny spewed urine all over his sheets. His pants were around his ankles. He didn’t bother to take his boots off.

At least this time Johnny didn’t remember the dreams.

Johnny had grown up thinking sex was a pretty awesome thing. He hadn’t had any in about twenty-seven years by now, but it’s not like he’d really dreamt about it. Everything changed after that dream two years ago when Tressie showed up in the rain and they had crumpets or something. The sex dreams made up for lost time in awful, frightening, ways. Ways that Johnny had buried a long time ago in the idea of childhood nightmare fuel.

Each morning for the last two years Johnny woke up feeling used in every sense of the term. His will to do much of anything sapped in a vortex of selling DeMo’s, buying drink, and barely noticing the complex shift through more new tenants than anyone could keep track.
No one stuck around. Not like in the old days that bred the legacy tenants like Lex, Terry and Thorn. People who have Dahng counter-extorted into cheap rent with no intention of growing up. Whenever Johnny lumped himself into that category, that was a drink.
Even Prez went legit. Working at a RoPhar satellite. At least Decker and Trip are back after moving away for a bit. Weirder than before. They went RoPhar too, but with the spooks around 211 when they go off doing who knows what. Pretty crooked looking deal. Seeing a suit was another drink. Dahng yelling at the suit was two. If Dahng scares off clones, finish the bottle.

Johnny’s shower had dried vomit and tequila bottles in it. The bathroom mirror was smashed from a previous incident but the hole into the closet was possibly new. Johnny stripped himself and moved the bottles carefully into the sink, wincing at the volume of each glass clink.

Dressed, and no longer covered in—hopefully, his own—bodily fluids, Johnny found himself outside 211. He knocked on the door, alcohol laced sweat promising to undo his shower. Johnny looked at the orange sky behind him, flicking a glance towards the fourth floor. No axe murderer silhouetted against the opaque door glass. Another knock that hurt Johnny more than he cared to experience again. His sore knuckles and throbbing head were vindicated as Decker cracked the door. Johnny saw his bare upper arm and assumed Decker was naked. Finding Decker clothed would be more impressive.
“Yo, Decker. Is Trip around?”
“Yeah, he’s working right now. C’mon in,” Decker opened the door to reveal he was still wearing shorts, but his torso looked like it was being punished for something it didn’t do.
Johnny entered the sparse furnished apartment. A ring of server towers enclosed a cushy ergonomic chair in the center of the room. The HoloVision swam along the empty space in the living area. Decker’s eyes were a mish-mash of glowing orange rimmed in red and heavy black circles.
“You having trouble sleeping too?” Johnny said.
“Since I was a kid,” Decker led Johnny out of the common space to Trip’s room, “gotten worse lately,” he fonzied open the door.
Inside, Trip inspected a dozen double helixes and alpha-numeric charts, floating in the air above his bed, while, tapping a stylus on a sheaf of smart paper. Without looking away from his work, “May I help you gentlemen? A word I use loosely for you two rogues.” Trip scribbled and flung a note off the smart paper to join the holodisplay, “What?”
Decker shrugged at Johnny. Johnny cleared his throat, “This feels kinda backwards, but can I get some of your hangover pills?” Trip raised an eyebrow, continuing to work. Johnny rubbed his temples with one hand, “I’ll pay you if you want.”
“Creds are a poor substitute for destroying a sample I only have a week to reconstruct from my beginning notes, but I accept,” Trip chewed the end of his stylus, “I recommend three, ten creds each. Decker can show you where they are.”
“C’mon, Johnny Marko. Let’s get you patched up,” Decker led Johnny away from Trip and to the bathroom.
Decker rifled through the vanity drawer and pulled a prescription bottle with the doctor crossed out on it. Decker checked inside and shook three into Johnny’s palm. Johnny dry swallowed and followed Decker into his room.
“Mind if I do the requisite Dealer/Buyer twenty minutes?”
“Something eating ya, Johnny?”
“I think so, but I don’t know what.”
“Not sure I follow. Mind if I smoke?”
“I mean I feel like something’s actually eating me.”
Decker cupped the lighter indoors when lighting his smoke. He sat on his bed in the middle of the room in silence and took a drag. Decker scanned Johnny’s face for a moment, “This has to do with your dreams, doesn’t it?”
Decker tapped his foot and took another hit.
“Since a couple years ago, I’ve been having either fragged up nightmares—like apocalypse type stuff—or fragged up dreams about fragging.”
“Any deets from the latter?”
“Usually starts out okay enough. Then once we get going, whoever is there they go dark, and it’s like I’m being-”
“-Sucked into a black hole by the best orgasm ever?”
Johnny cocked his head, “I suppose that’s a pretty good description of it.”
“Have I even mention that I hav-had a brother?”
“I don’t think we’ve ever gotten that close. You still never saw me when I was in DeMolition Lab.”
“You quit?”
“In a sense.”
“Weak. Regardless, my brother died when I was a kid. I was eight, he was fifteen. When he died, I saw, something, over him. When I got older, I started seeing it in my sleep too. So I stopped sleeping.”
“That explains a lot about you.”
“So this thing, you know what it is?”
“Only thing that matches is an Incubus or Succubus.”
“And in reality world.”
“No, serious. I’ve got a link to the world’s collected data archives in the base of my skull,” Decker tapped the shaved spot of his head where his corporate sponsored graybox lay beneath, “after all that research, going to monsters made sense when nothing else did.”
Johnny scoffed, “So I’m being attacked by nightmare sex demons?”
“Maybe,” Decker blew smoke out his nose, “I don’t know. All I can say is, if you are, expect bad dreams.”
Johnny’s hangover had mostly dissipated but he felt like puking, “Expect bad dreams?”
Decker dropped his smoke into an empty beer bottle, “Well, yeah. I think it’s pretty clear you’re having them.”
“Yeah,” Johnny steadied himself with the door jamb, “you’re right. Look, I’m gonna get going.”
“Sure ‘nuff. When are you reupping? I need a stim celebration package for New Years,” Decker called after.
Johnny was already crossing the common space, “I’ll keep you posted.”

The unit next to Decker’s, that had been Spencer’s place, before Johnny lost track of other occupants, was empty.  Laughter came from the piano bar downstairs. Johnny walked back out of Spencer’s or somebody’s open door and peeked over the rail.
Johnny rattled his way down the center steps. The Young Tart’s Social Club was in full effect; smoking, drinking wine, and laughing while playing cards. Thorn, Lex and Terry sat around a table with that cute girl with all facial piercings Johnny never bothered to learn her name.
“JohNNY,” Lex squeed, “hey there handsome, gonna join?”
“Who’s moving out?” Johnny thumbed towards unit 212.
“Fine, lovely day don’t ya think?” Lex went back to her wine, “prick.”
“I think it was that glasses chick,” Piercing Girl discarded three, “you know, the one with the cat?”
Thorn blew a cloud of smoke, “Who, Becky? No, she moved out like three weeks ago,” Thorn discarded a club from her flush, “gimme one,” she took a drag and a diamond for a row of hearts, “skag. And she was in 214,stupid. She was like, acting all weird and stuff for the last couple days, then she was like,” Thorn stabbed the air with her finger, “*boop* gone.”
“No, I meant the other chick with glasses. You know,” Piercing Girl gestured with her half-full glass, “the one with the cat. She would like, sit on her couch all day with the door open. That chick.”
“Oooooooooooooooooooh,” Terry said and drew two replacement cards from the deck, “that chick? She was weird.”
“Says the lady with a collage of old cut up paperback book illustrations,” Johnny screwed his face at Terry.
Terry stuck her tongue out at Johnny, “Alright bitches, show ‘em.” The girls dropped their cards on the table. All but Piercing Girl groaned.
Johnny crossed his arms, “Anyone else find it weird that people are just moving in and vanishing?”
“I find it weird Melody’s a cheating cunt,” Lex said behind her wineglass.
“Language, Alexia,” Melody said, collecting a pile of loose smokes and pills for the round. Terry dealt more cards.
Lex’s mouth was agape in mock outrage, “You dare.”
Johnny walked away as The Young Tarts Social Club tittered like schoolgirls behind their hands.
“Bye bye Johnnycakes,” Thorn called after.
“What the frag ever, man.”


Johnny drank from a labelless soupcan. His hands idle in his lap, supporting the drink with tented fingers, ass ache from the barstool. //are you gonna buy something or get on a wagon// I have this one Johnny didn’t bother to look up //looking up might kill ya once in a while// sing~songy tone like a bird in the morning when all you want is to sleep in—
Johnny rolled over in bed, came to consciousness for a second and said to himself he was totally going to remember this moment.
Johnny was heading home from somewhere. He’d been out and the day held no new secrets. He took the spiral staircase instead of going up the stairwell like usual since it was so convenient-wait,
why didn’t Johnny use the stairwell?
-he was driving his car he totally had and the spiral staircase is like so just there and—
—Standing like a thing out of a dream. Hair wild and lightning flashing for backlight. //Marko, you lazy frag. I told you I couldn’t protect you anymore.//
I should have listened to my dreams for once in my life.
Whole lotta good that’s done me.
Johnny sulked.
//You do remember all those years ago, don’t you? Skag, they could be centuries by now.//
They’re not(am i still climbing these stairs)
//Now it’s too late.
They’ve fed too much from all of you.
You’re next up to move out, Johnny.
They’re gonna use you to break through.
Take hosts again. They’ve convinced the rest.//
You mean the Succu-
//-Shut your mouth child, not in the Dreaming. You know what I fought that stuck me here.
Don’t need to be callin’ attention to ourselves, ya know?//
(i am still climbing these stairs)Johnny nodded
//And that’s what’s gonna eat ya, Johnnylove.
We can’t see each other that way.//
Maybe that’s a good thing.
//Yeah. It probably is.//
Will it hurt?
//It’ll feel terribly great from what I’ve seen.//
I wanted to move out of this place anyway. Away from—Johnny looked upwards past Tressie’s tresses. The spiral staircase had straightened. At the end, gargoyle-perched atop the Bauhaus era styled architecture sat a brick turret. In its center was a door with an opaque panel of glass pulsing with soft light. Framed in the panel, moments at a time, a slim—void black—shadow shown. The pulsing light grew in steady beats to a pound. Brick crumbles from the turret sides. Beneath shimmers corrugated sheet metal siding. Johnny’s on his feet.
//You were a reactor core. Plug you in and we’d shine for days. Whatever happened to that Johnny?//
Wordless Johnny pushes past Tressie up wooden steps. The roof to Johnny’s left opens into a bruised sky setting in reverse. Each step keeps Johnny two steps away from the door. Traveling faster makes it worse. Taking stairs by twos and threes pushes the shack into the vanishing point. The lattice to the right that would have been there normally had vanished somewhere. The sky found night forgetting to invite the earth. Johnny stood on rippling blackness with nothing but a horizon line and a dot that could once have been a doorway to a studio apartment. You know what? Frag this skag. I’m sick of this fraggin’ snakepit. Ya hear me? Come and fraggin’ get me, limprick.
No answer came.


Johnny felt like he’d been climbing stairs all night. He remembered waking up sometime during the night and felt there was a dream he was supposed to remember. Johnny opened his eyelids to slits.
Pre-dawn blue lit the courtyard in a soft haze. Johnny stood in the center of the third floor, leaning on the railing. He drug a palm over his face and knuckled sleep from his eyes. How did I get out here? He hawked a loogie into the center of the stage that must have been an above ground pool at some point. No one was awake. All replaced by a beautiful calm where one could dissect every moment of their life in introspective, zen-like, bliss. Johnny thought about the creds, both legit and crypto, and cash he had stashed away. A decent sum to move up north maybe. Check out the rest of the great megacity-state. Maybe move down to Antarctica, work with the terraforming teams. Anywhere but here. Something to turn around his fragging life in this postadolescent stage.
Lex walked out of her apartment, leaving the door wide open. That in itself wasn’t that abnormal but that she was barely clothed, actually that wasn’t that abnormal either. She was obviously sleepwalking, eyes shut and shuffling.
Johnny caught something in the corner of his eye. If there was a light in that opaque glass it faded once Johnny had his gaze on it. Lex had lurched herself up to the second floor by the spiral staircase. Johnny cut her off at the third.
“Lex, up-and-at-’em Lexie,” Johnny shook Lex as best he could to avoid brain damage. Wishing life was a twentieth century oldmedia flick so he could slap her awake, but concussion science had developed a lot in a hundred years, leaving Johnny to shout her name in her face.
“What the frag, leave me alone,” Lex pushed at Johnny, “I’m tired, geddoff me.”
“Lex, wake the frag up, what are you doing?”
Lex’s eyes barely registered another person, “Going to see someone.”
“Do you see me?”
“Of course I,” Lex’s eyes gained awareness, “Johnny, why are you in my,” Lex examined her surroundings and covered herself, “did I do this on purpose?”
“I can’t tell you for certain, but I don’t think you did,” Johnny looked across the courtyard in the rising morning light at 211, “go get dressed and meet me at Trip and Decker’s.”
“Uh, Ok. Weird much.”
“I think Decker can help explain away the weirdness. He’s done the research for us.”
“Nobody like, roofied me or anything, right?”
“You did that to yourself, but this is different. Kinda. Just get ready. Don’t wear anything you don’t want blood on.”

“What do you mean we dragged you out of bed?” Johnny scoffed, “You told me you never sleep.”
“But I almost did this time,” Decker rubbed swollen eyes. Lex, in Decker’s command chair, swiveled about in a circle of hardware, knocking over one of the server towers with a *THUD*. “Stop that,” Decker hissed. Lex planted her feet.
Door scraping against jamb sounded from the hallway. Trip shuffled out of his bedroom into the common area. “Why are people in my home?” Trip fiddled with his robe belt, “Dammit Decker, this is why I was against moving back.”
“Lex was sleepwalking, and Johnny thinks I was right about evil lurking on the 4th floor,” Thorn was JumpedUp and wide eyed.
“Then why are you here?” Trip said through a yawn.
Johnny stepped forward, “Decker’s the only one who has experience with what’s up there. Besides me, I guess.”
Decker said, “Then why is Thorn here?”
“I was up. Thought it’d be fun.”
Trip sighed, “Well, I guess I’m up now. What’s going on?”
Johnny said, “So, like, twenty some odd years ago my girlfriend at the time used to live here. She started having crazy apocalypse dreams, and being the religious type, went to church about it.”
“Last resort of the weak,” Thorn scoffed.
“It was reasonable enough for her,” Johnny pierced Thorn with dagger eyes, “but it did frag her in the end.”
Lex perked up, “Did she end up joining a zealotus cult?”
Johnny looked stunned, “Yeah, kinda. How’d you know?”
“Lucky guess. Word association,” said Lex.
“You guys hear about the Holy Knights?” Johnny stroked his lazyhawk.
Decker’s faraway stare glowed orange. “Fringewiki has them as a sanctioned sect of the Universal Church. They hunt Lilim. Claiming to have acute knowledge of their mentality and biology.”
“What’s a Lilim?” Trip cocked his horseface.
Decker groaned, “Dude,” exasperated sigh, “really? I gotta follow the link?” Decker’s eyes twitched back and forth, “Oh swallow my schlong, the intro is like five walls of text. Whatever, I’ve read up on this slag before. They’re like supernatural bounty hunters for the Universal Church.”
“Focus,” Johnny silenced the group, “she was having similar dreams to many of us. I’d put money on the same as everyone who’s been moving out of the years.”
“Except us,” Trip said, “we came back.”
“Yes, except Trip and Decker,” Johnny took a breath, “Lex was next on the list. And me.”
“I was almost up on the fourth floor,” Lex looked like she was sleepwalking again, “Johnny woke me. I was dreaming about seeing someone for something important. I just had to get-”
“-To the door,” Lex, Decker and Johnny said together.
They stood in silence what felt like five minutes.
“So what do we do now?” Decker said.
“Tressie, my girlfriend, had to cross over into, ‘the dreaming,’ is how she put it,” Johnny put his hands in his pockets, “she fought an Incubus in the dream world. She won, but ended up trapped there.”
Thorn raised her hand, “I’m totally high. So did you just say that your ex is stuck in a dream world with sex demons?”
“Wanted to get that straight,” Thorn sat on the floor, staring at her floral print sundress that she sat cross legged in. After contemplating life, the universe and everything in the span of a JumpLoop, Thorn raised her hand.
“Yes, Thorn?” Johnny called on her.
“We don’t have to cross over into dreamland or anything, right?” Thorn’s eyes widened with untold horrors, “I don’t think I’d want to go there.”
“The sex demon part sounds hot,” said Lex.
Decker said, “That kind of thinking got us into this mess in the first place.”
“Fellow Das Hausians. I think it’s time to see what’s on the fourth floor,” Trip did a stock adventurer pose.


Decker and Trip held up the rear guard. Thorn and Lex held hands as they climbed the wooden steps fenced in with lattice. Johnny was on point, looking to his left to the sky as sunrise finished. He turned to face the group before the door. Johnny’s eyes saw doors opening on the first floor. From each one, a dazed face tenant shuffled out into the grass.
“You guys ready for this?” The group nodded at Johnny. Lex and Thorn gripped each others hands. Lex bit her lip. Johnny gripped the knob, breathed out, and… the knob rattled a bit, but didn’t budge.
“Uh-oh, guess we gotta turn back around and let our nightmares eat us,” Trip tried to retreat and was grabbed by the arms by Decker and Lex.
“Someone give me your house key,” Johnny said, failing at working his into the keyhole.
“Why?” Thorn was incredulous.
Decker reached into his pocket and passed it up, “Because some of our keys are interchangeable.”
“What the frag?” Trip gawped, “I so hope our key isn’t the-” Johnny turned the knob with 211’s key, “-murdershackkey. Well I’m not sleeping ever again.”
“Been there done-” Decker said.
Johnny started cracking the door open, “Enough snappy banter. Stay frosty.”
“You just said enough snappy,” Decker dropped his head, “I’ll shut up now.”

They burst into the room filled with old cathode tube monitors and medical equipment. Different stats displayed on each matrix green on spinach green screen. From corners unseen, tubing and wires sprouted and crept ivy-like around the room. The early morning coolness stopped at the door. Inside, still air stunk of chemical and infection. In the center of the mess of med equipment and wires was a pink sickly thing that looked like an androgynous forty-something laid out on a gurney. Mummified corpses lay beneath in mounds of dust. It sat up. Beautifully terrible yellow irises flashed at the group. Boney bumps under its skin ridged down its forehead. Past its nose was a cross between a snarl and a smile.
It spoke, “Mmmm, the first course of our final feast.”
“Are you?”
“We are trapped here, away from our brothers and sisters. Our life goal has been to bring our kind back to this plane of reality,” It pulled itself upright, tubes feeding into it’s new-flesh pink torso moved beneath, “Where we can thrive again. Avoid stagnating as a pustulant sect of lotus eaters. Feeding upon our drug that is humanity’s lust and dreams. Staying numb to the world that birthed us, the world that sorely needs us to keep it in check.”
Several things happened at once. Lex turned and ran from the shack back down the steps, only to be turned back by a score of Das Hausians surrounding the spiral staircase. Trip fainted. Decker goggled at the surrounding monitors. Thorn gave a rapid fire string of expletives. The creature switched its gaze to unconscious Trip and licked its lips. Johnny reached under his shirt like he was scratching his back.
“So sick of all these pitiful so called dreamers and artists this pit attracts. This horrid shack has barely sustained our hunger since the seventies.”
“Only twenty some odd years ain’t so bad,” Decker was following where the wiring began and the tubing ended as the asexual pink thing’s life support.
“The nineteen seventies.”
“That’s a pretty low shot,” Johnny said, fingers tensing against the rubber grip of his M9 tucked in his waistband.
“You try practically starving that long,” The Incubus/Succubus pulled itself closer to the edge of the gurney. Wires and IV’s tugged at rollable freestands. The monitors toppled over in a domino effect, sparking and bursting on impact. It pulled itself free from its life giving bonds, spraying a not red dark liquid from the holes. The creature’s eyes flared with greedy laser red light as it lunged for Trip’s body.

The crack echoed about in the hardly insulated room, ringing out for miles around. The thing doubled over itself and slumped off the gurney, pulling the last monitors standing to the floor with it. Johnny blinked away drops of its blood on his eyelashes. Thorn shrieked in absolute horror, covered in foreign insides. Decker stared on in wide eyed wonder as if he were videotaping the event. Decker brought Trip back around, let him know it was okay now, and got him to his feet.

Murmurings rose from the courtyard behind them. A shrill whistle, followed by Lex’s 818girl drawl, “Guys, get down here, c’mon.”
More bursts of random whistling. Johnny blew smoke out of the barrel, switched on the safety, and left the room. The remaining crew shuffled behind, looking dazed and covered in gore. The sun was already a shaded light bulb behind the smog layer. Each door in Das Haus stood wide open. Everyone left in the complex gathered around the stage at the base of the spiral staircase.
Decker, Johnny, Thorn, and Trip moved through the parting crowd and sat on the lip of the stage. Sirens blared in the distance. Lex stood in the center of a group, “So? Are you gonna tell us what’s up there?”


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Lazy, strung out, strumming.

What is the value of art?

Whatever the individual values human emotion and experience at.

Everyone wants to be entertained. To me, reading comment sections of things makes me feel like no one wants to be entertained the way people are offering it. I feel that's from the entry bar being lowered into the worlds of content creation. The only barrier between doing and consuming is the amount of time, money and willpower you're willing to invest into making something worth someone else's time to then consume. This barrier is what separates commentator from creator.

It's way easier to bitch about how something didn't happen the way that you thought it should (which may be a fucking stupid way to do it). With every varying taste, the only thing I can suss out that everyone wants in a story, is the truth as close as it can happen within the world that's being crafted. Violations to that have fluctuating degrees of success depending on the audience. And you will always hear about it if there's space for someone to speak their mind about it.

I thankfully haven't been a target of someone's hate and bile for something I've made, but it's disheartening to see when people don't understand things that seem so obvious to yourself. While that leads to the wonder of the world being a collection of different perspectives, some people's perspectives are just fucking stupid. Either they weren't paying attention to the finer notes of what was given to them, or some imagined sensibility was offended, but if someone doesn't get it, the vitriol that spills out is best avoided. That may be in part because liking something is so standard and automatic. If someone rages on about something they hated, you end up with some of the greatest poetry of a human's soul. Which, if redirected could become a fresh work in its own merit. But alas, most folk prefer to spend their time bitching about stuff they hate instead of creating something they don't.

What brought this on was watching the season finale of True Detective, and thinking back to post episode tweets that mostly rang with the, "what is even going on?" message. True Detective, like any great mystery/noir, requires you to take the thing as a whole. But since it has to wrap up something in the space of sixty minutes while advancing the season plot to an ultimate conclusion, that means every week has to have something for those just tuning in, and esoteric things for those trying to tally off, "whodunnit". If you're casually watching the show, it's going to leave you feeling lost at times. The show is designed to confuse and obfuscate. But when shows have mass appeal, the more that insist on spoonfeeding all the answers up front.

It's like when you're watching a new movie, and you have someone constantly in your ear asking, "Who's that? What did they say? What did that mean?" All you want to say to them is, "Shut up, I have the same information as you." But you don't because while annoying in theaters, you're still friends with this person for some reason. That's how I picture everyone who didn't get season 2 of True Detective while it was still airing.

Season Finales are a perfect time for people to be disappointed by things. Mostly when they don't end the way the audience wants it to end. People still gripe about Seinfeld's finale, Mass Effect's ending, the end of The Sopranos, the final season of Dexter, and there are some valid complaints. But endings are always bitter for someone. The reactions you receive shape the legacy of the entire series. You end up being asked, "Why did it end in a church," for the rest of your life if people don't get the way it ends, which overshadows the entire work.

A good ending needs to be a payoff for every interaction through your entire work. It needs to answer all questions, tie or cut all threads, and only leave the questions the creator wants to ask be left lingering in the audience's mind. If you can do that right, you've got the world by the balls.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Dark Knight of the Soul

Talk about getting them in at the zero hour.

Firstly, my new book Pretty Words for Hateful Bastards is available to sell in all formats.

Amazon Kindle and PaperbackSmashwords in all eBook formats.

So today I just got back from being away from the city. A trip that allowed me to get hammered and introspective. It made me think about the future of my written works and the universe I've been building for over a decade, and just now putting it into form. Aside from that, it made me think about how I'm really doing all of this world building to ultimately make a comic book.

Recently, I've been reading graphic novels, particularly Batman. The world is perpetually in love with Batman, and can you blame them? Batman's had so many sides to him, so many years, and so much mythos, that at this point talking about him further would be a waste of everyone's time. But we love having our time wasted by Batman.

It all begins with being born in an alley. The iconic place in American folklore where all tragedy strikes. Every alley in America has the criminal element waiting for some square to take the wrong shortcut home. It helps establish the randomness of Batman's origin and makes you feel that this story could happen to anyone. Since in America, the land of opportunity, everyone can grow up and become president (all thanks to our other American folk hero, Lincoln). It makes you feel that you could be Batman.

Of course not all of us can be Batman. But as a child, urging your parents to make dangerous shortcuts in dodgy slums, those parents you're trying to march off into your orphanhood are getting in the way of your true calling. What you really could achieve is being adopted by Batman and becoming Robin. Which is essentially becoming Batman in waiting. After all, Jason Todd was recruited trying to steal hubcaps from the Batmobile.

But, yes, having inexhaustible wealth is a huge part of even owning a Batmobile. And as far as we know, no multi-billionaire is tooling around their hometown fighting crime. Let alone looking up random orphans to take under their wing like you're Annie. But it fulfills that dream inside of us that our parents aren't our parents and our real parents are our culture's royalty and they're going to die and I can do whatever I want.

And deep down inside, apparently, we all want to fight crime. Or at least seeing those that we deem to deserve justice be hoisted by their own petard.

Batman fulfills that idea of man becoming driven so far by good that he faces his own fears and comes out the other side. He is superlative, but still a mortal man. The only difference between you and Bats is all those wonderful toys and Bruce Wayne's ability to turn a multi-million dollar medical company entrusted to him into a hundred-billion tech leader in all scientific disciplines. And of course years of training, data harvesting and resource management.

Batman is the full spectrum of everything right and wrong about comics. But that's because he's had to endure every age of comicdom and be re-written to be cool, dark, campy, gay, and all spaces and mixtures in between. Batman wears a hat for everyone. Even the people who haughtily say they don't like Batman.

The story of the Bat is a primal one. And there's been dozens of amazing interpretations by the greatest talent in the fields of storytelling. But to accept the story of Batman, you have to accept the entire ugly history. From alley to return, Batman is the modern day Jesus. Consistently resurrected to sacrifice his body and bleed to save us all from ourselves.