Monday, August 18, 2014

Even More Noise

Good morning, gentle readers!
I'm pleased to announce that you can now purchase a physical copy of Random Noise, my latest collection of short stories, from Amazon.  The link to my Amazon Author Page is at the top of the blog.
Thank you for all of your support!
Happy reading!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Rat Queens

Good afternoon, gentle readers!
Today, I want to talk about Rat Queens, a fantasy comic from Image Comics produced by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch.  The book follows the exploits of a group of female adventurers: Betty, Dee, Hannah and Violet.  It was nominated for a 2014 Eisner Award for Best New Series and may soon be adapted as an animated television series.
I've heard of Rat Queens, but never read it until last night. I was wandering through my local bookshop when I came across a copy of the trade paperback and bought it on a whim.
The book is very much an adult fantasy with a breezy narrative and uncomplicated characters. That, I think, is its strength and its weakness.
On the one hand, it would be very easy for new readers to jump aboard.  However, there isn't a lot of substance to the series, either, and I can't honestly say that I feel any strong desire to continue reading it. If I did, it would be solely as trade paperbacks and not as a monthly title.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give Rat Queens a 4.  I wouldn't add it to my subscription at my local comic shop, but might glance at the occasional issue on the stand.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Random Noise

Random Noise is a collection of miscellaneous short stories covering a variety of subjects. Here, you can read about the starship pilot visited by his wife's ghost, the floating cities of a distant future consumed by hate, a woman's realization regarding the difficult choices she made and a variety of other stories. Also included is a sequel to one of the author's previous works, The Marvelous Land of Ap.
Currently available for the Kindle and soon-to-be available in paperback via CreateSpace!

Monday, July 28, 2014

(Fiction) The Peace Process

In the end, it was the presence of the murdersmith that ended the war.  He appeared at the peace talks, an austere figure in a razorblade suit and helmet made of bone and polished steel.
None of the parties involved would admit to inviting him there and no one had the balls to go up and ask the murdersmith himself.  The delegates avoided him, discreetly, while their various security attaches watched the creature, calculating escape routes and uttering silent prayers to any friendly higher powers that were listening that shit would not go down.
The murdersmith drifted.  He circled the room, on the periphery, a flute of expensive champagne in a black-gloved hand.  When the dancing started, he made his way out to the balcony, where he stood with his back to the room, the light from the two moons glinting off his helmet.  The delegates waltzed, trying to forget that he was there.
“I can’t decide.  Are you the life or the death of the party?”
The murdersmith turned toward a corner of the balcony, draped in thick shadows. A woman stepped out of the darkness. Her long, ash blonde hair, hung down her back and she wore a gown composed of sleek, chitinous scales.
“Neither,” said the murdersmith.  “I’m just crashing.”
A pale eyebrow rose. “Really? How gauche.  I’d heard your kind had better manners.”
He shrugged and turned back to the moons.  She came up beside him, standing so close she could smell him; he smelt like dust and ammonia and sex.
“So why are you crashing the party?” she asked.  “You know you’re freaking the fuck out of everyone in there.”
“Not you.”
She shrugged and her chitinous gown shifted; he realized it was a sort of swarm-thing, alive and symbiotic, clinging to her bare skin. Such things were out of fashion and mildly scandalous.
“Death doesn’t frighten me,” she said.  “I’m dying.”
He just nodded.  She liked that he didn’t offer fake sympathy or ask what was killing her.
“Are you saved?”
“No,” she said.  “This is me. All of me. When I die, that’s it.”
“I find that elegant,” said the murdersmith. “Neat.”
“Thank you. I think.”  She turned, leaned against the balcony.  The light from the open doors washed over her face.  The music had changed from a stately waltz to something quick and skirling.
“What dreadful music.”
The mudersmith put down his champagne. “Would you like to dance?”
She sighed. “I thought you’d never ask.”
He whirled her around the balcony, surprisingly light on his feet.  She laughed and her laughter drew the attention of one of the delegate’s wives.  The woman watched the murdersmith dance with the woman in the swarm-dress and pointed them out to her husband.  Her husband was high up in one of the delegations and, as he whirled his wife across the dance floor, he stared at the couple on the balcony.
He recognized the woman immediately; she was a member of one of the mercantile corporations that supplied arms to both sides in the conflict.  The fact that she was dancing with the mudersmith, fearless and smiling, caused a terrible suspicion to form in the delegate’s mind.
Abandoning his wife, the man rushed to find the head of his delegation, the Duchess of Xu.  He shared his suspicion with her, that the mercantile corporations were going to hire the murdersmiths to keep the war going.
“It makes sense,” admitted the Duchess.  “The corporations are the only ones benefitting from the damned war.”
“What should we do?” asked the man.
The Duchess pursed bone-white lips and looked across the ball room, toward her opposite number, the Prince of Something-or-Other.
“What no one expects us to do,” said the Duchess.
She gathered the folds of her gown, a confection of black cloud-silk studded with luminous diamonds, and headed across the floor toward the Prince.  The Prince, seeing the Duchess approach, decided to meet her halfway across the dance floor.  He asked her to dance, she accepted and, as they spiraled around the ball room, speaking softly to one another, a practical peace emerged.
The murdersmith and the dying woman did not notice or care.  They danced, slowly, on the moonwashed balcony, until the wee hours of the morning and then parted company, never to see each other again.

Monday, July 21, 2014

History Repeats Itself...With Dead Birds

Gentle readers, please bear with me, it's been a trying day.
It started nicely enough. I slept in, woke and went to the mall.  I've got an empty vase in my living room that I've been looking to fill with something.  I went by three stores, looking for ideas.  None of them really leapt out at me.
It was while I was at the third store that it happened.
I paid for my purchase (which I now have to return by the way) and went out to my car.
And there, sprawled on my hood, dead as the proverbial coffin nail, was a bird.
A crow.
It was sprawled across the hood of my car like a super-realistic paint job.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the second time a crow has died on my car hood.
The first time was in Anchorage a few years ago and I was witness to that particular incident. It was not an experience I wanted to repeat any time soon, in any way, shape or form.
But, there I was, again, standing by my car, pondering what the hell to do with this dead bird.
In the end, I used the shopping bag like a glove and pulled the corpse off my hood.  It tumbled to the ground in a lifeless sprawl of bones and feathers and already decaying meat.
Then I walked back into the store, washed my hands in their rest room and came home.
Where, if I may be quite honest, I think I'm going to get a bit blotto.
Or possible binge on white chocolate.
I haven't decided.
And that's the kind of day I'm having, gentle readers.
Here's hoping you're having a better one.