Where did you come from? (The epiphany machine at work again)

My mind is filled with a whole conglomeration of random ideas.   Occasionally, one of them spins off and starts to ferment in a back corner.   A couple of weeks ago, a tiny idea took hold.   Last night it unfolded into an entire story, leaping along from point to point until I had an entire concept.  Then this morning, I sat down with the idea of getting it started so that I would not lose the idea and the impetus.   That was at about 9 am.    It did the usual changes in mid-stride, and is not what I envisioned even as recently as last night.   And then it was done.   5k words and an entire story, in less than 24 hours.  I love it when it all comes together as seamlessly as that.   Unfortunately it is extremely rare, so today was a gift.

My new friend is Nicola.   I like her a lot.  The core of this new story was the thought of children being innately magical and losing that as they grow up.   Then it grew into a thought, what would a society be like if the vast majority of their children really were magical, but lost it as part of adolescence?    What would it be like to deal with a magical four year old on a rampage, but as an adult, you had no defenses against them?   What laws would come from that?   What societal adaptations?   Who would enforce them?  What happens when someone just doesn’t fit into this?

Well, hopefully I can find a home for this one because it certainly was a fun ride.



Backlog, and a little summer cleaning

Like most authors who have been at it for awhile, I have started many stories that I just never got around to finishing.   I’ve  been going through them recently, and have finished and sent off to various publications. Cockleburs has had a full blog post devoted to it, so I won’t go there today.  It is a new story, completed in good time.

In Mysterious Ways is another short story that revolves around one of my favorite characters from a roleplaying game, Roan Lattimer.  Roan is a rather long in the tooth woman who was spaceship wrecked on a low tech world, where she used her high tech knowledge to rise to a position of power in their Church so that she could protect her new home.  This particular story really feeds (in my humble opinion) on the blurry line between accepting a deity’s existence and work in a character’s life and the fact that often miracles can be explained away if an observer wishes to.    This one sat around in my documents folder for a few years, it dates from early 2009 as does the other one I just finished today….

Trade Relations began in 2009.  It began very strongly, and for the life of me I don’t remember what came along to distract me from it. It is the weird love child of a sci fi/fantasy/speculative writer who is also involved in the Society for Creative Anachronism (a medieval recreation group)  Put them both together and you get a short story like this one.   I don’t want to even try to describe it, but I am very pleased I finally managed to get ‘er done, as they put it.

The Broker and the Fetch (the odd ghost story I referenced earlier) is also complete, and also springs from 2009.  Not sure what I was doing that year, I had three strong short stories that I let go dormant.

All four of them are completed as of today, however, and all four of them are out to various publications (What is up with horror markets only wanting tiny little stories?   I had to pass on several likely homes for The Broker and the Fetch because at 5857 words, it was considered to be too long.   They seem to really be buying only works that are under four thousand words… )

Cover art?

After spending 13 months in a weird sort of contract limbo, the publisher that wanted “Fall of the Old Guard” has suddenly popped back up into play, and their very first question is:  Do I have any ideas for cover art?

Er…  no, I must admit that I do not.   Sure, I see myself walking into a bookstore, going to the appropriate genre aisle, going to C and finding one of my books available there.  I see myself pulling it, shiny and new, from the shelf…but I don’t actually see it, except for the hint of foiled embossing on the cover for the title.    Maybe I’m just a bad author.  Maybe I don’t love my books enough.   Maybe my brain just doesn’t work that way, but none of them have ever tossed up a cover idea.    I think I’m just going to leave this one in their hands.

On another note, finished that quirky little ghost story I was working on (“The Broker and the Fetch”) and now I get to peruse ralan.com to see if I can find it a suitable home.   My usual go to places are all science fiction, so I’ll have to go outside of my box to see where I send it to.

The size of a thumb drive.

My writing laptop is beginning to show its age, so I decided to do a major full backup of all the files I would be even remotely sad if I lost due to a dead machine.   Now, I’m pretty conscientious about backing up my writing, since I have experienced the loss of more than one story the hard way, but this was a backup of more than that.   Pictures, oddities, basically every single thing that isn’t game related in my hard drive, and yes, story after story.


That’s multiple versions of every story, through edits and second thoughts.  That’s every single one of the books and novel length fan fiction arcs that I have described in these blogs.   That’s the breadth of my passion and drive for the last fifteen years.   And it fits on a thumb drive that I have hanging with my Blizzard authenticator on one of the pulls of my desk cabinet.   Sometimes the whole thing feels very, very small.   Ephemeral, like a fog.   The majority of my writing has never been put down on paper, it has only existed as little segments of data…electricity.


Just once, I’d love to pick up a book and know it was mine.