Expanding the Universe

May 22, 2017

Like many fine people on this varied planet of ours, I love Star Wars. In fact, being born in 1980, I’ve been a fan for pretty much my entire life. I got a little burned out in the mid-late 90’s, but things have redeemed themselves, and I’m happy with what’s available.

There are many games available, including a collectible card game from FFG—Star Wars Destiny. A great game! I love it and am always coming up with new decks and itching to play.

Also available? Stories. Right now, comic books are hot, and it’s good to see that the hobby and art form are doing so well. Marvel has a great series going with the Star Wars comics, and they’re telling stories for some of the best characters—a Lando Calrissian series is set to debut later this year, and there will be a Captain Phasma limited series as well. Poe Dameron, my personal favorite, has his own ongoing series too.

But they aren’t doing fiction like they used to. There is of course Star Wars Insider, and sure, there are novels coming out, and thankfully they aren’t going into the ridiculous areas that the old Expanded Universe book did in the 90’s. (It’s funny because I used to love those trilogies, but looking back now I can’t understand why I was so into them—they’re terrible!) One thing they used to have was the Star Wars Adventure Journal, a great inclusion in the meta.

Geared more towards the role-playing game by West End Games, it contained new campaign ideas and characters for the table-top game, but also had short fiction. One of my first attempts at getting published was with this book, released every few months like a magazine (but man, that thing was thicker than most novels!).

Some of the fiction was great. Stories of random characters not in the movies, people that did dirty work or had crazy things happen to them, all within the realms of Star Wars. In fact, Rogue One seemed like a story that could have come from there, whether or not it was so closely attached to the first movie.

The stories behind the stories.

Why aren’t they doing anything like this anymore? Or am I just missing it?

Not just because I want to write Star Wars stories (well, I could, but I don’t do fan fiction, and I’d love to have these get out there somehow), but I’d love to read some as well. Narrative vignettes of random people, somehow doing something involved in what you see in the movies, or a far-off backwater world with smugglers getting in a shoot-out with Stormtroopers…tons of things that could happen.

What do you say? Would anyone else want to see something like this? Do you know of something like this right now?

At the very least, maybe I could contact Disney/Lucasfilm themselves and start begging. We could even do a petition for it. I hope you’d sign in.

I’m serious.

The Latest

May 15, 2017

Man, where has the time been? Lots of stuff keeping me busy in real life, which is good! I even missed two big announcements, but it’s okay, great traveler! It’s never too late to enjoy the goodness.

My short story “Out of Sight” was published in the latest issue of Pulp Modern. I’m very proud of this story and excited that it found a home. The publication is amazing as well. Lots of great stories in it, and worth checking out. You can get a digital copy of it, but you can also get a print publication of it!

Pulp Modern. Get it while it’s hot!

I implore you to pick up a copy. I already got my payment for it ($10, whoo boy!), so I don’t benefit from others buying it. Still, it’s worth supporting small publications, independent authors and businesses, and let’s be honest, it isn’t that expensive. Maybe even write a review on Amazon while you’re at it.

Thank you in advance!

Anyway, remember last June when my story “Tyree’s Diadem” was published on the awesome webjournal Crimson Streets? Of course you do—that was one of my best stories, and one that launched a franchise featuring Clay and Styg. (In fact, I’m working on yet another story featuring them as we speak!)

Well, the first 26 stories published on the website will be collected in an actual print copy! This includes “Tyree’s Diadem” as well as many other great stories. I’ve done my best to keep up with the stories they publish (one per week) so it isn’t a majorly time consuming process. Plus, I’ve gotten to read some of the best unknown and lesser known authors out there.

I’ll of course put a link to it when it’s available, but please keep this in mind! If you love fun pulp adventures (of every genre), good writing, or simply like supporting the community, please buy a copy (again, I make no extra money on this).

Also, last year my story “Behind You, in the Corner” was published on Bards & Sages Quarterly. Thanks to many of you, it won the Reader’s Choice award for the July ’16 issue. Due to that, this summer, Bardic Tales & Sage Advice vol. 9, the “Best Of” issue featuring the best stories from the previous year’s issues, is coming out. Hoping for an August release, details are pretty much what I just wrote, but again, you’ll be notified once I am!

Other than that, I’m working hard on getting other things done. Been editing a lot, working on Clay and Styg, and still trying to get The Third Tower finished. I’ve got a free story coming real soon on Smashwords, and who knows? Maybe In the Pale Moonlight will have a price break sooner than you know it? (As if $1.99 is too expensive for some people!)

Thanks a lot my sexies! Keep reading, and keep kicking ass.

Christmas, 1988. I was nine years old. Like typical kids, my brother and I watched cartoons after school, and our sister, a few years older, had a steady stream of television and the like to keep her mind turning into mush. We were pretty much your typical suburban white privilege kids.

And we wanted damn near every stupid thing we saw on TV.

So there’s this new game. Well, new to us, because we hadn’t seen it yet. But this new game, with these awesome commercials. This game that looks better than any board game we’d ever seen, and has a really cool theme with, like I said, awesome commercials.

Fireball freaking Island.

Go watch the commercial. Go on, I’ll wait.

Fireball Island Commercial!

Pretty cool, huh? Damn straight. So cool that you can find all sorts of stuff online about it. I’m hardly the first to write about it. Two of the more well-known reviews of it are the no-longer-written but still awesome X-Entertainment (Matt now writes Dinosaur Dracula and has more recently spoken about the game on his Purple Stuff Podcast), and James Rolf’s Board James persona. Both are worth checking out (and are actually linked on the Wikipedia page for the game).

As you can see from the YouTube video, there are several websites dedicated to the game. More video reviews of it. So much on the web that gushes love for this game!

But I’m not here to say the same things they said, or any other site. I wanted to talk about the game because it reminds me of some fun memories with my siblings.

Recently, my only nephew turned 11. I love when there’s a birthday or some sort of holiday, because it gets my brother, sister and me together. We all have a lot of fun, usually ending up talking about our childhood and laughing the whole time. With our nephew and niece, we can often relate stories to them of “when we were your age” and watch them cringe. It’s a good time.

So I was thinking of Fireball Island, and how the older we got, one of the few times the three of us would sit down together and be civil with each other was with a game. That Christmas, ’88, we received several other big ticket items. Our dad must have gotten a pretty big bonus check, unless our parents just managed to put aside a good Christmas fund.

Like I said, we were your typical white privilege kids, so Christmas was always a pretty good blowout for gifts for us (not so much birthdays, though). But in ’88, we had some big things. So imagine us all having our own things to do. And yet we still sat down to play a game with each other.

The rules were pretty easy. A lot of online reviews will talk about the complex rules, but I think that’s because the kids today are soft. They need someone to hold their hand every step of the way. Not us, no way. We got tossed in and left to deal with it on our own.

You moved your little explorer guy, and drew cards. If you had the right card, you could launch a fireball. The marbles would go down their respective paths, and knock over other play pieces, and even bridges. There were transport caves, and a mystical jewel that you had to claim. If you didn’t watch that commercial, go do it so you can see what I’m talking about!

I tried to play the game with friends, but they never wanted to. I had boring friends.

Maybe it was because we didn’t feel the need to fight each other with fireballs. Maybe that was why me, Amy and Andy loved it. We could compete in a friendly game, while knocking each other down with fireballs. Who wouldn’t love that?

For some reason, with the resurgence of games, especially board games, no one has brought this back. Go to any Barnes & Noble, or a friendly local game store, and check out all the amazing games they have. It goes far beyond Monopoly or Life, much more than anything Milton Bradley ever put out. Some games cost $50 or more, with hundreds more pieces. So why not bring back Fireball Island?

I keep thinking about this game. I keep wanting to write a story about it. Perhaps I shall. But more than that, perhaps I’ll sell a kidney and find a complete version of Fireball Island on ebay.

Maybe someone will realize how great that game truly was, and understand that a new generation needs to experience it. Bring it back, Milton Bradley. Bring it back.

The Wish

March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of my rich Irish heritage (okay, maybe a quarter of me?), I’m celebrating the day not by getting plastered and running around like an idiot with a Kermit the Frog puppet hanging from my backpack, but instead with the one thing I love best–telling a story.

It’s short, silly, and probably not very good. Still, I had fun writing it. Enjoy!


The Wish

Amidst the chaos of climate change and wishy-washy weather patterns, spring had come early. Not budging in temperature or lack of precipitation for two weeks, people let out a collective breath and pulled out their light jackets. Joey maintained his heavy boots and gloves, though. Working outside for long periods of time always brought a chill to his bones.

This most recent assignment too him away from the city, away from even the most remote of the new subdivisions. Out in the country, one would frequently spot a patch of trees, even tiny forests larger than a few yards put together.

Not out here. Rural and countryside, no doubt, but these fields stretched into the horizon. Forests, true to their name, dotted the endless plains, filled with flora and fauna of all sorts. Possibly even some we know nothing about, Joey thought.

He pushed his way through the barriers of tall grasses and scraggly shrubs. Darkness, despite the patches of streaming sunlight illuminating the foyer of the smaller trees, reigned supreme. He stood still, clutching his weapon close to his torso, allowing his eyes to adjust.

So much green. Even this early in the year, the trees and all of their subordinates had sprouted into life, damn the potential frost or chill. Vines choked trees, plants littered the ground, and moss carpeted anything it could. Joey breathed in deep, the sweet and sour, musty and fresh scents mingled in his nose.

Whatever this forest boasted, whether real or not, would never expect such an early discover. Tales from travelers and even the errant farmer spoke of something emerging under the light of the moon or cover of darkness, destroying anything and everything in its path. There was no pattern, and no rhyme or reason. With zero percent failure, Joey had no doubt this would end the way his agency expected.

Small creatures scurried out of sight, leaving nothing but scattered dead leaves in their wake. Birds took off and landed, their screeches and cries echoing in the silence of the early morning. Joey’s footsteps crunched on the ground, but placed with care and practice as to keep attention away from himself.

Deeper into the woods he went, gripping his rifle tight, but held low. Eyes darted in every direction, scanning for any possible lair belonging to the scourge of the countryside. A mound, a fallen tree, or even a large nest up above might house this creature, this thing that no one could describe with anything other than fear.

Joey smiled. He had put down scarier beasts than the most experienced D&D player…and this was real life.

He checked his watch. Only fifteen minutes had passed. Behind, the treeline of the forest still stood close. Had he been walking that slow, or was this treacherous terrain? Not that it mattered, this job was over when it ended. He continued on.

Twigs snapped and leaves rustled. Nothing out of the ordinary, and not anything that would terrorize under cover of darkness. Still, he gripped his Model 70 tighter, finger grazing the trigger. One after the other, he stepped forth over a narrow fallen tree.

The nearest house had to be over two miles from here, a storage barn maybe one. So how did he hear music all of a sudden?

Cheerful, upbeat music, fiddles and flutes and drums all working together in rhythm and speed, emanating from somewhere ahead. Joey peered through the scope attached to his Winchester. Panning the forest from left to right and back again, nothing revealed itself. Still, someone or something was out there. Whether some carefully hidden musicians or a radio left behind by some partying country kids, Joey’s ears never deceived him.

It grew louder with every step he took. Moving in a straight line directly through the middle of the woods, Joey knew he followed the right path. More instruments joined in with the growing volume, sounds of rhythmic clapping and foot tapping rounding it out. Wherever it came from, it sounded like a pretty good hootenanny.

And then he saw it.

Through the dim light of the midday forest, golden illumination flooded out of a three, tall and wide. On the side opposite Joey, the light and music spilled onto the forest floor. He crept around the base, holding his breath.

An opening no taller than a toddler and just as wide revealed itself. Joey backed away, but cocked his body to the left, allowing him to see inside. While the tree was no more than three feet wide, the inside held much more, a paradox to the human eye.

Not to Joey. Some of the things he had seen and dealt with would cause a comic book artist to faint. This was real. And he knew exactly what was inside.

None of them had noticed him. The ten little folk, no taller than two feet each, danced and clapped and played their music. Amongst the ornately carven interior, the leprechauns carried on without a care in the world. However long this fete had been going on was anyone’s guess, but Joey had a feeling they never kept track. While legends dictated that he would get three wishes by catching one, he knew that to be nothing but a mummer’s tale. Something else was going on here, and he knew exactly what.

Whipping around, he raised his rifle and prepared to fire. Silent and lithe, the giant snake reared back, ready to strike. Had he waited even one second longer, those massive fangs would be sunken to the gums in Joey already.

“Don’t even think about it,” he whispered. “Don’t make another move.” Animals rarely understood when he talked to them, but it comforted him to do so. Pointing a long gun at them usually got the point across, but a well-timed bullet also helped.

Slowly, the snake sunk closer to the ground. Its forked tongue flickered, eyes locked on Joey’s. Trailing off into the distance, the only possible way to measure its length would be to kill it, but the head had to be the size of a moped. At its widest, the tube-like body rivaled that of Joey’s wide, muscular frame, but could easily swallow him whole.

He held firm, feet not moving. If the pale green reptile speared into him, it would take quite a bit of force to knock him over. One bullet from his gun, however, would make a quick end of his stand-off foe.

“Ye didnae fall fer it!”

The voice resembled every stereotypical leprechaun voice he had ever heard on television or a movie. Those sprang from truth, Joey reflected, so it made sense. He never took his sights off the massive beast or lower his weapon, but the wee-folk had his attention.

“You were a distraction.”

“True. And our friend brings us the baddest of the bad.”

“I’m not bad.”

The snake moved backwards, less than a foot. Joey’s finger grazed the trigger, but didn’t squeeze too tight.

“Yeh’re all bad. Yeh jes’ don’na know it.”

The snake’s head lifted from the ground. Joey’s heart jolted. Before he could even blink, the beast reared fully back, immediately shooting towards him.

His ears rang with the gunshot. Before the snake even had a chance to open its wide, fang-filled mouth, Joey had pulled the trigger. The large green head exploded, blood spattering the surrounding trees.

He spun at the waist, right arm shooting forth. His fingers wrapped around the leprechaun’s jacket as the little man gasped. Joey lowered his gun as he pulled the wee-folk up to his eye line.

“I want a wish,” Joey growled.

“Yeh get three.” The leprechaun clawed at Joey’s hand and wrist, but may as well have been punching a brick wall.

Joey smiled. “I only need one. Get me a monster worth going after. Something that won’t go down without a fight.”

The leprechaun’s eyes threatened to bulge from its head.

“Yeh don’na want that! I’ve seen it, believe me, it’s ugly.” He rolled his eyes back to the tree. “Wanna come in an’ have a pint or two? Special brew, just for us wee folk.”

Joey pulled him closer so that their noses practically touched. “I like ugly. I want terror. I want evil. I want to feel like I need to run for the first time in my life.”

The leprechaun looked off to the side for a moment. A wide grin appeared as his eyes returned to Joey’s.

“How about a dearg due?”

Joey scoffed. “Stake through the heart.”

“Dullahan?”

“Give it gold.”

“Balore?”

He hefted up his rifle. “Shoot it in the eye.”

Beads of sweat dripped out from underneath the leprechaun’s bowler hat. He tugged at his collar, taking a deep breath.

“What about…Caorthannach?”

Joey dropped the little faerie. His mouth fell open, corners curling up. Slowly, he nodded.

“There’s no water around here. I won’t know what to do.”

“Wish granted, then.”

Joey looked down at the little man. “When and where?”

A sideways pillar of flame erupted scant feet to the left of Joey. He spun around, the darkness giving him no obfuscation as to what approached: a massive skull, enwrapped in fire.

He gripped his Winchester close to his body. That wouldn’t help, but it gave him comfort. The only thing he could do at this point was run.

Another burst of flame came close to him. The heat singed a few hairs on his arm. With a final look and nod at the leprechaun, Joey turned back towards the way he entered the forest and started to run.

He would have loved to take up the leprechaun on his offer of beer, but this was far better. Finally, a reason to run.

 

THE END

Time to hang it up?

March 9, 2017

This is one of those days where I keep asking myself, “What’s the point?”

For a very long time, I’ve loved writing. When I was a sophomore in high school, I started writing my own stories. My junior year, I made the decision to pursue a creative writing degree. I never looked back.

But let’s face it, there isn’t exactly a huge job market for that. Maybe I could have gone into television or comic books, but they’re not exactly markets you walk into. I’ve struggled at getting anyone’s attention, but it’s been very few and far between.

I’m 36 years old. In June, I’ll be 37. I’ve been actively pursuing the elusive published story for more than half of my life. Not much has come of it.

Sure, I’ve had a few stories accepted. Some even made money. $36 here or there, nothing to write home about. But it was a start, and it was acknowledgement.

It’s been too long since my last one. I’ve sent out a steady stream of short stories, flooding the market with them all at once. I get some very polite, well-written rejection letters that prove the editors have actually read the story. I’ve gotten some (most, actually) that tell me they took one look at my name and tossed it out right away.

Just a few weeks ago, I self-published my first novel. It was exciting! I put a lot of effort into it, especially considering I was 100% responsible for all of it. I’ve advertised in many different ways, begged “friends” to read and review, and spent countless hours promoting it.

I have sold exactly 1 copy.

You didn’t read that wrong. One. Uno. Solo. Ein. A, an, un, une. Okay, you get the point.

Don’t think I’m doing this just to make money. But how frustrating is it to have all those years of schooling, all those late nights of sending stories out, writing, editing, frying my eyeballs from staring at the screen too long, everything I’ve done…and I have one sale to show for it.

No reviews, no sample copies downloaded for free, no clicks on the ads, no likes on Facebook, no anything.

So why? Why should I continue? Why should I finish the short story I’ve been writing these past few days? Why finish the book I’m 3/4ths of the way through writing? Why edit the stack of stories I’ve been hanging onto?

I used to say it was because I love it. But lately, I don’t think I do. Lately, I don’t know what to think, other than to just give it up.

The Best Devils

March 1, 2017

The Devil, no matter what you call Him or believe about Him, has been an ever-present force in popular culture. Sometimes hero, sometimes villain, and sometimes just there, He is one that everyone knows and recognizes almost immediately.

While one of the more famous antagonists in one of the most famous books of all time, many other forms of literature and storytelling include the dark one as well. Movies and television, for instance, are one of the most accessible mediums to deliver depictions of the great antagonist, and some of the most recognizable.

The following list contains some of my favorites, but by no means is the most definitive.

Little Nicky (2000) – Harvey Keitel

Actually not an antagonist, but a loving, caring father who wanted the best for his kids. Little Nicky, played by Adam Sandler, was his son, who had an important job and was cheered on by his dad down in Hell. Also one of the best portrayals of what happened to Hitler after he died, and one we all hope is true.

End of Days (1999) – Gabriel Byrne

Definitely overdone in the pompous way that Byrne is famous for, this man truly made you feel like he was ushering in the apocalypse. One of the more interesting foils for our hero, wonderfully portrayed in the overdone style that Arnold Schwarznegger does so well, this was the popcorn flick we needed in times of turmoil and stress brought upon by the new millennium, and Byrne portrayed the villain we so desperately wanted to see vanquished.

Prince of Darkness (1987) – A swirling mass inside a container

Does anyone remember this forgotten gem from John Carpenter? A movie you truly have to pay attention to every detail to fully understand, it’s rather psychological and leaves you with a really…creepy feeling. There’s the Devil, but also an Anti-Christ and an Anti-Anti-Christ…yeah.

Reaper (2007) – Ray Wise

I feel like if the Devil truly does exist the way the Bible says, this would be the most accurate portrayal. Ray Wise, always awesome in anything he does, brought a wry sense of humor and realism to his character. It’s such a shame that this show only lasted for two short seasons, but I have a feeling that it would have gotten old pretty quickly if it continued for much longer. Still, this cemented Ray Wise in my mind as one of the greatest actors of our time, and provided a lot more fun to this comedy that teetered on the edge of meh.

Constantine (2005) – Peter Stormare

Okay, so this movie wasn’t the greatest. In fact, John Constantine, one of my favorite characters of all time, was not even remotely done justice. However, the surprise appearance of the Devil Himself at the end gave it a ray of light that made me smile. Peter Stormare, one of the greatest character actors we have, brought such a matter-of-factness and passion to the Devil that you just couldn’t help but want to have a beer with the guy. Full of jokes and buddy-buddy attitude, no one but Peter could pull this off. Worth watching the movie just for this, but you could also skip ahead to his scene.

Supernatural (2007) – Mark Pellegrino

Over the years on the 28 seasons of Supernatural (yes, I know there’s only been 12 with a 13th coming), many people have portrayed Lucifer Himself. Rick Springfield worked hard for the weekend, but didn’t do as good a job as the Devil as Mark did. You may remember Mark from Lost as Jacob, or Dexter as Rita’s ex-husband Paul, but in my opinion his shining moment was on Supernatural. He had a subtle smoothness to him, a sense of urgency that shined through his gritty exterior. The kind of guy that you could envision being possessed by the Devil, and if you knew it, and would totally believe it.

The Prophecy (1995) – Viggo Mortensen

Yep, it was Aragorn himself in this one. A chilling, cerebral haunter in a graveyard, he talked, and you listened. He played a bit of an anti-hero, actually preventing someone from doing something really bad. This movie is beyond a cult classic, and if you haven’t seen it before, why not? Every performance is awesome in this, but when the Devil shows up, you’ll know it, and won’t forget it.

Futurama (2000) – The robot Devil!

How can you not love this guy? Played up for laughs more than anything, some of the best plots came about because of him. Still, some diabolical antics arise and no matter how much you love him or hate him, you realize that yep, this is still the Devil.

So that’s my list. What do you think? Let me know in the comments—which depictions of the Devil do you like best?

And if you’re interested in reading an interesting take on Lucifer, check out my new book, In the Pale Moonlight, available now!

Smashwords

Amazon

It’s Time

February 13, 2017

Well call me Mr. Bigtime.

Things have been happening for me. Good things, things that make me feel like an actual, real-life author. I know I am, but this is for real. This is awesome.

Where do I start?

For quite some time now, I’ve spoken about my novel, In the Pale Moonlight. Never at length, and never anything revealing. But it’s coming soon, and I’ve had so much to do for it. After 60+ failed attempts at getting an agent, I made the tough decision to self-publish. I realize that self-publishing isn’t the taboo thing it once was, but I wasn’t crazy about it.

Self-publishing is good because I control everything. I don’t get shafted on money, I don’t have ideas and decisions tossed out because someone wants to vicariously implement their thoughts onto mine, etc. It’s bad, though, because I’m 100% responsible for everything.

EVERYTHING.

Artwork, promotion, dates, times, formats, basically just getting shit done is 100% on me, with no one else there to do it for or with me. Sure I can ask for help, but for what? “Hey, can you bust your ass for me so I can possibly make a couple bucks with my novel and you’ll get a hearty pat on the back?” Yeah, no.

It’s okay, though. I’ve learned a lot. And I’m happy with myself for managing to get it all done. Formatting, proofing, artwork decisions (believe me, there were a LOT!), promotions, all of it. I’ve worked very hard on this, and I feel confident in myself.

The book is coming out on February 27th.

That’s two weeks from now! Preorders are available, and the book is easy to find online. Smashwords, Amazon, and all the other sites they’re affiliated with. It’s even on Goodreads! Hell, I’m an official Goodreads author now!

It’s exciting.

While it’s true that “anyone” can do this, how many actually do? How many put the work in to not only write a book start to finish, but also go through all the steps of getting it online and ready to sell/read/enjoy?

Like I said, I’ve put in a lot of work. And I know it’ll all be worth it. I couldn’t be happier to share it with you, and I’m sure you’ll all enjoy.

Thanks so much for your support!

Smashwords

Amazon

Mr. Proactive!

January 25, 2017

I’ve been busy busy busy!

A short story I’ve had an idea in my head for over three years finally got written. I’m happy with it, but it’s not perfect. I know that’s nothing to worry about, especially at the beginning of it, and also because it’s part of a triptych. Three related stories, all with the own characters and plots. Now I just need to write the last part!

I went through my writing folder and found several stories I had, erm, forgotten about. I hate it when I do that, but several works are finished, and have been for some time. I need to go through this more often!

This also means there is another flash piece I can give ya’ll! I have a whole bunch all ready to go, but this one especially fitting, given recent events. You’ll know what I mean soon enough.

Also, with all these ideas out of my head, I’m able to get back to the nitty gritty. In the Pale Moonlight is almost ready for release (next month!!!), and The Third Tower is able to get finished…finally!

Just wanted to keep ya updated. Hope you’re having good luck too!

PS – I’ve been listening to the Gone Girl soundtrack for the past few days. I haven’t listened to it in some time, but man, it really gets my brain juices flowing!

Well crap….

January 22, 2017

I’ve made some bad mistakes before. Some I’m so embarassed by I’ve blocked them, or at least go out of my way to bury them. What I did just a little bit ago might not be the worst thing ever, but I feel like I’ve made such a stupid, amateur mistake that it might cost me.

I just submitted a story to a few publications. You know, the typical thing. Unfortunately, instead of using my professional email address that I always do, I was still signed in to my regular, personal use email.

I highly doubt any of these publications even notice that stuff, let alone care. For all I know, they might have authors that use emails like footlongdong_69@yahoo.com. I don’t even know if that’s real, nor do I care. And I’m sure they don’t either.

The point is, I can’t believe I let myself overlook that basic thing. Especially because on every cover letter and within the submission itself, my professional email address was on there. They might be like, huh? But then realize what a dolt I am, and toss it in the trash.

Maybe that’s why NewMyths.com rejected the story within ten minutes?

Yep, no joke. Never happened, not ever, not once. Not even with The Dark, who is quick enough to get their rejections to me within 12 hours.

Anyway, I hope this doesn’t cost me. I doubt it will, but when it comes to the things we love, the things we put our hearts and souls into, we worry about minutae, because we demand perfection.

So why can’t we give ourselves what we want?

PS – Glad to hear about so many women in the Women’s Marches all across the country today! I know several fine ladies who participated, and I’m so proud and happy to see so many people banding together against tyranny and oppression! Keep up the awesomeness!

Rogue One

January 16, 2017

I wrote this a few weeks ago, but it goes beyond simply talking about the plot and fun stuff of the latest Star Wars movie, and more into writerly motivations and musings, but still, please stop reading if you don’t want spoilers. That’s right: SPOILER ALERT!

I’ve always loved Star Wars. In fact, it’s what inspired me to become a writer. Back in 1994 I was reading Kevin J. Anderson’s Jedi Academy trilogy, and loved every minute of it. I know a lot of people have given some horrid reviews of the 90’s era Star Wars novels, and I’m sure if I went back after 20+ years and reread them, I’d agree. But hey, I was 14 and thirsty for anything Star Wars related.

I loved the role playing game by West End Games and drove my friends insane begging them to play it with me. We had fun, but it was no AD&D Second Edition. One of the coolest parts of that game was the digest with new scenarios and characters and fiction. One night while flipping through, I saw at the front of the book submission information…and decided I’d write a story.

It lasted all of one page and I gave up after a week.

Regardless, I will always and forever love Star Wars.

So it’s no surprise that I loved Rogue One!

What a great, gritty story. Hopeful, but intense as hell at the same time. And from a writer’s point of view, incredible characters.

I felt like I knew enough about all of them to care. They had their motivations, their strengths and weaknesses, and their own story arcs. Sadly enough, they all died, but not surprisingly. Some went out in a blaze of glory, and others had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Which brings me to my only complaint about the movie: Baze Malbus.

Going into this film, I loved the look of this guy. Big, heavy weapons, a gritty appearance, and the faithful companion to his oldest friend. I was not disappointed in the movie at all, as they did an excellent job with his character. Except for his death…

They could have done a better job giving him a reason for it. His friend died, and ran out into an active firefight to check on him, took out a few enemy troops, and then died in an explosion. It really accomplished nothing. Like I said, I know that in real life, these things happen, but why did he have to be so mindless about it?

As a writer, I’m taught that things need to happen for a reason. There needs to be a motive, a purpose, something that makes a man do what he’s doing. So why couldn’t they have him just get enraged and charge the battlefield, taking out as many guys as he could along the way? Why not have him jump onto a troop transport swarming with enemy troops and pull a grenade, taking out himself and everyone else, thus securing a safe passage for the other characters?

It bugged me, and still does. I know it can’t change, but it makes me realize that when I write something, I’ll need to follow these rules or guidelines so that no one is scratching their heads.

However, at the end of the movie, everything was redeemed. The last five minutes were more amazing than anything I think I’ve ever seen in a movie.

Darth Vader, mowing down an entire platoon of Rebel troops like it was nothing? Fuck yeah! Lightsaber in one hand and the Dark Side in his other (seriously, it showed him waving his hand and fist to fight these guys), he plowed down that corridor and tore through those men. I know he’s the bad guy and all, but shit…I wanted to see him win just out of general principle.

I will study that scene. I will write my own version of it. It will become my go-to for any and all action scenes I write, now and forever more.

Well, maybe not all of them. But most of them. And nothing will be as awesome as that.