Saturday, September 11, 2021

Here's what I've been working on this week

First off, "Sweet Silius Island Honey" continues on Kindle Vella. We're up to Episode 4, which is the first paywalled chapter, so from here on you'll need to purchase tokens to read. But this happens to be where the story really gets rolling: Owen and Wanda have made it to Silius Island, and by the end, we've met the bees.

Second, I'm returning to my weekly "Quick Fiction" series with "The Iguana in the Grove," about a young man who realizes he only went to the secret illuminati rituals because his dad brought him. I originally wrote this some years back, probably inspired by Jon Ronson's Them and the accompanying "Secret Rulers of the World" miniseries. This story features a fictionalized version of the Bohemian Grove, blending the reality (a place where powerful people can pee on redwoods) and the fantastic (their religion teaches that they are in fact lizard people).

Third, after rewatching Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance, I decided to try my hand at writing a translation of the song that plays when Shinji goes berserk: Tsubasa wo Kudasai, or "Grant Me Wings." Turns out if you want to make me weepy, this is the song to play. Here's the version by the original artists, the Red Birds; here's another English version by Susan Boyle; here are the original lyrics; and here is my version:

If I now had a wish
That you could grant to me
If you'd give anything
I'd wish that I had wings.

On my shoulders would be
the feathers of a dove
If you'd put them on me
I'd soar with my new wings

As they flutter I would climb
High up through the endless sky
Oh I wish I had wings to fly.
And I'd never be confined
I'd leave all my tears behind
Oh I wish I could spread my wings
So I can fly free.

Maybe it's just a dream
I had when I was young
But I still have that dream.
I wish that I had wings

As they flutter I would climb
High up through the endless sky
Oh I wish I had wings to fly.
And I'd never be confined
I'd leave all my tears behind
Oh I wish I could spread my wings
So I can fly free.
What do you think?

Monday, August 30, 2021

Latest Giveaway: An Obnoxious Squirrel and a Day Off For Painting

It's been a while since I've posted about my giveaways, but they're still happening. This week, I'm giving away "Meet Skippy the Sports Squirrel!" about a killer educational mascot, and "Life's Other Plans," about a painting that just won't get done.

Free 8/30 - 8/31


Free 8/30

Also, as a reminder, I'm up to two chapters into Sweet Silius Island Honey on Kindle Vella, with a third on the way later this week. The first three chapters are still free to read! Please check it out and give me a follow and some thumbs up:

Friday, August 27, 2021

"Sweet Silius Island Honey," Episode 2 now available!

In this chapter, Owen gets to know his new boss, Wanda Hansett, and learns that she also has an interest in visiting Silius Island. Each episode is still free to read, so please head over, catch up, and give the story a follow.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Trying something different: "Sweet Silius Island Honey," Episode One, now available on Kindle Vella!

So I wound up with a story that got a bit longer than the others. In fact, I haven't even finished it yet. But I have the first part done, so I thought I'd try Kindle's new serialization service, Kindle Vella. Episode One of "Sweet Silius Island" went live this morning:

The honey at Sal's is some of the best in the world, and according to the local witches, it's because of its natural enchantments, beyond even what they are capable of. Street urchin Owen would like to make a name for himself by competing with Sal. Together with a witch heiress named Wanda, he sets out to the perilous Silius Island to find the source of this honey. But what else could make enchanted honey than a civilization of enchanted bees?

Read "Sweet Silius Island Honey" here!

This is set in the same world as some of the stories, from my "Weekly Story" series, dealing with the Effka and Orlynne sects of witches, who use magic by manipulating their natural aura (though not always as main characters). These stories are set at different points in this world's history. They are:

So let's see how this goes!

Saturday, August 14, 2021

"The Goblin Flea Market" is now available!

My latest short story, "The Goblin Flea Market," has just published on Amazon! I actually originally had the idea last year, but couldn't think of a real plot until fairly recently. The part with the chicken was one of the first scenes I came up with.

The goblins have brought their wares to town, and Harold has brought his children, hoping the enchantments on display will lift their spirits, especially after the recent loss of their uncle. As strange creatures and stranger items surround them, his daughter's explosive confidence clashes with his son's darkened mood. Harold has to take special care to keep his kids in arm's reach.

 "The Goblin Flea Market" is $2.99 on Amazon!

Monday, August 09, 2021

The Return of an Old Story and a Couple Giveaways

This week's new release is actually an old release--one of my oldest, as a matter of fact! It's a rerelease of No Different From Anyone Else, as it appears in Unheard Of, with a new cover illustration based on an old one.

This makes the fourth appearance of Alice and Marisa on a cover in this series. We previously saw them on "Marisa at the Beach," Collectors' Item, and Word Associations. For years I've had this idea that I'd someday write enough stories about them that I could collect them in a single volume. That day could come someday.

"No Different From Anyone Else" is available on Amazon for $2.99! Here's the new cover: 

And the old illustration from 2010:


In addition, it's Monday, so it's time for a new giveaway. This time, it's the science fiction stories "Across the Street From What" and "The Souvenir." Today only!


 



Friday, July 30, 2021

New Release: "Lost Media"

This week's new short story is a murder mystery called "Lost Media." The idea came from investigations and deep dives I've run across into real lost anime like Kamen Senshi Lavithunder vs possibly fake lost anime like Saki Sanobashi. Mixed in is a conspiracy involving a deadly cult out of 20th Century Boys.

I actually did the bulk of the work on the cover before I realized I'd drawn the book facing the wrong direction. Manga is printed in reverse from Western comics, after all. So I flipped the whole thing and adjusted the text. Looking back, I probably could have done the same thing with the text alone, but it's too late now!

Linda's brother is dead, murdered during a livestream for his fellow anime fans. Somehow his death seems to be related to the rare animation cel he recently purchased, the only tangible evidence anyone has found from a video long thought to be a hoax. But who pulled the trigger? Why do they want this anime forgotten?

Will Linda become their next target?

Saturday, July 24, 2021

New Short Story, "Meet Skippy the Sports Squirrel!" Now Available!

This is what happens when I watch one too many MST3k or Rifftrax shorts. I literally got the idea while watching the Rifftrax channel on Twitch, and seeing Ricky Raccoon talk about neighborhood safety in a way that explains the existence of helicopter parenting. Basically, the premise became, what if these educational mascots were real, what if they were proliferating, and what if they were just as dangerous as Mike, Kevin, and Bill's riffs made them sound. I even allude to some of the actual mascots that have appeared in real shorts.

Other aspects of the story came from thinking, "What else do I know that has mascots? Of course, magical girls!"

So here it is, "Meet Skippy the Sports Squirrel!"

It's time for a Painful Suffering Announcement!

As Mikey skulks home after a losing baseball game, he is accosted by Skippy, a talking squirrel that wants to teach him about good sportsmanship... or else. "Educational" mascots like Skippy have been terrorizing kids all over the continent, with dire--even fatal--consequences if they don't learn their lesson. Can Mikey escape in one piece? Will his friend Masha and her kitty hawk be able to help?

Wait, kitty hawk?!

Available now on Kindle!

Saturday, July 17, 2021

New Release: "Word Associations" Now Available!

This week's release is also the first collection for this year's short stories. Presenting Word Associations:


You never know what sort of connections you'll find within a set of words. In this collection of short fiction, you'll encounter a psychic in an unconventional job interview; a little girl and her robot sister on their first beach vacation together; a rescue worker on a distant war-torn planet; and an enigmatic and powerful entity in the subways of Tokyo. Whether it's science fiction, fantasy, or a simple slice of life, there's something here for just about anyone to connect to.

This book collects the following short stories from my "Quick Fiction" series:

  • A Meeting of Minds (Science Fiction)
  • Marisa at the Beach (Science Fiction)
  • Stormbolt Turns It Around (Superheroes)
  • Same Faces (Science Fiction)
  • Advanced Color Theory (Science Fiction)
  • Blackout At Irene's (Slice of Life)
  • The Emperor (Fantasy)
  • The Door Up There (Fantasy)
  • This Wasn't Part of the Lease (Fantasy/Paranormal)
  • First Defusion (Science Fiction)
  • Escape to Sanctuary (Fantasy)

As such, I've lowered the price of all these stories to $0.99. If you'd rather pick up each story individually, you can still do so at less than the cost of a soft drink. If you'd rather pick up the whole collection, it's available here on Kindle for $4.99. There's also a paperback version for $9.99!

Thank you for reading!

...

Oh yeah, the next giveaway. Here are the stories that will be free next week:

Free Monday and Tuesday:


And free Monday only:


Thank you for reading!

Thursday, July 15, 2021

"Collectors' Item" Now Out In Paperback! Finally!

It took two weeks of wrangling with the dimensions and margins, but you can now buy my small collection of comics in glorious print for $4.99

Speaking of collections, I'm planning to put one out this weekend. for my first eleven short stories from this year. It'll be called "Word Associations." Be sure to keep an eye here for the announcement!

A Small Experiment (*Updated*)

I'm not much of a coder, but I know how to look stuff up and bang my head on the wall until I find what I want, and just now I managed to do something I think is pretty cool. I've always felt that one of the problems with reading fiction online is the way it's displayed. It's not the same when you scroll through instead of leafing through pages, either in a physical book or on an e-reader. 

Saturday, July 10, 2021

New Kindle Short Story: "The Meadow Launch"

Earth has been at peace for decades. A generation has grown up without war. A missile base has become a meadow.

He wants to propose to Ashley, and takes her to the meadow for a picnic. But tensions between Earth and the colonies on Mars are coming to a head.

When the meadow opens up and the missiles launch, he frantically reaches out to his father on Mars, as he debates whether he can go through with his proposal. How can he think about his own joy now that war is inevitable?

"The Meadow Launch" is $2.99 on Amazon. Go check it out!

I've also got yet another giveaway coming up on Monday. The following stories will be free Monday and Tuesday:

The Winding Worm of Wind

The Wolf Heist

And "The Fortuna Givers' Festival" will be free Monday only:

Monday, July 05, 2021

New Giveaway! Which stories? Click to find out!

It's Monday, so it's time to give away some short fiction!

Free today and tomorrow:

First off, "Across the Street From What," in which two boys sneak into a house under construction, only to find space twisted around on the inside. 

Then "The Souvenir," about a scrap from a mysterious explosion with alien properties.

Free today only:

"Inappropriate Content," about a comic store owner discovering a pair of strange customers have been inserting themselves into the comics to play pranks on the characters.

As a reminder, Thresholds of the Grand Dream is still free on Smashwords throughout the month, and my small comics can be purchased as "Collectors' Item," in both ebook and print!

Thank you for reading!

Sunday, July 04, 2021

On Naming Characters

Most of the time, I just use the first name that pops into my head. This is how I wound up with Sonia, the main character of Thresholds of the Grand Dream. I picked a name at random, and it stuck. It's also how I got most of the other names, although some of them (Erin, Isaac) changed between drafts. Usually I'll go through the alphabet until I find a letter that gets me a name I like.

On the other hand, sometimes the name might be a reference to something. In my stories about Alice & Marisa, I borrowed their names from Alice Margatroyd and Marisa Kirisame from Touhou Project. But I'm not just drawing from anime and video games. In "The Invisible Wall Outside the School," I swapped the names of Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora to get Ted and Justina. 

In that case, the names had no real thematic importance. But in the case of The Wolf Heist, every single name is related to true crime or mystery fiction in some way.

So the story involves two thieves, Ron and his wife Claire Devereaux, going undercover as stagehands at the Gilbert Theatre so they can steal one of the treasures in the basement donated a hundred years before by the actor Arsenio Wolf. However, one of the actors turns out to be teen detective Shinichi James, who's been trying to catch the Devereauxs for years, without knowing their true identities.

Ron and Claire are a twisting around of Bonnie and Clyde, the legendary robber duo of the 1930's.

Devereaux came from taking the Japanese word 泥棒, "dorobō," meaning "thief, burglar, robber," and twisting it around a little.

The Gilbert Theatre is named for Gilbert Keith ("G.K.") Chesterton, author of the Father Brown mysteries.

Arsenio Wolf is named for Maurice LeBlanc's gentleman burglar, Arsène Lupin (and, by extension, his globetrotting grandson, Lupin III).

Shinichi James is named for Shinichi Kudo, the main character of the manga and anime series Detective Conan. When the series was first brought to the US, he was renamed "Jimmy Kudo." Since Jimmy isn't much of a surname, I went with Shinichi James.

Finally, late in the story, there's a reference to an Inspector Gatchit. Just say it out loud.

And that's more or less how I deal with names. I hope you find this helpful!

Thursday, July 01, 2021

New Comic and New Kindle Release and New Non-Kindle Giveaway!

Item 1:

I just put a new comic up under "artwork": Threshold Break, revisiting Sonia, the main character from my novel, Thresholds of the Grand Dream. This time, it's about a crazy dream where a guy's being put on trial by the video game characters he's defeated over the years. Go check it out!


 Item 2:

Now that all three of the comics I've drawn are up and running, I've collected them and put them up for sale on Kindle as this week's entry into my Quick Fiction series. You can now purchase them together as "Collectors' Item." A paperback version is on its way—it just takes longer for Amazon to approve those.

Item 3:

Speaking of Thresholds of the Grand Dream, it's free throughout the whole month of July as part of Smashwords' Summer/Winter sale. So if you don't get what's going on in Threshold Break, you can go over to Smashwords, pick up an epub, and read where it all began.

Item 4:

Finally, this coming week's Kindle Giveaway will include Across the Street From What (7/1 - 7/2), The Souvenir (7/1 - 7/2), and Inappropriate Content (7/1).

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 26, 2021

New Story: "The Wolf Heist"

 My latest story is a foray into crime fiction. Check out out!

 
 One hundred years ago, the renowned actor Arsenio Wolf willed all his wealth and possessions to the Gilbert Theatre. Now the thieves Ron and Claire Devereaux have decided to celebrate their wedding anniversary by infiltrating the backstage crew and pilfering Wolf's greatest treasures, hidden deep in the basement. But can they escape detection when one of the actors just happens to be the teen detective who's been trying to bring them to justice?

And just what is hidden in that basement, anyway?


As for the next giveaway, on Monday "Mausoleum," "As Seen From Above," and "Escape to Sanctuary" will be free to order for Kindle!

Thank you for reading!

Saturday, June 19, 2021

New story, "As Seen From Above" is now available!


 Henry Charles is a teenager who lives near an airport. When a friend flies out and sees someone burying a strange box from the plane, Henry ventures to the Orthodox church around the corner to find out more. Together with the priest and his wife and granddaughter, Henry stumbles on a strange invention and its anxious inventor, who wants it buried for a reason.

You can order the story right here.

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Some site updates, plus a new comic!

First off, I've added some overdue updates: covers and Amazon links are up in "My Writing," and new illustrations are up in "Illustrations."

More importantly, I've also added a new comic, "Life With Alice and Marisa," a set of 8 comic strips featuring characters from a couple of my previous stories. You can click the link there or click on the image below. For some reason, the idea of having these girls say the dialogue from the first-ever Garfield strip gave me the giggles.



Monday, June 14, 2021

One Giveaway, One Countdown Deal, Coming Up

Only one giveaway today, of "In-Flight Encounter." I would have scheduled my latest story, but I, um, kind of forgot until late last night. So that'll be next week. 


However, I'm also doing a new Countdown Deal this week. "Advanced Color Theory" is only $0.99 until Thursday, then $1.99 through next Monday!



Friday, June 11, 2021

New Release: "Life's Other Plans"

 This week's new addition to Quick Fiction is a slice-of-life story called "Life's Other Plans."

It's his day off, and Glenn just wants to stay home and paint a picture. But between friends calling him out to lunch, work calling him in for overtime, and his sister having him look after her kids, will he be able to get it done?

This time, for the cover, I used a painting by my late grandfather, Rufus S. Morgan, that I have on my wall. It's also the basis for the painting Glenn is trying to finish in the story. You can find more of Dr. Morgan's artwork at the link. 

Thank you for reading!

Monday, June 07, 2021

New Story Plus New Giveaway!

First off, "The Winding Worm of Wind" went live on Saturday, so don't worry, this is all still weekly. And it's also part of my latest giveaway: free today (6/7) and tomorrow (6/8)!

Rhonda and her daughter Leslie are huddled in the basement during a storm when they discover they're not alone. A bizarre giant worm has burrowed in, and is trying to call a tornado to the house so it can hitch a ride to the sky. It's up to Rhonda to protect her daughter—and possibly the entire human race—from this creature.

 The other stories are "Inappropriate Content" (free 6/7 and 6/8) and "First Defusion" (free 6/7 only):


Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

New Countdown Deal: "Same Faces"

 The giveaway is over, but now I have a discount to share!


"Same Faces" will be $0.99 for a few days, then $1.99 for a few days after that, before returning to normal price next Monday. Go check it out!

Monday, May 31, 2021

New Release: "The Souvenir," plus latest giveaway!

 Sorry for the delay; the story was released on time on Friday, I just haven't had a chance to get the link posted:

When an explosion on the tracks forces his train to stop and evacuate, Nelson Reed decides to take a piece of debris with him on the way out. But the scraps at the crash site have begun to reassemble themselves, and Nelson realizes his piece wants to join them. And if he doesn't return it to the crash site, the piece is going to make him.

"The Souvenir" is also part of my latest giveaway! It's free 5/31 and 6/1, along with:



  (Free 5/31 only)
 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Belated New Release Announcement, Plus Giveaway!

I just started a new job, so I haven't had time for a proper announcement, but "Mausoleum" is the latest addition to my Quick Fiction series! And it's one of the stories in this week's giveaway!


Trapped inside a mausoleum by a pair of neighborhood bullies, left with only a flashlight, Marty and his little brother Phillip butt heads over how to get out while dealing with the terror of being surrounded by dead bodies.

The giveaway also includes "The Door Up There" and "Escape to Sanctuary."


 

 

Monday, May 17, 2021

New Giveway, and of all things, a comic!

 So first, this week's giveaway covers "The Emperor" and "Stormbolt Turns It Around."

"The Emperor" is free today only:


 And "Stormbolt" is free today and tomorrow:

And finally, I've made a comic! I originally wrote it a couple years ago, never intending to do anything with it. Then last fall while working from home I drew it as a 16-page comic. Then over the last few weeks I retouched it, toned it, and lettered it. And now here's "Sick Day"!

I've also added a link from my Artwork page.

Thank you for reading!


Friday, May 14, 2021

New Release: "Across the Street From What"

I was originally going to publish something else this week, but I was behind on the illustration, and this one happened to open up. It's a science fiction story called "Across the Street From What."

On a dare, Jack and Oscar sneak across the street to a house that's been under construction far too long, and with far too many scientists and guys in hazmat suits involved. Inside they find a structure twisted in on itself, with rooms and hallways leading where they couldn't possibly go. Can they find a way out while avoiding the mysterious man in the gas mask patrolling the site?

 You can order it on Amazon here. And of course, a paperback version should be ready later today!

*UPDATE*

I've also finally set up a fanart section. So far, I've got drawings of the monsters from the NES Final Fantasy, but more is to come.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Latest Giveaway: "In-Flight Encounter" and "Blackout at Irene's!"

 On one hand, a meeting with an old (and regretted) teacher during a bout of airsickness:


 

On the other, three sisters running their parents' diner when a blackout hits:

If you order these stories, be sure to leave a review! And if you really like them and want to help out a little further, just click that "Support Me" button in the corner to donate!

Thank you for reading!

Friday, May 07, 2021

New Release: "In-Flight Encounter" now available!

The flight is bumpy, and Peter is sick to his stomach, when his ninth grade algebra teacher Mr. Glick turns up wanting to talk about old times. But Peter's once-fond memories of Mr. Glick are now tainted by betrayal. Mr. Glick wants closure before it's too late, but is Peter ready to give it?

Order now on Amazon!

 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

New Short Story, "Inappropriate Content" is Now Available!

 

Eric's comic book store has a problem. A strange pair of tricksters have somehow inserted themselves into several of the comics, as if they were penciled and inked there in the first place. First Eric has to figure out how many of his books now feature their antics. Then he has to figure out how to stop them. Will he still have a store when this is through?

Click here to order!

The paperback is also on its way shortly!

Monday, April 26, 2021

Two Giveaways and a Discount

First off, I'm doing a Countdown Deal on my short story "Marisa at the Beach." It's only $0.99 now, then will increment up to $1.99 in a couple of days, before going back to its original price. So for less than the cost of a convenience store bottle of Coke, you can get an original short story about robots!


In addition, "The Fortuna Givers' Festival" and "This Wasn't Part of the Lease" are free today and tomorrow!


All three books are also available in short paperbacks, if that's more your taste. And if you get one of the free stories and want to show some support, you can order any of the other books in my Quick Fiction series, or come back here and click on the "Support Me" button in the corner!

Thank you for reading!