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!