so, let’s touch base on a lot of stuff before i post the latest speed writing stuff…

the new “single POV” chapter idea for “Behind the Wall of Thorns” really wasn’t working for me. i still believe the old “everybody-and-their-grandmother” chapters got too big and too unmanageable, and i needed to change the way i write the story, but going to the extreme in the opposite direction was just too limiting. so, i’m still doing single POV chunks, but there are going to be several to a chapter and i’m going to widen my focus slightly, moving from just primary characters to primary and secondary characters, as well as those characters $25 contributors to my Patreon have created.

there will be more stories with Sharla Duquesne and the crew of the Baby Boo/Baby Boo Too. I’m working on the ‘bible’ for the series/universe, albeit slowly. so yeah, “Neck Deep in the Mire-Razors” is giving birth. look for it in the upcoming “Lightships and Sabers”, coming out from Wolfsinger Press at the end of March.

the publisher of Sky Warrior Books inquired about “Falling Angels”, the noir detective novel we talked about many conventions ago… so that’s back on the burners. see what i can do there.

Rie wants a story for Mocha Memoirs “Ghosts, Gears and Grimoires” anthology, steampunk monsters, and i have two possible ideas, but the anthology pays a flat $10 fee (and before anyone says “exposure”, it’s doubtful this anthology will get seen much in the flood of small press anthologies, and “another entry on your resume” doesn’t mean much, it seems to me, if the resume is a wealth of small press, easily forgotten, anthologies). one of the story ideas is too big, and too potentially interesting, to come in under their word count restrictions (and while they might, if i wrote it well enough, relax the word count, it’s still just $10 and afterward, any place else i might submit it would have to take reprints), and the other idea is so vague and nebulous it’s going to require a lot of seasoning and time on the stove before it’s ready. still, i may be able to come up with a little ten buck something for ’em… except it rankles me to treat an idea as less than it could be. the last steampunk anthology of theirs i had something in… well, it wasn’t shit, but it was fluff. entertaining fluff, i hope, but fluff i feel lived up to the base idea… barely.

not believing in New Year’s Resolutions, because life has enough failure in it without setting yourself up for more, i do have two… well, let’s call ’em “goals”, for this year.
1. put out one blog post a week, a post that will in all likelihood be mirrored on my Patreon page.
2. finish “Oil of Roses, Book Two, Behind the Wall of Thorns”.
in theory, from where i’m sitting now, neither should be all that hard to achieve, if i put my mind to it.

and i still owe someone a dieselpunk piece… cotton-candy-cheesecake-silliness. of course, my submission won’t fit that style, because… it just wont.


prompts: far future, prison in the tropics
i wanted to kill Carlos. you never fuck with a man’s small luxuries in a hell hole. often, that stimstic, that flask, that pill pack, that small data pad – they’re the only things keeping him from attacking a guard, or making a run for it.
both result in death, the second method is just slower.
you see, the tropic belt on Vega IV is wide; thick jungle, abundant streams and rivers, no outposts of civilization other than the prison, and full up to your gills with predatory species.
and thanks to Carlos, i was eyeing the robotic guards, and looking out beyond the free-fire zone at the jungle.
it doesn’t matter what he took – what brings me comfort is my own business, not yours. but it was gone, and there wouldn’t be any replacing it for a long time, if ever. wonderful thing about robotic guards – they can’t be bribed, which punches a big  hole in the typical prison economy.
so… death, death, or murder? murder means a month in the hole…
yeah, Carlos is going to get it in the exercise yard, first chance i get.
who knows, maybe he still has it on him.

prompts: infamy, poverty, disguise
i miss you.
first off, i didn’t mean to hurt anyone. i know that doesn’t make much difference when my fuck-up on the job killed thousands, but i really didn’t. i just went to the john at an inappropriate time.
small flaw in the security system protocols. can’t have a restroom attached to the monitoring station. if anything goes wrong, the doors to the monitoring station lock down ’til the situation returns to normal. compound these issues with corporate greed – there’s no need to have two engineers on duty at all times. one is enough.
so you tell me. shit myself? keep a honey bucket in the station? or go to the restroom like i had a hundred times before when nothing happened?
funny think about chaos theory – it’s real, it’s the way the universe works.
so, this time, while i was taking a shit, the perfect storm of system failures got together and had a party in my absence.
the dam didn’t break so much as it disintegrated.
i didn’t stick around. i know how the company handles such PR disasters, and i don’t fancy being a sacrificial lamb. changed my name, cut and dyed my hair, and i’m begging by the side of the freeway.
you passed me today and didn’t see me.
i waved.

prompt: begin with “There was only one way out…”
there was only one way out –  not an escape so much as a gauntlet.
no school, successfully completed, and she wouldn’t be a citizen. she would have no status, no role in everyday society, and no legal protections or rights whatsoever. she could be killed, or worse, by anyone, for any reason, or no reason at all. she could be locked up, enslaved, tortured, and no one would care.
so, not passing Home Ec was not an option.
Angela agreed with the idea in theory – a curriculum that ensured graduates were competent to live on their own, and function as a positive and productive member of society.
but who the fuck sewed their own clothes anymore?
she could hand stitch just fine, but it seemed to her the sewing machine had been designed to make sewing far more complicated than it had to be.
“it’s so easy once you master the basics!”
yeah, Mrs. Lewis, great, but the basics were kicking her ass!
after she’d drawn a blank on the Simple Mechanics final last term, and failed Conversational Hispanic, she couldn’t afford to fail anything else, and the goddamned sewing machine bullshit was half her grade.

prompt: “hover”, “finicky”, “whistle”, “use”, “boot”
my mother, she hovers. that’s what she does. drives my father and me crazy, always with the hovering.
“do you need anything?”
“you should eat, you’re wasting away!”
“let me feel your forehead.”
“that Silverstein boy, so handsome, and in med school…”
and when my father or i eventually erupted in anger, as we were bound to do, that’s when the guilt machine went into overdrive!
“i’m sorry i’m concerned about you, God forbid i should care about you. i’m treated like the dog, just whistle when you want something. thank God i was gifted with such a husband, such a daughter, a nobody like me, do as you think best, what do i know, the woman who bore your child, the woman who carried you in her womb for nine months…”
it was a cycle, not helped at all by my father. he’s a perfectionist, as well as a finicky eater. God, the noise he made over a meal that wasn’t exactly as he liked, or how the heavens fell if i tracked in one drop of mud on my boots.
as God is my witness, it’s a miracle i haven’t killed them both…
in their sleep…
with an ax…
like the one in the shed…
so, what’s a little prison time?

prompt: write about your first artistic expression
age: barely six months.
there are masterpieces of art that are lost to time, ones that are not recognized, ignored by the plebeian sensibilities of cultural Philistines…
“landscape in feces”, bedroom wall, 502 Short St. is a triumph of artistic brilliance that suffered both of those fates.
my grandfather took a picture of it… a Polaroid, long since faded into a mass of yellowish white.
my mother? the cultural Philistine in this sad tale.
so how do i remember it, having created this perfect expression of my ‘brown period’ at such an early age?
the Polaroid, brought out at every family reunion, every exposure hastening its obliteration, along with pictures of me drinking from the shower, of me running naked through the back yard – i was two, of me eating pillbugs by the handfuls.
in retrospect, and in light of some drunken experimentation later in life, i can assure you shit is not an ideal artistic medium. to adult sensibilities, it’s gross to work with, it stinks, it dries too fast, and while a larger work involving shading is possible, the dietary requirements  to produce the colors necessary can become troublesome.
still… my first.

listening to: “Eight Piece Box”, Southern Culture on the Skids
mood: productive


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