Feb 3, 2014

One Lengua To Rule Them All

A lot of folks seemed to be okay when Coca Cola tried to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, and I guess maybe they thought Coke was speaking literally. Because now that they're trying to invite us to be okay with the idea of *racial* harmony, people have just lost their freaking minds

I'd like to invite all those people who say that America should only speak its truly American language to learn Nahuatl, or one of the Athabaskan languages. Oh, shoot, how about Cherokee or Sioux. Or, Spanish or French or Dutch, which were also spoken earlier in many parts of the United States of America. 

Also, now might be a good time to mention that no, there isn't an "American" language. Should there be? Well, there are sufficient grounds to suggest we are in the middle of a communications crisis in this country. But to say "English" (as in, From England, an imported language FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY) should be "The American Language" is to court idiocy. As in, you're treading upon thin logic. If you're going to be TRULY American (read: North American, from the United States of America), your official language truly ought be BI-LINGUAL. At least. 

Aspire to be better, my friends.

Jan 27, 2014

Who Is Favo Carr?

One of the questions I get asked a fair bit is who or what inspired the characters I've written. To be fair, I've a different answer for each character - in many cases, the ways the characters were inspired were as varied as the characters themselves, and many of them are actually amalgams from a cast of sources. But in light of the current and soon to be birthed "Steel & Sky", I thought a bit of background on Favo Carr might be
appreciated.

He came originally from two characters: one in Final Fantasy XII and one in Star Wars: Balthier and Han Solo. Kind of an adorable but cocky scoundrel. Well dressed. Polite. Charming. And a bit filthy. I always hear his voice sounding a fair bit like Jude Law, but lately, he's been looking more and more like Tom Hiddleston (with sun-bleached hair). Stop your swooning, ladies. This lad's not spoken for, but good lord does he have more issues than Rolling Stone. Though, if you like that sort of thing, go right ahead.

We first meet him, briefly, in the Chronicles of Aesirium, book one: Reaper's Return. He's a villain, of sorts. An elegant thug. A miscreant and a coin-operated criminal whose main interactions with our heroes is to be hunting down a mysterious object called the Morrow Stone.

I had a few plans for the man - he was fun, he was my favorite mix of naughty, but, really, he wasn't the Big Bad from the books and I'd considered him more of a red herring than anything. But then a funny thing happened. I started to genuinely like the character. He loved to talk, but had a style of verbal waltzing that I found charming. The man could talk his way out of most issues, but, as it turned out, he didn't mind occasionally getting his hands dirty. Form and function.

He's an odd mix of street smarts, book-learned magic and good old-fashioned practical experience. He can pick the antennae off a flea at thirty meters with his trusty Mark IV SpellShot, and that isn't even the least of the tricks he keeps up his sleeves. It goes mostly unmentioned in the books, but he's a fine dancer and even considered a future on the stage, but he lost interest in drama when he discovered that you didn't get to keep the costumes.

Oh, and all that practice with the rapier? A bit of refinement and it works even better in real life.

It was some point around book four where my editor sat me down in a sort of intervention and asked me, "okay, I have to know: are you ever going to kill him? It's like he's freaking immortal or something. Nobody is that lucky." And thus the legend of the Immortal Favo Carr was born.

I shouldn't think it too great a spoiler to reveal that he is also one of the main characters in my newest series, "Tales of the Dead Man", and we meet him right around the beginning of "Steel & Sky". Though just how he comes to be a part of this great new adventure....well, you'll have to read it and find out. Trust me, compared to the things that get laid out in this next series, mentioning that Favo is in the books is the LEAST spoilerish thing I could tell you. Well, maybe I could mention that it takes place in Aerthos, as well. And there just may be a few other cameos here and there. But I'm not telling.

Oh, and on a little behind the scenes note: whenever I'm writing Favo's scenes, I play the Sherlock Holmes or Pacific Rim soundtracks. It seems to make him walk with a bit more swagger in his step. Go figure.

Dec 4, 2013

Talking the Walking (Dead)

I've been meaning to blog for a bit - not that there's been any shortage of topics, just that time itself has been a premium. NaNoWriMo was this month, and so was Movember - not that that required any time - if anything, not shaving every day is really helpful. I didn't finish my newest novel, but I am about 65k into it, so that's a big plus. In the press of the days, I managed to add that huge chunk of wordcount, plus I changed the book title (it's now called "Steel & Sky") and came up with a cover. I also finished the production of the Audiobook of "Reaper's Return" with Nigel Patterson, and that just went live yesterday. Also, in the middle of the month, I took an emergency train ride to Montana (don't worry, everybody's fine now) and even had some family come in for Thanksgiving. Also, in the mix were some dramatics involving the old house, so if you wouldn't mind crossing your collective virtual fingers for me, I'd kind of like that to be overwith too. One less rattle in the noggin would be a delightful bit of peacefulness.

Also, November was a good month to wrap up a lot of television I was for some reason making time for. There are a couple of new shows - "Almost Human" and "Sleepy Hollow"; and it shocks me how much I'm enjoying those - and a few ongoing ones. Most notable were the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, and, just this past week, the midseason finale of "The Walking Dead".

For those of you who may have been in a coma during the zombie apocalypse, this show (like the comic book it was based on) is about a fluctuating group of survivors following the pandemic infestation of a horrific and virulent disease. The world is now mostly populated by the undead, the flesh-eating mobile legions of zombies.

The creator, Robert Kirkman, wanted to do a comic book that took the concept of a zombie movie and kept going after the credits roll. He was constantly frustrated by the constraints of the zombie movies, because, as he explained it, "by the time you get to know these interesting characters, ROLL CREDITS."

The comic started about ten years ago, and picked up a huge fanbase and audience, and won several awards. Fact is, it's some pretty heady stuff. It strays from conventional comic book storytelling (in addition to nobody being superpowered, of course) and applies one major rule: anything bad can - and likely will - happen to the main characters. No spoilers, let's just say you really shouldn't get too attached to anybody.

This clever and inventive storytelling picked up such a tremendous following that it was only time before someone tried to make it into a movie. Projects specs were thrown unabashedly at Kirkman, who remarked that most of them read like bad zombie movies - one, I believe, had a talking dog - which was ironic, since that was exactly the very sort of thing his book was intended to combat.

And then, Frank Darabont approached Kirkman with a much better idea: a television show.

So far, with a few dips and wobbles, the show has been quite satisfying. But I think the part I find most interesting is to compare and contrast the story of the comic book with that of the television show.  Given my own projects, I find it interesting to see how storytelling becomes so dependent upon the medium.

I don't want to post details here - - some people are very anti-spoilers, and I'd like to respect that - - but the sort of things I find the most intriguing are the characters they use (and the ones they don't), the characters they kill (or maim, or leave pristine), and the individual stories they use, combine, change or leave out altogether.

See, some things just plain work better with whatever medium in which you're working. Look at fine art, for example. Recreating a beautiful sunset wouldn't work so well with sculpture, or pencil. You have to, to a certain degree, be willing to alter the original source in order to be best represented in the medium you've chosen. There are scenes in the comic book that just don't work as well on screen, so these have to be either adapted or abandoned. Comic books can be very limited because of their own, well, limitations. The Walking Dead comic book is all in black and white, for example, just like the old George Romero movies. AMC (the network that produces the Walking Dead TV show) even showed the first season in all black and white, as a kind of tribute marathon.

I stopped reading the comic when the show came out - I wanted to enjoy the show fresh, and not pick up any additional spoilers along the way - but I realized I was also now missing a lot of the "easter eggs" that the show runners were slipping into the series. So last night, I picked up my first three trade paperbacks and started them anew. It's been a few years since I'd read them, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well they held up as storytelling. I'd also been depressed at how much I'd forgotten about these early stories. Like, I'd forgotten all the character hookups, and how different these relationships had been there when compared to the show. That might sound like a silly thing to get hung up on, but here's the thing I think most people forget.

At its heart, this is NOT a zombie show. It's a people show. It's really all about how people react to the end of the world. Take out the zombies and replace them with nuclear fall out, or a forest fire, or boiling acid, or aliens, or rabid wolves. The story is about how people come to grips with sudden and permanent change.

Taken to its most personal level, think about the moment you realized that you were going to die. Like, specifically KNEW it. Everybody tends to have that moment, sooner or later, when you realize that the life you have had is gone, that you cannot in fact relive the past and that what lies ahead will never be like what has been. Sometimes, it's even more specific than that - you're diagnosed with something incurable, or lose a limb in an accident. Lose a friend. Lose a loved one. Admit to yourself that it's just never going to happen.

There is the old story about the man who was so wicked that the gods themselves conspired together to find an adequate way to punish him - and as a consequence of his deeds, they cursed him with the gift of prophecy. He laughed, recognizing that now he knew everything that would come to pass with a perfect clarity: he could see the future - not as it might be, but as it would be. "This is no punishment," he cackled, "this is a reward!" But then, he saw the moment of his own death, and, knowing that it was an unavoidable certainty, lived the rest of his life in abject misery. For to know one's end is a fixed point is to lose the most precious gift of all: hope.

One of the elements that is in the books but not so obvious in the television show is the eventual degradation
of hope. In the first few books, a common statement is said: "when things get back to normal". It's not clear when this reflex ends, but it does end eventually. Over time, it erodes to the point of ineffectiveness - it is too weak and frail a thing to stand up against the realization that things will, in fact, never be the same again, that the Time of the Walker is here to stay.

But in the television show, they are exploring different themes, in some cases much more subtle ones - - also, themes I believe the writers and producers now understand when looking back over the Walking Dead series as a whole which Kirkman could not have foreseen ten years ago.

Mostly, the one major theme the show is exploring is about what kind of person you become when faced with the end of the world. Where do your priorities fall, and what will you be willing to do to survive. It tries to address the question of "Hope versus Despair" in a unique way that the comic book is not always able to do. Granted, it has tools the comic book does not. It has an impressive and talented cast who can nuance an emotional response in a way that the comic book cannot; they have a soundtrack to help imbue the scenes with emotional subtext (not always effectively, but what are you gonna do), and it can pull focus to the exact place you need to go in order to get the story told to you in the way the writers and directors want you to see it.

The Walking Dead is a challenging concept to pace out, a complaint many fans have made. Consider this a moment. Once you've come to grips, as an individual, with the end of the world, what will then be required to change your perspective again? In that sort of an environment, how long does it take for habits to change, once newly established? Seems to me that you develop your "this is how we survive" habits, and everything else develops when you have time. You know, when you're not running for your life, or struggling to not die.

So when the different "chapters" of the show appear, they tend to advance the timeline by a few months, and we see all the characters adjusted to whatever new horrors they've faced, but they are established in those new (to us, at least) routines. And then, for several episodes, they don't really change so dramatically - or, if they do, it's only then at the end, when someone important to them dies. On the flip side, they can cram
enough intensity in ten minutes of screen time to fill up an entire graphic novel.

One last item, though. Characters on the show die. Again, I don't want to spoil anything, but, yes, main characters on the show die. They turn into zombies, are killed by friendly fire - sometimes not so friendly fire - and viewers get mad. It's an equation that can only lead to a sad and tragic end.

Coming from a writer's perspective, killing characters is NEVER an easy decision. You can't just kill them out of randomness, there has to be a point to their death - though, let's be honest, sometimes the point is to remind the reader that sometimes death is pretty pointless. A lot of folks will issue threats of "if you kill so-and-so, that's it, I'll never watch your show again!" which is both a compliment and an insult. As a writer, you want the people who read your material to love the characters so much that killing them will have an impact. But you also don't want people getting so mad at you for it that they stop trusting that the death MEANS SOMETHING.

George R R Martin lost me on a few of those deaths. He'd make me like a character only to kill them off by the end of that same introductory chapter. That makes me lose interest in even investing in future characters, period.

Joss Whedon ticked me off in the Serenity movie, too. Though I forgave him ultimately, there was a death or two which hurt. Like, almost tangibly caused me pain with their suddenness and brutality. As a fan, it stung. But as a writer? Man, I was impressed. The final act was filled with such juxtaposed hope and despair, that you truly just didn't know if they were going to come out on top in the end. You were anxious as they were, fearful that all their sacrifice would be for naught.

The difference between that movie and the Walking Dead, however...?

Serenity was a two hour movie, with a fixed resolution. The Big Damn Heroes would either triumph or die. No half-measures. But the survivors on the Walking Dead? What is their resolution? The truth is, they have none. Their success lies in survival, every week. If they survive, then they won the little victory. For their part, they have no choice but to try.

For me, the big question is whether or not the fans of the show will continue to manage their own sense of hope versus despair, and struggle each week with the characters, or if they, like so many of the characters so far, will simply succumb and be left behind.

Stay tuned.

Nov 11, 2013

Steampunk, Undefined

Had a wonderful time once again at this past month's SteamCon event in Seattle, Washington. The panels went nicely - mostly focusing on writing and self-publishing - got to spend time with some good friends and even made a goodly quantity of new ones. Scores as a win, I say.

Sometimes it's easy to forget, when you spend so much time in a particular genre - whether it be fiction, society, fandom, music or whatnot - about a few different perceptions that tend to go on. There is the perception among people outside of your genre about the people inside the genre, as well as the perceptions held by people inside the genre about others inside the genre as well as about those people outside the genre.

From the outside in, this generally gets expressed simply by one of two common questions I get asked:
"What's going on here?" and "What is Steampunk?"

The first question is mostly overheard at Steampunk events - I typically dress more or less how I normally do, plus or minus a vest or clever glasses, so innocent bystanders usually guess I'm a reliable source of insider information. They also guess that I'm not going to give them an answer in essay form (I leave that for the blogs).

But the second question I hear as often from people who know very little about Steampunk as I do from people who LOVE Steampunk.

Now, if you don't know much about Steampunk, it's a reasonable question to ask, right? (There was that episode of Castle where everyone was wearing top hats, right?) Any time a segment of subculture strikes popular attention - punk, goth, hipster, geek, whatever - there's naturally some curiosity about it. And that's a good thing. Steampunk isn't a religion or a cult, so nobody's looking to proselytize or corral in new members.

But it's when I hear it asked from other Steampunk fans that I grow concerned. Not because it's betraying some lack of Steampunkery or whatnot, but because oftentimes I smell a trap. Much in the same way the Comic Book fandom - and Geekdom in general - has been experiencing self-defining growing pains, Steampunk seems to be feeling the itch as well. But let's call it what it is: this is adolescence.

One of the primary characteristics of adolescence (which means, by the way, literally, "growing up") is self-definition. Figuring out who you are, and coming to grips with that. Self-confidence, self-identity, self-esteem. It's kind of self interested, really. And we find that same element in nearly every organization - it's been present in religions, political parties, and it's not by itself a bad thing. It's just a thing.

Now, granted, the roots of Steampunk have been around for years - you can effectively track it back to the Victorian era itself - but it's been reformed in the age of rebellion, of the redefinition of history, and it's been turned into a social structure, a fashion statement, a cultural resistance born straight out of the fires of DIY and a love of old world elegance.

When I wrote the Chronicles of Aesirium, I'll admit that my first goal was not to write a series of Steampunk books - the industrial age simply worked as the most ideal backdrop for the world I was creating, and it felt like the best place to insert my story. I wasn't trying to write the definitive Steampunk book - nor would I have ever wanted to. If anything, they're somewhere in the middle between "it has a gear on it" and "STEAMPUNK!", which is where I would generally want to be.

The new series - "Tales of the Dead Man" - is even less so. The first book, "Steel and Sky", involves two differing cultures, tech and natural magic. The tech world has a steam-powered science, but I wanted to take it out of pure victorianism and do something different with it. Also, I've written 6 borderline steampunk books, I wanted to introduce some new developmental elements into the new books - but the spirit of steampunk, as I see it, is still there.

And that's the part of Steampunk's adolescence that I enjoy so much. The elegant way in which we do it ourselves, embracing that most industrious spirit of adventure.


Oct 23, 2013

Archetype vs. Stereotype

I attended the recent Geek Girl Con in Seattle, this time taking my daughter as an excuse for enjoying a convention as an attendee (okay, she got some really cute moving cat ears that are both creepy and spectacular, and a reminder of why my daughter shall always be so much cooler than I will ever be. I cannot pull off the kitty ear thing, try as I may) - I go to so many conventions now for work that it's nice to just step back and remember why I go in the first place. It's officially getting to that point where I run into old friends and peers for the length of the floor, which I would qualify under the header "Problems I Always Wanted to Have." Day two was back to work - the other founders of Talaria Press and I gave a workshop on character creation, followed by a small signing, and it was one of the more cleanly inspiring hours I've had in a few months. Not to be underestimated. Aside from a few bad apples in the mix - there's always one or two, aren't there? - it was a solid and enjoyable weekend.

But now I'm looking down the barrel of another SteamCon, and before I get back into con prep mode, I wanted to wag my tongue about a topic that came up on the first day of GGC in a panel hosted by some of the directors of the EMP, along with writer Jane Espenson. The topic was about character archetypes, and much conversation was given to the evolution of the female archetypes over the years.


One question in particular took my notice: "What is the difference between an archetype and a stereotype?"

Everyone rattled off some answers and then they got side-tracked onto a different topic, as convention panels are wont to do. But the question hung over my head, and stayed with me long enough to, apparently, merit an entry on my blog, here.

The specific answers boiled down into the origins of the words themselves; into the marrow and substance, whereas "archetype" finds its roots in ancient Greek meaning "the original, best, or first, example." A stereotype is more of the "copy of a copy", wherein much detail is lost and the image resembles more like unto a caricature than a realistic image. Thus, a Hero would be represented by among the oldest and most established examples of such characters - Hercules, for example, as an archetype of the same; but those primary qualities of his, passed down through literature and the oral traditions of the time, still permit those heroic elements to carry forth in characters like Luke Skywalker and Superman. Eventually, those heroic elements become worn down and dulled, and the heroes become mere stereotypes of the ancient traditions.

Vladimir Propp whittled it all down into 7 broad character types - his "dramatis personae": the villain, the dispatcher, the helper, the princess (or prize), the donor, the hero, and the false hero. Jung broke it down into actual personality characteristics as archetypes for humanity - mother, father, child, devil, god, wise old man, wise old woman, the trickster, the hero, the shadow, the maiden, and so on. Even to a certain extent, tarot cards break down the types and facets of mankind through its use of imagery and metaphor in its major and minor arcana.

I'll confess, I've got a few of my favorites. I patterned my whole cast in the Reaper's Return series off various tarot cards, and shifted gears a bit in the latest series - everyone's going through at least two cards through the course of the books - but I do like to flip the cards over and see where they land, so to speak.

For example, the Tower card isn't so bad (author's note: okay, it looks pretty frightening in the deck, I admit). I used the tower metaphor frequently in the Reaper series. Rom's favorite place was a clock tower in the middle of Oldtown - and it's a statement about how she came to grips with the passage of time, of the evolution of life, and, specifically to her, how she as a Reaper had to manage life itself in a very tangible and literal way. In the tarot deck, it is a card to be taken quite seriously - a portent of dramatic change - but I wanted to write it into the books in a way of drawing back the fear and anxiety about change, and show that it's, like so much of life, something to be learned from and appreciated.



But what about you? What's your favorite archetype? What's your favorite stereotype - or your least favorite one that you feel could use a refreshing? I'd love to hear from you!

Sep 26, 2013

Dead Man (teaser)



Chapter One: The Pirate



The end of world came almost without warning.
No dark clouds, no ominous celestial portents of any kind. One day, the sun shone, the two moons continued their lazy chase across the Aerthian sky. The next moment, the sky parted and a great and glowing sword of light burst from the wound, striking Aerthos down and cutting a vicious swath of death through all its inhabitants. Man, woman and child, animal and vegetable fell before its dread blade, and when all had perished, even the Reapers stood for but a moment before they, too, were slain.
The world became like a lump of coal, blackened and dry. Cracks formed in the crust of the land, splitting the world wide to its core, until, at the last, every last ounce of life was sucked away to slake some bottomless thirst that lay beyond their perceptions.
Even the Reapers, the old woman thought with a shock that stirred her from her dream.  The most powerful beings in all of Aerthos, those who held the power of life and death in their hands, who could pass between the lands of Aerthos or through time itself as easily as a mortal could step from their beds. What manner of being has such power?
The screams of the dying were still fading in her ears as her eyes adjusted to the pre-dawn darkness. The winds toyed with the curtains of her room, blowing in from the east and the south. The same dream had first haunted her nights almost five years ago to the day, and she had not even the barest concept of what she could do to stop it. Surely the gods do not give us dreams of the morrow in order to punish us with fears of the unavoidable, she had thought.
As Song-Mistress of the Sky People, she had to be on the watch for dreams of grave portent. Sometimes the dreams were simple – go west for rain; watch the baker’s tower for an unexplained fire; treat the mason’s son with dried farol root and the extract of a spicy persimmon fruit to reduce his fever. For two incarnations of the Song-Mistress, there had been few concerns – the sandstorms which frequented the deserts notwithstanding – but now, this. She sighed ruefully.
A short-legged fur-covered animal appeared as if from thin air, its bright orange eyes sparkling in the half-light.
“Ah, Merlo,” the woman smiled. “Did I wake you with my dream?”
The creature shook its head. The old woman stroked the creature’s soft iridescent fur, causing her hand to momentarily look as if it was fading in and out of reality. In truth, it was a side effect of the creature’s natural camouflaging abilities, but Merlo had ways of using her fur’s shifting color patterns to achieve a variety of mystical effects as well.
The creature’s fur was the least of her uses to the old woman, however. As with all of her kind, Merlo was connected to all her species, living and dead. All memories and thoughts were stored in the aether of the world, floating in and out of their kind’s grasp. It made a fitting companion for a Song-Mistress – Merlo’s access to her species’ memories gave her a veritable library of history that stretched back thousands of years. Access to the whole of history helped put whatever visions the Song-Mistress might receive into proper context.
Sometimes, the best the creature offered was comfort. With the series of dreams like unto the one which had just awakened her, there was no context that helped, no historical anecdote that reassured the Song-Mistress. The dreams had troubled her and it had grown long since past the point where she had considered them a simple trick of anxiety or bad wine. What she had dreamed would come to pass, and though the final outcome was unclear, she knew that all life hung in the balance. She was old enough and wise enough to know that all too often the least desirable outcome stood the greater chance of happening.
But it was not until a month earlier that she had been given hope. Hope, strangely enough, that came in the form of a corpse.
She put what steps into motion as she was able, and now, with those steps already on another edge of the world, she was helpless to do aught but wait. Patience was not a lesson that had come easily to her. By the time she had a grasp of it, she had so precious little time left. One more irony to add to the pile, she mused. One more pinch of incense to add to the flames.
She exhaled, contemplating rising early to meditate in her prayer room. It was on the west of the city; it would still be in shadow for another two or three hours. She decided to stay here for now, and go to her prayer room when the sun was higher and that extra bit of cool would be most appreciated. For now, she decided to remain in the quiet shadow of her room, alone with her dark thoughts and the merest fragment of hope to drive them away.
“Fly well, my niece,” she whispered, flexing her old and tired fingers in an ancient gesture of good fortune. “Find what we so desperately need and return with it to us.”
Sleep would not return to her that morning. But all day long she would pause and look to the north, for sign of the airship’s return.


"Dead Man" is the new Aesirium novel by author Ren Cummins, due out by the end of 2013.

You can read more about his previous novels at http://talariapress.com/the-chronicles-of-aesirium/


Sep 18, 2013

The Other Half of my Blog Title

Okay, so for years now, I've been "Steampunk and Synthesizers", and I'm kind of shocked that nobody's called me out on only talking about Steampunk and writing. Honestly? Not one of you has wondered, "okay, Ren, we get it. You're a steampunk author. But what about...?"

So here we go.

Friend and fellow author (and the Jedi to my Sith), Kiri Callaghan, recently posted a few recent songs, and it inspired me to get off my butt and post some of my own material. I've had it up on Amazon as a CD and MP3s, but now that I've added some digital audio equipment to my office, I really am quickly running out of excuses.

So here you are. Music.

I included a "radio edit" I'd done for one of my longer songs, and included a song that wasn't even on my original album, "subterranean". We'd stumbled upon the idea for the song while we were doing some follow up work on a different project, and then I went back even later and did some remixing of it, adding some middle eastern percussion and samples to it, and made the song feel much warmer and earthier.

I've also plans to digitize my first album, which means I might finally get some uploads of a few of my all time favorite originals, "The Ballad of the Invisible Boy", and "Between the Mountains and the Sea." There's also a song I wrote with my old friend Storm Hodge, the U2-inspired "Homelands", which I honestly haven't even listened to in years. I'll keep you posted.

The summer's been a crazy one, my friends. We moved into a new house, are in the process of turning the old one into a sold one, and in spite of all that crazy, I've dug about 25000 words into "Dead Man", and started two other short projects, "World War Zero" and "Baktun" - two shorts for an end of the world anthology Talaria Press is doing.

AND.

I'll be appearing at Rose City Comic Con this weekend, at table J-01, with Kiri - and then I get to prep for two cons next month - Geek Girl Con and SteamCon V.

I need to hurry up and wrap "Dead Man", and then I've got to start working on "Dust" with Kiri, plus the follow up to "Apollo Rising" with Jen Ashton. How has my brain not fallen out? Hmm. It's a mystery.

Okay. Back to work.