personal project updates

A few of you might notice the site's been redesigned. I've reverted to a more minimalist style in the vein of my earlier blogs. The color scheme is now black and grey to better reflect a world that will, in all likelihood, soon be reduced to radioactive ash.

I have two writing announcements. One, I am shifting my ...of the Dead trilogy from "indefinite hiatus" to "cancelled." There are a few reasons. The first is that while some people may be sad about this, the number of you who will feel truly disappointed does not exceed the number of fingers I have. The second is that I think the concept is neither necessary for our time nor a project that retains value outside a particular cultural moment, and I think we are in dire need of art that can transcend and persist through the increasingly rapid and wily shifts in culture.

I am, however, now working full bore (or near as I can) on a project tentatively titled Winds of Empyrea. As all such stories must, it centers on an orphan girl with an unlikely dream and an unknown past. In her world there are both elves and engines, both monsters and motor-cars. Telephone service and electricity have not yet reached all the country villages, but airship transport between nations runs very nearly on schedule most days.

And it is important that they do run on schedule. Unlike ours, in her world there is no great body of water covering most the surface for ships to sail across. In her world, there is no surface. "Continents hang in the sky like paintings on a wall," suspended in place by the opposing pulls of the ringing heavenly spheres above and a silent darkness below. Without reliable flights, there would undoubtedly be much chaos in the upper echelons of society, in no small part due to resulting shortages of exotic produce in the markets.

Readers will learn more as they join our young orphan, who is swept away by her minders on a journey through her own country and beyond. There are towering monsters, strange swordsmen, cunning villains, great battles, and, last but certainly not least, enough packed ham for the adventure.

I make no promises as to the quality of the tale or even the sufficiency of the supply of ham. I am not a particularly experienced storyteller, and our heroine eats a startling amount of the stuff for her size. I do however hope the story is as appropriate to read this decade as it is the next and the next after that, and that the story will bring some small measure of joy to the reader no matter their age.

That is all for now. Thanks for reading.

Election 2016: ORIGINS

The President sat in his leather chair in the Oval Office. A withered gentleman with ruddy cheeks sat across the desk, running a wrinkled hand over his hairless scalp. A small pile of orange fur sat in the bald man's lap. It purred.

"You're our best agent. Please say you'll do this," said President Obama.

"I'm old, Obie," said the bald man, "And I'm retired. I'm done. I'm out of the game. Get someone else."

"There is no one else," said the President. "Please. One last mission, that's all I ask. The country needs you, Don. *I* need you."

The bald man slumped in his seat, and he pet the purring lump of hair pensively.

"One last job, you say?"

The President nodded.

The bald man sighed, then nodded. He grunted as he labored to his feet, holding the orange tabby in one hand and bracing himself on the chair's arm with the other. The President likewise stood up. He saluted the bald man.

"For America, Don. For America," said President Obama.

The bald man took the cat in both hands and slid it over his scalp. The cat curled in a ball and thrust its claws into the bald man's skull. Small lines of red trickled down the back of the man's head. Once secure, the cat fell back asleep. It purred more loudly than before. With the cat secured, the bald man's face suddenly transformed: no longer a tired old agent, but a shifty-eyed, fiery businessman. The President had never seen the transformation up close before. It frightened him.

The cat-wearing man thrust a finger at the President.

"You're sitting in my seat!" he shouted, his voice just loud enough to mask the cat's purring.

"There he is," said the President. "Go get 'em."

The cat-wearing man strode over to the great mahogany door that lead out of the Oval Office and pounded it twice with a balled fist. The Secret Service agent on the other side opened the door and nodded.

"Don," called President Obama.

The cat-wearing man turned. He was scowling.

"Say it just once. For me."

The agent leaned back and drew a deep, dramatic breath, as if though he were about to spit out a hurricane.

"Mister President," he shouted, wildly jabbing the air with his pointer finger.

"YOU'RE FIRED."