Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Satinalia


Chapters: 1/2
Fandom: Dragon Age: Inquisition
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Female Inquisitor/Cullen Rutherford
Characters: Blackwall, Sera (Dragon Age), Dorian Pavus, Varric Tethras, Cole (Dragon Age), Cassandra Pentaghast, Josephine Montilyet, Leliana (Dragon Age), Cullen Rutherford, Female Inquisitor (Dragon Age)

Summary:
A month after Haven, despite Skyhold still mostly ruins, Josephine puts together a mass feast for Satinalia. This leaves the Inquisitor to soothe over the edges as everyone tried to add their own touches to the celebration.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Cully-Wully and a spot of Fanfiction

Well, I done fell off the face of the earth there. It's all because of one little game that turned out to be a huge game. And maybe some Christmas. Yeah, I'll blame Christmas.

Speaking of Dragon Age, I got so deep into it I did something I never thought I would, pulled out my theoretical pen, and wrote a fanfic.

This will make no sense to those who haven't played the game, but it's a little vignette about Cullen being his worry wart self. Read on for my first fanfiction since that other Dragon Age story that won me a sword.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Spanish Fog

I've been straining to reach 50,000 words in my manuscript because tomorrow Dragon Age drops.

We've only been waiting for this for, oh, three years or so.

I crossed that line late Friday evening and promptly abandoned my manuscript for the second time. This novel is going to really hate me for how often I dump it for other things.

Just for you, a little preview of Spanish Fog. My man character, Vaho (the female bandit in the guise of a man), was sent on a little robbery missions but finds himself caught in a predicament.


 Vaho slid back from the door, slow as ice across a lake, and looked around the office. Curtains, a desk, and a cold fireplace. All could provide a hiding spot provided a blind man was hunting for him. Licking his fingers, Vaho snuffed out the candle. More of the incriminating wax dribbled to the floor as he tipped it over and laid it upon the desk. No reason to steal all of the Viscount’s wax.

He stepped to the window and looked across the small balcony. There’d be no way to latch it back up, but hopefully the guards wouldn’t notice or care. Sliding nearly blind fingers around the edge of the window sill, Vaho slid the clasps. The window opened up as more of the guards comments rose from outside the office.

“You’re right. Where’d the third candle go?”

Vaho stepped a foot out into the crisp night. He grabbed onto one curtain, tugging it free of the bonds and yanking it to cover his escape.

The office door rattled from behind the curtain. Holding a breath, Vaho pushed the window, praying it wouldn’t make a noise. A crack bounced as if someone slammed the door open, and Vaho stopped pushing on the window.

“You idiot!” one of the guards shouted.

“Sorry. I didn’t expect it to give like that.”

“Sorry? Sorry? Who knows what you scratched up.”

“Is that the candle on the desk?” Boots shuffled across the floor. Vaho glanced down but found only hard ground below. He’d survive the fall but wouldn’t easily walk away. Instead, Vaho tested the iron bars around the balcony. They didn’t give, that was promising. Sliding his weight upon a hand on the wall, he reached one foot at the top of the bars and carefully stretched to add the other.

Balancing precariously upon the perch, Vaho began to rise, reaching for the roof. The voices of the guards, having properly investigated the candle resumed, “Was that curtain always closed?”

The woosh of drapes being yanked back gave Vaho enough time to lean back, hidden in the shadow of the house. Now or never. Picking at the window, the guards bounced it against the frame. It’d be a matter of seconds before one poked his head out and turned around. Stepping back on the fencing, Vaho grabbed onto the edge of the roof and ran forward. His shoes caught on a few bricks, and from the force, he hauled his body up, but there was nothing to grab onto. Cursing the flat roof, Vaho leaned forward, crashing onto his side. His legs dangled off the roof as, sure enough, the head of a far too curious man poked out the window. By God’s grace he looked to his right first, missing the bandit yanking his legs out of sight.

“What was that noise?!”

“Probably squirrels,” the second guard said. “Come on, we need to get back out front. If we screw up tonight it’ll be our heads.”

“Right right,” the curious guard said. He looked out once more, his blonde head twisting around but never looking up at the eyes peering down off the roof.

Slowly, the head dipped back in and the scraping sounds of a closed window reverberated through the night. Vaho slipped from the edge, laying on his back watching the stars. The stamping of feet echoed through his ears, but Vaho heard only the pounding of blood in his brain, the ecstasy of pulling off an escape by the skin of his teeth. An idiotic grin pulled at his cheeks until they hurt. He stopped feeling terror at coming so close to the edge a long time ago. The joy was always there, hiding in the rags of fear from losing a limb or his head. It was probably why that young girl didn’t toss that stolen cloak into the fire the first time she was slashed across the leg. Instead she threw it on the next night and faced the storm alone.

Voices and stamping faded away, and Vaho rolled to his knees. Rising carefully, he balanced on the roof and glanced across the rooftops of Granada. Alhambra rested in the distance, a still burning spot amongst the slumbering silhouettes. Perhaps Ferdinand could not get a good night’s rest before his exit after all.

Now to find a ladder and get back to Mariana, Vaho thought to himself as he slid across the terra cotta roof. A few shingles rolled under his feet, threatening to toss him to the ground below, but he managed to keep upright, sliding towards the edge. “I’m glad I don’t have to do this often,” his breath smoked the cold air.

Walking slowly, he found the edge at the back of the house, near the garden and, hopefully, a working ladder. “Gaines, you better have come through.”

He lowered to his stomach and felt around the eaves like a blind man. Only cold shingles answered back until he bumped into something. His reflexes grabbed for the tumbling ladder before his mind caught on. Steadying the old girl, he slid his body towards the edge and placed a foot upon the step. It groaned in the cold, but accepted his weight.

“It’s a good thing I only had a bit of a peacock,” he muttered, placing another foot on the ladder and slowly climbing down.

The guards couldn’t hear him, they were already back at the front arguing about heaven knew what. Guards weren’t hired for their philosophical thoughts. Vaho’s foot made it down another three rungs before it slipped. He gripped tighter to the ladder and tried again, but only air answered back.

“Half a ladder, brilliant,” but glancing down his legs he saw the ground a reachable distance below.
Vaho placed both feet on the last rung and jumped off the ladder. Thanks to the seeping ice, the ground was harder than steel as it twisted his legs, but he staggered up, massaging life back into the aching shins.

Smiling up at the ladder, Vaho raised his hood and turned to disappear into the garden. Out of the darkness, something smashed into his concave gut. Vaho stumbled back when fingers latched onto his arm. He twisted around to punch the face, but another arm grabbed him, pinning his body in place.
A lantern struck up, bleaching Vaho’s eyes. He blinked quickly to adjust as the lantern bearer chuckled, “This, this is the fearsome bandido?”

Vaho twisted in the grip of two city guards, but their fists fully wrapped around his thin arms. There was no breaking free.

“What? No acerbic response?” the man taunted. His mustache twisted in a cruel wave across a tanned face. By the flair across his uniform he was important, by the burn upon his skin not important enough to remain indoors.

“I was out for a little stroll,” Vaho tried. His mind twisted in the wind, any attempt at a plan ended in visions of the noose.

“Upon the Viscount’s roof? With,” the captain reached his hand inside Vaho’s cloak. The bandit held his breath, praying it didn’t come out as her breath. But the captain was only interested in the paper folded inside his pocket, “private documents no less? Tsk tsk, that is high treason.”

“To possess a piece of paper is treason now? The King must have every road to Aragon lines with clerics,” Vaho laughed. His head snapped to the side as pain burst across his face. He sagged while light pinged over his eyes, but the guards held him up as the captain nursed his hand.

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Halloween Story Just For You

     Bill. Junk. Junk. Bill. Taco ad.
Josh paused as he sorted the last of his mail behind a black envelope. Thicker than the others, the greeting card bore no return address or mark aside from the name in silver script.
     Mr. Miles O’Hannigan.
     Two years since Josh moved into his place and he still got junk for the old potato; AARP magazines, a subscription renewal for model train clubs, mortgage scams. For the first few months, he piled it up in a basket by his door waiting for the coot to pick it up. When the basket filled, he dumped it all in the trash.
     Josh closed the mailbox and turned back to his house. He stopped and re-weighed the black envelope in his hands. It was heavier than the average Hallmark; something must be inside. Judging by the heft, a wad of somethings. Glancing down the empty suburban street, he flipped over the letter. Only a dab of silver wax sealed off the contents. Sliding his finger under, he popped the seal off.
     Silver filigree bordered the thick paper in the same ebony as the envelope. Only the words “My Condolences” filled the front. Josh thought of stuffing it back in, but in for a penny… His fingers ran along the thick edge and he yanked open the card. 
    A banshee wail erupted from a mechanism inside, exploding all of his capillaries. The spent card slipped from his fingers. Josh’s body crumpled, dead before it hit the ground.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Diversity in Fiction

Back when I was trying to drum up interest in the King's Blood, I asked a site if they'd host a chapter. They said they didn't do chapters out of novels but wondered if I'd write a post about including diversity in my book. I admit, I felt a bit weird doing it. Contrary to the talking points, there wasn't much agenda, I just wanted to change the color of the old sword & sorcery genre a bit.

Anyway, I put down my thoughts and went on a long rant about that terrible cover situation.

You can read it here.

http://visibilityfiction.com/diversity-in-ya-fantasy/


Lots of rantings about that cover. It still pisses me off.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

In the Corn

In the corn, the night air rustles;
only by moonlight the clouds allow
and a voice whispering in the stalks,
"Turn back now." 
Silken threads dangle from ears,
spun gold only nature can endow.
Stumbling over knots and bends...
"Turn back now."

Scattered straw dripping from sleeves,
a silhouette dipped in a bow.
The head rises, paper skin lifting,
"It's too late to turn back now."


Happy Halloween....


Monday, October 27, 2014

Adamantium Skeleton

I've had an insanely stupid idea in my head for a few weeks where it mostly percolated as a joke. It would have remained that way if, killing time before a haunted house, I hadn't come across the remaining 5' skeleton at WalMart.

Like all of WalMart's props it was incredibly shitty, a half assed paint job with screws and twist ties still exposed. But I had plans that would hide all of that.

In half a day I created my Wolverine skeleton. You can't keep a good mutant down.

All you need to make your own is
  • One skeleton
  • 6 tongue depressors
  • Krylon plastic adhesive silver spray paint
  • tattered remains from a dog toy (or fake sideburns/mutton chops)
The first trick was making those claws.
 I had some popsicle sticks left over but not enough. So half my claws wound up being a nice thin sized, the other the much thicker balsa wood. I'd recommend going full tongue depressor.

Trace your claw pattern and chop them out with scissors. Got six?

Okay, now for the not fun part. In order to anchor them, I had to cut apart the finger bones, wedge in the claw, then hot glue the whole mess together.

One hand was really giving and worked beautifully. The other fractured in half and I had to make a monster glue mess to keep it from falling apart.

If you have your claws on, we move to stage 2: spray paint time.
It'll take a whole can more of less, and the plastic stuff takes a bit longer to dry and properly set, but no prep time.
Now just add some mutton chops. I had fur left over from my dog ripping a mammoth toy to shreds. It worked pretty damn well, all things considered.
One wolverine skeleton ready to go for Halloween.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ebook Covers

I own a preponderance of horror related paraphernalia, pictures, and enough blood graphics to drown a vampire movie and yet, I don't write horror novels. Which means those pictures of my skulls, tombstones, and dribbly candles were mostly left to rot until I discovered a catalog self publish site.

Called SelfPubBookCovers, people can create and then upload to sell book covers for all the self publishers in the world.

I opened up my own shop and went a wee bit crazy with some of my back catalog.

You can pick one, add your book title and name, and buy it. There are some color/shadow/outer glow options.

Or, if you really like one but want a color changed/piece moved/better font choices, just get in contact with me and I can come up with something. Plus I'd only charge $50 since that's all I'd make from the site.

If you're looking for some horror ebook covers, a little dark fairy tale, fantasy, or trees (always with the trees) come and have a peek.

Monday, October 20, 2014

And Another Stolen Painting

This has not been my year.

I decided to try and reverse image search a few of my paintings, just for kicks. I started with this old tree I never got a proper sized picture of:
There were a few avatars, which didn't surprise though it does confuse me, scattered across tumblr and youtube. Then I found this: (link doesn't work anymore, as it's been removed)


 The background contrast is blown up, so it looks like shit, but that's my tree.

That's definitely my tree!

Combing through the sales list of only 31, I saw that they'd sold my tree image once on some earrings.

I wasn't just pissed, I was ready to shred and destroy all in my wake levels of angry.

Summoning up my best scary language I messaged the shop owner that they were using my image and illegally violating my copyright.

Despite being in hong kong, I got a response back in a half hour late on Saturday.

The first one was basically "Oops, my staff made a mistake (uh huh). I didn't know it was yours. (What? You think magical internet elves make those images you download and slap in cheap tin to sell as hand-made jewelry?) I'll take down the listing (at least hiding the evidence also works in my favor)"

Then it got kinda weird. I wasn't purposely avoiding it, I was working out some rage and kinda watching Doctor Who.

I got two more messages from FlowerCatJewelry asking if I was the owner of the picture and again blaming it on some magical staff for a place that's only had 31 sales. Yeah, staff, sure. All ten fingers of them, I bet.

This last message is so weird I have to show it in its glory:

"Hi Blablover,

I search some inforamtion around an hour.
I believe the picture comes from you. (As there are several guys sending a conversation to me, I am not sure which one is owner before.)

I just also discussed with my staff.
He told me that he saw it from other website (not your etsy, not your deviantart, !! I believe you are the picture owner!!).

I am trying to find that website to show my unintentional and apology now( It really my mistake for haven't checked detail)

The thing I can do now is trying my best to find that website and compensate to you"

I don't give a flying fig shit where you stole it from. And trust me, you got it off deviantart. I just did a reverse image search, I know where it's wandered off to. Walking back to a bank and saying, yep, that's the one I robbed, doesn't get you off scot-free. Figuring out which website you ripped it off of really doesn't alter the facts. Nor does blaming it on that mythical staff.

Painting, stolen, more than likely along with all the other images stored inside FlowerCatJewelry's pieces. She just made a mistake and swiped from a little guy, who occasionally gets bored and googles her own shit.

I was forgiving of Dark Candles using my image as their catalog picture. It wasn't actively making them money or being sold as their shit. I still wasn't happy, and am hesitant to want to do business with them again, but I can let it slide with some attribution.

But for this...that's a big ol' nope! At least the response to getting caught wasn't to double down and insist they were "in the right. Their second cousin twice removed had actually painted it." It probably helped that so many of my friends reported the listing (thanks guys). One voice can be ignored, a multitude not so much.

It's gone, and that's probably the best I can hope for. Any mythical compensation would mean I'd have to give more than my shop info to someone in Hong Kong (or god knows where) that steals paintings. I'd rather not.

I think I'm gonna avoid reverse image searching for awhile.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Her Fault

Blood dribbled into the slits of the pallet as the investigator lifted the body’s arm.

“Female, aged 20-25, lacerations across her throat and upper torso,” he thought aloud.

“That’s a shame,” one of the detectives said, still spooling out the Caution Tape.

“Oh?” the investigator asked, stepping away.

“You know, for her to die so young.”

“I suppose, I suppose,” the investigator yanked off his gloves and stared down at the body, “but she was asking for it.”

“What?”

“Look at her. Barely dressed, shoes missing, no cell phone. Clearly, she was walking down this back street at night, all alone, never stopping to think how easily she could be murdered. It’s her own damn fault.”

“But that’s…” the young detective turned his head, trying to imagine the girl sashaying through the discarded trash on the street as if she owned it. “Yeah…”

“And how do we even know she was murdered,” the investigator continued.

“I…what?”

“Women are always lying about shit for attention. I bet she faked her murder and wasn’t stabbed to death at all. They love getting that victim card. It’s all a false flag.” The investigator held a hand up to his mouth and shouted at the bruised face, “You’re not really dead! We know you’re faking it!”

“Yeah,” the detective agreed, nodding his head, “And…” A rush of temerity rose from his shins at the investigator’s attention and he drove onward, “And how come we never talk about all the men getting murdered? Way more men are killed every year than women, but you don’t see people taking statements or following clues about all of them at this crime scene! It’s a travesty!”

The investigator wrapped his arms around the detective’s shoulders, “Come on. Let’s get out of here. We’ve got better shit to do.”

Disregarded blood dried to the pavement.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Flash - Pilot Recap

Nobody thought much when the CW announced it was working on a Green Arrow show. Come on, he's not even Batman. But the show became a juggernaut for the teen drama/sexy vampire network and by season two they decided it was time for a spinoff.

Enter The Flash.

We were first introduced to clumsy, cocker spaniel puppy Barrie Allen (Grant Gustin) in season two of Green Arrow. It was an interesting choice as we learned how he got his powers, got to see him awkwardly flirt with awkward Felicity, become best buddies with Ollie, then they stuck him in the deep freeze for nine months to cook until the writers could figure out what happens next.

The Flash opens with the schmaltzy, go to character-building trope for nerds: Barrie Allen got picked on by bullies as a kid. He'd try to defend himself, but his father told him to run away (plot point!). We know he has to be a good guy because he was picked on and beat up as a child. ‘Tis Superhero law!

Because that isn't enough, they also threw in a dead mother to open with. You’re a rare super hero if you make it to adulthood with a mother still kicking around. Child Barrie wakes from sleep to find liquid floating out of his fish tank (I guess he loses his fish the same night, too). He hurries downstairs as flashes (wink wink) of red and yellow blurs zip around his screaming mother. Within the blurs he spies a face hiding in the yellow. Anyone with even a passing history of the Flash already knows who this is. For the sake of spoilers, I will call him Zune.

Somehow, child Barrie is transported a mile away from his home and begins to run back. That transitions to the present day where older Barrie is running to a crime scene, a small case in his hand. We learned back with Arrow that Barrie's a CSI, but apparently he's a CSI for the cheapest and tweest police department. He's not allowed a car, or to have anyone swing by and pick up the criminal investigator, or even anyone else to assist him. He doesn't even get a real lab. Instead, Barrie does his investigating out of a loft refurbished from an old warehouse. Which it seems is also where he lives, surrounded by wire racks of food dye in glass bottles. (Being comically late was something someone should have talked the writes out of. It’s an uncle joke, you laugh the first time, then grow angry with each subsequent telling.)

Barrie goes all Sherlock for a second (blissfully brief) and realizes there's poop on the tire tracks. He uses his innate feces super powers to determine that the murderer must have come from this one farm and nowhere else. Poop is that specific.

We're introduced to Iris(Candice Patton), the daughter of our main stockphoto detective and nearly life long best friend. Which means, of course, Barrie is hopelessly in love with her. She very politely and correctly explains that he's like a brother to her, but you can see the phrase "friendzoning" turning through his head. Luckily, he doesn't throw a fit, or whine, but the show seems to be leading down the "he deserves Iris" road.

While at a rally about the super collider (groupies go crazy for physics), Isis has her dissertation stolen (because everyone takes their dissertation for a walk). Barrie tries to run after the guy, who knows a black market he can sell hard sociology data too, but gets clobbered. Instead, a pretty cop swings out of nowhere and stops the guy.

And that cop's name is Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett). Dun dun dun! (Obvious spoilers from that annoying fan - though Arrow's danced around using names and then backing off, so it's hard to be 100% certain)

Iris is unimpressed with him at the time, calling him a pretty boy who keeps score on his busts. Uh-huh. Methinks the writers doth protest too much.

But to the accident. We have to mentally jam in the two Arrow episodes Barrie was in before this scene. He's now back from his brief Starling City foray, chucking things around his lab/apartment and moping because he missed out on attending the big super collider onswitching. At the same time, the detectives are on the poop bust, staking out a farm.

They burst in on a stringy haired blonde guy named Clyde (the slack jawed yokel), who shoots captain deadweight and tries to escape in a plane. Except, just as he's taking off, the super collider goes all critical wonky and a burst of energy smashes up the plane, sending his body crashing hundreds of yards to the ground.

Barrie, still moping to himself, looks up as the energy smashes through his windows. Because super collider energy isn't enough, he's also struck by lightning AND falls into a vat of his food dye chemicals. Rather than come up with one possible superpower source, they decided to mix all three in a bucket and dump them on his head.

The rest of Arrow's season and a summer later, Barrie wakes up not in a hospital but inside the warehouse floor of Star labs. He's rightly freaked out as two fast talking scientists hover over him (why is it always fast talking scientists? I miss the days of Bunsen and Beaker), telling him he's been out for nine months. Oh and we kinda destroyed parts of the city, decimated the building your comatose ass sat in for nine month, and got our boss, Wells, paralyzed. Oopsie. And we stole your body, but it’s okay. They said we could have it for study. Rather than remain with the people that kidnapped his body from the hospital, Barrie leaves.

His first stop is to catch up with Iris, still working at a coffee shop. Maybe she got her dissertation stolen again. We get a quick flashey sense scene when time slows and Barrie watches a waitress fumble a tray of mugs. He freaks out a bit, but tries to remain calm by waltzing back into the police department to check in. This gives him a chance to have even more power freak-outs as he smashes into a cop car window, a truck, and just general mayhem. Everyone takes a man twitching and breaking police cars surprisingly well, just the sort of bewildered nod and a sense of “Oh, not this again.”

Because this is still a super hero show, we need a baddie of the week even if he can't get much characterization or do anything all that evil. Mysterious man slides an "I'm here to rob the bank" envelope to a teller, who glares at him with an "I don't have time for this shit" look. He steps back and dun dun dun! It's Clyde, amazingly not with broken limbs. He holds open his arms and a fogger kicks in from under his shirt and robs the bank with his mighty powers of condensation! The detectives refuse to believe this guy is real, despite eyewitness testimony from three other bank robberies, until they see some cell phone footage of Clyde going full Malestorm on them.

Barrie's facing his own superhero crisis and goes back to the people that stole his body. I get the impression this guy is way too trusting for his own good. Good-natured funny bro, Cisco, whipped up a Flash emblem from his cereal box and pins it to Barrie's wrestling outfit. The female scientist, Caitlin Snow, waves her windows products around and delivers some science babble, giving Barrie the perfect opportunity to flash his Nice Guy™ teeth again.

He asks her why she never smiles, and rather than open up, or feign one so the weird kid doesn't keep pressing the issue, she tells him that "she paralyzed her boss, her fiancé died in the explosion, and her bioengineering career is over." I'm not sure why a bioengineer was working in a physics lab to begin with, but it shuts up Barrie and he gets to running.

The writers realized that some people might nitpick the physics a human going near the speed of light. So, during Barrie's little test, he has a mental freak out and smashes into some barrels he'd have hit anyway. He breaks his wrist, but because healing factor is all the rage these days, it sets itself in three hours.

Back to Iris and we find out, surprise surprise, she's getting down with Eddie Thawne (dun dun dunnnn!!) Barrie catches them kissing, and she begs him to keep it quiet because she doesn't want her dad to find out. All detective dads are incredibly overbearing and want to lock their daughters up in a convent until they're 45, apparently. He agrees and makes sad puppy dog eyes as if he had a chance with her. She thinks you're her brother. That's creepy. Move on!

Because we haven't hammered home all the nice things Barrie will do for Iris, a car chase breaks out. Malestorm (Weather Wizard - maybe. We're down two Count Vertigos by now on Arrow. Names are traded like baseball cards) tries to drive through them, but Barrie throws Iris aside, probably cracking her ribs in the process. Flash may have super healing powers, but average humans still not so much.

He takes off after Malestorm by jumping into the car. I'm not sure how he thought that would help. Maybe he believed the person was lost and he wanted to provide directions. Mostly, he distracts the driver causing the car to flip and roll. Malestorm rolls out of the wreckage and kicks up his fog machine again. But there's still a lot of time left in this episode so rather than have it out there, Malestorm runs for it.

Barrie gets a yelling at from his Detective stand-in father and told he's not a hero. The first response of the not-a-hero is to run away. He heads back to Starling City to have a heart to heart with Arrow. If there's someone I want no nonsense, helpful advice from Oliver Queen ranks just below the Joker. He tells Barrie he won't be a vigilante, he has to fight for his city, which sounds an awful lot like a vigilante, but whatever Ollie.

The new crowned Flash returns home to find Bunsen and Beaker have miraculously already designed a suit he can wear. Originally, they wanted to humiliate firemen in the molded/padded red leather monstrosity, but Barrie's a much better choice.

He straps on the Flash costume and is out the door. Because he must have a police scanner hidden up his ass, he runs back to the poop farm where Malestorm's been hiding this whole time. We're not dealing with a criminal mastermind here. Malestorm says he wants bigger and better things, so he turns himself into a tornado. I'm a bit hazy on how he'll make a lot of money by destroying buildings, but that was also Merlin's big plan with Starling City and it worked out perfectly.

Barrie's idea to stop the tornado is to run counterclockwise to it. The scientists are all freaking out because it'll be either 1. dangerous and maybe kill him or 2. cool! I don't understand why Mr. Super Fast doesn't just run into the middle of the tornado and knock Malestorm out.

Of course, somehow Malestorm is able to chuck something at Barrie even as he's going 200 mph, and toss him on his butt. We get the obligatory "You can do this. We believe in you. You're a hero" speech. Barrie gets up and is able to take down the tornado with the speed of his shredded feet. Then the detective lumbers up the hill and shoots Malestorm I'm guessing dead, but it's hard to say.

Because we still have to tease for the season, while everyone's celebrating the death of Clyde, we cut to Wells wheeling into a secret room. After the door closes, he stands and marches menacingly to a podium with a headline from Infinite Crisis...I mean the future. As we all know, people in wheelchairs are secretly faking it and evil.

Congrats Flash. You're not the hero this city needs, or wants, or is even sure about, but I guess you'll do or something. At least you don’t have a body count that could rival some super villains unlike a certain verdant vigilante who’s not Batman! Seriously though, that outfit is hilarious.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Rejected Story

You Owe Me
 
A feral dragon’s roar shattered the crumbling caverns, entombing it. The brave knight wrenched off his helmet and held a hand out to the fair maiden.
“My lady,” he said, inching closer to her, “you are safe from the serpent’s grasp.”
She smiled, and touched her singed hair, “Yes. Very good. Thank you.”
“Thank you?”
The lady dug some rubble out of her ear, “What?”
“I brave the fires of hell burning within the monster’s gullet and all you grant me is a humble ‘Thank you?’ Don’t you believe I deserve so much more?” he asked, nudging his unclasped hand towards her and puckering up lips for a kiss.
She paused in checking for damage and glared at the hand poking near but not quite into her chest. “You have my gratitude?” Patting her dress she added, “I’m sorry, I seem to have left all my purse at the castle where I was kidnapped by a dragon.”
The knight frowned and muttered, “That is not how this should go.”
“How what should go? Is there a manual on kidnapping by giant flying lizards? Perhaps it’s in the big book of Monster Slaying. Dragon abduction, yep that’s a 2-14.”
He kicked his toe into one of the fallen rocks, “You owe me.”
“I owe you? I owe you? What do I owe you?!”
“I donned the armor, I crossed the treacherous lands, I broke you free from the wyrm’s bonds!”
“I never asked you to!” she shrieked at him.
“You were absconded by the beast. That is as good asking for it.”
“Oh, I get it. Because you just one day decided to involve yourself in my life, I owe you – what -- a kiss? A fuck? My whole life? I don’t even know you, your name, your job, if you eat bacon or not. You think women will fall all over you because you do one thing for them? Look, I put in a minimal amount of effort, award me with marriage. Thanks!”
“That is the bargain.”
The exasperated maiden threw her hands in the air, “Bargain? Does this work in other aspects of your life, making bargains with people who don’t even know they’re involved? You eat twenty pounds of bread and then tell the baker he owes you five gold coins for doing something kinda stupid and dangerous? Do you figure if you just finish enough quests, score enough points, insert enough coins you’ll win whatever woman you want off the peg?”
“I…isn’t that how it works?”
“NO!”
She shoved past him to the collapsed cavern’s rubble and yanked out a fallen boulder.
“What are you doing?” the knight asked, fiddling with an expensive sword he bought just to rescue her and not because it was really shiny and he always wanted one.
“I’m going back to the dragon,” she cringed through straining muscles. The boulder crashed to the floor -- one down, a hundred more to go.
“You would return to that maiden kidnapping, virgin consuming monster?”
“That doesn’t believe I owe it sex. Yeah, I think I will.”
“Wenches be crazy,” the knight muttered and walked out of the dragon cave.
The maiden twisted her head through her work, catching his words, and said, “Chain mail Rights Adventurers are the worst.”

My First DMCA

 I'm a terrible narcissist and rarely google my own name But yesterday, to avoid writing, I gave it a go for the first time in a few years.

And then I remembered why I almost never do it.

Mixed in with all the book and painting and cthulhu barbie links was one to a forum. A forum for pirates. Not one for broken down animatronics from Pirates of the Caribbean looking for a new job. Nor for buccaneers trying to wriggle under the slander of the name pirate.

It was that kind of pirate.

Here's the forum posting.
They were even kind enough to highlight my name for me so I could find it getting ripped off even easier.

Well, Bob -- Do you mind if I call you Bob? Actually, I don't care if you do. Bob, see, the thing is BOB, if you want to download my book, it's really easy. There's this thing called Amazon. Maybe you've heard of it?

Big place, full of trees, man eating snakes, and mono-breasted women that ships everything under the sun directly to your door.

That's where you download my book, Bob. That's where it costs you a buck. A freaking candy bar to download what you have to have to so bad you'll go slumming with pirates to get.

Someone kindly did the pirate search for Bob in that forum and found one of god only knows how many sites that was hosting my book. The best part, that site charged $2.99 so people could steal whatever they want off it. Bob could have just bought my damn book and had change left over.

But then Bob wouldn't have that thrill of sticking it to the man. The man of some self publisher scraping by just to break even. That man. We all really hate that man.

After I stopped seeing red, I noticed a DMCA link at the bottom of the page. Big shock a download site would have one to cover their assess. Tee-hee, of course we're serious about copyright. I'm just shocked that so many recent and new things we have and charge for are in public domain. It's amazing really. People sure like giving their stuff away for free for some reason.

I filled out their form and was informed they took down the link. It's tossing a pebble into the stream I know, but I felt a bit better for slightly inconveniencing a few assholes.

The favorite argument of people who really enjoy stealing is that pirating is a good thing. It'll encourage people to find your stuff and share it for free.

Except, you now have a vast fanbase of people who don't believe in ever paying for anything. Which means that artist gets nothing, no money, and will starve while that rabid fanbase insists they get whatever they want but still for free. Because paying for things is for chumps.

Like weeding the side of a ditch one pluck at a time, I can't hope to stem the tide; but I suppose some good can come of this.

There's the question of at what point someone can call themselves an author. Is it with the first book published? The first sale? The first The End? No one really knows. But, I'm pretty sure you can definitely call yourself one with your first DMCA takedown.

So I'm an author now. A furious, starving one; but an author.

Monday, October 6, 2014

And They Lived

 I have a new short story anthology out.
And They Lived isn't just a twist on some classic fairy tales. It gives power back to the powerless in the classic stories. Women are no longer the victims and their story doesn't end with true love's kiss. For only 99 cents, you get nine short stories about women fighting for survival in a world that doesn't care about them.

Red is no longer a little girl being preyed upon by the wolf, but an assassin sent on a complicated job to rescue her grandmother. Except the job's not what it appears to be.

Before Midnight - Ella Cinder (an arson turned thief) defies her agency's orders and attends the ball to seduce her mark, a man who only calls himself Prince Charming.

The Tower - Sometimes things are put in an impenetrable tower hidden deep in a forest for a reason.
Hollow - A female warlord travels to the end of the world to cement her power, but finds she's been sacrificing herself instead.

Darkness Shall Not Be Breached is a small story to remind people it's not nice to go traipsing uninvited into anyone's garden, no matter how many legs they may have.

Destiny gives the only logical answer a King can have when prophesied his first born will kill him.

Insomnia and Fifth Horseman are two pieces of microfiction poking at the dark side of humanity.

I'm giving away five free copies of the eBook. You can enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 29, 2014

I Am Groot

September is ending which means it's Christmas ornament season!

I cracked out the clay and dental tools and crafted my first idea of the year. (I have one more, that maybe I'll hopefully get to. There are other things on the horizon) It is Groot:
He's got all his presents tucked underneath him and is trying to string some lights.

For an added bit of goofy, I pulled out my glow in the dark paint and wrote I Am Groot around the pot. So you can see his only phrase when the lights go out.

Groot's actually already been sold, and as it's a christmas present for someone, I took my first stab at making a feathered puffy hat.
Huzzah!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Dwarves in Space - Free Radicals

Here's a little Dwarves in Space preview of a novella I wrote. It's about a group trying to take a space station. The crew are stranded together in different clumps across the station and have to fight to get out alive. In this one my dwarf - Orn, is with one of my elves - Brena.

Free Radicals


He was not a cruel man by nature, or so the therapy sessions insisted, but Orn smiled wickedly as he responded to the Captain’s trap. He may not want to know the details of what she was up to, but he reveled in knowing he could sew a kernel of chaos into the festivities. It only seemed fair; he’d somewhat assisted in the butter acquisition. Well, he didn’t impede it entirely.

Orn put down his PALM and flexed the motors in his typing hand. He’d have preferred to have the chip implanted in his right hand, but the damn device could only run on “body energy” and background MGC. Even going through a gargoyle rep ended in a lot of angry calls about how he didn’t need his stone polished!

His fourth finger froze during his flex and he shook his hand, trying to restart the motors. “Gnome built piece of shit,” he cursed while twisting his finger in ways that would invert the stomachs of most organics. The cold elf eyed him out of curiosity but didn’t turn away. He’d never thought much about Brena aside from the occasional need to accuse his captain of engaging in some illicit affairs with the bard to keep sharp. A warmth never reached those yellow eyes. Sure, you’d get that ice princess schtick off most Dulcens, but once they were out of polite company they could fart and belch as powerfully as any dwarf. Brena was different, in a way that should disquiet Orn if he cared.

Cracking the errant finger, a familiar whirr began below his glove and it curled up with the rest of its brethren. Having solved his problem, Orn scanned the area seeing if anyone else watched him struggle. The upper balcony thinned as people escaped the afternoon doldrums. Only a pair of dwarven girls chattered like mine birds outside a very shiny store. If he was 20 years younger, he’d have felt terrified at their mere existence. Now, with age and wisdom, he tried to block them out entirely.

The elf said something, her eyes peering across the vast expanse of the shopping experience below her. Orn couldn’t make it out through the rising pitch of the teenagers. He took one step closer to her when the world exploded.

The force hit first. Tossed like a tissue in a hurricane, Orn’s body flew back from the balcony. Pain lanced across his spine and around his ribs. Only the sound of waves lapping against a smooth shoreline thundered through his head. He opened stubborn eyes and closed them immediately against the smoke.

Wiping at his face, he tried it again while a small part noted that at least his arm still worked. Broken glass glittered off the metal grating of the floor, silhouetted through the smokey fog. The dwarf put one hand on the ground and tried to rise, the waves fading as a tinny whine filled his ears. His back screamed at him to lay down and forget about this whole surviving thing, but he ignored it, trying to fall back on his haunches. The familiar drip of warm water pooled against the back of his sweater. He tried to reach for the wound, but his ribs screamed at him for trying.

“What the fuck was that?” he shouted, barely able to hear his own words over the dampening waves. “Ah shit,” he placed a finger in his ear and tried out his best curse words, all of which sounded the same with or without the mute.

A hand landed on his shoulder and he twisted, then groaned from the pain. Brena searched his face. Her own wasn’t looking so great. Red scratch marks crisscrossed her cheek as if she’d slithered across a cement floor, her hair ballooned out of that pinning thing she did until half fell while another quarter stuck out at weird angles. Blood dribbled from her mouth where she must have bitten a lip.

“Are you all right?” the elf asked.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cauldron Redux

Yesterday my husband brought home some dry ice.

You can already guess what happened.
Even though my coals were going, it wasn't dark enough to really show them off because either you can see the cauldron or the coals. Not both in pictures.

And for good measure, here's video of the dry ice in action.
Bubble on my Halloween friends.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hot Coals Tutorial

You may remember that cauldron I rusted with some oatmeal and sand back in July. Normally, I put it in the middle of my driveway on top of some sticks and shove a red strobe light underneath to mimic fire.

But this year I wanted something new and fancy for my cauldron to seethe on top of. Enter the hot coals.


It's actually really easy to make this.

All you need is:
  • a board. I used a poster board, but other people use wood, plexiglass, whatever is handy
  • tin foil
  • empty pop bottles
  • a string of orange lights
  • spray insulation foam
  • spray paint
First step is to cut the board to fit your choice of cauldron.

Take the tin foil and wrap it over the board. This'll hopefully increase the light output.

Chop up the bottoms of the pop bottles to varying heights. Hot glue those onto the board. Mine are all clear so they're a wee bit hard to see.
 I didn't take any pictures of the next step because I got excited and thought I did. Take your string of lights and drape them over the board, taping it down where you get it right. I waited for Target to put out a string of flickering orange lights this year, which is why I'm finally making my coals in late September. I plugged the lights in as I worked and put them on top of the bottle bottoms in clusters, all over.

Make sure to leave out the plug or your coals will never light up.

Now for the spray insulation foam. This stuff is the devil, but a devil we know. It sticks to everything, expands into a mess, and is evil. Did I mention the evil? Pretty sure I did.
Evil evil popcorn.

This is what it looks like before I painted it.
But since they moved Daylight Saving, most of the haunted house set up is seen by light and not in the dark. So I had to take away the bright white look with the power of spray paint.
It looks a bit more like the surface of some cheesy sci-fi series set, The Crags of Mars, but it gets the job done.

And, most importantly, it looks like this when lit up in near darkness.
That's how to make your own hot coals to smoulder in grass. No Hogwarts degree required.

Sleepy puppy.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Crow Flies in Midnight

It took a lot of wrenching of garments and gnashing of teeth, but the impossible has finally happened.

Target put its halloween stuff out.

I got my twinkling lights for the last halloween project of the year. I'll explain later.

There's also the griffin statue to protect my yard from any Darkspawn and that adorable crow skeleton.
If I could, I'd skeleton everything. Skeleton cat, skeleton dog, skeleton dragon, skeleton pancakes. Everything must be flayed!

With the kitty from earlier and my horde of skeletons, I decided a little photo set up was in order. So I combined my three skeletons to make this:
If you want a skelekitty or skelecrow, get thee to Target. I predict they will not last long.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lil Boo

Meet Lil Boo.

He's a bit shy but would really like some candy. 'nk you. Twick or Tweat, please.
Where's his head? Well, you can't be a trick or treater ghost with a head, now can you?

Lil Boo was born when I realized I had a ton of monster mud leftover from Angela. So I got to thinking what could I make that was hobbit sized, partly adorable and partly spooky.

He started out the same as Angela; PVC frame, chicken wire, and a fitted sheet draped over him. I wanted it to look like a kid grabbed an ancient sheet and threw it on before hitting the streets.
To make the gaping hole I tried the balloon approach with mixed results.
I had to do him in a bunch of stages, adding the monster mud first to the body, then slopping on the hood and the balloon.

Finally, I painted the whole grey sheet white and added some accents of brown on the trim to make it look stained and old.
After giving him his bucket and flashlight, he was ready for some candy!

This Sunday, because we didn't have enough to do, we decided to make a coffin. It's not a full one, but about a quarter coffin so it looks like it's bursting from the ground, or poorly buried.
The broken ends at the bottom are courtesy of the asshole who ran into our fence and drove off.

I'm trying some ideas to spook it up, like adding a strobe under or we might get a tiny fog machine to shove under it.
Trick or Treaters and coffins, and I still have one more prop I have to finish before Halloween. It'll be coming down to the wire this year.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Some Halloween Treats

It's the exact middle of September, that hazy golden time when all stores finally scrape away the crusty bits of Back To School but two weeks before Christmas begins its tinsel cacophony.

Halloween Time!

I thought for certain that Target would have it's stuff out this second weekend in September. My hopes lit when I saw a few cute little Halloween things in their $1 cheap shit bins.

But the back walls were nothing but picked over pencils and binders no one seemed in the mood to move. You're dead to me Target.

Yet hope springs eternal in the form of Walgreens. They've been more miss than hit the past few years, but Walgreens is always good for things I don't see anywhere else, and they were no exception this go around. A few adorable dancing things, a crap ton of Nightmare Before Christmas Stuff, and this rat.

I've seen the half rat prop before, usually flailing in a trap or gnawing on something undead. I'm not big into gory so it got a meh. But I fell so badly for the rat chewing away on some potato chips.
video
It's probably because I watched the hell out of Charlotte's Web as a child, but I had to name the rat Templeton. I wish it sounded like Paul Lynde.

The tombstone got a paint job. I liked the base but it needed some help.
On to the food portion of Halloween.

At Shopko I found these suckers that have bones for sticks! A brilliant idea attached to a rather nasty tasting sucker. Oh well. At least I'll have a ton of bones left over when it's done and I can look like I'm gnawing on a fairy as I suffer through them.

The skull I got from Home Depot. Pretty good deal since it was under $18. But the real point of this picture is those Cheetos. Bone Cheetos! Make your own skeleton Cheetos! Who cares about unicorn tear flavored Lays when we have bone cheetos over here people!
I've been busy updating my Zazzle store with some things, so here comes a vast array of ideas I had.

First up, the open grave car mats.
I had the skeleton grave image from a few years back and Zazzle started offering car mats so I combined the two.

On CafePress I created my first ever rug. It's Stairs to Nowhere for people who wants to have a fake basement.

And finally I fixed up some pictures of Hel and put that on things.


That was the Halloween portion of my weekend that didn't involve power tools. Target's still on the list though. You better have your stuff out this weekend, I need the lights to make something.

Damn you, Target!