Oh hello there.....

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged in long form. My apologies. Life has been much the same, except worse in many areas, whilst surprisingly better in some. I’m not sure if I’ve said this before, but I’ve made one short story sale, and I’ll have deets on that in the coming months. I’ve also had three lovely rejections of another short story, but I just put a pitch in for that one at a different publication. So fingers crossed. And of course the novel is currently being reviewed by an agent. Tenterhooks!

I’m taking a break from my MMO of choice, just due to health and financial considerations. I found myself getting into protracted discussions on Twitter that just don't make sense to me right now, and I just don't have the energy for it.

My health continues to deteriorate, and my SSDI check won’t cover the things Medicare doesn’t, like certain types of necessary medications to treat some of my infections, or long term hospital stays, or dental, which is causing me significant oral health issues. Between the spinal stenosis, the badly decaying teeth, the cellulitis infections, the deep bone pain, and my dyscalculia, my cerebral palsy and oh yes, my mental illnesses (anxiety, PTSD) my body is trying its absolute hardest to kill me.

Basically my body is in agonizing pain all the time now and I can’t afford treatments to fight it on my own. So I need to conserve what energy units I have and fight what battles I can.

The pain is rendering me useless. Infections persist. Doctor prescribes medicine insurance won't cover. I’m more tired all the time. This is life now?

if all my health issues were financially covered? I could be working 80 hours a week in 3 months. But each new health emergency drains me badly, but it's either pay rent + bills, & or get enough groceries or skip some bills this month. Health care still extravagant luxury

I've become a large burden to my wife, who works 2 jobs and helps raise the boy, & to my aging mom, who can't be my caregiver. Everyone in my family has been wonderful, but the burden I am strains them, & sometimes I feel their resentment at my uselessness crawl on my skin.

Two years ago the shame of asking others for help burned me. Now I just feel sick, and tired. I try to carry on, but agonizing pain interrupts.

And of course, the physical ailments pile on with the mental illnesses, the depression. I’m sure most readers don’t want to read these negative, whiny thoughts, & I get exhausted reading sympathy replies, but I just can't functionally hide this ugly part of me. I'm not even asking for anything. Just getting these words out. Putting form to the hurts, the feelings.

 Sorry. & now, a joke. Man 1: Ask me what the most important part of comedy is. Man 2 "OK, What's the most imp-" M1"TIMING!"

Supaman and world champion dancer Acosia Red Elk team up on this visually stimulating video for the song called "Why" which is featured on Supaman's forth coming album titled "ILLUMINATIVES". COMING SOON! Directed by Tom Clement

Hello 2016! My 2016 Reading list!

My reading list of 2016 so far includes Nnedi Okorafor,’s Who Fears Death? http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004XFYIE2/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1 

Daniel José Older’s Shadowshaper, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Q5LJFJA/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1  

Louise Erdrich’s The Round House, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007HC3UF6/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1 

Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Bird In The Sky, http://www.amazon.com/All-Birds-Charlie-Jane-Anders-ebook/dp/B00W190RPG

and Cindy Pon’s Silver Phoenix.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0026SCN54/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1 

I NEED MORE NAMES! HALP! Writing continues apace. Sort of. 

Goodbye 2015

I have a story coming out next year!
the book will be sent out to agents on my Birthday in February.

That's my deadline.

I'm busy living and writing, but I'll leave you with a poem I wrote.
(with thanks to Bogi Takács for the writing advice)

Colossal Prank

justice, much like faith,
is a faerie-tale, 
wrongs done
cannot be made right not when
the killer is a white man and
the victims looked too dangerous,
too black, too transgender too
Cheyenne-Arapahoe, too female,
too Muslim

America, land of the free, much like hope
is a bed-time story we tell ourselves, hands
red from the days denials, justifications, 
righteous prayer to our pale-skinned
perfect

Jesus…..God,
god damn us all.
He was only 12
She was unarmed,
They were only walking
living
being,
but the Second Amendment
craves more blood
to water the tree
of patriarchy.
I’m sorry, patriots
those that die so we can be free
Tamir , Bettie, Paul, Yvette, Tanisha, Akai, 
on and on a thousand names more

Emma’s poem, “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,”

is just a joke now, don’t you know
it’s all been a joke back since Wounded Knee
Justice, indeed.

Bang Bang Kid. The Shootout Solution Review

I received an Advanced Review Copy of The Shootout Solution: Genrenauts Episode 1 by Michael R. Underwood, the author of the Ree Reyes Series, Shield And Crocus, and The Younger Gods. I was not in any other way compensated for this review.

Let’s get something out of the way: I hate and love serialized fiction. Good serialized fiction hurts the worst, and therefore gets my hate more than bad serialized fiction, which I just drop after a certain point (Stephen King’s The Plant comes to mind.) Great serialized fiction, (like Claire Monserrrat Jackson’s Blood Ties series) delivers more story per square inch in a single episode than some bloated fantasy Decalogies in their entire ten novel run.

In that sense, Michael R. Underwood’s Genrenauts feels like a strong start to a great series. Snappy dialogue, twisting plot turns, and efficiently written action scenes combine with a strongly realized protagonist that reminds me of a old friend from my art school days, not a cardboard cut-out of the “strong female character” trope.

Leah Tang, flailing comedian turned improvisor extraordinaire is handed the weirdest opportunity of a lifetime, (and rocket ships, and a six shooter) before she gets tossed into an hilariously exciting adventure that shows sometimes the heroes aren’t the only ones who save the day.  

Leah gets a surprising bit of breathing room to show off her personality of a decidedly strange world in this quick introduction to the series. If there is a flaw in the serialized fiction format, it’s that this character development comes at the expense of Leah’s team-mates, a few of whom seem to have just as interesting backstories as Leah. This seems especially true for one of the characters backstory which feels like a last minute inclusion to tick a box, instead of part of who the character is. THANKFULLY Michael R.Underwood has promised me via email that each of the teammates gets their own spotlight in Season 1, while some are even getting more stories in an anthology. (YAY)

The first “episode” contains just enough twists to bend my brain, which makes it compelling fiction, and I read it in a single sitting. Don’t worry, it’s not a short story, it clocks in at just under thirty thousand words, so you definitely get your money’s worth from the experience.  

This series episode will be quite enjoyable for fans of Quantum Leap, Jim C. Hines’ Magic Ex Libris series, any of the Buffy Whedonverse, or of course fans of Ree Reyes from Geekomancy and Hexomancy. I loved it, personally—but I’m biased towards the deep pop culture references, the meta-story story, and the hint of worse to come. And that’s why I also hated it. Now I have to wait for the next episode to come out.

The Shootout Solution (Genrenauts Episode One) is available for preorder from this page here and will be available to read on November 17, 2015.

BOOK REVIEW: ROOT OF UNITY BY S.L. HUANG

S.L. Huang’s ROOT OF UNITY is the latest in the Cas Russell series ( Russell’s Attic Series) and it is nearly a nonstop adrenaline bang-up car-wreck of an amazing ride. The TL;DR is BUY THIS BOOK AND THE REST AND READ THEM IN A SINGLE GO.

Buy: Amazon * Amazon UK * B&N * Kobo * Apple  

Buy: Amazon * Amazon UK * B&N Kobo * Apple
 

Fresh from her adventures in Book 2 ( HALF LIFE)  Cas finds her morality-map fraying at the edges, and her usual coping methods are collapsing around her, at the worst possible time. The third book in the series sees her lethal brand of math-fu joining forces with a hacker named Checker, and a former private investigator named Arthur to find a kidnapping victim, and apparently the answer to a math problem that would change the world forever.

The stakes are higher for everyone this time, with Cas’s calculus martial arts ratcheting up even as she personally begins to fall apart. Expect no easy answers, and the slow simmering build-up to the Twist is presented excellently. Huang’s prose disappears behind the story, which is by turns hilarious (“He’s fine. He had a building fall on him.”) tragic and always action-packed. As someone who HATES math (I have dyscalculia) I love how the story presents mathematical ideas in a way that a total non-numbers type can follow, and the plot never slows down for it. 

Cassandra Russell is an excellent heroine, a woman of color who is bad ass, not beautiful, competent, not cute, and would likely hold her own against James Bond and Indiana Jones. Huang’s a rising talent in the sci-fi world, and I would not be surprised to see her books optioned in Hollywood soon. 

S.L. Huang’s book is tightly written, and is a perfect example of a compelling page-turner. I read it in two sittings, in the middle of the night and as soon as I woke up the next morning. 6 out of five stars. 

Book Review: Claire Monserrat Jackson

Blood Ties  Part One: Daddy’s Little Girl by Claire Monserrat Jackson is available at Smashwords and Amazon

Every once in awhile there comes a writer whose prose is so elegant, they change the river of literature in their wake and leave an indelible fingerprint on the landscape of the reader’s imagination. Such rare treasures are often buried deep in the sea of good-to-mediocre, their diamond presentation just waiting for the right time, the right hands. Thankfully, at last I can say that Miss Claire Monserrat Jackson is such a jewel. You’ve the hands, dear reader, and the time is right now.

Some who want everything for nothing will complain that the serial is too short for its price, and although I agree with the former I vehemently argue against the latter. For the price of a cuppa, you get a tiny puzzle box world so intricate and detailed and layered with meaning that it might well take multiple readings to see all the carefully crafted gear work moments of confusing perfection. Monserrat Jackson’s prose weaves its way through mythology and history in a dance that’s familiar, yet eldritch and alien giving you a dystopian afterworld gilded with gods and myths of the past wrapped up in passages that yearn for Sam Spade’s office.

Claire Monserrat Jackson’s heart beats on the page, the blood in the words and the ink, and the work is better for it. Our protagonist is a woman of color (and song!) and from what I can guess, at least a little more than Queer in the LGBTQIA sense. Which, frankly, in a world with too many white male heroes, is a giant relief. People want diversity in speculative fiction, and Miss Monserrat Jackson serves it up on a plate of caviar prose. Make no mistake, she’s a genre breaker, delivering such a svelte story so impressively drenched with just the perfect detail to leave you in the moment of that world.

If I haven’t impressed this upon you yet let me scream it from the roof tops. Blood Ties: Part One is an amazing masterpiece of urban punk noir, and you should buy it yesterday. 

Some notes: Although I was given access to an advance copy, I purchased mine, and was not paid or otherwise coerced to do this review. She's just that good. 

WIP

Work in Progress from the sequel to Guns Of Penance:
(Which is free August 18th ONLY)

"Ceras frowned, and popped the passenger door of her car open for her lover. The scissor door slid up towards the sky and the front of her Spyker C9 Aileron, and Ceras frowned as she saw a helicopter swing sharply back towards them two city blocks away.
“Jenna!” Ceras called out as her hand went for the gun clipped to the magnetic holster on the dashboard.

Jenna’s face slid from anger to wide eyed confusion just as the helicopter finished the turn and started firing from guns mounted on the right side of the aircraft. The eerily familiar pop-chopping sound of the heli’s guns spilt the air apart as rounds exploded in the street sending chunks of asphalt and clouds of dirt skyward.

Jenna started to turn but then felt a chill down her back and a cold bead of sweat slip down her temple, tracing the line of her cheekbones. Something in the air shifted, the sort of thing that makes hair on the back of the neck rise, the way it feels just before a lightning storm in the summer, or an earthquake about to happen.

Before she could move there was a searing pain in her calf and right arm, as if wasps the size of baseballs punched holes through her body with 9 mm stingers. A microsecond later the pop-pop of gunshots rang out, and as she fells the pain blossomed from tiny sparks in an ocean of darkness into a raging ball of fire, like two small stars burning as bright as if the sun had taken up residence in her body. We are all made of stars, she thought in a crazy moment that made no sense.

Then her head hit the pavement."

-Blades Of Lucifer

Status update

I am sooooo tired of pretending I am ok. Listen, here it is. The spinal stenosis is bad. The infection that put me in the hospital 3 times is back. I'm bleeding pretty much every day. I have ratchety hole filled teeth. Essential meds I need are running out and I don't know how to get more since my Doctor has decided he's no longer my Doctor. So that means the anxiety is up. Which means it's harder to do basic tasks. The depression—emotional dampening field is in full effect. Basically the only emotions I have access to now are dread, anger, and sadness. The writing, the art, all of it feels beyond my grasp right now.

"Hug your son,"
"Hang in there,"
"You have my prayers,"

There, I said the words for you, so please don't say them back to me. Hugging my son does NOTHING, except maybe increase my sense of dread that I am failing him in ways I can't even perceive, and consequently, increase my shame and self-hate at being a failed mom. And don't get me started on "Hang in there." What am I hanging with exactly? My hands? My neck? Everything hurts and I feel like I'm choking to death. Got it.

Look, I'm sorry. Well wishes allow people to express the fact that they empathize with me, and were I not so exhausted and tired of literally being so sick and tired I'd offer my sincere thanks, but right now all I can really do is withdraw and try my best to be polite without downright lying to anyone.

Self-News?

I am now in the eating peanut butter sandwiches and ramen phase of my career as a writer. The muses are back, but only for fanfiction. Ideas are percolating but ideas don't get new doctors to help fight recurring cellulitis infections, or help me solve the gap between my rent (rising) and my income (flat zero.) Not to mention surgical funding for other treatments Medicare just hates to cover ( even though they say they will,) and $ for meds.
______________

In other me-news (???) I found myself involved in Twitter's ‪#‎TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs‬ hashtag recently, and at first my tweets were kind of "meh," but by the final few I was bawling my eyes out.

My remarks:
#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs everyone's like "Stop being lazy and faking it." As if I'd choose this hell for fun.

#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs holding your son who is asking you why are you crying, & hating yourself because you can't stop-or feel joy.

#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs hating yourself because you can't feel joy for your family whom you love, & seeing their disappointment

#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs not feeling anything but sad, angry, and self hating anymore because of chemicals in the brain.

#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs being powerless to stop it from wrecking your marriage the resentment your spouse has because she needs you.

#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs trying meds, therapy & hospitalization & seeing it all fail when insurance runs out & you can't afford it.

#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs suicide is illegal but no one will help you endure the day after day hell of living-yet demand you not give up

#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs living with it for 30+ years, people can't or won't help you & you have to "chin up." w/o begging for help

#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs putting on a brave face, saying "I'm fine" when asked, staying awake at night in terror & crying in secret

#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs knowing that if I kill myself someone will say, "Why didn't she say something, someone should have helped."

#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs the absolute worst is getting up and TRYING for my son in the hopes he doesn't get depressed either.

#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs trying to explain to a 4 year old boy why mommy is sad all the time, & the shame I feel for having to.

#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs watching people trying to console you with words or gestures & feeling empty because no one votes for change.

#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs not having the guts to tell people their hugs and words of consolation are like the goggles, they do nothing.

#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs eating to feel better & people say "why are you so fat, loser?" & then you feel bad so you eat even more.

Conversations

"She turned from the mirror, and looked at me with crackling, dark eyes.

'There are twenty-three knives in the kitchen,' she said. "Eighteen lengths of cord or wire in the living room. Seven industrial strength cleaning agents under the sink. Nine different bottles of pills over my desk.

'And zero methods of dealing with the pain.' Memet turned to the mirror and laughed, bitterly. I said nothing, afraid.

'In this country,' she continued, 'suicide is illegal.'

'People go on and on about how they don't want you to die, about what a mistake that would be, but for the person on the brink to hear you say 'please get help,' the question is, from who? What help? Therapy, hospitalization, daily life assistance, these options are realistically only available for the wealthy.

"'Think of your son, your family, your friends. You dying will hurt them forever.'" Her tone mocked my earlier pleas. I opened my mouth to reply, but she stared at me with dead-fish eyes and spoke over my unwhispered words.

"So you're saying that I should remain, when I'm physically disabled and dysfunctionally mentally ill, and be a burden on them they are not equipped to handle? That's a twisted kind of cruelty, even for you."

Blades of Lucifer Work In Progress Snippet

Explosion by Steve Jurvetson used under CC license

Explosion by Steve Jurvetson used under CC license

This is from the sequel to Guns Of Penance, which will be on sale at $0.99 for the next ten or so hours ONLY before going back to its normal price.

"Without thinking, leaping like an animal, Stacey grabbed the rocket, listening to the beeping noise, and ran back the way she came. She leaped up onto the hood of her car and saw the last attacker frantically loading another rocket into the tube. 

 Stacey stood on the hood of her car, all six foot six inches of her lean muscle mass trembling with rage, rocket in one hand, rifle in the other. Her arm burned with the agony of the rocket’s weight and the wound. 

She yelled, screamed, roared with a shaking fury and hurled the rocket back with all her strength at the woman just as the other woman looked up at the scream.

Stacey raised the Barrett M107 as the rocket sailed up in a tumbling arc. She aimed, and fired.

The rocket, while not set to explode until a certain range, was not itself armor proof, and each of the six inch long .50 caliber BMG shells were designed to shoot down aircraft, proving themselves more than capable of piercing the rocket’s casing.

The rocket exploded mid air and knocked Stacey off the hood of her car, but not before she saw the other woman also go down, and she was close enough to hear a single scream."

Guns Of Penance is now only .99 cents!

Because I'm crazy, I'm temporarily dropping the price of my first book's Kindle version to .99 cents USD. I can't discount the paperback version any further than it is, because I don't print it (CreateSpace does.) But now you can pick up the book for less than the cost of a 36oz bottle of soda-pop! So Yay!

Reviewers are calling my book 
"a delicious page turner," "a cracker, a gripping read from front to back," "raw, carnal and gritty"

So yes what are you waiting for?

Go get Guns of Penance from Amazon Here!

Go get Guns of Penance from Smashwords Here!

You can still buy the paperback version, though not as heavily discounted, here