Monday, January 15, 2018

Author in a Cape

A whole lot has been happening since I last posted. My panel at Salt Lake Comic Con was a blast and this Thursday (January 18th, 2018) I will be a guest on the podcast MotherF**ker in a Cape by R. Alan Burns. I live in a mountain town (Steamboat Springs) in Colorado and Alan is from the Front Range (Denver, etc.). He'll be up here doing a live podcast at the Bud Werner Memorial Library which is where I work when I'm not working away at the keyboard. I'm really looking forward to it.

MotherF**ker in a Cape is available on iTunes and, I assume, other podcast platforms.

This podcast has been planned for a couple of months and its focus on geek culture/superheroes sent me back to my roots, so to speak. For me, superhero comics where my gateway drug into science fiction and fantasy stories. I was five (maybe six) when Origins of Marvel Comics was published. I got that as a Christmas present. I devoured it. I must have read it over one hundred times. And not just the collected comics but also the introduction/behind the scenes sections written by Stan Lee. Reading about how the characters and plot lines were developed then reading the actual issue itself was a mini-education in the creative process. One that I dipped into over and over again over a few years.

Of course, I grew up and for a while put aside childish things, one of them being comic books. Put I didn't put them away too long. I swore when I went off to college that I was done with comics. A few months later, the first issues of Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns were published. I was sucked right back in.

I made the same promise to myself when I headed to grad. school. BUT there happened to be a great little comic store about a half mile from where I first lived. I swear I didn't plan that (I don't think). I was once again sucked back into the world.

Over the years and a numbers of moves around the country (Massachusetts, Tennessee, New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon then back to Colorado) my comic book reading waxed and waned. Work, life, marriage, paying the bills, etc. took priority and I put superhero and geek stuff on the back burner. But my interests never went away completely. So, when I decided to dedicate myself to writing, superheroes were always in the background of my work. I wrote a short story set in a world of superheroes a few years back and, when the podcast came up, I went back to review it. It was good but not as good as I could make it. I took it down off Amazon and debated whether to re-do it or, possibly, expand it. It had a great deal of promise but it was still rough.

I put that particular story aside for a couple of weeks and delved into a momentary, month-long Warren Zevon obsession. I listened to many of his albums and read a few articles and one biography on him. Zevon, if you don't know, is the singer/songwriter famous for Werewolves of London, Lawyers, Guns and Money and many, many other songs. Longtime friend Jackson Browne said of Zevon, "He was able to mythologize and satirize all in one stroke." That comment stuck with me and stuck with me. Zevon himself said when the topic of "selling out" came up, "If you're not entertaining then what are you doing?" These two comments bounced around in my head and mixed up with my own ruminations about superheroes. I mulled it all over for a couple of weeks then on the day after Thanksgiving I sat down at the computer and started a new story.

Six weeks later I had a rough draft of a first book in a series. A superhero series. The working title (and I stress that, this will not be its final title) is "His Name is Laser Boy." My goal is to finish the rough draft of the three (maybe four) books by April/May then spend time polishing them up and sending them out to publishers/agents. So, wish me luck. I'll be posting rough draft material here on the blog as I go along.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Far Shores of Saucerland: FREE

The Far Shores of Saucerland is now (and has been for a few months, oops!) available on Amazon both in Kindle and paperback formats. 
Here is the link: 

Saucerland will be available for free from 9/22 - 9/24 as a SLCC special (see previous post)

In addition, Monsters of Utopia will be available for $0.99 during the same days as a Kindle Countdown Deal.
Here is that link:



Salt Lake Comic Con, here I come!

I’m excited and a bit nervous. I have the great, good luck of being a panelist at Salt Lake Comic Con this Friday, 9/22/17. I’ll enjoy attending the con as a fan and I’m nervous/excited about being part of one of the many panels the con hosts throughout its three days.
For the past several years, my wife and I have attended both the Salt Lake Comic Con (Fall) and the FanXperience (Spring) in Salt Lake City, UT. From where we live, Salt Lake is a few hours away via a beautiful drive through mountains and high desert. When we first went, I had my doubts. I’ve been more of a quiet nerd for most of my life keeping my extensive knowledge of comic books and science fiction under wraps until I got to know people pretty well. So, going to a place where everybody was letting it all hang out, so to speak, was fairly daunting to me. 
I am glad to say that whatever doubts I had were erased within the first few minutes of attending SLCC. The atmosphere at the con (I’ve attended since 2014, it’s been in existence since 2013) is amazing. There are whole families who make the trip as well as couples, singles and large groups. And, everyone is there to have fun and be nice. That last part sounds a bit weird but it may very well be the best part of the experience. I’ve traveled to a number of foreign countries and been in some very large crowds (Tiananmen Square on May Day in the early 2000s was a sight to behold!) both in the United States and abroad. I’ve never felt anything like the warmth and collegiality of the crowds at Salt Lake Comic Con. There were 130,000 or so people at the last con but it felt like I was walking around my home town bumping into familiar people (that I didn’t really know but I had a common bond with). Everyone is happy, excited, happy, occasionally loud, happy, tired from walking around so much because there is so much to see, taking lots of pictures and happy. SLCC is like the ultimate county fair for fans of science fiction and fantasy. If you get a chance, you should go. Just go.
Here’s the site:

An Unexpected Trilogy

Over the past year and a half, I’ve published/worked on three books (Monsters of Utopia, The Far Shores of Saucerland and an as yet unpublished work in progress) that started out as completely separate from each other but have (kinda, sorta) developed into a trilogy. Not your traditional type of trilogy by any means. There is no over-arching story that continues from one book to the next. There are no recurring characters (with one, possible exception). But there is a certain thematic similarity and a structural element that they share in common.
This Unexpected Trilogy starts with Monsters of Utopia. I like to think of Monsters as a somewhat off-kilter, amusing, slightly surreal take on the alien invasion trope. The aliens this time are giant, flying jellyfish (there are other aliens and the jellyfish may not be, in fact, alien to this planet but you have to read the book to get the details). At a certain point in the story one of the characters switches up his verbal style. It was that section and the fun I had in writing it plus the visit by two of the main characters to a place referred to simply as “The City” that (this is all obvious in hindsight but I was not consciously aware of it at the time) led me to writing Saucerland and to do so in what I call “stanza format,” which is the same format that I am using for my work in progress. I don’t consider myself a poet (I really don’t pay attention to rhyme scheme, meter, etc.) but being that I am in the middle of my second long-form, narrative poem(ish) work I might have to reassess that assessment. 
So, parts of Monsters led me to write Saucerland which is a riff on epic poems such as the Iliad, De Rerum Natura and the Aeneid. I did take seven years of Latin in high school and college and that part of my education is leaking through into my creative output. Why now? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the alignment of the planets.
Saucerland led me to my current work (in progress, have I noted that before?). I found writing in the short lines of the stanza format to be liberating. This is where I start to sound like a a pretentious artist. I hate that. But it’s hard to discuss my work without coming off that way. That’s why I don’t discuss my work that much. I’ll need to get over that. Anyway, the stanza format has for me a “spoken word performance” element to it. I sent a copy of Saucerland to my best friend from college (he’s a Theater professor) to get some feedback. He noted the choral/spoken word element, too, so I know that I’m not going crazy. The Iliad was (as far as scholars can tell) part of an ancient, oral tradition before it was put into written format. I tried to capture that sense of sitting around a campfire listening to a great storyteller. I think I succeeded.
Along with the stanza format/rhythm of speaking structural element, all three of the books (Monsters, Saucerland and Untitled Unpublished, look for it in the next couple of months) concern themselves in one way or another with the fairy world. The fairy world, to me, is a general term used to refer to the place(s) that we as humans have had encounters with throughout our recorded history (and, I suspect, long before we invented writing). Fairy World is, according to the tales told by people who have encountered some of its denizens and/or had the good/terrifying luck to visit it, magical, mysterious and confounding as well as essential to our human nature and vital to our well-being as a species. Is fairy world the source of creativity and genius? I don’t know for certain but it sure seems like it. To answer your question, yes, I have had some, minor experiences with fairy world. More on those some other time.

What does this all mean? I haven’t the slightest. But I am intrigued that a pattern has emerged from these three books that I had no intention of designing. So, something’s going on. I just don’t know what.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Saucerland - Selection III

I just added the last selection from "The Far Shores of Saucerland." These three, nonconsecutive excerpts should give you a enough of a sense of the work. I don't want to give it all away, after all.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Saucerland - Selection II

I added a second excerpt from Saucerland to that page today. I'll be adding more over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 6, 2017


Over the next few weeks I will post selections from my current project "The Far Shores of Saucerland." It is my first (though I suspect not my last) attempt at long form, narrative poetry. That's a clunky description but it's the best I've got. It's not epic poetry because that, if I remember my college classes accurately, refers to a specific rhyming form. I was definitely inspired by The Iliad, The Aeneid and a handful of other long form, narrative poems that I've read over the years. If you haven't read Toby Barlow's "Sharp Teeth" do yourself a favor and go and do that now.

I've done a few editing passes on Saucerland and have it out to a couple of beta readers now. I aim to publish it in a month or so. Click on the Saucerland link under Pages to the right to read the selections.