I Need Reviews!


On Amazon, on Goodreads, on Facebook, scrawled on butcher paper and taped to the side of your car.

Those of you who have already finished reading — please take a second and post a review online. Even if you had problems, especially if you have legitimate criticism. I’m starting from zero promoting the book, and my best ally is word of mouth. This is the quickest and easiest way you can help me – especially with an Amazon or Goodreads review. It helps boost the visibility of the book, and helps new readers make an informed decision.

Negative reviews are no problem — what you hated about the book may be the thing that convinces a new reader to give me a shot.  The initial word of mouth from the book’s release has officially subsided, and now I need to dig in for the long haul. INCREMENTAL GROWTH, BABY. So, if you’ve read the book — please, please take a moment and click some stars and type a sentence or two online. You do that crap on the regular anyway, right?

And, now on to some more unprofessional behavior, tinged by desperation.

I have copies of Spell/Sword to mail out. I will send it to your house. TO YOUR HOUSE. [US only, please.] I can also hook you up with the Kindle version if that’s your preference. If you read this far and you want to give it a shot, just drop me a line in the comments and I’ll get one shipped out. Do I want a review in return? Absolutely — but you can make it as mean-spirited as you desire.

I know the hustle’s hard, but we gotta enterprise, the carnival

-Wyclef Jean

Spell/Sword Giveaway Final Moments

Okay, okay — I know I’ve been quiet here on the blog, but I just wanted to remind everyone of my Goodreads Giveaway! Click the image below to enter — the contest ENDS IN JUST OVER A DAY AND A HALF!!!!


Gundam Pilots not eligible to win.
Gundam Pilots not eligible to win.

You do have to be a Goodreads member to enter, but who isn’t these days. Also, add me on there so I can be nosy and see what books you are reading.

I promise to actually blog a bit in the next week, updates on Riddle Box progress, nerd matters, etc. etc.

Spell/Sword Released.

Print Version
Kindle Version – 2.99

Spell/Sword is now available in print and e-book exclusively on Amazon.com.  Follow the image above to order. I’m linking the digital version first because:

  • Duh. Cheaper.
  • Amazon Prime members can borrow and read it for free.
  • Anyone can sample the first couple of chapters using the ‘Look Inside’ feature.
  • It’s the future!

If this is your first time visiting the site, please poke around. Plenty of my various ramblings in the archives, and several examples of my fiction through the Short Stories and Scenes/Microfiction links above.  I know you’re taking a chance on me — thank you for even considering it.

More information about Spell/Sword itself is available on the [Buy the Book] button above.

Paperback Version
Paperback Version – 9.99

You Can Call Me Isaac V

Two days of air and fire.

Hermes and Black Mask danced in the shadows of the city. Cat and mouse and dagger and cloak — a secret duel hidden from the eyes of the mortals below.

The green-masked man ran faster and faster. He found new clothes, he ate food from dumpsters and the bottom of diner tables, he slept not at all. The field kept him up, kept him alert, burned the bacteria from the garbage he pushed into his mouth. Never a moment to stop, to breathe. Out of every shadow stepped Black Mask giggling. From under park benches, seeping through storm drains, out of every closet the violin laughter.  They clashed again and again – a hail of cutlery flung from a diner kitchen, an empty dumpster dropped from a midmorning sky,  two off-duty policemen opened fire – their eyes dead and blank under Black Mask’s grip.

Hermes phased through a wall to avoid the forks and knives. He caught the dumpster and hurled it back into the heavens. His hands blurred as he snagged the bullets from the air and tossed them aside.

And he loved it.

The field was like a drug.  It burned in his veins, it sang in his temples. The restraint he had held himself to back in the old days was gone, he was a god and couldn’t let himself stop. Partly because Black Mask would kill him if he let the field fall, but mostly because it felt too damn good.

Hermes became stronger, he became faster. The skill of his younger days fell into his hands like a ripe apple. He caught his reflection in a storefront window and laughed at the fat flesh still spilling over the top of his pants.  He was ready. Ready to stop running.

2008030157900301He chose an abandoned airstrip on the fringe of Dulles International. It was the perfect battleground. No civilians, zero cover,  few spare objects that could be turned into weapons. Hermes stood at parade rest and waited. It was 0400 and the day’s heat was already beginning to gather.

Black Mask did not disappoint. A howl of wind and he was there.

“Tired of being the rabbit, Captain Whitaker?” he called, two dozen yards across the tarmac.

“Tired of you…Dionysus.”

“Oh you remembered! The god of revels, the god of wine, the god of madness.” Dionysus hugged himself tightly with elation.

“You killed that boy. Why?” Hermes demanded.

“He was such a complainer, a whiner, a problem. We performed the Pantheon process in secret to several of the Marines there, he was the only one that responded,” the black mask waggled in exaggerated disappointment. “I’m sure you remember that the process leaves the subject physically weak and impaired for several weeks to months afterwards. Poor lad was getting bullied by his unit because he couldn’t run fast enough, or keep up with the drills. He started writing tear-stained letters to his family, the Corps, his Congressman. Entirely too much noise, too much attention being called. Guantanamo Bay has been the …shall we say, retirement home?…for Project Pantheon for quite some time now.  Zero Exposure, you remember. We couldn’t risk any bright young men like Jack Ross putting the pieces together. The opportunity presented itself, two members of his unit were ‘educating’ him with cord and duct tape, and I just reached in his chest and stopped his heart. A little bird’s heart in my hand. Squish.”

Dionysus clenched his gloved hand to demonstrate.

Hermes moved, the green field humming. A half-moment of distraction was all he had needed as a younger man, he prayed that was all he needed now.

The black mask moved in slow motion. Hermes could see his old comrade’s eyes widen with surprise. They widened even more as his hand plunged into Dionysus’ chest.

“Like this?” Hermes growled. “Squish.”

The black mask was still, then tilted back. Gales of laughter erupted and Dionysus shook with glee. The shadow outline of his form began to break up and splinter, like a pile of leaves in a wind. The black pieces blew away in the hot wind before dawn, and Hermes was alone on the tarmac.

Hermes looked down at his empty hand. “Dionysus, god of theater.”

The black masked man wasn’t here. He’d never been here. Not on the airfield, not in the streets of the city, not even in the back of his car. He’d reached into Hermes’ mind from somewhere far away, and played him like a puppet on the stage.

But why? What was the point? The horizon began to glow slightly with the onset of dawn, but brought no answers.

Hermes knew where to find some. He knew who to ask.


Thursday at 0600, he stowed away on a transport heading for Cuba. He watched his men, Kaffee and Weinberg board the plane before slipping into the storage are in the belly of the craft. What would they think if they knew that their commander was not a dozen feet away, curled inside a metal cargo space munching on a few bags of beef jerky?

The Marines stationed at Guantanamo Bay are fanatical about their service at the forward area — vigilance, training and Gitmo_Aerialdiligence are expected and rigorously enforced. Hermes slipped past them like they were statues. He found a position on top of a guard tower, and crouched like a gargoyle – reaching out through the field to find what he was seeking. A large energy spike, somewhere underground, beneath the Guantanamo installation.

He slipped into a side door of a small building used to store medical supplies. The hidden door was easy enough to locate, and pry open. Hermes walked  down empty halls filled with abandoned equipment and broken glass. At last he found what he sought. A large metal door, the edges sealed. A palpable cold radiated from the metal, and his hand stuck to handle as he turned it.

A naked corpse was laid in the center of the freezer, on top of a couple of crates. The man was young. Couldn’t be older than 20. Shame.

Hermes laid his hand on the corpses head and whispered. “I am Hermes, the god of the crossroads. The messenger. The messenger.”

The messenger between the mortal world and the world of spirit. The world of the dead.

The human body is a sack of water. A sack of water that is animated by electrical impulses. If one has the way of it — the will, the training. One can replicate these electrical impulses in dead tissue. One can speak to the dead.

The green field hummed and Hermes groaned with exertion. His vision blurred, but then snapped to when Santiago’s eyes opened.

“Where am I” he said.

“Not important.” Hermes replied.

This was an extremely strenuous task, and the dead were always foggy. It was best to get the intelligence you needed as quickly and swiftly as possible.

“Do I get to go home?” Santiago asked, his voice cracked and sere.

“Yes. Yes, Santiago, you get to go home.” Hermes felt his eyes began to burn. “You had a dream. A dream about a man in a black mask.”

“Yes. I remember. He scares me.”

“I know. He can’t hurt you anymore. I need you to remember the dream. Did you ever see his face?”

“He’s laughing.” Santiago whispered. “He keeps calling me rabbit bait. But the rabbit is terrifying. He looks like a wolf with rabbit ears, and a green mask.”

Bait for me. “Don’t look at the rabbit, Santiago. The black mask. Can you see his face? Show me. Show me, please. And then you can go home.”

Santiago did. The face, clear as a painting in the dead man’s mind. Different then Hermes remembered, he’d had plastic surgery to hide his age and prominent features. He was here, on this base, hidden in plain sight.

“Thank you, Listener…Santiago. Now, it’s time to go home.” Hermes let the green field relax and the dead tissue went cold.


A short-statured man sat at a desk in the command center of Guantanamo Bay. He was the base commander’s aide and Lt. Col. Nathan Jessup kept him busy sending communication to the Pentagon and administering the day to day duties of the forward base and detainment center. He knew everything that happened on the base one way or the other, and was able to quietly adjust certain orders to suit his true position, his true mission.

A man wearing a green mask walked into the office. “Hello, Tom.” he said.

Tom looked up from the stack of papers and smiled. “Hello, Hermes. You found me. Even quicker than I expected. Bravo,00000462_ac_0001 sir. I was worried when this all began, but you’ve snapped back into shape in a remarkable fashion. You may even wear off that gut in a few weeks if you keep the pace up.”

“Why, Dionysus. Why all of this?” Hermes stood at parade rest in front of the desk.

“Why for you!” Tom said with mock surprise. ” It is time to gather the sons of Project Pantheon again and begin our great work. The Marines here have been a total disappointment, they don’t have any of the old fire that our unit had. I need you, you and the others that remain. I activated you first, because you are the messenger. You can bear my commands even faster than my Remote Psychic Link. Save me weeks of time.”

“What if I say no?”

Tom laughed. “Say no? That’s ridiculous, Hermes. I can see it in your eye. You’re tired of being a fat old man shuffling paper. You want the field, you want the power. I have given it to you — we can tear across this world like the gods that we are. Think of it, Hermes! Kings and presidents kneeling at our feet. Countries toppled at a whim. Wars orchestrated to the tune of our psychic symphony. It’s why we were made, it’s what we are. As it was in the age gone by, let it be again here and now. We are gods, Hermes, gods!”

“I’m a soldier, Tom. Not a god.” He pulled his green mask free and tossed it on the desk. “And you can call me Isaac.”

Tom started to laugh, and then choke. The canister of gas that Isaac had hidden inside of his mask spewed forth a nearly invisible stream of poison. Isaac adjusted the straps of his stripped down gas mask and watched as his old comrade began  to turn red, then purple. Dionysus’  psychic field flickered on reflexively, but the damage had been done. The bag of water was punctured.

Isaac waited several minutes after Dionysus stopped moving. He carefully tucked the poison canister in his pocket and opened a window so the cyanide gas could dissippate. He laid two fingers against the dead man’s throat and made absolutely certain his heart had stopped.  He considered breaking the man’s neck just to be sure, but his iron training still  held him. Zero Exposure. Better if it looks like a plain old heart incident. Just like poor Santiago. I hope they do a better job of sweeping this one under the rug.

Isaac looked down at himself, at the dozen or more small scrapes and bruises he’d gathered in the past few days. He knew the moment he let the field drop, he’d be nearly incapacitated by pain. Not yet, Isaac. Got to get back to DC first, then to the nearest hospital.

The old soldier found himself grinning as he tugged at his waistband. “I’ve lost a few pounds at least. This beats the shit out of jogging.”

Isaac slid his mask into the wide pocket of his BDU, and leaped out the window.


An attractive young woman sat alone at the bar, her hands idly twirling a cocktail straw as she stared into her glass.

Isaac slid onto the seat next to her, careful to keep his sling from jostling her. “Commander — I hear you won your case?”

“Captain…Isaac?” she replied in surprise. “Yes, yes we did. Lt. Kaffee and Sam and I. What…what happened to you?”

“Car wreck. Dumb luck.” he said philosophically. “Got quite a bump on the noggin, I was out for days. Sorry I missed the trial.”

“That’s okay. Must have been quite a car wreck.” she said, looking over the arm sling and the visible bandages on his hands and neckline.

“Hell of a thing. Buy an old soldier a drink?”

“Sure.” she smiled. “What’ll you have?”

“Nothing green, other than that — lady’s privilege. Where are Weinberg and Kaffee? Why are you celebrating alone?”

“Eh. Sam went to see his kid, and Danny…well, I’m not really sure what that one is all about. He had some work he wanted to do.” she shrugged, and signaled to the bartender. ” You in a hurry, should I get you something light?”

“Commander, I have nowhere I’d rather be.” Isaac leaned his uninjured arm on the bar. “Nowhere at all.”

“Good.” she smiled. “And remember, I said you could call me Joanne.”

[The final installment of my fanfiction covering the adventures of my character in A Few Good Men, Isaac Whitaker. Thanks to the cast and crew of Town & Gown’s production for inspiring and enjoying it. ]

Spell/Sword Cover Art Revealed!

Artist - Mike Groves/poopbird
Artist – Mike Groves/poopbird

And there it is. The cover art for my book.

This is real. IT’S REAL.

Let me let me tell you why I love this art.

1. It’s fun. Looking at it just makes me smile. It’s unapologetically goofy and cartoony. Most fantasy art takes itself so freaking seriously.

2. It’s different. This doesn’t look like 98% of the fantasy novel illustrations I’ve ever seen before. Not on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, not on Amazon.com or anywhere else.

3. It’s clean. All of the negative space just pleases me aesthetically. A traditionally published novel would want to cram more information and more verbiage on there. I’ll probably have my name on their, somewhere very small, but that’s it. I also think it’ll really stand out when seen online as a tiny thumbnail on someone’s Kindle.

4. It makes me think of Chrono Trigger. My book sits very comfortably in the mental space occupied by Dungeons & Dragons, JRPGs, and manga. I adore that this would not look terribly out of place on the cover of any of those three.

5. It will make people vaguely embarrassed to be seen reading it. Not so much with the Kindle version, but people who have the paper copy. Anyone reading this will be broadcasting to the world that they are a Huge Nerd.

Huge props to Poopbird on the illustration, you should follow the link from here or the image itself and check out his entire portfolio and buy stuff from him.

I hope this gets you marginally excited about reading the book. I know it gets me far more than marginally excited about finishing it.

We Move West

And here I am, hey blog. HEY, HEY BLOG.


[This is what I do when I see a cow out the car window. Just replace ‘blog’ with ‘cow’ and it’s the same dialogue. It is incredibly endearing, and never annoys anyone else in the car.]

I know you can HEAR ME COW.
I know you can HEAR ME COW.

So, yeah — let’s shake some cobwebs off.  My production of Pippin is finished, so now I can reroute those system resources back to all of the other plates I have spinning in the ether. Let’s list them! YAY, LISTS.

1. Spell/Sword Zeta Draft.  This would be an amazing name for an anime. This is the big project, my  main focus. Incorporating all the feedback from my Beta Readers, and working my way to the penultimate draft. I’m planning to add about 5000 words to the draft, so I’ll need to get one last set of eyes on the manuscript before I move forward to Self Publishing Ragnarok.

2. Self Publishing Ragnarok. Also an amazing anime title. My goal is to get the book into a buy-able format, through CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing through Amazon. I’m researching all of the technical knowledge needed for doing that, so when I am ready to move forward it won’t be a giant learning curve clusterfuck.


3. Cover Art.  I’ve seen some early sketches from Mike/Poopbird, and I can’t wait to see the finished product. Got to make sure I have all the specs for pixel limits, image size, etc. to make it easy and painless for him once the design is complete.

4. Titan’s Wake.  My occasional Pathfinder campaign. Time to kick it in the shins and get the PC’s moving toward something approaching the plot. Scheduling has been an issue, leading to some signal loss — gotta get the players on some sort of regular game night schedule, or the campaign is just going to fizzle.

5. The Ocean of Not. New and shiny Legend of the Five Rings campaign! Meeting with the players in early January to make characters, and hopefully kick off the game shortly thereafter. I’m planning on having a forum component for this one, and most of the players are Lodestar alumni —very excited to get back in the trenches.

6. Shadeaux Bros. Christmas Album. Got to jump on this one with both feet, as it does have a built in deadline. Unfamiliar with our previous work? Take a listen and be forever changed.

7. A Few Good Men.  I have a small part in the next Mainstage production at the theatre. I get to play an actual person, which is not my strong suit.

Broad physical comedy is what I do.
Broad physical comedy is what I do.

8. Regular Blogging. I need to get back on a regular update schedule, 3-5 times per week. Maybe I’ll bring back Story on Demand to prime the pump, but I’m hoping now that working on the book is moving back to my main creative focus, I’ll have more time and writerly thoughts to expound upon.

Lot of stuff. Lot of cows. I love the feeling of energy and mind-space coming online – really looking forward to all of these projects!


Part Two?

Hmmm…I was planning on continuing the ‘Three Falcons’ bit I was working on — but I honestly kind giant20bunny20hugof like how it hangs right now.

This piece is background/world information for my new tabletop campaign and I think it serves the purpose well enough. Introducing some flavor of the world, a tragedy and a bit of a mystery. Too much more and I’ll start giving things away to my players — and we don’t want that do we?

In other news:

Come see my play!

I’m about a week away from beginning final edits in earnest on Spell/Sword.

I wrote an awesome song today for this year’s Shadeaux Bros. Christmas album.

The Wedding

Haskeer is hungover, but beaming. The four finger-length scars left by the claws of Fairchild are bone-white against his grey face. They do nothing to improve his appearance, but the wide smile and occasional happy tear that falls down his cheek more than compensate. He is clad in armor of the purest white, chased on each side with simple, clean steel. His tailor, Kelvin, had insisted.

“It’s a work of beauty, but I’m not going to make it useless by putting gold on it. It’ll protect you from a dragon’s jaws, a minotaur’s horns — but not I fear from the eyes of a pretty girl. Too bad, the mighty hero finally falls.” the sandy-haired cleric had grinned.

Corben leaned against a nearby pillar, wearing the ceremonial gray tunic of a squire. He came over, and spent a moment fussing with Haskeer’s cape. The music swelled, and the rogue grinned.


The two step into the throne room of Caleron. The right hand side is dedicated to the bride’s family – mainly nobles and good folk of the city, but also a contingent of the Knights of the Key, led by their new captain Sir Galen, and his second in command Lady Travail. She elbows the tall, young human and he snaps a crisp salute to Haskeer. Some of the rigid discipline fades, and he gives the half-orc a semi-warm nod.

The groom’s family however, is the thing of tall-tales.

The front rows are crammed with Truescale Kobolds and Brightflame Goblins – Blart and Peto wave tiny little flags with Haskeer’s face crudely scribbled on them. Neither tribe truly understands this human ritual, but they are vastly excited to be included. Pembleton stands on the far aisle, his minotaur frame far too large to fit in any of the pews. A whole pew is dedicated to the survivors of Jacradam. Between the devil onslaught and the fierce carpet-bombing of the Valerian evokers they are still a little worse for wear, but half of Tuskside seems to be in attendance, along with a few humans and dwarves — a symbol of the new water pouring through the dam.

Carbunkle sits a few pews back, dark spectacles over his eyes as he nurses a glass of tomato juice. Scarlet sits next to him, and Binky has donned his finest monkey tuxedo for the occasion. The gnome only brought his top eleven favorite grandchildren, but several more had come along, wearing foolish disguises to convince their Gloompa that they were different ones.

Agnar sits behind them, arms crossed obstinately between Martin and Thorn. Thorn is doing her best to keep Talitha in her seat, but also seems to be spending a fair amount of time reaching across the barbarian to fuss with Martin’s splint. The old ranger had met them at the Gilean border, leading the few bedraggled survivors of his Gryphon raiding party. He was nursing a broken arm, and a half-stitched gash in his side, but was no worse for wear. The Key Knights that followed him were battered and beaten, with the eyes of men who had learned more than they ever wished to know about war.  Thorn had berated him mercilessly, dragging him below decks to see to his wounds. Since then the two were rarely found apart, to Martin’s unease and Thorn’s growing satisfaction. Sinoe sat, as still as a statue between Talitha and Mara, but seemed to be spending an unhealthy amount of time inspecting the revolver on the gunslinger’s hip.

Haskeer moved forward, his boots ringing on the marble floor.

Fin sat serene and alone, doing his best to ignore the aggressive boredom projected by the vastly overweight orange cat at his side. He beamed at the paladin as he passed. Haskeer also got approving nods from Stortz Tart and Tom Brighella, or Lord Brighella as he was now known. The young noble, Lucas Grahd leaned forward as well and shot the paladin a serious ‘thumbs-up’.

Echo sat in a place of honor, a pew right up front — only appropriate for royalty. Her mother, the de facto Queen of the Sea sat beside her, austere and proper. The defenders of the Dolphin Tribe and Whale tribe were able to repel the devil’s underwater siege — but the other tribes were not so lucky. Vast losses had shaken them to the core, and refugees from the shattered tribes made their way to the Queen’s feet every day. The leader of the Whale Tribe, Ziria had politely declined his invitation. Echo slouched to one side, wearing the elaborate dress she had worn months before to the ball at Dominoe Manor and whispered in the ear of Galbadia Dominoe, who then turned and passed the message to the lean rogue, Ballast. The vicious pirate blushed in shock, and covered her face — trying to hide her embarrassment at whatever Echo had said.

More and more smiling faces, turned up to greet Haskeer. Sir Barnabus, Dayjen Moore flanked by two Seafoam Marines, Jump and Silo, Kelvin Mason…more and more. But there was only one face he wanted to see.

At the end of the aisle, clad in shining gossamer white, was Princess Alastelle of Caleron. She glowed like a torch, and the rest of the world faded away. Corben had to tug his friend rather sharply into place, the half-orc’s goofy grin remaining even as he shook free of his reverie. The bride stood alone, as was custom in Caleron.

King Cai of Caleron, smiled wanly from the simple chair between the couple. The old king had been sick for weeks, bed-ridden. But he had insisted on performing the ceremony himself, and he had been carefully carried to his place on his quiet throne. The cleric Marlowe stood close by his chair, quietly sending his Bright Lady’s blessing into Cai.  The king’s was weak, but sure as he spoke.

“I see a knight, and a lady.” the king began.  “Do you know this knight, lady?”

“I do.” Alastelle smiled.

“And is he a true knight?”

“He is.”

“Has he done great deeds and bright, in the service of the land?”

“He has.”

“Is he good and true, strong and fair – the true hero of your heart?”

“All of this…and more.” Alastelle said.

“Will you have him, lady?”

The crowd leaned forward in anticipation. It was not unheard of for maidens to deny the groom at this point. The purpose of this ceremony was to fulfill the honor and nobility of the groom’s suit — but without forcing the bride to consent.

“I will.” Princess Alastelle said.

King Cai smiled with genuine delight, but adopted a serious expression for the crowd’s benefit. He made some show of weighing the lady’s words carefully. At last he turned to Haskeer, and asked the traditional question.

“Will you honor this lady’s choice and serve her until the end of your days and beyond? On your life, on your heart, on your sacred honor that is every knight’s charge?”

Haskeer responds.

“And..” Cai added, drawing some quizzical looks from the Caleron natives on the bride’s side. “Will you protect her…her and all of her lands, until the end of your days?”

Haskeer responds.

Cai smiles with relief, closing his eyes briefly. “Then if it is the lady’s wish, and the knight’s duty…what is the word of a king? May your days be long and bright, may your family grow and flourish, may you engrave this moment forever in your hearts, and may your arms never be weary of the glorious burden that you take up this day. Lord and Lady, take your place.”

Alastelle happily steps forward into Haskeer’s arms, and then Carbunkle yells something inappropriate.

Later, entering the wedding party in the elaborate gardens [pages have labored all morning to remove the piles of debris, broken furniture, shattered glass and damaged topiary from the early evening food fight that broke out.] Marlowe pulled Agnar aside.

“You’ve done well, brother. And you’ve earned a respite.” Marlowe crossed his hands, and said seriously. “But don’t wander too far. The Bright Lady still has work for you.”

The old man poked the barbarian’s chest to reinforce his message. “And we need to find you a nice wife, too.”

Agnar fled.

The tables were packed with well-wishers. Bragg Silverhammer was locked in a fierce philosophical debate/art wrestling match with the crusty old spymaster, Kirk Bitterbark. At the nearby Seafoam table, the former captain of the Riptide, Rake Bitterbark gazes at his father with long-held anger still smoldering in his eyes.

Sinoe and Rulf stand on the edge of the party, as motionless as statues — until Talitha and Crackers run over and drag them out onto the dance floor. The young scion of the Precursors makes a beeline for the noble Lucas Grahd, sitting with his back to the dance floor reading a book.

Simple paper lanterns are strung across the garden.  No magic used by the Brightflames or Truescales, except for the most essential — the love and skill of friends.

Froththimble stumps importantly around the party, knocking over punch bowls with his okay-sword and cornering strangers who want to hear the story of his little brother’s adventures.

The crew of the Lodestar moved around the party, speaking to new friends, old enemies, comrades and rivals… and people who were a mixture of both…each other. They had all agreed to go their separate ways after the wedding, avoiding any long drawn out farewell. Plans had already been laid for regular meetings in Caleron to discuss long term plans for combatting Open and Shut..and to annoy the piss out of each other anew, and drink and eat. Each knew that this would be their last chance to speak for an unknown length of time.


Well, bang a gong, y’all.

Lodestar is finished. Preposterously, absurdly finished.

The idle seed of a bored work-day two years ago, now grown into a titanic million word wunder-tree.

[That is not hyperbole. That is a low estimate of the amount that me and the gang have written.]

I’m still more than a little shell-shocked.  Not only from the bizarre notion that I actually finished something — but just the pangs of psychic vacuum as several areas of my brain whir to a halt. I’ve had Lodestar running in the background [and foreground] of my mind for two years – what am I going to do with all these system resources?

I told a lot of stories, and hopefully helped the players tell theirs. There’s literally so much, that there are sections I can barely remember.

You’ll notice that I’m posting the epilogue for Lodestar in bits and pieces over the next week or so, just a little buffer while I grieve, and GEAR THE FUCK UP.

For what, you ask.

Time to start editing the book, the Spell/Sword for Beta Draft reading! I’m making a Blog Promise that my Beta Draft will be ready before Halloween. This may be over-bold, but hey — I just helped write a million-word internet epic, nothing is impossible.

Once the Lodestar stuff peters out, the plan is to do more regular blogging and short stories for here — I clearly are going to have some energy to redirect.

Also expect some navel-gazing — WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, MAN????

Through the Pages

There are some that say that Time is a river, flowing sedately in one direction…winding its way through the universe, steady and sedate.

There are some that say Time is a whirlwind, spinning and changing – a million directions at once. Every moment a new collision, hurling new dimensions of possibility into the ever-expanding storm.

There are some that say Time is a stone, graven and perfect — impossible to change or mar.

They may be right, or they may be wrong.

But for this now, this moment, this story — Time is a Book.

And the crew of the Lodestar fell through the pages.

They saw themselves in the throne room, the green skeleton with his fist full of golden fire. They saw the look between two friends, and then they pierce the page.

They see the room again, ten years earlier. A simple man in a brown cloak, laying his sword in the hands of the green skeleton. The page tears as they fall.

They see the boy fighting his way through dark streets full of rain and the unquiet dead.

They see the boy sneaking out of a broken down inn. They see a girl with white hair asleep in the hayloft.

They see the boy and the girl with white hair on top of a tall red tower.

The pages rip, faster and faster.

They see the boy and the girl in many places, in many days of glory and terror.

In the throne room again, the girl’s hair half-white, half-brown. The boy is in chains.

In the streets of a drab city, at a sumptuous banquet with plates piled high with lush, purple grapes.

On the edge of the sea, the girl sitting over a dead knight and the boy lumbering out of the ocean dripping and battered.

The pages of Time tear, and the crew of the Lodestar fall.

The boy on one knee with his sword flat in both hands, the girl on her face in a dank swamp, a turtle, a white bridge, an inn, a giant brass screw, a canyon of rain, a forest and night, the three moons shine and the boy and the girl meet in the dusty, dry soil of a forgotten town.

The book slams shut, and they see only darkness.