Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ranger Of Path Updated With Prologue

With Caution And Care, A Prologue

Now with a prologueAdding a prologue to Ranger of Path was a tough decision. I worried it would distract readers and add complexity that would hinder immersion. I also didn’t want anything told through the prologue that would be better done with later chapters.

Like adverbs, filtering language, and bracketing scenes with sleep, I’ve heard prologues should be avoided if possible.

Ranger of Path is a story that needed this prologue.

It’s a short prologue, starting from the point of view of a squirrel and then a tiny creature called a brownie. It offers readers vital context to an event that orients the main characters of Ranger of Path and it’s sequel, Valkyrie of Desire.

Here it is, as added to Ranger of Path:

0. Prologue

A boy is caught pulling the legs off a cricket.

“Don’t do that. How do you think it feels?”

The boy chews on his lip and says, “Unhoppy?”

—Ishkur Inshushinak Ishtaran

A squirrel pokes its head out of a hole in an old fir tree. On a moss covered rock below, a man little bigger than it trills and waves an acorn with a right arm that’s shorter than his other by a third.

With greenish skin and limbs thin as twigs, he is a brownie, a fae friend of the forest and no danger. The squirrel scurries down and snatches the nut.

The brownie smiles and trills a bird’s song as he lies on the moss.

A hint of smoke stings the squirrel’s nose, and it rears up with whiskers twitching. The acorn falls, and the tiny animal bounds away, chittering a warning.

Fire.

Continue reading Ranger Of Path Updated With Prologue

Straw Boy Argument: It’s Not 500 Million A Day

What Lie Will Be The Last Straw?

Straw TruthThis boy with the “Great” shirt is my son, Yuri. He’s enjoying a blueberry milkshake complete with a bright red straw. It was a few years ago when we were going around Hood River’s Fruit Loop, back when I still obeyed the food pyramid and consumed sugar for energy.

Yuri tends to tell the truth, but he just turned nine. No matter how heartfelt, his truth may not be mine.

Given how my understanding of diet has evolved over the past few years and shifted successfully from sugar burning to fat burning, I appreciate how tricky lies accepted in mass can be.

Almost nine years ago another nine year old boy talked to some straw manufacturers to estimate that the US uses 500 million straws a day. Updates declare that the number is much higher, but not specifically how much more so.

Well over 500 million? I call bullshit. Continue reading Straw Boy Argument: It’s Not 500 Million A Day

The Undersea Party: Part 4, Statue

Torchlight makes shadows dance as the adventuring band tiptoes deeper into the Undersea maze. Built by a giant race, the place shrinks the veterans into children. They are like puppies and kittens with trinkets and charms, exploring an endless dungeon with fur raised and ears twitching.

Breath hushed, the band of five pause where the yellow ribs of something colossal blocks an entry like a portcullis.

Solaris runs her hands along a carved bone thick as her arm. “Could you break through this?” She gestures to Belazar. “Without too much noise?”

The bulky orcelf saunters over and grips the bone bars. “Maybe.” His dark gray skin flushes and tiny tusks poke from his lips as he grits his teeth.

Continue reading The Undersea Party: Part 4, Statue

Dad, There Was A Racist At Summer Camp

Downplaying The Racist At Camp

Racist Seuss
Dr. Seuss was a racist, but he evolved.

Racist” is a potent word even from the mouth of an eight year old.

I picked up my son, Yuri, from summer camp earlier this week, and he complained about a “racist”.

Skeptical, I suggested that he exaggerated.

Yuri tensed and shook his head. “He made fun of my name.”

I said, “People make fun of each other’s names all the time, especially kids. That’s not a big deal.”

Yuri pouted and sounded out the l/r confusion common to native Japanese speakers. “He made fun of that too.” My son pulled at the corners of his eyes to slant them. “And he did this.” Continue reading Dad, There Was A Racist At Summer Camp

The Undersea Party: Part 3

Spiders: Featured spider color altered from original: taken by Thomas Shahan. Used with permission.

Still under the docks of Titantale City…

The empty bookshelf swivels open to a passage, a short tunnel through the Undersea’s speckled blue granite.

Solaris runs her soft fingers across the rough cut stone. “Not titans’ work. It is old though. Maybe chiseled through by the first people that took advantage of the scaled giants’ disappearance.”

Jacob rubs his hands together. “Let’s get some treasure.”

“You first.”

Solaris taps his back with the base of her torch, and the martial artist leads her and the rest of their party into another dark room. The floor is dusty instead of damp and webs cover the walls all the way up to the ceiling, a tree’s height above Solaris.

“Spiders.” She spits on the dry floor. “Now, you’ll see why I prefer crabs.” Continue reading The Undersea Party: Part 3

The Undersea Party: Part 1

Seagulls squawk and soar over the city’s slumside docks. Under new management, boards have been removed from storefront windows, replaced with trade goods displayed behind glass. Shiny trinkets, silk, and spices instead of empty bottles, drugs, and darker vices.

Clean money flows into what the band called Lute now controls.

At the edge of this district, a ship-length inland from the choppy water, a dark building sits. Built with salvaged titan granite, it is scaled for men, not giants. Shiny black pillars guard the entrance, a veneer of obsidian elegance.

Solaris, the sea witch, licks salt from her lips and runs her hand over the volcanic glass covering the stone columns. She helped remove crusaders that had claimed this place for their overgod of tyranny and death, but that isn’t what causes her goosebumps.

“There’s a way to another world underneath this Obsidian shrine.” She claps her hands. “Time to dust off some lost mysteries. The Undersea awaits our exploration.” Continue reading The Undersea Party: Part 1

Balancing on the edge of ketogenic for my mind and body

Going Ketogenic To Be A Better Writer

Ketogenic says, "Fat is energy."
Taken at Portland Art Museum.

A moderately strict ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting has subtlety transformed my life. From how I think and feel, to how I move and sleep, everything is different.

I changed to be fit to fulfill weekly commitments to my patrons.

After dinner, dishes, and my son’s story time, it’s been hard to push through the sleepy fog and be consistently productive before bed.

Having heard that mental acuity is retained after meals when using fat as fuel instead of sugar, I took the ketogenic leap of faith this last February.

More than two months in, I am confident that it is one of my best life decisions—up there with marrying a Japanese woman and buying a community land trust home.

Continue reading Balancing on the edge of ketogenic for my mind and body

Vermin Leftovers

Tables borrowed from other taverns, piled with food and drink, boxing off the street. A breakfast feast for the victors of the ballroom slaughter.

Colgrevance sits in the dirt, apart from the others. A plate of fish and eggs cooling under the early spring sun.

“Boss, are you not hungry?” Solaris saunters over with a roasted chicken wing in hand. “I’m starving.” She peels the seasoned skin off with her teeth and slurps it, moaning. “My favorite part, especially when it’s a little crispy on the outside but still juicy fat underneath. You know what I mean?”

Colgrevance sets his food aside. “He made a deal. Harmony and her demigodess will remain.”

“ ‘He?’ ”

“Lord Valor treated with Lady Notion after destroying the vampiress. So many dead, and the Ultramarines remain headquartered in that mansion… like vermin.”

Continue reading Vermin Leftovers

Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 5

The many windows of the gothic mansion are curtained, blocking the late afternoon sun with thick midnight-blue canvass.

Colgrevance settles his horse as a dozen men from the Pale Crusade form up to either side. The soldiers plant shields and kneel, peeking over with helms on and heavy crossbows aimed at the tall doors of the ballroom’s entry. Their holy man stands before them, hands clasped, mumbling in Celestial until a white light glows through his palms. Behind, their leader slips on a helmet to seal plate armor fancy enough to rival Colgrevance’s and strides around humming hymns of the angel’s tongue.

“Tristen?” Colgrevance puts on his own helmet.

His armored peer pulls a greatsword off his back and rests it on his shoulder. “We’re ready. Where’s your wearebear?”

“Beorn’s fetching the big lout.”

https://www.zerochan.net/738616 Unknown Artist
zerochan.net, Unknown Artist

Tristen taps his breastplate and whispers a word. A white glow spreads across his suit, like moonlight shining through a metallic window.

Colgrevance drums his fingers on his saddle. “Messoack!”

“I am present.” The gray-skinned magician steps out of the shadows of the alley behind them.

“You sure you won’t lend me that bat ring? You and Jacob will be the only ones without a demigod to summon.” Continue reading Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 5

Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 4

Blood dries under the afternoon sun. Colgrevance tends to the wounds of his bandmates with bandages and potions.

They smile and thank him, but their eyes narrow at his pristine armor. Form-fitting full plate filled with mystic power, it protects him to the precipice of invincibility.

While his companions were cut, through cloth, leather, and steel, Colgrevance was never scratched. His assault upon Lowtide Mansion was bold, but with little personal risk.

He sits head-bowed on a bench outside Drunken Sea Tavern, the closest drinking establishment to the monster-controlled estate.

Solaris comes around the corner with a frothy mug of brew. “Taste this, Boss.”

Colgrevance waves it away. “Thank you, but—”

Voice deepening, she says, “Do it.”

Continue reading Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 4