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Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 2

Bodies bleed. Some moan, most breathe, all are dressed in finery.

Colgrevance crouches over Beorn. A matching pair of shortswords stick out of the warrior’s gut. Blood leaks out like the sap of a tapped maple tree.

Clapping his gauntlets together, Colgrevance says in Celestial, “Stable.” The silver metal encasing his hands flickers a light green, and he uses its minor enchantment to stall the bulky half-elf’s bleed and ease his gasps.

“Sorry, I froze,” says Colgrevance. “I’ve never been caught by a hypnotic rune before.” Continue reading Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 2

Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 1

The massive estate rises above the slums of Titantale city, a noble fortress guarding against the encroaching forest of leaning shacks and failing masonry. A light rain, steady throughout the night, has made knuckle-deep canals out of the alleyways leading to the mansion.

Moving too slow to splash, Colgrevance steps to where his alley meets street. He sniffles and settles a hood over his lantern before placing it in front of a crouching bald man wearing simple clothes.

“Jacob.” Colgrevance shifts his shield from back to forearm and broadsword from hip to hand. “Are you feeling heroic?”

“Always.” The bald man contorts into a stretch worthy of a circus act.
Continue reading Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 1

Black Ships Before Dawn

The full-body armor is simple as diamond. No horns or decorative swirls distract from its function. It exists to protect, not to entertain.

Colgrevance wipes gore out of a groove in his greaves. A bandmate splattered zombie on him the day before, and it’s taken the paladin all night to clean the cursed ichor from his gear.

He yawns, mouth staying open as his head bobs. “Wish I had a proper squire.”

A guardswoman pops her head into the tavern’s common room. “Sir, there’s three black ships sailing in to dock.”

“How long until dawn?” Colgrevance slips a heavy shield onto his left arm and picks up a longsword with his right. “How close are the ships?”

Shouts echo outside.

“Minutes maybe.” She fingers her spear. “And the ships are here.”
Continue reading Black Ships Before Dawn

Old Man Jiu-Jitsu And Why My Boy Won’t Hit You

Jiu-Jitsu Disciplined Me & My Son

Jiu-Jitsu with my son, YuriAs a martial art, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu stands apart. It requires live matches as a regular part of training and provides solutions to fights that won’t end in civil lawsuits.

Many physical disciplines have a host of benefits beyond their main focus. Yoga offers more than stretching. Boxing offers more than punching.

Jiu-Jitsu offers a robust package within a playful wrapping and shared by a tight-nit community of old souls.

It is a challenge in time, money, pain, and injury, but for both my son and I, it has been a worthwhile year at Renzo Gracie Academy, Portland.

Why do something that hurts?

Quote from my Gi's neck
“Fighting is the best thing a man can have in his soul.” -Renzo Gracie’s words on my gi’s collar.

I am lazy.

It’s easy for me to lose a day, a week, a year doing nothing I can take pride in.

There is always the easy path away from challenges. In another life, I’d be alone and drifting, avoiding pain and purpose.

Every time I ride my bicycle to Jiu-Jitsu class, I think about quitting.

Continue reading Old Man Jiu-Jitsu And Why My Boy Won’t Hit You

Role-Playing Online: For Writers

Role-Playing Helps Stories Matter

Yuri role-playing as a warrior for hire.I love small groups socializing with story telling.

Role-playing games take this into the realm of collaboration, and such mutual efforts have survived transference to the virtual tabletop.

A fantastic resource for writers:

Nothing tests a novel’s fantasy setting like having a dozen people bouncing around inside it with characters they’ve created and control.

Role-playing is the jiu-jitsu of storytelling.

It’s all about live situations where players constantly challenge themselves and others in a simulated life or death struggle… by rolling.

Roll20 only requires a browser for role-playing

Monster of a role-playing map. Made at current book, Ranger of Path, is based on a role-playing campaign I created and game mastered over a decade ago.

Now it has come full circle, and I’ve created a new campaign based on this book.

Go where the people are.

It’s true with politics, writing, and role-playing. I need to engage people to be successful. Hence, a website is the easiest path to initiate as it utilizes what people already use.

Continue reading Role-Playing Online: For Writers

Carolina Reaper Pepper Made Treasured Tears

Eating The Hottest Pepper

Sliced Reaper, little Ghost Pepper, and half a HabaneroFor enjoyment: Only eat a Reaper Pepper mixed into a recipe. Tuna sandwiches and chili both work well.

For a challenge: Eat something first and have stomach medicine on hand. A whole pepper or that One Chip is good for laughs, but there is no good reason to feel heartburn afterwords.

Schadenfreude: My son’s shaky cam

Yuri treasures my tears. This doesn’t make him a monster, but he is a hunter. From nerf gun wars to jiu jitsu I’m setting up outlets for this aggression so he doesn’t skin me in my sleep, and gains self control for school.

My wife and I disagree about him taking joy in another’s agony. Whether a pepper, a choke, or a soft dart in the eye, I take the pain with a father’s pride.

He’s eight and half-way through third grade, and I see more of myself in him every day.

Continue reading Carolina Reaper Pepper Made Treasured Tears

Editor Hive: Professional Versus Critique Exchanges

How To Have Critique

My son, blowing up critique expectations.Paying for validation is an expensive hobby. Do critique exchanges before considering professional editing.

Avoid overloading your personal network with unfinished prose posts. Pick a dedicated site over social media blasts begging for comment.

NaNoWriMo: Many are writing a lot

Cover of my first published fantasy novel.It’s mid-November, the middle of National Novel Writing Month. I am doing my part by putting the final touches on a 117K fantasy novel that I will self-publish no later than early next month.

Writing a fresh rough draft within a month sustained my writer’s mind for a half-dozen years, but I dropped NaNoWriMo when I became serious. The yearly challenge had reinforced a number of bad writing habits because there was no critique.

Continue reading Editor Hive: Professional Versus Critique Exchanges

Father @ Forty, Son @ Seven

My Seven Year Old

Seven on a snow day

Seven on a snow dayYuri at seven is following my footsteps and frustrating everyone, including a much better version of the bullish vice principle that I faced at eight.

Y- “What?”

J- “It’s true; now go back to ignoring me.”

My son’s version is a pragmatic woman that is taking puzzling him out as a challenge with his success her goal.

As wonderful and patient as she and his school is, they need help.

When I was his age…

I doubted the authority of the adult world.

I’d recently moved from Hawaii to Pennsylvania and was facing down a huge vice principle with a stubbornness that he couldn’t process except as a power struggle.

As an only child, I’d developed a fundamental belief in equality and fairness that did not blur with age or system appointed power.

Mother in Mexico
Mother in Mexico

The big man didn’t try to reason with me. He started with a false accusation, because I had to be guilty of something. He was right, but he didn’t know details. So he guessed, but I wouldn’t budge. So he stated a punishment, but I wouldn’t accept it. So he upped the ante and doomed his approach by calling in my mother.

She possessed a bear of a personality he couldn’t match with size or wit, and she made him apologize to me.


Continue reading Father @ Forty, Son @ Seven

Storytelling, “People Don’t Care…

“People don’t care about an idea, but they might care about a person with an idea.”

A fictional author on the House of Cards tv show has given me this storytelling mantra.

I must hook readers with a character. They must care about him/her from the first page if not the first paragraph or even the first letter of the first word.

Blue-eyed Ishkur
His eyes are supposed to be light green and his ears pointed.


Hmm, too ambitious. How about this:

Ishkur dances for life as his audience stabs and grabs. A spontaneous performance answering an ambush that interrupted the half-elf’s revere.

I’ve written as a hobby for a long time, but now that I’m publishing refining my storytelling has become essential. I can’t get by with Nanowrimo stream of consciousness. This isn’t just therapy anymore; this is business, and I need to get better at it.

First professional attempt at storytelling.My first published book.

Destiny’s Hand hasn’t caught readers’ interest. It’s been hard to see it sit mostly unread, but I am thankful for the lesson.

Storytelling trumps setting, plot, characters, and even quality of writing. It is more important than anything else to get read. Continue reading Storytelling, “People Don’t Care…

Executive Director of Portlandia Greens

A clever climb and a tumbling fall

Yggdrasil’s Stump, remains of the tree of life.

I started a political adventure six years ago that’s gleaned me news coverage and a facebook group dedicated to hating me.

At my height I was executive director of the Portland chapter of the Green Party and organizing a local election debate on behalf of Occupy Portland and minor parties.

At my low I allowed a recruit to sabotage our chapter’s burgeoning relevancy and then slowly let my volunteerism fizzle to a flickering pilot’s light.

It was an awesome experience that my wife never wants me to repeat. She saw me working hard without pay, often for people who didn’t respect the effort.

Now I’m being told:

(He) isn’t invited (to meetings) specifically since we pushed him out years ago for blocking action to revoke approval of some Democrats who ran against Whitten when we reconsidered the multi-endorsement strategy.

I’ve held my breath for a long time, but now I’m blowing the house of cards down. Continue reading Executive Director of Portlandia Greens