The Big Bhang #5: Gadrians Go Gananas & Aliens ‘Get Down’

The Big Bhang #1: The Master & The Streak
The Big Bhang #2: Global Legalization & The Human War Machine
The Big Bhang #3: The Lill & The Backstory of the Backstory
The Big Bhang #4: Make Joints, Not War

5. Gadrians Go Gananas & Aliens Get Down

“Welcome, Mr. Jackson,” Chancellor Adimo said, shaking Forjay’s hand. “Please, have a seat. We have much to talk about.”

“Like I said to Ms. Templeton on the comm, there’s really not much to tell,” Forjay insisted after sitting down.

“Well,” Adimo said, “as Ms. Templeton said, it simply cannot be that simple.”

“Chancellor,” Forjay asked, leaning forward, “have you ever partaken?”

Chancellor Adimo looked around the room. Twenty generals or admirals or commanders, all with so many ribbons on their chests they looked like weird jungle birds in the midst of a mating ritual, glared down the length of the massive conference table at their leader. Almost as one, their heads had swiveled from Forjay to the chancellor, the tone of their scowls never budging from severely angry. One looked like he might literally explode if he didn’t get a chance to yell at the hippie sitting at the end of the conference table.

Adimo shrugged and gave Forjay, and the twenty generals, a sheepish grin. “I was a bit of a partier back in my college days.”

Forjay nodded as if he’d figured as much. “So then you can see that it was just that easy.” Forjay rose from his chair. “If there’s nothing else, I’ve got to get back to work.”

General Volcano finally did explode. “Sit your sorry, stinking, hippie ass back in that chair, son!”

Forjay was too far from the general to read his name tag, but decided General Volcano was a pretty good name. It was better than General Asshat, which was the nickname Forjay had given hulking general next him.

“Uh, General Volcano, no offense, but I don’t take orders from you.” Forjay stepped back from the table and turned to leave, only to find two even more hulking Marines blocking his way.

“You better listen good, you slimy little shit,” General Volcano yelled from the other end of the table. “Now sit your ass down before those two Marines fold you in half backwards and make you kiss your own ass!”

Forjay frowned at the two Marines, but decided to sit down. He’d led a life of peaceful passivity, and doubted he’d be allowed to fire up a joint to dull the pain of a rifle butt in the face or guts if he didn’t do as the sawed-off little guy near the chancellor commanded.

“Do you have any idea of how much trouble you’re in?” the general continued after Forjay was seated. “You’ve put the war effort in jeopardy! What you did was stupid, dangerous, and I’m sure it was quite illegal as well.”

“There’s nothing illegal about sharing a bowl with a friend,” Forjay said. “And there’s definitely nothing illegal about sharing weed with my alien friends.”

“So you and these Gadrians are best friends forever now?” General Mustache asked, the frown on his face almost comical.

“I wouldn’t say we were best pals, but the little guys were pretty goddamn funny. Here, I got some vids on my comm.” Forjay began to call up some of the videos he’d recorded of the piggies trying to imitate humans, but General Squinty-Eye interrupted him.

“We don’t need to see any of your traitorous HoloTube videos. What we need is for you to tell us exactly how you defeated the Gadrians.”

“Wait,” Forjay said. “I’m a traitor for defeating one of the aliens we are at war with?”

“How did you defeat them?” General Volcano screamed from his end of the table.

The generals on either side of him scooted their chairs away from the man, afraid, like Forjay was, that the little guy was going to explode and cover everyone with whatever he was made of. Forjay made the mistake of thinking General Volcano might be made of confetti, and the image that popped into his head caused him to burst out laughing.

“You think this is funny, you piece of shit aaaaaAAAARRRR!”

The soft sound of twenty chairs rolling across thick carpet was lost in the scream of rage that erupted from General Volcano as he bounded out of his chair and onto the table, running straight for Forjay. The first few hands that tried to grab the general were unable to find purchase on the man’s short legs, but by the time he’d made it halfway down the conference table, the other generals had wrestled him down.

Ten minutes later, after everyone was properly calmed down, other than the stubby general, who had to be removed from the room by the hulking Marines, Chancellor Adimo resumed the questioning.

“I apologize, Mr. Jackson. You understand how it is with short men, I’m sure.”

Forjay nodded. At almost two meters in height, he’d had to deal with “short man syndrome” his whole life from aggressive little men or aggressive men with small penises.

“However,” Adimo continued, “we really need you to tell us how you caused the Gadrians to collapse into civil war.”

“The honest truth, Chancellor, is that I smoked some bomb-ass weed with them, then sent them home with the few joints I had with me. If I’d have known they were down, then I would have taken more with me.”

“What kind of weed was it?” General Blinky asked.

Forjay turned to him and found he was mesmerized by the involuntary tick the general had that made his left eye blink every three seconds. He didn’t answer for a full fifteen seconds, silently confirming five blinks in that span, but deciding to not laugh or even smile this time.

“It was weed. Some shit I call ‘Space Ace’ and ‘Feels Like Dying.’”

“What was so special about it?” General Schnoz asked. Forjay wondered how the man could see around the huge nose that took up the middle of his face.

“I grew it?” Forjay asked in reply. When the twenty generals gave him their most severe scowls, he sighed. “Look, dudes, it was weed. Shit I grew on my farm in Oregon. It’s not really special beyond the fact that it will fuck you up pretty good after one or two rips.”

“How did you know it would drive the Gadrians mad?” Chancellor Adimo asked.

“Because it gets me high.”

“No,” Adimo said, his frown surfacing, but light years behind the death-stares the generals were giving Forjay. “I mean, how did you know it would cause such chaos when they went home?”

“Oh, that,” Forjay said, rubbing his chin. “I didn’t know they’d be having orgies in the streets or killing each other over it. I mean, these two strains are pretty killer, but nothing to murder anyone over. Besides, Skronk and his boys acted just like humans do when high. They’re just as stupid, just as annoying, and just as funny as any other stoner. But they’re really cute, if you imagine them looking like little Earth piglets.”

“Those cute little piggies have murdered millions of human beings,” Admiral Beard growled from somewhere within the metropolis of facial hair covering his cheeks.

“Well…” Forjay said. “You kinda did just start shooting at them.”

“Son,” General Blinky said with a huff, “which side are you on?”

“Hey, man, it’s cool. I’m all for Earth and humans and shit. Rah-rah go team and all that.”

“So we’re to believe,” Commander Dagger-Chin rumbled, “that if we’d just sat down with them and smoked marijuana, we would have never gone to war?”

“When you say it like that, you’d probably have still gone to war,” Forjay said with a frown. The men in this room, other than maybe Chancellor Adimo, were not cool. “They’d know you guys were narcs. No one says ‘smoked marijuana’ unless they’re a narc or the parent of a teenager, and none of you look like any of your children lived to that period of their lives.”

“You liberal, tree-hugging, granola-eating, Seattle-living, energy-conserving bastard,” General Rage screamed, pounding his fists on the hempwood conference table. “You better screw your head on straight of you’ll be rotting in a prison dungeon until the end of time!”

“According to GANJA,” Forjay said, unperturbed at the general’s tirade, “I’d only be in that dungeon for about two more months.” Forjay stood again. “So, once more, gentlemen, if you don’t mind, I’d like to live out the final two months of my life getting high and listening to my favorite tunes since you’re all too fucking stupid to understand that if you’d just sit down and break up a bud with a guy, he’ll be your friend instead of someone you toss nukes at so they don’t eat your women and children when they invade.”

This time, no one moved to stop him after his mini-rant. One of the hulking marines shot him a grin as he walked through the doorway. The sounds of military brass arguing and carrying on in heated voices faded as he rounded another corner. Forjay had no idea where to go, or even where he was. He assumed he was in New York City, at the U.N. building, but for all he knew, he could be a thousand miles below a swamp on a backwater planet.

“Lost?”

Forjay turned around to see Marianna Templeton walking toward him, the click of her too-high heels almost as hypnotizing as the exaggerated swing of her hips.

“Yeah,” he answered, looking a little sheepish after she’d caught him starting too long at her legs. “You’re not here to try and seduce me or pump me for more information, are you?”

“Oh, this,” she said with a frown, looking down at her skin-tight skirt. “I wear this sausage suit so the boys just nod their heads and sign whatever papers I put under their pens.”

Forjay chuckled, understanding exactly why the generals didn’t bother to look at what they were putting their name to. He got caught once again looking too long at her legs and hips.

“Uh, isn’t that… I don’t know, unethical?” he asked, making sure his eyes met hers.

“What’s unethical is that until I and the other girls started dressing like Wall Street prostitutes, nothing ever got done around here that didn’t involve invading a planet or approving a new battleship being built.”

“I see,” Forjay said, grinning at her. “Am I in an underwater prison in the Outer Rim?

“No, you’re in New York.”

“Great. There’s a place called Giardino’s near the U.N. building. If you aren’t sexually harassing any generals’ eyes for a bit, that is.”

Before she could answer, a huffing, puffing Chancellor Adimo jogged up to them. He opened his mouth to say something, then bent over, hands on knees, and took a deep breath. After a few seconds, he stood upright again.

“Good,” he said. “You’re both here. Let’s go get lunch.”

“Aren’t you supposed to be in your meeting?” Forjay asked.

“Those guys… they’re brawling right now. Half want to go to war with you, the other half want to invade the Gadrian homeworlds and exterminate them while they’re freaking out, and somehow, another half wants to buy or grow a trillion tons of weed and pass it out to the other GU races.” He laughed. “One even kept going on about how we would rule the galaxy if we just gave them all your super-weed.”

They began walking toward the elevator.

“So, Mr. Jackson,” Marianna said. “How did you really defeat the Gadrians?”

“I’ll tell you when we get to street level,” Forjay said with a grin.

He refused to say another word until they stepped out through a side door and onto a busy side street. Forjay looked around, then propped his back against the building and pulled out a joint.

“Mr. Jackson, I’m afraid I do not partake,” Ms. Templeton said.

They way she’d said it made Forjay think he might have pulled a dog turd from his pocket. When he glanced down and saw that it was indeed a joint of “Hybrid Gigglebox,” he smiled and put it to his lips.

“Aw, Marianne, lighten up,” Adimo said before Forjay could say almost the exact same thing. They looked at the chancellor in surprise. “What? It might do you some good is all I’m saying. Maybe it will get you to stop wearing those damn tight skirts, and we could finally get something done around here.”

Marianna sighed and waited for Forjay the light the doobie. She didn’t feel like explaining to her boss for the twentieth time the reason she wore such scandalous clothing. She harumphed at Forjay, impatiently waiting for him to pass the bomber on.

Half an hour later, two NYPD officers nearly commanded their drug dog to attack the three hippies rolling on the sidewalk who were almost having seizures from laughing so hard, snot and tears and drool coating all three faces. Luckily for the hippies, Officer Barnes recognized the Chancellor of Earth just seconds before he was going to open the door to the police cruiser and let Mr. Fang bite on one or more crotches.

The chancellor and his secretary were helped up from the ground, but when they were handed towels to clean the goop off their face, all they could do was pretend to make different hats or facial hair styles with the towels, and ended up falling down and rolling around with Forjay again. Officer Barnes and his partner gave up and moved on. Mr. Fang drooled and barked through the cruiser’s windows at the three crotches fading in the distance that he wouldn’t get to bite.

A few hours later, the trio began to sober up. Forjay realized they were in the middle of a strange peep show in New Times Square, which had been built just across the river in Jersey. Old Times Square was now a ghost town since all of the entertainment had been forced to the newer location.

“I got it,” Chancellor Adimo mumbled from the floor, where he lay on his side.

“Got what?” Marianna asked, making a gagging sound when she saw her boss was on the floor of the peepshow theater.

“How that one guy beat the alien dudes.”

“Sir,” she asked, “do you mean Mr. Jackson and the Gadrians?”

“Yeah, sure, those guys,” he said, a fifteen second giggling fit infecting him again, making his secretary and Forjay begin giggling as well.

“So, you’re thinking of just sending bales of weed to the Gadrian homeworlds?” Forjay asked. “As a peace offering, maybe?”

“While I would love to,” Chancellor Adimo said, sounding very sober finally, and quite disturbed that he’d been rolling around on the floor of an adult theater, “we can’t.”

“Why not?” Marianna asked.

“It’s the Gadrians’ gig, not ours. We’ve done our part, even though I’m sure Forjay didn’t mean to cause a civil war.”

“So…” Forjay said, disappointment evident in his voice. “You’ll pull our forces from the Gadrian front and send them to the other fronts?”

“No,” Adimo said. “We’ve only got two months to live. It would take two months just to move a battle group into position. No, our next course of action is to go before the Galactic Union and present our case with the Gadrians standing by our side. Assuming that the Gadrians can get their shit together and stop screwing and fighting long enough to restore some order.”

“What are we going to say?” Marianna asked. “That we’re worthy of being allowed to exist because we got a bunch of enemy aliens so high they forgot they were at war with us and went to war with themselves?”

“We’re going to say that whatever substance Forjay presented to the Gadrians was powerful enough to make an entire civilization practically crumble overnight.”

“A threat, then?” Forjay asked, not sure where the chancellor was going with his plan.

“No, no, nothing like that. That probably wouldn’t work anyway. I mean, they’re kinda ready to wipe us all out because of all the threats we’ve already made. And turned into promises a few times.” He didn’t like the looks the other two gave him. “Okay, a lot of times.”

“So what’s the big plan, then?” Marianna asked.

“Check it out,” the chancellor said. “While we’re praying to whatever gods we believe in that the Gadrians come to their senses before our final two months runs out so they can be present at our trial, you and Forjay are going to travel to Harmony-V, where all the different alien races live and do business in a central location, and turn on everyone and anyone to some high-grade dope. We’ll find as many aliens as possible that are affected by it, hopefully a little less than the piggies are, and convince them to tell the GU to give us maybe another year, hell, even another month or two.”

“So,” Marianna asked, wondering if the plan sounded like the babblings of a stoned human to Forjay’s ears as well. “We’ll go to the capitol on Harmony-V and wander around the city trying to get as many aliens high as possible?”

“Yes. Oh, and get me some of those Tyx candies I love. The ones with the glowing insects trapped in sweet ectoplasm. Soooo good!”

Return to Innocence

Hey, all. Travis here. I’m very sick with the flu (never marry a school teacher if you abhor getting sick regularly!), but thought I would update and let everyone know that “Return to Innocence” is live @ Amazon.

It’s my first “vampire” story, and I hope everyone likes it (and I hope no one is expecting “Twilight” style of vampires because my vampires are a bit darker than that).

If you are a KindleUnlimited member, or an Amazon Prime member, you can borrow the book for free. Otherwise, it is $2.99. However, if you contact me, I will give you a free copy, saving you $2.99 (and the rage of spending $2.99 on a terrible story!).

Return to Innocence - vampires!

Return to Innocence – vampires!

Many thanks to Rebecca Weaver for the awesome cover!

Red (Orange-ish / Tan?) Badge of Courage

This author was featured on bargainbooksy.com

(this is a good thing… ignore me, I’m messing around at 5:30AM, right before going to bed)

Stuff Goes Here

Hey! I heard I had a couple of books that were being offered for free at Amazon today. I also heard one of my paid books is priced at $.99. You should check it out. It’s the only way you’ll get enough evidence to convict me in a court of law (in America, at least).

;)

Some Goofy Writer’s Books or Something That You Should Avoid

Techological Evolution = Societal Evolution (+ a warning?)

Let’s talk about Travis and his paranoid delusions. Or maybe they’re just my fears? As someone who has spent half his life in the high tech industry, I’m pretty familiar with the way a lot of the industry operates. I understand hardware, until it gets down beyond the silicon where there’s a lot of math and electrical current and all that. I understand software down to the part where you have to code the actual language of it. I understand the internet both from a user perspective, as well as from a technical perspective.

On top of all this knowledge-y goodness, I’m also old. I’ll be 41 in a couple of weeks. This gives me a lot of experience, but it also gives me a good deal of perspective. I’ve been alive long enough to actually see trends develop. A lot of you younger readers, you’ve grown up with the internet and instant communications. To you, this is just normal. This is how it is. It’s sort of like when I grew up with TV or electricity (okay, I’m not that old, but you know what I mean). It’s something you take for granted.

Now, knowing what I know about technology, business, and human nature (and money, let’s not forget money, and religion, I guess, though religion doesn’t play a part in this at all as far as I can tell), I’ve watched the world grow up with this new internet “thing.” There’s still some of us who are scared of computers, and don’t understand the internet. I’m pretty sure when I was born, there were still those who were scared to death of color television and didn’t understand why it was important to put men in space.

I’ve watched how technology has evolved the social structure of civilization, and has done it possibly more rapidly than any other huge leap in innovation ever has in our history. I grew up remembering a billion phone numbers (733-9329 was our home # for… forever, like twenty years or more, and 733-5776 was the number of the car dealership who had the most annoying asshole I’ve ever seen on TV doing their commercials). I grew up having to get up and change the channel. I also remember remote controls having five buttons only: power, channel up, channel down, volume up, volume down.

My mother told me about remotes that only had one button. You clicked it, and the channel went up. That’s it. To get all the way back around, you just clicked it a bunch of times. But, and keep this in mind, there were like… three TV networks back then, and that’s about it. The Star-Spangled Banner played at midnight, then it was six to eight hours of snow because the TV stations shut down for the night.
Continue reading

If I Was – or – If I Were? Grammar Lesson!

Right. So. As I’m editing a story tonight, I’ve come across a couple of times where I’ve had to scratch my head and say a sentence out loud. A lot. Why? I’m glad you asked (you didn’t but be a good hostage and pretend I’m important for a moment).

“…a strange foreigner of high birth who threw silver coins around as if he were allergic to them.”

This is one of the sentences in question. If you exchange “was” for “were” in this sentence, it still sounds right. Right? Sort of? And then when you start thinking it does sound correct, you start questioning that. Because “were” starts to sound more correct again.

Okay, maybe I’m the only one with brain damage and has trouble with this. However, I’ve seen this question often, and when Google can autocomplete my query perfectly when I go searching for the answer (remember, English classes were a long time ago for me), I feel better knowing that others have been in this situation.

All of the sites that I respect have the same answer, but since I like Grammar Girl the most, I’ll use hers:

“Believe it or not, verbs have moods just like you do. Yes, before the Internet and before emoticons, somebody already thought it was important to communicate moods. So, like many other languages, English has verbs with moods ranging from commanding to questioning and beyond. The mood of the verb “to be” when you use the phrase “I were” is called the subjunctive mood, and you use it for times when you’re talking about something that isn’t true or you’re being wishful.

This particular piece of confusing English badassery is known as “subjunctive verbs.” It’s badass because it always kicks my ass. Thankfully I have smart editors who, when not laughing at my attempts to relay an intelligible story, make giant, angry red slashes on my manuscripts (or, you know, uses the Track Changes feature in MS Word) when I fail this ongoing test. I’m also bad at using “that” instead of “who.”

There you go, young writers. And old writers like me who forgot most what what I learned in high school and college after banging my head on the desk too many times trying to come up with a plausible storyline that didn’t read like it was written in blue crayon.

PS: If you like Grammar Girl and want her tips to come up first, just make sure you always add “Grammar Girl” to your search. But you knew this already.

Fermi Paradox: Why haven’t we encountered life beyond Earth?

Just read a really interesting article about why humans have yet to encounter any life beyond our home planet: Fermi Paradox

“A really starry sky seems vast—but all we’re looking at is our very local neighborhood. On the very best nights, we can see up to about 2,500 stars (roughly one hundred-millionth of the stars in our galaxy), and almost all of them are less than 1,000 light years away from us (or 1% of the diameter of the Milky Way). “

…..

“When confronted with the topic of stars and galaxies, a question that tantalizes most humans is, “Is there other intelligent life out there?” Let’s put some numbers to it (if you don’t like numbers, just read the bold)—

As many stars as there are in our galaxy (100 – 400 billion), there are roughly an equal number of galaxies in the observable universe—so for every star in the colossal Milky Way, there’s a whole galaxy out there. All together, that comes out to the typically quoted range of between 1022 and 1024 total stars, which means that for every grain of sand on Earth, there are 10,000 stars out there.

The science world isn’t in total agreement about what percentage of those stars are “sun-like” (similar in size, temperature, and luminosity)—opinions typically range from 5% to 20%. Going with the most conservative side of that (5%), and the lower end for the number of total stars (1022), gives us 500 quintillion, or 500 billion billion sun-like stars.”

Read the rest here: Fermi Paradox

Chuck Wendig is as clueless as James Patterson and John Scalzi (and NYC publishing houses)

You know what’s not funny? That these three ignorant morons, along with Hachette, Mike Shatzkin, and some other dummy I can’t remember (but Joe Konrath will alert you to who it is) keep lying about Amazon and self-publishing. I could go into a rant, but I’ll just let Konrath do it instead, since he’s much better at it than me:

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2014/07/fisking-chuck-wendig.html

Trust me, there’s more. Just read a few entries below the Chuck Wendig thing on Konrath’s site, including how Stephen Colbert, a man I used to respect, opened his big, stupid mouth and spewed the same lies.

Basically, what it boils down to is this: None of these people believe Amazon should provide you with ebooks that cost less than $9.99, and they don’t believe you should read self-published ebooks. Since all self-pub ebooks are trash, according to them. I guess including the ones by Konrath, Eisler, HM Ward (who has turned down multiple multi-million dollar publishing contracts to keep self-pubbing), Elle Casey, Hugh Howey… I could go on, but I’m ranting, so I’ll quit.

They also believe that you, the reader, are too stupid to make good reading choices, and that it is their (publishing house’s) job to hand pick the literature that they believe is quality. Because, you know, they’ve never picked anything that wasn’t top quality. Because they never published 50 Shades of Gray, or whatever stupid fucking book Snooki from Jersey Shore has her name and face plastered on. I could go on forever here, as well.

Bottom line? Traditional publishing houses, and a lot of big name traditionally published authors believe readers are ignorant, stupid, and must be told what is good literature, and must patrol the literary world to make sure you don’t read anything they have vetted. Oh, and since they vetted it and it is guaranteed to be top quality literature, they want you to pay $10+ for ebooks (a lot of them costing as much if not more than the paper versions).

Le $.99 / Free Sale (this weekend)

This weekend, I’m offering all of my books at either $.99 or Free @ Amazon!

Angry Sale

Including my latest release “Diabolus”

Speculative Fiction Blog Hop

Hey. So… I’m supposed to tell you something about me, and then tell you to visit some other authors are all vastly superior in writing skill/talent to me (trust me, they are good). Thanks to Cherise Kelley for sending eyeballs this way.

What is “speculative fiction”? Honestly… I have no idea. It seems to be one of those things that are founded in opinion (STAR WARS! NO! STAR TREK! NERD FIGHT!). To me, it’s pretty much everything I write, since I don’t write in the non-fiction genre (yet). I write science fiction, horror, crime fiction, coming of age, humor, fantasy, and even some kid-friendly stories with no *gasp* curse words. Or sex. Or violence. Weird, right?

I’m probably in a lot of trouble with the blog gods because I’m extremely late posting this. The unfortunate clashing of “Diabolus” being released this Friday (putting me in that ugly ‘final edit crunch’ where everyone in the house hates me because I ignore them, and when I am not ignoring them while editing, I’m probably yelling at or to them) and my turn at the blog hop was unexpected. So… blog gods, I’m apologizing up front to hopefully keep my head (or at least my hands, I have to be able to type).

I’ve just finished up what is supposed to be the final edit of “Diabolus,” but of course I’ll sneak one or two more by Wednesday (and probably two or three in the month after release, because I’m kind of anal like that and hate giving readers another reason to hate me). Now I get to bore you with a lot of long-winded nonsense.

1. What Am I Working On Right Now?

Diabolus is pretty much out the door, which puts me back in the rotation, like I’m a homicide detective and I have to solve how I murdered each semi-finished story waiting to be completed.

I have about 2/3 of Book #1 of a new alien invasion trilogy, and I’ll be using Trevor Smith (artist who designed Diabolus’ cover) again for these books.

Then there’s this “Space Weed” story that you might have read a couple chapters of at this here website. If you are a police officer, there are no illicit narcotics residing within the webserver this site is hosted on.

A few vampire shorts (you might have noticed I hate vampires, werewolves, and zombies… and I mean REALLY hate them, but Garth Wright, a fellow Idaho author, convinced me to write a couple of old-school vamp stories with the kind of weird twists that I enjoy.

And finally… there’s this prequel/sequel that I’m finally ready to work on now that all of these other books are out of the way. “It’s Better This Way” has been my most popular book, by far, to the point I could probably be driving my brand new orange $46,000 Dodge Challenger SRT8 with black racing stripes if I had actually written more in this universe six-plus months ago. Whatever. I do things for the love of the story, not for money.

I mean… money is great. I’d love to have more. But I refuse to write anything just to make a buck off it. I can easily see through the bullshit when I write for money instead of for the story, and since I’m one of the dimmest bulbs there is, I’m convinced everyone else can see through it as well.

2. How Does My Work Differ From Others Of Its Genre(s)?

The separation comes from either fresh ideas that I’ve never read before (granted, I’ve read a lot in my forty years, but I’m finding out daily there are thousands of books in my favorite genres that I’ve never even heard of). Or the mash-up of different ideas. “Diabolus” is a good example. I call it my “The Exorcist” meets “The Matrix” meets “Skynet” story. Almost sounds interesting, don’t it? Nah, it ain’t. I wrote it, so I’m a pretty good judge of stuff like that.

I spend a lot of time either cleaning cat litter boxes for my masters (five of them), or vacuuming the floors for my other master (the one with the magic ring that won’t let me have a ninja sword and makes me eat vegetables). During this time, weirdly, I get a lot of dumb / crazy / ridiculous / funny / boring / lame ideas about this or that, and then I’ll spent the rest of my cleaning time piecing together a few scenes in my head to see if it works. If so, it goes in the spiral notebook (to die, mwahahaha). If not, but still might be useful down the road, I email a short synopsis to myself. If not, for sure, then I punch myself in the kidney as hard as I can to warn myself about having ideas that are wastes of time.

3. Why Do I Write What I Write?

Because I’m weird. I have a very strange, vivid, morbid imagination. I’m the product of child neglect + abuse, so I had to keep my mind busy a lot while growing up. Now I write to exorcise a few demons from those days, or because I accidentally drank some lemon-flavored bleach and sort of blacked out for a while, and when I came to, there was this cool idea on my screen / in my notebook.

Mostly I write what I write because I love it. If I don’t love a story, you won’t ever read it. You probably shouldn’t ever read anything I write, but if you think maybe you might want to, I’ll warn you again to avoid at all costs. Seriously. I love my stories, and I’m proud of them. I publish them and hope that others enjoy them, but I’m really not concerned if they do or not. I’m a big boy and I know that not everyone will like everything (or anything) that I write.

4. How Does My Writing Process Work?

Step 1: Do something useful like vacuuming floors, cleaning litter boxes, gardening, etc., with noise-canceling earbuds + very angry, loud, heavy metal blasting into my hear-holes.

Step 2: Come up with really ultra mega super awesome badass idea. Write it down somewhere. WRITE IT DOWN! Sheesh. You always forget, then you bug your wife with the “man, I had a really good story idea but now I can’t remember it!” routine because you DIDN’T WRITE IT DOWN!

Step 3: Take the basic idea, and with my awesome Zebra 402 ball point pen, begin writing what I like to call ‘concept.’ Concept is kind of an outline of sorts, but it’s all condensed like I’m a teenager trying to tell an important story to another teenager. It’s a bit jumbled, but I get all the important plot points down. Names… meh. I make up names when I actually sit down.

Step 4: Write a story from the concept. A 6,000 word concept can net me 100,000+ words in a novel. I’m a blowhard that never shuts up like that. It’s what I do.

Step 5: PROFIT!
Wait… there’s something missing here. Oh, put it down for a month after finishing the story. Don’t touch it. Write other stuff. Edit other stuff. Watch Game of Thrones in one sitting. Drive wife crazy begging for ninja swords and a guard tower for the back yard (.50cal machine gun too, please!).

After a month, revise it. Slash and burn and mend and heal. Put it down for another week minimum, then edit it one more time. Then send it to some unlucky fool along with a nice fat check and watch them shrivel in misery as they try to edit my gibberish (written in 67 point font with crayons).

Step 6: After editor sends it back with a note to never contact him/her again, along with threatening legal correspondence, possibly even a restraining order (or a doctor bill for eye replacement after gouging theirs out), put it away for another week. Then edit it. Send it to proofer.

Step 7: PROFIT!!!
Wait… grrrrr. Okay. While that editing stuff (whatever that is) goes on, you should be drinking beer and running down squirrels on winding forest roads! Or… having a cover made. That’s what I’d do, anyway. As you can tell, I’m not good at this. Get a good cover. Trust me on this. Never believe anything I say beyond this, but this one thing, trust me. Get a good cover.

Step 8: PROFIT!!!?
Hah! NO! Now time to navigate the Amazon and Smashwords and B&N portals to print my deliciously adverbial trash-fiction. Wait for approval then…

Step 9: Skip step 9, because 9 is better than 8, but not better than 10.

Step 10: PROFIT!!!???
YES! PROFIT!

So… now what?

Now, my little grasshoppers, you must travel beyond my realm, and to a very nice gentleman named “David Pagan.” Here’s a little about him:

By day, Dave is a programmer, or a software engineer for those times when he feels like sounding more important than he really is. He enjoys working on computers and feels fortunate that he’s been able to do it for most of his adult life. When he’s not sitting at a computer earning a living, Dave can usually be found sitting at his computer either writing or blogging. Dave writes mostly horror/dark fiction, though he’s been known to dabble in short fiction on love/romance. He dedicates his blog to his father, who passed away recently, and hopes to someday be as good a storyteller as he was.

You can find out more by visiting David’s blog:
http://www.davidpagan.wordpress.com/

(Right. So. I’m terrible at this, and didn’t actually make it a hyperlink. Never invite me to any social function. I will embarrass you. Badly. And probably ruin it for everyone.)