Tales out of Tallis

Some of you may have noticed that the Dragonlord and Stone & Fire posts have been switched to private.   Don’t worry, that just means they are about to go to print.

As The Duchess is a short story that doesn’t exactly fit into either novel, it will remain up.

Silverfish and some of my other works are about to go the same way.  However, even if I do compile/edit the World Less Visible for publication, the stories will also remain here on my blog.

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Footsteps and Photographs

Russell looked down at the photograph in his hand. The image was old, yellowed, and wrinkled. He looked up again. In the photo, the building had been a bar, with sign of active light. The colors were faded, and it had been uninhabited for probably a decade. Yet it was the same building. The angle of the mountain behind it was right, and the trim around the windows was dingy and battered but recognizable. At some point, over twenty years ago, his father had stood in this very same spot.
Carefully, he tucked the photograph away and took another look around. The coffee shop on the other corner was clearly of newer construction, but the bookstore across the street looked like it has been there for centuries. He took a deep breath and headed over.
He was pulling his phrase book from his pocket when the man behind the counter gave him an annoyed look. “I speak English.” His accent was thick, but the words were intelligible.
“Thank you.” Russell smiled. He hesitated a moment, then pointed. “Do you know anything about the bar that used to be just across there?”
The man gave him a considering look. “It closed five years ago, after the fire. Why?”
A fire. Naturally. The first real lead he had, and it caught fire. Russell exhaled. “My father visited this area before I was born. He liked the bar enough to have some photos of it.” Russell shrugged. “Thought I’d stop in for a drink while I was in the area.”
Something briefly flickered across the man’s face, and he gave Russell another look. “This is a bit off the path for tourists.”
Alright, the guy was willing to chat a bit. Or maybe he was bored. The shop was otherwise as empty as the street. “Yeah. I had a hard time finding it on the map. I, uh…” He swallowed. “My father, he uh, he died.” At least that was the assumption. “When I was ten. I thought I’d retrace his footsteps, see…”
“Finding a connection.” The man’s face warmed a little, and he offered his hand. “Otto.”
“Russell.” He accepted the handshake. “Yeah, that’s the intention. Can you, uh…” He smiled. “What made the bar special?”
Otto twitched his shoulder. “Beer was good. But uh…” Otto took a deep breath, then brushed an imaginary speck of dust off his counter. “Mostly it catered to a particular sort of crowd.”
“What kind of crowd?” Russell raised an eyebrow. His mother said his father had been a soldier once. “Military?”
“Some, but uh…” Otto shifted his feet a little awkwardly. “It attracted those of a certain persuasion.”
“Musicians?”
The other man gave him an annoyed look. “Men with preferences.”
“Prefer…” The wheels clicked in his mind, and he felt himself start to blush. “Oh.” He winced. “Oh.”
“Mmm.” Otto nodded.
“I don’t suppose you know anyone that…” He winced again.
“That sort tended to want to go unnoticed.” Otto shook his head. Then he frowned. “Though the landlord that rented it to the bar is still around. Not sure what you’re looking for, exactly, but he might be able to let you in to take a look if you ask politely.” He started looking around the counter, then after a moment produced a business card.
“Thank you.” Russell accepted it. “Uh…” He looked around. “If you’ve got a book on the history of the area…”
“It’s not in English.” Otto smiled as he led Russell to a shelf.
“I’ve got google translate.” Russell accepted the tome and paid. Then he tucked the book away before heading back to his vehicle.

(more…)

Light it up

You hear it a lot these days.  The whole ‘you stood up for yourself and I didn’t like it and that’s why we have Trump‘ rhetoric.  It is bullshit enough when we hear it from the conservatives, but it’s especially dismaying to hear it from our supposed ‘allies’.  This notion that if we defend ourselves, we are somehow the oppressors.

Martin Luthor King Junior said it well:

“Over the last few years many Negroes have felt that their most troublesome adversary was not the obvious bigot of the Ku Klux Klan or the John Birch Society, but the white liberal who is more devoted to “order” than to justice, who prefers tranquility to equality”

It still holds true for the black population, but it applies as well to LGBT individuals.  White liberals talk, but as soon as standing up for what is right would cause the slightest inconvenience to their lives, they are nowhere to be found.  I see it in my fellow men who claim to be ‘feminists’, but when the ‘locker room talk’ starts they shut up and refuse to call it out, or try to downplay it as something other than what it is.

They pretend people aren’t already dying.  That we aren’t already well past the first stages of genocide.  That somehow, some way, everything is going to be alright and we can just ride it out.  Well, maybe they can.  Maybe their privilege will protect them.  Or maybe it won’t.

In the meantime, a simple truth remains:

True Names

Perhaps a little too risqué for Amazon?

My cover artist, the illustrious Rémi, sent over his latest masterpiece and I absolutely love it.  The problem is I think it is going to trigger the moral guardians on Amazon.  You can’t see anything, but it looks like you could.  Pearls would be clutched.

Not sure yet what the final design will be exactly, but in an adult world, this would be the cover of part two:

(more…)

Garden Glories

After two years, my garden space is finally starting to be a place I can relax and do some writing.  I planned to spend the weekend on the back patio.  A nice pot of tea, a six pack of good beer, my headphones, and time to write.

Naturally, it’s 50F out and raining.

It’s still winter

Some of you may have noticed a break in my updates.  In addition to apparently being locked in the permanent icy grip of winter (the featured picture was taken from my front porch yesterday), I had to deal with a windows update sending my computer into blue screen of death mode.

I have done a full reinstall, and have sadly lost some things.  I can’t find my receipt with the license code for Poser 11, so that is gone.  I couldn’t find the one for AeonTimeline either, but their customer service people are awesome and came through for me.  Thus, I haven’t lost access to my notes for quite a few projects.  Scrivener, Word, and Photoshop remain good to go.

I did lose a lot of works in progress on Photoshop.  Nothing serious, just the projects I’ve been using as learning tools for my new drawing tablet.  Everything else was backed up to dropbox, and I am going to shamelessly plug their service for all aspiring writers and artists because one, they work great with Scrivener, and two, without them I would have just lost 10+ years of writing work.

Back up your shit, people, and keep copies of your receipts.  Also, just because you tell Windows now isn’t a good time to update doesn’t mean it is going to listen to you, and for those of you who don’t already know this – Windows 10 does NOT keep system restore points for you.  That’s right, people, if something goes wrong, you just have to bend on over and take it without a chance of lube.  Thank you, Microsoft!