This week’s challenge: 1000 words on the thing that scares you the most. It’s strange, but maybe I was braver when I was younger, or maybe not smart enough to be afraid. As I get older, I find myself fearing things more. Afraid of not being able to pay the bills. Afraid of my children getting hurt. Afraid of something happening to my parents. Afraid of my own aging body. Afraid of my government. So yeah, the trick isn’t to not be afraid, but to let the fear be the emotion that solely drives you. Because a healthy sense of fear is a good thing. It keeps you alive. It keeps you from doing really stupid shit.

But fear that paralyzes? Fear that makes you hurt someone else simply because your fear turns to anger? That’s the dangerous stuff we all need to be on the look out for.

As always, comments are welcome and appreciated. (And yes, this is quite a bit under the 1k limit, but I like how it came out regardless)

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The challenge: to write an apocalypse, preferentially one that hasn’t been written before. Eh, not sure about that last part, but I had fun with it.

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Coffin Dodgers: A Sci Fi Horror Book by [Adams, Tom G.H. ]

What would happen if THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME was set in the future, on an alien planet? What if instead of one person set loose in the wilderness, it was a team of competing extreme athletes?

That’s the simple premise behind the latest from Tom G.H. Adams, the aptly named COFFIN DODGERS. A group of extreme athletes and thrillseekers, here designated T-types, are sent to a newly discovered world, there to compete for a fat cash prize.

Soon, however, they discover that they are competing for more than money as they are being hunted and killed in a sadistic hunt. As I’ve come to expect from Tom, he leans way in on the horror, sometimes seeming to bring the gore for gore’s sake, but never ignoring the impact it has on his characters. While I do feel the motivation for his villain(s) is a bit over the top, I can appreciate how he worked the interplay of sex and violence into his text. He does an excellent job of getting into some of the characters heads, and I will say for villain of the piece, that was an insight I did not rightly relish.

Tom does an excellent job of setting up the tension between the hunters and the prey, and while there are elements of the chase I wish he would have explored more (how were the hunters tracking the other contestants? why didn’t the contestants realize something was fishy about the “contest” sooner?)

The novella did fall a little short for me in places. Given how it is set in the future, I would have appreciated a more diverse group of characters. All of them come from Earth, with no real delving into how a Mars colonist might compete. Some ethnic stereotypes are given broad strokes as well (the Australian pilot being the most glaring example). The planet as well, while interesting, relied heavily on it being an Earth analogue, albeit one still going through its own prehistoric development… complete with creatures that looked an awful like what you might find in Jurassic Park. I would have appreciated creatures perhaps a bit more alien, or at least flora that was less benign than what our contestants encountered here.

Overall, for a quick read, it is very enjoyable. 3 and a half stars.

You can pick up your own copy here on Amazon, and you can check out Tom’s website here.The book is releasing Feb 2nd.

Part one is here.

Part two is here.

Part three is here.

Comments as always are welcome, and I’m curious if recaps are necessary or would be welcome.

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Not going to lie, this year was hard on a lot of people for a lot of different reasons.

This… isn’t that kind of post.  Read the rest of this entry »

Altered States II: a cyberpunk anthology (Altered States cyberpunk anthologies Book 2) by [Salgado-Reyes, Jorge, Booth, Roy C.]

Grab it here!

It features my short story LIMITLESS and happens to have some of the same characters from my NaNoWriMo novel, PROJECT PROMETHEUS.

If you do grab it, remember writers thrive on reviews, and even if you don’t feel comfortable leaving one on amazon, I’d love to know what you think of the story.

Yeah, yeah, so this is going to be one of those posts that is writing about writing. Unlike some of the other ones I’ve done, this is way less about craft and more about content and the fundamental underpinnings of character. So if you are here only for the short fic, might want to give this a pass. Also, I am not writing this to call any author out, except for maybe myself. Read the rest of this entry »

My short story “Temple of Sashirak” is featured in this month’s issue of NEW REALM. It features the itinerant wanderer and magician Liam the Black against an ancient evil looking to be reborn.

And all for less than the price of a grande macchiato.

Grab it here!

This is the continuation from this post. For a quick recap, the soldier Graciano, the smuggler Ramiro, and the doctor Viktoria have found themselves stranded on an island filled with snake people. They found a boat and could have escaped… but they decided to hang around and see if they could find a rumored treasure. That’s sure to work out well, isn’t it? Anyway, this is my take on a swashbuckling fantasy, because who doesn’t love pirates at the end of the day?

As always, comments are welcome and appreciated.

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A quick note: I fenced for a number of years. Foil primarily, but I’ve also picked up some different rapier techniques as well as some “heavy” sword work (two-hander, sword and shield, single-handed broadsword along with some very limited small unit tactics). My lens is primarily through Western martial arts, and there are some great additional resources out there (The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts for instance) that I definitely recommend checking out.

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