Sunday, December 15, 2013

Steampunk Sunday: Flash of Copper

My latest collection of short stories came out just in time for a Steampunk Sunday post! Awesome!
This collection has 4 stories that have previously appeared on my blog and 4 more that have never been seen before.
The stories are:
God of the Waves
Copper Explorations 
Adam the Automaton
The Luckiest Man in the Jungle
Harnessing Lightning
The Mad Professor 
Children of Obsession
Before the End
Of course, all of these are part of the Copper Visions universe, which will be continued in 2014.
Flash of Copper is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble right now and I’m working on making a print version available in 2014, as well.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New Books

I've updated the books page.

Flash of Fire

A collection of super short stories (1000 words or less) on the subject of fire. Ranging from the love of a volcano goddess to natural phenomena encountered as humans explore a distant planet, these stories evoke a sense of wonder and awe at the nature and power of fire. Some titles have been previously published as part of a weekly flash fiction project but others are brand new and exclusive to this volume. 
Titles include:
Molten Love
The Silver Fire
The Weeping Flame
Husband in the Flame

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo.

The Out of Order Detective

Spying on cheating monsters, being kidnapped to the past and chasing after a husband she didn't want who's been abducted by aliens is all part of the job for Eliza Carlisle, PI. This collection of super short stories (under 1500 words each) gives a glimpse into her life and her clients. 
Some of the stories have been published before as part of a weekly flash fiction feature but others are unique to this volume. 
Stories included are: 
Little Green Clients 
The Detective and the Archeologist 
Spying on Bigfoot's Wife 
The Case of the Missing Sparks 
Searching for Nessie 
To Whom It May Concern 
A Wife in Time 

Currently available at AmazonBarnes and Noble and Kobo.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


I'm in the process of moving. No, not physically, though that's on the schedule for this summer, but this blog.

I have had so many problems trying to get in to actually put up posts, much less see my stats, that I'm moving to another platform. You can check it out here and watch it for future posts.

I'm going to try and get posts that I was trying to get posted here posted there on the correct dates but, quite honestly, I don't hold out much hope for being able to figure that out. This weeks flash fiction friday will be there, however, and all posts going forward.

See you at the new digs!

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Health Journey: A Mental Health Moment

As some of you may have gathered, February was a rough month for me. Mostly you'll know this because I've been largely absent save for a few stories. I won't go into most of it except to say that I very nearly quit my job and, as punishment I suppose, I'm down to very few hours a week. Yes, I'm looking for another job but that's not really here nor there. I've actually been grateful for the reduced hours because I haven't had to call in sick. I'm narrowing down the list of foods I can eat again because something keeps making me ill and I'm having trouble figuring out what it is. My weight and my emotions are all over the map and that is never good. Coupled with some other disappointing news (it's going to be a year of blood tests again) and I've been pretty down in the dumps lately.

On the plus, side, though, I've had a serious jump in the quality of my writing. They say practice makes perfect and, while the words may come harder some days than others, I've been practicing a lot. With all the things I've been working on, I feel like a rubber band that's being stretched and stretched and stretched. There is going to be an explosion of stuff from me soon and the building potential occasionally makes me jump up and down and dance in the kitchen.

Copper Visions is going to be AWESOME!

I plan to have at least one flash fiction out every Friday for the rest of the year and a PRINTED volume of all of them that should be ready to buy around Christmas.

I've sent one of my flash fictions off to somebody to see if it could work as a script. Heh. Heh heh. Heh.

I'm learning website and design things.

I'm getting back on the yoga horse and I'm going to be doing it even if it hurts. That's what midol is for. I'm getting to my goal weight, dammit, and nothing is going to stop me. Even if downward dog does occasionally make me vomit.

So, there we go. A mental health moment from me. I'm not going to pretend that everything is going to be okay and peachy perfect from here out but oh, there are parts that are looking rosy!

I have a "Donate" button on the side of the blog that I'm considering calling the "Make writing my day job" button. If you've enjoyed the stories I've put up or gotten anything useful from what I've written, please consider dropping some money in the tip jar. If you can't, please share the things you've enjoyed with others so they can enjoy them, too.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Steampunk Sunday: Ghostbusters

Ok, I've gotta be honest about this. I had no idea this was a thing. None. Nada. Zilch.

I'm so happy when I learn new things!

For your Sunday pleasure, I present Steampunk Ghostbusters!

This League of S.T.E.A.M "rare footage" film will be strikingly familiar for anybody who watched the original 1984 Ghostbusters. And the music is pretty awesome, too. There are a bunch of videos for the League of S.T.E.A.M on youtube, and you should be able to get to more of them through the video. There definitely worth a watch!

Showing off the energy packs. Picture found here.
A more cartoon-y version
I love fan-art, and Janine was my favorite

And a lego version? That's awesome!
I've included links to where I found the pictures in the captions. As always, if you have more information about any of the pictures I've shared, please let me know in the comments.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bonus Post! Steampunk Saturday: Guns of Icarus Online

 Due to issues with Blogger, I couldn't reschedule this Sunday's post to replace it with this post. So, you get a post on Saturday! 

I know most of you don't remember this post from last year talking about the Kickstarter for Guns of Icarus Online. Well, I have an update! They made their goal! Yay! Guns of Icarus Online is live and ready to play.

Right, if you contributed to the Kickstarter you probably already know that but if you didn’t get a chance to donate to the Kickstarter, you have another chance!

Guns of Icarus Online is included in The Mash Bundle at Indie Royale right now! At the time of this posting, the bundle includes Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People, Guns of Icarus Online, Kung Fu Strike: The Warriors’s Rise, KRUNCH and Delve Deeper for the minimum price ($5.50 at the time of writing this). If you pay at least $8, you also get the Parallel Processing Album. You can download the games directly or you can redeem game keys on Steam or Desura. Most of the games are available on Windows, Mac and Linux (Kung Fu strike looks like it’s for PC only).

Why am I mentioning this? Well, I love stuff that supports independent artists, no matter what their chosen method of expression, and that includes video games. I also think it’s really cool that a game I was telling about around this time last year is doing one of these bundles. I also think there needs to be a bit more exposure for Steampunk games and the whole point of my Steampunk Sunday (and occasionally Saturday) posts is to draw attention to some of the incredible artistry involved in Steampunk.

The game I’m so excited about is Guns of Icarus Online and it looks like it’s just as much fun as the Kickstarter promised. (No, I haven’t had a chance to play it yet but I plan to change that this weekend.)

From the faq:
Guns of Icarus Online is a team-based multiplayer online airship combat game set in a steampunk/dieselpunk-inspired, post-apocalyptic world where lighter-than-air flight is the only means to cross the scarred wilderness that divides scattered pockets of civilization. Captain or serve as crew aboard an airship with your friends and fly into battle to win wealth and glory. With a good ship and the right crew, you can dominate the skies!
Guns of Icarus Online will have two gameplay modes: Skirmish, the team-based PvP combat mode, and Adventure, which will be released at a later date. Adventure mode will add in persistent world features such as player factions, an expansive world map of trade routes and dynamic towns, and an economic system with resource production, commerce, and crafting that will supplement the game’s core combat focus.

Doesn’t that sound exciting? The FAQ also mentions another game I haven’t heard of before that I will be checking out once I’m finished writing this blog.

This game, while online all the time is NOT an MMO (my bad, sorry guys) though it does share a few features with most multiplayer games. I think the most exciting thing about that fact is that there is no monthly subscription to play. It’s a one-time fee. There will be things available to buy within the game but they will be limited to cosmetic items. There will be gear you can unlock at higher levels but anything that will make you a more powerful character will have to be earned in game.

The whole thing is very cool and I’m including a video here that has an interview with the developers talking about how the game works and why you would choose different types of ships, the maps and equipment you can choose from. They play through a battle and talk about how things work and planned additions. 

All in all, I would seriously recommend getting the bundle before it expires or downloading it from Steam or Desura if you miss the bundle. You can get to the bundle here.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Flash Fiction: Ashes in the Sword

Clang clang, clang clang.

The rhythmic beat of the hammer echoed through the smithy, the apprentice moving the sword slightly in anticipation of his masters next stroke. The orange glow of the fire illuminated the work space as the twilight fell outside. There was little of the town left outside the smith's walls and few people to appreciate the sunset.

Clang clang, clang clang.

The raiders had come through and burned most of the village. They'd taken nothing, leaving what few treasure the town had to burn with its buildings and it's people. Anybody who had tried to flee had been run down, shot with an arrow or run through with a sword. This, then, was to be the bloody vengeance the injured lord has sworn.

Clang clang, clang clang.

The people had known what was coming. They knew it the minute somebody had decided to throw a rock to emphasize the villagers refusal to comply with the lords latest demands. They were not his property, this land was not his, and they refused every demand he made for the first fruits of all their labor. Somebody had thrown a rock when he was red with rage at their refusal. Somebody else had seen who it was. All refused to give up the perpetrator.

Clang clang, clang clang.

They did not bury their dead and the funeral pyre's would be burning long into the night. The first heating of the metal to make the sword had been in the heat of the pyre of the smith's wife. The ashes from the wood had been mixed in with the sword in an ancient ritual forgotten by many outside the village. The survivors of the attack had all been there to witness it, pouring their hatred, their pain, into the glowing metal that would be destined to see vengeance done.

Clang clang, clang clang.

The sword was taking shape, the metal more pliable than it normally would have been, being drawn into shape by the smith's anger and rage and grief. His daughter had been one of the ones who ran. His son had tried to protect her. She had died. He stood next to the forge, one arm bandaged to his side, intent on his mission, his goal. There would be little time after this night for his apprenticeship.

Clang clang, clang clang.

They forged on into the night, the metal being worked and molded, glowing with magic as well as heat every time it met the fire. The songs of lament lifted outside in the village, the people sending their loved ones up to the gods, with promises of peace and love and vengeance. As midnight neared, the apprentice began to instruct his son on what was to be done. He would have to gain more skill at sword-fighting, learn subterfuge and the ways of the people of the world.

Clang clang, clang clang.

Things would be hard, his father told him. But he would be there for him, always there for him, throughout the whole ordeal. He instructed him to build a pyre after the  whole thing was done and burn the sword. It would survive anything but being placed on a funeral pyre for all the souls it would release would render it down into the ash from the first pyre it was heated in.

Clang clang, clang clang.

The boy nodded, his tears running down his face and splashing on the anvil as he moved the sword slightly, anticipating his father's blow. The sword glowed as midnight approached, becoming brighter than the fire. You know how to finish it, his father said. How to put on the handle, give it an edge. Make it a good one, serviceable, don't let it call attention to itself.

Clang clang, clang clang.

"Bear witness, my boy," the smith said as midnight struck. "Avenge your mother and sister."


The boy watched as the sword they had forged in hate and anger and grief was cooled in his father's heart's blood. A great explosion rent the air and, when he could see again, his father's body had turned to a pile of ash. He took up the sword and finished his fathers work.

Then, he began his own.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Bonus Flash Fiction: The Detective and the Archaeologist

Eliza Carlisle had never given much thought to the ancient Babylonians. So, it’s no surprise that when she first appeared in the middle of a crowded marketplace, she was confused and more than a little pissed off about being there.

A strange man, not wearing near enough clothes, had grabbed her and started babbling at her on the street. Assuming the man was one of the crazy homeless who occasionally inhabit every large city, she did her best to extricate herself from his grasp without setting him off further. The man was strong and began shoving something into her hand that she later recognized as a pocket watch and mumbled “Baker, Baker, help.” When she closed her hand around the object, the man let go of her and stumbled off through the crowd.

It took her a moment to realize she was the one who was wearing the wrong clothes.

“Oy! Come back here!” She called after the man then started shoving her way through the crowd after him. He ducked into an alleyway and she followed quickly after him. She followed him through the maze of the unfamiliar city, rudely shoving people so she could keep following the bouncing head that she couldn’t quite catch up with. When he ducked into a fabric covered doorway, she saw her chance and ducked in behind him.

Going from the hot desert sun into the dark house blinded her long enough for the man to get away from her. By the time her eyes had adjusted to the dim lighting, the only person she could see was a man who looked as out of place as she did.

“Oh good, he found you,” the man said, standing up and handing her a cup.

“Who are you?” Eliza said, taking the cup from him.

“I do realize I’m dressed a bit differently from the last time I saw you, but I should think you’d recognize the person you punched in the middle of a busy London street.”

Her mind raced but, try as she might, she couldn’t recall punching anybody the last time she was in London. “I never punched anybody in London,” she told him. “I haven’t been there since I was 7, anyway, so I’m certain you have the wrong person.”

“Oh,” the man looked at her, his face guilt stricken. “Oh dear. I deserved it then.”

“I’m sure you did, if a strange woman just walked up to you and punched you in the middle of the street.”

“It was you, my dear, just not yet. I know, because you told me to not bother asking for your help when I found the pocket watch.”

“This pocket watch?” She opened her hand to show him the pocket watch the Babylonian had given her.

“That’s the one,” he said, sitting back down on a cushion and taking a sip from his drink. “Please, sit, have some tea. It’s actually quite good.”

Something had been nagging her about him and it suddenly clicked. “You’re British.”

“And you’re American, as evidenced by your appalling manners. Do sit down, time, while fluid, is currently not on our side.”

“Well, excuse me for asking,” she snapped and sat on the cushion opposite him. “You’re not modern British, are you?”

“Strictly speaking, there is no ‘modern British’ right now.” He smiled at her. “But I understand your question and the answer is no, my understanding is that I am from approximately 100 years earlier than you.”

Questions dragged through her head, each not wanting to be asked. “How…” she started than trailed off. He smirked at her and she shook her head. “That’s not important. No, it is important but not particularly relevant to this discussion right now. Why am I here, why are you here and how do we get out of here?”

“You are here because you punched me in the face and mentioned a pocket watch I hadn’t found yet. I’m here because I was shocked to find a working pocket watch when I was on an expedition to find the ancient city of Babylon. As you can see, I found it.” He gestured to the city around him.

“Yes, very good, well done. Now, how do we get out of here?”

“I wonder if you think I brought you here for revenge. If I knew how to get out of here, I would not be here. You seemed to know how to work the watch when last we met.”

“We haven’t met yet.” Eliza sniffed at the tea in her hand.

“And I accused you of bad manners. My name is Sir Richard Baker, archeologist. And you are?”

“You’re a sir?” She laughed. “I am Ms. Eliza Carlisle, private investigator.”

“A pleasure to meet you, Ms. Carlisle. Now, if you could, I’d like to go home.”

“Sucks to be you because I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

They look at each other in expectation. “Damn,” he says. “I was hoping to not have to live through an ancient battle. There’s an army on the way and the walls aren’t finished. Won’t be for quite some time, I’m afraid.”

Eliza suddenly figured out why she had punched him in the middle of a street in London. She was hard pressed not to punch him right there. “How did you send the guy to me to bring me here?”

“I could tell you a very long, convoluted story but it comes down to, I don’t know. The man who came from you was one of the few people I know here. I mentioned I was lonely, that if I was going to be stuck here, I’d prefer to be stuck here with somebody I had more in common with. He had the watch in his hand and said he would bring me a companion if he could. Then, he disappeared.”

“What were you talking about the first time you held the watch?”

“My desire to see Babylon as it was being built.”

“Did you think to ask it to take you home?”

He opened his mouth and she could see the sharp retort forming on his face then his expression changed to one of chagrin.  

“Didn’t think of that, did you?” She laughed at him.

“Well, now that you have, I’ll have the watch back, thank you.” He put his hand out expectantly.
Eliza smiled and looked down at the watch in her hand. “Maybe I’ll make a wish, then. Since my life was so rudely interrupted because you were an idiot.”

“I do apologize for the inconvenience. Now, if I could just have the watch back, I’ll see to it we get where we need to be.”

“I’ll wish for us to get where we need to be, thank you very much.” The world around her changed abruptly and Eliza Carlisle found herself in the middle of a street in Victorian London. She scrambled out of the road as quickly as she could and very nearly ran into a man who looked very familiar.

“I beg your pardon, miss,” the man said. “Are you all right?”

Eliza cocked her arm back and punched him across the jaw, knocking him to the ground. “You jackass! Leave me alone! And don’t you even think about coming to me for help with that damned pocket watch! I want to go home!”

She found herself back in her apartment, the pocket watch making itself felt in her hand. The urge to check what time it was, what day it was, was overwhelming. It was only the man coming out of her kitchen, dressed in modern clothes and bearing two cups of tea that stopped her.

“It’s about time you got home,” he said, handing her a cup. “We need to start planning the wedding.”

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday: At Ease

Author's Note: This is a work of fiction, inspired by some of the stories I heard from friends and on the news about happenings during and after the Waldo Canyon Wildfire. Thank you to all the firefighters and support who saved so many homes and lives. I apologize for any inaccuracies in the few details I used for my characters.

Captain Lacey Sterling, MD, walked into the mattress store that was blocks from her home, looking for the man she'd been assured would be there. Her sister and brother-in-law had just picked her up from the airport, she'd been awake for 22 hours, arriving home 2 weeks before most of her unit. There had been several other soldiers on the plane home with her, most of them looking at pictures of the damage from the wildfire that had swept through weeks earlier. Though many of the people in her unit were aware of what had happened, the people on that plane had been directly effected by the fire. Some of them were returning to see what could be salvaged from the smoke and water, others had nothing left to return to.

Veterinarian Tanner Sterling stood in the middle of the mattress store and stared at the bed in front of him. It looked good but he wasn't sure it was the right one. He remembered his wife had liked the mattresses that were firm but had a fluffy top. He should have taken a picture of the last bed but he couldn't bear to go near it. The whole thing smelled like smoke and mold and reminded him of the fire. He'd spent the last few weeks cleaning and painting like a mad man whenever he wasn't checking up on his patients who had been affected by the fire. So many ranches and farms had been burned, most of the livestock had managed to get away from the flames but not all of them. No, not all of them.

When Lacey appeared at his side, Tanner wasn't surprised. He hadn't been sleeping very well lately and he kept seeing her everywhere. When she held him and he realized it wasn't a dream, tears welled in his eyes, and panic set his heart racing. The house wasn't done yet. He'd worked so hard to make sure she would have a home to return to, one that would show no trace of the smoke that had billowed through their front windows and out the back, that he almost wanted to put her back on the plane until he could finish making it perfect. The only thing missing was the bed.

"They told us what happened," she said, not reading his mind but knowing him well enough to know where his thoughts were going. "There were videos about where the fire was going, what was going on. I saw the horses on the ridge."

He could still hear the horses screaming as the fire raced over the mountain.

"You were in a lot of the videos, baby. Helping the fire fighters, working with the animals."

"The house isn't ready, yet," he told her, still staring at the bed in front of him.

"I'm amazed it's still standing," she told him, wrapping her arm around his waist and cuddling into his chest. "You did the best anybody could have asked, and so much more. I'm so very proud of you."

He took a deep breath and turned his head to look at the top of hers. This tiny woman who was cuddling up to him was a doctor in the army, a tough cookie by anybody's definition, and it still amazed him that she had chosen him because he made her feel safe. She worked with some of the toughest men in the world but she cuddled with him.

"Barb told me you weren't sleeping well," Lacey said, stroking his arm.

"There isn't a bed, yet," he said.

"I'm sure they can send one up soon, we just have to tell the nice man behind the counter which one we want."

"I couldn't remember which one you liked last time. I thought it was this one but every time I tried to sit on it, it didn't feel quite right."

"There was something missing, I bet, because you were right, this is the one I prefer."

"You were missing. Nothing's quite right without you here."

"Well, I'm here now, so let me help you finish making the house back into a home." She turned and looked at the salesman who had been dancing around nervously, trying to find a way to help her husband. "I'm sure they can get the bed delivered today."

"I'll call and see if we can get it there within the hour, ma'am," the salesman said.

Still not certain that he wasn't just having a very vivid dream, Tanner paid for the bed and started to walk out toward his car. Lacey took his arm and steered him toward her sisters car. "Neither of us is really in a condition to drive, babe. Enjoy the driver and we'll come down and get the car later."

The drove to the house and the mattress truck pulled in behind them. The salesman had made good on his promise and the delivery drivers had put them to the front of the line.

Barb directed the delivery guys where to put the bed and went upstairs with them to make sure everything was where it was supposed to go. Tanner walked his wife through everything that had happened to the house and everything he had done to set it back to rights after the evacuation orders had been lifted.

Lacey waved to her sister as she left and gently led her husband upstairs to see the bed. She helped him undress and tucked him into the bed.

"Come to bed," he told her, as she went towards the door.

"I'm still wearing Afghanistan," she told him. "I was going to take a shower."

"Take off the uniform and come be my wife," he demanded, half-asleep.

"Yes, sir," she smiled at him. She undressed quickly and got under the covers with him.

"At ease, soldier," Tanner Sterling said, and drifted off to sleep, his wife following him quickly into slumber.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Health Journey, February 11, 2013

Well, hey there! I almost forgot to write a post for today!

The last few days have been a mix of joy and angst for me and some last minute butt covering by some people who shall remain nameless. Needless to say, there's been some stress. Add in a monthly starting (didn't we just do this?) and I find myself bloated and anxious at 11pm on a Sunday. The anxiety will not be going away anytime soon but that's ok, because it's good anxiety. I'm starting a new chapter in my life (I hope) that I have been praying about for a while now. I even got a haircut for the occasion... ok, it was a trim, but still.

I haven't weighed in yet this week (I'll post an update once I do) but my jeans are definitely too big, even directly out of the dryer and still a little bit wet. I'll be doing some shopping for some new ones next weekend and I'm incredibly excited about it.

I have to admit, I haven't done as much yoga as I would have liked. Rather than daily, I'm looking at every other day for last week. I'm going to get that up to at least 4 days this week, possibly 5, depending on where I am with cramping. It was bad today so I didn't push it because I've found that, when I push it, yoga actually makes the cramps worse. Your mileage may vary, of course, but that's what I have found for myself.

I'm excited for this week and I'm hoping I didn't gain too much weight from slacking off.

Oh yeah! This is also my 200th post! Woo!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday: The Mad Professor

Professor Alexander watched as the entrance to the tomb was opened to the chanting of the villagers behind him. The wisewoman stood before the entrance, clutching a wooden box, and muttered the incantation to keep the souls inside at rest. Once the stone was finished being moved, everybody became silent. He had been told the chanting and rock moving would coincide but he didn't expect the chanting to stop the moment the rock stopped moving. He would have to make a note of this part of the ritual.

The wisewoman moved forward with her precious cargo and the people behind her began the low chants to keep her safe from the spirits within the cave. The professor followed her as closely as he dared, making sure to keep well outside of the ritual area. He could see a ledge inside the cave and he knew there would be more near the back. The people of this village had been using this tomb for centuries and the objects on the ledge proved it.

Professor Alexander had been observing the Inda for years. They considered him harmless  if a little mad, and very curious about everyday things. He examined everything, even going so far as to weigh the spirit dolls before and after somebody died. He was very excited to find a difference and the elders looked on his excitement with indulgence. Any child could have told him the dolls would change weigh once the spirit of the dead man entered it.

Several years into his study of the tribe, Professor Alexander returned to his home and came back to the jungle with a wife. She was pretty and young and wholly unsuited to the heat and damp of the jungle. Her children, though, seemed to thrive in the jungle.

She was pregnant with their third child, a much hoped for girl, when the river flooded higher than usual. Fever and death followed, devastating all the tribes in the valley. There were trips to the spirit cave every week, bringing the souls of the dead to start their journey. When the professor's wife was taken by fever, he spent long hours looking for a way to save her and their unborn child. She went into labor but died of the fever before the baby had uttered its first cry.

Professor Alexander pleaded with the wisewoman to make his wife a spirit doll, so he knew her soul was at rest. Saddened by his grief, the wisewoman explained that the dolls had to be made when they were children so the spirits would know where to go when the bodies had died. They had to have time to learn about two bodies. As an adult, they had become too entrenched in their own bodies to learn how to transition to the spirit dolls.

The professor was distraught, frantic to save his wife. The wisewoman agreed to perform rituals to guide her soul to the spirit cave that was the portal to the after life. Without being trapped in the dolls, the best the rituals could do is give the soul a path to the after life. Only the gods could take a lost or confused soul to the afterworld. His children, however, could be given spirit dolls.

The fever passed through the valley. Professor Alexander decided to seek out the gods the wisewoman had told him about. They were supposed to be deeper into the jungle and he was determined to seek them out. There were many people in the tribe who would watch his children while he went out to ensure the peace of his wife's soul. Most of the men in the tribe were sure he would not return.

The professor did return and he brought with him a creature nobody had seen in person for centuries. The art on the abandoned temples that had been retaken by the jungle portrayed the creature that was in chains as a servant of one of the gods. It was often considered one of the lesser gods.

The tribe didn't know what to do with the captured god. Frightened and cowed, the creature cringed when the people came to look at him. Professor Alexander had gone even more mad in the jungle looking for the gods and kept the one he had captured in chains near him. Construction began on the professors laboratory, the tribes people following his orders with awe. Wars were fought throughout the valley for supplies and laborers, the Inda attacking with their peaceful neighbors with a fanaticism that had not been seen for centuries.

Professor Alexander moved into his laboratory and took the god with him. His children were given spirit dolls by the wisewoman while he was in the jungle. When he remembered to be, or could be reminded about his duties, the professor was a doting father. When he was working on his experiments, the professors wild eyes would sometimes be drawn to the spirit dolls his sons carried.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Steampunk Wednesday

Nothing like a soul crushing job to make writing slow. I've still got a few more chapters I want to write and edit before I launch Copper Visions.

This weeks inspiration for the aesthetic is Panic! At The Disco's The Ballad of Mona Lisa

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Health Journey, February 4, 2013

This week has been one of me doing my best to get back on track. Getting back in a habit feels harder than trying to develop the habit in the first place. I've done the yoga routine about half the times I've intended to but that's better than not doing it at all.

The hardest thing I've come across is trying to eat well. I had some car issues that ate up almost my entire budget so I'm trying to cook decently for $20 this week. Normally, that would mean pasta. Now, it means lots of bunless burgers. I've pretty much given up soda and I'm trying to give up most sugar.

I've got blood tests and weigh-ins this week to see how I'm progressing and I'll do my best to get back on the exercise wagon. I did the math on how much weight I've lost and how much I have left to lose. If I keep up what I've been doing, I'll be at my goal weigh just before my best friends wedding. That's a very exciting development!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Steampunk Wednesday

More inspiration to get people ready for the coming feature.

Today's video is Honeybee from Steam Powered Giraffe.

Yep, I've posted these guys before and I still love them. In fact, they inspired this piece from a while back. There's been some changes around in the cast and I'm really looking forward to videos with the new robot, Hatchworth.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Health Journey: January 28, 2013

There's nothing quite like being sick and trying to lose weight. Add working full-time for a team leader who really shouldn't have gotten the job and massive dehydration and you get a really, really rough weekend.

I'll be checking my weight after work today but I'm still pretty darn miserable from this weekend. So, this week's health update isn't so much an update as a please forgive me if I occasionally suck at this whole being healthy thing.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday: Molten Love

The best soil was on the side of the volcano and the man who decided to build his house there knew the dangers. Living in the shadow of the thing that gave the island life and death was a risk, but the soil was the best, the view of the ocean unparalleled and the view of the volcano as it lit the night was one of the few things in his life that set his heart racing.

The mountain has been rumbling for days and the smoke was growing heavier around the top. This close, the night was almost as bright as the day. The man would sit outside his house and whittle to the glow of the volcano. His neighbors came to tell him they were going, to beg him to leave with them and their families. There was always a chance to rebuild, they would tell him. He did not have to die with his farm.

While the man knew the volcano was dangerous, he loved it too much to leave it. He watched as the canoes holding his neighbors, their families and all their possessions set out into the ocean, heading to one of the other islands. He stayed and watered his yams until the ground was too hot and the yams were cooking in the ground.

When the lava started to flow, the man was not surprised. The sky glowed and the molten rock moved sluggishly down the side of the mountain. It would be a while before the lava made it to his house so he went inside to eat one of his cooked yams and wait.

He had just sat down when there was a knock at the door.

At his door was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. Her hair was long and dark, with hints of red and it covered most of her body. He wasn't sure if she wore clothes or not but her breasts were large and her hips were wide and it was no hardship to invite her in to share his dinner.

"Why are you still here?" she asked him. "Don't you know the volcano is dangerous?"

"Dangerous?" he asked her in return. "How can it be dangerous? It gives this island life and makes the crops grow. It may destroy the things men make on it's surface but they are only man things, as temporary as the people who made them."

"Do you really think that? Wouldn't it make you sad if the volcano ended your life now, in your temporary little shelter?"

"I would regret the loss of my life, yes, but I would join the ancestors and my body would fertilize the next batch of yams the next farmer planted here. There is little truly lost and much beauty to be had."

"You find the volcano beautiful, then?" The woman blushed and looked down at her hands.

"Intoxicatingly so," he said. "I would wish for nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with the lovely volcano."

"You speak so well, for a man," she said to him. "I will lie with you and be with you until the lava takes you."

When the man's neighbors returned, they found him watering the ground around his home, touching gently the waves the lava had formed over his home. It had come right up to his door then turned away, as though it couldn't bare to touch it.

"What happened?" they asked him. "Did you turn the lava back on your own?"

"I turned nothing away," the man told them. "The volcano decided it loved me as much as I loved it and it would see me continue my mortal life."

The people understood and the man was left alone unless he sought out company. Though believed to be incredibly lucky, none of the mothers in the village tried to get him to take their daughters as his wife because he already had one. His children were said to walk the island when the other inhabitants left.

One day, when the man was very old, the volcano erupted again. None of the people came to ask him to go with them though they could see him watching them as they rowed away to safety. There were some, on the last boat and with sharper eyes than most, who say he was joined by a beautiful woman as the lava poured down the mountain.

His home was not there when they returned.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Steampunk Wednesday

Since the story I'm planning on posting on Wednesdays is Steampunk, I thought I'd share some videos to get everybody in the mood. So, Copper Visions is coming soon. Enjoy the videos:

Today is Sleep Isabella by Abney Park

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Health Journey, January 21, 2013

There's nothing quite like having every intention of working out this week and then being hit with a double whammy of flu and lady problems.


The flu wasn't as bad as it could have been and I made it through work without dying. There were times when I wished I didn't but this wasn't a long week and I survived.

The lady problems are a bit more interesting. I'd always heard you shouldn't do certain positions while menstruating and I wanted to find out why. There's some debate (there always is) about what it actually does but most people seemed to agree that it made the period more painful. I tried a couple positions and yep, that did seem to be the case. So, I'm off the yoga for a few days a month but it's still helping me out a lot.

With all this, I'm not terribly hopeful for my weigh in this week. But I'm still going to do it and I'll update this post with the results once I've done it.

Update: I lost 1 pound this week. Ya know, for eating like crap and feeling like crap, I'll take it. Any loss is a win this week.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday: LIttle Green Clients

I was closing up early to mark a special anniversary for me when the little green men walked into my office.

I knew who and what they were and it pissed me off because I'd spent the last five years convincing myself they weren't real and my husband had merely run off with his secretary. Though, his secretary was a big, burly chap and I still ran into him around town occasionally.

There were three little green men and they came to my desk and sat down, looking at me expectantly while I was deciding if I should kick them out of the office or grab one of them and demand my husband back. I'd finally come to the conclusion that these weren't likely to be the specific aliens responsible for my husbands abduction when the one in the middle decided to break the silence.

"Ms. Carlisle," the first said, his voice strangely staticy and his lips didn't move right with the sound. "We would like to hire you for a case."

"Who says I'm for hire?" I asked.

"The girl in the other room said you hadn't had a case in months. We will pay in cash appropriate for this world."

Great, I thought. Brenda's been talking to people again. I really only hired her to keep people out of here and answer the phone. So what if I hadn't had a case in months, I was busy enough, and proof that I wasn't crazy had just walked into my office. Hmm, maybe I should buy her a new bottle of nail polish for that.

"She talks too much," I said. "What do you want?"

They looked at each other and started talking rapidly in their own language to each other.

"We wish to hire you to solve a case for us," the one in the middle said and the other two nodded.

"That would be the normal reason a human would come to a detective," I said. "Why do you want me to work for you?"

"Ms. Carlisle, we are aware of at least some of your situation and that has led us to believe that you would not be opposed to investigating some of our people. There has been a rash of incidents that we believe point to some criminal activities among our people but which are a bit too sensitive to bring to the authorities on our world."

Right, that was working my last nerve. "Get out," I said, pointing towards the door.

"Please, Ms. Carlisle. We had nothing to do with what happened with your husband. In fact, we're part of a group that is opposed to the capture and use of humans."

"You're a political group?" My eyebrow raised and I looked across the desk at them, amusement warring with irritation.

"Indeed, ma'am, much like some of your animal rights groups on this planet, we protest the capture and use of humans by those people who seek to profit from them."

"What, exactly, do your people do with humans? Some of the ones who claim to have been abducted swear they were experimented on."

"Oh, there have been laws against human experimentation on our planet for a very long time, though some of our people are not above breaking that law. We protest those who do, certainly, but the ones we object to the most fiercely are those who capture humans to sell them as exotic pets. They are very amusing, certainly, but they are at least minimally sentient and, thus, should be given the choice rather than be abducted."

Irritation won. "Get the hell out," I told them.

"Please, Ms. Carlisle, we mean no disrespect. Many people who buy humans hold them in very high regard," the alien almost looked panicked.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. This was a lead, a clue to my own personal mystery and I should definitely look into it. "What, exactly, is going on?"

"Many of our people are being taken ill but there's no known cause. In many cases, the illness comes on quickly but there's no environmental cause for the illness and no known disease that effects our people the way this does. We suspect that people are being poisoned."

"If you're so much more advanced than we are that you use us as pets, surely your scientists have the capability of detecting a poison?"

"Poison has not been used on our planet for quite some time and there are very few of us who would recognize it from our work. And it's the scientists who would, most of whom have made a transition into working with the humans, who were hit first."

My mind began to turn and I'm sure the smile that crossed my face did not do anything to reassure the aliens sitting across from me.

"Hmm, that does sound perplexing," I said, trying to keep the manic laughter away from my voice. "And you say you can't go to your authorities?"

"No, Ms. Carlisle, we can't."

"Well, then, I suppose the only thing I can do is take the case. Cash up front, of course, and money for expenses. You can work the details out with Brenda out front. I'll see you tomorrow."

"Oh, thank you, Ms. Carlisle," they said and stood. "We will come for you tomorrow."

"Yes, tomorrow," I stood and walked them out of my office. I listened to them talk to Brenda and began chuckling.

He was alive. The magnificent bastard was alive and he'd found a way to get out. Now, all I had to do was find him. I went to my desk to begin the list of things I was going to need to bring with me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Steampunk Wednesday's

So, my dear and faithful reader, I wanted to take this opportunity to explain what I have planned for the blog. Specifically, what I have planned for this blog on Wednesdays.

I'm writing a story.

A story with a robot.

And a death.

And doctors.

And steam.

I'm planning to release a chapter a week, and I'm planning on about 25 chapters. How that will actually work out, I'll know a bit better once I've gotten a little further into the process. As it stands, I'm working to build a nice, big buffer of chapters so I can have something up every Wednesday.

I guess an alternate title for this could be "Coming soon..."

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Health Journey: Refocusing

I gave up on writing The Heath Journey last summer because, to be quite honest, my life was falling apart. At this point, things seem to have stabilized and I'm back to trying to get my body into fighting condition.

I've actually been working at this for a couple weeks at this point but I thought I'd get back to updating the journey and keeping myself accountable.

What's new for this year? Not a whole lot, actually. I'm still watching what I eat, though I ate way too much sugar over the holidays, and I'm exercising. What has changed is the focus I'm giving to everything. Conscious decisions to eat better have changed what kind of food I buy a great deal and I've started a more focused, higher intensity workout routine and I'm doing it almost everyday. Yes, I do occasionally take rest days but I'm working out more days than I'm not.

Part of this is because I'm sick of only having a low to moderate level of activity on any given day. Yes, with my job I'm going to have more activity most days for a while, but I didn't want the first week back to work to cripple me for 2 or 3 days. Last week was my first full week back and I'm actually very pleased with what happened. There was pain but it wasn't as intense or long-lasting as it usually is.

I'm still debating putting up my "before" pictures before I have some decent "after" or "during" pictures but it might help. I don't know, if anybody wants to see them, let me know in the comments.

I may keep a running total of current weight and weight lost but weighing in is going to be a challenge with the job. Maybe I'll just put them up when I have them.

Right now, I'm sitting at 4 pounds lost in the last 2 weeks with 1/2" lost off my waist.

I'm glad I'm back and I'm looking forward to sharing this journey with you again.

Update: So, managed the weigh in this morning and I'm sitting at 5 pounds lost in 2 weeks. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday: The Weeping Fire

Once upon a time, there was a fire sprite who fell in love with a human. She came to life in the sparks of a fire he'd built, nurtured, and breathed to life with his own breath. Everything about him was wonderful to her, the way he moved, the things he did in her light. She stayed for him, hidden in the ashes when he ran out of wood, keeping him warm until he could find more things to feed her and she leapt to life once more to dance and amuse him in the darkness.

Then, one day, something had angered her human and stood before her fire, pacing and muttering to himself and she grew angry for him and burned hotter than she'd ever burned. The man sat in front of her glow and meditated on his hurts and water fell from his face until she could no longer stand it. She glowed so hot, she made the water evaporate as soon as it sprang forth from his eyes and she could see that he was comforted.

Soon, he decided to go out and he took her with him in a glass case to keep her from being put out by the wind. He stopped and stood in front of a house and they stood there for a very long time until he decided to let her out. He opened the case next to the roof of the house and urged her to go and catch the wood there on fire. The roof was wet and not easily burned but she tried her hardest and soon the whole house was on fire.

She looked for him, to see on his face that she'd done a good job but he had left her on the rooftop and run away. Something swelled inside her and the anger and betrayal she felt was seen in the way her fire leapt and roared over the roof of the house. When people ran screaming into the street, she laughed and decided to try to get to the next house. If she was to be abandoned, she would take the world with her.

The people below began to pour water on her but she was too quick and too strong for them to catch and she burned everything she could touch. Eventually, they were forced to destroy their own homes to keep her from reaching them and she laughed at the destruction. She stopped laughing when she started running out of things to burn. She raced to the bottom of the home and leapt onto everything she could reach but it wasn't enough. The weight of the damage she had wrought was slowly smothering her until she was huddle beneath the ash, against the earth and she shivered, waiting to go out.

The earth below the home spoke to her as she shivered; it told her of the humans, of the good they'd done and the bad, and how what her human had done was going to hurt many of the people who had tried to put her out. It wasn't her they objected to, it was the damage she wrought at the behest of a man who had abandoned her.

Her heart broke and she asked the earth to swallow her up so that she might never have to see the humans again. The earth did swallow her up and it took her down, down into the hot depths that swirl below it's depths where she could be with her own kind. Every now and then, she would burst forth from the earth and be overcome with grief at her lost love and she would run down the earth, covering it and laying it waste but also leaving the possibility of life behind her.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Dreaming Tower

It's done, finally finished and sent off to the editor who assures me she doesn't hate it. That makes me very happy. I'm nervous though, as excited as I am about this book, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be driving Jill crazy asking if she liked it. It's the longest thing I've ever finished and the birthing pains of bringing this book into the world are just beginning. (the cover art is going to be fantastic!)
I found myself, as soon as I hit send on the email, wanting to tinker; it needs 20 more pages, I need to cut out 3 major characters, I need to add 2 more. For some reason, I wanted to explain how the kingdom would function, what the economics were and how the fairies were going to be integral to everything that was going to come in the future. I had some awesome
world building details floating around in my head and, honestly, if I'm plied with enough alcohol, I may be induced to bore whoever asks me about them for hours. But they don't belong in this story. This story ends with a happily ever after and I like it that way.
I'm ready to walk away from this story for a bit and go play with some of my other imaginary friends. I'm hoping to have it out in the world by February, a full year after people started asking for a sequel. No, it didn't take me a year to write this book. It took me almost 10 months to want to write it and I'm glad I took my time. I couldn't have written this book a year ago.