westing

About seven years ago, if my math is correct, under the combined influence of the Year Zero mythos and a compounding interest in some pretty bleak films and books, I tinkered with a half-baked story concept about people left alone at the end of the world. That’s really all I had. No aesthetic, no voice, not even a clear idea of what the point was. Only the starting point — fifteen minutes pass in a blink, and when eyes open again, the world’s a wasteland. The mystery was the best part about it, but I suppose I wasn’t at a point where I could hammer it out. Two years ago I revisited the idea, trying to draw on themes of important cultural/spiritual tales like Journey to the West. That framework became essentially a shallow analogue of Xuanzang’s pilgrimage, and I don’t have to tell you why that was a problematic concept. It was scrapped.

Last Sunday the power to our apartment went out in the fuck-all middle of the night and everything was black and quiet and unearthly for a few minutes. That suddenly brought an old concept rushing back to me, and when I say the notes started flowing from me like a stuck faucet, I mean it. I had something I could work with!

Over the following week I kept making notes, and wound up writing not only several paragraphs of freewriting to get a handle on the voice of the narrator, but also a blurb to tease the concept. Here it is:

They were all at the diner when it happened. In fifteen minutes — in the blink of an eye — the world was a wasteland and no one remembered themselves. Where they’d come from or where they were going, or evern what their names were. None of the five — correction: the four — that remained.

This is how Natalie (the name pulled from the ID card in her wallet though she doesn’t feel like a Natalie and doesn’t even see much of herself in the awkward, smiling photo) meets them -: the limping girl, the movie star, and the conjured man. The letter on the dashboard of her Challenger, replete with apologies and vaguely terrible things, says she’s going to California. The two duffel bags full of cash in her backseat say the going is more like fleeing. And then there’s the body in her trunk.

With no other direction, and a strange lack of curiosity regarding what’s happened, the group agrees to follow Natalie, to accompany her to California unsure of what they’ll find there and what their survival will require along the way. Memories lurch to the surface on a slow collision with the present day and closer to an understanding of the reason they’re alive.

Here’s the brief narration piece. Spoiler alert, I guess. Though not really. Hopefully no one will remember this too clearly. Continue reading

Acclamation Playlists are (FINALLY) Here!

I finally got my act together and compiled playlists from the Acclamation series a couple of weeks ago!

These mixes are antiquity — they were my actual playlists during the writing of the books. I got so sick of these playlists that I’ve honestly blacklisted most of these songs for a couple of years. But now I’ve unearthed the old goodies, and I’m passing the fun along to Acclamation readers. Included are some song calls from the series itself, songs that are just evocative of the scenes and moods, and lots of Ayumi Hamasaki, sorry. No, I’m not.

Mix 1 -- acclamation; a playlist — for Book 1, “Acclamation”

LISTEN HERE ]

1 ; love song; ayumi hamasaki || 2 ; a little respect ; erasure || 3 ; dancing queen ; ABBA || 4 ; all the right moves ; onerepublic || 5 ; bad sun ; the bravery || 6 ; head over heels ; tears for fears || 7 ; 18 nen’me no yoru ; date kouji|| 8 ; goody two shoes ; adam ant || 9 ; hallelujah ; rufus wainwright || 10 ; like a stone ; audioslave || 11 ; a beautiful mess ; jason mraz || 12 ; come rain or come shine ; frank sinatra || 13 ; brighter than sunshine ; aqualung || 14 ; sparks ; overseer || 15 ; 3 libras ; a perfect circle || 16 ; deep inside of you ; third eye blind || 17 ; til kingdom come ; coldplay

Mix 2 — acclamation; another playlist — for Books 2 & 3, “Reclamation” and“Intimation”

LISTEN HERE ]

1 ; make this go on forever; snow patrol || 2 ; chariots rise ; lizzie west || 3 ; mexico ; jump || 4 ; passion ; utada hikaru || 5 ; how to save a life ; the fray || 6 ; stay ; belly || 7 ; runaway ; kanye west || 8 ; nice dream ; radiohead || 9 ; free & easy ; ayumi hamasaki || 10 ; age of consent ; new order || 11 ; momentum ; ayumi hamasaki || 12 ; slow burn ; david bowie || 13 ; heartless ; kanye west || 14 ; i love you ; sarah mclachlan || 15 ; love lockdown ; kanye west || 16 ; lovestruck ; iko || 17 ; god only knows ; beach boys || 18 ; gravity ; coldplay

Mix 3 — acclamation; the long last drive — for Book 4, “Proclamation”

LISTEN HERE ]

1 ; oh my god; mark ronson ft lily allen || 2 ; walk away renee ; the left banke || 3 ; whatya want from me ; adam lambert || 4 ; blackout ; muse || 5 ; exodus 04 ; utada hikaru || 6 ; a summer song ; chad and jeremy || 7 ; finest worksong ; rem || 8 ; nice dream ; radiohead || 9 ; i want you ; third eye blind || 10 ; fall away ; the fray || 11 ; november ; ayumi hamasaki || 12 ; as i lay me down ; sophie b hawkins || 13 ; electrolite ; rem || 14 ; like a prayer ; madonna || 15 ; forgive me ; missy higgins || 16 ; seven days war ; ayumi hamasaki

A Title looms in the distance, for now

As I start on Chapter Five of “Fucking Dragons”, with a small cadre of supportive beta readers to receive whatever I manage to come up with, I thought I’d drop by the ol’ official blog and make mention of a few exciting happenings. 

First of all, this:

Image

That would be Emperor Lascien, courtesy of the beautiful (I mean that, she’s beautiful) Sam. Look at this smug bastard. Probably eyeing some poor unsuspecting provisory Senator and wondering how to ask him how long he’s been sleeping with the Captain of the guard, because trust me, Lascien knows. He can just sense that shit. 

Also, a title, however unexciting, may have finally found this story through no fault of my own. A big, dramatic reveal probably wouldn’t be best, the title being so underwhelming, but “Fortune of the Sun” sounds relatively nice. It would also, in the off-chance that I might sneakily be planning sequels, leave an opening for titles like “Wisdom of the Water”… among others…

So, I’m off to see which project I can sink my teeth into this evening. I hope all is well with anyone who happens by. Tiopa awaits.

Perils: A Short Letter to Fanfic Writers

I wrote Acclamation for the Museslash fandom. It was easy, but at the same time not; Museslash was and is a strange, beautiful beast that was born from that thorny place called RPS and grew into its own. By the time I started Acclamation, the fanfic writers that made up the fandom were trending toward Alternate Universe fics that would become the standard. A/Us were everywhere. A/Us continued to proliferate. Basically, the challenge was taking two templates with tertiary characteristics and a few traits to insert as shout-outs, putting them in a story together, and everything else was a free-for-all.

Writing in a fandom like that was challenging. It became a constant battle of nerves. It was also different from any other fandom I’d ever been in. While it was welcoming and caring, open and close-knit, it was also fiercely competitive in its own unusual ways. The more I thought about it, over the years, the more I realized that this was because of the fact that 98% of the fics produced for the fandom were 1) A/U and 2) long-form. Perils come with attempting either category, but when the two meet, especially in a fandom like that, the expectation becomes more dire. It goes beyond “write my ship” (there was, overwhelmingly, only one ship), “write my kink”, or “write them in-character” (because there wasn’t true character. There was no canon that didn’t feel skeezy. It was fucking RPS, everything was conjecture and nothing was universal). The only mandate was: write the best. That weird, thorny, subjective word: best.

Best is something we conflate far too often with “most popular”.

Continue reading

Tumblr and the Obsolescence of “Old Meme”

I tend to make my vitriol posts in the morning, and I tend to make those posts on Tumblr. This is sometimes a good thing, as once I’m awake and caffeinated and I’ve moved onto other things I’ve also moved past vitriolic anger and just don’t want the headache of dealing with speaking my mind. I usually mean this in the fandom sense; though I’m passionate about more important topics, other people are better at discussing that shit than I am. I leave it to them. Sometimes this is a bad thing, though, since I’ll make the post and then be out of commission for three hours at work or running errands, and realize I’ve made a mistake. Fandom loves to speak its mind and Tumblr is the most incredible mind-meld I’ve ever seen. And even though I often try to make my points as humorous and succinct as possible, sometimes my opinions just come out like so much acidy spit and I can’t blame people for taking it personally.

Such is the case with Old Meme.

Now, Old Meme is one of those concepts that probably has a better, less neckbeardy term, but “tired joke” just doesn’t carry the same weight as Old Meme does and sometimes we as an internet collective must admit that we owe some of our history to 4chan. I know, it makes my skin crawl, too.

I had a moment of Old Meme vitriol this morning. I was pushed one Jean Horse Joke too far.

If you’re already lost, let me explain. In any fandom, there are those jokes that you just wish would fucking die already and leave things to carry on so that maybe new, more exciting and less predictable jokes can take their place. Literally every fandom has these. I was in the Band of Brothers fandom and the Band of Brothers fandom had these. So that, I understand. In the Shingeki no Kyojin fandom, one of the most tired of the tired jokes is that Jean Kirschtein looks like a horse. This isn’t a fandom creation, which is the most heinous part: it’s a recurring joke in the source material itself. Here, I’ll just link to a blog post that better explains it, if you really want to know.

So, as a full-time internet and someone who’s been in the SnK fandom since the joke’s inception, I’ve seen it. That’s all, I’ve seen it, it was funny, it started to become less funny, it started to become predictable, and now it’s moved on to that stage where I can’t call it anything but Old Meme.

But on Tumblr, no one hears you Old Meme.

Continue reading

Also

I’m finally a damn dot com.

I haven’t had one of these since 2010 and even then it certainly wasn’t my name, but I guess I’m a brand now. Pardon me while I bust Nicki Minaj lyrics into the sunset.

What a Thought

I’ve been struggling a little, lately. The idea of my first series being fully published with nothing immediately on hand to roll out is troubling, to say the least. I’ve started a YA project and abandoned it in a slow burn of Not Being Able to Find my Voice, and along the way at some point I fell into a new fandom and one of my first fics for that fandom gained notoriety and visibility of the ol’ double-edged sword variety. While I think 1994 is good, it certainly wasn’t something I started as an earnest writing project. It certainly became that, but it’s still not The Next One, even considering its… if you’ll pardon me… titanic size. Fuck me that was the lamest joke I’ve ever made I’ll see myself to the trash.

A few weeks ago the idea for a new project took hold, and I think this might indeed be The Next One. As of now the project — a slightly but not overly ambitious fantasy story that involves dragons, creation myths, folklore, intrigue, mystery, and of course, lots of gay sex — has no official title. The almost regrettable working title is “Fucking Dragons”, which is not only my reaction to most of what my terrible protags get up to, but also a fairly accurate description of the plot. I’m on fire with these jokes, man. I’ve got a million of ‘em and none of ‘em come up when I’m actually trying to be funny. 

I’m calling it Tiopa for short, until I’ve got enough of a foothold to give it an actual title, and I’ve managed to finish two chapters and a detailed outline. 

I already have fanart, if you can believe that. Here, look:

Image

I’d say things are going well.

Now, where was I? That one got away from me. Oh, yes! For the beta stages of Tiopa, Fucking Dragons, Sex Lanterns, or whatever other thing I’ve called this, I’ve been posting chapters via Tumblr by way of Dreamwidth, which, while a lovely little site, is largely useless for me except to protect my intellectual property. 

Like an average 90′s infomercial star I knew there has to be a better way, and then I remembered WordPress.

Oh yeah. This thing. Where I found my first taste of blogging fulfillment lo so many years ago.

So, what I’m saying is: follow for more awful jokes and/or puns and/or gay fantasy erotica in the making. Probably other things? I don’t know, I’m no fortune teller.