In the cold darkness of after-hours KEL Port, something isn’t right. Hooligans search for off-worlders to torment. A supervisor tries to hide the evidence of his misdeeds. And down at the loading docks, something strange and dark has found its way into the habitat.

A Shadow of a Presence follows Bradley Radco, a not-so-ordinary cargo handler,  and shows a less Baron Cargo-centric (and less human-centric) side of KEL Port. It is the third installment of the Shadow sub-series, following A Shadow Among Shadows and A Shadow of a Rumor.

In his dimly lit booth at the back of Mog’s cantina, Radco fidgeted in his seat. The obtrusive thoughts were back, and stranger than ever. He blinked. Black liquid pooled on a gangway floor, slowly expanding. Ripples marred its surface.

He blinked again and the tunnel-like gangway was gone. He was still seated in his booth in the cantina, hands gripping the table on either side of his empty meal tray. Glass shattered as two patrons at the bar started a noisily unproductive wrestling match. Shouts rose as their compatriots cheered them on.

He really should head back to his living unit. It was late, and the cantina crowd would only get rowdier and more dangerous as the night wore on. Yet something seemed to hold him fixed in his seat– something dark and dreadful and unfinished. It whispered to him with a voice like the scales of some great serpent sliding between the insulated walls of the flier port. 

It’s just the heating system, Radco told himself. KEL Port seemed colder than usual tonight, and even the usually-warm cantina felt drafty. Perhaps the distant rushing sound was heat transfer fluid pushing additional warmth through the walls of the aging habitat.

Between blinks he saw the dark liquid again; it had found the joints of the gangway. Seeping into the structure, it oozed toward the loading dock. As the dock and its adjoining warehouse were more elevated than the supply pod parking structure, the liquid had to flow uphill. Liquids weren’t supposed to do that in an environment under the affect of gravity.

Radco lifted his hands off the table, mildly surprised by the twin circles of dampness left by his palms. Over by the bar, the Mog and his bouncers were separating the combatants and ejecting everyone involved. The maddening whispering continued, just a few decibels too low to make out the words.

Continue reading “A Shadow Of A Presence”
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This is the sequel to my last blog post, Dry Cabins, Futility, and General Darkness. It’s late, but that’s probably on-brand for me at this point. (How long does it take to establish a brand, anyway? How many years do I have to struggle to get things out on time before I’m just “that guy whose content is always late?”) Anyway, on to the uplifting content you’ve been waiting for!

Continue reading “Recent Adventures”
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I’ve been somewhat absent online for the last several months. First it was the move, and the frantic last week or so of packing, trucking, and cleaning. Then it was viciously thinning out my stuff to fit comfortably into a place with less than one third of the space of the old one. Since then I’ve just been trying to regain my equilibrium.

I’m still working on that last part. It’s always fun hunting for some tool or spare part you know you have, but which you now can’t find. Usually because it wound up buried at the bottom of some tote behind five other totes of tools and gear in the storage space under the stairs.

But I digress. Things have been less than great in a lot of ways. Moving back into a dry cabin (in Alaska, ‘dry’ means no running water) after having the unbelievable luxury (sarcasm intended) of an indoor toilet, shower, and on-site laundry really drove home the point that poverty is inescapable.

Continue reading “Post Move Update: Dry Cabins, Futility, and General Darkness”
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If you publish content to Patreon or are considering setting up an account with them, you may be wondering what kind of content is prohibited and if there are any hidden trigger words that can get you in trouble on the site.

I urge everyone to start by reading Patreon’s Terms of Use, Community Guidelines, and Benefit Guidelines. Then I’ll shed a some light on what’s not covered in Patreon’s public documentation.

What sparked this post? Well, when I went to upload Scrapyard Spiders, I received this message via a yellow notification box at the bottom of my draft.

“It looks like you might be promoting a raffle, which is outside of our Benefit Guidelines. Check out our blog post for more information, and email us if you have any questions.”

Wait… what?

Continue reading “Patreon Flagged My Post as a Game of Chance”
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Cover of Ketcel by Chad Deal

Some stories are just that: stories. Simple. One dimensional. Easily digestible entertainment.

Some stories are much, much more than that. Some are complex conductive elements comprised of dozens of vibrant, glowing fibers, woven together specifically to guide us into the psychedelic cyberpunk future that might be.

Chad Deal’s Ketcel is the latter.

Continue reading “Review: Ketcel”
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Cover of Agent G Infiltrator by C. T. Phipps

“The International Refugee Society has twenty-six cybernetically enhanced ‘Letters,’ and for the right price, they’ll eliminate anyone.”

Agent G: Infiltrator by C. T. Phipps is a science fiction espionage thriller with underlying themes of cyberpunk trans-humanism. The book description reminds me of the Hitman franchise, but initially Agent G comes across as more of a cyborg James Bond than an Agent 47. For example, G states that he gets paid exorbitant amounts of money for his work, yet during his first mission his assistant and fancy gadgets seem to do much of the heavy lifting.

Not being a huge Bond fan, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this definitely isn’t a 007 clone. While there are plenty of Machiavellian machinations going on within the Society and lots of fancy technology at play, the meat of the story is thoroughly original, and quite a bit deeper than expected.

Continue reading “Review: Agent G – Infiltrator”
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On Tuesday, March 16th, the news broke that Facebook plans to launch a platform for writers to publish content and earn income through monetization tools such as subscriptions. Here’s how Engadget summed up Facebook’s initial offering:

“It’s reportedly a free-to-use system that will tie in with Pages, letting you publish live videos, Stories and other material that goes beyond articles and newsletters. You can create Groups and check stats on your work, too. And yes, there will eventually be ways to earn money from your writing, such as subscriptions and ‘possibly other forms’ of income. Facebook is paying the test group to help get the tools started, according to the tipsters.”

J. Fingas/Engadget

Apparently the offering is meant to be an addition to Facebook’s Journalism Project. As such, it appears to be aimed at journalists and writers of short fiction/non-fiction rather than book publishers. There’s also a good possibility that this project is an attempt to draw users away from rivals like Substack, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

As an author, blogger, and longtime Facebook user, I have some thoughts about the potential of Facebook Publishing.

Continue reading “Facebook: Publishing Platform?”
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I often joked that the Other Job was eating my life, and that’s why my presence as an author was slowly fading. I did an undeniably poor job of keeping up with friends, staying active in writing groups, and staying on top of schedules for my blog and Patreon– not to mention actually writing books.

But in a very real sense, the Other Job consumed my life. I lost touch with most of my local friends outside of work (although I made new friends at work.) After I got out and started to try to reconnect, I learned that several of the people I knew had died. Others are gone, moved to parts unknown.

Worse yet, for me, the other job consumed my ability to write and be creative. It happened so gradually that I didn’t even feel it happening, and what I did notice was easy to attribute to stress and lack of sleep. As in, “I’m just tired, I’m sure this’ll be easier after I get some sleep.” Or “I’m just stressed out– I’m sure I’ll be back to normal when I’m not.”

So it came as a shock that, once I left the other job, things didn’t go back to normal. I wasn’t the same person, and I still couldn’t plot complicated stories or focus well enough to write. And that was absolutely horrifying.

Continue reading “The Aftermath of the Other Job”
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I left the Other Job nearly three months ago. At the time I had immediate plans to write a blog post as a sort of wrap up to the saga of corruption, disaster, and misery that I’ve been chronicling for the last couple of years. I thought it’d be cathartic. I thought I’d know exactly what I wanted to say.

I didn’t wind up writing that post because I felt like it was all stuff I’d said before, and at the time the last thing I wanted was to extensively revisit that hellscape of disappointment and failure.

In the ensuing months it began to become apparent that going back to what I was doing before the Other Job would be significantly more difficult than just walking away. I had reoccurring nightmares. I had trouble sleeping. I seem to have lost a lot of my creativity, and almost all of my ability to plot stories. Which is, to say the least, absolutely horrifying.

Continue reading “The End of the Other Job: Escape & Loss”
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Cover of Alpha Bots by Ava Lock

Bi-curious Stepford Wives + femme Fight Club
In a small town where all the women are AI, a corrupt policewoman picks a fight with a drug-cooking housewife, igniting a provocative rivalry that could wind up killing all the men.

I stumbled across Alpha Bots on Twitter, and it immediately caught my eye. Interesting author: check. Eye-catching cover: check. Intriguing description: check. I picked up a copy, and I’m really glad I did. Here’s why.

Continue reading “Review: Alpha Bots”
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