Archive for the Uncategorized Category

My novel The Burial is now available for Kindle pre-orders!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 5, 2015 by vagabondsaint

The day has finally arrived!  The Burial is available for Kindle pre-orders RIGHT NOW!

I’m nervous and excited and and and just WOOOOT!

The Kindle version drops on July 13! The print version is still in the Createspace review process, but will be available later this month!

For your viewing pleasure, here’s the front cover!

burialfrcover1

And because Thomas Aiello (author of Jim Crow’s Last Stand, now available) wrote such a freaking sweet blurb, here’s the back cover too!

burialbckcover2

I’m so excited!  If all goes according to plan, the print version will be available soon!  Also, if you are a Seattle resident, there will be a release party for The Burial on July 25 (God willing)!  Send me a message on Facebook for details!

Thank all of you for being here with me through this publishing venture! It’s been a lot of hard work (more than you know; I haven’t even started putting the trailer together yet), but the publication date is getting close!

More to come soon, especially now that I have more free time!

PB

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The VS Interview: Jennifer Brozek, Apocalypse Girl Dreaming

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 15, 2015 by vagabondsaint

It’s been a long time, but the VS interviews have returned!  We’re kicking off 2015 with author and editor Jennifer Brozek, whose new book Apocalypse Girl Dreaming will be released on January 16, 2015, from Evil Girlfriend Media. I had a chat with Mrs. Brozek to talk about her new book, writing, and editing!

Jennifer Brozek: writer, editor, cat slave.

Jennifer Brozek: writer, editor, cat slave.

  1. Please tell us a little bit about Jennifer Brozek.

I guess I could say that I’m a woman who lives my life in stories by keeping my head in the clouds and my feet firmly on the ground. I’m an author, editor, game designer, gamer, cat slave, wife, and mentor. I really do see stories in everything. Writing and editing is my full time job.

  1. Wait, did you say “cat slave”?

*laugh* Yes. I have four cats: Isis and Pharaoh (Egyptian Maus), Leeloo (Singapura) and Mena (Highlander Lynx). They are my little brats and my little loves. I cater to them when I need to. Also, right now, I’m fostering two Singapuras (Talia and Lyta) in my guestroom. The pride, they are not amused. So, yes. Cat slave. Slave to cats.

The stunning cover for Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, by Matt Youngmark

  1. Well, thank the cats for giving you time off to do an interview with me! On to your awesome new book, Apocalypse Girl Dreaming! How would you sum it up?

Apocalypse Girl Dreaming is my short story collection that showcases my favorite writing universes. The urban fantasy stories are set in my Kendrick universe. The weird west stories are mostly set in my Mowry universe. A lot of my science fiction is set in my Kember Empire universe. Then there are the tie-in stories for Mercedes Lackey and the Lovecraftian stories and all of the other one-offs.Apocalypse Girl Dreaming is a very good look into my writing life.

  1. From my personal perspective, I was a bit apprehensive when I saw that the story are tied to the universes of other works, like the Mowry Universe and the Kember Empire Universe, because I thought it would be difficult to get into the worlds without having the full story. So, kudos and congrats to you for making the stories stand quite well on their own! When you were selecting stories for this anthology, did you worry that the tied universes would be an issue for some readers?

I thought about that and, in the end, I decided it wasn’t going to be a problem. I wrote each story as a standalone for a different publication. They had to be understandable for readers who haven’t read that universe before. For most, what links the various stories together are the characters. The most tightly bound stories are the weird west Mowry ones and even they are clear and distinct separate stories. The Kendrick stories are mostly background stories that barely touch the main story. The Kember Empire stories are linked only through the briefest mentions of people or places.

  1. Does that mean that there aren’t any more Natara Kintares stories? Because I really want there to be more.

No… not yet. But I do have a space opera YA series to start writing in mid-to-late 2015 that may mention her. She won’t be the star but she might become a secondary or tertiary character.

  1. Well, I will add my voice to the soon-to-be legion of fans clamoring for more of her!

Thank you. I will note that down.

  1. You stated that you “see stories in everything.” I think no story in this collection proves that more than “Eulogy for Muffin,” which I thought was genuinely disturbing and I loved it. I have to ask, how did you get from “pig statue” to, well, “Eulogy for Muffin”?

Originally, the story was written for a Moccus anthology (that it got rejected from). He is a pagan deity of the hunt and of leading the souls of the dead (if I remember correctly). I’d heard the call for the anthology the day before I visited Pike’s Place Market. Did you know, there really are pig statues all around Seattle? There was an art project some time ago and 100 pigs were made. I believe the pig theme was in honor of the bronze pig at Pike’s Place Market, but I won’t swear to it. When I researched this, I found pictures and the one described in the story is based one of these created art pigs. From there, it was easy to link art pigs to the wild hunt.

  1. In this anthology, you have a wide variety of genres represented, form weird western to horror to urban fantasy to space opera. Do you have a particular favorite genre to write?

Honestly, no. I go in cycles. It all depends on my mood, what I’m reading, and what I’m working on at the time. It also depends on what has been contracted when. For example, I’m finishing up my second Melissa Allen novel, Never Let Me Leave. It is a modern day YA SF-Thriller. I am also working on a space opera Mech short story for one publisher and I’m plotting out a high fantasy short story for another.

I do have a muse and sometimes fall prey to her whims but I never let her rule me. Writing is a job. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had. Interestingly enough (to me), my muse’s whim is usually a Lovecraftian tale.

  1. Well, that leads into the next question very nicely! Which authors were/are the biggest influences on your writing?

Oh good gracious. Well, a lot. Growing up it was Asimov, Heinlein, Mercedes Lackey, Steve Perry, Stephen King, Dean Koontz. Now, add in Seanan McGuire, Neil Gaiman, Mary Robinette Kowal, John Scalzi, Jay Lake, Jody Lynn Nye and Paul Cornell. Honestly, there are more… like Ken Rand’s book, The 10% Solution. I read a lot. Michio Kaku and Chris Hadfield also have some great things to say in the non-fiction arena. I think I learn something from every single thing I read.

Oh… and the author who started it all, of course… Susan Cooper. It was her writing that opened up the magic of reading to me. Without her, I wouldn’t be the author I am today.

  1. That is quite the list! Switching gears, do you have a particular favorite genre to edit?

To edit… horror or dark urban fantasy. I think those are my favorites. I understand them and I enjoy them.

  1. What about those genres in particular draws you to them?

I like to be scared and surprised. I like learning about words hidden on the edges of society. Most modern day horror and urban fantasy have a hidden world aspect to them that means they could be happening around you as you walk outside your front door and that appeals to me.

  1. I really like that answer!

“I see story ideas. All the time. They’re everywhere. Just walking around like normal ideas. They don’t know they’re stories.”

  1. I don’t know why that just made me think of “The Sixth Sense,” but it did. Any closing thoughts for the readers?

That’s because I based that on the big reveal of The Sixth Sense.

Closing thoughts? Thank you to my publishers for wanting me to write for you. It brings me such joy. Thank you to my editors for making me seem that much more awesome. Thank you to my readers for loving what I write. Knowing I’ve impacted you in some way is an author’s love.

Thanks again to Jennifer Brozek for the interview!  You can find her on Twitter on @jenniferbrozek and on Facebook herePre-order your copy of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming at Amazon now!

If you’re in the Seattle area, why not stop by the release party for Apocalypse Girl Dreaming? It’s Friday, January 16th, starting at 6 PM, at the SeaTac Hilton Conference Rooms, Columbia A.  Along with Mrs. Brozek, many other local authors, myself included, will be present, reading and signing books!

VagabondSaint

1/14/15

Je Suis Charlie

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on January 8, 2015 by vagabondsaint

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here, I know, and I have an interview coming up to post soon.  But I had to say something about this.

I have been following the news out of Paris, and it saddens me very, very much. If you have not heard, the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were attacked by gunmen, leaving 10 staffers and 2 policepeople dead. The gunmen fled after the attack, and a massive manhunt is underway in France right now to find them. Crowds in Paris and around the world held up pens and pencils in tribute to the slain, as I’ll be doing at the end of this post.

It’s not right.

I don’t care what your religion is, it’s not right to kill people who don’t believe what you believe. You can practice your religion all you want, but you NEVER have the right to force anyone else to follow those beliefs. You NEVER have the right to kill anyone else for your god, there should be no place at all in this world for people who think that they do. If your god is all-powerful, then they don’t need you sticking up for them. They can handle it themselves.

It’s so grievously, tragically, heart-breakingly wrong. I can’t even find the words to say how horribly wrong this attack was. It was an attack against the freedom of expression, which, as a writer, I am quite fond of.

I can’t articulate what reading about this and seeing the videos and comments and cartoons of solidarity have made me feel. The world feels fundamentally wrong, somehow, if things like this can happen.

Cartoonists, especially political cartoonists, don’t hurt anybody with their work. They make us laugh, they make us cry, they make us think, with pictures that sometimes tell millions of words. They sound calls for action, they ease tensions. Sometimes they tell us what we don’t want to hear, what we are uncomfortable hearing, what we don’t want them to tell us. Sometimes they mock things we hold sacred.

But they do not deserve to be killed for it.

I’m rambling, so I’m going to end this now, with the 2012 words of Charlie Hebdo editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier: “I am not afraid of reprisals. I don’t have kids, I don’t have a wife, I don’t have a car, I don’t have credit. This may sound a bit pompous but I would prefer to die standing than to live on my knees.”

Rest in peace, Mr. Charbonnier and all the others lost in Wednesday’s massacre. We will stand for you now.

hebdo1

Rick Wagoner, GM CEO, Will Step Down At Obama’s Behest

Posted in Uncategorized on March 30, 2009 by vagabondsaint


I can understand the disagreement with the stance of forcing Wagoner out, but not forcing out any Wall Street CEOs. To that sentiment, though, I must say: be patient. Rome wasn’t asked to resign in a day.

Show Obama a little patience here; he’s been in office for about 66 days and has to handle Iraq, Afghanistan, an economic crisis, an escalating drug war, fights with the G-NO-P, Cabinet nominees with tax problems, the Designer Imposters version of him leading the RNC, floods in the midwest. . .I wouldn’t want to be him for anything in the world, and I am definitely willing to show him some patience while he sorts things out.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Assurances and Apologies

Posted in Uncategorized on March 5, 2009 by vagabondsaint

It’s a tough time to be me right now.

Personal issues aside, one of my favourite pasttimes, Republican-bashing, has been made irrelevant and moot by the recent behaviour of the GOP itself.  Their rampant flailing and gnashing of teeth in constant battle on multiple fronts (at the media, at Congressional Democrats, at each other, at the American people, and, in the case of Republican governors, their own state legislatures) make it obvious that while the party isn’t dead yet, it has definitely lost its head and we’re just watching it flab about the barnyard now, in a panic and presumably searching for a new head.

How can I make fun of them when they’re like this?  It’d be like picking on drunken kindergartners:  not wholly without amusement, but decidedly unfair.

Same for the Octomom in California who now has fourteen children (do the Spanish call her “Catorce-Mami”?).  That’s just too sad and pitiful to make fun of. . .and exactly who does she think wants to see 8 children pop out of her body?  I’ve already seen clown cars at the circus. . .huh, I guess I found a way to make fun of her after all.

Anyway.  My point, and I do have one, is that things in the news and current events are so funny and self-parodying on their own that there really hasn’t been a need for me to say anything at all.  It’d be like telling a joke about a joke, which isn’t really my kind of thing.

I assure all my reader(s) that I am in fact still alive, though struggling in the face a dearth of personal issues and news reports that read like I wrote them anyway.  When I find the funny, and by which I mean the informative, helpful, rant-worthy serious-but-funny funny, I’ll come back here.  Let’s hope it’s soon.

VS – 3.06.09

The VS 2009 Watchlist

Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2009 by vagabondsaint

Dear 2008 – go ahead and let the door hit you in the ass on your way out, okay?

Seriously, 2008 was such a fucked-up year that I’m glad to see it gone.  From the endless Democratic primaries to the bumbling, disjointed, and frighteningly-inept campaign of John “Insane In The Brain” McCain to the sad collapsing stumbles of a drunk-on-greed economy, to the pants-wettingly-horrifying possibility that Sarah Palin could have been one weak, cancer-ridden, stuttering heartbeat away from being President, to the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the intensely gratifying victory of Barack Obama on the same day as the big-step backwards passage of Proposition 8 in California, and then, just for a few good kicks on the way out, terrorist attacks in India, rising tensions between India and Pakistan (both tied for the title of Most Unstable Nuclear Power – 2008), Israel and Hamas skipping over tension to just blasting at each other, and, last but certainly not least, Blago, 2008 was truly a year filled with downs and downs and downs and up and downs and downs.

2008, fuck you very much and goodnight.

So what’s going on 2009?  Here are 5 stories that I plan on keeping an eye on this year (in no particular order):

1.  Blagomania!

And these are the people I will kill if you assholes dont leave me the fuck alone.  Rod Blagojevich holds a truly unique press conference.

"And these are the people I will kill if you assholes don't leave me the fuck alone." Rod Blagojevich holds a truly unique press conference.

Finally, a scandal we can all get a good laugh from.  It’s just one sleazy, foul-mouthed,  Governor-Gone-Wild, caught on tape trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat, all the while , cursing like a drunk sailor on shore leave after losing a fight with a Thai ladyboy.  (Whatever happened to that Obama guy, anyway?  You never see him in the news anymore.)  Nobody’s dead, no lives are in danger, there’s no massive economic breakdown involved (save as possible motivation for Blago’s acts), Blago’s not firing rockets at Jews. . .it’s just good, clean schadenfreude at the expense of the Illinois governor and his equally (and impressively) foul-mouthed wife. . .but on her, the potty mouth is kinda sexy. 23/6 is right:  Blago truly is the scandal that just keeps on giving.

2.  How Bailout Money Is Being Used (or, what you’re letting Blago distract you from)

Arianna Huffington raised a great point in her most recent blog:  why is the media more focussed on the admittedly entertaining antics of Rod Blagojevich while almost a trillion dollars of taxpayer money are being distributed, with little to no transparency as to how it’s being spent, to people who are obviously already bad with money?  According to her, the Treasury’s inspector general admitted that “it’s a mess” and no one knows how to establish proper oversight.  Um, why is this not getting more media attention?  Anybody got any answers?  Anybody?  Hello, media?

3.  Arr My Goodness, It’s Pirates!

Somali pirate or American cross-dressing gangsta rapper MC Jemima?  You make the call!

Somali pirate or American cross-dressing gangsta rapper MC Jemima with a circa-1990 cellphone? You make the call!

Pirates, while cool in the abstract, are actually not good in reality.  They basically commit massive armed robbery, and the acts of the infamous Somali coast pirates, who went so far as to hijack an oil tanker and hold it for $20 million ransom a few months ago, have drawn the ire of politicians the world over, who are sending navies after these dastardly seagoing bastards.  The UN Security Council even passed a resolution allow the US and other countries to go all-out and intervene by “all means necessary.”  So, the evil pirates will be stopped, right?

Except. . .maybe, just maybe, the pirates are actually the good guys here.

See, according to an article by British newpaper The London Independent‘s Johann Hari, the pirates began their swashbuckling ways in response to, well, Western skulduggery.  After the collapse of the Somali government in 1991, European ships allegedly began appearing off of the now-unprotected Somali coasts, dumping barrels into the ocean.  People began getting sick and unhealthy.  In 2005’s tsunami, hundreds of of these barrels, damaged and leaking, turned up on the Somali coast.  People got sicker;  hundreds died.  It seems the barrels contained nuclear and medical material, much of which was tracked back to European hospitals and factories.

Elsewhere on the Somali coast,  European fishing boats have been raiding the hell out of the unprotected waters, taking so much that the Somali people, for whom fish is a major dietary staple, are losing both their livelihood in the fishing industry and their major food source.

Enter the pirates, who originally got together in speedboats, to defend the Somali coast against these dumpers and fish-thieves with the one thing that Africa has no shortage of:  guns.  They’re not all altruistic, but the core of their piracy is the defense of their homeland. . .which just happens to lay along a major international trade route.

So now, these defenders against Western exploitation are being labeled in the media as gangsters, criminals, and warlords, with the CIA chief even alleging that the pirates may be loosely connected to Al Qaeda – the American politician’s favourite spectre of fear.  (There is no evidence of a connection, by the way.)  That sounds familiar, that whole “invoking Al Qaeda’s name to generate some enthusiasm for attacking others thing”. . .where have I heard that before?

They’re not all altruistic, to be certain.  There is money to be made in piracy, to be sure, and Somalia is a dirt-poor country.  But before we go blasting them out of the ocean, maybe we should do something about the circumstances – i.e., illegal waste dumping and over-fishing in unprotected waters – that created them.

4.  The Palin Family Follies

Sarah Palin, looking deceptively intelligent

Sarah Palin, looking deceptively intelligent

You know, after losing the presidential election in what was an electoral college landslide, the smart thing to do, I think, would be to sit down, shut up, and focus on being a good governor so as to sweeten the resume for another run at the big dance in four years.

Thatwould be the smart thing to do.  Here’s what Sarah Palin did.

She’s given more interviews since the election than she did before, and she just doesn’t seem to have learned much at all:  she’s blasted Katie Couric and Tina Fey for “exploiting” her for their own gain, she’s given a peppy interview while turkeys are being slaughtered right behind her, and brought a creepy girl-crush out of Greta van Susteren.  She also put out a pro-Bristol’s-baby/anti-teenage pregnancy press release (yes, that is contradictory) and accused the press of giving Caroline Kennedy a free pass, compared to how they treated Palin, due to a “class bias.” (She also rants against bloggers, John McCain, and those who called Levi Johnston a dropout in the same interview. . .it’s comedy gold.)  Oh, Sarah, you are every bit as entertaining as Blago, yet much easier to look at. . .though I do believe his hair is more lustrous and silkier than yours.

And the rest of the Palin clan?

Levi Johnston quit the job he somehow got despite being completely unqualified for it (it requires a high school degree), Bristol had her baby (finally), Levi’s mom got busted for dealing Oxycontin, and Piper practiced her hunting and field-stripping skills on six hobos.  Okay, I totally made that last one up, but tell me it would really surprise you if it was true.

The Palins may (hopefully) never get to be America’s First Family, but they will perhaps always be America’s Trainwreck Family With A Comedically Unintelligent Matriarch.  Why are they not a reality show yet?

5.  Barack Obama

Heh, heh.  I totally own you all.

"Heh, heh. I totally own you all."

11 days until he becomes President. . .Good luck, Barack Obama.  You’re gonna need it.

And that’s it for my watchlist for this year. . .it’s gonna be an interesting ride.

VS – 01.09.09

Campbell’s Soup And Meltdown Stew

Posted in economics, media failure, politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 25, 2008 by vagabondsaint

If, like me, you’re a bit worried about the impending meltdown of the American financial system, worry no more:  someone has a solution!

Unfortunately, it’s Sweden.

The Swedish faced a similar economic crisis in 1992, and dealt with it in a way that returned the grand majority of cash to the taxpayers and tightened up their banking industry.  By draining funds from shareholders first, forcing banks to write down losses, taking ownership of banks, returning the profits of distressed asset sales to the taxpayers, and eventually selling their shares in the banks, the Swedish government turned their economy around at very little cost to the taxpayer.

I say it’s unfortunate that Sweden has that solution in its history not because I have anything against the Swedish.  How could I have anything against the homeland of the Swedish Bikini Team?  It’s unfortunate because we in this country (America) have an administration in office that lacks the smarts to learn from its own mistakes, let alone the wisdom to learn from those of others.

Please, Sweden, send your ambassadors into the White House.  Let them explain to George Dubya and Barack “BS – for Black Superman” Obama and John “BS – for exactly what you think it stands for” McCain how your country saved itself from a financial meltdown.  Maybe they’ll listen, and whichever one shows the wisdom to learn from your mistakes (hint: it won’t be the white guys) is the one that needs to lead this country.

In other news. . .

I am gaining more and more respect for CNN’s Campbell Brown as this campaign goes on.  She’s been ranting like, well, any sane person would in this election season, and I gotta admit, I like it.  Let’s talk a walk through her best recent rants:

Here’s Campbell Brown railing against the GOP campaign’s effort to keep Sarah Palin away from the media:

And here she goes after Bush and Paulson:

And let’s not forget how she made McCain spokesperson Tucker Bounds look even more ridiculous than his name does:

Ah, Campbell Brown.  The hearty soup of your rants is a welcome break from the watery gruel of other cable news correspondents.  Keep speaking out and speaking up; you speak for and to a segment of the population that desperately needs to be heard in the media.

VS – 09.25.08