Dream Journal Entry #37

This was most certainly one of those dreams where upon waking one feels as if no rest was had at all, for in fact another adventure all together was being endured. I more often than not remember my dreams from the night before, though generally they are the jumbled mess of a mind de-fragging itself after a long day of being human, and so comes across more like a bodily function. A side effect of consciousness. What always gets me about these intense dreams, the ones that feel like a double life, is partly how internally consistent they are, but mostly the vividness of experience and the permanence of the senses. The things I touch, taste, hear, and smell are no less (and often more) clear in my memory than experiences in my waking life. Is it any wonder that I became a storyteller by trade?

Here’s an interesting fragment of yesterday’s night flight, presented with an indulgence of flowery prose because that’s how I like it…

The thing about trolls and giants is that, for a variety of cultural and physiological reasons, they do not socially mingle, much less marry and raise families with each other. However, contrary to the common beliefs held by the local Celtic tribes and men of the Seax who often pillage the coasts, trolls and giants are indeed a randy bunch. In the world behind the world and in the halls below the earth, there is much in the way of feasting, fornication, and the drunken singing of tale and poem. Great romances blossom in the belly of the volcano, and the earth quakes with fury and sorrow of love lost.

As it goes, there are at times individual trolls and giants who find themselves enamored of the other kind. So great was the need in older times for the consummation of such tragic love or forbidden lust, that a temporary remedy was discovered. If the would-be lovers each swallowed three fresh picked juniper berries and then held a newly plucked holly leaf under their tongues, they would have a single day and night to be together. What that magical union might look like, or in what ways their physiology might be warped by the wyrd, none have ever said. Perhaps secrecy is part of the bargain.

Out of this fleeting but no doubt fulfilling dalliance, comes the price of that magic. Up from the ground or stone upon which the lovers lay, in a year and a day, springs a howling newborn that is neither troll nor giant, but bears the traits of both. While they have a place neither with troll or giant, these hollykin, as they are called, are considered to be testaments to the powers of passion and of deep magic, even if serving as reminders that recklessness, lust, and the breaking of tradition is not without cost. While accepted by neither peoples, they are not shunned either, so any hollykin can find temporary hospitality in any troll warren or giant den, though it is their fate to move along. They are wanderers and adventurers, these hollykin.

My name was Jorvik, the son of a Saex carrying giant from across the sea, who came to Irland looking for plunder, though what he found was the lusty embrace of a bog troll. Did they ever love each other? Who is to say? I did not seem to concern myself much with such nuance. At least in the beginning.

I was something of a freebooter, making my way hither and yon with no real purpose, taking odd farm work or sellswording as I wandered. I wasn’t happy, but I was quite content. In time I traded a wagon of deer pelts and some manual labor hauling timber for a traveling merchant, and came to own a claymore sword. A massive Scot blade that was well suited for my size, and though I am right handed in my waking life, in the dream my sword arm was the left. I had a penchant for wearing stag antlers about my person as decoration, and while not overly functional, that combined with my size and savage features to make my appearance quite fearsome. Though for my friends, most of whom were the perpetually hallucinating drood men who lived at the edge of the forests and gave prophecy and medicine to those Celts they met on the road who could pay, they insisted that there was a kindness in my eyes that no amount of war costume or fierce manner could hide.

It came to pass that a large band of Seax men landed on the western shores, and though the Celts fought with the well-known courage and ferocity of their race, the invaders were gaining ground. The droods saw in their visions an ocean littered with dark sails, a host of ships bearing warriors as well as the giant Madoc of Gaul, whom they had bribed to be their champion. The droods asked me to join the Celts in defense of their stead, and though I cared little for the property rights of men, it was clear that should the invaders win the day, they, unlike the Celts, would not respect the old pacts that kept the forest tall and green.

The myth speakers came to call it the Battle of Creag Dubh. Soon enough I found myself fighting alongside the Celts beneath those black cliffs, each of them with bodies slathered in the war drug that turned warriors into woads, blue devils that showed no mercy. Even so, the invaders were hearty explorers who had come prepared to face the horrors of this emerald isle, and our contest was pitched indeed. The surf ran red as our hosts ground against each other, even as Madoc of Gaul joined the fray at last and carved a path through the woads to seize the cliffs.

I could hear whispers in the rocks, a trollsong that bid me occupy the giant, whilst other natives of the isle did their work. As the woads were pushed back behind the treeline I strode out and shouted my challenge to the giant. By way of acceptance Madoc stepped away from the rock formations and laughed, a hollow and pitiless sound that sapped me of spirit, and it was only the trollsong that kept me upright. Someone, somewhere, had a plan. One of the droods must have heard it too, and he handed me a simple sharpened sapling, which in my hands made for a small but sturdy spear.

I slung the claymore and walked into the small field of clovers upon which Madoc stood defiant, easily two and again taller than I. He said nothing, only continuing his laugh, as he thundered towards me, his killing blade held high. I charged, knowing not what else to do, and prepared to die. I hurled the sapling, and though the giant deftly cut it in midair, he was distracted. It was in that moment, seconds before we collided, that I remembered the antlers festooning my body. In an instant what had been decorations became weapons of the isle as I ripped them from myself and thrust them into the giant’s legs. When he fell to his knees I shoved another in his guts, the tines impaling him in several places. He bowled over after another impaled his mid-section, and then with my last pair, cut from the skull of the last winter stag, I transfixed his throat from both sides with eight tines.

Madoc lay slain at my feet, the impossible victory silencing the jeers and japes of the invaders, their noise now drowned by the trollsong that rose from the stones themselves. I leapt at them, using my claymore’s reach to chop the heads off their spears, which gave the woads a chance to hurl themselves over the rocks and fall upon the invaders with daggers and teeth in the tight confines of the landscape. I could not join them, because of my size, though as I observed the slaughter I could see the pale grey skin of trolls as they lashed out from blind corners and deep shadows of the cliffs.

Finally what strength I had left gave out, and I collapsed on the clovers. I lay on my back, listening to the violence as it slowly faded and gave way to shouts of victory and the wailing of the wounded. As I lay there it was only then that I became aware of the multitude of wounds I had endured, and it was only my hollykin constitution that had kept me from dying down there in the blood red surf. I don’t remember falling asleep, but when I awoke the stars hung in the sky, making the heavens glitter.

I smelled the troll as she approached, a heady scent that at once reminded me of stone, salt, and sea. I was not inclined to protest when she sat on my chest and put the juniper berries in my mouth. They taste like pepper and ash, though not unpleasantly. The holly leaf that went under my tongue was uncomfortable, almost distractingly so, as the barbs pierced my flesh.

In fact, it was that pain in my mouth that woke me up, and I rose from bed feeling as if I’d been chewing thorns. Thankfully I keep a glass of water next to my bed, so after a few swigs I was feeling better and much more awake. The funny thing is, all I could think about when I awoke was why a troll would need the juniper and holly to get frisky with a hollykin. I thought that was for trolls and giants? Leave it to the Celts to have some bizzaro twists and turns in their lore, which I apparently stepped on like a land mine while dreaming. And last night before bed I was watching reruns of Always Sunny in Philadelphia, so where all this came from is anybody’s guess.

It is in such moments, after a particularly intense dream as this, that I am thankful for having chosen being a storyteller as my main vocation. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for other people (surely there are many) who wake from such an experience but then immediately have to push it from their minds so that they can handle the needs of the day. Naturally I have plenty of responsibility in life, more that I am not bound by a specific work schedule. That is the blessing, to be able to wake and then write it all down, to have the opportunity to craft a story out of the dream upon waking instead of slowly forgetting it by increments as I go about the day, losing the details until all that is left is the general impression of some murky adventure without meaning.

Almost everything I create is sourced from dreams such as this, and so on days like today I am left with not only the vivid memory of the experience, but a profound sense of thankfulness.

By seanargo Posted in Uncategorized

Salvage Marines: Season One

:::insert clever opening line about making a long story short:::

During my second year as a civilian contractor with the Army National Guard’s eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) program, a story started taking shape as I worked side by side with veterans and active duty service members, and over the next few years I wrote six novels in the NECROSPACE series that started out self-published and are now presented by Severed Press. A friend and producer Jamie Thompson took a shine to the story of Samuel Hyst and the dark future he inhabits, and in time we found ourselves working with Philippe Martinez and 365Flix to bring this project from the printed page to the screen.

Writers Rafael Jordan and B. Dave Walters worked with me to adapt the novels and create scripts for the twelve 45 minute episodes that will comprise the first season of what has been titled ‘Salvage Marines’. Director Shaun Piccinino strapped on his armor and dove straight into the deep end of the Necrospace fictional world, and with support from a team of designers, artists, and laborers he has manifested the various locations and denizens of my junkyard universe into physical reality. Outstanding cast members like Casper Van Dien (portraying Samuel Hyst) and Peter Shinkoda (portraying Ben Takeda) will be with us from start to finish, along with awesome appearances by Armand Assante (portraying the Anointed Actuary) and so many more as we fill out the expansive roster, along with a crack film crew, have joined us to inhabit this world and endure its challenges.

We have come along way from this:

My self-sublished novel

To to achieve this:

Sample of our shooting schedule.

I’ve never been happier looking at a spreadsheet.

The next few months will be a hard march towards the finish line, and I truly cannot wait for everyone to experience the eminently savage and dramatically haunting story we are all collaborating to tell.

For regular updates and images you can follow us on Facebook at Salvage Marines and Necrospace, or on Instagram by following the Director, along with some of our common hashtags like #thegrottosalutesyou #salvagemarines #thisisthejob

Now if you will excuse me, I have to hurry up and get some more books written before this show rockets away and leaves me eating space dust.

 

It Is All One System

EXCERPT FROM SIGNIFICANT CONTACT (Beautiful Resistance Book 2 of 3)

She was waiting when Cole entered MassNet, his body hooked to the same throne he’d helped repair previously for Nibiru’s extraction. It had been moved however, to a new site he’d never been to before, a cramped basement in one of the multitudes of habitation blocks in a part of the city rough enough that most people just looked the other way if anything suspiscious was going down. There were only a few people to watch over him while he worked, with only one Akiaten warrior present, and it lent a sense of urgency to his actions. If this mission went SNAFU and a hostile slinger was able to tag him, he’d be lucky to survive, as there was only the one exit. So don’t blow it Cole, he said to himself as Eight materialized on the metaphorical rooftop next to him in the digital realm.

The others, Cabal, Una, and a handful of Akiaten had piled into the back of a beat up van, and were well on their way to E-Bloc’s supply house. E-Bloc was not likely to be expecting an attack, though in this game one could never be too careful. According to the modest briefing he gotten from Cabal just before everyone split up to go their separate ways was that Union Americana had gone rather quiet in the absence of Hayden and Nibiru. Some of his warriors had spotted Laine in the streets a few days back, and they tracked her for several hours before moving in to engage, only to find the body of what they assumed to be a dead courier, Asia Prime by the looks of him, with his data drives ripped out, and no sign of the alpha augment. He imagined that most of their manpower was focused now on finding the pulse with what resources remained to them rather than wasting time harassing the resistance, as E-Bloc and Asia Prime had been doing plenty of that for them.

Lunatic 8 stood next to Hayden, or more to the point floated just off the ground next to him, her hair billowing from unseen wind and her lips drawn into a thin line without so much as a hello. He expected the same larger than life projection of her that she used to speak to him when it was just the two of them in the island’s network, tapping into the myriad of hotspots they’d set up on the island to make up for its lack of a high functioning power grid. Here, now, she was almost understated, movements barely visible, but still instrumental.

To his mind’s eye the E-Bloc compound appeared much like it did in physical reality, a collection of warehouse buildings arranged around a courtyard filled with shipping containers, with a series of docking bays near the back for road and air shipping and receiving. Hayden had always been a slinger who experienced MassNet as being something of a proxy of the physical world. There were many other slingers who described rich and vibrant fantasy worlds, while others experienced it in such an abstract sense that it was difficult to put into words. Though he was on the more mundane end of the MassNet metaphor spectrum, Hayden’s mind was adept at presenting itself with useful illusions that described what was happening in the code.

As he looked down from his perch Hayden slid a pair of stylish sunglasses out of his jacket pocket and put them over his eyes. He tapped on them continuously, and each time his finger stroked the frames the lenses would change color. It was a spectrum.exe that allowed Hayden to sift through the cascading datastream, piecing together security programs that had been discreetly woven into both the wireless and hard systems of the compound. While he might not be able to move between MassNet and CodeSource with the level of mastery as Lunatic 8 or Sun, Hayden had used some of his time on the island to come up with a few adaptations.

Build on your strengths and partition your weakness, thought Hayden as he continued to pull lines of code from the different metaphorical light spectrums, and soon a shape began to reveal itself surrounding the compound. With some patience and a new custom exe of which Hayden was rather proud, he was able to pull information from CodeSource and combine it with the MassNet hallucination to give himself a reliable picture of the wireless and hard systems that comprised the compound’s security grid. To his eyes the grid was a shimmering dome of wire mesh that radiated a menacing heat.

Hayden looked up from the compound and watched Lunatic 8’s eyes blink, and Hayden was positive that she’d just accomplished in a moment what had taken him days to build. He looked back at the compound and saw with his adjusted spectrum what appeared to his eyes as a shimmering field of energy around the compound. It looked almost like a dome, but made of lightning, and Hayden didn’t have to stretch his skills much to confirm that the field was capable of causing tremendous damage. It appeared to function, as he further observed its cascading code, as a conventional electric fence might in the physical realm, only one that had a deep enough database to differentiate friend from foe with some degree of accuracy.

“That is some pretty intense digital security for a warehouse facility,” mused Hayden as he pulled what his imagination saw as a rubic’s cube from the folds of his jacket, “They must be expecting something like this.”

“E-Bloc thinks in linear terms, they will expect a smash and grab because it is how they would conduct such an operation,” breathed Eight as she slowly floated over to Hayden and placed one hand gently on his shoulder, causing him to flinch as where her fingers touched him he could see streams of code rippling out, as if her very digital body radiated a sort of field that warped the MassNet hallucination to her own abstract view of it. Suddenly Hayden had a flash of understanding, and began to consider the idea that Eight wasn’t so brilliant at coding so much as her own imagination overpowered MassNet around her. It was as if she was a god inside her own bubble, and since that bubble moved with her, she was never anywhere in the digital realm but her own inner universe. How a mind could handle such a perpetual information tsunami was beyond him, and the slinger looked away from his shoulder, carefully ignoring how her touch revealed his avatar for the flimsy construct that it was.

“Well isn’t that the plan? Pull down the grid and then take what we need. E-Bloc wouldn’t even bother slicing security, they’d just knock out the power grid with bolt-cutters and explosives, then storm the place,” Hayden said as he returned his focus to the rubic’s cube, his metaphor for the masterkey delivery system, a purely digital operating platform that he’d been using for years, slowly modifying and upgrading it as his career continued, “Instead, when the drones are in range we wait till they connect with the system in order to communicate passcodes.”

Hayden finished moving the sliding cubes on his device, allowing his metaphor to seem as if he’d solved the puzzle and made each side a single color. He held it up to Eight.

“I graft the masterkey to the first drone, it will slip a hook into the motherboard. When the drone and the system complete their handshake I’ve modified the masterkey to send a spike.exe through the link,” said Hayden, proud of himself for the brilliant bit of coding and yet annoyed that he felt compelled to seek approval from the fractured slinger, “It brings down security without having to kill the whole grid or blow anything up. Then our people have the run of the place.”

“That would be the Union way, an elegant combination of slicing and combat operations, but it is not our way,” breathed Eight as she gently took the masterkey from Hayden’s hand and stared at it intently as she spoke, and already the operating system was glowing from her swift re-code, “You will recall that it cost the resistance blood when Akiaten raided the Union HQ during your digital conflict. Each company has developed, through trial and error, a methodology that is best suited to its corporate culture and capabilities. So too has the resistance, even if our learning curve has been steep and costly by necessity.”

Eight handed the cube back to Hayden and then looked at him expectantly. The slinger turned from her piercing gaze and investigated the cube. He knew she’d changed it, but from her expression he got the distinct impression that she wanted him to tell her what she’d done. It was a test, even if her demeanor insisted that it was a friendly, and Hayden found himself struggling to keep his ego from being bruised by the sudden role reversal of teacher and student. He’d been rapping knuckles and assigning homework to lesser slingers, and cursed himself for apparently having gotten overly comfortable being i the dominant position.

Hayden peered into the cube, which was now a jumble of colors, the single color sides arranged in a pattern that he struggled to comprehend.

“Look past the metaphor,” whispered Eight as she knelt beside him, “See the code.”

“The metaphor is what allows us to process the sheer volume of code,” snapped Hayden, perhaps more petulantly than he’d intended, though Eight seemed not to mind, and he added, “That’s the whole point of MassNet. If our minds could handle it we’d just stick with CodeSource.”

“The physical brain does not differentiate between waking consciousness and the realm of dreams. CodeSource is the body Hayden Cole, and MassNet is that body’s dream. When you let go of the metaphor, when you focus on the code alone, it doesn’t matter whether your are dreaming or if you are awake,” whispered Eight in a sing song voice that gave Hayden the same sort of feeling he’d have if Laine 2.0 was suddenly behind him, a predator in its chosen hunting ground, “It is all one system.”

Tall Talk

An excerpt from a little something I’ve been quietly working on….

The gods were with him, that much he knew, and as little as he cared for their influence, he was happy for the hammer. It felt right in his hands, more than the one he’d used for years on the Old Ohio. More than his own cock. More than his lovely wife’s bare shoulders and slim waist. Never had anything been so perfect as a man waging his war against gods and governments and machines and mountains with cold iron in his calloused fist.

He could hear the steam driver pounding out a rhythm that had no soul in it. That’s why he had to win. A man pushed as far as he’d been swung his tool with passion, his muscles fueled by loss and a life lived hard. No machine could know the kiss of the lash or the bitter embrace of an empty bed. No engine could understand how a man bears the burden of laying a tiny coffin in a tiny grave, only to leave it unmarked as the sun rises and the work bell rings in the empty chambers of a heart too big for this cruel world.

John was screaming as he swung the mighty thing, and Wong flinched as a spark flew from the steel spike and burned his cheek. He and the Irishman dared not move their hands, for it was clear that even one bit of a miss and that hammer would be pounding into him, and Wong knew he wouldn’t survive it. John had ghosts in his blood, and they had him going for broke.

By seanargo Posted in Uncategorized

Mad Max and the White Whale

It is no small secret that I am a post-apocalyptic genre fiend, and I’d even go so far as to call myself a wastelander, given that I do engage in the occasional cosplay gathering, have more survival gear than the average bear, and regularly day dream about owning a fleet of battle cars and war rigs. Hell I wrote the book.

Generally we think of the wasteland as a great big desert, and that’s mostly thanks to George Miller, the creative mind that gave us Mad Max and Happy Feet. He filmed the original Mad Max films in the Australian outback, and then Fury Road in the deserts of South Africa. All the knock offs and genre offerings that have been coming out since the 80’s are generally set in dusty Italian backcountry or the scrub deserts near Los Angeles. It makes sense, of course, to create such stories in desolate places, and it makes sense from a post-nuke and post-famine perspective, as all the green goes away and leaves a blighted and empty place behind.

This is part of what made Waterworld such a strange genre offering that was tough for audiences to get behind. Sure everyone was over Kevin Costner at that time, and the movie does shift in tone at the midpoint, going from badass open ocean survival movie to comedy adventure, but I loved it. The idea of a water desert, essentially, really stuck with me, and as we are bombarded daily with media about melting ice caps and global warming, I kept circling back around to considering a post-melt kind of apocalyptic setting.

Combine this wasteland obsession with my son’s undying love of sharks (turns out it was not just a phase) as well as my own sustained interest in sea stories (age of the sail, creature features, offshore rigs, etc) and you get The Dystopian Sea. I wanted to capture all of the classic elements of the wasteland, from the mohawk wearing marauders to the ramshackle survivor settlements, while creating a straight forward sea adventure along the lines of Moby Dick.

The trilogy is finished, with the first two books available on Amazon, and the third set to hit digital shelves in the next few months. Let’s go hunt some sharks!

 click to buy

Warrior crews in rusted ships hunt mutated whales and battle toxic sharks in the aquatic wasteland the world has become.
It has been eighty years since The Melt, and now the world is a place ruled by naught but the crashing waves of the sea and the survival instincts of folk made hard by the deadly waters. The scraps of dry land that remain are ruins inhabited by cannibalistic raiders and desperate scavengers, forcing most survivors and their kin to make a life upon the treacherous open ocean.
Bard, a harpooner and a teller of tales, is the lone survivor of a Megalodon attack upon the whaleship Osiris. He is forced to survive being lost at sea, overcoming incredible challenges along the way, until he is rescued by another ship. Bard must then earn his place amongst the crew of the Penny Dreadful, proving himself to the sailors and shark fighters that he is worthy. Adventure awaits and carnage spreads in this post-apocalyptic story of sea monsters and the brave souls who hunt them.

The crew of the Penny Dreadful have had a good season, and their hold is filled with oil and meat from the mighty leviathans they hunt on the open ocean. They soon discover a trading post under siege by a swarm of sharks and gangs of murderous raiders known as the Panzer Fish. The shark cult has escalated its campaign of terror across the sea, and next on their hit list is the whaleship’s home port of Seattle.

Captain Drucilla, now filling her father’s boots as the whaleship’s master, must lead her hardened crew of sailors and shark fighters in an all out war against the cult and their swarms. Adventure awaits and carnage spreads in this post-apocalyptic story of sea monsters and the brave souls who hunt them.

Audible Carnage

That should be a band name… somebody get on it!

Speaking of Audible, the newest deep space noir stylings of Persephone Rose are available now in the form of Hard Cargo, the 6th book in the Necrospace series.

For those of you with an Audible subscription it is right there for you, or those without can either sign up and get some Amazon freebies or pick the book up a la carte.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Hard Cargo

The most wanted salvage marine in the universe thought he was done fighting. He was wrong.

For Samuel Hyst the nightmare was over, left behind upon dead worlds and within the derelict ships drifting through space, he and his family having fled to the edges of the frontier to begin a new life of peace. In the aftermath of a violent raid by slave traders, the long suffering marine discovers that a relic of the ancient machine civilization has been left at the doorstep of his pristine forest homestead. He feels the menace radiating from it, and knows that the various powers and factions that rule necrospace will soon come for all of them. Samuel cuts a deal with Captain Dar of the freelance prospecting ship Rig Halo, who years ago saved Samuel’s wife and son from the trade war. Tension is high aboard the ship, as the Hyst family adjusts to being in the rough company of the Halo and a life on the run. As it turns out, the Rig is also a ship full of mercenaries, and once more Samuel finds himself with rifle in hand and squeezing the trigger just to stay alive.

The hunt has already begun and Grotto predators are closing in.

Available now on Amazon!

Altered Carbon Aftermath

Like many, I have been enjoying the new Netflix series ‘Altered Carbon’ and like many authors I have been daydreaming about what my own cyberpunk epic might look like on screen. The filmmakers did a fantastic job with AC and I encourage any and all of my readers to check out the show. When I see something like that I am encouraged to continue, at least on occasion, to create cyberpunk fiction. As a genre cyberpunk has a significant ebb and flow in its popularity (thus sales) unlike the more stable military scifi and creature feature genres, and so I only plug into those wires when the story is burning through my spirit for release onto the page. Seeing the Takeshi Kovacs series of novels (Altered Carbon being the first) make their way to the screen and to witness a resurgence in the popularity of the novels is extremely heartening.

For those of you who are into my military science fiction series ‘Necrospace‘ or the ‘Extinction Fleet‘ trilogy, I encourage you to give ‘Beautiful Resistance‘ a chance.

High-tech mercenaries find themselves pitted against freerunning revolutionaries as global corporate warfare becomes centered around a struggling island nation and the freedom fighters defending their home.

*a character profile I commissioned

Check out Defiance Pattern (Book 1) and Opposition Shift (Book 2)

The second novel in the series has arrived, with the third having been submitted to the publisher and added to their line up.

The corporate slinger Hayden Cole finds himself seeing a different side of the clandestine war over the mysterious island energy source, learns that the some of the warriors have a dark secret, and are anything but human. The legendary slinger Lunatic 8 wages a one woman cyberwar for the resistance, matching the hackers of her corporate rivals program for program in the virtual dreamworld of Massnet, while Hirohito, the deadly cyborg, is unleashed. Hayden and his engineer partner Nibiru begin to question their loyalties as they witness the freedom fighters struggling to stay one step ahead of mercenary death squads.

The streets of the city are full of gun smoke and the wires of cyberspace hum with digital violence as opposing forces struggle over wealth, freedom, and the very soul of the islands in this grim futuristic thriller.

Nobody Gets Away Clean

Writing can be a costly thing for the person hitting the keys, and for me there is no price more steep than to venture into Necrospace. I can only write in that world for a short time before I must pull back, because I can only stand in that hard light for so long before my soul grows too heavy to continue.

I have been writing for over a decade, everything from screenplays to comic books, with many a novel in between, and nothing demands so much from me as a Necrospace story. I grew up in the Boy Scout of America, working summer camps as a living history staffer, and reading the poetry of Robert Service. Such things gave me much in the way of a framework of mythology, which I carried into my college years as a Theology student. We are nothing if not stories, and the ones that always resonated with me were those of the common men, those born to toil and die unsung in such epic tales as the Iliad and Beowulf, or in the lesser known moments of the Industrial Revolution, when much of humanity worked to justify itself upon the gears and levers of the new machines that would replace the labor of their hands and minds all too soon.

I have always been fascinated by the faceless men and women of history to whom we owe the greatest of debts. Those who wielded the iron of plow and of sword, the hardy folk who swung hammer and pick in mines of coal, the mighty among us who endure the 38 hours of no-benefit service industry labor, and the seniors who did not even get the golden watch at the end of a lifetime’s tenure at the desk or on the assembly line. The soldier who fights for minimum wage and comes back broken to a world that knows nothing of his long journey. The mother who knows her newborn child’s fate is already wed to the grind.

Carrion Duty (Book 5) took a king’s ransom from me, costing me nearly a year to write and nearly a year to recover. My own life has been a troubled one since that novel’s release, and I have had precious little to give to the scrapyard universe. I took to the road at the top of the year, and have been chewing up the miles since then (today is the 17th) with at least a week or more till I stop moving, and it has been a healing balm to do so. Out here on the blacktop I feel that I have found the energy to carry on, the surge to return to my old friend Samuel Hyst and his tragically epic life has found me again, and though I know it will hurt I am ready to return to the darkest place I’ve known.

Hard Cargo (Book 6) will be an ugly thing, and yet beautiful in its own way. I want it to hurt you to read it as much as I know it will hurt me to write it, and in the doing perhaps we both will find some measure of peace. Some kind of hope that will empower us to soldier on.

May we be so lucky.

This is the job.