Archive for the 'Getting creative' Category



01
Nov
11

My Man Milo

Around here, he’s known as Son of Blue (stepson, really, but why nit-pick?), and in hip-hop musical circles and on Twitter, he’s known as Milo. In any case, he’s already been responsible for putting out one batch of great music under the Nom de Rap monicker with a couple pals, he’s done a few live performances with some other friends as The Dilla Gents, and now he’s got a mixtape of his own solo stuff as Milo with the album title “I Wish My Brother Rob Were Here.” (get that here)

He’s gotten some good buzz around the new music in just the few days since he released the tunes online for free. He’s been reviewed in print here…and also here…and here besides. A well-respected critic and connoisseur of music, especially hip-hop, did a way-cool, detailed video review here of the mixtape.

This isn’t gangster rap or stuff about drinking, drugs and getting laid. This is stuff from his heart, nerdy and sentimental, philosophical and silly…and downright good stuff. It’s like literary-style tweets and hit-and-run poetry against a backdrop of musical beats, and you need to check it out.

I’m not just saying that because I love Son of Blue. It’s because he’s good. And because I love the shit out of him and he’s the nerd who always has my geeky back in any fight, real or metaphorical.

It might also be because he’s a sophomore in the hinterlands of Wisconsin at a small, conservative college that sometimes drives him nuts, working toward a philosophy degree. Every ear listening to him puts him one tiny percentage point closer to making a name for himself in music…good music. Not that crap you hear coming out of most cars and bars and shit.

And if he never becomes famous, or renowned or even semi-professional with the music, he still deserves a listen. (Besides, it’s free…right herefree download)

Hell, your ears deserve a little bit of Milo, aka Son of Blue, aka possible future philosophy graduate who might be living with me, his mom and his sister for a few years while he gets ready to start up his own farm and spread the message of ovo-lacto-vegetarianism.

14
Oct
11

A Seed to Cultivate?

The last thing I need is to juggle more fiction. I already have an entire blog, Tales of the Whethermen, devoted to a world increasingly populated by super-powered people, and in it I have an ongoing, ultimately novel-length (I suspect) series along with numerous short stories. I also have the in-hiatus “Cleansed by Fire” sci-fi epic I began here at this blog and will probably return to one day in the foreseeable future.

Not to mention two erotic fiction blogs I maintain under another identity that need to be populated with stand-alone short stories and which also have multiple ongoing series that need to be worked on.

Furthermore, I started a novel last year, “Necroverts” for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which is coming up again. I never got far with it because all the other fiction-writing ate up my time, and have been considering whether I should try to write it for real this year.

So, naturally, with all that, I would have a line pop into my head yesterday that stuck with me, and makes me think there is a very large story to go with it (*sigh* need more hours in the day):

The Earth is round, but the world is flat. And it has edges.

And so today, I quickly wrote a scene that I think might be the first one in a future novel. What do you think?

__________________________________________________________________
“I probably won’t be seeing you again, Little Rogue,” the man said, ruffling the hair of his granddaughter as if she were still eight instead of a woman of 28. He was still hale and hearty, though well into his 70s, and even with a little hunching of his back, he still stood nearly six feet tall, well over Anna’s height. “I’ll be sailing toward the edge of the world tomorrow.”

Anna almost laughed at the joke, until she realized how grave and serious his tone was. It confused her. Papa Vlad had always been a religious man, but he also voraciously read philosophy and science books. He’d never been a superstitious type, so she could only assume he was teasing her.

“The edge of the world, eh, Papa Vlad? There be dragons…” she trailed off with a smile as she looked up into his face. His eyes were still serious, but now there was a distance in them as well, as if he were looking past her into some far-off landscape.

“Dragons would be more welcome, I think, than what actually lives there,” he said gravely. “I wouldn’t tell many people this, Anna—my Little Rogue. I tell you, I am taking a ship to the edge of the world, and I doubt I will return. If I do, it will likely not be me as I once was, and you should run.”

“You believe in a flat Earth, Papa Vlad? That doesn’t seem like you. That’s not rational. The Vatican even gave up on that centuries ago.”

“Flat Earth?” he said, and managed a short, hearty laugh despite the stoniness of his face. “No, my granddaughter, the Earth is round. It is a sphere—an ovoid—as it always has been. It still circles the sun and spins on its axis. The world, though, is a different story altogether. Flat as can be. With edges aplenty, often razor-sharp ones.”

“What are you talking about?” Anna asked, not simply perplexed but now worried for her grandfather’s mental health.

“The Earth is round, Anna,” he said. “The world is flat, with many layers.”

He hugged her hard, kissed the top of her head for nearly a minute, and then he stood. Without another word, he left the room.

That had been five years ago.

She thought he’d never come back from the edge of the world. Yet there he was, seated on a bistro table outside a café, sipping from a steaming cup, with an iPad in front of him and a newspaper off to the side.

Anna wondered if she should run as Papa Vlad had warned her. But instead, she walked up to the table where he sat. She looked into his face. The set of the lines in it was different; crueler perhaps, or maybe just more indifferent. The eyes were still sharp, but no longer warm. As he set down his tea and looked at her, she realized he recognized her, yet didn’t. As if he knew her history and her name but nothing about her heart. She was data to him; something anonymous. Not his granddaughter.

This was not Papa Vlad, though it was his body. Anna almost did run then, but forced her quivering legs to stay rooted.

“Which layer of the world did Papa Vlad’s ship travel, and what did he find at the edge of it?” she asked, the words seeming alien on her tongue for the absurdity of what they described. “More to the point, who are you and how do I find him instead of just this body he left behind?”

15
Apr
11

Easter vs. Greaster

So, this post is going to be pretty irreverent in a moment, so let me start with the reverence. I celebrate Easter, and do so with more than simply the big bunny and a basket of treats for Little Girl Blue. I may be a bleeding heart liberal, slightly kinky, foul-mouthed Christian, but I am Christian all the same, and as far as I’m concerned, Jesus died and took all sins past and future onto himself to be our guide and to be the bridge between humans and the divine (though, interestingly to some of you, perhaps, I don’t think he’s going to make worship of him a prerequisite for admittance). I don’t take the entire Lenten season all that seriously, though I try to use it as a time for more spiritual reflection and Christ-oriented contemplation.

However, while I take Easter seriously as well as calorically, I also figure that after more than 2,000 years Jesus is well over any post-traumatic shock from his crucifixion. Plus, I figure God has a pretty wicked sense of humor. And thus I hope I will be able to skate by the rest of this post without thunderbolts crashing through the roof and turning me into a crispy critter.

You see, one of my online pals…one of my tweeps…is one Rebecca Moi aka @bexmith on Twitter. And she decided to forgo any Lenten celebrations this year and decided to celebrate Kent instead. Well, it occurred to me today that Kent needs to be codified, much like Festivus was in “Seinfeld,” and so I will set forth an initial primer in this post. (If you are not familiar with Lent and Easter celebrations, particularly by Catholics, you might not appreciate the humor…that is, if it’s actually funny to begin with…if the Pope chastises me I’ll know that it was hilarious to everyone else outside the Vatican)

The Season of Kent and Celebration of Greaster

The weeks leading up to Greaster Sunday are known as Kent. It is unclear whether this is recognition of the combination of quiet banality and hapless nerdiness that is Clark Kent, secret identity of Superman (as the season is a celebration of things both human and superhuman) or simply that the fact that the founders of Kent and Greaster got their good weed from a guy named Kent Rawlings. In any case, during Kent you are encouraged to pledge to give something up for the entire Kenten season until Greaster is over, but to cave in within six days and double the usage of whatever it was you gave up to begin with.

Alternately, you may choose to simply skip the giving up of anything and pick up a new vice to indulge in during the entirety of Kent.

There are some notable days during Kent, the most important and final of which is, of course, Greaster.

Rash Wednesday

The celebration of Rash Wednesday, which happens early in the Kenten season, typically involves the temporary reddening of one’s forehead to simulate a rash, but more importantly is a day during which we reflect on all the rash decisions we made since the previous Kenten season and then pick out the most humorous or disastrous one and repeat it before midnight.

Strolly Thursday

As the day of Greaster looms near in a few days, you need to burn off some calories, so please take several long walks on this day. You are encouraged during these walks to give money to any homeless people you may pass, help the elderly and children to cross the street, and to trip any annoying hipsters or loud teenage douchebags who get too close to you.

Wood Friday

Of course, you should celebrate the glory, lifegiving powers and long-lived solemnity of trees on this day. That is, if you don’t have any knowledge of what “wood” really means in the grand circle of life. If you do, get to making the nasty boot-knocking stuff and whittle away at that wood. If you are a lesbian couple, get out (or purchase) a strap-on surrogate…your wood, of course, will last a lot longer, you lucky bastards…

Greaster Sunday

There is a more commercial side to Greaster that involves the Greaster Bunny, who leaves take-out containers with fried food in them. Curly fries are a common gift left by the Greaster Bunny, but fried mushrooms, hush puppies, mozzarella sticks and Buffalo wings are also popular.

On the more spiritual side, it is a day for meateaters, vegans, lacto-ovo-vegetarians, fruitarians and almost all others (except for macrobiotic nutcases) to come together at a single table and commune over the holiness of all things greasy and fried, from deep-fried Oreos (a traditional starting appetizer) to fried green tomatoes to chicken fried steak to vegetable tempura and egg rolls (and more).

Some of the more carnally oriented celebrants of Greaster whose passions were not slaked by Wood Friday might celebrate other uses of things greasy.

Happy Greaster!

16
Jan
11

Cross-pollination

Pimping my other blog for a quick sec here, hoping to drive a little traffic in that direction.

Hadn’t had any new fiction in a week or so but just posted something and plan to post another short story tonight if possible, plus a somewhat longer one Monday

The new one is “Fallout” (read it here), plus see if there’s anything else you’ve missed. If you haven’t visited yet…for shame!…I’m offering free fiction, and no need to drive to a bookstore to get it, either. 😉

06
Dec
10

Busy Playing God…

Sorry for the lack of posting around here. Aside from work-related stuff, I’ve been busily creating my own little world and populating my newest blog with fiction so that it has a certain critical mass before I start trying to convince some people online to give me (I hope)  a little promotion of it.

If you want to take a look at what’s there right now (an ongoing series and several one-shot short stories), go here:

http://whethermentales.wordpress.com/

Yeah, it’s superhero/supervillain stuff, which isn’t everyone’s speed…but it’s also got plenty of dialogue, characterization and I’m even trying to hit on a bunch of social issues. To be honest, super-powered folks duking it out is one of the smallest part of things over there right now.

28
Oct
10

Hey, Come Visit!

I know I let my novel stall here at this blog, and I’m not sure when I’ll return to it, but if you like fiction with a “fantastic” element to it, don’t forget that I have another blog, recently launched, with a superhero/supervillain theme to it. I’ll be posting ongoing series and also one-shot stories, so there won’t be the same kind of stalling effect we saw when I realized here that I had an epic novel series on my hands.

No, it’s not all “Bam” and “Pow” and costumed mayhem. I have characters, issues, dialogue and more. It’s real fiction, folks, not fluff, and I hope you’ll give it some attention even if you find “caped crusaders” not to be your usual fare.

http://whethermentales.wordpress.com/

23
Oct
10

I’ve Lost My Mind

Of course, it’s not enough to write for a living. No, I have to go on a compulsive fiction-writing kick as part of my mid-life shenanigans, much of it in (as I’ve noted before) a genre which does not allow me to share it with you.

As if that isn’t enough, I’ll be taking part in NaNoWriMo (a competition attached to National Novel Writing Month, which is November), so I’ve basically committed myself to write at least a novel of at least 50.000 words in 30 days or less.

Oh, and to show I’m REALLY insane, I’ve started another blog, focused on fiction.

Yeah.

Someone medicate me, please.

(oh, the new blog is here: http://whethermentales.wordpress.com)

24
Sep
10

Takes One to Know One?

So, on the way back home with Little Girl Blue today, after a morning of doctor’s office visiting and donut gathering, I see a bumper sticker on a car in front of me that reads as follows:

Liberalism is a mental disorder

Now, I can pretty much assume that the driver was a conservative, and not simply a moderate, based on two pieces of evidence:

First, there is no “Conservatism is a mental disorder” sticker to balance it.

Second, there was a National Rifle Association bumper sticker on the car, too.

From this, I can also infer something else.

The driver lacks critical thinking skills. Which is why the Tea Party is so successfully pulling the Republican Party to the extreme right and dangerous ideological territory, because the Tea Party seems to have the most motivated and energetic extremists in the United States right now.

So, why am I slamming the person’s critical thinking skills based on the bumper sticker? Why am I assuming the person isn’t a moderate or close to moderate?

Simple.

Most things are on a spectrum. Liberal is one end; conservative is the other.

Just like obsessive hoarding and filthiness is on one end and excessive cleanliness and germ phobias is on the other. Both are mental illnesses. It’s the people in the middle who are more balanced and less troubled and able to function in the real world effectively.

So, by the same token, if liberalism is a mental illness, its counterpart on the other end is also a form of mental illness.

But why use one’s brain or look at the world in a balanced way when it feels so much better to be an extremist?

10
Nov
09

Cleansed by Fire, Part 62

For the previous installment of this story, click here.

Or, visit the Cleansed By Fire portal page for comprehensive links to previous chapter installments and additional backstory and information about the novel.

Cleansed by Fire

Chapter 10, Strange Days

“Is Stavin a total void? Wiped trail? No twittering about him anywhere?” Kylie asked the man in her office, who was serving as liaison between her and the other Secular Genesis cell leaders this week.

Kylie“None, Domis. Not via linkpad nor Grid messaging nor any of the usual drop-points,” the man responded. “And he missed three critical salon appointments with Paradigm, Witta and Thomas. Three hours ago, per protocols, we shoutcalled his priv-trans and got nothing but vapor. We can’t even confirm if he’s alive, so either his priv-trans was cripped, he’s in custody under heavy shielding or he’s off-planet.”

“Are you linked up with the other cell leaders, and what are their opinions?” They were all trying to keep their locations and identities secure, and no one even wanted a virtual salon meeting right now since Stavin vanished. The man before her, whose name she didn’t know and didn’t want to know, and the sliptrans-equipped hindbrain attached to his cervical spine, were all the contact she was likely to have with her comrades for days, and she was the ranking coordinator now with Stavin gone.

“All of them but Coulter. Consensus of all but Gloria is that the Vatican has Stavin in custody and is interrogating him.”

“Harass Coulter’s devices and tell him that if he isn’t linked up with you in one minute, I will assume he is behind Stavin’s disappearance and have him killed on sight.”

Kylie waited, drumming her bony fingers on her hard-desk, counting off the seconds in her head.

“Coulter is online, Domis,” the man told her as she silently reached the 37-second mark. “He dissents with the consensus.”

“As well he should. And good fortune that Gloria is thinking clearly, too, right now. No one should be thinking that the Vatican has Stavin. After the hellpod attack, they would be broad-shrilling the news to the entire Catholic Union if they had one of us. Especially on the heels of the ‘miraculous’ survival of the Black Pope and naming of a new Red Pope soon.”

“The others wish to know what the minority opinion is, then.”

“Maree Deschaine almost certainly found him,” Kylie said. She was uncertain if Gloria and Coulter agreed with that, but they would line up behind her out of reflex. “I can understand the Vatican being too drone-witted to realize how resourceful she is, but there’s no excuse for us to be. Stavin underestimated her, too. At his peril, it would seem.”

“How does that explain the situation with his priv-trans?” the man asked.

“She snared him and burned him to ash like he did to her cousins, or she took him off-planet so she could well and truly enjoy her time with him without interruption. It isn’t beyond conception that she has access to a private craft dressed up to get past Aerial Control, or some deal with a third-tier Ishmaeli or Isaacian to give her orbital passage out of the Union.”

“Consensus is willing to cede that your theory is sound, but not a lock. What is the coordinator’s course, then?”

“Stavin was right that we can terrorize the Catholic Union even without being able to arm our remaining hellpods,” Kylie responded. “Take one of them to a a storage facility that looks like a hundred or two other storage facilities in heavily populated areas. Make sure its the kind of place that is distinct enough that they’ll know its somewhere in the Union, but with few enough identifiers that they’ll go crazy trying to find it.”

“Make some demands and attach them to a vid of our staged hellpod placement,” she continued. “Sell off one of our hellpods and buy eight or nine small thermos. If we don’t get what we want in a week or two, set off three of those thermonuclears in the middle of a storage area like the one we vid and tell them we have a dozen more hellpods where that one came from.”

After a few minutes of letting that sink in with the other cell leaders, the man came back with the majority response, “Dramatic, certainly, but hitting them with fissionables isn’t going to look like a hellpod attack.”

“Hellpods set to explode from a ground position don’t have the same character as those launched from orbit, and all the tests done with ground detonation were done off-Earth. No one will know what to expect, and it will still kill thousands, maybe tens of thousands. Enough of the populace will think the Vatican is covering up and that the radiation is something they released as a cover to keep the public from panicking about more hellpods. There’s enough fear brewing already to fuel paranoia aplenty.”

After a few moments: “Consensus agreement.”

“One more thing,” Kylie added. “I had a priv-trans put in Tobin Deschaine when he was still a templar, and I want it trilled so that we can get him in for some questions. I just wish he would have put one in Maree. Maree is a cracked reactor right now and she needs to be dealt with. He may know where to find her and, besides, I’m tired of my grandson’s ‘retirement.’ It’s time for Tobin to get back to work with Secular Genesis.”

14
Oct
09

Cleansed by Fire, Part 61

For the previous installment of this story, click here.

Or, visit the Cleansed By Fire portal page for comprehensive links to previous chapter installments and additional backstory and information about the novel.

Cleansed by Fire

Chapter 9, Reunions and Seekings (continued)

After so many visits to Domina’s suites, dealing with every form of seduction or sexual innuendo known to humankind being thrust in his face, Peteris Gregory future-in-vestmentsDyson was wholly unprepared to see a plate with a pastry waiting for him, and Domina attired in very casual, standard garb.

She sat with a similar plate and identical dessert in her lap, a nicstick smoldering in an catchtray on one side of her and a cup of tea steaming near her other hand.

“Come, Gregory, have a bite with me. I’m so tired of talking about ancient papal history and current Vatican politics,” she said to him silkily.

“Don’t you mean you’re tired of giving away tiny clues to me, with increasing frequency, despite your best intentions to obfuscate?” the Paulis countered. The dessert did look delicious, but it was highly disturbing. Not because of any risk it posed, because Miko would never let him anywhere near a fork to eat it anyway. Rather, because it was a honey-grape crispcake with a light ginger cream frosting—Gregory’s favorite sweet treat, and one he only enjoyed here on Mars, in his own chambers, baked by his wife when she was actually in-planet and in a doting mood.

How deep a damn profile do their have on me, anyway? Need to steal away a couple of the Vatican’s psychotechs for ourselves.

“You don’t really think I haven’t told you anything I didn’t want you to know,” she said. “I simply don’t want to shatter your delicate male ego. Please, have a bite. I don’t bake for many of my captors.”

“Watching the waistline, Domina, but thanks,” He told her, “and I granted you asylum, if I recall. However, I bow to your continuing ability to regale me with how much you know about my tastes—in all things.”

As she opened her mouth to respond, Gregory’s linkpad chimed—only two individuals would have ignored his order not to interrupt him for the next hour. One was the UFC’s chief AI. The other was his wife.

As he glanced at the text display, he was dismayed to discover it was both of them, telling him he needed to cut his session with Domina short.

“You know, I was just about to take a taste of that, Domina,” Gregory lied with an almost convincing cadence and grin, “but something seems to have come up.”

* * *

Domina swept the dreadful cake Gregory found so appealing into the disposal bin the moment he, his bodyguard and the MobileEye had left her apartment. On the one hand, it was a shame to have their session end before it could even begin. In a domina-fancy1strange way, the Peteris’ visits were a comfort to Domina—she could almost have called it a friendship, even if the man were a bitter enemy, technically speaking.

Even more than that, it was the only mental stimulation she could enjoy these days. Gregory was proving to be more adept at the finer points of misdirection and manipulative diplomacy that the psych profiles gave him credit for having. No doubt the influence of his wife, or that damnable AI Ghost—or perhaps both of them.

But in the end, the Nazarene really didn’t expect her to seduce the Peteris or to totally confuse him; only to waste his time. And, at least, Gregory’s departure meant she could continue to translate the latest message from her patron. The Nazarene had sent a much longer than normal message, which meant pieces of it were hidden in dozens of different innocent-seeming transmissions and messages to her terminal.

When she finished, the completed message filled her with pangs of remorse for the past—for the Red Pope who has been her mentor and lover—as well as with an eager, fierce rededication to her current mission.

When the new Red Pope is named, I will come for you. The arrival of an important new visitor is your signal. I will come from the sky and carry you out of the nest of your enemies.

* * *

Gregory made his annoyance clear when he arrived in Ghost’s atrium. Uncharacteristically, Amaranth was there as well.

amaranth“What couldn’t wait for another damned hour or so?” he snarled.

“The White Pope, Black Pope and Godhead are sequestered,” Ghost answered.

“They cut off contact with everyone but the Papal Advisory Council a half hour ago,” Amaranth added.

That gave Gregory pause, but only for a moment. “All right, so that means they’re about to decide on a new Red Pope and will probably name him in a few days. We already know who’s calling the shots with the ships in space above us: the Black Pope. Soon, we’ll have a face to attach to the man who will be giving the marching orders to the people picking off our people one by one on the ground. So?”

“Gregory, they will be naming the new Red Pope tomorrow, and I already have reliable intelligence on whom they will be announcing,” Ghost said.

Something in Ghost’s tone took him aback, and he noticed for the first time that a faint sheen of impending tears were glistening in his wife’s eyes. Amaranth was holding her emotions in check as usual, but her armor was cracking a bit, and the implications of that frightened the Peteris.

“The new Red Pope will be Gavin xec-Academie,” she said softly, sharp notes of pain edging her quiet words. “Our son, Greg. Our son.”

(This completed Chapter 9. To read the next installment, which begins Chapter 10, click here.)




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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Jeff Bouley

To find out more about me professionally, click here. To find out more about me generally, click here.

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You can reach Deacon Blue/Jeff Bouley at deaconbluemail@gmail.com.

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For my public profile, click here.

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My superhero fiction blog, click here

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My parenting blog, click here

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For more about images used on this site, and copyrights regarding them, as well as usage/copyright information about my own writing as posted here, click here.

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