Friday, January 15, 2016

We Were Heroes Author Interview: Karl G. Rich

Hello, and welcome to an all new series of author interviews.  The long anticipated anthology "We Were Heroes" will be coming out in 2016, and in preparation for this release we'll be running interviews of various contributors.

MTI:  Today I'm interviewing a returning contributor, Karl G. Rich.  This time around, he has contributed a fantastic piece entitled The Absence of Heat.  Thank you for being here for another great interview.

KGR:  You’re welcome. As always, I’m at your complete disposal. That is except for home remodeling because I’m also up to my eyeballs with demo and rebuilding.

MTI:  For those of our readers who haven't encountered our previous parleys, how about we start off by having you introduce yourself.  Tell the new readers a little bit about yourself.

KGR:  I’m a native Floridian transplanted to the Great Lakes region. I am fascinated with shipwrecks of which there are up to 6000 individual cases in the Great Lakes. It is what drives my current novels as I develop my own lore of life and death between the wave tops.

MTI:  The Absence of Heat is appearing in We Were Heroes, an anthology devoted to the theme of aging, retired, or out of their element superheroes and villains.  Tell us a little bit about your contribution to this collection.

KGR:  I have a particular understanding of ageing and retirement. I hate to say it, but I resemble some of the caricatures on the proposed cover, especially the character with the teeth flying out of his mouth. I’m not an aficionado of comic books or their heroes, but I remember as a child identifying with the villains. Not necessarily the megalomaniacal characters, but the toadies and secondary bad-guys.

MTI:  Who's your favorite superhero (or villain)?

KGR:  My favorite super hero is a tossup between Spiderman and Ironman. Personally, I always loved how Stan Lee allowed that little slit Ironman breathed through to be drawn with expression. Seriously, how does a metal face either smile or frown? On the other side, the Green Goblin as drawn gave me nightmares.

MTI:  If you, yourself, could have any superpower, what would it be?

KGR:  To change people’s minds. Think about it. Good or evil, take your pick.

MTI:  Shifting back to your writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?
KGR:  I’ve completed my first novel, The Mad King of Beaver Island. It is under submission at a small publisher in the UP of Michigan. I submitted to them because they publish other non-fiction works similar to my novel. In that vein I’m revising the second novel in that series.

MTI:  Other than The Absence of Heat appearing in We Were Heroes, do you have any other stories being published in the near future?

KGR:  At this point, I’ve stopped writing short stories so I can work on my novels.  On the other hand, I’m always looking for other venues to submit previously completed works.

MTI:  On a lighter note, have you watched any good tv lately?

KGR:  TV is the bane of my existence. I watch sports.

MTI:  How about music?

KGR:  I like music, but I can barely listen to any of the new tunes. There are a few artists I can listen to like Bruno Mars or Meghan Trainor,  but I tend to listen to the “Oldie, but Moldy” style of music.

MTI:  What was the last movie you watched, and what did you think of it?

KGR:  I don’t have a lot of time for movies, so I’m picky. I only go to movies that are big screen affairs like Avatar. The last movie I went to was Interstellar with Matthew McConaughey. It had an interesting concept, but hardly original. The best part of the movie was when a hatch blew up on a space ship. The sound quality in the theater of the explosion was outstanding. Right now, I’m trying to find time to see the next Star Wars installment. Weird fact: I was on my first date with my first wife at the debut of Star Wars in 1977. There were less than twenty people in the theater.

MTI:  Readers love samples.  Do you happen to have a story excerpt you'd like to share with us today?

KGR:  Well, sure. Let me dig deep into my trusty flash drive…*bang, slam, crinkle-crinkle* oh, here it is…

Oh, since this is out of context. This is 1763, Great Lakes region and Wasaga is a Native American.
Wasaga

“Why?” The question hung in the air.
No answer came.
Wasaga opened his eyes as the first rays of sunlight illuminated the mountains to the east. Growing up, he never dreamed or at least dreamed little enough to affect his consciousness. Decades after achieving manhood and over the past month the dreams have never stopped. He dreamed of a white-winged canoe ripped to pieces and faces of white men that deep down he sensed he should know. At the end of every dream, a spirit god told him to travel west.
Different spirit gods visited him nightly. Michi Kinagog, the spirit father of all people invaded his dreams the most and was the most insistent on Wasaga journeying west. The most pleasant of intruders was Ogima Nibi, a spirit god of the Lakes. Wasaga rarely thought of her because he was a mountain dweller.
“Wasaga.” A soft voice and lips brushed his ear as he slept.
He envisioned a pair of alluring eyes and swept up corners of a feminine mouth as he slept. A hand jostled his shoulder and he awoke to the same pair of golden eyes that trespassed in his dreams. While sleeping in the hollow of a tree gave him shelter, it did not allow him access to retreat.
“We must speak.” Ogima offered her hand to help Wasaga to his feet.
It was not yet dawn and the soft morning light added a halo to her head. Around Wasaga’s campsite the forest animals started their daily search for food and morning ablutions to the new day.
As Wasaga crawled out of the tree he noticed Ogima’s swollen lower abdomen. How wonderful! Then he considered the implication of gods having children. If the gods need to have children, are they truly immortal?
Ogima reached out to lift Wasaga’s chin and redirected his eyes away from her pregnant belly. “I see you have noticed.”
Wasaga’s face reddened. “Forgive my rudeness, Lady of the Lake.” He dropped his gaze to her engorged bosom, then realized what he was doing, and quickly looked her in the eye.
“Maji is loose upon the world,” she said. “It is Our fault and We have indulged him too far.” Ogima caressed her belly and smiled. “I don’t intend to spoil this child like his brother.”
The eternal trickster is Ogima Nibi’s son? Wasaga tried to remember everything his grandfather taught him about the gods, but the years had dimmed his memory. The lore had been handed down to him as a youngster and he hadn’t considered the gods until recently when the dreams started to disturb his sleep. Something tickled the back of his mind. It was what his grandfather told him the night before the old man walked out of camp with another short, old man, and was never seen again. “Is it true the spirit gods only create children with the intercession of a human?”
This time it was Ogima’s turn to blush. “Yes.”
Wasaga quickly glanced at the woman from head to toe. She had all the qualities a man desired. Wide, baby-carrying hips to bring many healthy sons into the world and strong muscular arms to lift and carry everything he needed to survive. The only down side Wasaga could perceive was her strong mind. A man like him needed a follower to do his bidding not to argue a point.
“Not on your life.” She sniffed.
“Don’t worry,” said Wasaga, his voice held derision, but his raised eyebrow said the opposite.  What would it be like to sire…and be a father of a god?
Ogima held her stomach again. “Death,” she replied. “I was weak for a moment, now the father of this child has been consumed by the politics of the spirit gods.” She swallowed noisily.
            “I’m sorry.”
            “I did not love him. I was…” Ogima stared up at the sky. “…overwhelmed, and now he shares a spot with Michi Kinagog.”
            What manner of man can overcome and seduce a god? Wasaga imagined a man a head taller than himself, shoulders as wide as an axe handle, teeth that can crush boulders and loins that are the envy of a bull moose. His stones reflexively clenched and withdrew into warmth.
            “He was not what you think.” Ogima grinned demurely. “But that is not why I am here. Maji…” Her lips tightened. “Maji was banned from Us. We love him dearly, but he is who he is. This world is between Us and his world.”
            “Pardon me, Lady, but I have been taught the tradition of the gods,” interrupted Wasaga.
            Ogima stared down Wasaga’s petulance. “Yes? Were you taught Magi could open a door from his world to yours? All of the souls he has captured are waiting to return to this existence. They are vile, nasty creatures that no longer resemble the humans they once were.” The beautiful woman’s mouth curled as if to spit out sewage that had suddenly appeared on her tongue.
            “I’m only a man. What do the affairs of gods have to do with me?”
            “Maji used your ancestor in a curse. The curse is a lit twig during a summer’s drought. The forest is dry and the ground cover is thick and ready to burn. Maji has thrown the fire into the brush and only those involved in the curse can put the flames out.”
            The first rays of dawn streaked out from behind a mountain and Ogima gripped his upper arm. “Travel west to the land of the Fox.”
            Wasaga snorted awake. His right bicep muscle twinged. On his arm were four red marks where Ogima had gripped him in his...Was it a dream?



MTI:  Well, that certainly caught my attention, and I'm sure there are plenty of our readers who would like to read more.  For those interested, they can pick up "We Were Heroes," or many other Martinus anthologies that contain his excellent work.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

We Were Heroes Author Interview: Chris Allinotte

Hello, and welcome to an all new series of author interviews.  The long anticipated anthology "We Were Heroes" will be coming out in 2016, and in preparation for this release we'll be running interviews of various contributors.

MTI:  Today I'm interviewing a returning contributor, Chris Allinotte, who has crafted the compelling story Faded Instincts this time around.  Thank you for being here, Chris.

It's been a while since we did one of these interviews.  Why not tell our new readers a little bit about yourself?

CA:  Well, the basics are that I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with my wife and children, but I grew up in northern Ontario, and went to University in Toronto, where I stayed for awhile.

I’ve always loved creating stories, but I got serious about it during theatre school, when I wrote my first play, Late Last Night. I later staged the production at the Staircase CafĂ© Theatre in Hamilton.

It was awhile after that that I got back into writing fiction, joining a writing group in Toronto. One of the pieces I came up with in that group later won first place in the Toronto Star short story contest. I’ve written pretty constantly since then. Two years ago, I published a collection of short fiction, called Gathering Darkness, which I’m very proud of

MTI:  Your story, Faded Instincts, appears in We Were Heroes, an anthology devoted to the theme of aging, retired, or out of their element superheroes and villains.  Tell us a little bit about your contribution to this collection.

CA:  Faded Instincts is about a father coming to terms with the son he left behind. So much of superhero mythology is dependent on the protagonists having no responsibility other than fighting evil in the name of justice which, while admirable, is sort of a juvenile mindset. I thought it would be fun to explore what happens when real life catches up to the mythology. The fact that the son finds himself developing the same powers as his father provided a nice catalyst to get them together.

MTI:  Who's your favorite superhero (or villain)?

CA:  I find myself going back to Batman a lot. When I was younger, I loved Spiderman and the X-Men, but as I’ve aged, I keep coming back to Bruce Wayne. I particularly like the Frank Miller books (The Dark Knight Returns, Batman:Year One), as well as Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, that expose the hero as being nearly as damaged as the villains he fights. There’s something intensely gripping about Batman’s sense of urgency – that he cannot rest until the job is done – but it’s never done.

MTI:  If you, yourself, could have any superpower, what would it be?

CA:  I think it would be great fun, actually, to have the powers that “Animal Man” in my story has – to transform into any creature that’s ever lived, at will.  Just exploring the possibilities of that would take a lifetime.

MTI:  Shifting back to your writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?

CA:  I’m nearly through the first draft of my first full novel. It features characters I’ve used before in short stories, so it’s been really great to find out more about them as they stretch out to fill the greater space.

MTI:  Other than Faded Instincts appearing in We Were Heroes, do you have any other stories being published in the near future?

CA:  There is a novellette that I’ve done which may border on fan fiction (it takes place in the world of the Wizard of Oz), so I’ve been hesitant to send it out – but I like it a lot, so I may polish it up and release it myself on Smashwords. Everything else I’ve been doing has been to try and finish a book length manuscript for once, so my editing/submitting pile is pretty robust right now.

MTI:  On a lighter note, have you watched any good tv lately?

CA:  I’ve really been enjoying this season of American Horror Story, much more so than previous seasons. The story seems about a thousand times more consistent, with real stakes. I was also very satisfied by Series 9 of Doctor Who.

MTI:  How about music?

CA:  A friend told me he liked to create a playlist devoted to his work in progress, and fill it up with related songs that could help inform the tone of the book. I tried to do that with my current WIP, so it’s a lot of classic rock and  Alice Cooper, Epica, Within Temptation and Tool for example.

MTI:  What was the last movie you saw, and what did you think of it?

CA:  Most recently, the new Star Wars. I absolutely loved it. It was everything I hoped it would be, and everything that made the original movies great. Mostly, it was a movie that was about something, rather that simply being the product of a “create your own Star Wars movie” CGI kit.

MTI:  Readers love samples.  Do you happen to have a story excerpt you'd like to share with us today? 

CA:  Not at this time. The most new work I have is the novel manuscript, and it’s still in ‘just for me’ stage.

Thanks for having my story in We Were Heroes, and for a very enjoyable interview!

MTI:  And thank you for a great interview, Chris.  Those who want to read your work can get a copy of We Were Heroes.



Friday, January 1, 2016

Author Interview: John Grey

Hello, and welcome to an all new series of author interviews.  The long anticipated anthology "We Were Heroes" will be coming out in 2016, and in preparation for this release we'll be running interviews of various contributors.

MTI:  Today I'm interviewing John Grey, who contributed "Return of the Star Squad."  Thank you for being here.  Starting off, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

JG:  I was born in Australia and moved to the US in the late seventies. I’m married with no children and live in Providence RI.

MTI:  Moving along, what first compelled you to weave fiction, and what's your favorite type of story to write?

JG:  I’ve spent most of my writing career churning out poetry and songs. It’s only in recent years that I’ve had the time to dedicate to writing fiction. It’s always been in the back of my mind that I wanted to do it but work commitments didn’t allow. But I’ve always been surrounded by books and an avid reader of them. Though my poetry comes in a wide variety of styles and topics, with short stories I’ve stuck more to genres, especially horror and scifi. And I enjoy tweaking them with a slice of humor.  

MTI:  Tell me, if you had to pick just one author who has influenced or inspired you, who would it be?

JG:  That’s not easy. At fifteen I would have said Dickens, at twenty, Sartre, at 25, Dostoyevsky. Lately, I’ve been reading a Library of America edition of the works of Elmore Leonard. I can’t say it inspires me but it sure keeps me waitng to read on.  

MTI:  "Return of the Star Squad" appears in We Were Heroes, an anthology devoted to the theme of aging, retired, or out of their element superheroes and villains.  Tell us a little bit about your contribution to this collection.

JG:  It’s really a tongue in cheek account of the return to action of some over-the-hill super heroes whose powers are kind of off-the wall to begin with but who somehow succeed despite themselves.

MTI:  Who's your favorite superhero (or villain)?

JG:  I’ve always been a Batman guy. I’m into the dark undercurrents of the character. To me, Batman/Joker is the pinnacle of super hero/super villain warfare.  

MTI:  If you, yourself, could have any superpower, what would it be?


JG: I’ve never had x-ray vision or super strength in my dreams but I do leave the ground a lot so my subconscious is telling me that I really do want ot be able to fly.

MTI:  Shifting back to your writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?

JG:  I’m working on a novel, a slightly futuristic tale set in New Jersey. I continue to write a lot of poetry. I try for at least 8 a day. And I always have a couple of short stories on the go, typically one pn its first go round and a second in rewrites.

MTI:  Other than Return of the Star Squad, appearing in We Were Heroes, do you have any other stories being published in the near future?

JG:  I have some coming up in Electric Spec, Macabre Maine, Fifth Di and Weirder Science.

MTI:  On a lighter note, have you watched any good tv lately?

JG:  I just finished watching a series called “Top Of the Lake,” a series filmed in New Zealand and starring Elisabeth Moss of “Mad Men” fame, Holly Hunter and a host of British, Australian and New Zealand actors. It’s ostensibly a mystery but is much, much more than that.    

MTI:  How about music?

JG:  I’ve been listening to the latest in the Bob Dylan Bootleg series, a fascinating glimpse into the recording of his classic mid-sixties albums. I’m also very much into an English band called the Unthanks. 

MTI:  Can you name three movies that you could watch over and over again and not be bored?

JG:  Three is tough. I have a large movie collection on DVD and some of my favorites include “Chinatown”, “His Girl Friday” and a French film called ‘Children Of Paradise.” 

MTI:  Readers love samples.  Do you happen to have a story excerpt you'd like to share with us today? 

JG:  Here’s a few lines from an unpublished work, “The Texas Chainsaw Macrame.”

            Alison needed to get help. But there was no sign of life anywhere: no houses, no traffic, no subconscious fears, no repressed homosexual desires. She began walking toward Henry’s Gas, Grub and Taxidermy. Hour after hour, she trudged. She hadn’t felt so alone since she lost her last group of friends to the Bye-Bye Camp Massacre. Wind blew fiercely. Ominous clouds moved in. She could hear the distant roar of a lion. She trembled. She blabbered. She moaned. She sobbed. She was not happy.
            But eventually, she saw lights ahead. She could make out gas pumps, rats, a stuffed mountain lion devouring a stuffed Pekinese. It was definitely Henry’s. But the sign was different from when she had pulled in there for gas earlier that day. It now read “Mabel’s Gas, Grub and Taxidermy.”
            “Must have changed hands,” thought Alison.
            It was almost midnight but there appeared to be a lamp burning in the office.  In fact what was burning was Henry. He was tied to a large spit over an open fire. An old woman slowly turned the handle.
            “Oh my god!” exclaimed Alison as she watched Henry’s flesh turn medium rare. “Are you okay?”
             “I’m fair,” he replied. “This is Mabel. She’s the new owner.”
            Mabel and Alison shook hands.
            “You’re plum tuckered out my dear,” said the old woman, looking most concerned.
            “I was in this strange house. I was attacked by a crazy woman with a chainsaw.”
            “Some people are so inconsiderate. Would you like a lemonade?”
            “Do you have something stronger?” asked Alison.
            “Stronger than my lemonade? I don’t think so, dear.”

MTI:  Thank you, John, for that fantastic interview.  Those who want to read more of his work can pick up We Were Heroes, coming out in February 2016!


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Author Interview: T. Mike McCurley

Hello, and welcome to an all new series of author interviews.  The long anticipated anthology "We Were Heroes" will be coming out in 2016, and in preparation for this release we'll be running interviews of various contributors.

MTI:  Today I'm interviewing T. Mike McCurley, who contributed two stories to this anthology:  Everything Breaks Down—Even the Jackhammer, and Forgotten But Not Gone.  Thank you for being here.

TMM:  Thanks for having me. It’s an honor. And hey -- I brought cookies!

MTI:  Excellent.  Starting off, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

TMM:  Well, I’m a Cancer, and I like long walks on… Oh, wait. My bad. You meant writer-wise! I’ve been scribbling little bits here and there for nigh on to forty years now. I enjoy telling stories, and writing them gives me the freedom to do so on a grander scale. I mean, trust me – it ain’t like you want me knocking on your door and saying, “Hi! Can I tell you a story?” Years ago, I started submitting a few short stories for publication online, and the following that developed from them represent quite a few more doors I don’t end up knocking on.

I’m part of the Pen and Cape Society, an affiliated group of authors who as one part of their writing or another, put superhero prose on the shelf (even if those shelves are sometimes only digital). We’ve got some very talented folks in there, and I’m proud to be a part of the group. By the way, we don’t knock on doors either, but come check us out some time!

On the personal side, I enjoy the far-too-little time I get to spend with my wife and daughter, and I’m looking at ways to add to that time. I dig old roleplaying games, and have a whole mess of them on my shelves. Camping, hunting, and hanging out with friends should probably be thrown on that list as well. I am proudly eclectic. Oh, and bad jokes. Can’t forget that. I love bad jokes.

MTI:  Now, getting down to business; what first compelled you to weave fiction, and what's your favorite type of story to write?

TMM:  Probably my first fictions were those intended to keep me out of trouble (sorry, mom!) and, having two older brothers meant I had to be good at it. Even in my early school years I used to write “stories” in my notebooks. They might not amount to much now, and in fact the few I can recall are the kind of things that --were I to find them today -- I would set on fire and dance around as they burned. Those stories, though, taught me things that I would need to know to grow as an author. Sentence structure, basic plotting, cliffhangers, characterization, and a whole mess of other things all came from tales that had minimal actual story to them. In high school I also did a lot of RPG fan fiction (although I don’t think anyone called it ‘fan fiction’ back then) based on characters in the games we were playing at the time.

My favorite type of story to write is the kind that comes out fun to read. I can write drudgery, but what would be the point? If I don’t like it, at least a little bit, I’m sure as hell not going to subject anyone else to it: “Hey, Bob! I wrote this story and it sucks. Read it anyway!”
As far as genres go, I do love to throw some super-folks on paper. The abilities that put them in a position separate from others means they have to work harder to maintain their own humanity (or, failing that, they can happily discard it and dance among the ruins). It can make for some very interesting internal dialogue between the positive and negative aspects of a character. Plus, let’s be honest: It’s fun! Writing about folks who can knock down buildings opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Unfortunately, it also adds exponentially to your potential plot holes. “Why didn’t The Catalyst turn himself into salt to stop the Were-Slug?” (Note to readers: If you are indeed The Catalyst, I would like to apologize for outing your mistake like this. Next time, dude. You’ll get that slug next time.)

MTI:  Tell me, if you had to pick just one author who has influenced or inspired you, who would it be?

TMM:  It’s kind of a cheat, because several authors have written under the umbrella of the original name, but Don Pendleton got me into more serious writing. I had a friend in grade school chuck a copy of one of the Executioner series into my lap and tell me I would enjoy it. I really bit into the action of the series, and before I knew it, I was reading as many of them as I could get my grubby little mitts on. I still love action sequences, and many of my stories are based around them. I’ll envision some scene in my head, and suddenly I see how it can play out on a larger stage. Pretty soon I’m running with it, and building the events that led up to the scene comes later. Kind of like I did as a kid: Let the events unfold and then decide how I’m going to explain them.

MTI:  Your two stories, appear in We Were Heroes, an anthology devoted to the theme of aging, retired, or out of their element superheroes and villains.  Tell us a little bit about your contributions to this collection.

TMM:  Well, Everything Breaks – Even the Jackhammer is about a man who was present at a tragedy that completely changed the way he sees himself and everything around him. He has retired from the life of heroics, but puts on the suit one last time for an interview about the events of that horrible day. It’s a story of forgiveness and self-loathing that shows how easily some people can come to terms with outside events but not those that plague us from within.

Then there’s Forgotten but Not Gone. I was trying to imagine what would happen to a man with earth-shattering powers who suddenly had them stripped away. What kind of person might they become? What bits of their morality might change, and what parts would remain?

MTI:  Who's your favorite superhero (or villain)?

TMM:  Oh, man… This is gonna take a while. Let me consult a mile-long list. I’ve been a fan of Deadpool for many a year now, and I suppose he plays both sides of the hero/villain fence quite well. I admire the tack the writers have taken with the character through the years. He just does what he wants to, and when read it really feels like he’s driving the story – kind of writing it for himself, as opposed to being written by others. That’s a testament to the talents of the fine folks who put pen to paper to make him come alive. Yes, I am looking forward to the film, for those of you who might be wondering.

MTI:  If you, yourself, could have any superpower, what would it be?

TMM:  I always think I’ve figured this one out, and then the next time I think about it, my answers always change. Currently, I think I’d go with the kind of photographic reflexes that Marvel’s ‘Taskmaster’ has. The ability to watch someone do something and then be able to do it yourself has an appeal on many levels. Then again, tomorrow I’ll probably be back to something else – probably something that would up the fun quotient by a few powers of ten. I hate to say it, but I’d be a terrible super-being. I’d find some kind of entertaining way I could use my powers rather than the whole ‘great responsibility’ route. If I suddenly gain the ability to fly, I’m getting a glow-in-the dark suit shaped like a flying saucer. Sorry in advance, folks, but I’m a horrible joker. And of course now, the first time someone sees a UFO, they’re gonna be on the horn asking me if I learned how to fly…

MTI:  Shifting back to your writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?

TMM:  I’ve got a few irons in the fire at the moment. I’m working on the fourth book in my Firedrake series, Inquisition, and if Drake thinks he’s had problems before, he ain’t seen nothin’ yet! This is the start of a darker arc for the whole series. Even for a seven-foot dragon, life is about to get very interesting. A lot of characters from the previous books and several new ones will make appearances, and things will change for the metahuman community on a national, soon to be global scale. Oh, yeah, and spoiler alert: Drake will probably make fun of someone and then hit them a lot. I know, I know. No one expected that. Seriously, though, it’s looking like a lot of fun as the villain known as Inquisitor makes himself known publicly.

My short stories about the cursed gunfighter Jericho Sims are building in number and size. I ran four short tales up last month as part of National Novel Writing Month, and as they get past the editing stage, they’ll be dropped into the mix. Jericho is discovering that the world around him is infinitely stranger than he had ever imagined. Chock full of paranormal, otherworldly, and downright weird subject matter, Jericho will have his hands full dealing with things that go bump in the night…and day…and pretty much any time they want to.

On my website, I’m dropping free short stories in a setting I’m calling Z262 – a colony of miners and farmers working to extract the riches of a new planet. The characters of Z262 are anthropomorphic animals caught in the midst of a war. Some of them are fighting back against the rodents who seek to destroy them, while others simply want to be left alone. Slice-of-life vignettes show up whenever I throw them out there. It’s a fun project, and I’m doing it strictly for the entertainment value.

I’ve got a few short tales out for submission at the moment as well, and I’ve got high hopes for a multi-part story I’ve built up around an assassination and robbery. It actually tells the story from the point of view of several different involved parties, and would be a serial format thing.

MTI:  Other than these fantastic tales appearing in We Were Heroes, do you have any other stories being published in the near future?

TMM:  The next ones on the block are the Jericho Sims tales I mentioned above. I have one in beta phase now, and the others in various stages of editing on the first drafts. All of them will be self-published so I can get them to the folks that have been waiting.

MTI:  On a lighter note, have you watched any good tv lately?

TMM:  Oh, man, thank you for asking this one! I am seriously, deeply digging on the new Ash vs Evil Dead series. I saw all three of the original Evil Dead films in the theater way (yeah, I mean WAY) back when. Bruce Campbell is one of those actors I can sit and watch for hours, so it’s an absolute pleasure to see him getting to let loose and be Ash again. If you’re reading this, Bruce, thanks again for everything through the years!

MTI:  How about music?

TMM:  Yes, please! I love music. My writing playlists have everything from Bagpipes to Body Count, Slayer to David Bowie. Country, instrumental, orchestral, opera, death metal, old school punk, hardcore, glam, thrash…it’s all there. I’m experimenting with different tempos based on what type of scene I’m working on, but right now I just plug in the headphones, switch on a block of tunes, and type. As far as favorites go? Blue Oyster Cult. I’ve been listening to them since the late ‘70’s. I’ve had them on vinyl, 8-track, cassette, CD, and now digital. Probably no other band that I’ve held onto for as long. Their songs are generally stories in their own right.

MTI:  What was the last movie you watched, and what did you think of it?

TMM:  It was either The Professional or Heavy Metal. I remember them both from a while back, and I probably had them running on the same day. They’re both in my top ten list and I watch them frequently. They each have meaning for me beyond their simple entertainment value, but from a moviegoer’s standpoint, they’re great flicks. The Professional is full of beautifully-executed cinematic violence and some very interesting characters. Heavy Metal is one of those films that tells stories within stories within stories. It’s one I’ll always turn to if it’s on, written (and voiced) by some greats. I don’t watch movies (or TV) the way I used to. I’ve reverted back to reading more, and I’m a slow reader. Now the last one I saw in a theater was The Avengers: Age of Ultron. It was a lot of fun. Flashy where it should be and dark where it needed to be. I know there are purists out there screaming at me right now about the way things unfolded in there, but I have been trying to approach these new films with a more open mind, as if I had no previous knowledge of the subject matter. I had to after a few of the past ones.

MTI:  Readers love samples.  Do you happen to have a story excerpt you'd like to share with us today?

TMM:  Sure! I can share a bit from an upcoming Jericho Sims story:

Murphy reached up to grab the hand. A second later, he had jerked the man forward and down. Powerful hands encircled Albert's head and tilted it aside. A mouth filled with long, needle-like teeth gaped open to an extent that Jericho would have said was impossible, were he not watching it with his own eyes. The mouth wrapped around Albert's neck and the ranch hand shrieked as the sharp teeth ripped into his flesh. A liquid gurgling sound came from Albert, accompanied by a steady slurping, sucking noise from Murphy.
Colleen screamed as her terror suddenly overcame the shock that had held her still from the moment she saw her father attack his employee. Jericho swore and palmed his revolver as Murphy looked up.
The cattle baron was improving while they watched. His eyes were open and staring now, and he wiped away blood with the back of a hand to clear the vision in the left one. He smacked his lips around teeth that were normal once more. When he stood, the limp body of Albert fell to the floor. A piece of the ranch hand's neck the size of a man's fist was simply gone. There was no blood around the wound, and no fresh was pumping out.
"You return to my home, Mister Sims? Meddlesome does not begin to describe you," Murphy said. He slicked back his messy hair, ignoring the fact that he was smearing blood through it. His teeth ground as he looked at Jericho. He shook his head. "Like a bad penny, you turn up where you are not wanted."
"Me? You're the one that just ate that hard case," Jericho said. "You couldn't just give him his walking papers?"
Murphy chuckled. "He knew the risks. Like all my servants, he was willing to die for me."
Jericho glanced at the cooling body that lay sprawled in the foyer. "Well, I reckon we gotta take your word for that, then. Ain't like we can ask him."
"I cannot allow my secret to be revealed," he said. "If it is any consolation, Mister Sims, I'm going to kill you as well."
"Nope. Don't make it any better," Jericho said.
"Well, I thought perhaps -"
"How is that supposed to console anyone? Telling them you're going to kill them? Like saying that's gonna make them feel better about what you're gonna do?"
Before Murphy could respond, the Colt in Jericho's hand erupted in thunder and flame. His left hand fanned the hammer through an entire cylinder, all five rounds slamming into the chest of the vampire from less than ten feet. Murphy looked stunned as the world seemed to fall away, and he slumped to the floor in a heap.
"You see?" Jericho asked no one in particular. "I didn't tell you that was coming. So much more effective that way."
<>
 TMM:  Martin, thank you again for having me. It’s been a real pleasure, and I look forward to reading all the stories in We Were Heroes.
 MTI:  And thank you for taking the time for the interview, sir.  It was  a real pleasure.  I hope everyone picks up a copy of We WereHeroes, so they can check out more of your writing.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Author Interview: J.M. Perkins

Hello, and welcome to an all new series of author interviews.  The long anticipated anthology "We Were Heroes" will be coming out in 2016, and in preparation for this release we'll be running interviews of various contributors.

MTI:  Today I'm interviewing J. M. Perkins, who contributed Dr. Genocide and the Five Stages of Grief.  Thank you for being here.  Starting off, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

JMP: Sure. My name is John but I use the pen name J.M. Perkins. I write whatever pays the bills but mostly science fiction, horror, personal essays, and tabletop rpg supplements. I was raised by Evangelical Christian Biblical Literalist Post-Tribulation Survivalists. I have a wife I’d kill for and an 18 month old daughter I’d die for. I work in procurement for biotech company. I’ve never watched the movie Titanic. 

MTI:  Now, getting down to business; what first compelled you to weave fiction, and what's your favorite type of story to write?

JMP:  I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing fiction (or at least actively working on getting better at telling stories); I think it most especially began as a way of trying to understand myself and my emotions better (except with the slight dodge of utilizing the unreal). My favorite type of story is superhero stories; when in doubt or blocked up I can always write about superheroes.

MTI:  Tell me, if you had to pick just one author who has influenced or inspired you, who would it be?

JMP: Stephen King. When he’s at his best there’s no one better and when he’s not at his best he’ll have already written 2 more books in the time it took you to form your opinion.

MTI: Your story, Dr. Genocide and the Five Stages of Grief, appears in We Were Heroes, an anthology devoted to the theme of aging, retired, or out of their element superheroes and villains.  Tell us a little bit about your contribution to this collection.

JMP:  Dr. Genocide and the Five Stages of Grief is the story of a supervillain who has been too successful at what he does and is suffering accordingly.

MTI:  Who's your favorite superhero (or villain)?

JMP:  Spider-man. Although I think I’m more intrigued nowadays by Invincible as I get the sense there’s still more to do with him.

MTI:  If you, yourself, could have any superpower, what would it be?

JMP:  Teleportation.

MTI:  Shifting back to your writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?

JMP:  Right now, I’m working on a couple kickstarter projects I plan to release in 2016, editing and curating my short stories into inexpensive ebook anthologies, and writing & running the Patreon for my living tabletop game setting built around the perpetual butchery of a nigh-unkillable, perpetually regenerating kaiju – The City of Salt in Wounds.

MTI:  Other than your contribution to We Were Heroes, do you have any other stories being published in the near future?

JMP:  My short story ‘Field Exercise’ will be forthcoming on the Story Ark Podcast. Other than that, most of my recent output (and upcoming publications) has been nonfiction and gaming material (of which there is too much to concisely list, though you can check my personal website www.jmperkins.com if you’re curious.

MTI:  On a lighter note, have you watched any good tv lately?

JMP:  Recently, I enjoyed season 1 of Jessica Jones and the first three seasons of Longmire. I’m currently watching Clone Wars which is getting much better as the series progresses (though I still skip the episodes with Jar-Jar Binks and I’m highly amused that nobody in the Star Wars universe actually knows what a ‘bounty hunter’ is).

MTI:  How about music?

JMP:  Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of synthwave (and enjoying the unrelenting hookiness of Gost & Carpenter Brut in particular). Also, whatever the heck Kollektiv Turmstrasse is. Oh, and the cellist-singer Unwoman; she’s amazing and you should totally give her money like I do. Last show I went to was Post-Modern Jukebox and I had a fabulous experience.

MTI:  What was the last movie you watched, and what did you think of it?

JMP:  Last movie I saw in theaters was Mad Max: Fury Road and it was fantastic. Last movie I rented was Avengers: Age of Ultron and it was disappointing (though, to be fair many movies now feel decidedly MEDIOCRE after Mad Max).

MTI:  Readers love samples.  Do you happen to have a story excerpt you'd like to share with us today?

JMP:  Here’s a sample of what I’m writing about for Salt in Wounds.

Approaching the City 
Everyone knows how the City of Salt in Wounds came about. But for those who have not visited in person, it is hard to conceive of the scale of the place. It is even harder for outsiders to understand how wholly the economic engine of butchering the bound Tarrasque has transformed the society of Salt in Wounds in addition to the surrounding landscape.
Upon approach to the city, the first thing a traveler will note is the sounds of the monster screaming. Its roar echoes 
for dozens of leagues, and the ground occasionally trembles as the creature at the core of Salt in Wounds thrashes. Most times, the God-Butchers and Marrow Miners keep the creature unconscious but even they -toiling night and day- cannot extract enough to keep the creature down every hour.
Drawing closer, the traveler will notice the shift in ecology and weather; the deciduous forest with its seasonal snows gives way to a humid, almost tropical zone. The temperature for the surrounding area keeps steady at 80 degrees or higher, sometimes reaching into the hundreds even in the dead of winter. However, the tropical plants here are unique, twisted and changed from ground soaked in red. Travelers should be aware that from this point on, the water is no longer safe to drink – Salt in Wounds is provided with imported water carried into the city at great expense.
Very quickly even experienced mages will discover that magic functions differently in and around Salt in Wounds, possibly of result of the Tarrasque’s legendary resistance to magic seeping out with its vital fluids and essence into the land now thirsty for its blood. By the time the traveler can see the walls, they will also see the beasts horns peaking up above even the tallest towers built by the Binder-Lords of Salt in Wounds. The air above the city is blackened with a swarm of stirges and hungry gulls cawing to swoop down for scraps from the never-ending butchery.

JMP:  If you’d like to read more about Salt in Wounds you can visit the website here.
If you’d like to learn more about me/my writing in general, you can visit my website here or contact me. john@jmperkins.com
@jmperkins

MTI:  Thank you, Mr. Perkins.  I hope our readers check out your links, and I also hope they'll take a look at We Were Heroes and reserve their copy today!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Author Interview: Robin Brown

Hello, and welcome to an all new series of author interviews. The long anticipated anthology "We Were Heroes" will be coming out in 2016, and in preparation for this release we'll be running interviews of various contributors.

MTI:  Today I'm interviewing Robin Brown, who contributed Where We End Up. Thank you for being here. Starting off, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

RB:  I'm 25 and I live in England. I'm working to pay the bills but I still enjoy writing and every so often I send something off. This has been a lovely surprise!

MTI:  Now, getting down to business; what first compelled you to weave fiction, and what's your favorite type of story to write?

RB:  Writing has always been a hobby since my early teen years and I've never shaken it off. I like that I can write anything I want. It's a very freeing experience. My favourite type of story would probably be similar to Where We End Up. I enjoy darker stories that challenge our views. Having said that, I've had a little recognition for two children's TV pilot scripts which I also enjoyed immensely.

MTI:  Tell me, if you had to pick just one author who has influenced or inspired you, who would it be?

RB:  Terry Pratchett. His books are not only fascinating, original and very clever, but they are also fun!

MTI:  Your story, Where We End Up, appears in We Were Heroes, an anthology devoted to the theme of aging, retired, or out of their element superheroes and villains. Tell us a little bit about your contribution to this collection.

RB:  Is mine the dark depressing one? For me, when I read the theme, I found it very funny and light-hearted—the image of Superman on a zimmer frame popped into my head!—but I kept thinking about it and I realised what a terrible thing Superman getting old would be.

MTI:  Who's your favorite superhero (or villain)?

RB:  I'm fascinated by Superman and how the world would see him if he were real. One of my many pipe dreams is to write a Superman story that portrays his world as I imagine it would actually be.

MTI:  That would be an interesting read.  I'm sure I'd enjoy it.  Now, if you, yourself, could have any superpower, what would it be?

RB:  Super powered intuitiveness - I'd use my power to annoy everybody.

MTI:  Ha.  Clever.  Shifting back to your writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?

RB:  I'm working on a submission that I hope to submit in a literature competition and I'm also working on a screenplay for another opportunity.

MTI:  Other than your contribution appearing in We Were Heroes, do you have any other stories being published in the near future?

RB:  Nothing right now, though I haven't sent any stories off at all during 2015 so I only have myself to blame.

MTI:  We're both in the same boat on that one.  On a lighter note, have you watched any good tv lately?

RB:  I'm just starting on Hannibal Series 3 and I'm looking forward to it a lot because the first two series are incredible. Warning! You need a strong stomach and it gets weird often but it's probably the best thing I've seen on TV, certainly in the last few years. Side note: it has been cancelled though... hopefully someone else will pick it up.

MTI:  How about music?

RB:  Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kings of Leon and I've recently rediscovered P!nk.

MTI:  What was the last movie you saw, and what did you think of it?

RB:  Star Wars: The Force Awakens and it's awesome! So much fun.

Readers love samples. Do you happen to have a story excerpt you'd like to share with us today?

Page 1 - Little White Lies
            This can happen one of two ways; either I tell you the truth and you hate me, or I walk away right now and we never see each other again - and you end up hating me anyway. It's not up to you though. This is a choice we both need to make but, given my current circumstances, that's impossible. So this is how I'm doing this.
            I have written the truth here. It's in your hands right now and it's yours to do with as you wish. If you want to read it then read it. If you don't then don't. I've made my choice. Now make yours.
            If I could tell you where it all began I would. You know I would. I know my parents weren't conventional. Actually, the more I find out about them the more I realise how much of an understatement that is. But I also know how apart I was from them. Is that right? Does that look right? Can children be apart from their parents? Different is what I mean. I'm not going to do any corrections or cross anything out because I don't want this to look like my school work.
            I'll try and stay on topic as well but it's difficult. There's so much I want to say to you, so much I want to explain, but it's like a maze in my head. I don't know which way to turn or what to say first or if any of it even needs saying. I'll start at the very beginning of the maze, as basic as possible, and I'll go from there.
            My name is Simon Waters. I'm twenty four years old, caucasian, British, I've been unemployed since leaving school at sixteen, I've lived in London my whole life but I've rarely stayed in any one part of the city. I know something's wrong with me. I also remember what you called me when me first met. I have no doubt you remember too but I do wonder how much of it you remember and how well. I remember it perfectly. I close my eyes and look into my memory and I can relive that night. Word for word.
            "It's raining." The first two words you said to me, "You'll get wet if you stand over there."
            No one does that. No one talks to other people at the bus stop. Everyone waits in this resentful, awkward silence. But you talked. And to me. You were right. It was raining hard. A million hard rain drops hitting the ground every second. Unstoppable. Bloody soaking. That's what I remember saying to you.
            "Bloody soaking more like." I said, and you laughed. You can't take that away from me. None of them can. You laughed and smiled. That became the first moment we shared together. I know later things got bad and I know there were times where you hated me, but we still had this moment. Despite everything else, this moment was perfect. It made it all worthwhile.

MTI:  Well, that certainly whets my appetite for more!  Thank you for a great interview, Robin.  Those who want to check out more of your writing can buy a copy of We Were Heroes, coming out February 29, 2016.



Friday, December 18, 2015

"We Were Heroes" Is Coming!

The long wait is nearly over.  Martinus Publishing's next anthology, "We Were Heroes," will be coming out on February 29th.  More will be revealed about this collection as we get closer to the release date, and we will be doing a round of author interviews so readers can get to know the writers behind the stories.

First things first, let's just get the table of contents out there, so everyone can see which stories are in this set.

1:  Faded Instincts -by Chris Allinotte
2:  The Absence of Heat -by Karl G. Rich
3:  Return of the Star Squad –by John Grey
4:   Doctor Genocide and the Five Stages of Grief –by J.M. Perkins
5:  Mr. Cuddles –by Bruno Lombardi
6:  Her Game –by John Vicary
7:  The Deadly Duo –by T.L. Barrett
8:  Everything Breaks Down, Even The Jackhammer –by T. Mike McCurley
9:  The Exile –by Gary Budgen
10:  Where We End Up –by Robin Brown
11:  To Fight The Unbeatable –by Wayland Smith
12:  Night Terror –by Frank Byrns
13:  Forgotten But Not Gone –by T. Mike McCurley
14:  In the Shadow of the Greatest Superhero Who Ever Lived –by Tzipur Sheker
15:  Dial "C" For Consult –by Doug Lane
16:  Poetic Justice –by Edmund Wells
17:  Woman, Thy Name Is Hell –by Edmund Wells 


Check out the Martinus Publishing website for pre-order details, and stay tuned for more details.
Cover art by Yakir Ben Haim

Sunday, December 6, 2015

My Busy Life

I can't believe it's been so long since I wrote a blog post, but my life has been busier than ever.  I'm sorry I haven't been more considerate of my online readers and fans, but it has been one hell of a year for me.  Some days hellish, others oddly ordinary, and still altogether fulfilling.  That's how I'd describe it.

So, anyone who knows me (or paid attention to previous blog posts) knows that my marriage ended this year.  The divorce was finalized in June, leaving me with full custody of 4 children.  Raising them is taking up a lot of my time, and I am not sorry in the least.  They are the largest reason for my being, and if taking care of them means sacrificing that's the way it goes.  So, time I used to spend writing or editing is currently being redirected elsewhere.

The other reason I haven't been online blogging is because of work.  Not only have I had to still work and make money, but I have major home renovations underway.  Below are a few pictures of where I'm currently at with regard to my latest project.

Entering the addition.

The unfinished shell of what will be the room for my youngest daughter, Lois.
Stairs I built myself, from scratch.
"The Loft," which will be occupied by my oldest daughter, Sylvia.
This antique push-button switch panel will control the lights for Sylvia's loft room.
Going down...
My father started this one last year.  A section of old roof needed to be replaced, and with 4 kids there was a growing need for more space, so my father decided to build this new section onto this end of the house.  He built most of the shell 2 years ago, and I helped him put the roof on it.  After that, it sat, unfinished with a tarp for one wall, until I finally got off my ass and decided to finish it.  It's a major undertaking, and I expect I'll be most of the winter finishing the interior, but the end result will be separate rooms for 2 of my daughters and a full bathroom.  There are plenty of projects beyond this, so I'm not sure which will take up my time after that.

So, between working on the house and raising 4 children, I'm finding it difficult to keep up with my writing and editing.  Martinus Publishing is still alive, but I'm afraid I don't have the time to do it justice.  I'm not giving up.  I'm not shutting down, but it may be some time before I can really get back to it.  I'm way behind with the last 3 anthologies I have in the pipeline, and unless some miracle happens I may have to cancel one or two of them.  I am committed to getting We Were Heroes out, though it's looking like a early 2016 release.  I haven't even started editing on The Secret Life of Ghosts, and I've had several authors pull out because of the time delay.

When it comes to Martinus Publishing, I can't afford to hire help.  The last few anthologies haven't made back their publication expenses, so there's no financial incentive behind it.  I do it for the love of writing, the love of writers, for the love of fiction.  It's a hard and lonely road at times, and being the sole proprietor means that it's all on me.  I don't have a staff to cover my ass when I'm too busy with life to deal with editing.  So I have to just muddle through.

What does 2016 have in store for me?  Who knows?  I'm praying for better days, and I'm optimistic that the worst is currently behind me... at least, one can certainly hope.


Merry Christmas!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Who I Am (Part 1: Fundamentals)

Last year about this time, I posited the question to myself, "Who wants to know me?"  It was the name of a blog post that I never finished, but one that the events of the last few months have compelled me to complete, with a more succinct title.  There really is no telling what this will accomplish, but when it comes down to it, the only way to connect with readers, or other people in general, is to put yourself out there to be known.  I don't know if this will gain me any new fans, but at this point there's nowhere to go but up.  So, at the risk of alienating one of my 5 remaining readers, here goes...

The Introvert:  The first thing anyone should realize when getting to know me is that I am quite the introvert.  I am quiet and shy, observant and private.  I tend to keep to myself because strangers simply make me uncomfortable.  I could never be "the life of the party" or the boisterous entertainer up on stage, or that outgoing charmer introducing himself to random people.  This is likely my greatest handicap when it comes to interpersonal relationships.  It takes time for me to get comfortable with people, and I also don't always get comfortable with people, depending on who they are and how they behave.  I'm never the one to make the first step, either, and tend to avoid conversation with unfamiliar people, because it's awkward for me.

The Moralist:  The other thing that tends to hinder my social interactions is something I rarely speak about, because it is very personal and also tends to alienate just about everyone.  I have an inborn sense of morality, something that you can't learn in Sunday School or from mortal education.  I can't explain why, other than to say I was simply born with a hyperactive sense of right and wrong, which tends to invade the "gray" area that most people tend to tread.  I believe in keeping my mind clear, untouched by drugs or alcohol, I keep my body free from piercings and tattoos, and I find sexual promiscuity is disturbing (this is one reason my pending divorce is so distressing.  I still find it hard to imagine being sexual with anyone besides my wife, even though she has left me and is shacked up with another man.  Okay, perhaps a bit too much information, but this is all about who I am, after all.  And part of that is the fact that I always believed I would never have more than one sexual partner, ever.  Now I just feel sickened inside.  Perhaps I'll simply remain chaste the rest of my days).  As I was saying, the morality I follow is not derived from a religion of man, but from my own internal feelings.  Most people do things that creep me out, so I don't get that close to them.  I don't mean to say that they're wrong to do it, but I can't help what I feel, and I feel downright uncomfortable by a lot of things that people tend to call "normal."  Yes, I'm the weird one.

The Inherent Libertarian Conflict:  Checking the other side of the moral equation, I also tend to hold to many libertarian beliefs.  Despite my own morality, and inherent feeling that a lot of the stuff people do makes me sick to my soul, I still hold to the belief that people have the right to choose for themselves.  If they wish to enjoy themselves in ways that I don't enjoy or I find unpleasant to behold, then that is their prerogative, so long as they keep it to themselves and don't try to foist it upon me or anyone else who isn't interested in their lifestyle choices.  Yet this then falls to the question of how much are others affected, and what is permissible when it comes to self-harm.  It is all well and good to say a man can have his drink or toke, but we must also look to those he affects by taking that drink or smoke.  Most obviously, we need drunk driving laws to protect everyone, just as one example, but there's more than that.  There is a cause and effect to everything, and for each "responsible" drug addict or drunk, there are countless people affected by their actions in adverse ways.  It is a sociological quandary to question the impact of libertarianism upon society, while the opposite is also troubling.  You can't deny people freedom, but how do you justify the inadvertent harm they do to others?  The psychological poisoning of youth, the depreciation of productivity, the decay of civil society itself?  Damned if you do, damned if you don't.  That is where I am always at war with myself.  The greater good, and who can you save?  This also contributes to my anonymity; I often avoid getting involved with people, so I do not risk incurring their wrath when my overactive morality tries to butt into their lives.  Which leads me to...

The Hero Complex:  I've spent much of my life as an idealist.  I have fought for what I deemed to be right, and sought to better the world around me.  I try to help those who earnestly seek my assistance when I am actually capable of providing aid, though it's rare that anyone does due to my private nature.  Most people don't get close enough to know me well enough to ask, and fewer still fall in the purview of my moral imperatives to benefit from my wisdom.  So, basically, I wish I could save the world, but nobody wants me to, so I am coming to that point in life where I don't want to bother trying anymore.  I've been bitten so many times trying to do the right thing that I grow weary of sticking my neck out.  I'm sorry for those I have failed, and damn those who would damn me!

The Observer:  The plus side to my natural introversion is the ability to observe.  I pay attention to those around me.  I'm a great listener, and I have a knack for reading people.  I would have made a good psychiatrist, as I'm able to understand people's feeling, behaviors, and motivations, which comes in handy for my writing.  Though, it can also add to my introversion, as I can tell why people behave the way they do, and it can be disturbing as well.

The Alien:  When it comes down to it, all of my inherent feelings, my spiritualism, my instincts; they leave me feeling very alien among the sea of humanity.  Each day feels more and more like an anthropological expedition, where I am the outsider living among beings who are physiologically similar to me, but hardly the same.  I understand mankind, yet I so often feel separate, for I just don't think or feel the way human animals tend to.  I'm just plain different, and in the end that's the biggest thing that keeps people from knowing who I am, for how can they relate to me?

Okay, now that I've exposed a part of my soul to the world, I can sit back and relax, knowing that most people won't care, and even fewer will truly comprehend.  I commend those few of you out there who bother to give me more than a passing glance, and I thank those of you who will remain to consider me a friend, despite my intolerant weirdness.  This is merely scratching the surface, but it's the foundation of knowing me that so few people have ever even tried to see.