Fiction—”Duck Marston”

[A literary quickie for Valentine’s Day.]

Duck Marston ran home and kissed his wife and patted his daughter’s head and asked them both: “Be Mine?” It was Valentine’s, that nasty holiday of love making, and despite all the chocolates and flowers Duck had brought, his women gave him little attention. The wife turned away so he kissed her by the ear, almost inhaling an orange ball of wax. His daughter took his pats like a surly dog and bit three of his fingers. The chocolates they threw away—“We’re dieting, remember?” The flowers went in compost. The girls were too disgusted by this desperate mewling man to explain that flowers were just twenty dollars to watch something die, and they already had front row seats—free of charge—to his life.

[Click here for “A Few Valentine’s Day Literary Cards.”]

[Click here for “everything you need to know about my love life in haiku.”]

Story Ideas

One of my students wrote me a list of story ideas. Here they are:

  • A girl turns into an animal. She becomes vegan when she’s human again.
  • Time freezes then a General of the War moves people so that his side wins.
  • High School Basketball game but they all have telekinesis.
  • In the Civil War era, the battle from the spectators’ perspective. (There’s an additional note in parentheses that “people used to watch the battle.”)
  • Lawyer and Doctors switch bodies for the day.
  • Mom and Dad switch bodies.
  • On Halloween, everyone who dresses up becomes their costume.
  • One day, walls start talking and tell all about what’s going on in jail.
  • Utopian society and there’s a Government meeting about what color the university should be.

On the back of the page is one last idea:

  • All the founding fathers resurrect and go to war.

Published—”An Old War Hog”

An-Old-War-Hog-Image-1000x1000

My paragraph piece “An Old War Hog” just published in Ghost Parachute, a magazine devoted to “fresh and vibrant imagery,” to “unleash[ing] the spider behind the rose.” The piece is small so I won’t ruin it with a summary. Just know that Ghost Parachute has an interesting format—every story is paired with an original image created by their artists. Credit for the picture above goes to Felix Sanchez.

Rune Bear Bios

Stuart doesn’t like the bios I’ve written for Rune Bear:

Desmond White

Although currently facing execution by gas frogs (he’ll be dropped into a stank pit in April), Desmond White used to be the fearless leader of the Resistance until he took a bearbolt to the back and was captured. (A bearbolter is a fully-automated turret that launches American black bears.) This is his only known photo because he’s too ugly for full lighting.

Brandon Patterson

Having hacked more corporations than you can count on a calculator, Brandon Patterson has retired from a life of cybercrime to pursue his true passion: building websites for the Resistance against Gressian rule. Brandybuck lives in Dallas, New Texas, just outside the Omega System, with two servitor-skulls and a shapeshifting croissant named Cindy. He enjoys long walks on computer-generated beaches.

Stuart Warren

Stuart is an artificial construct compiled from discarded Rembrandt paintings and a dump of data-files removed from the Galactic Library because they were considered useless to intelligent life—literary criticism, mostly, and an eccentric medium called the “comic book.” Stuart currently serves the Glessian Majesty as a royal flusher, although he hopes to upgrade to a showerhead or sonic toothbrush.

Alyssa Warren

Alyssa Warren was Queen of the Solar Centaurs until she fell in love (some say it was an arranged marriage) with a dashing artificial toilet. Now, Her Neighness lives in a tiny apartment filled with books and a baby and an actual baby that she produced through sheer force of will (the toilet helped a little). When she’s not conquering minor planets with her braying legionnaires, Alyssa can be found at the farmer’s market sampling local honeys or knitting bad ass dog sweaters.

Here’s what Stu wrote for himself:

Stuart writes fiction and magic realism and lives in a tiny apartment filled with books and a wife and baby. Occasionally he reads a book and writes about it on Sequart.org, but mostly he shouts from his blog stuartjwarren.com about life and the books that he authors. 

I’ll only accept it if he adds:

He also writes really boring bios. 

First post about Rune Bear

My hench-editors (it’s just Stuart and his wife) and I have been rejecting names for a literary genres-remix website we’ve been envisioning (and one poor guy has been building pro bono). For the longest time we had our fat hearts set on Idiosync(short for ‘idiosyncrasy’) but the title was too generic and it sounded like ‘Idiot Sink.’ Then we wanted to call the magazine Idiot Sink, but that impulse didn’t last. AstroLack was too spacey. Los Orcus was too fantasy. We wanted less swords-and-sorcery and more swords-and-sandworms. No to Wyrdfic (is ‘weird’ gender-biased or something?), Grot Gear, Desmorious (I was down), Wristcanon (people would think we spelled ‘canon’ wrong), Battle Droid (‘droid’ is trademarked by LucasFilm Ltd.).

For a while we settled on Rune Beard. We wondered if Nordic facial hair would evoke a space pirate captain firing plasma bolts at sword-wielding mechs on distant asteroids (it was the Warhammer 40,000 side of us that connected runes with sci-fi in the first place), but instead our test audience pictured a neckbeard playing WoW, and incidentally, they weren’t wrong. Dumping Rune Beard was emotional for me, because Alyssa, Stuart, and I had devised an awesome icon to accompany our logo—a bewhiskered Odinesque whose face was comprised of two Anglo-Saxon runes that corresponded with our initials (the scarred-eye is the jera, or j-rune, and my first name is Jared; the crooked nose is the sigel, or s-rune, i.e. Stuart). Being boys, we didn’t consider adding a rune for Alyssa.

Here’s Alyssa’s mock-up:

However, while I was pining over Rune Beard in my notebook, I noticed that without the “D” there was another great name for our mag—Rune Bear. The domain wasn’t taken, and there weren’t any rune bears out there except for the Runeclaw Bear in Magic the Gathering. So Rune Bear it is. I’ve ordered a Wacom Intuous Draw tablet and purchased Clip Studio Paint Pro like the overconfident amateur that I am and I’m going to try to make a cool bear-ish logo. Then, when I fail, I’ll turn to Phil Kiner.

Here’s my rough. I’m going to have a rune that says “Bear” in his mouth.

Nonfiction—”The Elemental Darkness”

My philosophy is a lone night, with the wife far-flung on the couch watching videos about tape worms. I’ve gone to bed early, and the rain is caught by the tree canopy, except for a black fall from the roof that taps the cement. In the dark it could be the crackle of fire. My philosophy is my beating heart compared to her’s. I can only imagine she still lives, eyes fixed on the doctor’s spool, trapped by elemental darkness.