Friday, October 31, 2014

Dead Girl

It was happening again.

I could hear the strange laughter, disembodied, dancing, echoing through the warehouse. Shadows moved and shifted, darting here and sliding there, giving up no sight other than black. It was happening again, and I was as powerless as the first time. My hands trembled.

I started to cry hot tears. They did little to relieve the chill of the warehouse. Slowly the shadows wrapped around the room, an ever-tightening noose meant just for me. Slowly the circle shrank until only I was left.

Slowly I watched death approach. I couldn't let it end like this. I wouldn't let it end like this. I had escaped the darkness once before. I could do it again. I just had to be brave.

I put the gun to my head and closed my eyes.

Just one more time.

A brief little something for Halloween. I actually rather like the idea. Salvation through death. We'll see if this ever goes anywhere, guys.

Also, two rejections with the manuscript. UGH. All I need is the one "yes," though. Friends (including the lovely Jami Nord) are currently looking over my second book, and I'm writing up my cyberpunk universe.

Keep several irons in the fire, as V.E. Schwab said. It's not  bad advice, I have to admit.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


The first time I ever saw a man die, I was seventeen.

That man was my father.

He had fallen the previous day. Really, it was nothing unusual. Charles Earl Stewart was given to accidents. The many strokes had left his body weak, his mind weaker, and a moment's confusion was by all means normal. He had once climbed on the roof and been unable to get down. In the scheme of things, a little fall was nothing to be concerned about.

Except it was. There was no moving on from this. He had fallen to the floor, and simply couldn't get back up. As much as his muscles my strain, try as his mind might will, he couldn't rise. It took the combined efforts of my mother, brother, and I to drag him back to the bed. There he laid, as weak as a newborn. He could barely move, six feet of fragility. 

It was obvious Dad couldn't take care of himself. Mom debated whether she would be able to work anymore. There was no way we could afford a caregiver. There was no way we could afford to give up her job, either. The future was so terribly uncertain.

We all fell into a fitful sleep.

It didn't take long for it to be interrupted. "Wake up! Your dad's dying!" screamed Mom. It only had to be said once. We flew from our beds and into his bedroom, frantic feet for what we had long feared. We had expected this moment for years, but never knew how it would come.

I never expected that my father's face would be blue. Not a white or light grey, but an actual blue, the color of frozen skin. His eyes were wide, his hand was shaking. He seemed to reach out to me, to someone, wanting help or just someone to hold him as he passed. I took his hand. It was the only thing I could really do. Tears ran down my face as blood poured out his mouth. He tried to speak, but there were no last words for my father. No heartfelt advice or well wishes. No moment of clarity before the end. Not even a shout of disapproval.

The blood choked down everything.

It's the first thing that popped up in my mind, so I wrote it. A ten year old memory, for the readers. Maybe that'll immortalize my dad. Give him an added bit of life that he lost over a decade ago.

I'm near completion with the second draft of the novel. Then it goes out to alpha readers, and we've got this motherfucker on the road.

Looking forward to that.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


It had been twelve years since Alice had seen Mika. 

She never would again. Not encased behind that closed casket affair, three inches of steel that separated sweet Mika from the rest of the wide world. She had been beautiful in life, a fiery determination that glowed in her eyes and wove along her features. Every glare was hell-fire, every smile fireworks.

They had stolen it all with a well-applied blowtorch. Eyes, lips, nose, all burnt away, sending a message for the world to see.

Alice got the message loud and clear. The cosmeticians couldn't recreate Mika's face, "too little to work with" they said, so they did the next best thing. They shoved her into a steel box. Alice's fingers stroked along the cold metal, wishing for one last look, no matter how different the reality was from her memories.

They'd been fast friends, occasional lovers, and even that hadn't been enough to keep them together. They drifted apart casually like the continents, one easing that way, another this, slowly and inexorably. Mika was happy to stay a Delivery Woman, fast days and dangerous nights, filled with the flow of stims and the hail of bullets. For Alice, it was only the means to an end. Make a lot of money and break free, forgetting the dangers she left at her back. She went legit, grabbing a degree, opening a law firm, and making a name for herself somewhere other than the slums.

It'd been years since she held a spar amplifier. The metal felt awkward in her hand, heavier than it used to, the days when she was on the streets rather than in the courtroom. But she'd adapt. If nothing else, rage had a way of helping the process along. With one hand, she'd hold them at gunpoint. With the other, she'd sculpt their faces with fire. It was justice.

But Alice would never see Mika again. 

Not even revenge could take the sting off of that.

So. This post was a little long in coming. I miiiiight have forgotten I needed to update this thing. Hahahahaohcrap.

Things are going well, though. I am NEARING the end of this second draft of my second book. Once I have that done, I'm throwing myself full force into my cyberpunk novel. I've got some great ideas that seem to meet general approval. All I need is a plot.

Jesus Christ, I need a plot!

Still, I feel like I'm becoming a real writer. That things are melding, molding, and forming something greater than what I was. That my craft is growing. Perhaps that's the best feeling to have.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


There were gods once, long ago.

They were strange, but it was the sort man should expect from the divine. Their eyes were large and their ears pointed, their limbs stretched long, and their heads held tall. With a wave of their hand, thunder would rumble over the horizon. With a stamp of their foot, wheat would stretch its neck from the soil. They were grand gods, and much beloved.

But they were not omnipotent. Some might point to zoimantry as their killer, others could suggest nationalism, but the truth was so much simpler. It was an intrinsic part of their nature, often overlooked by the masses, and certainly ignored by themselves. Hrefna was as guilty as any of her sisters.

For all their strangeness, they were as fallible as any man,

Jokum Ostergaard - Pa Blight og Dens Efterspil

Well, Jennifer has sent out the manuscript to a few publishing agencies. The pitch will be going out to others Tuesday. It's exciting, and wonderful, and it's my very future happening in front of me. Justin Stewart's Dead Man Walking. Justin Stewart's! It only makes me want to work that much harder for the future. I want this so bad that I can taste it.

But I need to prepare for the waiting game. If I thought that waiting with agents was rough, then I'll be in for a hell of an experience with the publishers. Still, it's something I welcome. Once I get the first book through, hopefully the second, third, and twentieth will be shoe-ins.

I'm blessed to have so many people who love and support me. They keep me going when I doubt myself (which seems more often than it should be). I'd like to thank them in general. Honestly, if I was to list names, I'd be here all night.

Chances are, if you're here, then I'm thankful for you.