Butterfly in the sky…

It is no secret that every writer becomes a writer because of their love for reading. It is also no secret that most people develop a love for reading at an early age, usually from adults reading to them until they can learn how to read on their own. This is how it was for me.

My father and mother read to me from the beginning, and I began reading on my own by the age of four. I read my first novel, “The Hobbit”, by myself by five – after my father had read it to me dozens of times, doing the voices and singing the songs.

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A teaser from “Redeemer”

“Bes would never do that, Nin Rubati. I know him. He is a teacher and very wise. If you would just talk to him and tell him the truth, he’d understand. And nobody would go against Bes.”

Rubati shook her head.

“He cannot be trusted with this, Emyni. It is too important. The fate of a Goddess is not something you put in the hands of an Asipu, or a Prince, or even a King. Bes has failed to protect you, and the Gage, once already. The Mualan will not give up. They will continue to come after you, to seek you out and steal you, and the Gage, away to use for their own evil purposes. There are dozens of us priestesses, with a retinue of soldiers from Siqma’al’s family, to protect you. A single Asipu, a few Kin, and a young prince are no comparison. We can better protect you and we will not work against your interests. We will use the Gage as it was meant to be used – to free our Goddess, to find your father, and to return the world back to the way it was meant to be. They simply want to separate you from the Gage and take you home.”


“Emyni,” Erabbi spoke gently. “We cannot force you to do anything. But we beg you: don’t meet with them, don’t listen to them.”

“The Operators” (~500 words)

This is just something I tossed off for fun in reference to kids who think video games or airsoft is analogous to the real military.

Al Taqqadum was sunny that day. That might not sound surprising to you, but it was a refreshing change from the three-day sandstorm we just experienced. The sand got into everything. Our clothes, our hair, orifices we didn’t know we had. My M4 had sand in cracks Colt didn’t know they designed into the damned thing. I just finished cleaning it for the third time and cursed my luck for the fourth time – more sand. Oh well, too late now. We had a patrol to get to and I still needed to go over my truck.

My PMCS was interrupted by a commotion behind me. My fellow soldiers had stopped what they were doing and a veritable din of awe-inspired muttering arose. I turned to see what the big deal was.

There they were, strutting down the dirt path that passed for a road, heads held high. Their steely eyes passed over us as if we weren’t there. It was a fitting tribute, honestly. Compared to them, we were ants.

I had heard of these people before – the ones we just called “Them” or, when we were being really specific, “The Operators”. Today was the first day I spotted one, let alone an entire squad of them. They were easy to pick out. Their gear was immaculate. None of that military-issue stuff. No, this came from a catalog – or maybe a sporting goods store. Their headsets blended in with their forest-green camo paint. An odd choice for the desert, but who was I to argue with professionals?

One of them stopped and looked at me as they passed. Oh shit, I thought, he caught me staring.

He brushed a speck of dust from his weapon and looked me up and down.

“Teh fuk r u lookin at, n00b?” He demanded, his jowls flapping majestically around the words.

“N-n-nothing, sir.” I sputtered.

“Fucking faggit. Wat do u mean, nothing? That’s not what ur mom said last nite, lol, fag!”

“Of course, sir.”

He spat on my face. I didn’t move or flinch – I didn’t want him to have any confirmation that I was the worthless soldier he suspected. It ran down my cheek. I could smell Mountain Dew and morning breath. The smell of death.

Without another word, he turned to catch up with his squad. Fortunately for him they had become winded from the walk and were taking a breather a few feet away.

“Lulz, u rekt that fag!” One of them wheezed.

“Fuckin ezmode newbs.” Another echoed, both of his chins bouncing in agreement.

My squad leader ordered us to mount up. I jumped in the turret of my truck and prepared for another grueling day on patrol. But this day, I knew, things would be different. There was a new spring in my step. I could do it, I thought. I really could.

I wish I could find those airsoft warriors and their Call of Duty squadmates and thank them for the confidence they gave me. Just witnessing their majesty was enough to give me the morale boost I needed to survive that war.

But such is not my fate. I don’t deserve to see such prime examples of the human ideal. I didn’t deserve it that day, either, but I was blessed nonetheless.

Today is the last day you can legally view Colonel Chris Hadfield’s rendition of “Space Oddity” by David Bowie

In case you were living in a cave this last year and missed it, Colonel Chris Hadfield, former Commander of the International Space Station, who was a well-known internet celebrity and utilized social media to draw attention to space exploration, made a cover of “Space Oddity” and posted it on YouTube, with permission from David Bowie’s People.

Unfortunately, that permission was only for one year.  Today is the last day to view this spectacular video, unless a change is made.  So take five minutes and enjoy it while you can.

As Colonel Hadfield detailed in a recent Reddit post:

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“The Merchant Council” – excerpt from “Redeemer” (~2,100 words) (WARNING: Some spoilers)

I am now reaching the point in “Redeemer” where updates will contain some spoilers.  If you are a reader of “The Serpent’s Song” series and don’t want any spoilers, don’t read on.  However, I will offer that I do not believe these spoilers to be particularly earth-shaking and I do enjoy feedback from my readers.

You have been warned – read on only if you want to learn some new things.

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“Look Forward” – or Why I Don’t Fear the Change in Society Brought on by Technology

Every generation, something changes so drastically that previous generations consider it the downfall of [America/Society/The Family/Children/Religion/The World]. Right now, there is a “viral” video going around about how people use electronic devices to communicate – and it is destroying our children/their social abilities/America/society/etc.

When I was a kid, computers and video games were going to ruin my generation. They didn’t, as near as I can tell. Alternative music was a symptom of how lazy my generation was. Yet it was my generation, and the subsequent millennials, who brought about the Twenty-first Century computer revolution as we know it – we were the ones who embraced the internet, begged for alternative access to media. We are the ones who look at cable news and scoff, preferring to research stories ourselves and search out the truth. We were the ones who demanded online education, who sought out alternative methods for purchasing goods and services. We were the target audience for upstart new guys like Bezos and Zuckerberg. Ironic, if it wasn’t for that lazy generation who was being destroyed by technology, people would be unable to share how technology is destroying us today in such an easy and accessible manner.

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May the 4th – At the Edge of Space

Instead of posting something from Star Wars on this May the 4th, I present James May’s flight to the Edge of Space. James May, of Top Gear fame, is a space geek. He was able to secure a flight in a training U-2 spyplane last year and the BBC was able to document it. Here he is taking off and flying to 70,000 feet. While, from a strictly technical point of view, he is only about 3/5 of the way into space, he is at the point where the atmosphere is so thin there is more vacuum than atmosphere.

If this doesn’t move you, you’re dead.  Actual flight starts at 22m, 55sec