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Queer In Every Sense


So there’s this thing. Let’s call it STARDUST (not its real title).STARDUST is a project I’ve been working on, of and on, since November. It’s queer in every sense of the word, and I love it very much. It is also that YA story I was referring to not so long ago. And it’s looking like something that Is Going To Happen. As in, it is shaping up to be something that in the not too distant future you will be able to hold in your hot little hands and enjoy and tell your friends that that Axelrod chick who’s newsletter you follow can really put one word after another, can’t she?

It is, on the whole, a really good thing. It’s a really good thing for me creatively, a really good thing for me professionally and a really good thing for me financially. It’s not going Change Everything, or nothing. But its really good. Its a really good opportunity, and I’m glad that everyone involved was in the right place at the right time for me to take advantage of it.

It also not quite official yet, which is why I’m calling it STARDUST and why I have to catch myself because these kind of things fall apart all the time.

But.

One thing I can share about this experience in a remarkably vague way is that I did not hold back at any moment, and that didn’t matter. I mean it when I say this pitch was queer in every sense of that word and the editor involved did not bat an eye. There’s a sarcastic robotic dog and genuine emotions about being trans and neither one was thought to be too out there or inappropriate.

Which might mean that my weirdness is not as weird as I think, and that may be true. But the flip side of that means that YOUR weirdness is not as weird as you think, either. I hear so many people say “They’d never let me do this,” and beyond the fact that we live in a world where publishing is no longer a profession but a button and gatekeepers are dying breed, the projects that need the stumbling goliaths that are media companies still might be accepted and supported. I certainly was not expecting my queer in every sense of the word ideas to get a pass from a major publishing company, much less to told it was one of the best pitches the editor had every seen since she started at said major publishing company.

‘Course, part of that is that I know how to craft a goddamn yarn, and I can follow directions, so when I was told “we are looking for a story like this,” you best believe that’s what I gave them.

Just, you know, queer. In every sense of that word.


Because of What You Are

The prettiest star.

I’m working on a YA book right now, and YA books carry with them YA baggage. Writing a project about teenagers means that I am, in no small part, writing about myself as a teenager. It is…not easy. To write this story, I have to forgive my teenage self for everything they did and did not do. Which I was not expecting.

I didn’t realize how much of a grudge I held against my younger self for not having the courage at 16 I accumulated at 36. I know the battle that was before me every single day, and every single day I backed down from it. But I was a good kid. I was a good kid who wanted so much to be liked for who I was, because I didn’t like who I was. I wish I was braver, but who doesn’t, when looking back? Especially at our teen years.

All of this resentment is funny, because, all things considered, I was pretty brave. I went to pride marches and queer film festivals. I came out to a small select group of friends. And this was in ‘90s, which felt incredibly progressive at the time, but was also a period when FRIENDS, the most popular show on television, well, you can watch.

So, give Teen Jared so slack, Adult Jared. He’d be really proud of the woman you are now, the least you can do is not look down the boy you were then.

…trans nomenclature is so weird.


New project means new playlist. I’ve been surprised how many “performance” artists I’ve unconsciously selected: David Bowie, tUnE-yArDs, Kembra Pfahler’s indelible The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black (I should add some  FKA Twigs to the mix). Something about the intensity of music that is not just meant to be played but performed fits with over-active teenage emotions. Where the practiced artifice is a catalyst, not a barrier, to what’s being expressed. The makeup artfully smudged and costumes purposefully torn. Performance as means to authenticity. What could be more teenagery?

‘Course, I was an art-kid–voted “most artistic” even, out-arting the rest of my senior class–so I would think that. Fortunately, I’m writing about arty kids, so while my experience may not be universal, it will be relevant. Plus, one of them is trans. They’re a little braver then I was. But they have much poorer impulse control, which is where all the fun in writing them is.


And Then, Aliens Attack

Recovering from a stomach bug of some kind, so this may be a bit more rambly than usual.

(photo taken in happier times, pre-stomach bug)
I’m working on something that I can’t really talk about yet, because it far and away from a done deal, but I am very, very excited about it. The editor has been very encouraging and helpful with the project as a whole, with only one real note.

Y’see, there’s a point in every story where, right after your lead Does Brave Things, that you get to choose what kind of story you’re writing. A genre fiction story, be it about wise-cracking gumshoes or space wizards wielding laserswords, functionally ends after the Brave Thing is done. Sure, there may be a medal ceremony or a dance party, but the story is over. I’ve been reading a bunch of Spenser books while rocking Wednesday to sleep, and while there is often lip service given to the fallout that Spenser will have deal with following the various illegal things he did in his dogged search for the truth, we never see it. The story ends when the problem is solved.

Literary fiction, for lack of a better term, is all about what comes after Doing Brave Things (well, that and also money). Doing Brave Things may lead to an emotional peak, but we have to deal the consequences of those actions. Not only that, we want to deal with those consequences. That’s why we showed up. If we wanted everything tied up in a bow, we would have picked up a detective story.

This might be why so many people seemed upset with Luke’s characterization in THE LAST JEDI. There is a sincere argument to be had that despite it’s clear devotion to the visuals of the previous films, THE LAST JEDI’s meditations on failure and communal effort over swashbuckling heroism has little to with the pulp fantastic that was STAR WARS stock in trade. Luke’s story ended after he forgave Darth Vader and they killed the Emperor. To have him continue to grow and change after that feels like a different style of fiction. Because that’s what defines a peice of genre fiction: it knows when to stop.

But, back to my point, the editor had one note. I really like these characters, I really like this story, I wanted good things to happen. I subconsciously decided not to write about what would happen after they Did Brave Things. So, I thought “Great, they do the Brave Thing, and then aliens attack. Story over!”

Needless to say, the editor was not as excited about the aliens attacking as I was (in my defense, it was appropriately foreshadowed). But this because she is looking for something more literary, but I, because I love those characters so, so much, wanted to do something more genre. So that I could get a—possibly unearned—happy ending.

And even I will admit that while “…and then aliens attack” is good ending, it’s not the best ending. And do these characters who I love so much that I wanted to keep them from harm, do they not deserve the best ending I can give them? Of course they do.

I have adjusted my mindset, and am now prepared to write the scenes that will make me sad, because, honestly, torturing characters is what makes them great. Even in genre stories. After all, even Robert B. Parker puts Spenser through a crisis of the soul once per novel.


Baby, We’ll Be Fine

All we gotta do is be brave, and be kind.
The original idea for this particular posting was going to be some housecleaning, as we sweep the old year into the trashcan and lay out nice clean sheets for the new one (speaking of, have you seen this comic by Kanesha Bryant? Devastating and hopeful, in equal measure). And I’m still going to do that–spoilers!–further on down, but I was Googling my own name just to check if I made anything this year that I forgot about, and I came across this:

Parallel Lives podcast reviews A Great Machine

A Great Machine is a weird little thing I created for the LARP competition Golden Cobra. There had been a hoodoo in the American Freeform LARP community some months before about zero-player games, what that would look like, or if that would even be a game at all. I wanted to explore that space, so I came up with A Great Machine, which you don’t so much play as be a part of. Play is defined by having a say in the outcome. If that’s removed, if you are merely part of a process, you are, by definition not playing. A game with no players. I’d describe it here, but Wednesday Sophia does such an elegant job with the review, I’m just going to recommend you listen to her.

I throw a lot of things out into the wilds of the internet, and while I fancy that all of it will find an audience eventually, I did not actually expect that this game that literally no people could play would ever find anyone who would understand what I was doing. That Wednesday Sophia not only found it but enjoyed it, well, that’s as good an omen for the coming year as I can hope for

Right. So. An accounting of the year that was. Obviously, this collaboration with J.R. Blackwell was the most momentous of the year:
…but I did some other things, too.

This year has been light for me as far as podcast production, with just the live episode of VFPX, Episode 26 – Bringing The Universe To You, which was part of the Philadelphia Podcast Festival. But, if you’re just going to have one, you could do a lot worse. I got some really cool press from being a part of the PhillyPodFest, being one of these Five Philly-Based Podcasts You Should Check Out. I’ll take “Assessment: Awesome” any day of the week.

I also did a great interview on Chris Lester’s The Raven & the Writing Desk, which is a must-listen for anyone who enjoys VFPX. And I did a guest-spot on Jeff Stormer’s Party of One’s 100th episode, which is a must-listen for anyone who enjoys Superman. Both are fun for entirely disparate reasons.

2017 saw me writing quite a bit of things for Quirk Books. What things, you ask? These things:

25 More Laws of Robotics
The Hobbit Inspired by Cormac McCarthy
Frankenstein’s Support Group For Misunderstood Monsters, Friday the 13th Edition
Quoth The Tweety Bird
Presenting “Mirrer,” The Wonderland Dating App
The Latest Headlines From OzFeed
“2 Great 2 Expectations” and Other Charles Dickens Sequels That Never Were
Time Machines, Ranked By Accuracy
Forgotten Fairy Tales
Ode to a Venusian Flurn
What If Les Miserables Was A DnD Game?
The Future of Celebrity Gossip
Dr. Seuss-Inspired Books About Modern Technology
St. Patrick Contemplates Driving Out The Snakes
Noteworthy Women In Sci-Fi History
What If Robert Frost Wrote About Food?

Speaking In Terms At Frankenstein’s Support Group For Misunderstood Monsters
Apes of Wrath
The Cosplay Habits of Fictional Characters
Other Gallifreyans
The Most Regrettable Mythological Figures
Gothic Tales of the Returns Desk
Letters of Condolences from the Empire’s HR Desk
Classic Literature As Limericks

Aliens Left Out of Guardians of the Galaxy
What Literary Video Game Should You Play?
Comics Edgar Wright Should Adapt
Literary Family Feud

Interview with an Asteroid
The Princess Bride: The 5 Other Kisses
Fear and Loathing on My Lunch Break

More Hemingway-esque Six-Word Stories
What if JAWS was a Rom-Com?
Close Encounters of Multiple Kinds

Books That Shouldn’t Be Video Games
So, You’re Inhuman Now

How to Modify Your Bike to Accommodate an Alien
What If Your Favorite Movie Characters Crossed Paths?
Something Wicked, Something Holy: Halloween Deities
Understanding Misunderstood Monsters

How To Survive NaNoWriMo
Murder in the ’67 Hatchback and Other Poriot Knock-Offs
S.H.I.E.L.D., S.W.O.R.D. and H.A.T.E.: Marvel’s Acronymistic Organizations

“Because I could not stop to shop” and other Christmas shopping poems
Hot Chocolate Recipes Based on Fictional Characters
What If Hannibal Lecter Judged A Baking Show?
What If Other Authors Had Written A Christmas Carol?
Pop Culture Based Conversation Starters For The Holidays

And that’s not even counting the Frankenstein’s Support Group For Misunderstood Monsters comics, all of which I am very proud of:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4

Chapter 5
Chapter 6

Chapter 7


…And that should tie up the old year. I’ve got plans for the new one. Big plans. Part of those plans is using the ol’ website more, so I spruced it up a bit. New coat of paint, added some sconces, finally fixed that dangling “Puppet” section. 2018 is going to be the year of more substantial projects for me, and I’m gonna need a sturdy support for more than a few of them. Social media can barely hold a damn thing.

The year is wide open in front of us. Baby, we’ll be fine.


A Little Rough

2017, am I right? Been a little rough, hasn’t it?

I’m trying to be less precious with things. Trying to push ideas out, baby bird-style, not because I hope they might fly but because I don’t know if they will. These may not be the best words in the best order but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth reading and that, my friends and enemies, is an idea I can get behind.

I’ve recently discovered the YouTube series Movies With Mikey, which is delightful and challenging and insightful—watch The Batman Question, it’s important—and one of the things that keeps you watching is Mikey Neumann’s voice, by which I mean his writing, by which I mean a slow torrent of verbiage that feels like a joke-filled rambling stream-of-consciousness narrative but is actually meticulously constructed essay that will probably get you all misty-eyed by the end if you’re not careful.

Seriously. I was not expecting all the feels at the end of the LOGAN episode.

But–and here’s why I’m bringing up this particular YouTube show at this particular time–MWM is imperfect. Sometimes he forgets to include important parts of his arguments, sometimes he misspells title cards, and while some of that plays into his scratched-film, out of focus aesthetic, some of it may also be that he is a human being, much like the rest of us, and not everything one does is going to be perfect and polished. Some things will be, the things we put the time and effort and have the help of others to create, but some things just…won’t. Even if we put the time and effort and have the help of others. As distracting as it is that he used the wrong “shown” in his GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL video it doesn’t detract from how good that video is. Which is a lesson we could all learn from.

(If it was indeed the wrong “shown.” We have to assume Artist’s Intent, after all. Maybe he put a “shone” in there for a reason. You be the judge, the author is dead, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera)

I think there’s a worry, especially in the current climate of the internet that we’re going to be called out for something we did wrong. This is not an imagined fear. As I write this, I am doing JUST THAT to someone who has the INDECENCY to have DEMONSTRABLY WRONG opinion on Twitter OF ALL PLACES.

I am part of the problem. I realize that.

But I’m trying to be better, and also I’m trying to not worry about something I say being attacked by someone like me, that is to say, someone smart enough to know when someone is wrong but not smart enough not to care. Which is definitely easier said than done.

To steer things back to MWM for a moment, MWM makes me think about voice, and how I’ve lost the voice I’ve been comfortable with in the past year. I used to write this newsletter–and anything else that required the affect of coming from “me”–in this sort of friendly know-it-all tone, which I see now was a sort of armor (the know-it-all part; the friendliness was genuine), designed to to keep folks at a distance. It was intrinsically tied to the armor I presented to the world in my everyday life, because I was deathly afraid someone might get too close and see I was, in fact, trans.

Clearly, no need to worry about that now.

Which brings me, in a very roundabout way, to the point I wanted to make originally which is, I’ve been through a lot of changes this year. 2017 has been difficult for everyone in more ways than one, but for me at least, it  should be mentioned that in 2016 I was a childless dude who had a job and was known for wearing neckties and having a podcast and now I’m the stay-at-home mother of the most wonderful baby in the world who doesn’t really do any of those things any more. I mean, yes, I’ve done long periods of not-podcasting and unemployment before and there was time before I wore ties where I did not. But Things Have Changed. Things have been a little rough. As corny as its going to sound, 2017 has been a very transitional year, a necessary time of uncertainty as I move from one identity that had gotten too uncomfortable to wear into one that is not yet completed.

And in that way, it’s been a pretty good year.

Plus, this really awesome person came into my life right around the end of March, so…

All of this has, as one might expect, led me to contemplating the Three Kings.

The Three Kings, are present in every Nativity but occupy barely half a dozen sentences in the Bible. There’s something marvelous in their story, a trio of wealthy astronomers from somewhere east of Bethlehem, traveling for months–if not years–because the stars told them a religious leader was about to be born and they WERE NOT GOING TO MISS IT.

‪FOMO we can all relate to, I’m sure.

But that journey, a journey of an uncertain distance and an unclear timeline, with the goal of not gaining anything other than the opportunity to witness, that’s been speaking to me right now. To follow a star, a hope, a dream, because you could. Because you should.

The Three Kings are a metaphor for Parenting. They are a metaphor for Being Trans. They are a metaphor for Making A Living With Art. They are, appropriately, a trio of metaphors for the three journeys of my life right now.

I know not how long the journey will take, or what obstacles will be in my path. I only know the direction, lit by a Star of Wonder.

Things are going to be different in 2018. There’s no escaping that. Best we can do is shape the year the best we can. Even if ends up a little rough.


Up The Wolves

Hello! You look nice today. That makes two of us.

Eagle-eyed readers will note the lack of an Instagram filter in the above folder, and remember back when I sung the praises of blurring out the details so that one can better enjoy the whole. Not using filters is a Big Deal for me when it comes to my appearance. It shouldn’t be, but that’s Trans Life in the 21st century for you. So, what changed? Well, 3 months of hormones, mainly.

I’ve also gotten pretty good with eyeliner, but it’s mostly the hormones.

(This feels a bit weird to talk about, but if I was reading this blog, I would want me to talk about it. Plus, I already posted all of this on social media, so it’s not like this is secret info, or anything.)

Three months on hormones and the results have been absolutely magical. I’ve got noticeable breasts, heavier thighs, smoother skin and my body hair growth has slowed. There’s been some subtle changes to my face, where what few edges I had in my round face have been softened to match the rest of it. Also, my nose has shrunk.

All the cartilage in my body has shrunk. My feet are a size and half smaller than they used to be, and I’m an inch shorter.

Of all the changes, that’s thrown me for a loop the most–I’ve been 5’11” with giant feet since I was 13. And it’s not that one inch or a shoe size is really that big a change, just that it changed at all.

I don’t like to think of myself becoming an entirely new person–though I know a lot of trans folk do, and that distinction is something they need. I wanted to think of this as just another step in who I am, like when I started wearing ties all the time. But when there’s physical changes like this, it’s clear that there’s more going on. I look different than I did a year ago. Not a lot, but it’s there. And the changes are only going to get more pronounced.

This is wonderful and exciting and…scary. It feels like one of those fairy tales where you find out the cost of getting your heart’s desire. I’ll finally be the “me” I always wanted to be, but I’ll have to figure out who she is.

And I suppose that should have been obvious, but it only hit me when these clear physical changes started happening. Blame it on being a visual learner, I guess.

I should add, that this level of change so quickly is not an average experience. In fact, I was mentally prepared for things to take a lot longer. Every body reacts to HRT differently. My body is either very comfortable with change–I used to put on muscle very quickly, too–or this is something my body has been wanting for a long time.

Either way, I’m ecstatic that these changes are happening, and I am looking forward to see where they lead.


Speaking of going through changes, there’s been two Frankenstein’s Support Group for Misunderstood Monsters since my last newsletter. Both of them focus on Ginger, a werewolf variation I’ve really been enjoying writing. Click on the tiles below for Chapter 2:



And Chapter 3:


And of course, there’s always Chapter 1, if you need a refresher.

I really love this comic, and if you love it to, spread the word! The more people see the comic, the longer Quirk will have me do it!


We took Wednesday to Target the other day, and came face-to-face with the merchandising juggernaut that is Star Wars paraphernalia. While fans of anything that has “Star” in the title, our house is mostly free of LucasFilm merch, beyond the odd t-shirt, art book and my hand-crafted lightsabers. All that changed when our darling daughter came face to fuzzy face with a porg. Porgs, for those who don’t know, are little aliens indigenous to the planet Luke Skywalker has been hiding out on, and they are industrial-strength cute. Our daughter could not resist. She grabbed a stuffed plush porg off the shelf and didn’t let go.

This is a pretty mean feat, as Wednesday has just learned how to control the “let go” function of her hands. The porg’s desirableness overwhelmed her love of grabbing things only to drop them. The fact that she held onto it for any length of time is a tribute to the designers.

It also does these little chirping sounds when you squeeze it that make her giggle. So of course, we had to get one.

We’re doomed, aren’t we?


Ginormous Costume Sale

J.R. and I are clearing out a bunch of old costumes to make room for new ones, so take advantage of my desire to get these things out of the house and look as cool as I do this Halloween! Sizes are marked where they exist, but some of this stuff was made from scratch (I was 5’11” and around 225lbs in most of these pictures, if that helps).

Leave a comment or shoot me an email at freeplanetx at gmail if you see anything you like!

BATMAN
Be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Today's Style

I love this suit, I’ve worn it a bunch, so it’s seen some wear and tear. Custom-made unnitard with built-in shoulder pads (slight discoloration around the neck),boots (sz 12, with repaired zippers), black underpants (sz L), the belt on the right, gloves (one with a stuck zipper, but can still be put on) both chest symbols and the cape (unlined and unhemmed at the bottom, with an attached spandex hood), all of that go for $100. You can get the cowl on the left, which is still as nice at the day I bought it, for $200. SOLD!

CAPTAIN AMERICA

Tonight's Style

Shirt and pants only. $40. SOLD!

CAPTAIN AMERICA – WINTER SOLIDER

Captain America
Spandex shirt and spandex-covered foam armor only. $20

AQUAMAN

King of the Seven SeasAquaman

Gold pleather belt, tights with aquasoles (natch) and gold spandex shirt.$40 SOLD!

WOLVERINE

Wild Thing. Photo by J.R. Blackwell #wolverine #xmen #cosplay #animeexpo #ax2013

Shirt (spandex and pleather, fully lined, with velcro-attached shoulder armor) and gloves (with attached claws). One of the shoulder armor pieces has a crack, and the claws have been repaired multiple times (they are not, in fact, made of adamantium). $40 SOLD!

WOLVERINE BOOTS

Wolverine Boots
Sz 12 (but narrow) $60 SOLD!

CHERNO ALPHA COATS

Today's StyleCherno Alpha Aleksis coat back
Still our favorite PACIFIC RIM characters. $25 each, $40 for both SOLD!

RENN FAIRE DOUBLET

Doublet

Blue flannel with black pleather details and tiny silver buttons. $10 SOLD!

MARILYN MONROE DRESS

marilyn

White stretchy nylon. Sz M. $10

STAR TREK DRESS

startrek

Spandex. Sz M. $20 SOLD!

TONY STARK CHEST PIECE & GLOVE
A Genius Billionaire Playboy PhilanthropistAll The Armor I'm Making
The glove no longer lights up. Chest piece requires a 9 volt battery. $10.

FATHER NIGHTROAD and OTTO VON SHRIEK
Father Nightroad & Otto Chriek

Robe with shoulder cape. $30. Vest with tails $20 SOLD!

JOKER TAILS
The Entertainer

Fully-lined tail coat. $40

NIGHTVALE SHERIFF CHEST BELT

Do not approach the dog park. Photo by J.R. Blackwell #wtnv #welcometonightvale #ax2014

Pleather chest belt with plastic skull pauldron, attached lined cape and oversized badge. $20 SOLD!

THOR

Today's Style

Shirt only, with attached foam armor pieces. $10


Frankenstein’s Support Group

Oh, wow. Been awhile, hasn’t it? Here, lemme blow all the dust of this newsletter and we’ll see if she still works. Test the gears, pump the breaks, make sure the crystals are still in alignment, all that jazz.

How have you been?

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my new daughter, Wednesday. She’s pretty cool. You’d like her.

But! I’m not here to talk about her!

I’m here to talk about Frankenstein.


Frankenstein’s Support Group For Misunderstood Monsters, to be exact.


It’s a very fun comic I’m doing with Quirk Books, and I hope you dig it.

Oh, and if you do like it, maybe leave a comment on the Quirk website? They’ve been real great about this very, very weird project, so it be nice to show them their faith has not been misplaced.



In case you missed it, the VFPX live show that we did at the Philadelphia Podcast Festival was put on the feed for your listening pleasure.

The Voice of Free Planet X returns to The Philadelphia Podcast Festival with a brand new live show! In an effort to bring an understanding from two sides of an intergalactic conflict, VFPX host Jared Axelrod invites Salamander Keep (Phil Thomas) and Loam Sodden (Andy Holman Hunter) to debate. But how can they when they keep getting interupted by time-traveler Tiff Tock (Lizzy Hindman-Harvey)? And why is the Devil himself, Lucifer, Who Is The Morningstar (Russell G Collins) hanging around in the audience?

From the ends of space to the depths of Hell, The Voice of Free Planet X brings you the universe to the comfort of your seats at Tattooed Mom! Featuring a live musical performance by Gina Martinelli!

A note about the audio: We had some wonderful mics provided for us by Bridge Set Sound, but I wrote an episode that had everyone running all all over the place. So, some parts were not picked up by the good mics, and I’ve edited in bits recorded by my handheld recorder that I had going just in case. I’ve tried to make the edits as unobtrusive as possible, but there is a difference in sound quality.

We had a great turn out–thank you, all who showed up–and PhillyPodFest continues to be the best. Can’t wait until next year!


Seeing as how I’ve been immersed in comics recently, I’ve been wondering if I could I get away with a superhero comic without fight scenes? Where it was all the stuff surrounding the fights, but when one started, it would cut to the end.

“Yay, the hero won! Now back to the interpersonal drama…”

See, Chris Morse got me thinking about Power Rangers, which got me thinking about my sweet, sweet ghost children Ressha Sentai ToQger. who proved that superhero story structure is a lot sturdier than we think, and a lot of parts can be removed & it will still stand up. Which then got me thinking on how much of a standard superhero story I could break. I realize there’s a lot of superhero comics and movies that do this, but they’re either parodies or stripped of all the genre’s glorious weirdness in favor of a more “grounded” approach.

The closest thing to what I’m thinking of is Hannah Blumenriech’s Spidey comics, but I’m not sure if that would work with a totally new character. Maybe it would? I dunno. I’ll stew on it.

Right now, though, I’ve got play with my baby and draw more Frankenstein stories!

Good luck with the dragon.


On Alternate Realities

Wednesday has been helping me with novel revisions.

As a co-writer, she doesn’t offer much, but the company she provides far makes up for it.


Recent events–The Man In The High Castle TV show, Marvel’s Secret Empire crossover, current politics–have meant a lot of speculation of how the Nazi’s might have won WWII. I am hardly immune. As a lover of history, I’ve always been fascinated by the individual choices that lead to massive, world-wide changes. It’s amazing how the petty actions of a few can change the lives of the many.

For example, I’ve been studying the post-Civil War Reconstruction, and the ways pro-Confederacy ideals wormed their way into American society and government despite having lost the war is absolutely horrifying. We’re still dealing with it, over a hundred years later.

So, if I was going to pull a Nazis-Win scenario, that’s the one that makes the most sense. The ground war is won by the Allies, and everyone pats themselves on the back. But the Nazi ideas have already taken root, and America, rather than looking ashamedly away from the Japanese-American internment camps it put up during the war, decides to double-down on them. “This is why we won,” the rhetoric goes. “Our American purity must be protected.” So the camps are expanded, which turns out to be not a hard sell in an America that’s still has whites-only water-fountains…

There is, of course, an argument that the reality described above is not that “alternate” at all


Speaking of alternate realities, I got to get my fanfic on over at Quirk Books, talking about Galifreyans other than the Doctor, and the cosplay habits of fictional characters. Both are divinely silly and well worth your time.


New stuff over at the Patreon: a flash fiction about lingering, post-apocolyptic emotions called When The Cry Fades (read aloud as well, natch), and page 2 of the Secret Comic Project, where in I got to draw wolves and the inside of a diner.

Friday will see the 3rd page of the Secret Comic Project, and a weird little thing that I can only describe as “a Gothic Tale of the Library Returns Desk.”

If that’s your jam, consider being a supporter.


I’ve been a mother officially for a month now. Wednesday remains the chillest of all possible babies, a sign that she’s more of a fiendish plotter than a uncontrollable screamer. It is, after all, always the quiet ones.

What’s perhaps the most surprising about all of this is how natural it has all felt. As I was saying to JR, it’s not like there was a hole in our relationship that Wednesday has filled. Rather, it’s that she just snapped in right next to us, fitting into our irregular edges as well as we fit into each other.

It’s been really great to have her around. I foresee grand adventures with this, the third member of our party.

Good luck with the dragon.


The Angel Is In The Details


When I was 11, my parents took me to get my eyes checked. There was nothing noticeably wrong with my vision, but I was at the age my father needed glasses, my mother needed glasses, and my older sister needed glasses. Later, it would be the age my younger brother needed glasses. Biology does not always lead to destiny, but it never hurts to check.

I was shown the standard jumble of letters on the chart on the far wall, and I asked to read as much as I could. In an act that sums up who I am more than I’d like to admit, I read past the point where the eye doctor told me stop, and then apologized for not being able to read the last line.

The verdict was, rather than need glasses, I possessed “better than Perfect Vision,” which is a phrase I’ve always liked. Subsequent checks at the DMV have proven that my better than perfect vision is hanging in there, despite my predilection for reading in very low light, practiced over several decades.

All of this is to say, I often see things others don’t. The proverbial eye for detail.

I’ve been taking a lot of pictures recently. My daily “take a picture of my outfit” photo habit has increased to include multiple pictures of my darling daughter, and of my face. The documentation of Wednesday is obvious: she’s adorable, and has already changed considerably in her first two weeks of life. I’ve noticed. Better than perfect vision, remember. And she’s a better than perfect baby. The angel is in the details.

The need for pictures of my face, however, comes from an entirely different place. My better than perfect eyes see too much. See all the flaws that makeup cannot hide, the tells and giveaways. Despite my efforts to present myself as feminine, I can see the ways I’m falling short. I’ve been doing pretty well for not doing it for very long, but I can see the lengths I still have to go.

Still apologizing for not going far enough, as ever. You’d think I’ve grown out of it by now.

So I need the imperfect lens of the camera, the approximations and half-measures that make up photography. I need to have pictures of myself because I can see too much in the mirror. In the photos, gloriously blurry with digital imperfections, I can see me without worrying about details. It’s remarkably comforting.

It was not uncommon for me crop my face out of my “Today’s Style” photos. Now, I take proper selfies with the best of ’em.


The new Patreon went into full effect last Friday, with the first of the weekly rewards for $2, $5, and $10 backers. There’s a new flash piece, The Ballad of the Eyeball Kid, audio of me reading that flash piece, and the first chapter of my novel-in-progress, The Wish of All Things. If any of those things interest you, you may want to consider becoming a backer.

What’s in store this week? A rumination on supervilliany entitled Voice Victorious–which I am very much looking forward to reading aloud, let me tell you–and a sneak peak at a comic project I’ve been working on. The Patreon’s right here, iffin you want to see ’em.

Don’t wanna be left out, do you?


One more baby picture? How’s about when Wednesday finished her first bath?

Such an angel, am I right?

Good luck with the dragon.