The Daynish Campaign has Begun!

Posted in Updates on March 12, 2015 by chemiclord

JPEG cover

Volume 4 of the MegaTokyo: Endgames series is available for sale!

For Paperback and Kindle versions, click here!

And as always, you Nook users still get some love.  Just click on this little link!

Thank you for your support over these last two years.  I wouldn’t be able to keep going without everyone!

MegaTokyo: Endgames books for sale!

Posted in Updates on September 24, 2014 by chemiclord

Nook Cover

Volume 1: The Tower of Kartage

Paperback and Kindle

Nook

 

 

 

 

 

Ebook Cover

 

Volume 2: Dire Water

Paperback and Kindle

Nook

 

 

 

 

Fire Fox Front Cover

 

Volume 3: Fire Fox

Paperback and Kindle

Nook

The Gate Series

Posted in Updates on January 29, 2014 by chemiclord

Broken Prophecy Cover FinalBook 1: The Broken Prophecy 

Purchase a print copy from Amazon.com

Or purchase a Kindle e-book

Or a Nook e-book

Not convinced?  Enjoy five short stories that set up the novel completely for free!


Front CoverBook 2: The Sixth Prophet

Purchase a print copy from Amazon.com

Or purchase a Kindle e-book

Or a Nook e-book

Want to take a look before you buy?  Enjoy this free preview to whet your appetite.

On Love and Pain and Finding the Former Through the Latter

Posted in Grumblings on August 19, 2016 by chemiclord

I’m not particularly known as a “romantic” writer (at least, in the sense that I don’t particularly focus on romance in my stories). So, this may seem like quite a deviation for me… as a talk about a romance in a just concluded manga series.

Bleach.

Yes. I occasionally follow manga. Yes, they tend to be “mainstream” ones because those are the ones my local bookstore gets. Sorry if I fail to meet your hipster requirements.

Now, in the spirit of fairness, I rather stopped following the series around volume 10 (after said local bookstore stopped carrying manga of any sort). So a few weeks back, when I learned that Tite Kubo was being pushed to wrap the series up, I decided it was time to catch up.

(Author’s Note: I’ll have to buy the other volumes at some point somehow… I don’t like freely consuming another creator’s work without compensation.)

Anyway, the ending was a rushed, narrative mess, which is to be expected, and I’m not going to go into that as some of my readers might be expecting. No, I’m going to focus on the fan fervor wildfire of the endgame “shipping”, because… I honestly find it interesting.

I didn’t particularly have a dog in the fight (I rarely do, my tendency, being an author myself is to respect the will of the creator on this score), but I’ll be honest when I say that… I can understand the revulsion that longtime readers might have had to the “canonized” pairing of Ichigo and Orihime.

To be fair, at the start of the Bleach manga, that “relationship” had damn near all the signs of a really bad romance. As in both in a literary and realistic sense, narratively cliché and by all initial observation done by a creator who didn’t seem to understand what a healthy relationship really is.

Orihime was the airheaded, cloud-cuckoolander girl, who happens to be absolutely gorgeous even though she doesn’t see it, with a figure at fifteen that most supermodels in their prime would kill to have. She had every appearance, by the tendency of mangaka, to be the literal manufactured woman who exists solely to be the hero’s girlfriend. Her entire early development was centered completely around the hero and how much she crushes for him.

So yes… I completely get and understand that initial revulsion by a large chunk of the fanbase. This is a story we’ve seen play out many a time, one that has crossed many bounds of time and culture.

But ya know what? At some point, Kubo somehow pulled out of that potential engine fire, and not only kept that plane from crashing and burning… actually plotted out a pretty breathtaking course.

If there’s one thing Kubo did well in Bleach (and trust me, it wasn’t closing narrative holes; he was pretty notorious for leaving hanging threads even without the threat of impending cancellation) it’s that he managed to have remarkable character development despite a (seemingly unwise) burgeoning cast.

Honestly, he managed to give depth and feeling to over a hundred featured characters. I personally wouldn’t even dare try a tenth that number at any given time. And Orihime… weirdly happy, potentially deranged, quasi-stalker, Orihime… arguably benefited the most from Kubo’s hand.

We learned the heart of her seemingly fake bubbly happiness. And in possibly the best sort of character twist because it’s the obvious one, it’s because a good portion of it was fake. From being abused by her parents… to a brother that turned into an undead beast and tried to kill her… this poor girl spent her formative years with pretty compelling reason to believe she cursed everyone she cared for.

As someone who survived parental abuse, this… is actually a very real reaction for someone who suffers at the hands of people who are supposed to care for them. You construct a mask, and you wear that mask every damn day. You pretend to be happy because if you show your pain, people will want to know why. But you can’t tell them. You can’t let anyone in. Because, remember? You’re fucking cursed. Anyone who gets close to you gets hurt. And the last thing you want is anyone getting hurt because of you.

That’s something you’re taught as a victim of abuse. That it’s your fault. The pain that you are being subjected to is because you did something. “This hurts me more than it hurts you. Why do you misbehave?” This is bullshit you are taught, and it’s the bullshit you believe.

That’s also why she can’t have a normal relationship with Ichigo for so long. Because when you care about someone that much, but know that if you tell them… and especially if they actually return that affection… you will directly curse the person you care for. You will hurt them, and it will be your fault.

I think back to the “Lust Arc,” and how much that really gnawed at me. Look at that girl through that particular storyline, and you see it. She’s blaming herself for all the harm happening to her friends. The guy she’s crushing on… transforms into the personification of the series’s equivalent of a demon… and it’s because of her. All because… she let him get too close.

How she is attacked by hollows, and doesn’t even fight back? Yeah… that’s what abused people do. They don’t think they’re worth fighting for, especially for their own sake. She was getting what she deserved, as far as she was concerned, and I went back there with her, and for the first time in a long time, I wanted to hug a fictional character, and tell her that it gets better… it’s not her fault… she can’t keep believing that…

So yeah, her character really resonated with me, especially as she grew and learned those lessons I did. And damn if I didn’t cheer when she finally accepted and internalized that the bullshit she had been programmed to believe was in fact bullshit, and that she wasn’t going to keep shying away from people who needed her as much as she needed them. That she could provide care and support just as much as she needed it… that she was a person with value, damn it, and people deserve some happiness in their life, and that the only thing that was actually hurting her… was her own fears, insecurities, and self-loathing.

So, kudos to you, Mr. Kubo. On this score, you did good. You did real good.

On Day Jobs…

Posted in Grumblings on August 13, 2016 by chemiclord

As I might have mentioned earlier, I really don’t make enough money off my writing to support myself on royalties alone.  Most writers don’t, actually.

But my day job has recently been in a lot of flux, with a lot of changing hours and even changing where I work.  As a result, it has been laying waste to my sleep cycle, and thus, how much time I have to create.

As a result, if I’ve been really quiet, both on blog posts (that I know I promised to improve) and in my book writing progress… well… that’s why.  It’s not my normal ennui.  It’s me getting my ass kicked by my job.

It sucks.

On All Lives Mattering…

Posted in Grumblings on July 10, 2016 by chemiclord

As we face another round of fatal encounters between the minority population and officers of the law (as well as now the reality and threat of reprisals), once again Black Lives Matter is being thrust into the center of our attention, as well as the criticism against it.

One popular criticism I’ve been hearing lately has been to the effect of, “I’ll take Black Lives Matter seriously when it addresses black on black crime.”

On the surface, it sounds like a valid critique of the Black Lives Matter movement.  After all, if black people really cared about their lives in relation to society, shouldn’t they be focusing on their own first?  But once you really think about it… you realize that it is, in fact, a non-sequitur argument, and one that can be dismissed without merit.

Black Lives Matter, like most movements and organizations, focus on a specific issue or handful of related issues.  In this case specifically, the social degradation and violence towards people of color by law enforcement in the United States.  Civil crime and violence within the “black community” is not and never has been a matter of focus within the movement.

To say you won’t take Black Lives Matter seriously until they focus on black on black crime is like saying you won’t take Doctors without Borders seriously until they focus on cancer research.  Or saying you won’t take the World Wildlife Fund seriously until they focus on stray animal populations.  Or that you refuse to consider the American Solar Energy Society legitimate until they put their time and energy into building wind turbines.

Saying any of those things would be categorically absurd, because there’s no reason to expect those organizations or initiatives to step outside their matter of awareness, even if the others issues are tangentially related to their area of expertise.

The criticism further falls flat because it’s not like Black Lives Matter would be filling a void currently unfilled.  There are in fact several organizations that emphasize crime within the black community, and a good ten second Google search would prove that.  Like the Black Family Initiative or the aptly named “Preventing Crime in the Black Community”, or even in more general, the National Center for the Victims of Crime.

So, when you hear this criticism in the future, it does not deserve consideration.  It is a deflection.  An attempt to dismiss legitimate concerns to sustain the status quo.  It’s not even so much that these people don’t think black lives matter.  It’s that they don’t think black lives matter enough to challenge the familiar society they embrace.

On Great Britain and the European Union…

Posted in Grumblings on June 24, 2016 by chemiclord

Not being either British or European (nor having any ties beyond ancestral heritage), I really can’t make too many statements except in a generalized, macrocosm perspective.

On one hand, the European Union has done little to really justify its existence beyond helping the wealthy of the continent get wealthier.  Much like in the United States as our free trade agreements kicked in, there was little to no support for the middle class jobs that got shifted, leaving millions of people in the lurch with few prospects or alternatives.  That’s a problem.  It’s a big problem, and just like the elite in the U.S., the elites in the EU responded to that problem with a shrug and indifference as the armored trucks full of money backed into their bank accounts.

The deplorable “solution” to the Syrian refugee problem was also nothing that can possibly be defended, and their handling of the Grecian collapse was equally despicable.  It’s a bit disingenuous to wag your finger at England for succumbing to fears of the “brown people” while you’re doing everything you can to shuffle those same people off to a questionable regime in Turkey with no small amount of troubling human rights attitudes in exchange for more money and trade.

So no, the vote to leave the European Union isn’t inherently an anti-intellectual, selfish, uninformed one.

That said, if your alternative was to support a blatantly xenophobic, ultra-nationalist party, then your protest vote was put in precisely the wrong hands.  I would have thought Europe and Great Britain would know better than anyone what happens when you give that sort of sentiment validation.

And I’m not even talking about Nazi Germany (although they are a prime example).  The ethnic cleansing of Slobodan Milosevic and then Yugoslavia should still be well within the collective consciousness of the older Britons that voted in supposedly large numbers to support the UKIP’s nigh racist platform.

Not to mention how badly this decision will almost assuredly shoot yourselves in the foot.  At this point, it is almost assured that Scotland will push for another referendum on independence, and that this time in light of “Brexit” it will pass quite easily.  Northern Ireland could quite possibly follow.

Take it from American history; isolationism rarely ends well, and that’s the cold blanket that you’re wrapping around yourselves.

“Old Woman!”

Posted in Grumblings with tags on June 19, 2016 by chemiclord

Here’s an article that I stumbled upon yesterday, in regards to Overwatch, a game I recently purchased.

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/165422/20160616/oddly-humorous-form-sexism-plagues-blizzards-overwatch.htm

Now, ignoring the juvenile hate in the comment section (as gamers are wont to do whenever they perceive “SJW” content), there is something of a point to be found within the article, though I’d suggest it goes far beyond Overwatch.

Our entertainment industry as a whole doesn’t quite seem to know just what to do with older females, either as actors or as characters within our stories.  While there are a smattering of examples (Murder She Wrote and Golden Girls from the 80’s) come to mind, especially recently, women in entertainment find themselves more in tune with what Amy Schumer notes in her own show.

(Warning: some NSFW content within this clip)

(I am intentionally ignoring the fact that I would have absolutely no problem dating any of the girls in that video, for the record.  Especially Tina Fey there.  One of my few crushes.  Where are you in my life?)

The stories from Hollywood are especially cringeworthy.  The then 28-year old Olivia Wilde being deemed too old to play the romantic counterpart to 37-year old Leonardo Dicaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street (http://www.avclub.com/article/olivia-wilde-was-deemed-too-old-leonardo-dicaprio–233872).  Or 37-year-old Maggie Gyllenhall being “too old” for 55-year old James Spader (http://www.avclub.com/article/maggie-gyllenhaal-37-was-told-she-was-too-old-play-219788).

That said, I am confident that as Blizzard was designing Overwatch that none of them said, “to hell with those crones.”  The female characters in fact do have considerable range of ages going by official biographies.  I’m not even sure that they intentionally tried to make every female character “young looking,” as really the older male characters in Overwatch don’t exactly look all that old outside of gray hair, and also have some fairly absurd backstories to explain their vitality (read up on Reaper or Reinhardt in that game sometime).

And it’s not like video games have ever had the problem of making even canonically old characters look like they’re twelve or anything (glares at the Fire Emblem series warily).

But it is an odd look for a game that went to great lengths to celebrate diversity, and to resounding success, that all the ladies of Overwatch look like they’re barely old enough to legally purchase alcohol in the United States.

Is it a problem with the entertainment culture?  Artistic style?  Market demand?  I dunno.  But I do think there’s a problem there somewhere, and it needs to be found before we can effectively fix it.

On Rooting For Meteors…

Posted in Grumblings with tags on June 10, 2016 by chemiclord

Way back in 1987 when I was still a kid, I was picking up the paper for my grandfather, and one of the headlines on the front was about the NBA Finals featuring the Boston Celtics and the Los Angles Lakers.

Not fully understanding the rivalry among the Detroit Pistons faithful for both teams at that age, I asked my grandfather who he was rooting for.  He looked at me with a wary eye and said simply,

“The meteor.”

“Rooting for the meteor” as I came to learn it stemmed from that rather gruesome place where you really don’t like either side of a contest, where there’s a sense that in a way you lose regardless of who wins.  I’ve kinda struggled with this scenario outside the sports world as the disaster between Gawker Media and the various lawsuits that have driven it to bankruptcy, as well as the billionaire that had been bankrolling many of those lawsuits in secret.

On one hand, we have Gawker.  While I have on occasion enjoyed their attempts at legitimate journalism, and have commented on articles from Jezebel, Kotaku, and Deadspin (among others), at the same time the media organization has run and stubbornly clung to “articles” that not even tabloids would have touched simply because they served no purpose other than spite… one of which being “outing” the not-so-secret sexuality of the billionaire that went after them in retaliation, Peter Thiel.

Make no mistake, Gawker’s done more than enough things that should have gotten them buried years ago.  From attacking executives that had no significance simply because they were a rival, to posting segments of sex tapes because apparently transcripts just simply weren’t telling enough… this is a well deserved result for the company.

But then, on the other hand, we have billionaire Peter Thiel, who despite claims that his sexuality wasn’t particularly a secret seemed to go out of his way to make sure it wasn’t discussed.

Had Thiel simply sued Gawker himself, and put his own stamp on this, I would have been wholly in his corner.  But instead, he started bankrolling other lawsuits, making sure that the arguments arranged would avoid insurance payout and directly hurt Gawker’s pocketbook in the process, so that he could operate largely anonymously until his scheme had basically reached fruition.

The tactic itself (using a superior bankroll to effectively bully smaller parties into submission) is hardly new, and is pretty despicable.  To do so in secret is even worse in my mind.  The idea that someone with enough money could effectively destroy someone else without even needing to show their face makes me ill, especially considering that “small” independent media is increasingly becoming the only way to find journalism as free from bias as possible.

It’s a worrying precedent to be sure, and a play I really don’t want to see become prevalent in the already thick playbook for the wealthy of our society.

So yeah… I guess I’m rooting for the meteor in this one.

On Rape Culture (Redux)

Posted in Grumblings on June 7, 2016 by chemiclord

Some time ago, I visited this particular topic, and how I felt that rather than “rape culture”, America more has a problem with “fear culture”, rather than normalizing rape and violence against women, we simply don’t want to face it and address it, indirectly allowing it to happen rather than actively supporting it.

While I don’t want to say I was “wrong” (because I do think that a large part of the problem is simply normal people not wanting to face how real and prevalent the problem is), I clearly under valued that there certainly is a very powerful element of our society that actively seeks to diminish women and what they face.

Enter Brock Turner.

I don’t want to get into a blow by blow of the events (mostly because I don’t want to have to hold myself back from punching a wall), but the general synopsis is, potential collegiate swimming athlete rapes an unconscious woman outside a party, is stopped in the process by two others, and despite the witness testimony and evidence… his sentence is a whopping six months of jail time.

In the fallout, we have seen the head of what feminist thought calls “rape culture” rear its head and bear it’s fangs.

Starting with the judge who administered the slap on the wrist declaring in sentencing that, “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him…I think he will not be a danger to others.”  Or the father who declared that he shouldn’t lose twenty years of his life over twenty minutes of bad behavior.  Or the friend who blamed “political correctness” for the outrage following the trial and sentencing.

But this is all stuff we have heard before, many times, isn’t it?  This idea that rape is a temporary thing, and that if there are any lasting effects, it’s the failing of the victim.  That this should be a “teaching moment”, not a crime that deserves severe punishment.

But this is the first time that I can remember the victim in question actually taking the advice of MRA twats, having the courage to face her assailant, describe what happened to her, the humiliating process she underwent just to get to this point… and then still be ignored by the justice system in lieu of not ruining a promising young man’s life.

Damn it.  Where’s that fucking wall?

Bah, I’d have to get in line anyway.  Half the country is stuck slamming their heads against it.

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