Old Haunts — Vignettes and Visions from the City of Lovat

Old Haunts: Lucky Star

Denny Lake Warren, Level Four

 

“The long-dead engineers who designed Lovat’s superstructure made its massive floors and ceilings hollow. A lot of these hollows are crammed with the things that make a city livable: sewer pipes, air ducts, electrical lines, generators. Others are empty intermediate spaces. Some are occupied with shanty towns packed cheek by jowl, some are filled with trash, some harbor narrow mushroom gardens, and a small number have become storefronts. Cedric’s operates in the latter. An in-between place for in-between folks.”

—Waldo Bell, Red Litten World


This vignette (and those that will follow) were initially created for my Instagram account (they loop a bit more seamlessly over there.) But, I’ve had too much fun creating these to hide them away on social media so expect to see them here as well.

If you like this and are hungry for more of the Bell Forging Cycle, there’s plenty more out there for those of keen mind and stalwart heart.


Credits:

“You Are My Lucky Star” by Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra

Other audio from Freesounds—special thanks to jrsandoval, kangaroovindaloo, ludwigmueller, nahlin83, splicesound, be-a-hero-not-a-patriot, kiloton, theshuggie, microsoftsam, kodack, craigsmith, and jackbhandersen.

Broll provided by Videezy


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Frederick Douglass

Agitate ×3

“Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!”

Frederick Douglass


“Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.”

—Frederick Douglass


“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

—Frederick Douglass


I’m featuring three quotes today, and I could have featured a lot more. Douglass was prolific, wise, and arguably one of the greatest minds in America’s history. (Read up on him.) Over the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about Douglass’ words. I kept coming back to how poignant his speeches and writing remain over a century later. The work ain’t over. Racism, bigotry, and prejudice still plague our culture. The fight goes on. Lip service, phrases, quotes, and black squares on social media mean nothing without action. All lives won’t matter until Black Lives Matter, too.

Raunch Review: Dragon Age

Raunch Review: Dragon Age

Raunch Reviews is a series about profanity. Not real profanity, but speculative swearing. Authors often try to incorporate original, innovative forms of profanity into our own fantastical works as a way to expand the worlds we build. Sometimes we’re successful. Often we’re not. In this series, I examine the faux-profanity from various works of sci-fi and fantasy, judge their effectiveness, and rate them on an unscientific and purely subjective scale. This is Raunch Reviews, welcome.


Raunch Review: Dragon Age
Raunch Review: Dragon Age
The Author: David Gaider & BioWare
Work in Question: The Dragon Age Series
The Profanity: “Andreste’s Flaming Knickers”

Oaths have a long and sordid history. Often they emerge as a response to blasphemy laws/rules handed down by church leaders or, in many cases, the state. They’re a bit of rebellion by the laity, and they come in many forms. During the middle ages (especially 14th and 15th centuries), swearing by a deity’s body parts, excrement, or secretions were in fashion. And, as often happens with profanity, we see the minced variants show up later.

So, while it might sound silly, there’s a bit of “historical” accuracy at play here. Much of the faux-profanity in Dragon Age fits within a 15th-century theme. Andreste, in this case, is a prophet who has risen to deity status. Some consider her the bride of The Maker—the lone deity of Thedas—and according to the lore, she was burned alive by the Imperial Archon.

It’s from that “historical” event which the world pulls the oath, “Andreste’s Flaming Knickers.” It’s occasionally said by the mage Anders as the player moves around. It’s a bit morbid, but it works rather well in an in-game historical context, and it fits within a period-specific styling for faux-profanity. (It could be argued that “knickers” isn’t period-accurate since that term didn’t come into vogue until the 18th century, but this is fantasy, and I won’t ride them too hard.) “Flaming Knickers” is a bit of a mouthful. It doesn’t exactly roll smoothly off the tongue. In a thousand years, I’d assume there would be some linguistic drift or at least a simplified version. As it stands, the oath comes across as more of a silly colloquialism than anything a normal Thedaian would use in everyday speech. Plausible, but not common.

Score: Half Swear (3.5)

🤬 Previous Raunch Reviews


Have a suggestion for Raunch Reviews? It can be any made-up slang word from a book, television show, or movie. You can email me directly with your recommendation or leave a comment below. I’ll need to spend time with the property before I’ll feel confident reviewing it, so give me a little time. I have a lot of books to read.


Giving Back Promo Results

Giving Back Promo Results

Because of the events of the last few days, I’m intentionally a little late with this report. As anyone who reads my blog regularly knows, for the previous few months, I’ve been running a special promotion. I reduced eBook copies of The Stars Were Right were down to a buck, and 100% of the profits were going to be donated to the World Central Kitchen. Well, June 1st has rolled around, and the promotion has ended. I am proud to say that with your help, we raised OVER $500 for the WCK. ($516.94 to be specific.)

I am stunned and beyond amazed. Pat yourself on the back! Thank you, thank you, thank you! That can buy a lot of food, and it’ll go a long way to help those currently struggling with food insecurity. Thank you to everyone who joined in the promo, helped spread the word, bought a book from me or just donated directly. You did a little good, and we made our world a better place, it’s no secret we’re facing some tough times, and your generosity is something of which you can be proud. This letter isn’t just for me, it’s for us:

WCK Donation Confirmation

(Yeah, I rounded up and offered to cover the card fees, so the WCK got more of our donation, that’s what the end amount is a bit higher.) If you didn’t get an opportunity to join in the promotion, you can still donate to the WCK. Just click the link below and give what you can. A little bit can go a long way.

DONATE TODAY

Follow the WCK on social media, they’re very active on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and you can get a glimpse at the noble work they’re doing. Want to volunteer? Details on how you can help are available here.

Photo via World Central Kitchen/WCK.org

FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: World Central Kitchen/WCK.org


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

The Conversation I Never Needed to Have

The Conversation I Never Needed to Have

Watch this.

I remember it happened twice. I was pulled over by the same Idaho State Patrol officer for speeding on the same quiet country road. I was 17/18 at the time; this was 1998/1999—I was easily doing twenty over the posted speed limit in both instances. My front bumper was sagging and broken in one car. (I later wrecked it.) The other was a rust bucket with a sour interior smell and only had one headlight. (I later sold it.) Both cars were a mess at the best of times. The first instance happened in the morning on the way to school. The latter late on a foggy night after a breakup. Same officer. Same infraction. Same road.

He let me go both times.

Why? Well, I could make a pretty solid guess. I’m white, and I’m male, and he was an occasional parishioner in my dad’s church. That’s privilege. I recognize this. Maybe not at the time but assuredly now as an adult. I never had a conversation with my parents like those in the video above. Sure I got the standard “respect cops” speech every kid receives, but nothing that compares. I never had the worry. I never had the fear. Never had the tears. I never faced that prejudice. That didn’t—it couldn’t—happen to me.

My skin color protects me. My gender protects me. My sexual orientation protects me. My status as a pastor’s kid protected me in both moments. That’s privilege. I didn’t have to worry about a broken headlight, reckless speeding, or a frumpy bumper being the sort of issue that could lead to my murder by the hands of police. I never worried about abuse. I never worried about spending the night in jail for doing next to nothing. Even now, the idea remains an alien concept. I’ve never had to fear police. I still don’t.

That’s privilege.

Growing up, it wasn’t a conversation topic in my home.

It shouldn’t be a conversation in anyone’s.

The fact it needs to is a travesty. If America is going to ever be great, it needs to start by being great for everyone.

Black. Lives. Matter.


FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: © 2016 PACIFIC PRESS


Buy The Stars Were Right Now for 99¢ and Give Back

The Stars Were Right 99¢ Give Back Promotion Ends Today!

It feels weird promoting this in light of everything that’s happened over the last few days, but here we are. Pretty much what the title says—today is the last day you can buy my weird little Lovecraftian urban fantasy novel, The Stars Were Right, for only 99¢—all the profits will be donated to the World Central Kitchen in their fight against food insecurity here in America and abroad. I’ll reveal the results tomorrow! (They’re quite exciting.)

Links to purchase the ebook are below. Already have a copy? Consider buying one for your friends or a family member who might want a little escapism right now.


Kindle • Kobo • Nook • Apple Books• Google Play • Gumroad


I am also aware that many are facing severe economic instability. One in four Americans is out of work. For them, perhaps you, money is tight. If your interested in reading my book but can’t swing the 99¢, you can also download the book for free. (I’m serious.) Use the Gumroad link above and set the price at zero and bam, it’s yours. On me. Like the promotion, this will also end tonight. So don’t delay!


What if I want to help, but really don’t want an eBook?

No pressure! If you want to help but aren’t interested in my book, you can donate directly to the WCK by clicking the link below. They have options for a single donation, or you can become a monthly donor. It’s a phenomenal charity which I detailed in this post.

DONATE TODAY

Want to help in other ways? Follow the WCK on social media, they’re very active on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook, and you can get a glimpse at the noble work they’re doing. Want to volunteer? Details on how you can help are available here.

Photo via World Central Kitchen/WCK.org