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Greetings, Bearers!

First, a shout out to the recent converts to the Vein series, who have obtained my works!  A big thank-you to all of you fans, both new and old! I hope you enjoy what you’ve been reading so far, and look forward to hearing from you!  Enjoy the stories and spread the word!

And now… for something a little different.  In-between the time spent writing the Vein novels and Surrealities short stories and Hutch Sheridan detective stories and even some non-fiction things, I’ve gotten an idea for a short fan fic piece, one that shouldn’t take very long to write.  This one won’t be put up on Smashwords or Amazon; only put up here later on as a pdf attachment to read for your enjoyment.  It’s in the stages of infancy right now, and in part you can thank my kids for it, as they’ve discovered a scifi show that’s quite iconic and enjoyable–for them and me.

I’m going to go now.  If you’re curious about it, look below my signature… and let your mind wander :D

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Heart of gold, in goodness be bold

Hold fast to the right and the true

Lest your soul be sold, and a tattle be told

And the Keeper one night comes for you

 

-A Gallifreyan bedtime rhyme

Greetings, Bearers!

I have another entry from the Vein compendium, another weapon used in the World of the Vein, this one coming from our beloved Juvan clan.  This one will be first making an appearance in The Summoning of Kran, due out this year.  Enjoy!

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Slipdisc-A slipdisc is a weapon of Juvan origin and is a common item found among many of the inhabitants of Al-Juva, although not all slipdiscs have the same capacities (see variations below).  Though not as rare as other weapons such as Fyryn warblades, slipdiscs are uncommon in the post-war Meridian landscape, and finding one is fortuitous, particularly if the weapon is in perfect working order.

 

The Juvan slipdisc is, as its name implies, a disc with a diameter and circumference that approximates the area of a Juvan palm in size.  The disc is tucked away into a sleeve which is secured around the user’s wrist with buttons, Velcro-type adhesive material, or (in the cases of lower end variations of the weapon) swaddled strips of cloth.  The sleeve is designed to be concealed beneath long-sleeved attire such as shirts or coats, thus providing the user with the element of surprise should the slipdisc need to be employed in unexpected times of need.  Threaded through the center of the disc is a durable, elastic cord, which prevents the wielder from losing the slipdisc during use.

 

 The slipdisc is activated by a quick flick of the user’s wrist, which in turn dislodges the disc from its sleeve and triggers the disc’s power core.  This is evidenced by a glow which covers the circumference of the disc itself, allowing the user to know whether or not the weapon is ready for deployment.  The color of this glow varies depending upon the type of slipdisc utilized and the strength and capacity of the core itself (see below).

 

Once the slipdisc is activated, the wielder uses it primarily (but not exclusively) through a variety of throwing techniques usually intended to bring the disc itself into contact with the intended target, after which the disc can be withdrawn back to the user via manipulation of the cord.  The number of techniques is highly diverse, and can involve anything as simple as an arcing attack (in which the user swings the weapon in a wide, circular arc) or a more complex technique such as a “whipsnap” (in which the user flings the disc straight out and quickly pulls the hand back, thus causing the disc to strike and retract in a manner similar to the tip of a whip).  Use of a slipdisc even with nothing more than minimal proficiency requires a considerable amount of time in practice, as its construction and mechanics make it a weapon of significant complexity.  Although the slipdisc sleeve renders the weapon harmless to its user in terms of power displacement, care must still be used in controlling the disc, as an inexperienced user can still experience self-inflicted bruises (and in some cases fractured bones or even concussions) due to negligent usage.

 

There are three particular types of slipdiscs.  The first type is a “null” slipdisc, which emits a dull, green glow on its edge.  This disc is more or less a practice disc and can do no real energy-based harm to any Beings it comes into contact with, although it is heavy enough when properly utilized to inflict painful blows due to its weight.  The null slipdisc is used by beginning users and in personal practice sessions.

 

The second type is the civilian-type slipdisc.  This model is characterized by the white glow on its edge, and can be found in larger models, with discs two to three times larger than the standard-issue disc.  The civilian disc carries an energy charge strong enough to render a Being unconscious, and can even be used to kill another Being should the disc be repeatedly struck against an already unconscious victim (although more advanced users have discovered other means of killing with the weapon through experimenting with different, unorthodox techniques).  This model is available to Juvan civilians in most cities, although some places require a competency test for obtaining one.

 

The third type is the elite-type slipdisc, available only to members of military and law enforcement.  This type, like the civilian, has different sizes of discs available, but emits an orange (or in some cases red) glow on its edge.  The elite-type slipdisc is the only type which can alternate settings between an attack which renders the target unconscious and an attack which can kill on contact.  Some models of the elite-type (usually military-grade models) also have a bladed edge which establishes them as being used solely for the purpose of taking life, and can also be modified to discharge a laser-type energy, enabling them to cut through some solid objects.     

Greetings, Bearers!
And finally, time opens up for me to reconnect with you :D  

First, some updates.  I’ve got Kran nearly ready to go now.  The major editing will be finished by the end of this week, after which I’ll be having it proofread in order to smooth out the rough edges.  And if everything goes well there should be some cover artwork to show you soon.

As for the Surrealities stories, the first set of those is going to be put up on Smashwords soon.  The stories are set; all I’m waiting on is finalization on the cover work.  I’m excited about doing the Surrealities stories, as they take me back to my Twilight Zone days when I used to watch reruns of the episodes on afternoon TV (and I’m STILL creeped out by the “Living Doll” episode, just to let you know). So while I’m hardly Rod Serling, I hope that you enjoy these little stories that will soon be ready.  I have quite a few in the works, and hope to have several published throughout this year.

As for Hutch Sheridan–I haven’t forgotten about him.  Those of you who’ve been curious as to his status will see him making his first appearance later in the year. Look for him to be walking the streets of Chicago in the summer.

Okay, back to work.  And as always, a BIG thank-you to those of you who have made recent purchases of my works.  I hope you enjoy them and tell others about them!

See you in the Vein!
J. Dean

And that’s all there is to say for now!

See you in 2014!

J. Dean

Greetings, Bearers!

Well, the good news is that I’ve got my work for Surrealities, Volume I ready, and I was able as well to finish up a short little fiction piece that I’ll be posting on Smashwords soon for a “name your own price” option.  The not-so-good-news is that the cover artwork that I’ll be using for these is taking a little  more time than normal.  For those of you who have voiced your patience, thank you.  I will get these out if it kills me… and it just might. :)

I wanted to throw out a couple of thoughts concerning writing with regard to the matters of plagiarism and ghostwriting.  In light of the fact that both have been talked about a little bit with regard to a Christian Minister who has been addressed for apparently doing the former, and possibly the latter (see HERE and HERE (first broadcast segment) for more information), I thought it apt to talk a little bit about it.

And in a nutshell, I despise both.

Plagiarism is flat-out stealing, and there’s no other way to present it.  That a professing Christian minister is accused of it (and as the evidence comes forward it looks as if there’s real substance to the allegation) is both personally embarrassing to me and publicly embarrassing to the Christian faith, and that is bad enough.  But stepping beyond Christianity for the moment, it is a serious breach of ethics for a writer of any sort to plagiarize in any way, shape, or form.   While it is inevitable that there is some overlap when it comes to writing stories, as the idea of conflict-to-resolution is a formula employed by pretty much every storyteller, it is terrible to think that a writer of either the fiction or non-fiction realm would intentionally steal from another writer and attempt to pass off the ideas of others as his/her own.  I will always denounce plagiarism, and will always strive to be authentic and original in my work.

Added to this is the concept of the ghostwriter.  While it is legal to have ghostwriters, I do not believe that it is ethical.  To paste your name on work that somebody else has done is disingenuous, particularly when the person taking credit for the work had little or no hand in writing it.

William Shatner once came clean about this in a Star Trek magazine interview, in which he plainly stated that, while he had input on the stories bearing his name and did do some rewrites/edits of the material he produced in conjunction with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, he clearly gives credit to them on the covers.  I have no problem with that, as the other writers are referenced on the cover, and Shatner is honest about the collaboration involved.

However, whereas Shatner is explicit about his co-authoring role, others have not been, and this is frankly disappointing.  To be honest, I put it in the same boat as plagiarism; whether or not it is legal, it is still misleading to put your name on a work of literature that you did not compose.  Or at the very least, it is disingenuous to  label solely as your work that which you did not write all by yourself.  If you want something written that bears your name, do it the right way: Write it!

Okay, enough about my rant.  I feel better. :D

I’ll be posting again soon, with more details about things to come.  Stay tuned!

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Greetings, Bearers!

I’m just about finished with my first installment in the “Surrealities” series, which consists of a pair of short stories being released on Smashwords.com for your enjoyment.  Prepare for an announcement of release soon!

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Greetings, Bearers!

In light of this being Halloween, I’m offering a discount good from now until November 8th for my short story collection Alternate Endings.  When you go to Smashwords to purchase my collection, enter the coupon CW95E and get fifty percent off!  Enjoy short stories of wonder and horror after your trick-or-treating is finished tonight!

I’ll be back in a couple of days with another update!  Be patient, my dear Readers! :D

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Greetings, Bearers!

I wanted to take a break from writing for the purpose of sharing a few thoughts with you concerning two different approaches to writing, something about which I’ve always wanted to throw in my two cents, and is being spurred on by the school calendar event commonly known by all educators in Michigan (and dreaded by them as well, for good reason) as the MEAP, which involves writing tests among other things (Not something I like to talk about myself, but feel free to shoot a message to me some time and I’ll give you all the gory details).

Generally speaking, writers can be broken down into two different groups: minimalists, and maximumists (Yes, that’s a made-up word, but you’ll get the idea as we go along).  The minimalist believes in doing more with less, taking the approach that fewer words should be used in the formation of thoughts.  The reasoning for this is that excessive wording 1.) bogs down the reader, and 2.) can actually strip the reader of the freedom of imagination (i.e., that the reader’s mental image is too hemmed in by an overabundance of detail).  They prefer stripped down versions of text, believing them to be more effective in delivery.

By contrast, the maximumist believes that “more is more.”  The maximumist believes that the reader deserves to be free access to every nook and cranny of the writer’s imagination, and as a result will put down as much as possible in order for the reader to capture the exact sentiment or description meant to be understood.  The maximumist, while acknowledging that there is a point where excessive wordiness and “gobbledygook” can hinder the reader, nevertheless puts as much detail into his work as possible in order to present a completed work to the reader, much in the same way that an artist details his painting with as much painstaking intricacy as possible so as to bring his portrait to life.

And as with all other things in life, debate rages on in the writing community as to which approach is more suitable for the writer to take, without any sign of a consensus arriving anytime soon.    As many times as you can see somebody championing the style of a minimalist like Hemingway, you’ll have an opposing voice given in praise of the verbose Faulkner  (and if you are not familiar with the works of either one, pick up something from both authors, and you’ll see what I mean right away).  That there is such a divergence on this issue makes for some interesting conversations among authors as to why they do or don’t prefer one side over the other.

Now, before I weigh in with my opinion, I first want to say that each viewpoint has it’s place in the craft of writing.  For example, if I’m reading a non-fiction article that is intended to persuade or inform, I generally don’t want a whole lot of unnecessary adjectives and adverbs.  My focus in reading non-fiction is for the author to simply “get to the point” and leave me alone.  I don’t like being strung along with a sort of “set-up” that turns a three hour read out of an informative piece that could get its point across in ten minutes.  Maybe that’s just me, but I’m pretty sure that similar thoughts about non-entertaining pieces of literature can be found among the readers of that genre.  Conversely, when I’m reading fiction for pleasure, I don’t mind a little bit of extra wordiness if it’s done for the sake of description.  Don’t get me wrong; useless prattle does nothing to further a story or develop a character.  But at the same time, I don’t necessarily want so much to be left to my imagination that I cannot conceive of the described person or thing in a clear and directed way.  Words can form boundaries, and those boundaries should shape the imagination in a way that gives the reader a distinct mental image (again, much in the same way that an artist’s portrait is painted for the benefit of the audience).

So, having said that, I’ve come to the conclusion that, when it comes to my fiction works, I prefer to  have a little bit of excess wording here and there, much in the same way that I like a little bit of excess weight on myself ;).  Again, without getting misunderstood here, I’m not saying that writers should babble to the extent of wearing down the reader.  But at the same time (and I confess that this may in part have to do with my growing up on his work), a writer like Stephen King who saturates his audience with detail does them a favor in that there is little ambiguity with regard to the image he wants to put in their head.  The places, the people, the monsters, the details–they’re all available for the reader to see, and that does wonders for immersing the reader in the author’s created world.

Plus (and this comes from my own experience), I’ve found that, when editing time comes,  it’s easier to overwrite and cut things out than it is to underwrite and have to add more later on.  When it’s time to take the stories to the “writing woodshed,” I find it far more feasible to take away than to add, should the situation call for it.  Again, while this may not work for every writer, the axiom that it’s better to have what you don’t need rather than to need what you don’t have seems to work far better in this situation.

So if you’re a writer who’s wondering how much to put down, my advice is to put it ALL down.  You can always trim off the excess fat later on :)

And speaking of excess fat… I’d better get to working out.  RadCon needs  to see a better J. Dean than they would now if the convention were today.

Alright, let me know what you think!

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

 

Greetings, Bearers!

No, I don’t mean “con” as in I ripped off some little old lady (BTW, hi mom! :D ).  I mean Con as in RadCon, a science fiction convention happening in the state of Washington.  I have been invited as a guest of honor for the upcoming 2015 convention, and have graciously accepted the invitation!

This is the first time I’ve ever done something like this, so I’m a bit excited and nervous at the same time.  Admittedly, I’ve got a lot of work to do before then: it’s nearly a year and a half away, but that time will pass before you know it (and before I know it!), so hopefully I’ll have some great goodies for all to partake of when I see you face-to-face!

Man… I wonder what I should wear.  If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.  I don’t exactly have the greatest sense of fashion (think Ford Fairlane meets the Joker.  I know… I had a hard time keeping breakfast down when I thought of it too).

Greatness and fun awaits!  And so does work… back to writing!

See you in the Vein… and in Washington in February 2015!

J. Dean

Those of you who are my loyal readers out in the Seattle area, I hope to see you out there!

Greetings, Bearers!!!! :D

The Fourth novel, The Summoning of Bherta Zakoti, is now written, and ready for the editing queue!!!!

 

Okay…. back to writing :)

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

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