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Greetings, Bearers!

So, my coaching leaves a little to be desired.  But you know what?  My girls had fun, and so did I.  It was quite the learning experience coaching a powder puff team, one that I’ll remember as being a highlight of my time as a teacher.  If you have the means, I highly recommend trying it out.  It’s a blast.

On a sports-related level, it’s also made me appreciate how much work the big guys like Harbaugh, Saban, and Meyer put into their craft.  They have a lot of micro-managing to do as head coaches, even while delegating authority and duties, and it really is a full time job. So, while I’m hardly at their level, I have received a small glimpse of what they do, and perhaps on Saturday afternoons I’ll be a little less quick to snap when a coach makes a decision that brings about a less-than-desirable outcome.  It’s not the same thing seeing the game from the sideline as it is seeing it from the comfort of your armchair at home.

Anyway, I have a little more writing done, and hope to get Surrealities, part 4 out sometime soon, maybe even before Halloween.  And while I did have to sacrifice a bit of effort and attention from working in the Vein, that will no longer be the case.  I’ve missed my adventures with my friends in the Meridian, and need to see how they’re doing.

Not too well, I hope😀

Anyway, to those of you who are new to my works, let me say hello and a thank you for taking an interest in my stories.  If you’ve liked them, pass the word on to others!

Okay, back to writing.  Or licking my chops for future Michigan football matchups.

Or, maybe both.

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Greetings, Bearers!

I’m still alive, working, writing (never will quit writing), and coaching!  Yes, that’s right: I’m putting my money where my mouth is.  I’m coaching a high school freshman girls’ flag football team.  Okay, so it’s not my beloved Michigan Wolverines (who are doing great so far), but it’s still coaching, and with the assistance of a couple of helpful fellows from the boys’ football team I’m putting this thing together for a game two weeks from now.

I’ve never coached a day in my life.

So pretty soon here we’re going to see if I’m Jim Harbaugh or Jim Tomsula (if you know anything about 49ers football, you’ll get that reference).

But new things will be coming soon.  So spread the word about what I’ve already got out there and what’s to come!

In the meantime, I think I’ll keep a journal/diary of my coaching.  And maybe I’ll share it, if I feel confident enough.

Or not😀

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Greetings, Bearers!

I’m just rolling them out today!  I have another free short story for you to enjoy, entitled “Paper Planes.”  Click on the cover below to check it out!

This one is more of a “magic realism” type of fantasy than anything else I’ve done.  Just an everyday situation with an odd and wonderful twist.  I hope you enjoy it, and if you like it, let me know and let others  know as well!

Alright, more to do, and always more to enjoy.  Keep reading, and I’ll keep writing!

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean


Greetings, Bearers!

And now for the moment of truth.  I’ve finished my Game of Thrones fanfic piece, and am bringing it to you for your enjoyment.  This piece is called “Bastards’ Road,” and is a slice of life beyond King’s Landing that takes place between the fourth and fifth seasons of the show, with three original characters. It’s down below, under my signature.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  This was a particular pleasure for me to put together, and it was my attempt to create a scene beyond what we see in the novels and television show as to what might be happening in the land of Westeros.

Of course, please feel free to give me feedback.  And if you liked it, it’s yours to take and pass along to others!

With that, I’m going to be steering the majority of my focus back toward writing the Vein novels (not that I haven’t at all, but I’ve divided my attention between the Vein and other things, including this short story).   As it and other creations become finalized, I’ll let you know!

And once again, before I go, a big thank you to those who have been reading and enjoying my other works, including the new short story “Thread. Bare.” (see two posts below this one).  It’s been getting some attention!  Feel free to share your thoughts about it and anything else I’ve written with me, or with other people (even better!).

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Bastards’ Road: GoTss

Greetings, Bearers!

Go get a cup of your preferred beverage.  Let’s sit and chat for a moment.

Before I begin with my topic, I’d like to say thank you to all of you who recently downloaded my short story “Thread. Bare.” (see the below post).  It’s received a rather warm reception with good feedback.  Considering that even my daughter likes it, that’s a wonderful thing!  If you liked it, please do me the honor of telling somebody else about it!

And now, on to our talk…

Now, this post is geared mostly for you other writers/authors out there, but even if you’re nothing more than an aficionado of good writing, please feel free to sit in on this talk and comment as well. Many voices make for interesting discussions.

I’d like to talk a little bit about the Art of the Short Story with you, and specifically about the preservation of that art.

You see, when you hear about bestselling fiction books, you generally associate those sales with novels.  And that’s understandable: people like a well-developed story with well-developed characters, and a novel provides the perfect place to do that.  After all, the greater amount of time, space, and words that an author has, the more easily those elements can be spread out and used in greater quantity.  And if you’re one of the authors out there (like me) who likes to write novels, more power to you.  Keep writing them.

But I’d also like you to think about diverting at least some of your energy to the short story.

You see, while the novel has the advantage of length, the short story, when properly crafted, possesses the opposite advantage: that of brevity.  It’s a condensed segment of a larger world, much like the difference between a still photo and a full-length motion picture feature.  Yet when properly written, the short story can tell just as complete a story as any novel, sometimes even more completely.  A reader reading a well-penned short story can come away with as much developmental satisfaction as (s)he would with a full novel, and do so within a condensed portion of time.

To carry the snapshot vs. film analogy even further, consider the paintings of Norman Rockwell.  If you’ve ever looked at his work, you don’t just see a still shot; you see a still shot of life happening.  You see people who aren’t stopping for a portrait.  Instead, they’re frozen while in the process of moving, talking, acting, interacting with each other and the environment.  And your mind, whether or not it intends to, fills in the gaps of the situation with your own contrived stories.

For example, consider this Rockwell sample from The Saturday Evening Post. Look at it and tell me what’s happening.  Who catches the boys in the middle of their swimming party?  How long had they been there?  Note the boys that are half-dressed: did they do that as soon as they got out of the lake (or was it a river?  Who says it can’t be a river) or did they scramble ashore, snatch their clothing up, and stuff feet into shoes and arms into sleeves while in the process of running for their lives?  What about the dog?  Did the dog bark and give away their little getaway to a passer-by?  Was the person who caught them somebody they knew? A parent? A policeman?  A group of people?  Is that person (or those people) standing there shouting, or chasing after them in hot pursuit?

Even as I write these questions and glance at the picture, my mind is putting together its own possible answers and sketching a story.  And the beautiful thing is that Rockwell makes us do all of this with a single painted picture.  We don’t need a movie, or even a short film clip, to put the story together.  Rockwell put things in motion, and with our imaginations we gave those things our own imagined starting points and destinations.

And we can do the same thing with our short stories.

Another advantage about short stories is the “hit-and-miss” probability that works in our favor.  One of my favorite authors, Ray Bradbury, while addressing an audience at Point Loma Nazarene University in California (see video link below) made this excellent point, which I will now paraphrase: You can spend one year of your life writing a bad novel; but it’s hard to spend a year of your life writing a short story a week and write fifty-two bad short stories.  The man is right, and I say that as somebody who likes writing novels as well.  The more you write, and the more various things you write, the more likely you are to put something out there that people will like (unless you’re just outright not trying to write well).

I’d like to throw out a little challenge to those of us writers/authors out there who like our novels, and it’s something I put myself under as well.  I challenge us to set aside a brief amount of time each day and try to craft a good short story.  Make it deliberate; don’t let it blossom into a novel.  Try to cap it, make it work within four pages or six thousand words, or whatever limit you want to place on it.  Try to do with your short story what Norman Rockwell did with his pictures: capture a segment of life in motion, and let that segment become a world of its own.

Immerse yourself in short stories.  Read Bradbury.  Read Stephen King.  Read Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman, Flannery O’Connor.  Go to your library, or local bookstore, or go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  Look up short story anthologies.  Read them.  Learn from the best and graft their techniques and styles into your own.  As Bradbury said: good writers borrow.  Great writers steal.

For myself, I doubt I could pull off Bradbury’s challenge of one short story per week.  But, I think I can try one per month.  Some of them I’ll post here for free; others I’ll make part of the Surrealities series on Smashwords, and will someday (soon I hope) compile them into a single unit of short stories for sale, like I did with Alternate Endings.  I’ll probably write novels between now and the day I draw my final breath in this world.  But I’m going to make the short stories a bit more deliberate and planned, too.

So give it some thought.  And please feel free to send me some feedback.

Thanks for reading this.  As a parting gift, I’ll leave you two links below.  One is the aforementioned Ray Bradbury  video.  The other is a video interview with Stephen King about short stories, which I believe you will find to be interesting as well.

Okay, enough prattle from me.  Can’t write when I’m writing… wait….😀

See you in the Vein!
J. Dean

Youtube: “An Evening with Ray Bradbury”

Youtube: “Stephen King on the craft of Short Story Writing”


Greetings, Bearers!

In between my other projects, I found time to write a quick little story that I hope you enjoy:  “Thread. Bare.”

I won’t give much about the story away, except that it was inspired by something Stephen King said during an interview (Here’s the interview, if you’d like to try to figure out where the idea came from before reading the story).

The story is free at Smashwords for a limited time.  If you like it, let me know and tell somebody else about it!😀  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Okay, back to work for me.

See you in the Vein (and anywhere else I might pop up!)

J. Dean

Greetings, Bearers!

Yes, I am alive! The family and I have been moving, so it’s been difficult for me to put up a blogpost.  Sorry about that.  Fortunately, moving will soon be done in the next couple of weeks, and now that I have internet for my Mac (after nearly seven months of internet limbo) I can start posting and writing more regularly.

In fact, I hope to have a special treat for you before the end of the summer.  I’m working on a Game of Thrones fanfic piece (in addition to the other things I’m working on) and hope to have it ready for you to enjoy!  I like writing fanfic pieces that delve into the lives of everyman characters in these worlds, perhaps to get a glimpse of what life might look like from the viewpoint of a commoner.  It’s been fun to write, and I’m looking forward to showing it off once it’s done.

Anyway… writing is still going, even though the move has been a bit of an obstacle (write or have furniture? Write or install washer and dryer?).  I’ve been stretching myself out with my college detective piece and the writing in The Vein, in addition to a little more nonfiction work.  It’s busy, but it’s a blast.

Alright… back to work.  And back to Westeros, before winter gets here!

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Greetings, Bearers!

While going through the internet, I happened upon a  very nice review of Clade Josso written by a young woman I happened to meet at RadCon by the name of J.M. Scheirer.  Check it out and enjoy!

Meanwhile, I shall dream of swimming pools while working in a non-air conditioned room.  Cold drinks, anybody?

See you in the Vein!
J. Dean

Greetings, Bearers (and others)!

You all know me as being pretty much a sci-fi/fantasy author, but today I’d like to talk to you about a different direction I’m taking with my writing.

As I’ve stated before, I’m a Christian, and while I don’t ram Christianity down the throats of others, so to speak, I won’t hide it either.  As a Christian, I take great interest in the so-called “worship wars” of the church, where the discussion between contemporary and traditional advocates centers around what is best for Sunday worship.

This has prompted me to write a book in my “spare time” (HA!) about the topic.  I’ve submitted the book to the Christian Faith Publishing Company, and the good news is that they like the book.  The bad news is that the initial cost of publishing, marketing, and distribution is a bit higher than I can afford at the moment😦

But there is good news.  I have started a Kickstarter campaign for covering the cost of the book, and I would invite you (especially if music in the church is a topic that interests you) to consider pledging an amount to help me in financing the cost of the book.   Of course, as a thank you, I’ll have a couple of nice offers for those who make pledges.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to quit the fiction genre.  I have too much fun writing in it.  But this is something I take very seriously, and I wanted to add my voice as one of clarity in this current debate about music (something that isn’t always heard from either position on the matter).  As enjoyable as fiction writing is, sometimes we have to switch gears and tackle more serious matters, especially when they can make a real difference for the good of others.

So check out the link below for more information, and please consider helping us out!

I’ll be putting some more updates out soon, both on this and the Vein world, so stay tuned!

See you in (or out of) the Vein!

J. Dean



(From left to Right:Chad, my son Connor, Dragon Dronet, and Yours Truly)

Greetings, Bearers!

As promised, I am now going to deliver a summary of my time at RadCon, during which time I will explain the details of the picture above.

In a nutshell, RadCon was a blast!  I spent President’s Day weekend there, working and resting in the luxurious Red Lion Inn in Pasco, Washington.  During that time, I got to witness firsthand some of the most incredible and detailed cosplay costume designs put together by fans of science fiction and fantasy.  While I know that some of the costumes were bought, others were clearly put together from innovative, homemade ideas and work, and I saw everything from Firefly (double thumbs up on the Redcoat outfits!) to furrys (which, I have to admit, make me a bit…. uneasy).  The interactions with the fans was wonderful, as the people I talked to were warm and friendly, and if you were one of the people I talked to during RadCon, I want to say that it was a pleasure meeting you!

I also met some great authors and scriptwriters who have put together awesome works, and have to admit that many of these men and women are probably skilled enough to write circles around me.  But it was great to pick their brains and engage in professional conversations with each and every one of them.  It’s my intention to put a list of these people up in the near future for your perusal, as the ideas and imaginations of many of these fine authors deserves to be seen and heard by lovers of great writing.

Which brings me to the picture at the top of my post.

The two fellows in the picture (excluding me and my son Conman) are Dragon Dronet and his pal Chad.  Dragon Dronet is somebody who has done extensive behind-the-scenes work on a great many movies and television shows, including the current Star Wars movies coming out.  The man is amazing.  His work involves the designing of armor and weapons, as well as having the honor of standing in as body double for Michael Dorn (Lt. Worf) from Star Trek: The Next Generation.  He is a trained martial artist and saxophone player as well.  In short, the guy is an all-around Renaissance Man, and it was the distinct privilege of me and my son to have an audience with him for the better part of two hours.  He was very engaging, very informative, and very friendly (as was his pal Chad, who from what I understand is also a phenomenal martial artist, and the talk of martial arts has been pushing me to get back into it again…).  Even offered us some very good chocolate chip cookies, packed for him courtesy of his friend’s wife for the trip!  Anyway, if you get a chance, check out Dragon’s online stuff.  You’ll be quite impressed with his work.  And I’m proud to say I know him now.  It’s guys like him that make the movies and tv shows we love look great!

So that was RadCon in a nutshell, and I loved it.  It’s my hope that I get to do something like this again and meet people like you all and Dragon Dronet again.  This was truly an enjoyable experience.

Okay, back to writing.  Keep reading, and see you in the Vein!

J. Dean