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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Greetings, Bearers!

As I mentioned before in this blog, I’m a glutton for punishment, as I’m not only working on the Vein series, but also preparing a short story collection for publication.  I’ve essentially finalized the stories to be included in Alternate Endings, but thanks to a student of mine there may be a bonus story included.

All because of a little inspiration.

It’s amazing where inspiration can strike you, and in what way it manifests itself.  Ask any handful of authors, and they’ll give you a diverse account of situations in which inspiration came to them, sometimes without rhyme or reason.    

Stephen King remarked that his short story “The Mist” (originally incorporated into the collection Skeleton Crew) came about because he was in the grocery store buying hot dog buns.  His imagination took off in the form of a dinosaur-like creature flying through the aisles, and time at the typewriter filled in the rest of the details.

Ray Bradbury took his inspiration for The Illustrated Man from a fellow covered in tattoos, and the ambitious author decided to capture several of those images and make up stories concerning each one. 

This is what inspiration is like.  It’s basically letting your mind wander to the ends of the earth (or to another dimension) and discovering either what’s there or what could be there.  It can come at the oddest of times: at work, at church, in the shower, while you’re arguing with somebody, or any other odd time.  It’s taking the familiar and turning it into the unfamiliar through adding a little twist or wrinkle, making reality surreal by taking one card away from the deck and dealing a hand to your protagonists and antagonists, letting the game play out. 

It’s what makes writing fun.

And a student of mine reminded me of this.  She told me about something her friends did for fun at her house, running around outside playing a game called Ghosts in the Graveyard. I never played the game (you don’t play a game like that when your older cousins have a wicked sense of humor!), but I knew enough about it to get the gist of what they did.  So I took that information, tucked it away, and went along my business, in hopes of pulling it out and working on it later. 

Apparently, it has a mind of its own.

So there I was, cleaning up in the shower, when this student’s tale came back to me.  No sooner did it come to me than the tale morphed into a sudden story, plot and all, just dropping into my lap, arranging itself into a story that was quite nice to ponder. 

All because of inspiration.

So because of that little spark of inspiration I received, I might be adding another story to the collection, depending on how long it takes me to write and edit it.  Meaning that I, the author, have the benefit of mapping new corner of a nightmare, and that you, the reader, will have the benefit of following my charted course!

Thank God in heaven for inspiration 😀

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Greetings, Bearers!

Decisions, decisions, thrust upon us.  On the one hand, we have political decisions abounding.  We have Republican candidates on the one side (of which I am not fond, save perhaps for Ron Paul-yes, I am letting a little of my political persuasion show), a sitting Democrat incumbant on the other side (of which I am even less fond), a screwy bill being passed through Congress that’s more akin to the Spanish word for soup than it is akin to anything intelligent or meaningful (And the funny thing about it is that no citizen on ANY political side seems to like it, yet the politicians on EVERY side are pushing for it.  Strange days…), and Newt apparently wanted an open marriage.

Can’t we just vote “None of the above” like Richard Pryor suggested in the movie Brewster’s Millions?

Just a little sidenote here: I have political principles, but as a general rule I’m not going to permit this blog to turn into a political rant scene.  For starters, my purpose as an author is primarily to entertain, not to propagate politics.  Nor do I like to turn my stories into platforms for promoting “Conservative talking point X” or “Liberal talking point Y.”  We’ve got too many people already ruining good stories with their insertion of activism and politics into their plots.  I’m not going to do that.

Also, to be point blank honest, I’m simply burned out on all things political, and I’ve caught myself turning into a cynic.  Anybody who says that hypocrisy is only on the other side of the political aisle is being naive.  Too many people cheerlead their own political side as if their candidates can do no wrong, and don’t independently think outside of the partisan box of their own party.  Being around those people, regardless of their stated party affiliation, has left a bad taste in my mouth. 

So if you want to know my political thoughts, feel free to privately contact me and we can talk  about it.  But I won’t turn this blog into a partisan debate forum.  Besides, talking sports and scifi and fantasy is just more fun! 😀

Speaking of which, the other decisions we have to make: 49ers, Ravens, Patriots, or Giants?  In lieu of my beloved Packers falling to Eli Manning because apparently Dom Capers doesn’t know how to set up a defense against Hail Mary passes at the end of the first half (Not that I’m keeping track, mind you…), I really don’t have a dog in the fight, so to speak.  Plus, all four teams have Michigan players on their rosters, so I’m cool for the most part with whoever wins (although I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of Bill Belichik as a person.  Good coach; not very good at admitting he’s wrong.  See Spygate, 2007).  What I hope to see is a good game on the final night of pro-football, just like I saw at the final game this year between my beloved Wolverines and that school from Ohio.  Or like the basketball game that occurred a few days ago between my beloved Wolverines and that school in East Lansing :p

Aaaaaaaaanywayyyyyy…… another decision that I’ve been trying to keep up with daily is sticking to my New Year’s resolutions.  It’s not as easy to do as I’d like; as a matter of fact, I’m finding it easier to stick with my workout regiment than I am my writing regiment, in part because I can work out with noise and distractions, while my writing requires complete and utter silence (HA!) with the exception of an occassional motion picture soundtrack playing in the background for enjoyment.

But a kick in the rear is sometimes what I need, and it’s what I got yesterday from a fan.  He has persistently bugged me, contacting me about when the third novel is going to be finished, and I’ve been responding to him that I’m almost done for the past month-which is true, mind you, it’s just that the last part of a novel can be the most diffcult part to write.  So his persistence has been an incentive to me to finish this novel up as soon as possible, to get it done and ready for the readers to read. 

Thanks for that kick 🙂

So anyway, continue to read on!  Those of you who have provided me with feedback about the novels, thank you very much, and continue to spread the word about the Vein!  

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean 



Greetings, Bearers!

In keeping with my New Year’s resolution to get more done, I’m prodding myself a bit through putting up some sections of the omnibus I’m putting together for the Vein series.  So, in keeping with this, I plan on putting up something at least once a month from the omnibus for you to enjoy.  Keep in mind that this isn’t quite a finished product; I’ll be doing some polishing and honing here and there, but what you’ll be getting is essentially correct.  So here is January’s entry for the omnibus: the dreaded creature known as the Cloud Specter, which many of you my readers have come to love!  As always, let me know what you think!

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Cloud Specter-A Cloud Specter is a massive being enshrouded within a black cloud that occupies the skies of the Meridian.  When it desires to do so, the Cloud Specter can emerge from its billowing vehicle, dropping from the cloud in an inverted manner, so that anybody seeing it will see the creature standing upside down, with its feet planted in the black cloud that carries it.  The Cloud Specter has a body that is made from what has been described as “chiseled, swirling cloud,” as its body, though angular and defined, is alive with currents of cloud traveling across its surface, as if one were looking at cloud entrapped in a living statue of glass.  The creature’s face alone measures larger in length than the body of a full-grown Talusibat, devoid of a mouth, possessing a hint of something that should be a nose, and alive with a pair of blazing yellow rings that are set in the place of eyes.

It is unknown as to how many Cloud Specters occupy the Meridian, but the general consensus is that at least more than one exists, and some have speculated that as many as five may be roaming the Meridian heavens.  This uncertainty is due in part to the lack of information about the Specters given in any ancient texts, and even the Scrolls of the Sects say nothing about these heavenly giants prior to the War between the Sovereign and Balys-Crahly, which leads most to believe that the creatures either did not exist in their current form at the pre-war time, or that they acted in a way that was more recluse, thus the lack of attention paid to them.

 The Cloud Specters have prescribed circuits that they take through the Meridian, the most prominent and well-known of them being the one which traverses along the Meridian’s outermost area, not far from the Edge.  Lookouts in the perimeter cities of the Meridian have reported seeing the “boiling blackness” traveling along its regular route, independent of any contrary wind that might be pushing in a different direction.  

 A Cloud Specter is an extremely dangerous creature to encounter.  The visible presence of any Being on the ground is enough to cause the Specter to emerge from its cloud and pursue whatever or whoever may be on the earth below in an attempt to kill it by slamming it into the earth in the matter that a person might swat at an insect.  A Specter, once aroused by a Being’s presence, will chase down that being and attempt to kill him, but it should be noted that a Specter will not wander too far from its circuit and will break off any attack if the intended target escape’s the Specter’s “comfort zone.” This is not as easy as it may  sound, for it takes a Specter only one giant stride to cross a distance of more than fifty paces, and the Specter’s ability to move with such haste makes it almost impossible to outrun on foot.  Even on ha-bear or sand slither, escape is not guaranteed, and the intended target’s only chances for survival are to press on as fast as possible and hope that he is near enough to the edge of the Specter’s circuit that the creature will be dissuaded from giving chase, or to find a place to hide and hope that the Specter does not discover their location (as Clade was able to do).  In the city of Sarphyx, the aircraft pilots are discouraged from leaving the city limits, as their airships lack the ability to outrun any oncoming Specters, and also because the Specters seem to be drawn to any airborne object that is not a cloud.

 There is no known weapon capable of killing a Cloud Specter, although a surge delivered from a Sect scythe will cause a Specter visible discomfort and grant a momentary delay for anything in its path to try to escape.  All other weapons produce no effect; the Cloud Specter’s body simply absorbs the projectile or other attack and continues its own assault.  For this reason, travelers in the open Meridian are warned to not linger in one place for too long, especially if they are not familiar with the creature’s circuits.

Greetings, Bearers!

Just a little aside for you, HERE is a link of our jazz band, Anderson Bourque, doing a little rendition of the song “Yesterday” by the Beatles.  I’m the bass player, and I apologize in advance for you having to stare at me through the entire song!


Greetings, Bearers!

And the New Year is off to a rollicking start with a great Sugar Bowl game!  Couldn’t have asked for a sweeter victory, although I’d like to have seen Denard do a bit more running.  In fairness though, Virginia Tech did a heck of a job.  You have to admire their team.  So if you’re a Hokie and reading this, you have my respect and thumbs up!

The nicest thing for me about this week is that I’m getting back into the groove of regular writing again.  As much as I love vacation time, it can be a pain for me because finding a set block of time to write is actually more difficult than it is when I’m doing my regular work routine.  These people who live with me, they keep wanting my attention.  Acting as if they’re my family or something… 😉

So anyway, I’ve got a few resolutions to stick with.  Let me list them off for you:

1.) Finish up The Summoning of Kran as soon as possible, get it edited, and published for your enjoyment

2.) Get my cover for Alternate Endings and smooth out the rough edges on a story or two via my editor.

3.) Plunge headlong into the next novel in the Vein series

4.) Finish up a few short stories that I’ve started but put on the back burner

5.) Get a whole lot more put down for the upcoming omnibus

6.) Finish up a little sports-related top secret project I’m also working on

So I’ve got a little bit on my plate, but that’s a good thing for me.  Keeps my mind sharp, my fingers nimble, and my imagination somewhere in the clouds! 😀

Before I sign off, let me give another shout out to those of you who purchased my books over the Christmas season.  Thank you so much!  Don’t hesitate to contact me and let me know what you think!

Alright… Time to resolve!!!

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean