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Artificial Preview

For those who like to snag an early glimpse, I’m posting a draft of the Prologue to the third book in The Other Universes series, Artificial Stupidity. For the rest of you, I thought you might appreciate the warning.

I’ve just started work on the book, so I can’t provide many details. I can, however, offer a sneak peak that explains the title. If you are one of those people who either can’t wait, have an unhealthy amount of curiosity, or just like to click links, I’ve posted the Prologue on Wattpad.

This book will bring the major storylines to a close, completing what began in Reality Challenged and Blithering Genius. I hope to see some of the characters again as they spin off from this trilogy.

If you care to do so, I would love to hear your thoughts on the Prologue, characters, or things you’d like to see happen in this book. Who knows? You might get your wish.

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Facial Deforestation

It wasn’t Global Warming, the Ozone layer, or the fear of another shark/weather related movie. Now that the work crews have left, the trucks have hauled away the debris, and the dust has settled, it’s time to face reality. I shaved off my beard.

You might want to sit down. I’ll give you a moment. Here, I have a bowl of Cheetos and raisins for you. Feeling better?

It wasn’t hot, itchy or telepathic. Well, it might have been, but it didn’t talk to me. It was, however, multi-colored, forged out of rusty nails, and it attracted Blue-Fanged Skerlags from Mutiloid 3. Well, it probably would have if they weren’t so far away and in the midst of a zombie flea outbreak. I tried lectures, time outs, and even beard conditioner, but it just ignored me and controlled the neighbors. I’m not sure about that last part since I’m not all that neighborly.

No matter how I trimmed it, the beard never looked good. It had all the flexibility and comfort of spiked steel rebar. It twisted in nonsensical directions for no discernible reason. The gray, brown and black striping made me look like Skunkman. While, I’ll admit, that sounds a bit intriguing, it wasn’t as cool as you might think.

I really tried to make this thing work. I took it out in public on walks. Well, I drove, but it could have walked if it had wanted to do so. With great patience, I waited for it mature, hoping for a day when we could enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship. At first, I tolerated its annoying tendency to grab food, but its insatiable hunger and selfish cheese poaching became too much to bear.

Finally, I accepted the fact that this could only end one way. One of us would have to shave off the other. Since I would prefer to be the shaver rather than the shavee, I hacked it off early in the morning, before it had a chance to steal some of my coffee. It didn’t go quietly. The street in front of my house filled with neighbors holding pitchforks and torches. Well, it might have. I didn’t look outside. Anyway, I ignored the threats, pleading, and transmissions to Mutiloid 3. With a final flick of the razor, the deed was done. Afterwards, it was a tad disconcerting when the beard leapt up, raced outside, and shouted, “Free at last!” Well, it might have. I was busy enjoying some coffee, so I missed it.

I won’t miss the beard, even though I liked the idea of the beard. I guess I’ll never be able to grow it out enough to do a comb-over or tie it in a bow on top of my head. I suppose those are looks I’ll just have to imagine for now. I suspect a character will soon venture forth in one of my stories with just such a beard.

I hope my actual beard doesn’t come after me for copyright infringement. I’ll put in a call to Mutiloid 3 just in case they need directions.

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Deforested Bubba

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Un-Advice

Sometimes, I’m asked for advice. Most of the time, however, I’m not. Go figure. All of that advice just bubbles and festers, waiting on an inquiring mind (or one without a sense of self-preservation) to ask for it. After waiting for several decades for someone with a dangerously over-developed curiosity to ask, I’ve begun to realize that it’s just not going to happen.

I know. You’re probably just as stunned as I am. Don’t worry, though, because I’ve thought of the perfect solution. I’ll assume that you asked. I’m sure you meant to do it. I’ve got you covered.

I call it Un-Advice and I’ve created a category for it on this blog. I’ll post some random pearls of wisdom which may infest your life and help me to clear out some of the mental toxic waste I’ve been hauling around. Here are some examples.

“Humans are red meat, but we taste more like pork. Researching this can raise eyebrows. It’s a good idea to realize that when conducting research for a story, not everyone will share your enthusiasm.”

“Creative problem solving is based upon the concept that most people are hopelessly incompetent. Never assume that anyone else did their job properly. Sure, they might have, but the odds are not good.”

“People. There’s just no excuse.”

“Learning about Electricity at a conceptual level is different from licking an electric fence. Some lessons are only learned through acts of unbelievable stupidity. The question is whether or not one chooses to learn by observation or participation…”

“If you agree to review a book, you should pay an appropriate amount of attention to it. Skimming a book, glancing at pages and flipping through it in order to spend as little time as possible on it is a bit like texting throughout a movie and then complaining that you couldn’t get into it. If you put in the effort and still don’t like it, at least you’ll know that you gave it a chance.”

“Just because melted cheese gets stuck in a beard, does not mean that one must give up pizza when one grows a face blanket. I mean, we’re talking about pizza. One can always wear a facekin (It’s like a napkin, but for your face.) Hey, I didn’t write the rules for dining etiquette in polite society.”

There you go. You’re welcome. You see? This is what happens when you let un-advice spoil in my head. You’re probably rethinking that decision not to ask for advice now, aren’t you?

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Bubba Bits

They’re not all the same. Some are crunchy and have that, “I probably shouldn’t have done that,” flavor. Others may be wiggly and squishy and have tendency to slide all around in disconcerting ways. Every now and then, you end up with one that’s got a smokey, mesquite flavor

I just posted the first scene from a short story / novella that is currently being fried on the stove. It’s still hot, so don’t burn yourself. I put it on Wattpad so you can have a taste. http://www.wattpad.com/story/69089976

This story follows Boomer and his new (albeit less than thrilled) companion, Katy Lynn. There are crop circles, a missing truck, whispered tales of alien abductions, a mysterious disappearance, and a deep dislike of foolishness. Something strange happened more than 30 years earlier and Boomer hasn’t been the same. Working his ranch and patiently waiting for an unlikely return, Boomer never left the prairie until now. The search for his truck may force him to do the unthinkable. He may have to leave his old life behind.

Okay, I said it was hot, so don’t look at me like that. Here. Drink some iced tea. Yes, I’m going to make more, just hold your horses. When your mouth has cooled off, you can try it again. I’ll let you know when there’s more. Go on, now. Don’t make a pig of yourself.

Blithering Genius

A Profound Nonsense of Relief

Time has come. You can probably hear the bells on her hat. Now that she’s here, I feel a profound nonsense of relief. It’s April Fool’s Day and that can only mean one thing. Well, I suppose it can mean other things as well, but it primarily means only one thing. Blithering Genius, the second book of The Other Universes series, has been released.

No, it’s not an April Fool’s joke. It actually exists. The jingly hat on your head may or may not be virtual, but the book is real. It comes in three versions, eBook, paperback, and mental. Here’s a picture of the first two.

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The mental version is installed as you read one of the other two versions. Think of it as the electronic copy of a movie you have on a disc. It’s actually nothing like that, but think of it anyway. Anyway, the great thing about the mental version is that the characters tend to leave the confines of the book and make themselves at home in your brain. They lose the remote, eat snacks, and nestle into remote corners for naps at odd times. They hang out with characters from other books, jump out and scare your nightmares, and tickle the inside of your skull. Sure, sometimes they’ll wake you up in the middle of the night by playing too loudly with your subconscious, but they apologize and quiet down again. Of course, then you’ll wonder what trouble they’re getting into, lurking around in the darkness beneath your conscious awareness, and you’ll turn on all of your mental lights and climb up on the furniture just to be safe.

At least, that’s the way they act in my copy. Your experience may differ. Just a moment. Time is flipping over her hourglass and the skulls inside are miming walking downstairs. I think that means that I need to wrap this up.

Blithering Genius was a great deal of fun to write and I am excited to be able to share it with you at last. The book is available at all of the usual eBook retailers, along with a pair of short stories and the first book in this series, Reality Challenged. Book 3 is being planned now, along with a group of short stories. There’s a lot more to come.

Here are some links to some of the sites where you can find Blithering Genius.

Amazon USA Smashwords iBookstore Barnes and Noble Kobo

(The Author is not responsible for any damage to a reader’s mental structure, concepts, furniture, plant life, pets, fears, hopes, ideas, or snacks caused by imaginary characters in the reader’s brain.)

Blithering Genius

4-Dimensional Bubba Book

Not content to exist in only three dimensions, the paperback version of Blithering Genius jumped back in time. I think a certain fish was involved. Anyway, for those who prefer their blithering in a tangible, physical form, the paperback book is available a few days before its electronic counterpart. How is that possible? Well, the process involved a great deal of cheese. I remember a lot of electricity, high tech wizardry, and switch flipping, but I was distracted by the cheese. It was thick, creamy, and melty without being runny or charred. It had a slightly smokey flavor and just a hint of bacon. It was the sort of cheese that makes you wish your cheeks were larger so you could stuff more in your mouth at one time.

Where was I? Oh, yes. The printed version of the book. Even though the eBook is not available until April Fool’s Day, the paperback edition couldn’t wait and sprang into existence a little early. I know. I tried to say something about the laws of physics, the stability of the universe, and the linear perception of time, but my mouth was full.

I understand that some people enjoy their virtual reality expressed in a non-virtual, bug whacking format. I’m not endorsing insect brutality, you understand, but the thwacking functionality was incorporated to suit the needs of a certain segment of the bug whacking community. This book comes with a certain beefy thud sound that precedes the statement, “Dude, I thought that was a bug on the back of your head.”

I may have wandered off-topic. Anyway, the paperback edition is available now at Amazon and CreateSpace for anyone who wants to defy the laws of physics and get their copy early. If you do, I suggest enjoying it with copious amounts of melty cheese, especially if it is served on a burger with a dangerously excessive volume of bacon. I’m talking about the thick cut hickory smoked crispy bacon. I know some people prefer wiggly over crisp, but I like mine crunchy and crackly. More accurately, I like it crisp, crunchy, crackly, and smothered in hot melty cheese.

Where was I?

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Impending Blither

It’s almost upon us. Denial won’t do any good. The Ides of March have fallen and April Fool’s Day looms closer.

We can take a few moments if you’d like to enjoy a brief bit of panic.

Feeling better? While there are a number of different possible ways to deal with such things, I have chosen to embrace it. The manuscripts have been formatted and uploaded. Preparations have been made. Jingly hats lie in waiting. Very soon now, Blithering Genius will be unleashed upon the world.

We can take a few moments if you’d like to enjoy a brief bit of panic.

Are you finished? How else would you prefer to spend April Fool’s Day? There’s the usual descent into madness and nonsense: pranks, jokes, and politics. Instead, it seems to me that nothing really encapsulates the essence of the day more than a new Bubba book. Do you hear the sound of mad cackling, crashing universes, and the scritching of tiny legs? Look at the clock. Time is running out. April Fool’s Day is almost upon us.

We can take a few moments if you’d like to enjoy a brief bit of panic.

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Profound Profundity

Several dictionaries define the word Profound as “intellectual depth or insight” or “difficult to understand / requiring deep thought.” When used with a capital P and a certain condescending tone, however, the word takes on some additional layers. Certain forms of art, (excuse me), forms of Art are more likely to be regarded as Profound. You can usually spot a Profound work of Art by the large and rather obnoxious cloud of pretentious delusions surrounding it. While we commoners may choke on the fumes, to those who style themselves as the Artistic Elite, it is the sweet Essence of Meaning. Periodically, they may descend from their exalted realm to dispense abstruse pearls of arcane wisdom to the unwashed masses. With elevated noses and a permanently etched sneer, they deign to address the underlings and explain mysteries beyond the intellectual reach of the wretched scum.

Obtuse poetry is their common tongue. In fact, when many of us see a poet prepare to recite some verse, we brace ourselves for a Pomposity of Profundity, a Deluge of Delusion, or a Surge of Sagacity. That may not be fair, but if the beret fits…

That being said, I think I may have just vaulted into the upper echelons of their ethereal existence. In my defense, it was an accident. I didn’t mean to create an art form, nor did I mean for this new form to be Profound. I don’t even have a beret or stylish slippers. I was writing a scene and one of the characters suddenly came out with a form of Art that just glistened with Penultimate Profundity. In fact, the gleam off of the rainbow unicorns orbiting the words blazed, stunning me into awestruck silence. While the full impact of this development can only be experienced in a live demonstration, the mere idea should be sufficient to shatter paradigms.

Mime Poetry. No, I don’t mean poems about mimes. I mean, Poetry acted out by a Mime. Imagine the Morass of Meaning. Descending the Imaginary Stairway of Regret, Straining to Walk against the Wind of Unrequited Longing, or ending up Trapped in the Invisible Box of Entropy are only some of the possibilities. Mime Poetry is the most exalted of the Performance Arts. Nay, it transcends the performance aspect and defies mere logical interpretations. It is Trans-Rational, and exudes a Reality completely unrelated to that of the rabble. It does not seek the finger snapping of adoring sycophants. It pays no attention to mocking or eye-rolling.

I know. Mind. Blown. I just picked up a new Beret of Bewilderment and a Monocle of Meaning. Since I am not yet accustomed to walking with my nose in the air, I will be wearing Bubble Wrap of Brilliance to avoid any furniture related accidents. In the event that I end up stepping on any of you, I’ll just say it now. You’re welcome.

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Cheesters, Earaffes and Snats, Oh My!

Anywhere there are things that Man was not meant to wot of, you’ll find a few lab techs with too much time on their hands. Most tales of Science Gone Wrong hinge on that moment when a sub-basement dweller wonders, “What if…?” Inevitably, they will be aided in their ill conceived plot by a pair of colleagues whose eyes twitch in time with the blinking yellow fluorescent lights and who share their friend’s inadequate grasp of cause and effect.

I’m writing a story that includes a world where genetic engineering passed the point of no return long ago. In the ongoing quest to create animal hybrids without any concept of the consequences, they’ve combined animal DNA that was never intended to play in the same petri dish. Some of their creations are rather harmless. Relatively, anyway.

Cheesters are cheetah-hamster hybrids. Combining the endurance and love of spinning wheels of a hamster with the size and speed of a cheetah, engineers have finally managed to create a specimen that prompts the question, “Why?” An unfortunate incident involving a door that had been propped open with a vacuum cleaner resulted in the almost complete loss of the slothalope population.

Earaffes are, obviously, a cross between eagles and giraffes. Rarely seen in the wild, surviving scouts have returned from the mountains to warn the public not to venture into earaffe territory if they packed a salad for lunch. Beautiful, graceful, and regal…None of those terms describe the earaffe. Vegans refer to them as
“ruthless, selfish, and way too impressed with themselves.” The reality is that there is something genuinely awe-inspiring about the sight of a small flock of long necked, winged earaffes diving out of the clouds into a pack of hikers intent on communing with nature.

Snats, though, are one of the most insidious creations. Snake-cat hybrids, designed by lab techs who had never had pets of their own, were intended to be the ideal house pet. “People like furry animals,” the techs reasoned. “They like having their pets sprawl on them. Having a pet that can hang on to you while you move around the house allows you to keep your hands free, while cuddling with a furry bundle of love.” While the engineer responsible for the creation of the snat was never found, rumor has it that his pet had been observed with a large bulge in its mid-section. Snats love to coil around their owners, purring and cleaning themselves with a long pink forked tongue. The beasts are especially fond of pouncing on guests from between the couch cushions, licking the back of one’s ear when one least expects it, and dropping from a chandelier to land on a pair of shoulders. Snats love to curl up and nap during the day anywhere a sunbeam can be found. At night, they tend to slither under blankets and remind their owner of their presence.  Their playful nature prompts them to ensnare ankles at the top of the stairs, lurk in the shadows, and stare deep into their owner’s eyes as if to say, “Soon, this one will be fat enough…”

All of that makes me wonder. How would you feel about having a snat for a pet? Is it adorable or creepy? Creepable? Either way, I suspect that the internet would sag under the weight of snat videos. I just hope that there’s no one reading this in a lab somewhere thinking, “What if…?”

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Having a Time

Everybody’s saying it. It’s that time of year. On the surface, it might seem that people are arbitrarily pruning the branches of your decision tree without your consent. If you interact with people in some capacity, you may experience this yourself. Sooner or later, someone will order you to “Have a Happy New Year.”

I know, right? What if you had planned to have a miserable year? You may have spent the last several months designing schemes, honing skills, and researching techniques intended to allow you to experience a horrible year only to have your plans thwarted at the last moment by a cheerful well-wisher. What are you going to say? “No, thanks. I’d rather suffer in melancholy despair.” People don’t usually say that, even though they are determined to do it. Instead, it seems to me that many people assume that the new year will bring events into their path and they are offering a weak, unsubstantiated hope that some of them won’t be too awful.

Ask any experienced time traveler and they’ll tell you that there is a big difference between passively watching times and epochs pass by and actively participating in them. For those who immerse themselves in a particular moment in time, their choices center on how they will respond to events rather than choosing the event itself. There is the sense that the event is of less significance than the attitudes, reactions and decisions of those who experience it.

Temporal Jellyfish seek to passively ride the currents of time, waiting to see what events may drift past them. Their experience of time is radically different from those who embrace the timestream and dive into the current. Chrono-Observers will never truly understand time to the same degree as those who are temporally enmeshed. While those of us who dwell within the confines of time may occasionally chafe at its bonds, we are gifted with a unique perspective of this realm. We may not be able to choose the events we encounter, but we have the incredible ability to choose how we will experience them.

For those of us staring into the depths of 2016, with whatever events may lurk ahead, we will choose the time we will have. For this reason, I hope you have a Contented, Joyful, Humble, Caring, Peaceful and Wise New Year, if that’s what you want. I wouldn’t want to limit your options.

Have a time.