OH THE HUMANITY
My computer done broke.
With the loss of my computer, I’m scrambling to keep on top of work-related things. Which, translated, means:
With only one week remaining of book one of Snow and Smoke… we have an unscheduled hiatus. I should be able to get on top of things by the week following, though.
In the meantime, enjoy Brandon’s Space Ninjas. They’re dreamy.
by Michael R. Underwood
Ree works as a barista, with hopes of her screenplays getting bought down in LA. She’s a hardcore nerdgirl, which matches the place she works: not only coffeeshop, but also gaming shop and comic shop on top of it. Her boyfriend also just broke up with her.
And then the strange man in the duster rushes in, begging to purchase a certain graphic novel. She sells it to him – a pretty standard novel, at that – and he rushes out of the store. And soon there’s a BOOM.
The BOOM changes everything. Ree falls into a world where your genre defines your abilities, where great nostalgia comes with great power, and what you watch becomes what you can do.
Her mentor leads her as they seek to prevent the next in a wave of suicides. Along the way she battles trolls, bromancers, fake werewolves and fellow geekomancers. Oh, and the Dork Lord of Pwn. She encounters time-displaced chivalry and great betrayal. And in the end, hopefully, maybe, possibly, she might keep her job. Continue reading
Tom perched in the branches of a tree and peered through a set of binoculars at Stacia’s house. Through the windows he could see shapes moving, but he wasn’t sure who they were. They were zombies, for sure; they didn’t have the sleekness of movement he had come to recognize as ninjas.
Over the last week the ninjas had changed shape rapidly. It had become difficult to tell the difference at first glance between a zombie and a ninja, unless they moved. Mr. Gunderson had explained that the creatures – of course, they weren’t really ninjas – were changing, adapting to the blueprint of the lifeforms they were making contact with. Humans. But they still retained their native flexibility.
In other words, don’t get too close, or you might get a ninja hand to the face. Then you become a zombie.
Like Mr. Gunderson.
“You need to go. If you stay here, you’ll never leave this room.” Sareh tried looking Ffenyi in the eyes, but the older woman kept evading her. “Do you understand me?”
Ffenyi frowned. “I do. But I have just found the cure for the curse, and I need to know so much more.” She considered and looked past Sareh to Aaron. “What about him? Can he come with me?”
Aaron and his sister talked quietly. Mavin shook as she gestured. Aaron chuckled through a cough.
Sareh bit her lip. “I don’t know. You’re farther along than he is, but he’s been laid out on that cot for a long time. He might not have the strength to walk out of the Pits.”
Djellian loomed over them. “You have found a cure?”
Ffenyi looked up to her husband. Their gazes met. The stared into one another’s eyes.
Djellian turned to Sareh. “Friend Sareh, this man must come with us if he is able.” He paused. “You say leaving the city would help Ffenyi. Would the same thing not help this one?”
“Yes. It would,” a younger voice cut in. Continue reading
Sareh pummeled Danal as curled into the fetal position and coughed up blood. “What do you think you’re doing? You were supposed to be gone already! You knew if you stayed longer you were going to hurt yourself!”
Danal sputtered through coughs, “There’s the Sareh I remember.”
Djellian watched the proceedings without a flicker of emotion. “Friend Sareh. I must return to my wife. You said you needed me.”
Sareh breathed heavily as she glared at her brother. “Yes. Give me a moment to load up the files.” She stalked back toward the counter near the front hatch.
Djellian looked down at Danal as he alternated between laughing and coughing. “Friend Danal. You laugh, though you are near to death. As you face the weight of the curse, do you not fear?”
Danal chuckled in confusion through his pain. “Curse?”
“You will soon die, if I am to trust Friend Sareh. And should you die, you will fall in the endless ocean, the weight ever growing on your body, though it shall never succumb to the pressures. Do you not fear losing sight of the Sky?”
Danal shook his head and wiped blood from his chin. “Look, I can’t afford to be afraid of death or whatever junk people make up for after.” Continue reading
Aaron spoke the Story to her:
Before the snow cursed the ground, before the smoke blotted out the sky, before the clouds hid the sun, there was a Garden.
The Garden was good. Two people lived there, working it, growing it, living together. It was so warm they needed no coats, nor even clothes. They did not know what shame was. Nor pain. Nor sorrow. They walked with the Creator, the one who had planted the Garden. They knew only good, for they knew the Creator face-to-face, the one who put the sun in the sky as it was meant to be. They knew only the warmth of his heart, and they returned that warmth from their own hearts.
A serpent befriended them. The serpent told them there was something better than the Garden. A place where the man and his wife could know more. They would know a thing called “evil.” They would know a thing called “cold.” And this knowledge would make them equal to the one who had created the Garden. All they had to do was take something their Creator had told them not to take. It was such a little thing, and it would give them so much.
And so the woman took some. And she gave some to the man.
And their eyes were opened. Continue reading
The sticks flew out of Mr. Gunderson’s hand as a black shape swooped between the four of them. “Watch out!” Tom yelled. He thrust out both his arms and pushed both Stacia and Stevie out of the way.
“Space ninja!” shouted Stevie.