The Foreland

Centuries ago, humanity mastered space travel only to find themselves alone in a quiet solar system. Everything changed when they encountered the Navigators, a species of aliens capable of teleportation. Not long after building a new home on a distant planet and surrounding it with satellite colonies, the Navigators revolted, leaving the colonies stranded on the far side of the Universe, with no contact with Earth.

Long after Earth has fallen into the realm of legend, agent Kenner Fense works for the Colony Defense Bureau, an organization claiming to keep the peace among the impoverished colonies while the wealthy and powerful isolate themselves on the planet’s surface. But Fense’s latest mission, which should have been a routine assassination, turns his world on its head when he meets a young woman named Ashes and her newfound friend, a captive Navigator.

Fense and Ash find themselves on the run from those who would use the creature’s power to do immeasurable harm, but it’s a small solar system with few places to hide. The chase brings out the best and worst humanity has to offer, and the only safe place to hide may be the only place no one knows how to find: Earth, the Foreland.

The Foreland comes out October 15th, 2021. Digital pre-order links below. Softcover and hardcover editions will be available in the next few weeks.

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Your Hands in Winter

Hey there. Hope you’re all doing well.

Three years ago this month, I released my first instrumental album. I’m still working on new writing and new music, but I found a lot of errors on that album, some on my part and some that cropped up while I was uploading it.

I’ve spent the last several weeks re-mixing that album and fixing those errors. You can find the newly-mixed A Handful of Dust on my Bandcamp page here: https://yourhandsinwinter.bandcamp.com/album/a-handful-of-dust

Frequent visitors will probably notice I changed my band name. I loved the old one very dearly, but due to certain circumstances it didn’t feel right for me to use it.

Further releases will be under my new band name, Your Hands in Winter.

Hopefully very soon.

Stay safe out there.

From Time to Time

I think about you, from time to time.
Grainy streaks of color stretch and fade
Cracked like long-dried paint
In a dusty corner of my mind
Where a beam of light
Emanates from a hole in a sun-bleached paper shade
And echoes of memories are traced
Into the many years of dust that have always gathered in,
And waited there suspended,
Eventually started settling
And come to rest in this place.

There I see, for once so clearly
Someone who reached out to me.
Saw that I saw the world differently.
Could’ve laughed or ran or hid but so graciously,
Unexpectedly,
Became a friend to me.

Well, thank you for everything.
I hope you rest in peace.

This Can’t Be All There Is

I’ve been sitting on this one for far too long, and I’m excited to finally put it out there.

This Can’t Be All There Is was originally intended to be both a poetry book and a fully recorded spoken-word album. I’ve dabbled in the idea in the past, but this time, I got close. Every song was demoed, and most of them were completely finished, save for a few touch-ups, and one major aspect: the vocals. I never was able to get my voice to a place I liked or could even stand.

But I’m proud of a lot of these poems, so the book is moving forward. The album might come someday. I still have a lot of work to do before I’ll know for sure.

This Can’t Be All There Is contains 27 poems:

Wilderness
The House You Built for Me
We Were
Someday Will Eventually Come
Still
Storms
Graveyard Shift
All My Favorite Songs
Come Back
Variables
At the End of All Things
Take Me Away
When I Went to Bed
This Can’t Be All There Is
Nowhere Road
Worry
I Live Here
I Need You, Summer
Shapes and Spaces
A Long Night’s Conversation
You Harbor
Worth
KALEIDOSCOPE
Noise
Just Passing Through
Hey Sunburn
My Forever

The book will be available November 15, 2019. Its cover might change before then. I’ll also post a selection of poems on my site before release. (Keen visitors will find that a few of them have already been here for years. I promise I didn’t shoehorn them in; they were always a part of this collection. Like I said, I’ve been sitting on it for too long.)

Pre-order the digital edition here:

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To start things off, here’s “Nowhere Road”.

Nowhere Road

Hey, weary traveler
Come with me tonight,
All you have to do is be a passenger.

You can recline your seat,
Roll down the window,
Maybe even get some sleep.

There won’t be anyone on the roads,
Because this is a direction nobody goes.
It’s a way that very few people seem to know,
And the ones who do know better than to take it.

I’ll take you somewhere the lines have faded
And nothing divides us, places
Go by like faces in a crowd,
Faded and drowned out.
You and I and sounds like
Tearing the sky.

I want to see the way the asphalt stretches toward the bottom of the glass,
And how surrounding towns burn down to ashes as we pass.
Watch the fog fight the defroster,
Turn our music up full blast.
And, for once, relax.

Your hands can ride the wind,
And when I want to scream I don’t have to hold it in.
In the driveway or out on the highway, we can cast aside our sins
And leave our virtues in the back seat with our vices and our whims.

If I drive fast enough,
Maybe you and I will blur together.
Maybe time stands still and lasts forever.
We can outrun our pain and all bad weather,
Catch storms in our eyes like your hair catches light.

Hey, innocent bystander.
Take me with you.
I’ll go anywhere your soul is aching to.

I’ll show you places they don’t put on maps,
Hold your hand across old railroad tracks.
We’ll go out to the edge of your heart and back,
Or over and fall forever, if you want.

Just take me somewhere the stars aren’t falling
The buses and cars stop calling
My heart isn’t walled up and cold,
Tone deaf and old.
Here we are and nothing,
No matter how far,
Can tear us apart.

The Afterglow

Hey there. I’m back again, and I brought another friend with me.

Everyone knows about the afterglow: When someone dies, their spirit briefly visits the living soul who meant the most to them, before quickly fading from this world.

Jake and Emma were normal teens in high school, until a tragic accident claimed Emma’s life. Jake’s understanding of the world is fractured when Emma’s afterglow appears before him—but somehow doesn’t recognize him at all.

Confused, depressed, and in a daze, Jake turns to Emma’s sister Elise for answers, and instead finds a bond unlike any he’s ever felt before. But Elise knows what Jake doesn’t, and the secrets Elise swore to keep could tear the two of them apart.

The Afterglow is a young adult coming-of-age story about ghosts, railroad tracks, summer, and what it means to connect with each other on a spiritual level.

The Afterglow will be available in print and eBook formats July 26th, 2019. You can pre-order digital editions at the links below, which I’ll update as more editions become available.

AmazonSmashwordsBarnes & NobleiTunes Books ⋅ Google Play Books

The Forever Earth

For the past few years, I’ve been slow to write or publish new fiction. It’s time for that to change. Late last year I was part of a team of talented individuals who published Crypto Bizarro, an illustrated horror story collection for adults. I’m just getting started.

The Forever Earth

I wrote this one a long time ago. Many of my works have touched on science fiction, but few have flown so far as to reach space opera territory. I ended up writing a novel in the genre, and while I felt like it had a large scope and a lot going on, it ended up being one of my shortest novels yet. That story is focused on a small set of characters on a very specific mission, but the world I found them in had a lot of other stories going on. The Forever Earth is one of them.

In the distant future, humanity has reached the apex of space travel, finding themselves alone in a dark and quiet solar system. Then the Navigators appear, a species of aliens capable of bringing mankind into a new frontier via teleportation.

Cody is one of the first settlers to uproot his life and move to a space colony orbiting a habitable planet half a universe away. People from all walks of life make their way to the colonies, hoping to earn a shot at one day living on a new planet’s surface.

But half a universe isn’t far enough to escape humanity’s demons, and Cody and the rest of the colonists soon find themselves cut off from Earth, stranded in the silence of unfamiliar stars. Culture shock, separation anxiety, and lawlessness collide, and Cody’s only hope for peace rests with his dreams of the little blue planet he left behind, and his ability to find his way back.

The Forever Earth will be available on May 10th, 2019, from most eBook retailers. Pre-order links can be found below:

AmazonSmashwordsBarnes & NobleApple iBooks · Google Play (Coming Soon)

 

My Battery is Low and It’s Getting Dark

Good night, my little friend.
It may not be forever,
But for now this is the end.

You had so much to show us,
And we have so much left to learn
Beneath the light of alien moons,
In the dust you did your work.
Now it’s time to set aside your tools,
Sleep for a few decades
Until one day,
We will come for you.

Will you dream in lines of code?
Do you feel the world in gyroscopes?
Measure the distance between two breaking hearts
Refracted by the weight of a rusted world?
Do mysteries disturb your thoughts?
Would it comfort you to know
There are still those of us back home
Shedding tears for dying robots?

The hands that made and shaped you,
The fingers that typed in entries/
Pointed you where to go
Still work to find the secrets hidden in the universe,
Equations we have yet to discover,
Numbers we have yet to name.
All of everything beyond our deep blue ceiling
The laws that we have yet to know,
Began with an opportunity
To step onto another planet’s surface,
Just scope out the scenery.
I will never forget your final words to me:

“My battery is low, and it’s getting dark.”
Yet the same sun shines on both of us,
Though we are worlds apart.
We finally have the answer to one of life’s old questions:
At least, for a little while,
There was life on Mars.

Crypto Bizarro

It’s been a while, but I haven’t been idle. I have a few projects in the pipeline, hopefully coming soon. In the meantime, my latest is available right now.

Introducing Crypto Bizarro.

Welcome to the world of Crypto Bizarro, where all manner of ghosts and ghouls and things that go “bump” in the night come out to play. This fully-illustrated collection of horror includes short stories, poems, puzzles, cryptograms, secret messages, a choose-your-own-adventure tale, and more. From restless spirits to physical monstrosities, dastardly acts and forbidden rituals, the frights found within ask the reader to question their reality. As the tome comes to life in your hands, you’ll have to search beyond the book itself to unlock all of its mysteries, but take care—when you venture into darkness, the unknown has ways of making itself known.

Crypto Bizarro is a fully-illustrated collection of horror-themed short stories, puzzles, and poems for a mature audience. This collection is the culmination of two and a half years’ worth of work and correspondence between myself and Josh Leichliter, as well as the contributions of our wonderful writing and producing team: Sarah Carswell, Seth Thomas, Nick Brown, Aerys Bates-Leichliter, Andrea Wright, and Ariana Wright.

The book is available in hardcover and eBook formats. You’ll find links at the bottom of this post.

Crypto Bizarro is more than a collection. It’s a brand, a flavor if you will, and this collection is just the start. To keep up on all of our crazy ideas, visit www.cryptobizarro.com and sign up for our mailing list, or follow our page on facebook. Right now you can find a few free samples and a nice little puzzle, with more on the way. This is meant to be a growing, evolving, living (or perhaps undead?) collection, and Josh and I have much more up our sleeves.

Amazon (Hardcover) • Amazon (Kindle) • Google Play (Coming Soon) • iTunesBarnes & Noble (Hardcover) • Barnes & Noble (eBook) • Smashwords • Direct Purchase

Hyacinths

You held out for me
A handful of hyacinth petals
I held out in return
A handful of dust.

And when time had frozen
And all stars had settled,
All memories fading,
All worlds gone to rust

No words were spoken
No shedding of tears
Just both of us wading
Through oceans of years

What do we find
At the edge of time
But beginnings and ends
The world starting again?

I looked in your eyes
You looked back at mine
We stood at the end
Waiting for death, my oldest, dearest friend.

https://fromanovelist.bandcamp.com/track/hyacinths

April is the cruelest month.

I’ve always said a story can come from anywhere, that there are a million different ways to tell it. What started as a spontaneous afternoon jam session led to a brief discussion, and, eventually, my latest story—and probably the most unique way I’ve ever told one.

A Handful of Dust is an instrumental concept album. The basic idea was to try to tell a story using only music, with recurring themes, sounds, and titles representing various story elements.

It’s as open to interpretation as anything I do. Probably more so. But for those interested in my own thoughts, a series of poems and thought pieces will accompany each song on the album’s pages, and here on my site.

In all honesty, there are still some mistakes on here, a few takes I’m unhappy with, but I’m ready to move on. This was something I did for fun in the first place, and if it stopped being fun, I’d stop doing it. For that reason, I’m not charging anything for the album, it’ll be available to listen to for free. I might even go back and George Lucas some of the errors and inconsistencies out, but for the most part, right now I’m just wrapping up the major loose ends.

A Handful of Dust will be released this Friday, probably on Bandcamp and Soundcloud, and maybe this site. A few of the songs are available to listen to right now, and can be found at the links below. More will be added leading up to the full release on Friday.

Here’s the tracklisting:

1. Jump into the Sky
2. The Interloper
3. It Limps Through the Door with its Head on the Floor
4. World of Waste
5. You Will Walk
6. There is No One Else
7. A Glimpse of Kingdom Come
8. A Field of Broken Mirrors
9. Surrounded by Flies, She Carves Out Her Eyes
10. The 8th Day
11. I Can See Forever
12. In the Hollow of a Tree I Contemplate the Hollowness in Me
13. Run Down the Mountain
14. You Made Everything Better
15. Blinded by the Sun, He Loses Everyone
16. Hyacinths

Special thanks to my sister Tatyana for drawing up my band logo. You can find more of her work here: tythenaught.deviantart.com