The Long Night “Freeze,” I called, and the goblin’s greenish-grey pointy ears twitched up, but it kept madly typing away on the keyboard, filling the well-edited manuscript with tidings of chaos and nonsense. I needed to get its attention fast. The typos it was putting in the story could be fixed, but if it realized there was a delete button….” Amos trailed off, letting his words hang in the air, as he played a hypnotic, melodic, heavy metal lick upon his cherry Fender Spellcaster guitar. A twirling mist drizzled from the headstock, and the illusion magick animated his story inside a collective cloud above the circle of students in Grammagick class. Around him, the students were spellbound, but the burly baby werebear Babbledos eyed the door. “And then what happened? Hurry, the teacher will be back soon.” “Well,” Amos said, “I needed to draw the goblin away quickly, as I said,” Amos said, eyeing the door also. “So I told it a riddle… a joke, kind of.” He grinned ear to ear as his friends leaned forward, eager to hear more. Clarabelle’s long delicate elvish ears flopped down over the crown of snow-frosted cerulean horns as she exchanged glances with Munick, the quiet, spectacled gnome, and they face-palmed together. They knew, of course, what was coming next; they’d been with Amos at the negotiation assignment also, but you wouldn’t know it listening to Amos’ story of single-minded heroism. Amos paused a moment for dramatic effect, and Prawnithan, an eager boy the color of a lobster, whose antennae twinkled in excitement as he pleaded with clasped claws for Amos to hurry up. “Fine, fine, so I said to the goblin, I said…When set loose, I fly away, Never so cursed as when I go astray. What am I?” The snarling thing paused to glance at him but wildly smashed the keyboard and returned its steady gaze to the screen. A family of humans muttered muffled exclamations near the Christmas tree: a handsome salt-and-pepper-haired man in glasses, his pretty blonde-haired wife, and their four angelic blond-haired children, all gagged and bound under the tree with care, hoping the goblins would soon not be there. Amos continued, a quick-thinking stream of riddles determined to shock the goblin away from the delete key. “Never resting, never still. Moving silently from hill to hill. It does not walk, run or trot. All is cool where it is not. What is it?” The goblin’s ears twitched again, for goblins were easily distracted by riddles, but this one was uncannily determined to wreak havoc. Amos glanced at the family and took a deep breath. This was, after all, the home of More Publishing, and the book under attack was the live copy of his story, Amos the Amazing. This was delicate work. “Fine, fine…Sometimes I am born in silence. Other times, no. I am unseen, But I make my presence known. In time, I fade without a trace. I harm no one, but I am unpopular with all. What is far in the beginning and has arts at the end? Whoever makes it tells it not. Whoever takes it knows it not. And whoever knows it wants it not. What is it?” The snarling thing swung about, wide eyes bulging in shock. It backed slowly away from the keyboard, putting a hand upon its chin and giving the wispy chin beard a hearty, inquisitive scratch. NOW, Amos thought, brought his hands together to create a pyramid, laser focussed on the goblin in front of him. “Myea klaniá! Éana vroomeeró sýnneiyfo!” His hands warbled and shook violently, and a green, noxious gust of wind rocketed toward the little terrorist, who, eyes wide, had no time to react before it was surrounded by the noxious stinking cloud. “That’s right,” Amos said with a laugh. “A fart!” The goblin’s eyes rolled back in its head, and it collapsed to the ground, gagging… and then we only had one left to negotiate with—” Suddenly, Professor Marcella Veerle, the Grammarian professor of Grammagickal studies at Kronoswons, stomped back into the room in the thralls of full rage. “Of course, there’s a difference!” she screamed over her shoulder. “Mixing up they’re and there because they sound similar is like confusing a catastrophe with a cat’s ass trophy!” She grabbed a framed picture off the wall and held it overhead, shaking it violently. Pulsating Grammarian muscles activated from her wrists, through her swole biceps and triceps, and culminated and throbbing veins that stood out on her neck. Amos marvelled one last time at it, reading: “Commas save lives. It can be the difference between “Let’s Eat, Grandma!” and “Let’s Eat Grandma!” Grandma was winking at him, excited to have been saved by the comma. Suddenly Professor Veerle grunted and twisted and bent the sturdy bronze frame. Slowly at first, it collapsed upon itself. Glass exploded and the metal twisted into a pretezel before she chucked it to the ground. A voice behind her protested colorfully, “it could have happened to anyone, you see, Marcella, I was dictating into my Mypad, you see—-” “But you sent to it my PARENTS,” Professeor Veerle roared. “They’re tenth generation Grammarians, they won’t ever forgive you — or me!” Suddenly, she stopped, noticing the entire class had frozen, eyes wide, and Amos quietly set down his spellcaster next to his desk. He tucked it underneath his chair, whispering, hoping, and praying she did not notice it until her destructive rage had subsided. Professor Sibelius walked into the class behind her and let out a deep sigh. “To be continued,” he said, his face a purple, mottled blush the mirrored his dandy costume of garish purple couture and white frilly sleeves. Sibelius pointed to Amos with one stout, stubby finger. “You.” He made the pronoun sound like a curse, in that very special, alchemical way that he was a master of at the Bardic college of music and magick. “Thou venomed boil-brained moldwarp, to my office, now. There’s someone waiting for you.” The way he uttered someone so mysterious Amos forgot about the rest of the insult completely. Amos wrapped his jacket over the spellcaster, tucked it deep under his desk, and ran out of the room. Curiously, he trotted toward the office of Professor Sibelius. He found the door open and hesitated for a moment at the threshold. Is it safe? Now it is, the Kraken grunted. Amos stepped inside and looked around. Sighing, he looked around the inner sanctum of Professor Sibelius, headmaster of bardic magick and musicology. The room was immaculate, with a long, hardwood library holding many leather-bound books, a desk with a stack of student papers, a bone horn, and a photo of a young woman waving, spinning, and smiling in a yellow dress. The Duke stood at the library, staring at the wall of tomes and muttering to himself. One arm rested on a marble bust of — himself! As Amos entered, the Duke smiled playfully at Amos. He looked quite dapper in his form-fitting creme suit, large-brimmed fedora and— Hurry up! cried the Kraken. We don’t have much time! Finish the story! Fine, fine, Amos thought, turning to stare at the Storyteller, who, having just coallesced from magickal fog, found himself, an an antique rosewood desk, feather quill pen in hand, furiously scribbling at an endlessly long parchement that spiraled over the desk and rolled itself back into a neat and tidy scroll as the ink dried. “Anyway, the Duke smiled at me and asked how I was getting along and all, you know, and it was a big surprise to have him visit the school at all, much less to pay respects to a new first-year student. But at the moment, I was just as shocked as anyone to see him there.” “What brings you here, Duke?” Amos asked, collecting his jaw from the plush carpet gathering his wits back together. “I’m curious…” drawled the Duke, slyly, a twinkle in his eye. “You just got back from your first goblin negotiation field op? That’s what I’ve been told. Yes, what I’ve been told…told… and how did it go young chap?” “Why… yes,” Amos wondered how the Duke could know that, but then, he was the Duke after all. Hurry up! Fine, fine, Amos cursed. “Anyway, the Duke wanted to know if I knew where Professor de Porte-Doubles had portaled us to, and I had – it was to Chengdu – yes – my Chengdu! And to a publisher’s house.” “Do you know what book the goblins had been trying to destroy?” the Duke asked coyly. Just get to the point. It’s nearly Christmas! The Kraken howled. In fact, Amos eyed the clock, and it was true. The clock would strike any moment, and their spell would fizzle out. “Ok, so basically, as it turned out,” Amos recounted with a grin, “that it had been my story. Amos the Amazing. And he wanted to know if we’d been able to negotiate with the Goblins, and we had, in fact, offered them a 3rd rate hotel buffet lunch and a good word that no one had been seriously harmed and they were willing to abandon the whole plot. Who’d set it up? Well… that’s a question the Duke and I thought rather long and hard about, and we weren’t sure.” The Storyteller scribbled furiously, and the ink dried and the parchment swirled. Candles flickered, betraying an endless void beyond them, a curious, hungry, opressive nothing that made Amos pick up his pace. “The Tides of Chaos, Amos,” the Duke had said to me. “I’m not sure what It means yet, but the Duke had told me, when the time came, to learn to ride the Tides of Chaos or I’d be lost in entropy.” Amos shrugged. “But yeah, then he read me a poem and told me the most remarkable thing.” “And?” the Storyteller asked, eyes wide with exasperation. His quill holding hand quivered, and his eyebrows danced merrily upon his flexed forehead. This was, after all, a most remarkable lucid dream. “Anyway, here’s the poem,” Amos said, and his features blurred, becoming the sharp, angular, and ancient features of the handsome Duke, so familiar in the world of the Storyteller, and many other worlds, still. “May the longest night shroud you in an exquisite cloak woven from raven feathers, hope wolf fur, and mistletoe, carefully stitched by a faithful heathen crone who invites you to sit for a spell besides her solstice fire. May you find a midnight home there, steeped in clove-and-evergreen belonging, deep in the dark and holy womb where the yet-to-come is nested.” “Who wrote that?” the Storyteller asked. “Oh, a witch I know, Danielle Dulsky.” “It’s quite spectacular,” the Storyteller said, scribbling each and every word. “From the shortest day of the year comes the promise of hope and light,” the Duke crooned on, with a nod and a soft, secretive smile. “The wheel ever-turning onward takes us through the longest night. Winter solstice blessings to you and everyone. May your worries and your problems disappear with the Solstice Sun.” “Fantastic!” the Storyteller said, sitting down. “So .. is that about it?” The Duke shook his head, and flipped around through the thick, heavy leather tome. “A little more, you see, it’s the holiday after all, and we must deck the halls with cheer. You know, a Merry Everything and a Happy Always, so heres… yes, here it is, one more then, from the warlock, CC Wiliford.” The Duke straightened up to his full height, and cleared his throat, and then he began to speak, softly but intensely. His voice was hyponotic, and electric, and the Storyteller was sure, enchanted. “‘Twas the Night before Yuletide, and all through the glen, not a creature was stirring, not a fox, not a hen. A mantle of snow shone brightly that night As it lay on the ground, reflecting moonlight. The faeries were nestled all snug in their trees, Unmindful of flurries and a chilly north breeze. The elves and the gnomes were down in their burrows, Sleeping like babes in their soft earthen furrows. When lo! The earth moved with a thunderous quake, Causing chairs to fall over and dishes to break. The Little Folk scrambled to get on their feet Then raced to the river where they usually meet. “What happened?” they wondered, they questioned, they probed, As they shivered in night clothes, some bare-armed, some robed. “What caused the earth’s shudder? What caused her to shiver?” They all spoke at once as they stood by the river. Then what to their wondering eyes should appear But a shining gold light in the shape of a sphere. It blinked, and it twinkled; it winked like an eye, Then it flew straight up and was lost in the sky. Before they could murmur before they could bustle, There emerged from the crowd with a swish and a rustle, A stately old crone with her hand on a cane, Resplendent in green with a flowing white mane. As she passed by them, the old crone’s perfume, Smelling of meadows and flowers abloom, Made each of the fey folk think of the spring When the earth wakes from slumber, and the birds start to sing. “My name is Gaia,” the old crone proclaimed in a voice that at once was both wild and tamed, “I’ve come to remind you, for you seem to forget, that Yule is the time of rebirth, and yet….” “I see no hearth fires, hear no music, no bells, The air isn’t filled with rich, fragrant smells Of baking and roasting, and simmering stews, Of cider that’s mulled or other hot brews.” “There aren’t any children at play in the snow, Or houses lit up by candles’ glow. Have you forgotten, my children, the fun Of celebrating the rebirth of the sun?” She looked at the fey folk, her eyes going round, As they shuffled their feet and stared at the ground. Then she smiled the smile that brings light to the day, “Come, my children,” she said, “Let’s play.” They gathered the mistletoe, gathered the holly, Threw off the drab and drew on the jolly. They lit a big bonfire, and they danced, and they sang. They brought out the bells and clapped when they rang. They strung lights on the trees and bows, oh so merry, In colors of cranberry, bayberry, cherry. They built giant snowmen and adorned them with hats, Then surrounded them with snowbirds, and snow cats, and bats. Then just before dawn, at the end of their fest, Before they went homeward to seek out their rest, The fey folk they gathered ’round their favorite oak tree And welcomed the sun ’neath the tree’s finery. They were just reaching home when it suddenly came, The gold light returned like an arrow-shot flame. It lit on the tree top where they could see from afar The golden-like sphere turned into a star…” “And then what was the good news?” The Storyteller asked the Duke, as the clock struck 12, and the world began to shake and wobble …. and The Dream began quickly dissolving. “The good news is, from now, Solstice, the long night, through Christmas and Spring Festival, the Lunar New Year, we will send Amos’ story out to the world, to millions of young eyeballs, and they will learn of his adventures – for there are many yet to come, and so they must be ready.” “Yes, yes,” the Storyteller said. “The book is out, but what’s the big surprise?” “That your publisher was so grateful to be saved from the goblins that he agreed to give the book away free for a whole month. Absolutely free for all to read, share, and pass on. Happy Solstice, Joyous Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Xīnnián hǎo – 新年好,” the Duke said with a wild, manic grin. As he spoke the final worlds, the dreamworld shattered absolutely, plunging the Storyteller violently back into his bed. He heard the voice of the Summer Queen ringing out in his ears, as the world crystalized around him, and he knew just what he had to do. “The old crone just smiled at the beautiful sight, “Happy Yuletide, my children,” she whispered. “Good night.” Was it really real? Truly true? The Storyteller wondered, so he bounded up to check, and it really was – Amos the Amazing was really free. And so he told Bookbub, who shared it with millions of young children on the holidays. He sat down at his desk and recounted the whole dream, from memory, and posted it on his blog, and that is what you are reading right now. And how did Amos deliver the grail? On Nitro, of course, the world’s fastest snail.
|Release Date:||October 31, 2022|
|Solarpunk Sci-Fi||Dark Fantasy & Fairy Tales|
|YA Fantasy||Witches & Wizards|
|Chapters-Indigo||AZ 6″x9″ Trade Paperback|
|Barnes & Noble||Apple Books|
|Baker & Taylor||Borrow Box|
|Google Play||Independent Bookstores|
|Universal Booklink||Continually Updated|
|Release Date:||May 1, 2020|
|Kindle 1st Edition||AZ Paperback 2nd Edition|
|Chapters-Indigo||WorldCat Library System|
|Apple Books||Abe Books (Chinese Edition)|
Amos the Amazing (Novel, Release Date: October 31, 2022, More Publishing) Chinese Version To Be Released in 2023
Solar Punk Science Fiction, Fantasy, Children’s Literature, Young Adult
From the author of a tweet that Mark Hamill liked
comes a book which R.A. Salvatore wished ‘Congratulations‘ on finishing,
& Brandon Sanderson sent his ‘deep apologies for being unable to provide a jacket quote at this time because his work schedule is busier than ever, making it extremely difficult to find the time he would want to dedicate to your book.’
Finding time can be difficult in today’s hypermodern world.
Making time, however, can be magick.
The world might be going to hell in a handbasket, but it isn’t always going to be that way. In 2038, in the SOLARPUNK futuristic city of Chongqing, things are looking almost rosy. That is until a story gets told that sets off a chain reaction that threatens not only our world but the entire multiverse.
This is the story of that story.
The world’s spiciest ice cream,
a trip to Chongqing’s rural countryside,
& a strange collection of curious belongings begin this unforgettable tale
that mixes Solar Punk science fiction and high fantasy for a thrilling modern fairytale.
About a boy who mistakenly believes he has all the time in the world and must risk his soul to chase a 9-tail fox into the dreamlands for the adventure of a lifetime and the chance to save his family.
Amos, a puckish 12-year-old boy who hides his insecurities behind a mask of mischief, dons strange artifacts he uncovers from his father’s childhood bedroom. A strange power pulses through his body as he slips into a world of magic and monsters, where the dangerous-amber-eyed kitsune—a nine-tailed fox—draws him out, steals his soul and poisons his grandpa.
Against all odds, Amos chases the fox into the dreamland, where he meets friends and foes along the way on a perilous and fantastic journey to recover his soul before all is lost. A spine-tingling adventure full of imaginative characters and dazzling creatures, Amos the Amazing will delight adults, teens, and anyone who dares peer beyond the shadows.
SOLARPUNK literature envisions how the future will look when we succeed in solving major contemporary challenges by focusing on sustainability, a harmonious relationship between humans and the natural world, tackling and solving issues of climate change and pollution with green solutions, and community-driven efforts. Punk is a rebel’s cause, and what could be more rebellious in 2022 than being optimistic?
The Invisible War
The first Canadian journalist in China to record the beginning of the pandemic, now an international best-selling author, presents his diary of the pandemic’s start as the author’s preferred edition for the first time.
‘A feverish fear…
what began as a memoir and a goodbye,
became a story of triumph against the virus,
and a lighthouse in the storm.’
My name is Jorah Kai, and I am a bard. I toured festivals around the world, sharing whimsy and merriment for decades, until one day, I wandered into the misty mountains that shrouded the ancient Chinese city of Ba along the mighty Yangtze river. I married, and lived a quiet, happy life there for many years. Until one day, when everything changed.
On the first day of the year of the metal rat, 2020, a mysterious, novel virus ravaged China. Mathematical models predicted Chongqing would be quickly overwhelmed as the next epicenter after Wuhan. This is the story of the first 60 days of COVID-19 in China, day-by-day, and how Chongqing, the world’s largest cyberpunk metropolis in Asia, stood tall when other cities fell. This is not how the story ends, only how it began.
“Jorah Kai is the canary in the coal mine. His notes from beyond the start of this pandemic should serve as a roadmap for how to survive what it looks like we are all, sadly, going to go through.” – Andrew ‘Myagi’ Mavor
“A fantastic piece of writing. As a virus fanatic, (it’s) a fascinating and horrifying breakdown…as gripping as the best mystery novel or apocalyptic sci-fi thriller. My curious hunger fueled by burning interest and chilling horror cannot stop reading every word, turning every page.” – Rhett Morita
“Although not a traditional authority of any kind, Kai proved to be an essential source of sanity and safety during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. He truly is a warrior poet.” – Dylan Lane (aka ill.Gates)
THE YEAR OF THE METAL RAT,
2020, was a time of panic,
uncertainty, and great division.
As the pandemic spread, some wore masks and socially distanced to protect the vulnerable, while others protested all public health measures as a form of tyranny and caused loud and obnoxious mass disruptions to critical infrastructure in a jarring display of ‘personal freedom.’
Fake news and echo chambers enabled ‘alternative facts,’ while unhinged narratives and cartoonish conspiracies ran rampant, often trumping coverage of legitimate and existential converging catastrophes.
In YEAR OF THE RAT, the sequel to the international best-seller ‘The Invisible War’ (Kai’s Diary), Jorah Kai documents the world’s largest ‘Zero Covid bubble’ while the outside world handles the pandemic uniquely. Reaching out to friends across the globe, he weaves their stories together.
Thirty-six writers from 33 cities in 16 countries share their daily struggles, hopes, and fears for the YEAR OF THE RAT as the SARSCOV2 virus spreads catastrophe to every corner of the globe.
“It’s … the metaphor of the yin and the yang. I’d say right now; we are in the yin. It’s a kind of disaster. It’s sad. And on the yang side… it looks like some sort of a mathematical balance that I cannot explain.” – JCVD
“I would have done the whole thing for a donut and a tuna fish sandwich. The money meant nothing. It was the opportunity to at least prove to myself that I wasn’t a liar, that I wasn’t living a life of disillusionment. When you think of yourself as being a very creative person, and turn around and realize you’ve been leading a lie.” – Sylvester Stallone (Rocky).
“At the beginning of the pandemic, Jorah Kai led a plucky band of frontline workers and activists to fight the pandemic with science. Some called him a harbinger, others a ‘pandemic guru’ as they navigated an increasingly bizarre world of book deals, TV appearances, speaking engagements, and a recovery event with his childhood hero, martial arts movie star Jeanne Claude Van Damme. But nothing could prepare him for what came next…” – The Narrator
CHINA, VIETNAM, CANADA, SAUDI ARABIA, ITALY, ARGENTINA, AMERICA, JAPAN, AUSTRALIA, PHILIPPINES, NETHERLANDS, GUATEMALA, UGANDA, THE U.K., SINGAPORE, RUSSIA…
LIFE IS ABSURD
ALL ROADS LEAD TO DEATH
HOW DOES ONE LIVE
A GOOD LIFE?
The pandemic rages on, but the world has changed the channel. Society has inoculated the working class: by normalizing dying of COVID. Millions develop long-lasting neurological damage and disabilities, and immune systems battered by SARSCOV2 are now hosting opportunistic infections that keep healthcare systems beleaguered and overwhelmed. To put it very simply: the young party and the old die.
In China, Zero COVID has maintained strict lockdowns and quarantine procedures for years, but as the variants mutate to become more and more infectious, the lockdowns grow longer and more tedious. Something has got to give. And one night, with little warning, it does, leaving many to wonder
WHAT IS THE POINT OF ANY OF IT?
IS THERE MEANING TO THE ABSURDITY OF EXISTENCE?
WHY AM I HERE, ANYWAY?
and many other serious questions. In his third year of pandemic jail, Jorah Kai ponders the absurdity of this thing called life, mortality, legacy, and the search for meaning and purpose.
“He wishes he were a skilled poet, it would fit his chosen image perfectly; the poor, tragic, tortured artiste. But he has no talent for words, neither for paints nor music; his uselessness is tremendously total.” ― Curtis Ackie, Goldfish Tears
“But perhaps the great work of art has less importance in itself than in the ordeal it demands of a man and the opportunity it provides him of overcoming his phantoms and approaching a little closer to his naked reality.” ― Albert Camus
“Life belongs to those who can somehow make a sick joke out of it all.” – Sylvester Stallone
Kai’s Diary (The Invisible War: I, Narrative Nonfiction Novel, 2020)
Non-Fiction, Memoir, Disaster Comedy, Pandemic Diary
1E Published by New World Media 2020, 2E Royal Collins 2021
First Edition Sold Out. Second Edition Available at Amazon.com, Chapters/Indigo, GoodReads.
Chinese Edition is available on Taobao, etc.
A feverish fear …
what began as a memoir, and a goodbye,
became a story of triumph against the virus,
and a lighthouse in the storm.
“Although not a traditional authority of any kind Kai proved to be an essential source of sanity and safety during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. He truly is a warrior poet.” – Dylan Lane (ill Gates), bass music superstar
“A fantastic piece of writing. As a virus fanatic, I find this a fascinating and horrifying breakdown that is as gripping as the best mystery novel and scary as the worst-case apocalyptic sci-fi thriller. My curious hunger fuelled by burning interest and chilling horror cannot stop reading every word, turning every page.” – Rhett Morita, actor, director and virus fanatic
“Jorah Kai is the canary in the coal mine. His notes from beyond the start of this pandemic should serve as a roadmap for how to survive what it looks like we are all, sadly, going to go through.” – Andrew ‘Myagi’ Mavor, legendary dance music producer
“Kai’s writing is very interesting. Both the setting, a dystopian (yet nonfiction) future, and how the western world is watching (it) and reacting poorly. I like the pollution decreases, the contemplation on who wins in things like this, and who loses. There’s a hysteria – meritable or not, but the insight is thought-provoking.” – Ky-Lee Hanson, Author, and Publisher, Golden Brick Road Publishing House
My name is Jorah Kai, and I was born in the year of the earth goat. I’ve traveled around, spreading mirth and revelry since I was a wee lad, a merry bard. My band, The Root Sellers, headlined festivals, played Olympics, and produced albums around the world, breathing fire and breaking hearts for two decades. I was a full-time detective in a mythical part-time city, solving existential mysteries for lost and weary travelers. You may have heard of me.
One day I disappeared and wandered until I found misty mountains that shrouded the ancient Chinese city of Ba with a civilization along the mighty Jialiang and Yangtze rivers that stretches back 15,000 years. Today, it is called Chongqing. I am a married man, a teacher, and a humble writer, happily obscure, until a virus smaller than a . stopped the world in its tracks.
On the first day of the year of the metal rat, the beginning of a novel 60-year cycle, everything changed. Wuhan, a city the size of New York or London, was locked down in a failed attempt to control the spread of a deadly virus. The quarantine grew, but the virus, full of creeping, cosmic horror escaped and spread across the world. It used us as carriers for an invisible alien attack.
This is the story of the first two months of COVID-19, as I learned, day by day, what it was and what it could do. I tried to warn you it was coming, and some prepared, but many did not. This is the story of how Chongqing stood tall when other cities fell.
This is not how the story ends, but this is how it began.
Where the Wicked Rest (Paranormal/Mystery/Thriller Novel, 2023)
Thriller, Suspense, Fantasy
Synopsis: When a Chinese college student goes missing abroad, no one seems to notice except her Chinese family and adopted father, a foreign teacher with a mysterious past. When the trail goes cold, with scant hope to recover her from the grasp of highly dangerous human traffickers, her family must embrace his complicated past to save her from a fate arguably worse than death.
YEAR OF THE RAT (The Invisible War: II, To Be Released 2023)
Non-Fiction, Memoir, Comedy
A long reflection of the pandemic that crippled our world and the great inequities and issues it magnified, our challenges to meet climate catastrophe, and the agility we will require to triumph against our laundry list of self-made woes.
Gutter Oil / Water Under the Fridge (Short Story Collection, 2023)
Non-Fiction, Memoir, Comedy
A humorous collection of short stories about a life spent frivolously, making enemies with the grace of a trained vaudevillian.
Solarpunk: An optimist’s guide to the apocalypse (Non-Fiction, 2025)
Non-Fiction, Memoir, Comedy
A history of how we got to the brink of climate collapse and how we might fix it and live to explore the stars.
Amor Fati, Illuminaughti, and The Legend of the Crystal Skull (Novel, TBD)
A stout text, at 88 chapters this is the unabridged and unapologetic tale of a boy who fell from the frying pan into the fire and then managed to make something rather interesting of his circumstances thereafter.
The Kindness of Idiots (Novel, TBD)
Comedy, Science Fiction, Fantasy
The Wisdom of Fools (Novel, TBD)
Comedy, Science Fiction, Fantasy
The Luck of the Dead (Novel, TBD)
Comedy, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Lobster Revolution (Collection, 2010, revisited, 2017)
A collection of absurdities and barbs towards a culture obsessed with pop culture and media.
If these poems have offended, avert your eyes and all is mended.
El arbuso en el Fuego (Haiku)
las paredes encierran en mí.
We Can Know Bliss (Meditation on a Sichuan Mountain)
At the edge of a small village
hot sun stews dirt road. Hon-Hon-Hon!
A gaggle of grey geese greet me.
Bent women tend lush stalks of green,
each golden seed contains their heart.
I inhale deep fresh country air,
a lazy wind gusts sweet perfume from fragrant flowers.
The countryside life, simple joy and hard working folk.
Girls in white dresses and red boots skip
in puddles they laugh and blow bubbles.
Bright ribbons in their dark hair shimmer,
and my shoulders loosen and I smile.
They see me and freeze, their eyes hazel pools,
curious stranger, a foreigner,
inspires curiosity and they wear their books down
Tonight they’ll burn candles for far away places.
On a paved street in the village
black and grey shoes hang from a pole.
What children would leave them behind
in this ageless rustic hamlet?
One day outgrown, left to pass on,
their small comfort and protection.
Left behind for a reason, the truth becomes clear
we can always get what we want (when we want less).
When we can share rice with our family
we will never feel poor.
Nor can we pave the world in leather,
but we can cherish the shoes on our feet.
Red eyes weep openly, noses sniffle
for parents gone all year to work
still children feel a simple joy in the moment.
We can practice gratitude and know bliss.
The Story of Anger Bill
Anger’s only sixteen but likes to pass for twenty at the watering hole by the ranch where Trouble serves up ice-cold’s and watered-down’s on a hot summer night while he tempts Regret with his roguish charms. Anger is taller than his older brother Fear, but that’s mostly because Fear is slouched, bent to breaking, his blue-black bangs hiding his eyes while Anger sports impeccable posture and a short clean cut. Anger stands proud in a felted beaver topper and his best vest, quick to stand to any insult, with the machismo of a Venetian noble and feet like canoes. His tight, muscled body is forged in pain and quick as a whip and swims in tattoos of monsters of legend – he swears the ink lends an edge.
When Patience steps out from wiping tables to sneak a kiss with Kindness behind the old brown barn Anger cranks the ol’ thermostat and grins down the barrel of a gun when the first temper breaks. Anger is quick to the punch and always shoots first: be it lip, fist or clip. Anger always lets his sisters Patience and Remorse clean up after him.
Anger used to carry Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid with him but a stranger once made fun of him, said Ondaatje sounded Foreign and called Anger a book fag. Anger was so embarrassed he cut that stranger’s face up and now Anger listens to Stephen King audiobooks and he believes Donald Trump has a lot of good ideas and wishes he could vote already. Anger has already burnt down bridges that have lasted centuries with his trusty silver zippo. Anger won’t grow up, he’ll just got old, and he’ll destroy in a flash of rage the gardens Patience will make her life’s work.
A Supermarket in Nova Scotia
Umbrella spun backwards out of control exoskeleton strains awkward, yearning. A chalice, what will we fill it with?
we wear the bell down
the pouring rain rips through the darkness race around back to try that door
about ready to quit, back around to see
a school boy with an old soul in the doorway, his tag reads “Walt” and he eyes us intently. I smile and nod
I hear a voice from the side howling into the wind. Any way in would have been just fine.
We enter and I am bathed in fluorescent glow,
the alarm whines in frustration but we pay it no heed I have been pretending to work here for months,
I push a mop, deep under cover
while Allan and Walt stock produce
they don’t question me or why
my sushi tastes like rubber.
The pickled ginger is a sickly yellow.
How low some things can go.
And I skim the news
glance sardonically at the trashy mags capitalism is sleeping now,
but I still pocket the 11 cents,
one dime and one pretty penny
that I find under a cashier’s till.
I brush my lunch under the rug.
Capitalism is sleeping now and I am the law.
I look for inspiration, and the lobsters are busy. some prowl with apparent purpose,
stomping over their fellows
running amuck, in circles, in place
hands tied and stacked high
they do not seem to notice me
some are still, in contemplation or droned out stoned out bored, maybe mad
only one hangs from the walls, near the surface. separate from the rest
he is unable to go any farther
but unwilling to go back.
from “Lobster Revolution and the Rot of Pop Culture (self published)” also published in Fathom Magazine 2011
Jazzy Skin (lyrics)
I meant to love you.
I never meant to lie.
I meant to make it up to you but somehow the day goes by
I don’t know why you broke all my fingers baby. It hurts me so much to play you this song.
I loved you in the evening,
loved you ’til dawn.
I never meant to do you wrong.
Some days I wake up
I can taste you baby.
Those days I crawl and I crawl and I crawl right back into bed. Sometimes when I wake up I can still feel you near me.
I can’t get you out of my head.
I don’t know why you broke all of my fingers baby.
It hurts too much to let you go.
I saw you and I knew right then you were gonna be mine, girl, and then I said I told you so.
At first I was as cool as a cucumber baby.
I didn’t know all those tricks that you do. Before long you had me twisted around your pretty little fingers.
You stole my heart right out of the blue.
I don’t know why you broke all my fingers baby. You told me that you’d do me no wrong.
But late at night I lie awake thinking of kisses that keep me from moving along…
I don’t know, I don’t know why…
We hide our dreams inside safe places.
We edit ourselves into corners
and then, with needle and thread
resurrect the pieces of our shattered brilliance.
I buried my ego in a pet cemetery.
My genius came back knocking, haunted, from the maddening horrors of the other side hungry for brains.
I’m chasing that one great line
and there’s definitely an accompanying line.
I’ve taken to publishing work inside dead animals I think it’s my failure to commit holding me back.
What dreams may rise from the toil of our never ending optimism? Can we bring it to a boil,
or shall we let it simmer down… into Kipple, in dust we trust.
From the depths of the glassy eyes,
I communicate a longing.
In the frozen roar of the open maw
there’s a tenderness that cries out for attention.
Last night before I fell asleep,
or maybe it was while I dreamt of sheep, I found the perfect line or two
and they made me think of you.
Published in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 editions (Canada).
Published in the 2006 edition (Canada).