Sea serpents! Mysteries!

It's 1899. A tramp steamer rides out a tsunami in the South Pacific, and then visits some of the devastated islands in search of news and cargo. On one particularly remote island, the natives tell of a gigantic two-headed sea serpent that washed up on a beach in the tsunami's wake. The steamer's captain is... Continue Reading →

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Boomtowns and newspaper men

I tumbled headfirst down this historical rabbit hole thanks to my mom, who reminded me during a conversation about the abysmal state of news journalism that we have an ancestor who was a newspaperman back in the mid-1800s. Back in those days, it was a given that every newspaper covered what was most valuable to... Continue Reading →

Short Story Thursday: Nature Calls the Lookout Man

Here's the very first story for Short Story Thursday. I started this story at the end of National Not-Novel Writing Month in November and finished it in December. Nature Calls the Lookout Man Sunny Jim watched enviously as his two companions worked. He had thought he could ride and rope -- and he could, well... Continue Reading →

Christmas at the sawmill: A true story of the Old West (and a ghost of posts past)

Merry Christmas, everyone! Since I don't have any new Christmas content, I'm reposting last year's. I hope you enjoy this ghost of a Christmas post past. Benjamin F. Johnson, 1818-1905. Salt Lake City and the growing settlements  around it desperately needed lumber, and it was Benjamin Franklin Johnson's job to provide it. More than a... Continue Reading →

National Not-Novel Writing Month, day 21: Return of the Silent Kid

This is a followup to The Silent Kid, which is the first Not-NaNo story I posted three weeks ago. I wrote this on Nov. 21 at a NaNoWriMo write-in I went to with my daughter. She's doing the regular NaNo, while I'm doing something a little different. A ghostly smile flitted across Sunny Jim's face... Continue Reading →

Maps in roleplaying games: Unexplored opportunities

Tabletop roleplaying is a game that revolves around maps. If you're not placing figurines on a map surface, you're navigating a mental map that has been provided to you by the gamemaster's description. There's a sizable cottage industry in map illustration in the Tabletop RPG hobby. But often, beyond providing the locations of things that... Continue Reading →

National Not-Novel Writing Month, day 1: The Silent Kid

Apparently if you're doing the short-story-per-day challenge instead of NaNoWriMo, you're supposed to also post it on your blog. I hesitate to do this because it'll be painfully obvious if I fail to keep up, and also because I'm not sure I want everyone to see my first-draft stuff. But oh, well, what the hell.... Continue Reading →

Industrial outlaw country: What I’m listening to

Yes, that's a real thing. Shooter Jennings and his dad Waylon (you may have heard of him) got together on a project they called Fenixon. And it. Is. Awesome. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIqrniRy81pWWueofzuqBDPdW0r_v0MJ_ I've never been a fan of country music, nor have I generally given industrial the time of day, but I really like this. I've never... Continue Reading →

A quote

The paradox of the arts is that they are all made up and yet they allow us to get at truths about who and what we are or might be. - Seamus Heaney (h/t Cristian Mihai, irevuo.art)

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