Breakfast and a Newborn Basalt


The thing about lava is that it’s a lot harder to find than the movies lead you to believe. Sure, sometimes volcanoes explode in massive, deadly explosions, and sometimes there is actually some lava involved in such explosions. But more often than not, eruptions of oozy goozy lava are quiet and slow and not that news worthy. The Kilauea volcano on the big island has been erupting since 1983 and although enough lava erupts every day to cover a two lane road for 20 miles1, you don’t see any flashing news headlines, or movie trailers featuring Pierce Brosnan or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as manly heroes up against Hawaii’s worst volcano.2 That’s because most of the lava flows harmlessly to the sea, or globs onto the side of the volcano, building new land quietly, out of the lime light.

I had already hiked over twenty miles in search of lava. That hike was magical, but we had never found the elusive liquid rock, and we were running out of time. Field trips to Hawaii do not last forever. So, our professor did the only thing he could. He woke us up at three in the morning. Continue reading

Posted in A Grain of Sand, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Villainization of the Damsel in Distress, and Why That’s Not Always Good

damsel in distressSome of you may remember that I wrote a novel called The Darkest Hour. I’m currently working on edits right now to make it all polished and perfect. In the course of the editing process I have had various people read my novel to give me feedback. This has been so helpful and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate these people and the time they took to work with me to make my story better. It takes a village to write a book.

Having said that, one comment I received has stuck with me. The comment was regarding musings by my narrator near the beginning of the book. My narrator is a girl named Rory who has found herself caught up in the politics of her surrounding micro-nations because, it turns out, she’s a princess. So much for her dreams of being a chemist. At the point at which this paragraph takes place, Rory is injured and in a prison, with little hope of ever getting out. Things are looking pretty hopeless. Here is the paragraph. Continue reading

Posted in On Writing, The Darkest Hour | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meelo-part 4

This is the final part of Meelo’s story. He’s a minor character in a story I’m working on, but I loved him so much, I had to give him a happily ever after. Get caught up with part 1, part 2, and part 3

When Meelo next opened his eyes, it was twilight—morning twilight—and the vehicle was moving much slower over roads that Peetzland would have had indentureds rip up and replace a decade ago. He must have slept all night.

The man was now driving although Meelo could not even pull up the vaguest memory of the car stopping for the drivers to switch. They were in an uncultivated grassland and Meelo could see up ahead a break in the brush, some sort of gully or wash.

The woman turned toward him. She smiled. “Good morning. We’ll be there in just a couple minutes and get you a proper breakfast. I hope you slept well.”

Meelo shrugged non-committally, but didn’t say a thing. The woman smiled at him again and turned back around. She was younger than he had thought last night. She looked tired, but she didn’t look haggard and broken like an indentured. Her eyes were not dull. The man in grey was older than she was, but not by much. When he almost caught Meelo’s eyes in the mirror, Meelo glanced away quickly. He’d already seen the man’s coldness back in Peetzland. Continue reading

Posted in The Darkest Hour | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meelo-part 3

Third part in a four part short story about Meelo, a supporting character in one of my novels in progress. I just couldn’t get Meelo out of my head, even after his purpose in my novel was complete, so I wrote him a story. Get caught up with part 1 and part 2, and look for the conclusion next week. 

Meelo didn’t move. It was him? He was the one the man in grey had chosen? Why? The administrator was glaring, but Meelo was only vaguely aware of that.

Bennett slapped his hand on Meelo’s shoulder, startling him out of his stupor. “Good luck, kid.” He nodded in a way Meelo could only assume was supposed to be reassuring, and then Bennett slipped away into the hall and out of Meelo’s life. Another person gone.

Meelo managed to stumble toward the administrator, who turned and exited the room the same way the man in grey had gone. Meelo hesitated to follow and found himself being prodded by one of the guards. He only looked back once as the last of the indentureds disappeared into their world. His world too. He didn’t know how to live outside of it anymore. Continue reading

Posted in The Darkest Hour | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meelo-part 2

Second part in a short story published in four parts based on a supporting character from my novel in progress. Get caught up with part 1 and read on to find out Meelo’s fate. 

When the guard came back he was accompanied by five women. The first three were unfamiliar, but the last two Meelo knew well. He hadn’t seen Olivia or Kestrel in a long time. All five women were carrying babies a year old at the oldest. Kestrel’s was tiny. The baby—he wasn’t sure if it was a boy or girl–couldn’t be more than a few months old.

Kestrel smiled weakly when she saw Meelo, but the baby began fussing and she nervously tried to quiet it. Both Olivia and Kestrel looked haggard. Their hair was damp on the back of their necks and each had deep dark circles under her eyes. Meelo knew Olivia had had a child on purpose, thinking family duty would be easier than work duty, but she didn’t look like she had it any easier than Meelo and Bennett and the others. Kestrel had not wanted this, though Meelo could tell she cared desperately for the baby. Bennett wouldn’t tell him who had done it to her. Continue reading

Posted in The Darkest Hour | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meelo-part 1

Okay, so I’m getting close to finishing a first draft of the sequel to The Darkest Hour, and it’s really getting me excited. I want everyone to read it! (But you can’t because it’s a first draft and is way too long and probably horrendous.) This story is written from the perspective of one of the side characters in the sequel. His name is Meelo. I wrote it after Meelo’s part in the sequel (Raymond’s story) was over because I just couldn’t leave him in the situation that Raymond was forced to. Meelo could have an entire book to himself, but for now, we’ll both have to be satisfied with this snapshot of one of the most important moments in his life. It’ll take a few weeks to post his whole story, so stay tuned.

The weary indentureds rubbed their hands together for warmth as they waited for the truck to come to a stop. Meelo couldn’t wait to get to second meal. He’d gotten almost nothing at first meal this morning and had shared that with some late arrivals. At least he wasn’t on snow clearing duty. Thank heaven for the little bit of seniority they’d earned. The canning factory wasn’t pleasant, but it at least had warm areas. Smelling the hot fruit as it made its way into the cans did nothing to abate his hunger though. He could no longer remember what it felt like to not be hungry.

It was clear from the number of trucks still absent in the yard as they staggered out of theirs, that they’d beat enough of the other indentured crews back to guarantee a full plate at second meal. Meelo’s stomach twisted in anticipation. But as they all moved toward the dining hall, half a dozen citizens blocked their way. Continue reading

Posted in The Darkest Hour | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Next Appointment

In honor of Halloween, here’s a spooky flash fiction piece I did a while back . It was inspired by something I saw, so I make a cameo appearance in it. It should probably disturb you that this is what I thought up after seeing someone standing in front of a house one morning. 


He was early.

Usually his timing was impeccable, but today had just been one of those rare occasions where his appointments were not back to back, but were close enough to make it pointless to go home in between. He stood outside the house in the dusky morning waiting for just the right moment to meet the client. It was the recognition that he craved. The instant they knew him.

A runner jogged along the quiet suburban street and he searched his records, hoping her file was close. Female runners often provided deliciously gruesome appointments. Unfortunately, there was nothing on this one. He shrugged and strolled up the walkway, pulling his overcoat more closely around his chest. Earth was so cold. He missed the hooded robe he’d become so famous for, but he had to admit the overcoat and hat were much more practical given the lack of heat on this dreadful world. If everything went as planned, he should have just enough time to personally escort this fellow into the fiery depths before moving onto the next client. He could use the thaw.

It was almost time. He left the walkway, opting for the balcony where the man—an early riser—spent each morning drinking coffee and voyeurizing the neighborhood. He was hoping when the client saw him, he’d drop his mug and it would shatter. He had a soft spot for the dramatic.

Unfortunately, this client wasn’t particularly surprised. Such is death. They stared at each other and the client sighed, sunk into his vinyl chair, and nodded. The reaper sighed too. Perhaps the next appointment would be more entertaining.

He swooped in and took the soul. Hell’s brimstone awaited them both.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment