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0

New Books, Sorta

So I just sent off the contracts for what I call my Cyberfolk trilogy: STEELDRIVER, TIMBERJAK, and V.I. They're going to be reissued as e-books sometime in the next twelve months--I'll post here when I have details. STEEL DRIVER is a science-fiction retelling of the John Henry story, with an eight-foot tall blue cyborg laying maglev track on a remote planet; TIMBERJAK does the same with a mashup of the Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed tall tales, and VI tackles urban legends.
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New Image for Crossover!

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Arty Art-Art

Hello, everybuddddy . . . sorry there was no post last week. I’m trying to do this on Mondays, but you know how Mondays go. Anyway, I’m back. I recently posted this image for some friends of mine, and they seemed to like it so I thought I’d share with a wider audience. I found the original illustration in a collection of Public Domain documents having to do with architectural proposals for a monument celebrating the discoveries of Christopher Columbus. Never built, of course; if you look at the buildings in the foreground, the scale of the thing would put it somewhere around two hundred stories high. I used a program called Style and a filter called Colored Pencils, which added the hues and gave it a more comic-book feel. What do you think? Oh, and if you want an explanation as to what I'm using this giant building for and how it fits into the plot of CROSSOVER, check out my latest post at collaborative comics.com.
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Good News at last!

Though, sadly, it’s not the news everybody is hoping for . . . but I have some thoughts on that at the end of this post. The good news is that some of my older, out-of-print stuff is coming back in electronic form. My Cyberfolk trilogy ( STEELDRIVER, TIMBERJAK and V.I.) written as Don DeBrandt, are going to be released as e-books by Venture Press. No publication date yet, but watch this space for details. The other good news is that the original artwork for some of my previously written-sold-but-never-released work for Marvel is now online at the 2099 Bytes Facebook page (go to the Officalicious DD Barant page for a direct link). It features my creation Doc Houdini, a cyberspace jockey with a penchant for breaking and entering, and a group of South American cyberheroes I called The Unchained. Art by the incomparable Gabriel Morrissette. Got any questions about the story, I’d be glad to answer them. And speaking of questions . . . there’s a certain question all my fans have been dying to have answered. And the thing is, I KNOW what the answer is (though it might not be what you expect). And while I really, really want to share that story, I need to do it as a novel, and right now that just ain’t happening. But then I had a thought, (which I believe I mentioned at the top of this post). What do YOU think happened—and why? Please, let me know. Tell me which way you think Jace jumped, and what her reasons were. Tell me your crazy but brilliant theories. TELL ME. Of course, if y’all just decide to say “Oh, we’ll tell you. . . SOMEDAY” I guess I sort of deserve that.
4

Lifting

As a writer, you have to portray every kind of emotion, from the darkest hate to the brightest joy. And just like anything else, the more you do it the better you get, learning through experience. But there’s another process that happens at the same time. Using a muscle over and over doesn’t just build a skill, it builds the muscle itself. You don’t just become better, you become stronger. I realized, not too long ago, that I can use this principle in my own life. Specifically, in dealing with grief. I’ve lost a lot in the last three years. And the weight of that loss, when I think about it, is crushing. So I do what we all do—I try not to think about it. I distract myself with writing, reading, watching Netflix, socializing with friends. But you can’t do that forever; sooner or later it’s just you and your thoughts. And sometimes those thoughts seem intent on kicking the crap out of you. I’m not talking about the negative, self-destructive ones that whisper about how you’re not good enough and you’re going to die alone. That’s a whole different fight. No, I’m talking about the ones that can’t be fought, because they’re true. They’re simple, undeniable facts: Your father is dead. Your marriage is over. You are no longer a young man. These thoughts don’t attack; they just sit on your chest and make it hard to breathe. But here’s the thing. You take a heavy weight and let it rest on your chest, and at first it just hurts. But you do that day after day—on purpose—and you let that weight sit there a little longer each time, and slowly you get used to it. The pain doesn’t lessen, but how you deal with it does. So that’s what I’m doing. Emotional weightlifting. Deliberately letting myself feel that pain instead of avoiding it. Just a bit at a time, whenever I have the strength. Because while grieving is always painful, that pain can be managed. And hopefully, in the end, it’ll make me stronger.
2

Operation Recharge

The plan for this summer to was recharge—emotionally, physically, and creatively—and I’m happy to report that things are going well. I’ve spent the last ten days or so in the beautiful Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island with relatives, hanging out and getting back into the groove of writing. I’ve dipped my toe into a few different projects, and am slowly but surely re-establishing a routine. Physically, I’m feeling pretty healthy, though fatigue is still a factor. Emotionally, I’m still healing, but being surrounded by people that love me is doing me a world of good. Creatively, I’m finding that the project that I’m most excited by is my webcomic, CROSSOVER; I’m going to post over at collaborativecomics.com on how that’s going and put up a few images. Hopefully, the fall will see me tackling prose fiction again. BTW, local legend has it that there’s a Cowichan tribe that intermarried with a race of Thunderbirds, a detail I use in my Whiskey, Tango and Foxtrot mysteries, (written as Dixie Lyle). So maybe this recharge has a little lightning to it—I swear I saw a spark in the eye of my barista at the local café . . .
4

Toldja I'd be back

Hey, look at that! Another new post and it’s only been a few days. Geez, this fresh air must agree with me . . . I’m in beautiful Victoria, on Vancouver Island, enjoying a few days away and visiting friends and family. Basically taking the summer to recharge creatively and tentatively begin to write again. Still experiencing some fatigue and mental fogginess, but it’s not too bad. I’ve started the ball rolling on a few projects and we’ll see what happens. First, I contacted my agent, to see about getting a few of my older books released as e-books. Once that happens, I’ll be doing some giveaways--either of entire book or possibly just posting a few chapters for free. What do you think? The other project is a screenplay I did a while back; the director and I are kicking it around and seeing how we can make it better. I’ll let you know how it goes. Anybody out there know a good producer in LA who might want to make a film about a murder at Burning Man? Also, I refuse to let my webcomic project, CROSSOVER, die. Once launched, it’ll promote not just my older stuff but artistic projects from my readers themselves: if you do something creative, I’ll try to find a way to collaborate with you and promote your stuff. And it won’t cost you a cent, I promise—this isn’t one of those “do a bunch of work and get paid in exposure” scams. I want to take cool stuff people have already done and drive traffic to their website—but really, if you want to know more about the project, go check out collaborativecomics.com for my latest post. It even has some news about a certain FBI profiler . . . Anyway, I don’t just want to blather on about what I’m doing—I’m interested in feedback. So go ahead, ask me anything—EXCEPT THAT ONE QUESTION. You know which one. First person to ask will get personally berated by JV herself. You have been warned.
18

HEY, IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE?

So. I haven’t posted much of anything since 2014. Three years. Three, frankly, of the worst years of my life. Let’s see if I can break ‘em down (Lord knows they did their best to break me down) to a few bullet points: 1) I got sick. Fibromyalgia. Drained of all energy and unable to concentrate, I spent most of my time in bed. I was forced to stop writing. 2) My dad got cancer. He died earlier this year. I sorted through every paper he ever owned, decided to what to keep and what to throw away, and helped my mom move to a new place. 3) At the height of my illness and just before my dad died, my wife left me. There was no big drama, no cheating or drug abuse or anything like that—she just thought we had nothing in common any more. Or maybe she just got tired of living with someone who was sick all the time. 4) So, I lost my wife, my work, my dad and my home. But wait, there’s more! (Those of you who are becoming depressed, feel free to skip ahead.) Turns out that fibromyalgia is triggered by many different foods and substances, so I had to give up caffeine, alcohol, and so many different foods that I basically stopped eating in restaurants. My wife and son are vegetarian, and I could no longer eat soy or beans or most nuts, so I stopped eating with them. I was pretty low. But I refused to give up--I came up with a plan, and I followed through. My health has improved to the point where I can function again. I’m living in a new place. I’m ready, finally, to get back to writing. And I thought I’d start here. Telling my readers where I’ve been and why I’ve been gone. Documenting some of my journey as a way of getting back to the writing life, and telling people what I’m planning on working on. Hopefully, I’ll even get a little encouragement—though I’ve been away for so long I don’t know if any of my fans are still out there. Maybe I’ll just wind up writing for myself . . . which is fine. It’s how I started out, after all. This is my first post, but I’ll do my best not to make it my last. How’s everyone doing out there?
0

Cons

I have a new post up at collaborativecomics.com. It concerns me, drinking, conversations, and conversations I have had while drinking. It does not feature convicts, concierges, or Connecticut.
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New Dixie Lyle

Wow. Man, am I disorganized. Just realized my latest Dixie Lyle book, TO DIE FUR, came out FOUR DAYS AGO and I'm just now noticing. So, uh, here it is. (oh, and I think the e-version of the first one is still on sale until Sept. 1 for around three bucks.) http://www.amazon.com/Die-Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot-Mystery/dp/1250031087/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1409431736&sr=8-1
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