Musings on CW Superhero Shows

So, I love the CW Superhero shows. A lot. For this reason, I wanted to review/comment on them as they come out. I’m a few episodes behind, so this is my catch up post. In the future, I’m going to write each segment after I’ve seen the episode so that it’s fresh in my mind, but I’ll post them after Arrow airs. Expect Spoilers!
Second disclaimer: I love these shows. They can’t do anything wrong, so my reviews are going to be heavily biased. They will be less reviews and more musings about each episode.
Supergirl, 3×01
Kick off the season with Smallville’s Lois Lane kicking down doors as the new version of Kara’s mother. That’s pretty badass. I liked the way they had her dealing with Mon-El’s leaving, but I feel like a lot of what they dealt with (Alien vs. Human) has kind of already been done. I mean, are they really going to show try to convince us that Kara doesn’t care about Alex and Maggie’s marriage stuff? I’m happy she came around by the end.
Random thoughts:
  • Loved the lifting the Sub thing she did. Really liked Lena Luthor this episode.
  • They did a really good job getting me interested in the Rubie stuff. I really want to know what’s going on there. I know a little bit from online, but I don’t know how they plan on getting there, and that has me excited.
  • Lena Luthor buying CatCo came across as very Michael Rosenbaum in Smallville. Loveable Lex could always be counted on to solve everyone’s problems by spending a shit ton of money. “You want the Talon, here, I’ll help you buy it.” “Hit Clark with my car? I’ll buy him a truck.” They’ve decided to follow Smallville’s narrative a little bit here, and I think that might be a good thing when you’re dealing with a new character that Kara is supposed to end up hating (I assume).
3×02
This episode should have been the first episode. I liked the character development that we got with Kara and her fears of the pod and then the awesome explanation for why she’s still upset. Also, Alex and Maggie never had the kids talk. Uh Oh.
Random thoughts:
  • I didn’t like Lena in this episode so much.
  • I don’t get her animosity with Jimmy Olsen at all.
  • Oh, and the ending with J’onn and M’gann was a good ending. Loved that.
The Flash, 4×01
I loved this episode. It was, obviously, a perfect mirror of the original first episode of the Flash. I wasn’t a fan of how Wally and Vibe are supposedly not as solid as Barry at being superheroes. I get it as a plot device, but Wally is as fast as Barry ever was, and Cisco is pretty kickass. Whatever, it was a great episode. Another flaw I saw, that doesn’t get dealt with properly until the second episode in my opinon, was Iris not wanting Barry back. It made sense once episode 2 aired. Loved how they dealt with bringing Barry’s mind back. Also, how friggen kickass is it that they couldn’t stop Barry from getting out of the cell? On another note, the is she, isn’t she with Caitlyn is getting old. Just make a decision and let us know if she’s an ice queen or not.
Random thoughts:
  • This house is bitchin’. That was great.
  • I also really missed Harrison Wells in this episode. Which version of him? All of them, really.
  • The Thinker was a little cartoony, but it was ok.
  • This is my favorite of the superhero shows. Very happy this is back.
  • I also liked that we’re back to comic book Barry who is mentally stable after the death of his family. It’s fun again.
4×02
Everything about this episode was perfect. I loved the crossover stuff with the mention of Oliver. This episode was good fun. Kilg%re was a great badguy and we got to see Forensic Barry and Tech Consultant Cisco again. Captain Singh was back, too, which is always a plus. I liked having Caitlyn back, and loved the Cisco/Gypsy stuff that’s building up to the introduction of her father, Breacher.
Random thoughts:
This was a good way to explain the new team dynamic.
I liked the therapy scenes a lot.
This was the first episode where I started wondering what happened to Iris’ writing career…
Did anyone else notice that they started repairing the Star Labs burn marks on the outside? It’s only been four years, way to get on that guys…
Legends of Tomorrow, 3×01
Wow, they really shoehorned this plot together… I feel like they wanted season 2’s finale to lead to a very specific plot of repairing the timeline and then decided that was a lot of work and screw it, let’s just do this completely other thing that undoes all that we set up with that huge cliffhanger at the end of season 2. This episode made me very unhappy with Rip, too. I am now deciding that this Rip is still the altered one from Season 2. Geeze, it’s obvious that Victor Garber is on his way out. Wonder how they’ll make Firestorm work… How the hell are they going to justify to me, their audience that loves them no matter what, that Rip, who basically wants to fuck Gideon, turned Gideon off for 5 years?
Things that I loved:
  • Mick has a lot of STD’s
  • Amaya’s story tying into the rest of the universe.
  • Using the old missions as training scenarios.
  • I went to IMDB and started reading quotes, and quickly realized that I loved this episode. I take back everything.
  • “Sometimes we screw things up for the better.”
  • Love everything Mick. He’s always so great. Really want to see more of him and “Haircut.” They’re great together.
  • While I feel like Sara would have gone off and joined back up with Oliver and company instead of working in Housewares ala Ash J. Williams, I liked it anyway.
3×02
This episode was more fun than the season’s first episode. We got to see some of my favorite things in the form of Ray building tech and Nick bro-ing it up. This episode was worth it for the big showdown between Sara and Agent Sharpe. Also, Gary added some great comedic powers to the episode.
Random thoughts:
  • Amaya is a literal beast.
  • Shrink rays show that Ray is still the awesome tech monster he is and was totally wasted on that Tinder knockoff.
  • Victor Garber as a clown is great!
  • Even better was Victor Garber hating on the Titanic. Classic, love it.
  • Damn…Billy Zane got old…and is still weird.
Arrow, 6×01
This episode really glossed over what would have probably been a great episode in everyone leaving or surviving the island. The plot points they made me care about involved whatever’s going on with John, Felicity’s weird standoff style interest in Oliver’s kid, and Quinton’s alcoholism and problems with his doppeldaughter. I feel like we’re missing a big opportunity to deal with Doppeldaughter’s own version of alcoholism. Our Laurel dealt with it, and I can’t imagine that this Laurel, without the same support structure, doesn’t still deal with it. The only thing I wasn’t alright with this episode was Oliver’s kid. Everything dealing with that seemed weird. Also, does the nanny know Oliver is the Green Arrow? Also, that sucks about Speedy.
Random Thoughts:
  • Liked Wild Dog’s new outfit.
  • Liked Mr. Terrific’s T-Spheres getting more action.
  • Liked Green Arrow relying on his team to stop the missiles.
  • The arrows all seemed to have weird flights in this episode. Go through and watch, starting with the first bad guy they catch who launches those missiles. I’ve shot bow, a lot, arrows don’t fly like that… Whatever. Still fun.
  • Oh, hey, everybody…Look…Green Arrow and Oliver…same person…again…
6×02
Diggle, what are you doing? Seriously, we’re six years in and you should know better than to keep secrets. Felicity’s voice seemed really off this episode, I think she was either sick or hungover. I think this episode is implying that KGBeast is gonna keep coming back, and I liked that. He’s a believable villain with a backstory that we don’t have to guess about. I don’t like that ARGUS hasn’t called off the FBI yet. Although, I like the idea of Arrow fighting to keep his identity secret.
Random thoughts:
  • Liked the name drop. Very awesome. When I first heard about it, I thought we might see Lois Lane in the crowd or something, but I’m ok with this name drop instead.
  • Really didn’t like the passing of the torch at the end. I’m sure it’s only part-time, but that makes me like it less.
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Review: X-Files: Cold Cases

Product DetailsBack in 2008, I moved to Iowa from upstate New York (read that as “Farther upstate than what you’re thinking”). I’m a social butterfly, and I made a ton of friends in my new home very quickly, but that didn’t stop me from having evenings alone. On one of those particular evenings, I made a serious decision to do something silly: I was going to rent all of the sci-fi shows that I had never gotten a chance to see before then and give them a watch (to be fair, I also included every b-rated sci-fi movie as well. For that reason, I’ve seen both Time Runner and The Guyver. For both of those, I thank you Mark Hamill).
This is how I became a fan of The X-Files, staring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson (and a million other stars who would later go on to guest star or star in their own sci-fi shows). I went on every single mission with them and grew to love Mulder’s silly moments and Scully’s skepticism.
And, after binge-watching all nine seasons, keeping magnets at the ready, and learning to fear the year 2012, I faced the inevitable truth that so many others had already learned to cope with.
The X-files was over.
It sucked, and I tried finding more of the snarky Fox wit through the comic books, but it wasn’t the same. The movies came and went, trying to fill the gaps for some of us, but alas, they were a drop of water in a desert. There and gone far too quickly to quench any real thirst. I had to face a cold and hard fact: There were never going to be any more of The X-files.
Life happened and years went by and I was sitting at my computer and writing when my wife blurted out, “They’re bringing back X-files.”
Wait…what?
Not a reboot, and not another movie, but a new season picking up with most of the original cast and some great sounding new cast.
Then the season came, with mixed reviews, but I loved it. The mixed reviews had me worried, though. Would they keep it going?
Yes, it turns out. They are working on a 11th season as we speak.
Absolutely wonderful, but what about the time in between. Do I really have in the vast oceans of time between each of these seasons?
As it turns out, no, my friend, we no longer have to wait idly by. That’s where Audible’s new series, The X-files: Cold Cases, steps in.
Cold Cases is a full cast dramatization, bringing back all of your favorite characters and filling the gap between the end of the first nine seasons and the beginning of the 10th season. It’s cleverly done, and brings to life the characters that have earned so much of our respect. The only negative to any of this was that the writing of the show had to be changed to fit the new format. Instead of seeing something and then getting a snarky Mulder comment or a dry Scully remark, we instead get told that something is happening and then receive the comment.
For example (totally made up and not in the books, but illustrating my point): “Mulder, why are you holding that gun at an odd angle? And why is it covered in paint?” “Scully, lower your eyebrow before it floats away. I’m holding this gun because it’s evidence, and it’s painted this very interesting shade of blue because it’s covered in alien fecal matter.”
See, very descriptive, reminding you that it’s a radio show. I think I might have preferred narration instead, but I honestly don’t know because it’s not an option. This isn’t a complaint, so much as the only thing that made it different than the show we love.
Other than that, you get all of the great sci-fi tropes and monster of the week things that X-files is famous for, as well as some new sci-fi tropes that I don’t think X-files has ever dealt with in the past. You get Smoking Man, Skinner, Reyes, Doggit, and a few more surprises that I won’t spoil for you.
Oh boy, you’re in for a surprise.
I give this a 5 out of 5. I loved it, and I want more Audible Original full dramatizations. I’m moving on to the Alien ones next, and the sequel to Cold Cases will be out in October!
Can’t wait!
–MD–

Review: Lucifer’s Star

Lucifer's StarI was going to introduce this review with a comparison to all of the works that Lucifer’s Star reminded me of, but, while there are so many of them, not a single one can be used to give you a good sense of what this book is about.
Lucifer’s Star follows Cassius Mass, a former member of a royal house with huge political sway that they use to wage war. The world building in this book was amazing and we see a lot of detailed explanations in the interplanetary relationships as well as the individual cultures, all without taking away from the main story by being too filled with description. The descriptors come out naturally.
Cassius is a clone of the sovereign, with cybernetic implants to make him the perfect warrior, the perfect royal heir, and the perfect sexual partner. Each of these lending itself toward complicating his life more and more before finally, as a direct result of the Archduchy’s ongoing war. By the start of chapter 2, we find a down and out, drug and alcohol addled, his face and DNA changed to hide his identity, and living aboard a pirate spaceship with a questionable crew.
Then the crew finds out that he’s one of those rich nobles who somehow screwed each one of them over in some different way in the past.
From that point, his past begins to come back in a huge way and takes Cassius on a path that makes him question not only who he is, but also everything that he previously held as true. He’s forced to question everything from the difference (culturally) of right and wrong, the idea of identity, what defines a life, the galactic politics, and lots of questions of what love is versus like and versus lust.
Like most CT Phipps books, this book focuses a lot on Cassius discovering his identity once he’s been stripped of all the superfluous things that he thought was his identity. He goes through a huge transition from the beginning of the book all the way to the end.
When I said this book reminded me of a couple of other stories, it really did, but mostly in just elements. The entire pirate ship and such reminded me a lot of Talon Kardde from the Star Wars Expanded Universe/Legends books. The politics, and how they are so intricately defined, as well as the caste system that’s plainly obvious, reminded me a lot of the Red Rising books. There was even a moment that reminded me of the Borg from Star Trek. A lot of reminders, or ingredients, that made themselves into a great cake.
And I love cake!
5 out of 5. Epic Space Fantasy that leaves me begging to learn more about Cassius Mass!

Review: The Science of Supervillainy

The Supervillainy series by C.T. Phipps has been a guilty pleasure of mine for a few years now. Not only has Gary Karkofsky’s antics as an accidentally successful supervillain just been an absolute pleasure to read, but the world environment, the unexpected twists, and the tongue-in-cheek references to pop-culture makes for an exciting and entertaining read.
The newest arrival to that series, The Science of Supervillainy, hits all of those notes in spades.
This book picks up directly where the last book left off. The Other Gary and President Omega are about to pull off their plan, but Gary and crew take care of it pretty quickly, until they don’t. A time jump ahead and all of the old characters, a bunch of new characters, and a little girl with a super brain step up to help Gary save…err… I mean take over…err…well save first, and then take over? Whatever his plans, the world is in danger, and not his kind of danger. So it’s up to him and his rough and tumble crew to step up and stop Other Gary from erasing them all from existence.
The Science of Supervillainy is filled with both comedic and dramatic moments that blend well together. Using both the dramatic and comedic is how Phipps illustrates, surprisingly well, the conflicts of being a supervillain with morals. Wanting to own and rule the world doesn’t necessarily mean that you want the world to be a filled with shitty people, and Gary most certainly wants to rule the world, but why can’t he have his cake and eat it too?
Elements of this book I loved were the same as the previous titles. The cross-pollination from other worlds, time-travel, comedy, weirdly conceived relationships, and of course the pop-culture references help to make this a fun read. It works so well, and I look forward to the next installment.

5 out of 5 stars.

Review: The Tower of Zhaal

Post-Apocalyptic fiction is fun, but Post-Apocalyptic Lovecraft fiction is even better.

That kind of fun led me to C.T. Phipps’ “The Tower of Zhaal.”

The Tower of Zhaal is the sequel to Phipps’ first successful foray into Lovecraftian fiction, Cthulhu Armageddon. In that first book, the world has been ravaged by the long ago (but still in our current future) rise of the Great Old Ones. The hero of the first book, John Henry Booth is back, and the taint of the world has eeked it’s way into his own flesh. With Nyarlahotep whispering in his ear, and the threat of the end of the human race on the brink of happening, John has to risk everything with a team that he can’t trust in order to save the few parts of the hellish world that mean something to him.

While traveling to and with some very Mythos specific names, as well as some that are a treat for readers of contemporary Mythos fiction (ie: the Ghoul priest being named Hoade as an obvious reference to fellow contemporary Mythos writer, Sean Hoade). The explanations of Magic, the Science of the Mind, and the different Alien races make it an epic adventure on par with Lord of the Rings or Star Wars, but within the Mythos elements that bring us back.

The world has ended, Alien Gods are everywhere, and the question of humanities survival is a complex one. Can Humanity survive? Should Humanity survive? Would the Humanity that survives even be recognizable as Human?

Phipps weaves a great tale, that makes for an exciting read.

5 out of 5 Stars!

Minor Potential Spoiler: There’s a scene in this book that made me laugh out loud, but not because it was funny. The moment I read it, I wanted to shout, “Ah! He’s been Rick and Morty’d!!!”

Review: The Haunting of Barry Allen

Wow, just wow! When I get really involved in a show, I tend to either hunt for more stories in that universe or write my own in the form of fan-fiction. It was one of these hunts that led me to discovering Clay and Susan Griffith’s The Flash: The Haunting of Barry Allen.
The entire book reads like a long episode of the Flash. We get a look at each character as they work on their own plot specifics, and we even get a great chance to see Rathaway as a villain again. Pre-Flashpoint has made a lot of great stories possible, by making everything that takes place before that Canon/Not-Canon, since Flashpoint ends up undoing anything that might have been story specific.
Anyway, Rathaway builds his own Rogue’s Gallery out of Peekaboo, Nimbus, Prism, and Weather Wizard. He uses them to terrorize the city. The major plot here is actually a callback to the giant wormhole that opened up when Eddie Thawne ended season 1 the way he did. Barry’s visited by ghosts and mirages from the future while also trying to battle to protect his city. It’s more than one man, even the fastest man, can handle.
Enter the Arrow! Teams join together to combat the evil that has plagued the city and the end result is a great read that has me incredibly excited about the second book that just came out.
This book was well done and fits well with the Canon of the series. Loved it, and have already started reading book 2.

Introducing Iowa Book Source

Guest Post by Wendy Siefken:

Hey everyone! trying to get your written book seen? Try this one on for size. Showcase your physical book with other indie authors in a display window at our local mall! this weekend we are having a home and garden show. Lot’s of vendors and visitors will see your book! Only $5.00 a month whether you have one book or ten! A landing page directs the curious buyer to where they can get an ebook copy of your book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or wherever you have your ebooks sold through.  So check it out and let others know!  Iowa Book SourceIowa Book Source display window

Like what you see? Every two weeks or so I will change out the decorations to keep it fresh and appealing to the eye.  Contact me at WendyandCharlesSiefken@yahoo.com for more information!

Short Story: Lerdrin’s Rings

Sprinting through the woods was easy enough. If one was so inclined they could find themselves a sort of path that maybe animals or whatnot might frequent and avoiding branches and the like wouldn’t become an issue. The problem arose from when one was being chased. As was the case with Lerdrin.

Lerdrin had, up until this particular day, been more or less ignored. Having lived on the streets in Cardenshire for the last several years, he was the kind of man that you’d hire for a small job that would only last a few hours. Jobs such as pushing carts, emptying caravans, shoveling stables, or helping a family move (never pack, as everyone assumed, correctly, that Lerdrin was quite fast with his hands).

Assumptions what they were, Lerdrin wasn’t just quite fast with his hands, he was a former entertainer, from years long gone. In his youth, he’d entertained children with puppet shows and magic acts, claiming to be a long lost wizard, pulling clothing from secret compartments, coins from ears and noses, and wallets from pockets. When Lerdrin’s age and nasty habits finally started to catch up with him, he decided that keeping quiet and living a life of fast hands on the street was a good way to go.

Catching up with him being the operative phrase as, he could see glancing over his shoulder, it was happening again. Lerdrin had once again had his hand caught and almost cut off, as he had tried to pilfer certain jewelries from his most recent work. The work had been simple enough, help the people unload their wagon, get enough coins for dinner and a small room for the night. Unfortunately, the rings had not been included in the deal.

Behind Lerdrin and near enough he could feel the air from their swinging clubs, were several men, two of which had been with the lady who’s rings he had attempted to liberate. The third was Nader, Knight for the town of Cardenshire, which was only large enough to deem one Knight necessary. Nader and Lerdrin, for the most part, left each other alone with the unspoken understanding that if anyone complained about Lerdrin, Nader would come down on him with a very heavy set of chains.

Glancing again over his shoulder, Lerdrin faced forward just in time to crash into a waist-high rock, flipping over end and feeling an instant reverberation and ache throughout his fifty-three year old bones.

Hitting the ground on the other side, his head spun as he rolled over onto his back and tried to regain his composure. Mostly this consisted of doing his best to stop the world from spinning.

As he looked straight into the midday sky, the branches overhead spun less and less, and the pounding in his head quieted enough that he was starting to hear a very questionable noise, a sort of low hum coming from the direction of the rock he’d tripped over. Propping himself up on his elbows he did his best to try to stand.

At this juncture, Lerdrin was capable to get away with trying much less than his best, as he was swiftly aided in standing by Knight Nader. Using one hand, the unarmored man of about his mid-twenties lifted Lerdrin up by the nape of his neck and threw him against the very same rock that he’d previously flipped over. His back was bent over it, as it was only as high as his waist and Lerdrin found that he could easily see his life ending here. Lerdrin could also hear the humming, much louder now, and definitely coming from somewhere around the rock. This same rock, Lerdrin was noticing, was freezing him through his clothing even though it was mid-June and was very smooth on his back.

These, of course are all secondary things that Lerdrin noted, as the point of Nader’s blade pressed into the old beggar’s ribs had slightly more of his attention.

“Lerdrin, you damned fool!” Nader reached into Lerdrin’s patched coat and yanked out a handful of the baubles that the elder had taken only a half an hour earlier. Nader turned towards one of the men from earlier. “Are they yours?” he asked, reaching out to show the items. The man nodded, never actually looking at the items so much as staring intently at Lerdrin.

Nader handed the rings and such to the man and then turned towards the third companion who was quieter and showed less hate and more indifference. “Hold his hand down, on the stone.” The man hesitantly complied.

Lerdrin struggled but was limited by the sword still jabbed into his ribs. Reaching out, the man took his wrist and pulled it out straight along the stone, palm up. Fearing for the accuracy of the sword, the man pulled a rope seemingly from nowhere and tossed one end of it to the accuser who took it and, together, they pulled it tightly across Lerdrin’s forearm, making it effectively immobile.

Unexpectedly, Nader brought his sword up and back down very swiftly. Lerdrin had assumed that the Knight would have slowly brought the sword up to bring it crashing down with ferocious speed. Instead, the blade left Lerdrin’s rib cage and was brought down before the old man even realized it.

Another surprise awaited everyone at this. The sword stopped over Lerdrin’s wrist and held fastly. In his inability to understand why, Nader pulled at his blade, attempting with all of his might to free it from the invisible grip over Lerdrin’s wrist. Maniacally laughing, for the fates had smiled upon him in this instance, Lerdrin started struggling to free his wrist from the bond of the two men. In the back of his mind, Lerdin noted that the hum in the stone had become louder.

As Nader yanked on his sword, not willing to surrender to the unknown force, it started to glow. Not just the sword, as Lerdrin was slow to notice, but all three men, the rope and the sword. All of them except Lerdrin, failed to notice this. The glow intensified, slowly, achingly, bringing tears of pain to Lerdrin’s closed eyes as he lay there, still immobilized by the rope.

Finally, through his eyelids, Lerdrin noted that the painfully bright light had vanished. Slowly opening his eyes he screamed in horror. All three of his pursuers had vanished. No trace of them having been there was left. Lerdrin slid from the stone onto the ground and started crying uncontrollably. He didn’t know why he cried. On the one hand he was free, alive, and with two hands. On the other, somehow and for some reason, someone or something had deemed him worthy to keep breathing instead of the three very justified men.

The hum was louder now, loud enough to break through Lerdrin’s spiraling train of thought. He turned and stared at the stone, smooth and reflective, as if made of metal and he panicked, scooting backwards away from it in a rushed terror. He stopped his rush, but not his terror, when the god arrived.

From an nondescript place upon the stone, as smooth as another other place, a ray of light rose from it, coalescing on a spot right in front of Lerdrin. The circular beam expanded slowly until what looked like a man stood in front of the old beggar.

The man within the beam of light was dressed in a tight fitting cloth and had no hair upon his head. The clothing, if it could be called that, was all white except for a red stripe down the man’s left side and a patch in the shape of some sort of four pointed star over his left breast.

The god smiled down at Lerdrin and then started to laugh. “It worked. I can’t believe it worked.” He knelt down to Lerdrin. “Can you hear me?”

The words were accented in a very peculiar way, but for the most part, Lerdrin understood, and therefore, not knowing what else to do, nodded.

The god jumped up, no longer kneeling, and punched at the air, laughing in a manner similar to how Lerdrin had started laughing when the sword had first been halted.

Lerdrin found his voice, deep down in his feet almost, and brought it to the surface.

“What manner of god are you?”

Immediately, the god stopped laughing and regarded the little beggar at his feet. “God?” He looked around, taking in his surroundings. “Well, I must be then.” His smile returned. “Reaching this far back, actually interacting. I would have to be.” He turned towards the stone and started poking at it with different fingers from each hand, as if weaving some sort of invisible spell on its surface. Mumbling to himself, Lerdrin heard, “How much can I interact?”

As the god worked his spell on the stone it stopped humming and instead let out a loud snap, cracking in half to reveal a table with several small items on it that Lerdrin couldn’t identify from the distance that he now rested.

“Stand then, my disciple.” He stopped for a minute and looked off into the distance to his right. “No, phase two can wait. We’ve got a perfect opportunity to activate phase three now and I’m going to.” He hesitated. “No, no, no. Its going to be this way or no way, keep working. I don’t want your opinions I want your progress.” Turning back to the now even more confused Lerdrin, he put back on his smile, now looking slightly forced. “What is your name?”

Lerdrin choked for a bit on his words before answering, “Lerdrin.”

The god smiled again, this time a real smile. “That’s almost too perfect.” He waved his hand to the stone, actually passing through it for a second, reinforcing Lerdrin’s confirmation of the divine within this being. “These rings are yours, to be used in my service.”

Forgetting to be scared, Lerdrin stepped forward and looked at the rings, each a simple band, each of a different color, and five in total.

The god smiled as Lerdrin eyed them, obviously already covetous. “You shall be a wizard of the order of…” the god thought for just a second before saying with a smile, “Jim.”

Lerdrin reached into the stone and pulled out the first ring. It was a small bad, green as the leaves on the trees and otherwise lacking in any descriptive features. “That ring will give you the ability to repair wounds.” Lerdrin slipped it onto his left index finger and let out a sharp gasp as something inside the ring sunk itself into his flesh. At his gasp, the god Jim explained.

“The rings get their power from your…soul and can only come off if you die.” Lerdrin looked at his new god, annoyed that he hadn’t been warned of this beforehand. The pain had subsided at this point, and soon was forgotten as Lerdin remembered that their were four other rings.

Picking up a ring as black as night, he put it on his other index finger and gritted his teeth through the bite into his flesh. “That ring will allow you to put to sleep any who challenge you.”

The next ring was a beautiful sky blue. This Lerdrin placed on his left ring finger. “This ring will…throw lightning.”

Hearing that, Lerdrin looked at the god with shock. This was truly of being of power if he could harness the powers of the sky in such a small bauble.

The ring of blood red was the fourth ring, and this he placed on his middle finger of his right hand.  He was starting to get better at ignoring the biting pain each ring inflicted. “The red ring will defend you.”

Finally, the last ring was a bright white and slightly smaller than the rest. Putting this on his right pinky finger, Lerdrin waited for the explanation.

The god Jim was hesitant though, as if the complexities of this ring might need more explanation than the others had. Finally, Jim spoke, slowly. “This ring, the white ring, allows for all you’ve done to become undone. If things get too out of hand, this ring will give you the option to erase it all, back to now and only once.”

Holding up his hands, palms out, Lerdrin eyed his new power with hunger, smiling at the two rings on his left hand and the three on his right. Green and blue on his left; black, red, and white on his right.

“What do you want me to do, god Jim?” Lerdrin asked, begging for a chance to exercise his power.

“Who is the leader of this land?”

Lerdrin didn’t hesitate. “Lord Richard owns these lands, as far as I’ve ever been.”

“Go to Lord Richard and explain to him what you now are. Aid him in everything he asks.”

“Is that all, god Jim?”

The god Jim smiled. “For now.”

Lerdrin, without hesitation, sprinted back the way he had come into the forest, not caring to watch his footfalls anymore than he had when he’d entered, as now he was in a rush to do his god’s bidding.

Minutes after he left, Jim still stood, a hologram of light from the time capsule, as a blast of lightning struck the stone and blinded him for just a moment. At his feet lay Lerdrin, older than when he’d left, the white ring on his hand glowing brightly as it drained the last of his life. The rings, advanced technology, even for Jim’s time, dissolved now that Lerdrin was dead, and were soon reconstructed in the time capsule to await for Jim to pick them up himself.

Typing into the holographic interface the time capsule closed around them and Jim stepped out of the holographic field, vanishing from Lerdrin’s time.

Satan’s Salesman Hiatus

At the last DW Team meeting, I discussed how I need to re-find my focus in writing. I have so many projects going on, both personally and professionally, that they are diluting my time. Instead of completing a project in a respectable time-frame (defined by myself), I’m instead getting moderate advancement in multiple projects. While this gives me advancement in each of my projects, this leads to not putting out anything in the respectable time-frame that I’ve set for myself. If I continue on this path, I’ll have months (or longer) before I publish anything that I had originally intended, and in that time I could easily see myself taking on more and more projects that could slow me down.

That leads me to my choice of focus.

I’m going to be devoting as much of my time toward the completion of individual projects, in an order that I am outlining myself. The first one that I wish to complete, will be the Broken Nights Sequel. We finally settled on a name as well, Broken Nights: Strange Worlds.

That means that my other projects are being moved to the back-burner. The only thing that I’ll also be working on during Broken Nights: Strange Worlds, will be the completion of the Ghostbusters: Des Moines first season. Only one episode left!

What does that mean for you, my faithful readers? Well, first of all, the results of the “Should I write Bridge Over Paradiso” poll were less than lack-luster. That story will be shelved for now. Satan’s Salesman on the other hand, isn’t shelved, just being put on hiatus until I’m done with Broken Nights: Strange Worlds.

Gasp! I know, it sucks, but I am finding it too difficult to remain excited about stories that inch forward. I either need to quit my day job and focus entirely on writing, or I need to pick a project and “git-er-dun.”

This doesn’t mean that you won’t find excellent reads on the blog anymore. While my co-author and I have decided that you won’t be getting any more spoilery bits regarding Broken Nights: Strange Worlds, I will continue to post stories to this blog on a regular basis.

Stay tuned…