When I wrote this story in 2014, I couldn’t have pictured our current pandemic lockdown. I decided to post this episode earlier than it appears in my Alien Beer and Other Stories anthology because of its timely topic — social isolation. In Trog’s case, the cause is supernatural, rather than viral.
Inspiration is a funny thing. It can come to you anywhere, anytime. The idea for “A Bone to Pick” came as I drove into work, and I was forced to call my own phone to leave a voicemail so I’d remember it later. This one came as I was walking in a cemetery, enjoying the view from the highest point, and was approached by a sweet girl with none of the usual caution you’d expect her to have around strangers. The main character of this story isn’t me, but I have social awkwardness that approaches superpower levels at times; which is why the smile and high-five from a stranger was especially touching. I wish making connections, however brief, was always that easy and heartwarming.
Jules meets the other members of the interdimensional rock star’s crew; stage manager Harlan, general manager Marcy Davenport, drummer Dribbler, bass and backup singer Babs, and enchanting alien singing sensation Hope herself.
Just about to pass through the Arch to Gamma Earth, Jules and the crew are stopped for inspection by Beta Earth’s dreaded TSA. Jules does not have an interdimensional passport.
On Wednesday, March 11th, at 9pm EST, please join me and Sean Duregger on the Star Chamber Podcast! We’ll be talking about the making of the Road Ghosts audiobook with show hosts Stephen Zimmer, Michael West, and Daniel Dark!
If you can’t (or didn’t) make it Wednesday night, the show will be archived here:
The concept for Trans-Continental came to me in a dream. In that dream, a trans woman protagonist and her Artful Dodger-like companion flew their airship from place to place, having adventures together in the steampunk world I wrote about in Reality Check. I was so excited about this idea, I got up from bed at 2:30 in the morning and scribbled what I could remember down on my grocery list. When I found the notes in the morning, I dropped the writing project I had going already and started what would become Trans-Continental: Girl in the Gears. Eventually, I commissioned internet talk show host Angel Clark to do the narration of the audiobook. And now I’d like to share with you the first chapter from that book, and the beginning of the famous friendship of Ida and Duffy.
About half of the stories in this book were originally written for The (late, great) Iron Writer Challenge, a website and a community of folks who became good friends and adversaries in competing to craft 500 word stories using 4 elements — written in just 4 days. I wrote the following story for The Iron Writer Challenge in July 2013 for the Summer Solstice Challenge. The challenge demanded that we use these four elements: An Electric Flying Bicycle, a Doppelgänger, Atlantis, and an obscure Black & White Television Drama/Comedy. My story finished dead last against 3 other past Iron Writer winners, who were worthy opponents. But one author friend told me that this story is what made her a fan of my writing, so winning isn’t everything.