Saturday, November 29, 2014

So what's next?

Where to?

The most important thing for a writer-type person is to be writing. When a big project is finished, the first big question is what to write next.

So where do I go from here, now that the Myke Phoenix: Year of the Dinosaur dodecology is completed? Oh, I know generally where the Myke Phoenix story goes from here, but should I keep writing about Myke and his friends or take a break?

I’m looking over two of my earlier books, Refuse to be Afraid and The Imaginary Revolution, to see if they can be revised and expanded in new editions.

But what direction should my next new work go?

More superhero adventures?

More efforts to inspire people to stop worrying and follow their dreams?

More space opera? Short stories?

Should I write more in the vein of “The definition of a peacable revolution,” far and away the most-read blog post I’ve ever written?

Or something altogether new?

This is a fun moment in the writer’s life – the pause to reflect and move on.

What do you think? What should I be writing? Leave me a comment with your thoughts, please!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Black Friday special: Duck Man Walking Free

This Friday, Nov. 28, is your opportunity to use the immortal "Duck Man Walking" as your gateway into the Myke Phoenix universe - Free! Free! Free!

How do you trust a guy after he’s tried to kill you a few times? That’s the dilemma facing Myke Phoenix, superhero extraordinaire, in “Duck Man Walking.”

One of Myke Phoenix’s most impossible foes, the half-man-half-duck Quincy Quackenbos, is released from prison. Rumor has it that after years of trying he cracked the code and has developed the formula that can kill Myke Phoenix.

Are the rumors true? Or is Quackenbos telling the truth when he claims he’s turned his back on his criminal past? Find the answers mere moments from now in “Duck Man Walking,” just a click away.

BONUS: Two stories for the price of one. This special double-sized ebook also contains the chronicle of the very first time these two adversaries met, “The Strange Ultimatum of Quincy Quackenbos.” There’s no better time to introduce yourself to the Adventures of Myke Phoenix!

This is a pivotal episode in the wild dodecology Myke Phoenix: Year of the Dinosaur. Ask your Kindle app if Myke Phoenix is right for you: Claim your Black Friday freebie of "Duck Man Walking."

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Benjamin R. Tucker's words about imaginary revolution

It is because peaceful agitation and passive resistance are, in Liberty’s hands, weapons more deadly to tyranny than any others that I uphold them, and it is because brute force strengthens tyranny that I condemn it.

War and authority are companions; peace and liberty are companions.

The methods and necessities of war involve arbitrary discipline and dictatorship. So-called “war measures” are almost always violations of rights.

Even war for liberty is sure to breed the spirit of authority, with aftereffects unforeseen and incalculable.

Benjamin R. Tucker

Liberty, Vol. IV, No. 7

July 31, 1886

Monday, November 24, 2014

Free entry into Myke Phoenix universe

There are now several ways to sample the world of Myke Phoenix without risking your hard-earned Federal Reserve Notes. You have always, for example, been able to sample Our Best Hope: The Origin of Myke Phoenix by joining my mailing list, which also entitles you to regular updates from Astor City chock full of valuable clues to upcoming adventures. You can do that here.

But now you can download the first three breathless stories in the Year of the Dinosaur dodecology via Kobo, for free. Yeppers, hard to believe, but now you can have The Song of the Serial Kisser, Firespiders and Invasion of the Body Borrowers on your Nook or iPad or Aura or other .epub reader for the breathtaking price of zero dollars. You risk the chance you will have so much fun you'll invest your hard-earned pennies on other Myke Phoenix material, but that's all. Here's a link to all of the available Myke Phoenix material on Kobo.

(At some point Amazon's vaunted price-matching system will kick in and Kindle app users will have the same opportunity, but as of this writing this is an offer exclusive to Kobo.)

You can also follow these first three stories via Wattpad, if you don't want to download the stories.

Of course, my fondest hope is that you'll be motivated to spend the $4.99 to download Myke Phoenix: Year of the Dinosaur for Kindle or Kobo, or perhaps even to buy the massive 572-page paperback from Lulu or (coming very soon) Amazon/CreateSpace. But first you might want to see if it piques your fancy, and that's the point of this permanent-free offer. Go check out one or more of the first three stories in this 12-story arc, on me. I hope you like them! Thanx.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Your fears are lying to you

"You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"
What are you afraid of? How could you not be?

It seems that every commercial, every politician, every news story begins with an appeal to our deepest darkest fears. As a society we’re obsessed with the latest disease, the latest threat to our environment, the latest threat to our personal and collective security, the latest threat to our freedom, the latest threat to our very way of life.

I’ve been writing about confronting and overcoming fear for years, and the threats and rumors of threats just keep on coming.

You know what? You’re probably not going to die of Ebola. The country is not going to dissolve into chaos because of the election results. You’re probably not going to be killed in a terrorist attack. You’re probably not going to get cancer or poison yourself or have a four-hour erection anytime soon.

Yes: You could die of Ebola. The country might dissolve into chaos. You might be killed in a terrorist attack. You might get cancer or poison yourself or get a four-hour erection.

But those things probably won’t happen. In fact, I all but guarantee it.

At least the odds are so good that you will live through today, and tomorrow, that your best bet is to quit worrying and focus on living.

Sometimes the most fabulous, incredible stuff comes out of nowhere and smacks you upside the head with delight if you keep yourself open to the possibilities instead of the fears.

That happened to me about 20 years ago, the first time I listened to the wonderful Tom Petty album called Wildflowers. There, in the middle of a song called “Crawling Back to You,” Tom hit me between the eyes with a simple, life-affirming truth:

“Most things I worry about never happen anyway.”

Don’t let them scare you. You’re going to live. Do you hear me? You’re going to live!

Whatever is frightening you, you’re going to live through it. Whatever you think is about to defeat you, you’re going to live through it, and you will live to fight another day.

Now, I did say I “all but” guarantee it. We all die of something. But you gain nothing by worrying about it: Most things you worry about never happen anyway.

The key to freedom, the key to realizing your dreams, is to spit in the eye of your fear. Sure you’re afraid; work with that. Take the nervous energy you waste worrying and convert it into the triumphant energy of doing something great today.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Launch day - Myke Phoenix: Year of the Dinosaur

For nearly two decades Myke Phoenix has protected the people of Astor City from the forces of evil in the world, battling crime bosses and costumed villains and strange creatures who want to rule the universe. But lately it’s been quiet in the old town – almost … TOO quiet!

“Lately it’s just been everyday crooks and the occasional mobster,” Paul Phillips (Myke’s everyday alter ego) says one night. “It just seems like we don’t need Myke Phoenix anymore.”

But then —

A bizarre lunatic starts kissing the women of Astor City at random. A fire-breathing spider the size of an elephant wreaks havoc downtown. Aliens land in a hill outside town and start borrowing people’s bodies. An old familiar villain returns and holds Paul’s wife, Dana, hostage on a dark and stormy night. Another old familiar villain, half man half duck Quincy Quackenbos, goes straight and is kidnapped after being released from prison.

Suddenly Myke Phoenix was working overtime. Could it be the work of his old nemesis, the evil talking dinosaur, Deinonychus?

In a story that evolves over the course of 12 episodes – mainly because your humble narrator liked the sound of the word “dodecology” – the protector of Astor City fights the fight of his life with a growing cadre of strange and wonderful new friends. By the time the story rumbles to its jarring conclusion, the lives of Paul and Dana Phillips have been changed forever – nor will Astor City and their world ever be the same again.

This massive volume collects the 12-part series that rebooted the story first told in “The Adventures of Myke Phoenix,” with a special bonus story (“A Myke Phoenix Christmas”), author’s notes and other fun content.

If you like superhero stories that don’t take themselves too seriously, if you like your adventures told with a dash of whimsy, you’ve come to the right place. Join the Myke Phoenix revolution with this baker’s dozen power pack.

Click here to download it for Kindle apps. Here is one version of the paperback. Wait a few days for other options.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Who is this guy anyway?

The completion of a project gives a guy a chance to stop and take a deep breath. As the world awaits Tuesday's release of the Myke Phoenix compilation Year of the Dinosaur, I find myself taking a deep breath and contemplating what the bibliography so far means.

Since I was 10 years old and found a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #4 at the old IGA in Milton, Vermont, I have enjoyed superhero stories. Well, even before that - I do remember enjoying a Legion of Super-Heroes story or two before the summer of 1963 - but Spider-Man and Marvel Comics made me a fan. A few years later I heard about a series of 1930s pulp hero reprints of a superhero named Doc Savage, and Cold Death started me on the path that would lead me to Myke Phoenix.

My Myke stories are designed to take you about an hour to read, approximating the comic book experience or perhaps a TV show. Year of the Dinosaur collects the 12 stories I've written in the past year or so, with a bonus short called "A Myke Phoenix Christmas."

I first conceived of Myke when I was a late-30s radio news reporter. I finished four stories and started several others, but the lack of a practical outlet to share them with the world led me to set the project aside. The indie publishing movement provided that outlet, and those earlier stories have been available since 2008 as The Adventures of Myke Phoenix.

But of course, my world view goes beyond the confines of the superhero adventure. (That is not to say we couldn't have a lengthy conversation about the superiority of Marvel's The Avengers to any Superman or Batman movie ever made.)

I've always thought war was stupid, and I've come to think of states as counterproductive to individual human endeavor. That led me to write The Imaginary Revolution, the memoirs of the man who led the planet Sirius IV to independence from Earth and beyond to a commonwealth that had no state government apparatus. As discussion raged over what form of government to establish for the newly free world, protagonist, Ray Kaliber, asked the simple question, "Why do we need a government at all?"

The story is a sequel of sorts, or at least set in the same universe, as The Imaginary Bomb, a space opera perhaps best known as a series of podcasts I voiced in 2006. The universe is based sometime in the future from now, when humanity has discovered how to tap the power of the imagination as an energy source. As too often happens with new technology, someone has considered the implications of weaponized imaginary power, and my interplanetary truck drivers get tangled up in stopping the imaginary bomb before it hurts someone.

I also have a collection of short stories, Wildflower Man, anchored by the story that has gained quite a following in its podcast form, if I may say so. I haven't transferred that book to digital form because, to be honest, I wish it was a little longer. I keep meaning to write a few more short stories to pad it out. One of these days.

I've also collected some of my essays on a couple of themes. Refuse to be Afraid is about empowering yourself to battle through the fears and impulses that keep us from the greatness we could accomplish: Refuse to be afraid. Free yourself. Dream.

And A Scream of Consciousness discusses ways to fight past the distractions of everyday life and concentrate on the needs of this moment, right now. These two books, and the "What I Believe" section of The Imaginary Revolution, probably sum up what I might pretentiously describe as my life philosophy.

So there are seven books, five fiction and two non-fiction, that hopefully will entertain you, perhaps could change your life, and at least will tell you a bit about who this guy is anyway.

If you're reading this on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, the day I wrote this, you have until tonight to get a free download of Firespiders Unleashed, the pivotal Myke Phoenix story that opens the trilogy that also includes March of the Alien Dead, Claws of Death and Talons of Justice. Yes, it's a four-part trilogy. I blame Hollywood. Or perhaps Douglas Adams.

Starting Saturday I'll be devoting most of my shameless self-promotion to the collection that climaxes with those four stories, Year of the Dinosaur. But I really do like the way the saga ends, so if you want to cut to the chase and save a couple of bucks, buying the individual stories is a pretty good investment.

In any case, those are the motivations that drove the bookshelf of my stuff to date. So now you know.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The daughter of Mychus

Back in the second story in my Myke Phoenix magnum opus that is about to become Year of the Dinosaur, I introduced a father-daughter scientist team, Jacob and Terri Travers, who were based rather obviously on the characters played by Edmund Gwenn and Joan Weldon in the 1954 giant-monster thriller Them! More than one Easter egg await in that original story, Firespiders.

I also inserted a bit of intentionally heavy-handed foreshadowing as we introduced them and Dr. Jacob Travers sang the praises of his brilliant arachnologist daughter:

"Stop it, Dad, he's going to think I'm Wonder Woman or something," his daughter said. (If you think this is not a throwaway line but a foreshadowing of a plot element that I'm tucking away for years from now, you may be right. But it works as a throwaway line, too.)

Here in the ninth episode, Firespiders Unleashed (available through Friday for FREE at - free, free, free, download it now, limited time only, act now!), we get the payoff on that line as we discover Mychus had a daughter.

Mychus, of course, is the ancient warrior with amazing powers whose body Paul Phillips borrows when he goes into action as Myke Phoenix, as the Phoenix and the Soulkeeper of Kiribati have explained over the years. What they never got around to mentioning was that there was another ancient body available in case the forces of evil in the world got too much for one superhero to handle alone.

Dr. Terri Travers would be aghast if I referred to her alter ego as Myke Phoenix's sidekick, but it is safe to say that in Firespiders Unleashed we complete the little team that will work together to combat the great menaces that face Astor City in the concluding episodes of Year of the Dinosaur: March of the Alien Dead, Claws of Death, and Talons of Justice.

I'd love to entertain you with these four stories, and even more so with the entire 12-story arc that will be collected next week, but first things first: Get a taste for the adventure for free this week by downloading Firespiders Unleashed at We can talk after you finish reading.

Monday, November 10, 2014

What a Year of the Dinosaur it has been

And so it is finished. My 12-story Myke Phoenix series -- quantity-wise the most ambitious writing project I've ever undertaken -- is out there ready to be consumed in small bites or in one ginormous collection.

For those of you who've been waiting for an enticement to get on the Myke Phoenix bandwagon, now through Friday you can sample Firespiders Unleashed, Chapter 9 of the dodecology, for free. My hope, of course, is that you will be sufficiently motivated to jump into chapters 10-12 for a breathtaking 99 cents each, but even if you don't, I hope you'll take advantage of this chance to check it out for nada.

It's all collected in Year of the Dinosaur, which you can pre-order now for download into your Kindle app on Nov. 18. The $4.99 cover price is less than half what you'd pay for all 12 episodes separately, plus you get the short-short story "A Myke Phoenix Christmas" and some other DVD extras. The downside is you have to wait an extra week, and the big finale is here now.

Paul Phillips, Quincy Quackenbos and the denizens of Astor City have been wandering around in my mind for 25 years, and the indie publishing revolution allowed me to bring those early stories to the rest of the world in 2008. It has been a hoot expanding that little universe over the past year or so, and though the wheels fell off my "write a new adventure every month" goal last spring, I did manage to make my "in your Kindle for the Christmas 2014 shopping season" deadline.

The writer breathes a sigh of relief, releases his work to the world, and thinks, what next?

The market will decide if the hints of future fun that I've sprinkled through the denouement of this project are sufficient to warrant another round of Myke Phoenix Adventures. In the meantime I have other things on my mind, stories and projects and observations that have settled on the back burner while I have put Myke and his friends through their paces. I am Ray Bradbury at the beginning of his TV episodes, looking around the cluttered attic to decide what story to tell next.

In the meantime I hope you'll take advantage of this opportunity to sample the Myke Phoenix phenomenon risk-free (ends after Friday, Nov. 14). My whimsical soul believes you'll have a good time, but only you can answer that question. Bon appetit!