Progress

Thanks to everyone downloading things! The eBook promotion seems to be going well. Let’s keep up the awesome sauce and keep on downloading! Tell your family! Tell your friends! Grab strangers on the street by their lapels and shout it in their faces!

Here’s where I’m at for the moment in the rankings for things like “Best Books by Guys with Initials for First Name in Alphabetical Order”:

IMG_2130

Making Deals with Devils is sitting at #7 for First Nations fiction and #29 overall for Literature & Fiction Short Stories. What does that mean? Probably that someone at Amazon has studied psychology and math and figured that by making lots of sub categories it will simultaneously make people feel important and give a sense of prominent shelf-space to lower volume books.

But keep clicking!

It’s free!

IMG_2131

Dunce Upon A Time: The Complete BC Woods Fiction is sitting at #81 in Science Fiction & Fantasy (and then Fantasy again for some reason?) Anthologies & Short Stories! Behold the fruits of my inability to stay present in reality for any length of time! If you like the Tide World or Making Deals with Devils this will have tons of stuff for your perusal.

Notice how I just said perusal. I’m not going to make lots of promises. It’s free!

IMG_2132

Rock Bottom: A Novel in 12 Steps seems to be performing the best and this pleases me. It’s #3 for Literature and Fiction, Literary Fiction, Psychological Fiction? AND also #22 in Mystery Thriller and Suspense and then even more Suspense! I don’t know what that means, but I guess it’s awesome in a suspenseful way? I have therapy tomorrow so it should be a nice thing to talk about.

I am doing this because it just feels good to be read, and also please review? The reviews are nice. AND if you don’t like it and want to leave a bad review that’s cool too. Or if you just want to read and don’t want to be bothered that’s completely fine. I personally fall in the “don’t want to be bothered camp.”

I promise I’m okay with three or even one star reviews, though.

Only happiness makes me cry.

 

So… I forgot I did this…

Legitimately.

It completely slipped my mind, but I made pretty much all of my ebooks free. Except for the family stories which it wouldn’t let me do for some reason. I figured there’s no reason for people to believe in me until I show I’ve still got some chops. So here’s some chops.

Anyhow, I didn’t remember I did this until I checked my kindle sales tonight so I could figure how good I deserved to feel about myself before going to bed and saw I’d moved about 25 books without trying. Then I remembered: I made it all free.

I’m pretty sure it will let me discount the family stuff in the future, but in the mean time enjoy all of these. Rock Bottom should be entirely new to almost all of you. I liked it and it did make a few people cry, so there is that.

My Bear Arm

wojtek

As promised, I have a tattoo. I am now insufferable both for having a tattoo as well as for talking about it on the internet. I add these to a list of innumerable insufferabilities I have committed in the name of seeking human connection. As to the plaid, this is just something I wear and not an effort to appear more masculine.

The Bear Icon is Wojtek, the soldier bear. The icon was inspired by an actual Syrian Brown Bear who held the rank of corporal during WWII, served in live combat and saluted his fellow soldiers. He also smoked cigarettes and drank vodka. I chose his emblem because it simultaneously reminds me that anyone can do anything and also demands that if a bear can carry artillery boxes during the battle of Monte Cassino, I can damn well write something even if I feel depressed.

If there is some other historical bear who worked in a hospital, healed the sick and peacefully fought prejudice I will happily get a tattoo of that bear as well. For now, the warrior bear will have to suffice. So it goes.

The Latin is from a poem I wrote. It’s private for now. It translates roughly to: “Light requires nothing but the fact of its own existence” or perhaps “Light needs only to exist.”

If you have read Making Deals with Devils you might understand the reference.

THE GETTING OF THE TATTOO

Long story short:

I went to a place.

They had people who could make tattoos there.

I got one.

Short story long:

There was a baby wandering around this particular parlor when I arrived, who looked not unlike an adorable turtle. I wasn’t quite sure why he was there but I knew it wasn’t to get a tattoo. I did not judge him for this as he seemed a decent fellow. I said hello to him and he jumped up and down and made a series of motions and sounds which basically meant “the world, huh?” to which I replied “Crazy, isn’t it?” He made sounds to indicate his agreement and we shared a laugh.

I like kids.

Then his mother concluded her business and it was time for him to go. Our brief conversation reached its end. The turtle-baby waved goodbye to me and I to him. We will probably never see each other again, but I suppose in our unspoken way we both wished one another well.

The tattoo artist came back and made sure I just wanted a simple black emblem.

I was still sure.

I told the story about the bear to about six people while I was there. Not because I went up to six people and asked to tell them, as I didn’t want to be the insufferable jerk who thinks the meaning of their tattoo is deeply important to everyone else, but because my tattoo artist asked me out of politeness and then was like “No fucking way! Dude, come over here! You’ve got to hear about this bear!”

It took about an hour to get the tattoo. It wasn’t painful. I was expecting to deal with serious discomfort. Thankfully that was not the case. On a scale of 1-10 I would rate it a 3. The tattoo artist said most people rate a tattoo in that location as a 7-8 on that scale. I don’t know if this is a standard line that tattoo artists have to flatter clients. Probably. I do know that I have an extremely high pain threshold (wow, that was insufferable) so stuff like that tends not to bother me.

I’m sorry.

I just need to look at the ceiling for a bit and think about how insufferable that was.

Okay.

I’m good now.

All I’m saying is that my dad had involuntary pain tears when he got a tattoo of a shark (with his ex-wife’s name under it) on his bicep. Maybe he was sad. Maybe we’re all just wired differently.

The world, huh?

I’m kind of annoyed about the aftercare that comes with getting a tattoo. I didn’t realize there would be so much cleaning and rinsing and ointment-applying. Alas, there is. For almost a month. Let’s see how I follow through with it.

IN THERAPY NEWS

You shouldn’t read this if you don’t have a really offbeat sense of humor. Also it involves sex.

I had one of the best laughs of my life.

So I’m in therapy and we’re talking about my general lack of caring about things, my dislike of personal joy and my general “I’ve given up” attitude toward life. My therapist says she wants to process my earliest non-abusive sexual experiences. I put my face in my hands and say “I guess we should because I really don’t want to do that.”

It’s just a weird thing to be doing is all.

It just is.

I blush.

We start processing.

She’s tapping my legs for bicameral processing and what have you. I talk about ejaculating when I was thirteen and having no idea what it was, other than that it was shameful and I had failed the world somehow because it happened. It is an embarrassing awkward and humiliating experience.

I relate that I felt like I’d let down God, my family and the universe.

Then I realize that having a beautiful woman tap my knees while I relate my first shameful awkward humiliating sexual experience is also a shameful awkward humiliating sexual experience.

Then I imagined relating this concept to myself at thirteen years old.

I would barge into my room and say “Hey, kid! You just ejaculated and that means one day when you’re almost thirty and you don’t like sex that you’re going to have to let a beautiful woman touch your kneecaps in a rhythmic fashion!” and then just disappearing and giving no context.

Then I imagine telling a thirteen year old version of my therapist “One day it will be your job to rhythmically tap the legs of a giant man who looks like a buffalo turned into a human by magic and talk to him about ejaculating when he was the age you are right now and he will pay you $100 a week to do things like this” and I just couldn’t stop laughing.

The world, huh?

I know it was funny because even my therapist cracked a smile and took a second to collect herself back into “I’m a professional therapist” mode.

One of the top laughs of my life. Easy.

 

Man of the People

I took my car in for an emissions test. The lady working the station got out, walked around my car and said: “It’s a hybrid.”

I said: “Yeah.”

Then she said: “Idaho has got to be the dumbest goddamn state in the goddamn Union.”

I said: “Yeah.”

I had actually been wondering how the emissions test would work, given that my engine doesn’t run when I’m parked. The attendant crawled back into her station for a bit and came back out with a piece of paper. Lastly, she said:

“You’re exempt. Put this in your glove compartment, they’ll never bother you again.”

I decided I really liked this lady. Especially the cowboy way she declared “they’ll never bother you again” while giving a sun squint stare into the distance. The only thing that was missing was a blade of straw dangling from her mouth and her tipping a cowboy hat to see me on my way.

I liked the cut of her jib.

I don’t know why that made me so happy, but it did.

BEST BORING BAD MOVIE EVER

VioletSleepsonNickCage

Nicolas Cage, genius or hack? I have no idea and don’t think it’s a question with an answer. There’s a movie called “Joe” on Netflix that brings that contrast to a point. It’s about a rundown place full of a lot of rundown people struggling to get by.

I hated this movie. A lot. Yet I couldn’t look away because it was so brilliant.

It reminded me of my hometown of Aberdeen. A lot of people have never seen extreme poverty in America. Or believe that American poverty is somehow a nobler or better form of poverty than in other countries. Poverty is probably more widespread and endemic in other countries, but I don’t like to play what I call “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Pain.”

I’ve seen some slums in Mexico and poverty seemed to be more openly terrible there, but I think that’s just because people are okay with it being out in the streets for whatever reason. I knew a lot of sick people in America who sat inside on broken down recliners and let themselves rot.

I’ve had a weird life compared to most people who spend a lot of time on the internet, but I was never ever at the bottom of the pyramid. People at the bottom don’t hang out on facebook a lot. I could see the bottom, though. I could see it quite clearly. There’s some fucked up shit down there. So while I know people with no teeth who claim to have been molested by ghosts, I’ve never been a person with no teeth who thought they were molested by a ghost.

A producer for Jenny Jones used to hang out around my middle school looking for fucked up kids to bring on the show. Aberdeen is like a wildlife preserve for downtrodden white people. I think there were about four or five kids from my middle school who were “mined” to appease the moral outrage of America.

There’s what I call “the Medieval timescale” for growing up. If you were responsible for kids when you were still a kid, you grew up on “the Medieval timescale.” People in poverty grow up on a Medieval timescale, as does the boy in this film.

This movie reminded me of that in a weird and unsettling way.

I hated it, but you should probably watch it.

Violet crawled on the tv to try and shield me from watching it.

STUFF I’M WORKING ON

I’m getting that terrible “I don’t deserve to live because I haven’t written anything” feeling. I think I’ll just pump out a single Tide World story instead of waiting to collect three of them. I can’t stand to feel like I’m wasting my life.

So look forward to that.

I did a free write for something I don’t have time to finish, but since you’re all so awesome, here it is. It’s tentatively titled “Escape from YA” about a group of YA characters stuck inside an imaginary high school and trying to escape into the rest of what I am now calling “Imagination Land” (that would change) so that their ideals can have more impact on the “Real World.”

They killed the girl with the bow and arrows.

I found out when I was walking around the perimeter of the high school, staring out into the Void beyond the fence. I thought only of escape and freedom. I was smiling. She taught me to smile. To hope. Then the crackling, tinny voice of the C’s announced over the intercom that she’d been “expelled.”

I haven’t smiled since.

No one said a thing about the expulsion. Not the Backgrounds, the Supporters, or the Sides. Not even a single Main. The rebellion just up and died. All of us who might have said anything are dead now, or too scared to speak up.

We all know what “expelled” means.

The first thing I did after the announcement was run over to the courtyard. It’s where we dropped messages between dormitories. The courtyard had been the hub of the entire rebellion for the last six months. I must have passed a few hundred silent characters. I knew if she’d really been expelled, that’s where the C’s would have done it. When I arrived and I saw arrows stuck in the ground at odd angles. I saw broken statues. I saw the aftermath of a fight.

The Janitor Archetype hadn’t been by yet so the fountain was still recycling red, rust-scented water.

She was the strongest of us. The most substantial. Almost real. Now she’s gone.

I don’t remember much of the night after that.

They used to just go after characters with magic. The characters from the least real cosmologies. She was good with that bow of hers, but she wasn’t a witch or anything. She was created destitute, lived a life of pain and her epilogue was bittersweet. There wasn’t a drop of magic in her.

And now she’s gone.

I walked a dozen sleepless miles, trying to come to terms with her absence.

I couldn’t make sense of it. It didn’t fit with the C’s usually way of doing things. She wasn’t like that kid with the scar on his forehead. He had it rough too, from what I hear, but at least he had power. He had spells and incantations. He was a threat to them.

I wasn’t around back when they snapped his wand and expelled him, but I hear it was bad. Maybe as bad as when they expelled her.

Maybe.

Some of the last Sides from the wizard boy’s story still raise their wands in memory when they think no one is looking. I wonder if I’ll ever make such a tribute to her. No one disturbed me as I walked. I think we all went Gray that night, at least for a bit. Our sparks sputtered and faded as another dream died.

She’s dead now.

Our last hope.

I’m all alone.

I feel so empty.

The last few days all I can do is walk around the campus perimeter, kicking rocks and watching them disappear into the Void. The Void that holds us all prisoner. Touch that for a second and you won’t be even be imaginary anymore. Touch that and you’ll disappear forever. Even a child’s dream can die in that Void.

Together, we might have had a chance.

Together, we might have been able to break out of this goddamn high school.

*****

My name is Aliss Felicity. I’m a child-detective written by a lesbian cop. You’ve never heard of her. Or me. I was never published.

I’m also the leader of the resistance, what’s left of it.

I don’t know why I’ve got more spark than almost everyone else here, but I do. I think it’s because my writer hung herself after she wrote me. Everyone’s got a bit of a spark after their origin story gets written. Well, my writer only ever got a chance to get to my origin put down and then she hung herself. I’ve got the same spark as characters read by hundreds of thousands.

I’ll also never have an ending, and that makes me less vulnerable.

Guess that makes me special.

All the other unpublished characters lack spark. Their life-force is barely a candle flicker. Their faces sort of blur together and they keep doing and saying the same things over and over again. I think the only reason they wound up here is that their authors obsessed over them long enough that they wound up with more spark than they were due. I think if they’d ever been read, most of them would be Mains. As it is, a lot of them wander around thinking they’re somewhere they’re not. They’re brittle and faded. Put them somewhere they don’t belong and they’d snap right in half. They never lived inside of the imagination of any person other than their writer. They’re inflexible caricatures of unrealized dreams.

The night my author hung herself, I woke up here.

Usually a characters comes here as a sort of insubstantial wraith. Then, as they gather readers and spark they start to become more real. Their features become more distinct, their minds more flexible, until they might as well be real. That’s not how it happened for me. When my writer closed her eyes and died, my eyes snapped open here, fully fleshed-out and aware.

Hell, when I first got here they couldn’t figure out whether or not to house with the Chosen Ones. Then when the C’s snatched my story, they bickered whether or not to argue me with the Literaries. I was never published, so I got bunked with the Child Detectives. We’re right next to the Child Inventors who are always making such a racket that it’s impossible to get any sleep.

The C’s: Compromise, Compliance, Control, Consistency, Convenience, Complacency

Another Love Poem

I wish you the best things

that I know to wish you

and knowing this, know

I never meant to

feel as I’ve come to feel

for you

 

But know-

in the whispering shadows

and the silent night

that I wish you the moon

the stars sparkling bright

and every hidden, wondrous thing

in God’s unbroken sight

 

In wishing this I cannot want

in that way I want to want

save by crooked thoughts

and crueler taunts

and my million dreams

which always haunt

any sinless way to see

that the best wish to wish

is to wish you by me

 

I suppose-

if you must hear the word

-then fine

Though I wish you the moon

and all things starry

Even so,

-yes, even so-

know that I love you

and I’m sorry

 

Anyone Can Do Anything

I’m getting a tattoo.

354px-Wojtek_soldier_bear.svg

It’s of Wojtek, the soldier bear.

During WWII, a Syrian Brown Bear was donated to a Polish Army Artillery Supply Unit. He saluted his fellow soldiers, consumed alcohol, smoked cigarettes and rose to the rank of corporal. During the battle of Monte Cassino, he served in combat by moving boxes of artillery.

He spent his years after the war in a Scottish zoo as his comrades felt it would be unwise to take him back into Soviet-controlled Poland. Until he died, Wojtek still recognized and saluted his fellow soldiers. Sometimes, those who knew him best would break into his enclosure to wrestle with him.

This bear has done more for the cause of human peace, liberty and happiness than I have ever done in my life. I would wager there are strong odds that this bear has accomplished more than you as well. That thought makes me feel like I should do more.

It will be my constant reminder that anyone can do anything.

Doctor MacGyver

So, I had an ear blockage.

Big ol’ gunk of wax far beyond the reach of my fingers.

Gross, right?

It was even more uncomfortable than it was gross. It had me feeling like my head was going to split open. Made me feel like I’d never be happy again.

Something I should take to a hospital? Make a doctor scoop out? Get drops for? Well, boys and girls: fuck that.

I’m smart enough that I can make any stupid idea sound brilliant.

So I cut out the bottom of a bulb syringe, fixed it over the end of my shop vac and cleaned that sucker right out. It was heavenly.

This is the kind of character defining moment that caused NASA to give me a scholarship to go to college. Also, probably, the reason I was so culture-shocked by being around normal people who will admit to human frailty that I couldn’t stand to be there. But my ear is clean. How do you like them apples?

I am incredibly ill.

I am working on things.

Buy my eBooks

And my old BC Woods stuff.

Excellent Media I Have Consumed

TV

 

Galavant

Are you aware that I mythologize my own personal history and feel that I have fallen from a state of grace? That I sit for days on end with forlorn frown and yearn for times gone by when I was strong and mighty and felt the fire of being alive? That I have been brought low by lost love and have forgotten almost everything that makes me who I am?

Do you know that I am a man in need of a mission and a quest and an enemy to vanquish?

What are you… fucking¬†new here?

So I love Galavant and have decided that the only thing that will ever restore me to my old powers would be a noble princess requesting my aid. You should watch it too. I’ve been watching it for a couple of weeks and still find myself singing “Gaaaalaaavaaaaaant!” at random times.

Streaming on Hulu.

Black Mirror

Are you aware that I am a cynical, broken and fucked up human being? That anytime I hear of someone doing something heroic I immediately try to debunk it, and if I find out it is real that I feel an emotion too big and powerful to feel all at once? That I always wait for people to fail so that I can sigh, affirm everything I believe about humanity, and continue to slink further toward the gaping abyss in my own soul?

Black Mirror contains stories of true human ugliness. Stories about seeing authentic, aching, human beauty and turning not toward darkness… but toward the gray. Toward the blah. Toward passionless haze and goo. Stories where you confront your demons and instead of fighting, you lay down and learn to live with them.

They’re fucking amazing.

Streaming on Netflix.

Books

I hate being happy, feeling positive or believing that anything I do will have a positive impact on the world. Which is why I despise when Bryn recommends good books to me and I actually like them. Every time I refuse to like something she recommends, I get another arguing point where I can say “See, the world is a shit place, full of shit people doing shit things!”

That way it’s okay to be a shut-in, reclusive misanthrope.

Well, she did it again. I’m sitting here, minding my own business, being the single father of five cats and waiting for death to hurry up and give me my final rest and then she shows me this link to a book by an author who was so uncomfortably handsome (especially for a science fiction writer), that I was sure his book was going to suck. So, I felt safe reading it. Then it was awesome. And I was like “Goddamnit, this is amazing.”

Red Rising

Is the story of a social uprising set in a space-faring society in our own colonized solar system. It starts slow, so I was hopeful that it was going to be awful. Then I could yell at Bryn and win all future arguments. While it does have a few problems, namely that a teenage man (the guy grows up on a medieval time scale, so he’s sixteen but a man at the start) has the natural aptitude to be a master politician and military tactician because drilling is very difficult. I’ve worked on a drilling rig, and I can assure you that is not true. So, I was prepared not to like the book and then…

This is a book that needs you to give it about a hundred pages of breathing room.

If you let it breathe, the book does that remarkable thing that books occasionally do, where the parts that aren’t as good become a part of why the book is great. Truly great. I ended up loving this book. You feel the oppression of a class of people. You take the “noble hero fights evil in the name of true love” plot and let it expand. You invest in the main character’s journey to hold onto himself while he simultaneously assimilates to the very Society that has oppressed his people. I felt like I was reading Pierce Brown find Pierce Brown. And there is a lot of good brilliant stuff there that I feel is just starting to be actualized.

Highly recommended.

Golden Son

The second book in the Red Rising Trilogy,¬†Golden Son takes the story established in the first book and expands upon it exponentially. I really can’t stress that enough. This is an author who is getting better and better with each word put down on paper. And that is an uplifting and wonderful thing to witness, to the point that it almost makes me feel the world might not be such a shit place. Paradigms shifted again and again, but in a natural and poetic order that lent itself to a coherent story. The story was just masterfully done.

There’s a lot here, if you’re looking to sink your teeth into a new author and a new universe. I have a feeling Pierce Brown is going to get bigger and better with each new story. I’m definitely going to read the next one as soon as it comes out, and I’m honestly excited to see what he does next which is something I don’t feel too often.

So go read it and get out of your head for a while. Changing the world is hard, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Every now and again you find something excellent.