Tag Archives: ninjas

First Novel Yuckishness

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One of my biggest regrets as a writer is that I started doing it before I had any earthly idea how to do it well.  I know as a former writing teacher that you have to start by starting and you learn to write better by writing.  There is no substitute for that redundantly repetitive redundancy of practice.  And that is the mistake I made with the first novel… not the first one I ever wrote… the first one I ever tried to get published.  I finished slapping the stupid thing together in primarily superfluous paragraphs and short chapters, and then sent it off to a publisher before I lost all willpower to try.  The mistake was in choosing a publisher that was revolutionizing the publishing industry with cheap-o flim-flam tricks.  If you have ever considered Publish America as an option… don’t.  They work well as a way to get your students published and excite them about writing, but you can send them a bag full of grocery lists and they will publish it, telling you they have no intention of changing your unique style… all editing is left up to you.  It is a crap guarantee that guarantees crap, no matter how good a writer you are.  If I had wasted one of my good babies on the venture, they would own the rights to it for seven years.  They do diddly-do-dah to promote or market your book.  Everything is up to the author.  They don’t even read the book.  They make some effort to contact your family and people who know you and hawk the book at ridiculous prices that I wouldn’t pay for Hemingway and are satisfied with the profits they make selling a dozen copies.

Now that the term of my contract is up, I have to decide what to do with this novel.  It is a hog-slop mish-mash of words and weirdness that no one could every truly appreciate as literature.  It is juvenile blather that I would be truly ashamed of if more people had bought it and wasted their time reading it.  (I don’t regret my friends and relatives reading it.  They deserve that fate for one thing or another over the years.  No one is without sin.)

Aeroq1 Aeroq2 Aeroq3 Aeroq4 Aeroq6 Aeroq5  You can see that I have made some attempts already to adapt it into something somewhat more-or-less interesting by using my rights to adaptation to make it into a graphic novel (These panels are merely rough draft form.  If I do this, it will end up in a much more finished, web-comic form.)  I am able to reclaim the entire book as of October of 2014.  I just haven’t decided yet if it is worth the effort.

It was a learning experience to do this Aeroquest book-like thing.  I learned a lot about what not to do.  But I did end up $12 dollars in the black from the experience.  The second book was a much more expensive proposition.  I paid I-Universe for editing, proofreading, and training in marketing and promotion.  They took the time to teach me all the proper steps and how to work towards eventual success.  They even set up this blog for me and trained me how to do it.   But I had to pay them.  At this point, three years later, I am still in the red with this book.  And they never mention that to be a success as an Indie novelist, you have to write more than one of these danged novel-things.  Hoo-boy!  But I am on it.  I will write to my last breath, and I guarantee you that I will tell some stories.

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Space Cowboys, the Kid Variety

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Here are two more deadly mutant kid ninjas from Aeroquest.   When the Pan Galactican Union fell to the mysterious space invaders known as the Scondians, these two mutant boys were among the flood of refugees who escaped to the Human Imperium.   Gyro son of Jor is a Nebulon.  That means he is a member of an inter-stellar race whose humanity is in question.  His skin is blue and highly radiation resistant.  On top of his Nebulon qualities, he is a Psion Trans-muter who can mentally alter molecules, sometimes even fusing simple atoms into more complex ones.  He is also very inventive.  He can change a simple computer into a mini-attack-bot, a computer into a video game machine, or a vehicle into video game machine… well, he’s a teenager, so virtually anything can become a video game machine.  He laughs easily, even at things that aren’t funny, and doesn’t mind when others call him a Space Smurf, because he doesn’t know what that means.  Billy Iowa is his best friend and fellow survivor.  If Gyro’s family hadn’t rescued Billy from Scondian captivity, he would’ve remained on Pan Galactica as a laboratory test subject.  Unlike many of the Pan Galactican Space Cowboys, he is not prejudiced against Nebulons.  In fact, as an orphan, he looks at them more as family than as an inferior race.  His Psion power is Clairvoyance, allowing him to see times and places where he is not present, even to the extent that he can accurately predict the future.  He’s a better karate and kung fu student than Gyro, but as student ninjas go, all the rest of his dojo can beat the crap out of him.  So, these two Space Cowboys, both boys, provide a lot of the comedy relief in the Aero Dojo.  They are of course, not nearly as dangerous as the girls are, but don’t insult them never-the-less.  Billy can tell you how you will die, and Gyro will make unbelievably corny jokes about it.

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Ugly Flowers (a short short science fiction story)

Mai Ling was swiftly learning the ninja skills that Master Aero taught the students in his dojo.  Unlike the majority of the Mutant Ninja Space Babies, Mai was completely in tune with the skills of movement, attack, and defense she was learning at the dojo because her psionic mutant power was telekinesis, the ability to remotely move things with the mind.  Her mental ability complemented her ninja attack skills in that she could alter the course of projectiles in flight.  If she threw a ten-pointed shuriken at someone, it would not miss.  The picture in her inner eye, the secret of psionic control, was always the flower-like shuriken rotating through the air at the target, even if it needed to make a ninety degree turn to hit the precise spot she aimed at.

Shu Kwai, Master Aero’s lead student, had worked with her hundreds of times, helping her to see the power to control movement of objects as part of a wondrous dance.  He was also a telekinetic and could also do the dance.  It was a dance that could protect others from harm, or if the need arose, destroy them.

At twelve years old, Mai was already developing into a shapely young lady. 

“You can’t be ashamed of your body when you are doing the dance,” reminded Shu.  “We wear hardly any clothes not because we are immodest, but because we do not wish to impede the dance in any way.”

Mai frowned at him.  Shu could be such a prig at times.  He stood there wearing only a white loincloth.  Except for that, his light orange-yellow body was functionally nude.  Boys could get away with that, especially scrawny teenage boys with practically nothing to show off anyway.  Shu and Mai were both natives to the planet Gaijin where Master Aero’s dojo was located.  That meant that they were descended half from the Japanese humans of Earth, and half from the nearly human Sylvani of deep space.  Mai herself had bare feet, bare legs, and a bare midriff.  She was not about to leave breasts exposed, or even her arms.  She wore a computerized ring-sleeve on her left arm, which helped give gauss-magnetic acceleration to objects she threw.  And the magnetic arm bands on her right arm gave her a magnetic shield she could shape and manipulate with telekinesis.

“I am not going out into the jungle without any clothes on,” she stated firmly to Shu.  “You don’t know if these strange aliens will attack.  Besides, I fight better with clothes on.  I’m not a pervert like you.”

At fourteen, Shu was definitely vulnerable to insults like “pervert”.  He cast his eyes downward to scan the ground and blushed furiously.  It was entirely possible, Mai thought, that Shu had a secret crush on her.  With the red flower in her hair, she was definitely beautiful, at least, in her opinion.

“Okay, but you better obey orders while we are on this weird planet.”  Shu sniffed imperiously for added emphasis.  That was okay.  Mai accepted the fact that he outranked her.

Cornucopia was probably the strangest planet Mai had ever visited.  Master Aero had discovered and named the planet.  Little Gyro the Nebulon inventor and one of Master Aero’s favorite students had discovered that all the intelligent creatures were plants and had a special scent language unlike anything in the known galaxy.  The first alien they had been able to communicate with was a strange, onion-like creature that Gyro’s computer translator named, “Luigi the Onion-Guy.”  Why the plant-man had an Italian first name was a complete mystery, but there was a clue in the fact that Gyro’s computer also dubbed the language of the Cornucopians “Stink-Talk.”  Nebulons were known for weird senses of humor.

“Are you sure we can’t take any weapons?” Mai asked.  Luigi the Onion-Guy had pleaded with Master Aero to come to Cornucopia to help battle evil fascist creatures that he called “Throckpods.”  Actually it was Gyro’s translator that called them that, but that was quibbling with the facts.

“Master Aero doesn’t want us to anger or frighten any of the flower-people of this planet.”

“Flower people?  They look like walking thistles and weeds to me.”

“Still, Master Aero only wants us to locate a Throckpod and convince him to come back with us so our group can study it.”

“So it’s a spy mission.”

“Intelligence gathering.”

“Oh, yeah, that’s very different.”

The jungle was different than any other jungle Mai had ever been in.  Instead of trees and vines and shrubs, it was made up of salt pillars, living crystals, and mold.  Mai’s ring sleeve indicated that large parts of it were toxic and deadly.  The two young ninjas proceeded cautiously.

Each time they encountered a carrot-guy or a potato-guy or a corn-stalk-guy, they were told to take a different trail through the toxic jungle.   Fortunately, Mai’s ring sleeve was programmed not only to interpret the plant people’s Stink-Talk, but could make a map of their progress as well.  Otherwise, Mai and Shu would be hopelessly lost.

Finally, a radish-guy with a puffy red and purple face pointed to a large stand of weeds.

“In that spot you will pinpoint a Throckpod.”  The ring sleeve translated the smells and spoke the message aloud in a voice that sounded like Mickey Mouse.  Darn that Gyro!

Shu looked at Mai and nodded.  They walked over to the stand of weeds.

“One of you is a Throckpod?” asked Shu.  The translator device made the word “Throckpod” smell suspiciously skunk-like.

“Who is asking?” said one of the flower-headed weeds.  “You appear to be skoog monkeys.”

Skoog monkey was an insult on most planets, at least, when used to describe a humanoid.  They were vicious little primates from the planet Misko Skoogalia.  Human beings were much more like the little poop-throwers than any human was comfortable admitting.

“We are students of Master Ged Aero,” said Shu.  “We think you may have heard of him, because other Cornucopians came to our world to seek him out.”

“We have heard of your head monkey, yes.  But we do not recognize his authority.”

“All we want is for a Throckpod to come and meet with him.  We wish to learn more about your planet.”

Everything went silent and smell free.  Mai wondered if they knew that the translator device in her ring sleeve would pick up and translate any smells they used to talk about the situation.  Maybe, however, they used telepathy or something.  Mai wished Sarah the telepath was with her at that moment.

One exceptionally large weed came over to Mai and bent down over her head.  Mai realized that it was examining her red flower with little seed-like eyes.

“You have killed a seedling!” said the possible Throckpod.  “You must be killed in return.”

Mai’s heart leaped.  Shu was obviously surprised too.  They had no weapons, but both of them could pick up and throw rocks, pebbles, and crystal shards with only a thought.  Mai could propel one like a bullet with her ring sleeve.

The rest of the weeds gathered around them too.

“It’s a flower from my own world,” said Mai, lamely.  How could she make these plant people understand that, not only was the flower not intelligent like them, it was an artificial hair decoration and made from silk?

“A flower is a flower,” said the Throckpod, “and a monkey is a monkey.”

“Pick up a score of pebbles and rocks, Mai,” said Shu.  “It’s time we gave them the old lawnmower treatment!”

“Lawnmower?” asked the Throckpod.

“A machine for cutting grass,” said Shu.  “It cuts plants down close to the roots.”

If a weed could turn pale, then these Throckpods were suddenly gray.  They knew about human technology apparently, and were completely unsure of what Mai and Shu were capable of.  It was at that very moment that Mai had a bright idea.

“Why do you assume the flower is dead?” asked Mai, looking into the seed-eyes of the weed standing over her.

“Because it doesn’t move.”

Mai smiled.  She used her telekinetic ability to make the petals of the silk flower move.  In fact, she made the delicate little thing do a spinning dance just above her brow.  “This flower is alive and it is my good friend and companion.”

“Have it say so,” the Throckpod replied menacingly.

“It is a tiny flower,” said Mai, thinking quickly, “and tiny flowers on my planet have not learned to speak.  Can you not see that it is alive?”

“Accept her word, brother,” said one of the other weeds.  “We don’t want to risk this lawnmowing thing.”

The plant-man relented.  “Very well.  I will go with you to see this master monkey of yours.  You will remember that Throckpods are the natural rulers of this planet, and we are to be treated as king-things.”

“King-things?” asked Mai.

“Royalty,” suggested Shu.

“Oh,” said Mai.  It was Gyro’s crazy translator program again. 

So, finally, Mai’s Cornucopia adventure was ending as she trudged back to the Mutant Ninja Space Baby camp.  She had found and mastered a walking weed known as a Throckpod, and she left with the melancholy realization that it would be nice to have a talking flower to put in her hair, but that wish could never come true.Image

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