The Camp Prospero Files: Danny Falco


The following report and its contents are classified TOP SECRET under Federal Code 7906-A. The information contained within is the exclusive property of the United States Department of Defense, The Bureau of Magical Affairs, and its branch offices. Any unauthorized release will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Interviews conducted by professional staff for the purpose of determining the mental status and fitness of key training camp personnel.


Subject: Danny Falco

Designation: Class 2

Rank: Senior Scout


INTERVIEWER: Thank you for coming, Mr. Falco. Have a seat.

DANNY FALCO: Oh. Umm–sure. [sits and shifts around] Is this okay?

I: Is what okay?

DF: How I’m sitting.

I: [chuckles] You’re sitting fine. You don’t have to be nervous, Mr. Falco. We just want to talk.

DF: Right. Sorry. I mean–okay. That’s all. Okay. I’m trying not to say sorry about everything anymore. My brother told me that. Don’t apologize for things that aren’t your fault.

I: That’s a healthy perspective. That would be Sam Falco, your elder brother, correct?

DF: Yeah.

I: Do you talk often?

DF: Well, we used to, but now–I don’t know. [shifts and looks away] I haven’t heard from him in a while. Do you know what’s going on with him? What he’s been doing? I mean, you work for the BMA, right?

I: Not my department, Mr. Falco. My apologies. Even if I knew, I likely wouldn’t be able to say. Classified, you know.

DF: Uh-huh. Sorry. Damn, I did it again. [touches eyepatch] Man, I’ve got a headache.

I: Does that happen often since your–

DF: No! Well, not often. Just sometimes. It’s kind of weird looking in the mirror, you know? Definitely never thought I’d be, like, a pirate or something. [laughs weakly]

I: If your injury makes you uncomfortable, Mr. Falco, I’m certain the Bureau could pay for some cosmetic surgery. Limited, of course. But we recognize our role in the unfortunate events that transpired at Camp Prospero, and we’d like to make things right if we can.


DF: [gulps] They told me you’d try to do this.

I: Who told you? What?

DF: Tessa and them. That you’d try to buy me off. It’s okay, I’m good.

I: Mr. Falco, this is nothing of the kind. We simply want to–

DF: I said I’m good. [pause] Besides, Jack says girls will think it’s hot.

I: Err–I see. I’m sure I wouldn’t know. But let’s move on. Do you have any reservations returning to Camp Prospero? After all, it was the scene of your–injury.

DF: Huh? No, no way. I mean, I don’t mind it there. It’s not so bad. Well, other than all the threats of expulsion and prison and death and stuff. [pause] Yeah, that didn’t come out right. But the people there are kind of my family. We’ve been through a lot together.

I: Would you include your brother as part of that family?

DF: [frowns] Yeah. Sure. Of course. Why?

I: And you’re certain you have no idea of his whereabouts currently?

DF: No. He doesn’t answer texts or calls anymore. We used to write letters back and forth when I was at camp, but he stopped getting back to me, like, a few months ago.

I: Any friends? Mutual acquaintances?

DF: I don’t know. How come you want to know? Doesn’t he work for you guys?

I: Mr. Falco, you would do well to cooperate with this investigation. If we don’t believe you’ve compiled to a satisfactory degree, there could be consequences.

DF: [gulps] What kind of consequences?

I: I think you know. Now please answer my questions.

DF: Okay. Umm, I mean, yes, sir.

I: Many of your peers and associates, Mr. Falco, have been identified as problematic personnel. Potential subversives. Disruptive influences. If they’re left to their own devices, they could have a detrimental effect on the entire student body at Camp Prospero. We need your help to ensure this doesn’t happen. [looks at notes] You would say you’re close with Jack Ferguson, correct?

DF: I guess so, yeah.

I: The records indicate he’s your best friend. You’re closer to him than anyone at Camp Prospero.

DF: Well, yeah. I mean, I used to be. [sighs] I don’t know. Jack and I started together. We met for the first time when both of us were cadets on the train. He was the first person at camp I knew, so I just kind of stuck with him. Jack’s–umm–a really good guy.

I: But?

DF: But what?

I: Mr. Falco–

DF: Fine, okay. We don’t connect like we used to. Well, I’m not sure Jack and I ever really got each other in the first place, but we were tight, you know? Lately he’s been avoiding me. I think all of us, really. I don’t know what’s going on with him. But it hurts a little.

I: You thought you were closer than that?

DF: I mean–not really. I’m worried about him, that’s all.

I: That’s good, Mr. Falco. And if you are truly concerned for him, you should tell us what we want to know.

DF: What’s that?

I: For a start, where the other pieces of the Spear of Destiny are. We know your classmate Drake Masterson holds one, but the other three have been missing since the Barstowe incident. We suspect Mr. Ferguson and others may have hidden them in a misguided effort to protect them. We need those artifacts, Mr. Falco. We need to make sure they are kept safe.

DF: [squirms] But isn’t it better this way? The Spear’s so powerful, it could do anything. Nobody should have something like that. People just can’t be trusted with it.

I: We’re not people, Mr. Falco. We’re the BMA. No one else is qualified. Certainly not a group of teenagers. Additionally, we need to know whether Mr. Ferguson’s magical abilities are truly gone, or if he is concealing them from us. He is far too powerful to be allowed to walk free with them, without proper precautions and observation.

DF: [shrugs] I don’t know. Jack says he doesn’t have them, and I believe him. You don’t know him. If he did, he’d be using them to pull a prank or something. He’s not dangerous.

I: We respectfully disagree, Mr. Falco. Now, will you help us, or not? The Spear pieces. Where are they?

DF: I don’t know.

I: The truth. Have you heard from your brother?

DF: No!

I: Have Mr. Ferguson’s powers returned?

DF: I don’t know, okay? I said that already. I can’t tell you what you want to know.

I: Can’t, or won’t, Mr. Falco? I’m warning you–

DF: Uh-uh. You can’t make me tell you anything, even if I did know. [takes a deep breath] I know my rights. Is this the part where I ask for a lawyer? Huh?


I: That won’t be necessary, Mr. Falco. You may go.

DF: Right. [gets up, pauses] Permission to speak freely, sir?

I: Of course, Danny. That’s the purpose of these sessions.

DF: Uh-huh. [pauses] Umm–okay. Well, for someone who’s supposed to be helping us feel better, no offense but–uhh–you’re kind of lousy at it. Just saying.


The Camp Prospero Files: Drake Masterson


The following report and its contents are classified TOP SECRET under Federal Code 7906-A. The information contained within is the exclusive property of the United States Department of Defense, The Bureau of Magical Affairs, and its branch offices. Any unauthorized release will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Interviews conducted by professional staff for the purpose of determining the mental status and fitness of key training camp personnel.


Subject: Drake Masterson

Designation: Class 4

Rank: Senior Scout


INTERVIEWER: Have a seat, Mr. Masterson. Now tell me, what shall we discuss?


I: Mr. Masterson?


I: Mr. Masterson, I asked if there was anything you wanted to talk about. Is something bothering you?


I: Mr. Masterson, are you going to answer my questions?

DRAKE MASTERSON: They told me I had to show up here, pencil-neck. They didn’t say I had to talk. Hard pass.

I: Hmm. “They” told me you might be, shall we say, difficult to hold a conversation with.

DM: [snorts] It’s not my fault people ask for my opinion. I tell everyone to go shove it. You’re nothing special. And don’t think you’re going to get into my head with any of that psychiatric stuff, either. [taps temple] You see this? Fort Knox.

I: I see. [writes in notebook] You don’t like me, do you, Mr. Masterson?

DM: How could you tell?

I: Well, the personal abuse was the first sign. Also, your body language suggests that–

DM: [rolls eyes] I was being sarcastic, shrink. Jesus. Get a clue.

I: Why is that? Do you find you instinctively distrust authority figures?

DM: No. I just don’t believe anyone more important than me exists. If they do, I haven’t met them yet.

I: Uh-huh. [writes in notebook] Very interesting. You have strong opinions, Mr. Masterson. I suppose it’s understandable given your strength in magic. According to my records, you’re the one of the few Class 4 wizards we know about–a prodigy. And with fire magic, too: one of the rarest and most difficult forms of elemental power to control. That must give you some satisfaction.

DM: [smirks] Huh. And here I thought you were just going to bore me to death. Okay, I’ll bite.

I: So you’ll speak to me?

DM: Only if we keep talking about how great I am. Better get a fresh notepad, though. We might be here a while. But I guarantee it’ll be time better spent than with the rest of those scrubs.

I: I gather you see yourself as somewhat set apart from your fellow scouts.

DM: Umm–as in, better than them? Duh. That’s just the facts.

I: And yet without many of them, you might not be sitting here right now.

DM: [eyes narrow] What’s that supposed to mean, shrink?

I: I’m sorry, Mr. Masterson. I was simply observing that while you clearly are quite capable of taking care of yourself, it seems in circumstances where you lacked a certain leverage, these other scouts you consider yourself superior to actually came through for you. Even though they had no reason to.

DM: [glares] What do you mean, no reason? They need me. Who else is going to kick ass and take names when it needs to get done?

I: Ah. And do you also enjoy that feeling?

DM: What feeling?

I: Being needed. Belonging to a group.

DM: [scowls] I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t need anyone. People just piss me off.

I: Indeed. [shuffles through papers] Your file is quite clear on that point. Disciplinary action a half-dozen times, including for physical assault. Assessments indicating extreme narcissism, anger management issues, emotional instability–need I go on?


I: You, Mr. Masterson, fit the profile of a loner. A misfit. Your–shall we say–troubled relationship with your family points even more to that label.

DM: They put you up to this, didn’t they? My jerkoff family. Lousy assholes. But so that? I don’t need them or their money. The only person who tells me what to do is me.

I: And yet your actions over the past two years say otherwise. You’ve helped Jack Ferguson and his friends avert several catastrophes. More than that, they seem to regard you as a friend, despite what you say.

DM: [groans] Goddamn it. I’m so sick of hearing about Ferguson. You couldn’t go 10 whole minutes without bringing his stupid name up. And he doesn’t even have the common decency to hold onto his magic so I can beat him in a fair fight.

I: Let’s talk about your feelings toward Jack. Clearly your relationship is complicated, but the record shows he’s stood up and defended you even when he had no reason to, and when no one else would. And your association with him and his fellow scouts indicates a pattern of gratitude, despite what you might say. You’ve had plenty of opportunities to take him out of the picture, but never seized on a single one. Interesting. [clears throat] Thank you, Mr. Masterson. This has been a very enlightening session.

DM: What are you talking about? I didn’t give you anything.

I: I respectfully disagree. One final question, though: would you say your respect for Jack and desire to repay him developed naturally, or more due to circumstance?

DM: [glares and rises from chair]

I: Is this the part where you attempt to harm me for getting to the truth of the matter, Mr. Masterson? Because I warn you, the guards outside will–

DM: This is the part where you pucker up and kiss my ass, shrink. I’m done here. [stalks to the door, but pauses] Got any copies of those notes?

I: No. Why?

DM: [snaps fingers, notebook bursts into flames]

I: Oh! [drops burning notebook]

DM: [glowers] [CENSORED] you, [CENSORED]. [Walks out]

I: Did you record all that? Good. Let’s move on.

The Camp Prospero Files: Tessa Stone


The following report and its contents are classified TOP SECRET under Federal Code 7906-A. The information contained within is the exclusive property of the United States Department of Defense, The Bureau of Magical Affairs, and its branch offices. Any unauthorized release will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Interviews conducted by professional staff for the purpose of determining the mental status and fitness of key training camp personnel.


Subject: Tessa Stone

Designation: Class 3

Rank: Trainee Scoutmaster


TESSA STONE: [salutes] Trainee Scoutmaster Tessa Stone reporting as ordered, sir.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you, Miss Stone. I hope we haven’t pulled you away from anything important.

TS: No, sir. Just refamiliarizing myself with the Scout Handbook and codes of conduct.

I: I see. Transition to your new role going well, I take it?

TS: Yes, sir. It’s a privilege to be serving the magical community and helping out people like me. I was in their position once, so it’s nice to be able to give back.

I: Of course. Are you planning on standing for the whole interview, Miss Stone?

TS: [pauses] Sir?

I: Have a seat.

TS: [shifts uncomfortably] I’d prefer to stand, sir.

I: Uh-huh. [makes a note] And why is that?

TS: I’ve always found it–productive to maintain a clear chain of command, sir. I don’t like to–I mean, it’s unprofessional to get too comfortable with superior officers.

I: Interesting. Let’s explore that. You must have some mixed feelings about returning to Camp Prospero–the same camp you graduated from–to work as a staff member. After all, you’re sure to encounter scouts you trained with frequently.

TS: I guess that’s true, sir. I mean, the part about seeing people I know. I requested Camp Prospero as my post personally.

I: Right. And feeling indebted to you for your, shall we say, services of late, the BMA obliged your request. I’m not sure they would have done the same for many other people. How does that make you feel?

TS: [blushes] Umm–grateful, sir?

I: Do you feel special?

TS: No, sir. I don’t want to be a charity case.

I: You’re hardly that, Miss Stone. I’ve read your file. High marks, stellar participation and patriotism, and dedication to preserving military discipline is written all over it. You were an exceptional scout.

TS: Thank you, sir. I tried my best.

I: I’m sure you did. Getting back to the point at hand, however–is there anyone at Camp Prospero you’re looking forward to seeing again? Anyone in particular?

TS: I don’t know what you mean, sir.

I: Really?

TS: [flustered] Well, I know a lot of people there. They were my friends. Still are. Sure, it’d be nice to see some of them.

I: Including Jack Ferguson?

TS: What? What does that have to do with anything? [crosses arms] Sir, what’s all this about?

I: I believe you were informed, Miss Stone. We’re conducting psychological evaluations of–

TS: Sir, what’s all this REALLY about? I know I don’t have clearance, and I know you don’t have to tell me anything. But with all due respect, please don’t insult my intelligence by lying to me.


I: Miss Stone, we’re attempting to determine if your history at Camp Prospero has in any way compromised your good judgment. And on an otherwise spotless record, the only thing that stands out is your–ahem–relationship with Jack Ferguson and his associates. You are aware that several of them, as well as Mr. Ferguson, have a history of disciplinary problems?

TS: [tenses] Yes, sir. I was there. There were a handful of times that things got–out of hand.

I: [snorts] Now you’re insulting my intelligence, Miss Stone. Mr. Ferguson’s reprimand sheet alone is longer than my arm.

TS: Is this interview going somewhere, sir? I’m a little busy.

I: Ah. So there is a real person inside that uniform.

TS: What’s that supposed to mean?

I: It means, Miss Stone, that you’re trying to feed me a line. You’ve been telling me what you think I want to hear.

TS: And what do you want to hear, sir? Please let me know so I can just tell you and get out of here.

I: You’re not comfortable with being analyzed, are you? With someone else knowing a lot about you?

TS: [pauses] Honestly, sir? No. I think private things should stay private.

I: And I’d be inclined to agree with you if the subject weren’t so important. Let’s consider the past two years at camp. A scout-lead rebellion that led to your scoutmaster being fired and administrative turmoil. And then there was the Barstowe incident–

TS: Incident? Is that what we’re calling it now? A lot of those people I know at Camp Prospero–the people we’ve been talking about–almost died because the BMA laid down on the job and let a psycho through background checks. She almost brought down the whole camp, and if she had, all of you would’ve been next!

I: It was unfortunate, it’s true. But that’s in the past. We’re talking about the present.

TS: Oh, no you don’t. I’m not letting it go. A lot of our scouts had to go to therapy over that summer. Some of them spent months in the hospital. They’re never going to be the same. We’re goddamn lucky nobody actually died. And the government hasn’t so much as apologized to them for it.

I: All records of the Barstowe matter are sealed, Miss Stone. Divulging that information carries high penalties. You would do well to control your emotions.

TS: Is that because you outrank me, sir, or just because I’m a woman speaking her mind? You think I’m scared of you because I wear your uniform and follow your rules?

I: I think that you are emotionally compromised, Miss Stone. You’re too close to this camp, and these people. Especially Jack Ferguson.

TS: [glares] All due respect, sir, but I don’t care what you think. I do what I know is right. That’s what my father taught me, and he gave up a hell of a lot more for his country than most of you people. Jack might not be perfect, but he’s a hero. He’s traumatized. And we all let him down. Every single one of us. That’s not something any psych test will wipe away.


I: I see. Are you worried about what you’ve said here today being used against you?

TS: I’m worried the country I wanted to serve isn’t the country I thought it was. If you demote me, reassign me, whatever, you’ll just be proving me right. [sighs, straightens uniform] Will that be all, sir?

I: Yes, Miss Stone. You’re dismissed.

The Camp Prospero Files: Jack Ferguson


The following report and its contents are classified TOP SECRET under Federal Code 7906-A. The information contained within is the exclusive property of the United States Department of Defense, The Bureau of Magical Affairs, and its branch offices. Any unauthorized release will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Interviews conducted by professional staff for the purpose of determining the mental status and fitness of key training camp personnel.


Subject: Jack Ferguson

Designation: Class 5 (INACTIVE)

Rank: Senior Scout


INTERVIEWER: Welcome, Jack. Please, have a seat. Make yourself at home.

JACK FERGUSON: Damn, man. If I knew it was going to be that kind of interview, I would’ve brought a beer or three. [laughs] Oh well. Easy come, easy go I guess. [shrugs and lays sideways across chair] So I’ve been at Camp Prospero for three years now and this is the first time anybody’s asked me if I wanted to talk about stuff. What’s the deal here?

I: We just want to talk with you, Jack. As you said, we acknowledge that in recent years the Bureau may have neglected to monitor the well-being of those under our purview as carefully as we should, and we’re trying to remedy that situation.

JF: Uh-huh. Okay. [raises eyebrow] You know how I know you’re full of crap?

I: Umm–how?

JF: You used a lot of big words right there, and I didn’t understand anything you said. [sighs] But then again, I’ve never really been a big fan of books. Or reading. Or work. So overrated.

I: Yes, well–getting back to the subject at hand, tell us a bit about your mental state.

JF: My what now?

I: How are you doing?

JF: Oh. Huh. [shrugs] I mean, I’m okay, I guess. Year’s been pretty good. Took a little break. Just chilling. You know how it is.

I: I assume you’re referring to the leave of absence the BMA granted you after your last summer at camp?

JF: You mean the vacation? [smiles] Yeah, it was pretty sweet. I went to Nepal. Found these monks and got the hook-up at their place for a while. Slept on the couch. Well, I don’t know if they have couches, but they gave me a room and stuff. It was nice to forget about everything and just unwind. Plus, it was fun. Those guys thought I was hilarious. You’d think they never heard a knock-knock joke their whole lives. We had some pretty great parties, too. Did you know you can make a great cocktail out of rum and goat’s milk that’s got a–

I: Interesting, I’m sure. But you must admit the last two years have been rather stressful ones: changes in camp leadership, personnel problems, etcetera. And that’s not even beginning to address personal trauma. [pauses] About your magic–

JF: [sighs] Dude, can we not talk about all that? You’re bumming me out.

I: I’m sorry, Jack, but it’s important. I understand your magical abilities have yet to return.

JF: Yeah. That’s kind of what happens when a crazy-ass witch tries to drain your life energy or whatever. What do you care?

I: Jack, you’re the first–perhaps the only–Class 5 wizard on record. Your aptitude is stronger than any magical individual the BMA has ever encountered. Regardless of the current status of your abilities, you are a high-priority asset. Surely you recognize the need for us to keep tabs on you.

JF: Not really, man. I never asked for this, you know. I don’t want to be magic Jesus or whatever. Besides, with all the trouble I’ve caused at camp, I figured you all would be happy I was out of commission.

I: Are you happy?

JF: In general? [laughs] Sure. I’m Mr. Positive. Ask anybody. It’s all good.

I: You’re deflecting. I mean, are you pleased to be without your magic? That seems like an odd reaction.

JF: You think so, huh? [scoffs] Okay, I’ll level with you: yeah, I’m happy. I’m glad my magic’s gone. And you know why? You know what people called me? They never did it to my face, but I heard it. Behind my back. Between you adults. You guys gave me a nickname.

I: I’m not aware of–

JF: I might not be able to read your mind anymore, but I know you’re lying.

I: [coughs] Yes, well–Worldbreaker. They’re calling you a Worldbreaker. A wizard so powerful your abilities could literally–

JF: I know what it means. But you know how that feels? Huh? I don’t want to break anything–except maybe the nose of whoever decided to put me in this room. All my magic did was set me apart from everyone. Made people scared of me. Destroyed things. And it was all my fault because I had these powers or somebody else wanted them or I wasn’t trying hard enough–you name it. Why would anybody want that kind of pressure on them? So screw it. I hope my magic never comes back. There, I said it. Can I go now?

I: Not just yet, Jack. We have more questions for you.

JF: Like what? You’ve got my whole file there or whatever. What else do you need to know?

I: We need to determine your mental fitness for the upcoming term at Camp Prospero. You must admit, you’ve done some pretty strange things over the past two years. I’m quoting from Scoutmaster Hasselberry’s own reports: “…running of commanding officer’s underwear up the flagpole every day for a week…mesmerizing Centaur and Quetzal scouts into switching places with your troop for official inspection…holding a ‘Come as Your Favorite Roman in a Bedsheet Party’…on report half a dozen times for drunk and disorderly…out of uniform…conduct unbecoming a scout…” Need I go on?

JF: [rolls eyes] Gee whiz, I don’t know why. Maybe because a bunch of people with bad haircuts and worse attitudes are trying to order me around like I owe them something and ruining people’s lives when they disagree with them. Give me a break. Hey, I’ve got a question for you: how come government and stuff turns everybody into total assholes? No offense.

I: Umm–none taken. Do you need a moment?

JF: [blinks] What? Nah, I’m good. Forget about it, man. Just venting.

I: Right–anyway. Regardless, it appears you’ve got quite a following at Camp Prospero. Do you think you’re a disruptive influence?

JF: What am I, a chemist or something? Chemists do that disruption stuff, right? Or is that pilots? Whatever. I mean, I can’t help it if people think I’m cool. They’re not wrong. But I’m not trying to be a problem or anything. Last thing I need right now is more people hanging around me. It cramps my style. I just want some space.

I: Are you sure that’s the reason?

[Long silence]

JF: Did I ever tell you about my buddy Danny? Maybe you talked to him already. Short kid? Eyepatch? Geeky clothes? Comic book in his back pocket? Anyway, he said the funniest thing to me the other day–

I: Jack.

JF: That’s my name. Don’t wear it out. [chuckles] What’s up?

I: I asked you a question. You still haven’t answered it.

JF: Was it the one about what conditioner I use?

I: I never asked about that.

JF: Pretty sure you did, bro. Let me see those notes. I bet you have it written down somewhere.

I: Those are confidential.

JF: Confidential, shomfid–umm–whatever. Let me see real quick.

I: Jack, control yourself!

[A brief scuffle]

JF: Okay, okay. Jesus. You guys don’t have to threaten to tase me. Don’t want to go through that again. I mean, without fair warning. [laughs]

I: Uh-huh. [sighs] My question was about why you want to be alone when you clearly have a history as an extrovert. What caused this change of heart?

JF: I don’t want to talk about it.

I: Is it because your friends’ opinion of you has changed? Do you worry about not being able to protect them?

JF: Protect them? [snorts] I think I’ve done a pretty lousy job so far, don’t you?

I: You seem to think so.

JF: That’s it, dude. I’ve had it with this.

I: Jack, calm down–

JF: Or what? You’ll shoot me or something? [spreads arms] Go ahead. You’re probably doing the world a favor. Take me out before I get my scary powers back and blow it all up because I’m a dumbass loser. I don’t want to be that guy. I just want to be normal. You hear me? Normal! I wish I never heard of magic or the BMA or any of it. Tell all your buddies behind the two-way mirror, too. I’m out. [walks toward door, then stops] And for the record, my friends don’t need me to protect them. They need to be protected from me. If they’re smart, they’ll get as far away from me as they can. If the last two years taught me anything, it’s that nothing good happens to people who hang out with me. And I’m done with it.

[Walks out and slams door]

I: Right. I think we have what we need. Send in the next candidate, please.

Some Writing Updates, and a New Project!

Hi everyone!

Once again, I apologize for the amount of time between posts for me–with everything going on in my life, I tend to get distracted from things like, say, keeping my website up to date. I’ve got quite a bit of news to share this time around, but I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. It’s a bit of a bad news, good news, better news situation.

The bad news: Unfortunately, due to some ongoing edits and other projects, I’m going to have to push back my anticipated release of Jack Ferguson Strikes Back (book two of the “Camp Ferguson” series) to sometime next year. When exactly? I’m not sure. Right now I’m in the middle of some re-edits for the original Camp Ferguson, inspired by my ongoing grad school learning and some awesome feedback from friends in the writing community. I know it’s already a self-published novel, but I want to make sure anything I put out there is the best it can be, and the great thing about being a self-published author is if you want to, you can do things like this! I’ve been working on my Camp Ferguson rewrites for a couple of months now, and I’m more than halfway through. The other half of the bad news is that I’m also going to be putting this project on hold, at least temporarily. That’s because of the good news, though…

The good news: I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year! I’ve avoided this in the past because I’m uncomfortable working on deadlines for creative projects, but what can I say? This year I’m just in the writing spirit. Originally I thought about just keeping up with my revisions through NaNo, but after working on Camp Ferguson for several months now, I feel like I need a break, and I’ve been dying to do something new.

Hence, the even better news: I’ve got a new book project! Because I wanted to start something new for NaNo, I’ve settled on a long-delayed idea as my work for the month–it’s a military sci-fi thriller, and the first book in a series I’m tentatively calling “Megacyte.” Following the model of books like DuneThe Expanse, and others, it’s an epic saga involving a giant, planet-sized parasite and the fate of the human race. Ambitious? Yes, probably. But this story is SO cool and I can’t wait to get started on it. For those of you who want a teaser, he’s my jacket blurb so far:

In the not-so-distant future, a mining operation on Earth’s moon goes awry and reveals a terrifying truth: the object orbiting our planet was never natural, but is in fact a long-dormant, planet-sized extraterrestrial parasite of unknown origin. The organism latches onto the Earth and starts burrowing into its core, causing untold devastation across the globe.

Three years later, Lt. Diego “Ash” Ashford is transferred to a new survivor’s base as conditions worsen on our now-hostile world and remaining pockets of humanity struggle to hang on. There, he’s reunited with his superior officer and longtime friend Mj. John Anderson and his brilliant scientist wife, Dr. Ellie Cho–with whom Ash shares a complicated past. Anderson has an ambitious plan to take the fight to the aliens and stop the destruction, and wants Ash along for the ride–but infiltrating the massive construct known as the “Megacyte” is only the beginning of their ordeal.

No one is prepared for the wonders–or horrors–that await in the belly of the beast, and as simmering nationalistic tensions threaten to divide the team and undermine the mission, Ash, Ellie, and Anderson are all forced to battle demons both without and within. Their success, or failure, may determine the very future of the human race.

Hope you’re interested, because I’m thrilled to get started on this! You can follow my progress on my NaNo page, or just find my username (krobnovelist, same as Twitter) if you want to be buddies with me! I can use all the accountability I can get. Thanks for listening, and happy reading and writing!

Hey, I’m a Freelance Editor Now!

Hi all you faithful followers and writing friends!

Since I started graduate school for creative writing and publishing last year, and even before that, something I’ve always wanted to do for a living is help other people with their writing. For me, one of the most satisfying and worthwhile things I can do with my time is to read someone else’s great story, and then try to give them the advice and tools to shape it into something even better. I love helping people make their writing the best it can be, but I’ve struggled looking for an outlet for this that I might be able to make a living off of.

But I’m pleased to say the first step has been accomplished–I’m now an honest, for-real freelance editor with Represent Publishing! You can read more about the company on the website in the link, but the short version is it’s been around for a few years in varying forms as a pet project of one of my closest Twitter friends. Recently, she and some other team members have renewed their drive to get the business on track, and are offering a variety of self-publishing help packages and services (all very reasonably priced), including editing of all kinds: line editing, developmental editing, proofreading, manuscript critiques, etc. And I’m thrilled to be one of the people they’ve seen fit to bring on board as an editor!

If you’re interested in publishing your own book, having control over your work, and getting away from the stress of the traditional publishing world with all the agent queries and rejection letters, Represent Publishing might be for you! Right now we’re looking to add some new authors onto our roster, and we’d love to have you and take a look at whatever work you might have. Check out the website and send us an email–we’re always available to talk. Plus, until the end of this month there’s some great deals on publishing packages and even a contest to get 50 percent off a service.


Please help support our self-published authors and the people who want to support them! I look forward to possibly talking with you about your work in the near future.

On the Road with “The Road to Ithaca”

Greetings, fellow writers and loyal readers! After months of grueling rewrites and agonizing over plot details, characters, and other things, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve finished the second draft of my latest novel, The Road to Ithaca. If you’re looking for a peek at what it’s about, here’s my current back-cover blurb!

Odysseus Wyatt Turner–Wyatt to his friends, of which there aren’t many–is lost at sea, stuck at a dead-end job with no prospects and no future. But that’s about to change when he gets a letter from far-off Ithaca, New York, informing him that his estranged father has died and left him something in his will. Wyatt knows he has to act fast, or risk having whatever that something is yanked away by the rest of his no-good, selfish, greedy family.

His solution: enlist a motley crew, including his aloof ex-girlfriend, his surfer bro best friend, and a driver who’s only in it for himself for a wild, wacky road trip across the country to claim what’s rightfully his. They’ll face many obstacles on their sometimes perilous, sometimes hilarious, and always ridiculous journey into the heart of America, including a grudge-bearing gang of women bikers who want Wyatt’s inheritance for themselves. What they all find at the end of the trip may be much different than they expected.

Yes, that’s right–in case any of you are reading about this project for the first time, this novel is an adult contemporary story that’s in many ways a modern-day retelling of Homer’s Greek epic, The Odyssey. It’s been one of my favorite books for a very long time, ever since I first read it in middle school and was fascinated by Odysseus and his adventures.


But that’s not to say you can’t enjoy this novel without reading The Odyssey first–as far as retellings go, I admittedly took a LOT of liberties with the script on this one. For me, there’s two big selling points for this story. One, unlike pretty much everything else I’ve ever written, there are NO fantastical or mythological elements of any kind (other than a little reference drop here and there). All the mythical creatures and otherworldly places portrayed in The Odyssey have been adapted into believable, real-life counterparts–some a bit closer to the source material than others, but being creative is half the fun! And two, this story deals with some very real issues facing young 20-somethings like myself and the main characters, including depression, cynicism, a lack of good jobs, family problems, and the value of friendship.

If all that didn’t sell you, maybe this will: with my full second draft done, that means I’m in the stage now where I’ll be needing some beta-readers! If you’d like to check out a fun new retelling of a Greek classic and have your suggestions and feedback taken into account on my eventual rewrites, drop me a line via email, Facebook, Twitter, or anyplace you can get a hold of me and I’ll send my manuscript along for you to read.

Thank you in advance for all your help. It’s only with your support that I’m able to continue to grow and develop as a writer and increase my following. I really hope you enjoy the book!

“The Showstopper!” is Back!

“Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends. We’re so glad you could attend. Come inside, come inside…”

–Emerson, Lake, and Palmer

Hi, all you readers and fans! I’m coming at you today with a really big announcement: as of Friday, June 28, my first novel The Showstopper! is coming back, and it’s better than ever.

Allow me to explain…

A while back, the self-publishing platform I’ve been using on Amazon went through a few changes, and as such I had to reformat and resubmit some elements of my two published books. It’s been a while since I wrote both of them–especially The Showstopper!, which I first published back in 2014–and I feel like through my own personal writing and publishing journey, along with joining an MFA program for creative writing, I’ve grown a lot since then. However, I’m still basically in love with the stories I created–they just needed a little tune-up and attention. And since I’m self-published and the books need updates anyway, why not take a little look back through them and give them a face-lift while I’m at it?

My other self-published novel, Camp Ferguson, is currently undergoing the same process. But the great news here is that The Showstopper! is now available in its new, edited form on Amazon via print and Kindle versions! If you’re not familiar, here’s a little teaser…

The time is 1922. The place is New York City–specifically, on Broadway: where the days are short, and the nights are long and filled with every kind of entertainment you can imagine. But all is not well in this dazzling, decadent world. A masked criminal is stalking the streets and haunting the theaters, leaving disaster in his wake. No stage production is safe from his devious methods of sabotage.

In the opinion of janitor Tom Wilkins, the snobbish actors and managers surrounding him are getting exactly what they deserve at the hands of the vigilante known only as “the Showstopper.” But a chance encounter will soon plunge him into a deadly game of cat and mouse against a madman whose goal is nothing less than the total destruction of Broadway and all of its inhabitants. Caught in the whirlwind along with a beautiful young actress, a refined gentleman theater owner, and a rookie Irish police officer, Wilkins will have to use all his skills to expose the mastermind behind the curtain pulling all of their strings, before the lights go out on show business–and his own life–forever.

The Showstopper! blends a bunch of my favorite genres, including historical fiction, crime/detective, mystery, thriller, and even fantasy/superhero into a darkly entertaining journey behind the curtain of the world of 1920s New York City, and the world of theater in particular, with edge-of-your-seat action and a plot twist that’s sure to blow you away. If this sounds like your cup of tea (or illegal, prohibited whiskey), pick up a copy on Amazon! I’d greatly appreciate all the readers I can get, both new and old, and I’d love to hear all of your feedback.

Feel free to share this wherever and with whomever you’d like, and as always, thank you for your support!

P.S. Unlike most of my books, The Showstopper! wasn’t created with a definitive soundtrack in mind–just the usual Glenn Miller and other stylings of the 1920s. But if there was ever to be a theme song for this novel, I refer you to the above lyric and “Karn Evil #9: 1st Impression”.

“You’ve gotta see the show, it’s a dynamo. You’ve gotta see the show–it’s rock and roll!”

Enjoy, and break a leg!

Writing Update and 3,000 Follower Giveaway!

Wow, it’s been a while, huh?

Anyway…hi everyone! And thanks as always for reading. I’ve got a rather large announcement concerning another follower giveaway to get to, but first, I’ll give you a brief update on the state of my writing. I promise I won’t ramble on too much!

So since you last heard from me, I’ve completed my second semester of grad school, and I’m currently taking summer classes and assisting with administrative jobs at school to occupy these couple of months between semesters. In the fall I plan on taking a few more courses, especially since I’m not a double degree student in creative writing AND publishing–I figured since I’m here anyway, why not? One of those fall courses will be a workshop for novel writing, and this is where my most recent project comes in.

Over the past several months, I’ve (almost) completed a rough draft of a brand-new work: it’s a realistic fiction retelling, set in the modern day and contemporary U.S., of the Greek classic The Odyssey. I love The Odyssey and have always been dying to do a retelling of some kind because it’s so ripe for parody and satire–my version features Odysseus Wyatt Turner (everyone calls him Wyatt), my moody, cynical, down-on-his-luck 25-year-old protagonist, learning his estranged father has died in far-off Ithaca, New York, and has left him something in his will. Believing it’s a fat stack of cash that could turn his dead-end life around, Wyatt drafts his genial best friend, his reluctant ex-girlfriend, and a shady driver to form a motley crew with which he intends to road-trip across the country and get to Ithaca to claim his fortune. It’s a complicated journey involving many obstacles–including Polly, head of an all-female biker gang with a major bone to pick with the main characters, friction between the characters, and Wyatt himself. What they all find at the end of their journey may not be at all what they set out to find.

Sound interesting? I hope so! I think this will be the first book I attempt to traditionally publish–after it goes through a few years of this program, workshopping, beta-reading, and revising first. Right now I’m taking a bit of time off from new writing to focus on revising my already self-published works, The Showstopper! and Camp Ferguson. Then I’ll be readying the second book in the Camp Ferguson series, Jack Ferguson Strikes Back, for publication. After that, I’ll be finishing off my current WIP–which I’m tentatively calling The Road to Ithaca–to have it ready for workshopping in the fall. It’ll be a busy summer, but I’m confident I can do it! Oh, and for you Camp Ferguson fans, Jack Ferguson Strikes Back is due out by the end of the year. Stay tuned!

Okay, now that that’s all over with, here’s the big news: I’m at 3,000 Twitter followers and climbing! I still honestly can’t believe it. I thought 2,000 was huge, but this is even better. Once again, I’m extending a sincere and heartfelt thank-you to all the friends I’ve made on social media and all my fellow writers who’ve taken an interest in my work and supported me however they can. You’re all the best. And in that spirit, I’m going to combine my first two giveaway ideas into one giant gift-fest!

For the winner of my 3,000 follower giveaway, not only will you get a signed copy of both my currently-published books (The Showstopper! and Camp Ferguson), but I’ll also be reading some of your work, too. Send me whatever you’d like: some poems, a short piece, a chapter from a manuscript–the length and content is negotiable, but I’d like it not to be too long. Then, I’ll make a video and upload it publicly of me reading your stuff in my best dramatic fashion! I’m no actor, but I love doing this stuff and I think the first time turned out pretty well. If you want to take a look at what I mean, the link to my 2,000 follower giveaway reading is here!

This is really just a small repayment for all you’ve done for me, but I hope it’s an enjoyable one! Remember, a like or a retweet will earn you one entry each into the winner drawing: do both, and that’s two chances to win! So share and like as much as you want. Your chances get better each time you do!

Thanks everyone! I’m looking forward to hearing from you, and getting to share some of your work with the world.

Movie Review: Captain Marvel

I know it’s been quite a while since I did a movie review, but you know how it is: life just gets in the way. Between school, work, karate, and all the other things I do, going and sitting in a theater for several hours just hasn’t fit into my agenda. This past week though I finally got a prime opportunity to see, and talk about, a movie that’s still current and timely. Of course I’m talking about none other than the latest MCU blockbuster, Captain Marvel.

In this film, which takes place long before most other inclusion in the MCU (1995 to be exact), Vers, an elite soldier of the alien Kree Empire, is captured by the Skrulls (whom the Kree are at war with), and crash-lands on Earth. While awaiting rescue by the rest of her team, she learns the shape-shifting Skrulls have infiltrated Earth and the planet will likely be destroyed by the Kree. This brings her into contact with then low-level SHIELD agent Nick Fury, who she teams up with to stop both the Skrulls and the Kree from destroying the planet–while at the same time going on a journey of self-discovery that reveals to her she is actually long-lost human pilot Carol Danvers, with powers that rival anything in the known universe.

First of all, let’s just acknowledge that this movie had a little hype surrounding it. And by a little, I mean A LOT. Seriously, it was crazy. And honestly, the trailers made it look pretty awesome. But does the actual Captain Marvel film live up to its illustrious reputation?

Umm–kind of?

Look, I won’t deny that this was a fun movie. I certainly didn’t check my watch during the whole runtime and I was pretty engrossed in the action, of which there was plenty. It filled in some plot holes in the MCU, like where the heck the Tesseract has been for the last 50-plus years if humans had it since the original Captain America movie. Come to think of it, there’s a lot of captains in Marvel, aren’t there? So is Carol Danvers or Steve Rogers the superior officer? Just kidding, it’s Carol. No contest. I mean, come on. She single-handedly defeated a fleet of Kree warships and beat up her entire team of super-soldiers without breaking a sweat. She’s far and away the most powerful hero we’ve seen in the Marvel universe, with the possible exception of Doctor Strange (and that’s a whole different argument). So if you came to this movie looking for a good time and plenty of light-hearted humor combined with quippy one-liners and awesome CGI-laden fight sequences, you’ll probably have a good time.

Oh, and did you know this was a feminist movie? I sure didn’t. Also, that was sarcasm. Obviously one of the big selling points for Captain Marvel is that it’s headlined by a female superhero–a leading lady being a first for the MCU and a fine addition to what’s honestly a criminally male-stuffed lineup. Really, who else is there? Black Widow. Scarlet Witch. And Gamora! Oh wait, she’s dead. Yep, that’s pretty much it. Geez, Marvel. This much-needed injection of diversity into the MCU goes a long way toward solving that problem, making Carol Danvers the most powerful of the Avengers and also just a really fun character. Brie Larson did a fantastic job in this movie–with what she was given to work with. More on that in a second. But her attitude instantly endears her to the audience, as well as her struggle with balancing her cold, logical Kree warrior side and her emotional human identity–pretty much the crux character arc of the entire movie and a pretty thinly-veiled jab at how women are treated in society at large. With all the cultural shifts that are going on right now in this country and around the world, I think Captain Marvel couldn’t have come at a better time. A lot of young women seeing this movie are sure to be inspired, and Danvers serves as a pretty good role model with an understandable inner struggle. Seriously, Kree culture is pretty sexist if you ask me.

That said, all the feminist imagery in the movie can sometimes come off as–how do I put this?–heavy-handed. There’s certainly not much effort put into making the women-empowering message of the movie subtle. Not that there should be, at all! I’m just saying that sometimes when a story becomes more about making a social point and less about filling out its fictional world and characters, that’s were you can run into some problems–and it’s where Captain Marvel stumbles a bit. The big picture is there, but the details are missing. As great as it was seeing Samuel L. Jackson playing a younger, more carefree version of taciturn super-spy Fury, there’s not a whole lot of explanation put into why he lost his sense of humor between now and The Avengers (unless he’s bitter about the whole eye thing, which was hilariously underplayed). I also appreciated the movie’s pivot to the Kree being the real villains and the Skrulls being basically persecuted refugees (hey look, there’s another social commentary point!). Jude Law was criminally underutilized in his role as Carol’s mentor-turned-nemesis and was pretty much totally forgettable. And remember how Lee Pace made a big deal about how his stiff-as-a-board character Ronan from Guardians 1 was going to be delved more deeply into in this movie? Yeah, so much for that. Ronan was unfortunately just as snore-inducing as ever. And for someone who just found out her best friend is back from the dead, half-alien, and with superpowers, Lashana Lynch’s Maria Rambeau seems to be okay with it pretty fast. I’m not saying any of these actors were bad or it’s their fault some of these plot strings seemed contrived and uninspired. I’m just saying.

It didn’t feel like the movie went into a lot of trouble to fill out any characters other than Carol herself, and even that’s pretty questionable. I mean, for someone who believes she’s an interstellar alien warrior and superior to humans in every way, she takes the whole you’re-actually-one-of-us shocker pretty well, doesn’t she? Too well if you ask me. I just think the movie could have made a much bigger deal about her coming to terms with her identity and the struggle of logic vs. emotion, human vs. Kree if it really wanted to make a feminist point, instead of reverting to the much more ham-fisted tactic of her blasting Yon-Rogg through a mountain when he tried to mansplain her (which admittedly was a pretty awesome scene).

My Rating: 7/10

Look, after all that, please don’t get me wrong: I thought Captain Marvel was a good movie. Good, but not great. It was an engaging but ultimately rather uninspired addition to the Marvel universe that felt at times like it was just an extended prequel chapter to Avengers: Endgame. It was fun, but it didn’t feel like it brought anything new to the table that other MCU films before it hadn’t–other than a female lead, which was totally awesome. I respect that Captain Marvel was trying to be a movie of ideas with its heavy reliance of the plight of women and refugees, and just people who are different. I just think the whole thing could have been done with a little more art and finesse. It’s not even close to the worst Marvel film (that is solely forever the domain of Iron Man 2), but it’s not the best, either. I will say though that I look forward to seeing more of Danvers’s interaction with the other Avengers, and hopefully her taking charge in the fight against Thanos–based on Larson’s performance in this movie, that promises to be very rewarding indeed.