I was outside at 3:00 am last night, pacing back and forth on my stoop in the middle of a winter wind storm, quietly whistling the Mothra song to myself (don’t ask) as I tried to shake off a headache with a combination of fresh air, Advil and tea. It’s in moments like these that I worry some insomniac neighbour will spot me, get creeped out, and summon the police. I make no apologies for being an eccentric, which is challenging because, being Canadian, I feel compelled to apologise for everything.

For the better part of an hour, I walked back and forth on the same stretch of ice, trying not to slip, soaking up the drizzle, and thinking about work. Not the paying kind of work – the stuff that holds me under contract to produce pages on a deadline – but about the work that matters. The work I do for myself.

I still have a tremendous backlog of material that needs to be scanned or edited and then put into the posting queue for Eyestrain Productions. Plus there remain many other projects in various unfinished states that I want to wrap up and get in front of people – specifically, you. Yes, you. Since you’re the target audience, I don’t want to dick around with the middlemen anymore. Visits are up, the number of website followers is on the rise, and I see little benefit in sitting on stories, hoping to place them with some anthology, printed or online, for peanuts. I’ve grown weary of the gatekeepers. My interest in submitting stories to editors who don’t understand my sense of humour, or pitching films and television series to development executives who are – let’s be polite here – short sighted, has waned.

To that end, there’s a new short story called “Special” online. Getting people to read internet fiction is always an uphill battle, so let me entice you in the most cynical way I know how: this one involves cosplay sex. Yeah, it’s a bit pervy. Can you feel the irresistible pull? Don’t resist it, you’ll hurt yourself.

In no way should this be construed as being based on my own experiences signing shit in San Diego and at other comic-book conventions. My time on the bourse floor was never so interesting or rewarding. But there was plenty of inspiration to be had, much of which inevitably filtered down into this story. As usual, you can decide for yourself where reality ends and where my particular brand of bullshit begins.

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