New Super Holly artwork: her first telekinetic fist!

At the Powerhouse Comic Con last Saturday, Branden Sanderson did some Super Holly art for me. Check out his comics on Indigogo.

I asked him what he liked to draw, and he said (among other things) superheroines. When I showed him a picture of Holly, he immediately began sketching. I wish I had pointed my phone at that; when he was drawing, I could see Holly forming like magic. I asked him to draw Holly’s telekinetic power, how it forms giant hands/arms extending from Holly’s hands/arms. He said, kinda like Green Lantern? I made motions of Holly reaching out to grab something fifty feet away. I love Branden’s take on Holly’s teke. I should add the little lightening bolts to my stories.

Branden and I did a little fanboy talk, I like doing that. He was not a fan of Kevin Smith’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation, whereas I am a BIG fan. No, we did not fanboy-fight. (When he drew Orko a little later—I hated the original Orko and loved the Kevin Smith version, Brendon liked both—he drew Orko’s fingers so expressively that I could almost see them wriggling to cast a spell. A spell I say would misfire.) Earlier, I had asked him how he’d feel about drawing Holly punching Trump, I admit I wondered if he might have a political objection. He said he does not do politics in his comics, he prefers the 90’s take on comics. David Reiss (creator of the supervillain Doctor Fid, Holly meets him in my little fanfic) said my Super Holly writing reminds him of older comic books (70s? 80s?). Yeah, I am kind of a throwback like that. I dislike modern gritty stuff, I like more goofy. But these modern times are a gold mine for my Holly stories. As long as I keep the goofy.

I decided that the first appearance of Holly’s telekinesis in action was enough, anything more (like a punch in Stumpfinger’s belly) would have been a distraction. Besides, as an artist, I believe Branden would have charged more to draw two people. Branden draws strong women well. Although I wonder if her supersuit is riding up in the back.

Tomorrow, Oct 4, Red Rock Coffee Open Mic Is BAAAACK!

The live open mic at Red Rock Coffee, 201 Castro Street in Mountain View, CA, is where I started reading my Super Holly Hansson stories years ago. But that open mic has been pandemically closed for over a year. But now…

Red Rock Open mic is BAAAAAAACK!!! Tomorrow night, Oct 4, 2021, second floor of Red Rock Coffee, signups are 5:30-7:30. The open mic is 6-9. Signups are by lottery. I will show up, sign up, and if I am picked, I will perform. (I lean toward performing The Intellecta Rhapsody. Do you like classical?) Come one, come all, and watch a writer perform! (I hope. Lottery, you know.)

P.S. A local newspaper will be taking photos. Maybe I will be discovered by Hollywood.

https://redrockcoffee.com/livemusic

I will perform on San José Poetry Festival | Small Press Fair & Festival today at 6:25

See a bunch of poets and such perform their five-minute bits! Mine will be at about 6:25. We’ll see how that goes, time tends to drift a little with these events. Now I gotta practice my bit. Click the link below to register and get the Zoom link.

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcqceCvpzouGtFNPuJ21NU8Qn0gwESHy49o

For Talk Like A Pirate Day: Sulu’s Gay Trek!

Dave M. Strom: author of Holly Hansson, superheroine & writer

In honor of today being Talk Like A Pirate Day, I again repost one of my fanfics.

SULU’S GAY TREK! (OR HOW SULU CAN BE STRAIGHT IN RODDENBERRY STAR TREK AND GAY IN J.J. ABRAMS STAR TREK WITHOUT BREAKING CANON!)

SCENE 1:
THE BRIDGE OF THE ROMULAN MINING STARSHIP NARADA, WHERE CAPTAIN NERO, A MANLY ROMULAN MINING MAN, SITS IN THE CAPTAIN’S CHAIR AND FROWNS, MAKING HIS MANLY FACIAL TATTOOS EVEN MORE MANLY.

CAPTAIN NERO: Avast, me mighty manly Romulan mining crew, for aboard me mighty manly starship, even the women are mighty manly! Our big mining starship has just passed through a big space-time rift, and now I spy a puny little starship whose captain might tell us where to find that logical Spock scoundrel upon whom we wish to wage our manly vengeance! ARM ALL WEAPONS!!!

THE MIGHTY MANLY ROMULAN MINING CREW: Aye aye, Captain! ARRRR!!!

SCENE 2:

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New Super Holly Artwork: Trumpbot and Never Insult!

At the recent Silicon convention, I had a couple of artists create more Super Holly Hansson artwork. Yay, Holly needed to punch Trump again!

First, art from Dave Law again! Dave did the first artwork for Cal “The Intellectual” Critbert (on my comic con art page, scroll down a bit). Dave Law is artist on The Space Odditorium. I asked him what stuff he likes to draw. He said robots. He does that well. So Holly clobbers a Trumpbot. I thought about adding word balloons, like the Trumpbot saying he’d bigly assimilate. But that was not needed, Dave’s art says it all.

Holly hates Trumpbots by Dave Law

And a new artist, Nathan Hanley, the writer/artist/creator of Truth & Consequence. I asked him what he likes to draw. He likes faces. So I had him draw Holly saying a line from my story, The Fiendish Brain Freezer (available in my book, Super Bad Hair Day). He even gave Holly’s eyes a blue tint. I like the eyebrows. I told Nathan that Holly often grits her teeth when angry.

Never insult Holly’s writing by Nathan Hanley

I will be on a panel at SiliCon on Sunday

I will be on the Rise of the Superheroines panel, headed by Valerie Frankel, author of over 60 books on geeky culture. Like superheroines.

Sunday August 29, 2021 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Room Panel Room – 211ABCD. Now we’ve had not only Captain Marvel but Wonder Woman 1984, Birds of Prey, and WandaVision, with more heroines coming. In comics, Marvel’s Squirrel Girl, Lady Thor, Spider-Gwen, and Ms. Marvel have revolutionized superhero storytelling. Why are these new stories so compelling (or not)? What’s the best of the best and what should we be reading and watching?

I will also be at the Silicon Valley Authors table in artists alley. I will sell my Super Bad Hair Day book. (I am still working on my Rise of the Stumpfinger book.)

Wear a mask, bring your vax card, and come along if you wish. I have been vaxxed, I have my mask. Although Super Holly dislikes masks, for a different reason. She does not want a secret identity, she has better things to do with her time than creep down an alley at 3am.

Brightburn Gets Busted

Ooo, scary. Image from IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7752126/

Another Mad Magazine type of scene I’d like to see. So I wrote it. It was fun.

WHAT HAS GONE ON BEFORE! Brandon (from the movie Brightburn), the thirteen year old boy with Superman-type powers, had just discovered he is an alien and that his Earth mom and dad concealed that from him, because his spaceship hidden in the barn just told him to “Take the world.” Showing the emotional and intellectual maturity of a rabid hyena, Brandon then decides to kill the mother of the girl whose hand he’d broken because she called him a perv because he kept creeping into the girl’s bedroom late at night because a superpowered boy’s got urges, you know.

A SMALL TOWN DINER. 9:21 P.M.

The woman in the pale blue diner uniform counts the cash in the register into a few neat stacks. Then she carries a tray of dirty dishes to the counter. She sighs, rubs her forehead with the back of her hand, and says, “Whew, all this manual labor makes me look so small-town downtrodden. The perfect innocent victim for a brat about to take his first plunge into a no-empathy murder spree because he thinks that one of him and seven billion of everybody else sounds like really good odds.” Then she notices the runes crudely scrawled all over the walls. “Oh crap, graffiti? Can’t kids use a notepad?”

FWHOOSH!!! “Oh, great, now something just fwooshed in here.” FLASH, FLASH! “And the ceiling florescent lights are flickering.” She looks up at a ceiling light. “I’m supposed to be spooked by bad circuit breakers?”

SKLASH! She frowns in disgust. “Ew, a piece of greasy grimy florescent bulb just smacked into my right eye! Gross!”

Past the piece of glass on her eye, she sees a thirteen-year-old-kid-size blur in a shadowy corner of the room. She says, “Standing in shadows does not automatically make you scary.”

The blur zooms to the middle of the room. Then to the side of the room. Then to the cash register. Then to a corner again.

The woman refrained from saying, The restroom is in the back, but you shoulda went before you got here. Instead, she put helpless female drama into her voice. “Oh, no, poor little me is going to be a first innocent murder victim! I better hide in the freezer because there’s no dark root cellar to hide from the spoiled psycho killer who’s trying to learn the ropes!”

She runs to the freezer, ducks inside, and locks the door. She plucks the glass out of her undamaged eye, remembering when Superman was shot in the eye, and the scriptwriter was wrong, Superman would have blinked. She blinks. She rips off her dull blue diner dress. She yanks off her brown wig and hairnet, letting her long blonde hair cascade down her shoulders. Then she tap-tap-taps her foot. “C’mon, c’mon. I hate these drawn-out squirming-girl-about-to-die movie moments. Torture porn sucks.”

A heat beam cuts through the top middle of the steel freezer door and sizzles its way down. The woman nods. “About time.”

The door flies off in two pieces, revealing the blur which solidifies into a boy in a striped shirt, jeans, ratty cape, and mask covering the top of his head. He flies at the woman like a murderous cannonball…

And lands face-first on her superpowered right-cross fist: KER-POWIE!!!

The boy staggers back. “Huh? Who are you?”

The woman’s blue supersuit and long blonde hair practically glow with true-blue superheroism. Her blue eyes are fearlessly steely, her beaky nose is a spearhead of justice. Her red cape billows. “Super Holly Hansson. And my eyes are up here, you little perv. I take it you expected someone else.”

The boy’s voice is muffed, his mask is a poor fit. “I was gonna mutilate that mother who got mad at me just because I broke her daughter’s hand, because when bad things happen to people, it’s for a good reason. Like me burning your heart outta your big bouncy chest. Like this!” His eyes send twin blazing heat-vision beams at Holly for several seconds. Then again, he stupidly says, “Huh?”

Her body slightly steaming, Holly smiles bigger, showing her teeth. “I’ve stopped a Hellfire cannon from incinerating several hundred fanboys. You’re barely lukewarm. And take off that creepy mask!” Holly swats with her hand, and her telekinesis rips off the boy’s mask.

His angsty scowl is not an improvement. “It’s not creepy.”

Holly nods. “You’re right. Masks are inanimate objects. But you ogling a girl in her bedroom at 3 A.M.? That’s creepy.”

The boy’s lips writhe. “Oh yeah? Take this!” He shoves his hands at Holly.

“OOF!” Holly slams into the back freezer wall. Telekinesis, huh? She steps out of the superheroine-shaped dent in the steel wall and thrusts her hands toward the boy with a double-fist grip. “Trade you.”

The boy looks down to see Holly’s blue, transparent, telekinetic, two-handed fist gripping him from feet to chin. He squirms, but the only part of him that can move freely is his thrashing, bobbing head. “You can’t do this to me! I’m special! Someday the world will know how special I am!”

“Have today’s blue-plate special: super-strength, army-tank-crushing, trash compactor!” Holly tightens her grip and growls through gritted teeth. “You wanna hurt girls and kill mommies? You’re playing with the big girls now!”

The boy’s face turns purple. His eyes bug out, nearly bursting with fear. His breath leaks out his gaping mouth with a “HHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhh… gasp.”

Holly yanks her hands back. The blue-fist-encased boy flies toward Holly, stopping just before her beaky nose might have poked his eye out. Sweat runs down his forehead. His voice is a weak wheeze because the air molecules in his throat have to line up single file. “Whatta yuh gonna do to me?”

Holly smiles like a shark about to feast. “Let you go. But if you ever hurt a girl, or her mother, or her grandmother, or her grandmother’s pet cat, or a flea on that cat, OR ANYTHING WITH A PULSE!” Her smile changes to a snarl. “I’ll come back, hunt you down, and drag your skinny little butt to the center of town, where I’ll have set up cameras to stream you and me all over the World Wide Web. And then…” Her blazing blue eyeballs press blue telekinetic eyeballs on his, a trick she learned from watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas. “I’ll pull down your pants. Put you over my knee. And spank you. In front of the entire world.”

Holly lets go, her blue telekinetic hands fading away, their job well done. The boy plops to his knees, folds his trembling hands in prayer, and whines up at her, “No, not that! Please! I’ll be good!”

An eight-foot-wide circle of whirling light appears behind Holly. She turns her back and floats toward the dimensional portal. She looks over her shoulder and glares at the boy. “Don’t ever do evil again. It’ll make me mad. And wipe your frakkin’ grafitti off the walls, your artwork sucks!” Holly floats into the portal, and she and the portal vanish.

THIRTY YEARS LATER.

Brightburn, clad in a blue supersuit and red cape and no mask, flies to a landing and gently puts down another armload of orphans that he rescued from the burning orphanage. “Okay, that’s the last batch.” He faces a reporter. “Now, what was it you wanted to ask me?”

The reporter says, “Mr. Brightburn, I was told that when you were in your early teens, you were not the hero you are now. That you… well… I’m sorry to say this, but that you almost became a murderous supervillain totally lacking in humanity and empathy.”

A tiny little girl hugs Brightburn’s legs and kisses them. “MMM-WAH, MMM-WAH! Thank you, Mister Brightburn! I wuv you!”

Brightburn smiles kindly at her. “I love you too, sweetheart.” He faces the reporter. “Yes, that is true. But a Super Holly Hansson told me to never do evil again. And I’ve been doing good ever since.” A drop of sweat runs down his forehead. He swallows hard. “And no evil. The way she looked at me, I dare not even think about it!”

My Literary Stage Reading of The Wicked Word Witch

The Bardi Rosman Koodrin Literary Stage, held by the San Mateo Fair, had local writers reading their works recently, and I was one of them. Click to go to the Bardi Rosman Koodrin Literary Stage page and copy the passcode. Then click the Literary Stage Reading Link, paste the passcode, and watch us writers read our work. My reading starts at 35:20. (I could only read part of the story, there were lotsa writers reading!)

I won 1st prize in Short Story – Science Fiction/Fantasy – Senior Exhibitor for Super Holly Hansson in: The Wicked Word Witch! I had fun. If/when I read The Wicked Word Witch again, I might want to make the Word Witch’s voice closer to The Wicked Witch of the West (if I can do that). Here, it seems a bit too close to my Cafeteria Lunch Ladies.

Fixing Storyist’s KindleGen

I just shared a draft of my story, The Super She Warrior, with Beth Barany (of Henrietta the Dragon Slayer fame). And I found out that my version of Storyist for my Mac could not generate a Kindle ebook (.mobi). Turns out I need to replace my 32-bit KindleGen with 64-bit. And it turns out that Amazon no longer has a direct link to KindleGen. So I googled a bit, and found out how to get the KindleGen in Kindle Publisher. Here is what I did.

  1. Download and install the latest Kindle Previewer from Amazon.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000765261
  2. In the Applications folder, control-click the Kindle Previewer 3.app and select Open Package Contents from the pop-up menu.
  3. You will see a folder called Contents. Copy it.
  4. In your Applications folder, create a folder called “Kindle Previewer 3 app contents”. (Or whatever you like, but this name tells it like it is. And no quotes in the folder name, of course.)
  5. Paste the Contents folder into the “Kindle Previewer 3 app contents” folder. (You can find kindlegen in there if you like, I have the path in the next step.)
  6. Go through the process of exporting a Kindle (mobi) file in Storyist. When you get to Step 3: Enter Kindle options, change your KindleGen Location to:
    /Applications/Kindle Previewer 3 app contents/lib/fc/bin/kindlegen
  7. Click Next to continue exporting your Kindle file.

Exploding Dogs!

I have just written my second story (WIP) where I blow up a dog. The leader of my critique group kidded me about that, actin shocked. She kidded me the first time I did it too, in my story, “The Sinister Sugar Rush!”

Both times, it was an example of the old writing rule: Don’t say, show! In other words, do not have a character or narrator explain an important plot point. Instead, show the plot point happening. Like when the evil lunch ladies tell Kittygirl that the super frosting on the cupcakes will make kids run faster and faster, until they blow up. And they say, “Allow us to demonstrate with this cute little puppy!” They feed the puppy a cupcake, and, well, I link a YouTube clip.

In The Stadium Patriot, I blow up a beer-drinking, howl-singing pit bull. It was either that or have Harry Headbutt, my Hulk-type character, have a major explosion in his tummy. But he’d survive. And he’d get mad and pretty much take over the story. HARRY HATE STADIUM PATRIOT BEER!!! HARRY ANGRY!!! HARRY SHOVE ENTIRE PLOT OF STORY ASIDE SO HE CAN MASH STUPID BART BOOFALUGG INTO PATRIOTIC PANCAKE!!!

No. This story, The Stadium Patriot, is the start of Super Holly’s conflict with the hunk of the public that is not so nice, and that she is not always happy saving. Holly needs the tantrum, not Harry. I’ll dive into the hard-to-save-mean-public journey a lot more in my Super Civil War novel.