A Good Boy

One of my best friends passed away last Friday. He was fifteen and a half and I had known him his whole life. Tyrant (early on we had considered the name Scurvy) was an apricot-colored toy poodle who I had gifted to Kari-Lise for Christmas in 2005. (Being a whiny baby, he refused to sleep and ruined the surprise, but it was quickly forgiven.) He was a good boy.

Baby me with a baby Tyrant, Christmas 2005

He had been known by many names over the course of his life, Bub, Boo, Boo-bear, Shakes, Sweet Boy, the Mad King, My Heart, Monster, Little Man, and so many more. But always Tyrant, a name that he never lived up to. He loved unconditionally. He was kind, gentle, and intelligent. He rarely barked. His only dislike was crows and the outdoors, thinking of the latter only as “the bathroom” and wanting to spend very little time out there and away from the soft cushions of his perfect world.

Those who knew him, knew him as one of the chillest dogs ever to exist. He loved people and was always excited when meeting new laps. A perfect day for him was one spent at anyone’s side—he wasn’t picky. As long as a few simple needs were met, he was content. Being near humans was the height of Tyrant-satisfaction.

He was, throughout his life, a companion in creativity. Tyrant never missed a day to snooze supportively as Kari-Lise painted in her studio. He also spent years cuddled between the back of my office chair and my butt, again snoozing, as I wrote a great many stories, a few of which became novels. A Muse, one’s heart, and always a friend. I’m grateful for the years he gave us. If there was a silver lining to the COVID pandemic it was that we got to spend so much time with him in his final year. Moments and cuddles we will always cherish.

It’s been hard to say goodbye. The last few days have felt surreal. I keep expecting him to waddle around a corner looking for treats, cuddles, pets, or to come into my office and demand chair time or just crash out on the floor. The absence is heartbreaking.

Tyrant, thank you for enriching my life. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Thank you for showing me the deepest kind of love for over fifteen years. I know the last year had been difficult for you, but I selfishly wish it could had been fifteen more. You were the goodest of boys. I’m going to miss you. While it hurts so much now, in the paraphrased words of Wilson Rawls, “You’re worth it, old friend, and a thousand times over.”

Defender of the house

Raunch Review: The Expanse

Raunch Reviews is a series about profanity. Not real profanity, but speculative swearing. Authors often try to incorporate original, innovative forms of profanity into our own fantastical works as a way to expand the worlds we build. Sometimes we’re successful. Often we’re not. In this series, I examine the faux-profanity from various works of sci-fi and fantasy, judge their effectiveness, and rate them on an unscientific and purely subjective scale. This is Raunch Reviews, welcome.


The Author: Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck, & Nick Farmer

Work in Question: The Expanse (TV Series)

The Profanity: “Pashangwala”


I can’t think of a better conlang in recent memory than the Belter Creole or “Lang Belta” in its own words. It’s the fictional language spoken by the Belters of The Expanse series, the frontier folk who dwell in the asteroid belt or among the outer planets. Created by Nick Farmer specifically for the series, this pidgin language is a mish-mash of words and gestures haphazardly assembled by a society coming from disparate backgrounds, who spend a great deal of time living and working in the vacuum of space. It’s a brilliant fictional language with a ton of detail paid to everything from the language’s drift to the shift of emphasis depending on use.

As you’d expect, we see that same attention to detail in its vulgarities. For a series on swearing, I do tend to avoid dropping f-bombs, so I’ll let you Google and discover the true meaning of “pashangwala.” It’s as salacious as you’d expect. Vulgarity aside, this is solid faux-swearing.

Typically, I don’t rank one-to-one replacer words or phrases as high as others. So it might surprise you to see me score “pashangwala” so high. Why? Well, it makes sense. Lower scoring one-to-ones often are found in the language of fictional societies, which have developed on their own and away from English. But, in the near-future world of The Expanse, Lang Belta is primarily rooted in English. The culture that came before the Belter’s is our culture. So to see words, phrases, and vulgarities like ours meld into a fictional future lingua franca would be expected. It’d be more shocking if words and phrases like this were absent altogether and would speak of a much different society than we’re shown with the Belter culture—a solid five.

Xídawang da wowt da ultim. (I think I did that right.)

Final Score: 5.0


🤬 Previous Raunch Reviews


Have a suggestion for Raunch Reviews? It can be any made-up slang word from a book, television show, or movie. You can email me directly with your recommendation or leave a comment below. I’ll need to spend time with the property before I’ll feel confident reviewing it, so give me a little time. I have a lot of books to read.


New Book = New Map

Good day, citizen! As we all know, the Lovatine archipelago extends far beyond our great city and its rugged coastline, and the waters beyond can be treacherous. With the aid of volunteer submissions and the City of Lovat and the Camalote Group’s funding, the Waite Corp. is pleased to distribute a new nautical advisory chart detailing the Inner Passages of our coastal waterways. Be advised the data on this chart is advisory only. Extreme caution is urged—soundings in fathoms.


I promised all you Gleam Upon the Waves readers I’d have a new map available for your perusal. With the release of this handy chart, I’m also pleased to finally open up a new reader resource dedicated to the Cartography of the Known Territories with two maps are available today and more planned for the future.

One of my goals with these maps have been to do something different each time. The first map which I released around the launch of Old Broken Road, was modeled after those glossy roadside brochure-maps you’d find in truck stops, at service stations, or in those brochure racks located in the lobbies of cheap hotels. This latest creation follows along with Gleam’s seagoing roots, and was based on a heavily modified NOAA nautical chart complete with soundings, elevation contours, and the locations of various points of potential danger. While a map isn’t necessary to enjoy any of my books, you know I always embrace any opportunity to expand the world of the Bell Forging Cycle and I think cartography is a fantastic tool to do just that.

So what do you think of this latest chart? Let me know in the comments below.

Raunch Review: Foundation

Raunch Reviews is a series about profanity. Not real profanity, but speculative swearing. Authors often try to incorporate original, innovative forms of profanity into our own fantastical works as a way to expand the worlds we build. Sometimes we’re successful. Often we’re not. In this series, I examine the faux-profanity from various works of sci-fi and fantasy, judge their effectiveness, and rate them on an unscientific and purely subjective scale. This is Raunch Reviews, welcome.


The Author: Isaac Asimov

Work in Question: Foundation

The Profanity: “Space!”


Look, I realize that Isaac Asimov wrote the first Foundation stories in the nineteen-forties, and the first book didn’t arrive until the nineteen-fifties. I also recognize that white Americans, in particular, like to pretend that this was some glorious era of American history where the nuclear family was the norm, everyone washed their hands before dinner, and children always called adults “mister” and “ma’am.” But, I also know this is an era where terms like FUBAR and SNAFU were invented, and a glance through the Green’s Dictionary of Slang records plenty of new vulgarities emerging. So, it’s important to acknowledge that the wholesome mystique of the fifties is mostly myth wrapped up in attractive propaganda. Foul language was common even then, despite what folksy feel-good television programming would like to tell us.

All that said, there’s a reason why that propaganda is effective. Much of the content from that era seems clean—but, publishing was operating under different rules in the middle of the twentieth century, and censorship was in full swing. Publishing something even mildly vulgar was difficult—J. D. Salinger notwithstanding. But that’s not an excuse when it comes to fictional profanity, which makes Asimov’s choice of “space” for a futuristic oath a bit silly, even for its era.

Throughout Foundation, it’s common for characters in the book to shout out a “No, by Black Space, no!” or “Great Space!” and every time it stands out a little more than it should—coming across more cute than effective. I’ve talked about the impact of oaths in the past, especially oaths that are blasphemous, and how they tend to extend beyond the standard lifespan of your typical run-of-the-mill profanity. That’s not what’s happening here. The concept of “space”—at least within the first book—is never treated with a particularly deific reverence. The titular Foundation’s faith is based on knowledge and nuclear energy/power. So when the “space” oath gets referenced, it feels out of place and awkward. Even swearing by “nuclear” or the “atom” would make more sense within the story’s context, and neither would have come across so twee.

Final Score: 2.5


🤬 Previous Raunch Reviews


Have a suggestion for Raunch Reviews? It can be any made-up slang word from a book, television show, or movie. You can email me directly with your recommendation or leave a comment below. I’ll need to spend time with the property before I’ll feel confident reviewing it, so give me a little time. I have a lot of books to read.


GLEAM UPON THE WAVES, One Week Old

It’s Tuesday, which means Book IV of The Bell Forging Cycle, Gleam Upon the Waves, has now officially been out for a week! 🥳 There’s always a bit of trepidation launching a late-series book. Series are fickle, and sales tend to drop dramatically between each installment. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised! Sales have been solid. And, based on early feedback, people seem to like this one. Hooray! So big thank you to everyone who’s picked up a copy of Gleam or dropped me a note. It means the world to me, and I hope you enjoy your time in the Territories.


Finished? Leave a Review!

Already finished Gleam Upon the Waves? Please leave an honest review either where you purchased the book or over on Goodreads. (Or both! Both is great.) Not only will your reviews help me out, but they’ll also assist your fellow readers in finding books they’ll enjoy. Oh yeah. Tell your friends! Word of mouth is key to any books success.


DEAD DROP Live Returns Tonight

It’s Tuesday, which means tonight I’m going to do another live stream. Please join me from 6–7 PM PDT over on twitch.tv/kmalexander. I’ll be giving a behind-the-scenes look at the different work that goes into creating an Old Haunt and answering any questions you might have. Should be a good time and you should come.


Signed Copy Update

Right now, Amazon is telling me I’ll have my copies in mid-April. (Right around the 15th) Signed copies will be available in the store immediately after they’re received. Thanks for your patience. I know a few of you are as eagerly awaiting this shipment as I am. I wish it could be faster, but I couldn’t order copies of Gleam until the book went live, which delays their production and shipment.


I know I sound like a broken record when I tell you how much I appreciate your excitement and passion about my weird little series. But it does mean a lot, and it keeps me going. Thank you for making Gleam Upon the Waves one of the books you chose to read this year. That is an honor I don’t take lightly. I hope you enjoy your time with Wal as he embarks on his latest adventure. There’s more to come and I cannot wait to sharing it with you.

DEAD DROP Live now on YouTube

I’ve shared a recording of last week’s DEAD DROP Live on YouTube. (And it’s embedded below.) The fun starts at the 11:00 mark (otherwise, it’s just a chill “stream starting soon” countdown). This was my first attempt at streaming, and while I think it went rather well, I’ve already made some adjustments for the next stream to make it easier to watch after the fact. Next week I’m planning on giving a behind-the-scenes look at the work that goes into creating an Old Haunt. So come join me and watch live on my Twitch channel next Tuesday, from 6–7 PM PDT. Should be a good time.

I hope you enjoy the reading and the Q&A session. If you haven’t nabbed your copy of Gleam Upon the Waves you can do so via any of the links below. Signed-books are coming soon. (I’ll post when they arrive.)

Buy the paperback:

Amazon – Barnes & Noble – IndieBound

Buy the eBook:

Kindle – Kobo – Nook – Apple Books – GooglePlay