Wanton Wasteland 1: Hangman’s Alley

* * WARNING: ADULT CONTENT * *

For funsies a few years ago, I wrote some smutty fanfiction in homage to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Now I’m playing Fallout 4 and I’m inspired again.

Do not read if offended by erotica, drugs, alcohol, voyeuristic ghouls, or a sole survivor who likes to do it mongrel style.

This is all in good fun. The Commonwealth wasteland and its inhabitants belong to Bethesda and the creators of Fallout 4. I intend no disrespect to their incredible achievements and the wonderful franchise they created.

1,200 words.

“HANGMAN’S ALLEY”

Less than a finger of whiskey flowed into his glass as he sighed and shook out the last few drops. Had the bottle been full when he started? No wonder he needed to piss.

Hancock swallowed the dregs in one gulp and left the bar. The rickety watering hole above Hangman’s Alley had no name. The flashing neon sign said “BAR” and no one called it anything else. Like a toothless wasteland jet-whore, you knew exactly why you were there and a name didn’t matter.

He glided down two flights of stairs to the street, moving with a slow grace that came from years of practice so no one could tell if he was drunk, high, both or sober. Folks were less inclined to give you shit when they couldn’t peg your state of mind.

The crapper stood behind the general’s house. Not that he called her the general. He wasn’t in the Minutemen, he was the goddamn mayor of Goodneighbor so he called her Fiona. And it wasn’t hers, really, just a place she crashed when she happened to be around. Which she was, at the moment. Which is why he drank more than usual.

And the house wasn’t much of a house. Not like the Old State House, which was an actual fucking house. The general’s digs looked more like a big, broken shipping crate, built by the raiders she’d wiped out a few months ago. Back when she’d asked Hancock to stay and oversee the new settlement, him being mayoral and all.

Hells yes, he wanted to help. Not just because there were precious few safe havens for the scrabbling rabble who did most of the living and dying in the Commonwealth, but because—for the first time in his life—he didn’t want to run away. An Old World woman awake in the wrong time, Fiona possessed a charming combination of leadership, tenderness, intelligence, and steel grit. He wouldn’t say he wanted to “settle down” because she wasn’t the kind of person you settled for, she was the kind you earned every day. And there was nothing about her that held him down. No, being with her, he felt high as Trinity Tower, even without chems.

He’d tried to explain it all to her, tell her about his past, make her understand what she meant to him. Normally, he could’ve talked a Gunner out of bullets, but, Jesus, that particular conversation with Fiona had gone off like a grenade in a shit house.

Sure, she welcomed ghouls into the ranks of the Minutemen and helped the Slog as much as any other settlement. Hell, a ghoul ran the general store right there in Hangman’s Alley. And if anyone didn’t like it, too bad, she wouldn’t stand for that kind of prejudiced bullshit.

But it was one thing to treat a ghoul with respect, and another to want him inside you. When he’d drifted dangerously close to telling her he loved her, the look on her face, it made him regret being what he was. Not for the first time in his life, sure, but for the first time since becoming a ghoul. He suddenly felt less like king of the zombies and savior of the lost, and more like the thing she probably saw when she looked at him—a scabby old junkie in an even older, tattered coat. And that fucking sucked.

Then she’d run off to help another settlement or five, and by the time she returned, she had MacCready. The viper in his bosom, the mercenary he’d sheltered in the Third Rail. Sure, MacCready’d done him enough favors, Hancock wasn’t about to shank him. Cock-blocking didn’t deserve a death sentence. He was a ghoul and he was Hancock. He would outlast MacCready and he would get what he wanted, in the end. He always did. Or, he usually did. And if that didn’t work, then shanking.

Meanwhile, whiskey soothed the sting.

Hancock turned the corner. Uneven light marked the narrow path to the toilet, the glow of a single bare bulb escaping through cracks in the wall of Fiona’s shack. Sounds escaped, too, despite the rattling of the nearby generator. Not the cadence of normal conversation, but low and suggestive voices, punctuated by the creaking of crappy bedsprings.

Goddamn lucky bastard, he thought while he pissed. He finished and tucked his junk into his pants when he heard Fiona moan. Blood rushed to his dick—because he wasn’t dead, y’know, he just looked like it. Inching forward, he peered between boards and saw them, MacCready on top and her legs wrapped around his waist.

A broken bottle crunched beneath Hancock’s boot.

“Wait,” she whispered, and he thought he’d been heard. But, no, she only wanted to change positions.

“Um, why?” said MacCready, being a fucking idiot. Did that boy learn nothing with the Gunners? Most of them would do anything for a few bottlecaps.

“I want to try something.” She pushed MacCready away and rolled over, onto her hands and knees, giving Hancock a spectacular view. She’d lost weight since she’d first appeared in Goodneighbor—clean, soft, well-fed, and wide-eyed but trying so damn hard not to let her fear show. Like an angel in road leathers. He woulda coulda shoulda fucked her right then and there, on Finn’s warm corpse. She was harder now, but still had a helluva rack and a round ass that MacCready had no idea how to handle.

“Okaaaaay.” MacCready sounded uncertain. Seriously, kid? Where’s your sense of adventure?

Fiona jockeyed onto his cock and started rocking. It was goddamn beautiful, but for fucks sake, MacCready, would it kill you to give her a reach-around? She eventually started touching herself, and Hancock did the same, furiously tugging his shit in the shadows.

Then she sat upright, bouncing on MacCready’s thighs, as if she knew Hancock was right there and wanted to make sure he saw it all. Her hand flailed over her clit like the horns of a rabid, wounded radstag, and her body stiffened.

Right on. He suddenly felt religious, raising his gaze to the starry heavens to thank god and any other invisible friends who might be looking down on him. She cried out, and his eyes snapped back to watch her arch her back and thrash with a hard climax. No credit to the mercenary who didn’t bother to kiss her neck, bite her shoulder, pull her hair, slap her ass, scratch her back, or grab her tits. Useless. What did she see in this asshole? So, he had hair. So what?

In a strained voice MacCready warned her, “I’m going to blow.” He pulled out, she pumped his dick a few times with her hand, and he shot his wad on the mattress, so he wouldn’t knock her up. They both had kids, so they weren’t sterile and had to take precautions. Ghouls, at worst, would only give you radiation burns. Nothing a little RadAway couldn’t fix.

She kissed MacCready full on the mouth as if he deserved it and Hancock stepped away, unwilling to watch that shit. Fucking was one thing, but falling in love was something else. That she was falling for MacCready, it hurt.

He finished jerking off, wiped his hand on the starred and striped flag he wore as a belt, and inhaled two puffs of jet.

It hurt like hell.

- J.L. Hilton

* * *

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Fallout 4: Romancing the ghoul

Hancock concept art (c) Bethesda

I have a confession. I’ve been cheating on my husband. Again.

I don’t want to break MacCready’s heart, but if I have to listen to him complain after I pick up one more battered clipboard in Fallout 4, I’m going to knock that pencil goatee right off his whiny mouth with the recoil-compensating stock of my plasma rifle.

I know, two months ago I said my love life was a toss up between Preston and Hancock, until MacCready won me over. Looking back, I had a thing for Hancock all along, but was too heavily into RP (role playing) to believe my sole survivor, Fiona, would jump onto him straight out of the vault. He’s a zombie pirate junkie who shanks a fool just for shaking her down, when only days earlier (in her mind) she was a suburban mom with a law degree, married to a handsome war hero.

But after two years in the Commonwealth wasteland, she’s used to ghouls and MacCready seems more like a lost boy who needs mothering than a man who’s the Sole Survivor’s equal. Over and over, again and again, I’ve imagined Fiona turning to John Hancock for counsel, assistance, friendship and … other things.

When I began moving settlers to Hangman’s Alley, a small slice of downtown Boston crushed between raiders and super mutants, I sent Hancock to guard them.

As I built Egret Tours Marina into a thriving center of commerce, I sent Hancock to keep things running smoothly.

When I built a bar and dance floor at the top of Abernathy’s farmhouse, MacCready seemed like the kind of guy who would try one slow dance, doing the junior high method of swaying awkwardly with his hands on Fiona’s hips, then he’d hide in a corner and drink bourbon. Meanwhile, Hancock and Fiona would dance the night away, singing along with every song on Diamond City Radio.

BTW Hancock’s voice actor, Danny Shorago, is a vocalist for the band The Fuxedos…

In my wasteland, the new “treasure” of Jamaica Plains is a brothel, complete with Grognak, Mechanist and Silver Shroud impersonators. I think Hancock, owner of the Third Rail, would be more than happy to help me get the place running and wouldn’t balk at the “Blue Room” – named after the color of its door – complete with handcuffs, sack hood and various “implements” such as wooden boards, shock batons, yardsticks and hair brushes.

MacCready seems to me like the kind of person who would refuse to do kinky things, though he’d secretly want a paddling. Hancock’s the type who would smile and want to hold the paddle.

If I need to commiserate about the stress of leading the Minutemen and rebuilding the Wasteland, Hancock is the king of the underworld and mayor of Goodneighbor, who understands “it’s lonely at the top” (his words, from one of his in-game conversations). MacCready would probably suggest I either ask for more caps or stop helping people.

After visiting the Institute and discovering what happened to my son, I immediately wanted to share the information with Hancock and get his advice – though the game offered no actual options to do so. In my mind, we had one hell of a long-ass conversation.

Later, when I needed to shore up the Castle’s defenses and prepare for an onslaught of teleporting synths and deadly coursers, I relocated Hancock to the fort. Other than MacCready, who was my follower, and Preston, who I assigned there permanently, Hancock was the only companion I wanted with me for the Big Battle.

I took MacCready to the top of Kingsport Lighthouse and he scoffed at the “lure of the sea.” When I took Hancock, he looked out over the water, smiled and said it was really nice. Yes, John, it is, isn’t it? Let’s stop once in awhile to smell the flowers. (Especially those hubflowers used to make Grape Mentats.)

Hancock grabs life by the balls, shoves jet in its mouth and takes it for a tour of the town. MacCready would prefer a rocky ceiling over his head and hiding his nose in some Grognak comics. For awhile, I could dig it. Mac and Fiona were both lost and alone, with dead spouses and sick sons – Duncan had blue boils, Shaun just blew.

But now I’m heading an army, eradicating the remnants of the Institute, rescuing kidnapped settlers and wayward synths, defending checkpoints, managing settlements, tracking down renegade robots, and capturing creatures for my Friday night arena fights at Starlight Drive-In. I can’t carry the weight of the Commonwealth, my numerous economic enterprises AND a relationship on my shoulders alone, even with the Strong Back perk.

And speaking of encumbrance, MacCready bitches, “Don’t make me carry that worthless crap!” While Hancock says, “Let me know what I can carry.” Every time he says it, it makes me love that ghoul so damn hard.

My sole survivor, Fiona, with Mayor John Hancock in Goodneighbor. She's a bit damp because of the rain, and because she's always a bit damp around Hancock.

Hancock supports my involvement in the Minutemen, my favorite part of the game. He says, “I turned one of the nastiest settlements in the Commonwealth into a refuge for the lost. I thought I’d done something I could hang my hat on. But being out here with you, it’s made me realize just how small time I’d been thinking.”

Of the people, for the people. Hancock gets it. Meanwhile, MacCready complains every time I give someone a drink of water or pick up a desk fan. No, I’m not “collecting antiques,” I’m building a wind turbine for the settlers at Oberland Station, you miserable bastard.

I felt guilty for awhile, leaving Mac home in Taffington and running around with my back door man. Or, in my case, my “blue door” man. Then one day I heard Mac say, “For you, Cait, I’d do anything,” and realized maybe he was running around on me, too. That’s fine. I think Cait would be perfect for him. They can go be pissy together.

I’m enjoying the game so much more with John at my side. So, it’s time to grab some Mentats and get this freakshow on the road. You feel me?

~ J.L. Hilton

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Top 10 historical babes

These are my top 10 favorite actors who’ve portrayed historic figures or literary characters, or appeared in period pieces and stories inspired by the past.

The U.S. has only recently discovered some of these hotties who I’ve known for the past decade or more. And in some cases, audiences may have forgotten that they were ever babes, at all! But, I will always remember.

#1 Richard Armitage

Before he was Thorin Oakenshield, Richard Armitage was the brooding, leather-clad Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood, and the stoic Victorian capitalist John Thornton in North & South.

#2 Rutger Hauer

Prior to True Blood, Galavant, Sin City or my personal favorite, Hobo With a Shotgun, Rutger Hauer was the star-crossed captain Navarre in Ladyhawke and medieval merc Martin in Flesh+Blood. (Though those of us who are geeks will probably love him best as Roy Batty, the synth in the dystopian SF movie Blade Runner.)

#3 Jason Momoa

Jason Momoa joins this list via Game of Thrones, Conan the Barbarian, and his portrayal of pirate Jean Lafitte in an episode of Drunk History.

#4 Sean Bean

Before he was Ned Stark, Boromir or an Internet meme, Sean Bean was Richard Sharpe, Lady Chatterley’s lover, and a prince in Jim Henson’s 1980s show The Storyteller.

#5 Eddie Redmayne

Unknown to most people in the US before he appeared in Les Misérables or The Theory of Everything, Eddie Redmayne portrayed such historical figures as Southampton in Elizabeth I (2005), Thomas Babington in Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), William Stafford in The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), a 12th century peasant in The Pillars of the Earth, and writer Colin Clark in My Week With Marilyn (2011), as well as Richard II on stage.

#6 Ron Perlman

Most people know him now as the patriarch of the Sons of Anarchy, Hellboy or that guy who says, “War, war never changes,” in the Fallout franchise. I’ve been a fan of Ron Perlman since I knew him as Vincent in the Beauty and the Beast TV show in the late 1980s (for which George R.R. Martin wrote 14 episodes btw). If you haven’t seen City of Lost Children (1995) – and you like steampunk or video games like Bioshock – I highly recommend it. He’s also appeared in Quest for Fire and medieval murder mystery The Name of the Rose.

#7 Clancy Brown

Clancy Brown entered my life as the Kurgen in the first Highlander movie (1986) and Viktor in the under-appreciated retelling of Frankenstein, The Bride (1985). Not only the voice of Mr. Krabbs in Spongebob Squarepants, he appeared in Depression-era supernatural series Carnivale and medieval Pathfinder.

#8 Ray Stevenson

In the Marvel universe, he’s Volstagg (2011) and the Punisher (2008), but I first saw him as Pullo in the HBO/BBC series Rome (2005-2007). He’s also Dagonet in the 2004 King Arthur.

#9 Tony Curran

Tony Curran first came to my attention in Underworld (2006), as the delicious redheaded demon Marcus, though I’d seen him in 13th Warrior (1999), Gladiator (2000), Mists of Avalon (2001) and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) before that, without realizing it. He’s also been in period dramas Beowulf & Grendel, Pearl Harbor, and Pillars of the Earth, and portrayed Vincent Van Gogh in Doctor Who.

#10 Rufus Sewell

I first saw Rufus Sewell in Dark City and Dangerous Beauty (both from 1998). Though the former is SF and not historical, the latter is set in 16th-century Venice. I went on to later watch him in period pieces Middlemarch, A Knight’s Tale, The IllusionistPillars of the Earth and Hercules. If I was Isolde, I would have much rather been with him, as Lord Marke, than with James Franco in Tristan+Isolde.

Honorable mentions

David Wenham in 300, LOTR & Van Helsing

Nathan Jones as Boagrius in Troy

Mark Lewis Jones as Uther Pendragon in Mists of Avalon

David Janer in Aguila Roja. Satur and Hernan aren't bad, either!

Brendan Gleeson in Braveheart, Beowulf, Kingdom of Heaven, Stonehearst Asylum, Troy & more.

Before he became Harry Potter's nemesis, Ralph Fiennes appeared in several period pieces, including Wuthering Heights, The English Patient & more.

~ J.L. Hilton

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My Fallout 4 romance: RJ “Slim” MacCready

* * SPOILERS * *

Meet my new video game bf, Robert Josesph “RJ” MacCready. I honestly didn’t expect to romance the asshole mercenary, who I referred to as either “Slim,” “Reedy MacCready,” or “Bobbi No-Butt,” before I got to know him.

I tend to like the strong, silent type – more meat on their bones and a lot less lip. I had a big crush on Sturges at the beginning of the game, and my 15yo daughter left this on my nightstand:

"My old man taught me duct tape could fix anything." - Sturges, Fallout 4

Though some readers may recall how I started out with the big Nord tank Stenvar, in Skyrim, and ended up with the slick, snarky dark elf spellsword Teldryn Sero. So, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

Before I reached the “idolized” level of friendship with MacCready, my love life was a toss up between fellow Minuteman and knight in tarnished armor Preston Garvey, or the coolest ghoul in the Commonwealth, libertarian mayor Hancock of Goodneighbor. Paladin Danse is just a jackass in a can and I don’t care how cute everyone says he is, I still won’t join the Brotherhood.

MacCready won me over when he turned out to be not-such-an-asshole-after-all. “He’s one of the good ones,” as Daisy says. Someone with similar experiences to the Sole Survivor – a son, a spouse killed right in front of him – and unlike Kellogg, MacCready actually regrets being a mercenary and turning into a jerk after life dealt him a really bad hand.

A lot of people have pointed out that MacCready has bad teeth. Whatever. Everyone in the wasteland would have bad teeth, B.O., and stank ass. They’re wiping with 200-year-old copies of the Boston Bugle and there’s not a lot of indoor plumbing.

Danse calls MacCready an “insubordinate civilian,” but that’s just another selling point, far as I’m concerned.

When I finished the Last Voyage of the U.S.S. Constitution quest, MacCready and I watched the airship triumphantly sail away… and crash on another building. He laughed and said, “Oh, yeah, it looks MUCH better over there!” and I was smitten. Sarcasm will get me every time.

“I know I tend to be arrogant and I come off like I want to be alone. Nothing could be further from the truth. Being alone scares the heck out of me.”
- Robert Josesph MacCready

I can relate to this completely. Plus, he stays out of my way and knows how to handle shit hitting the fan. (Sorry, Preston, I can’t forgive you for constantly shoving your musket in my face and that time you just stood there while six ghouls dog-piled on me in a stairwell.)

“I plan on walking this earth with you until the day I die.”
- Robert Josesph MacCready

Sounds like a marriage proposal to me. So, I removed my old wedding ring and have started referring to my character as Fiona MacCready. I like to imagine that our wedding’s officiated by Hancock at the Castle and broadcast over Freedom Radio. Let the whole Commonwealth know that the General’s hitched to the skinny, smartass sniper.

~ J.L. Hilton

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In honor of Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday

I thought I’d share some of my favorite Poe-related items:

(c) Sue Beatrice, All Natural Arts

To One in Paradise – Not one of his well-known works, but I liked this poem so much, I memorized it in high school.

A Dream Within A Dream – Another of my favorite Poe poems, with its desperation and despair at the inevitable passage of time and meaninglessness of life.

Masters of Horror: The Black Cat – TV episode starring Jeffrey Combs as Poe.

Stonehearst Asylum – Movie loosely based on the short story “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether” by Poe. Don’t watch any trailers, though, they all contain spoilers.

How well do you know Edgar Allan Poe? (quiz)

Poe Museum <— Visit

PoeStories.com <— Read more of his poems and stories here.

Born in Boston on January 19, 1809, Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, editor, and literary critic, best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and macabre. A central figure of Romanticism (emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature), Poe is considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre and contributed to the emerging genre of science fiction. He died in Baltimore on October 7, 1849, under mysterious circumstances.

~ J.L. Hilton

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ILLOGICON 2016: Geek crafting and writing panels

Since its beginning in 2012, I’ve participated in every ILLOGICON except one, only missing 2014 because I caught a raging case of swamp crud from Disney World.

ILLOGICON is a small, fan-driven convention dedicated to Science Fiction and Fantasy in all media – books, music, comics, podcasts, movies, TV, etc. – with really nice folks, interesting panels, local vendors, and a whole lot of fun.

This year I’ll be on the Writing About Sex in Other Worlds panel with author Natania Barron, 10-11pm, Friday, January 8, 2016.

I’m also on the Geek Arts & Crafts panel and workshop 10am – noon, Sunday, January 10, 2016, where I’ll talk about my Etsy shop and Youtube channel, then we’ll do some comic book origami and coloring pages for all ages.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Plastic Galaxy revisits the toys of my childhood

I just watched Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys on Hulu. This hour-long documentary covers the Kenner toy company and the development of the very first Star Wars toys in the 1970s and early ’80s, interviewing collectors, experts, authors and former Kenner employees. I enjoyed seeing so many of the toys from my childhood.

Back in 1977, I had the Early Bird Certificate Package — nothing but a cardboard diorama display stand and a certificate you mailed to Kenner to receive the first four Star Wars action figures when they became available later in 1978.

I can still remember opening the little white box on our dining room table and seeing those first four characters. I loved the way the lightsaber came out of Luke’s arm. That was absolute MAGIC.

Image courtesy of Rebelscum.com

When my mom tried to get me interested in Barbies, I asked her, “What do they do?” and she said, “They dress up and change their clothes.” BOOOOOOOOOR-ING! How did girls play with that garbage when there were robot friends, Death Stars to escape and bad guys to kill with lasers and light swords? I preferred my 12-inch Leia, Luke and Darth Vader dolls. They had many adventures swinging around my canopy bed from Luke’s grappling hook, with Darth Vader in pursuit.

I also had the Landspeeder, X-wing, Tie Fighter, and Death Star toys.

Did you grow up with any of the original Star Wars toys in the 1970s? What were your favorites?

~ J.L. Hilton

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Writers require courage equal to desire

I’ve been a writer for a long, long time. DRAGON magazine published my short story, “The Visitor,” in 1988. I was 17. Shortly after that, I worked for a treasure hunting magazine, writing articles and book reviews. A few years later, I became a newspaper reporter and columnist, and I’ve spent most of my writing career in non-fiction.

I didn’t become a published science fiction novelist until 2012. Giddy with my new membership in the OMG I’M A REAL SF AUTHOR club, I attended conventions, appeared on several panels, sometimes with awesome people, sometimes with awful people. I gave away swag, sat in author alleys and had conversations – some positive or supportive, others not so much – and I experienced some strange bias in the SF community against things like technology, anime, YA, cosplay, but even stranger the bias against women. Some people assumed I’d never read Heinlein, Asimov or Bradbury. They assumed my books were all sex and no science, or strictly “soft” science fiction (which couldn’t be further from the truth). They assumed I was self-published. I received good and bad reviews, mostly good. I answered email from excited fans and aspiring authors, became the target of jealousy and bitterness from others. I won one award and became a finalist for another. I blogged. I guest blogged. I joined various author groups and met a lot of authors. I lost friends. I gained friends. I attended seminars offered by my publisher to teach me about how to use social media, how to create an author website, how to be a brand. I joined SFWA. I left SFWA.

In 2013, after publishing my 2nd novel, a sequel, I stopped writing because I loathed writing, save for a few interviews, columns and blog posts, here and there, which were mostly journalism not fiction. I even stopped reading, because I loathed books. The last thing I read was Rat Queens, which is a comic, not a novel. I played Skyrim and Fallout because they were wonderful stories but not novels. I didn’t entirely stop doing conventions, but I only did a few, where I felt comfortable, and I focused on my jewelry design business instead, which had been thriving but put on hold when I became a novelist. I suffered debilitating anxiety and panic attacks, and depression. I went into therapy. I went on medication.

I’m not saying all this for sympathy, or to make any particular point. And I’m not one of those writers to which Jeff VanderMeer refers – I’ve never told him the story of my discouragement. But I am discouraged. He is right that there are good people out there. I love my editor, Alison Dasho, without her I would never have been published at all, nor finished the sequel. I love my first editors, Eileen Brady and Linda Cashdan, who helped me develop a novel that someone wanted to publish. Bull Spec founder and editor Samuel Montgomery-Blinn is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and there are so many authors who’ve been supportive along the way – Bill Harms, Richard Dansky, John G. Hemry, Christiana Ellis, Sara Harvey, Natania Barron, Robert Appleton, Kait Gamble, M. David Blake, Michael D’Ambrosio and more.

But I had to take a serious step away from the industry and the community, get healthy, figure out what to do next, and how I wanted to do it. Writers are expected to do so much more than write, nowadays, and I’m really no good at all the other crap. I don’t even feel particularly good about the writing part. I feel as if I learned to swim in a kiddy pool and then someone dropped me into the middle of the ocean. And writing–actually sitting down and writing–is such an isolated pursuit. Some writers love that loneliness. Me, not so much.

I still occasionally receive emails asking when the 3rd Stellarnet book will be out (though they are vastly outnumbered by the emails asking when I’ll write more Skyrim smut). And I do want to write again. But I’m having a hard time holding onto the good bits, because everything seems coated in slime. That’s on me, I know. Maybe I’ll figure it out someday.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Auctioning a piece of SERENITY for a good cause

* * * CSTS AUCTION LINK * * *

For a decade, I’ve owned a piece of Serenity: The actual St. Christopher medal worn by Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb in the 2005 motion picture. He can be seen wearing it when he tries to take River for a “nice shuttle ride” and she knocks him out with a can of peaches.

I’ve had a lifelong interest in jewelry and worked as a professional jewelry designer for more than half my life. So, I always notice jewelry in movies and TV shows, amused by what those little embellishments tell us about the character, story and plot.

In Jayne’s case, St. Christopher is appropriate, not only because he’s the patron saint and protector of travelers — and the crew of Serenity could certainly use all the protection they can get — but because the saint started out a tall, fierce mercenary who ended up serving God by carrying people across a dangerous river. Ha ha, “a dangerous River.” Coincidence?

In December 2005, Stephen Lane from the Prop Store of London posted in a Browncoat fan forum that he would be obtaining several props from Serenity. I asked him about the necklace, which he reserved for me. I bought it from him in March 2006. Prior to that, it was displayed at a Universal Studios theme park.

A photograph of Jayne's St. Christopher medal on display at Universal Studios in 2005.

I framed the necklace in a shadow box with the certificate of authenticity and a replica of one of Jayne’s shirts from the movie. Over the years, I displayed it at my local Can’t Stop the Serenity events for other fans to enjoy.

CSTS is a fan-run project of worldwide annual screenings of Joss Whedon’s Serenity to raise money and awareness for Equality Now, an organization dedicated to the protection of women and girls around the world. They deal with issues such as rape, child marriage, sex trafficking, and FGM.

Since 2006, Browncoats have raised more than $1,000,000.00 for Equality Now and for other charities, including Kids Need to Read.

I coordinated the 2006, 2007 and 2008 CSTS screenings in my city — complete with costume contests, raffles, trivia contests and shooting galleries — then went on to be a global sponsor while continuing to assist my local CSTS committee.

This year, when the global steering committee asked for donations for their national auction, I knew it was time for Jayne’s necklace to have a new home and to do some good on the way.

So, I donated the necklace, shadow box, certificate of authenticity and all, to CSTS and the California Browncoats who are running the auction. It’s currently on eBay and 100% of the sale will go to Equality Now.

You can see the St. Christopher auction here. It ends Nov. 15.

See the entire CSTS auction here.

For the cosplayers and Browncoats who can’t afford the original, I’ve found a similar medal at CatholicShop.com. The original medal was worn on a 24-inch Boston style chain.

This is a photo of the actual medal worn by Jayne Cobb in the 2005 movie SERENITY.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Fallout fun

I started writing Stellarnet Rebel in 2009, a year after the release of Fallout 3. The “bracers” used by my characters Genny and Duin are similar to the Pipboy devices in the Fallout franchise. Basically, a smart phone worn around the forearm.

But I didn’t play my first Fallout game (Fallout: New Vegas) until 2015, so any similarities are coincidental.

My space colony on the planet Asteria is similar to the vaults in in the Fallout franchise, totally self-sustaining and self-contained. In Fallout, dwellers can’t leave because of post-apocalyptic radiation. In the Stellarnet Series, colonists can’t leave because there’s no atmosphere on the planet.

Vault 888 in my Fallout Shelter mobile game.

The underground vault in the mobile game Fallout Shelter is built in standardized modules. Each section connects perfectly with the others, a bit like Legos, but customized to fulfill different needs – housing, food production, water reclamation, power, entertainment, education, etc.

This is very similar to the system of interlocking compartments and blocks I invented for Asteria Colony.

Residential blocks in Asteria Colony contain their own food production, similar to the Biosphere 2 research facility in Arizona.

If they were intelligent (and better looking), Fallout’s lake lurkers might be like Stellarnet’s water-dwelling aliens called Glin. Except that the Glin use electrical current as a natural weapon, like eels, rather than sonic shouts.

The Glin sometimes have to deal with large, deadly, dragon-like creatures known as r’naw. Not unlike Fallout’s deathclaws.

Makes me wish I could create a Stellarnet video game! Meanwhile, it’s six days until Fallout 4. My Pip-Boy edition is pre-ordered, how about you?

Meanwhile, I’m really enjoying the Sole Survivor’s backside …

~ J.L. Hilton

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