Remembering my favorite MMOG City of Heroes with an original short story

city_of_heroesHappy Halloween everyone! This is a day when we all dress up as a favorite fantasy character. Mine has always been superheroes. That being said, I want to spend this Halloween talking about one of my favorite video games.I was a HUGE fan and player of the online game CITY OF HEROES. As a longtime comic book geek, this game was made for people like me. I could create original characters, design their costumes, their origins, everything. It was a sad day when Paragon City had to be shelved

I was a HUGE fan and player of the online game CITY OF HEROES. As a longtime comic book geek, this game was made for people like me. I could create original characters, design their costumes, their origins, everything. It was a sad day when Paragon City had to be shelved. I really miss logging in, traveling to City Hall, stand atop the statue of the fallen hero Atlas, stopping a couple of Hellions from intimidating old ladies or stop a bank robbery.

To celebrate this occasion, I wanted to share a short story I wrote revolving around one of the characters I created, Bone the Headhunter. I know, not the most original name, but with all the good names taken, it’s what I came up with. I hope you enjoy it, and once again, Happy Halloween!


The Last Goodbye: A City of Heroes short story

JOURNAL ENTRY – Sunday, March 30, 3:45 a.m.  – I’ve been waiting for three hours and still no sign of the Vahzilok. My contact assured me that they routinely take this route through Faultline, bringing fresh body parts to Dr. Vahzilok himself. Faultline has plenty of places to hide the bodies of their victims. It’s a ruined city trying desperately to rebuild itself. Hopefully, this will bring me closer to finding that monster and exacting my revenge.

He closed his journal and slide it into his armor. His grim demeanor was hidden beneath his mask – a faceless skull with eyes as black as night. He waited patiently, watching the construction site from the top of the steel structure. His cloaking device was working perfectly, bending light around him so as to avoid detection.

As he scanned the surroundings, his mind began to wander. They called him a hero, but Bone the Headhunter didn’t feel like one. All the technology he’d put into his armor and weapons may have made him stronger, but it didn’t fill the void inside him.

He wasn’t a hero when his wife and son were captured by the Vahzilok. Those demented zombies would have taken him too if it wasn’t for the armored hero Positron. He saved his life, but it was too late for his family. One of the Reapers slipped away during the fight, taking their bodies with him. They searched for days, but no sign of his wife and son. They were presumed dead… Another victim of the Vahzilok.


Bone the Headhunter

People called him driven… Possessed by an unforgiving rage and hatred for the Vahzilok. That may be, but tragedy usually does that to a man. At one time, he was Ted Johnson, an Olympic archery champion, and a successful businessman. Since the death of his family, he turned that talent into something more useful; he hunted down the villains of Paragon City. The gangs called him a headhunter, attacking without regard to his own personal safety, trying to bring down as many of them as possible.

Bone snapped back into reality when he heard a low groaning noise. He looked down and saw a couple of Abominations – giant animated cadavers – dragging two heavy body bags. These mindless zombies were doing the bidding of a Reaper and an Eidolon, one of Dr. Vahzilok’s “perfect” creations. They were heading toward the sewer grate, the route Bone’s informant told him about.

“4-to-1,” Bone thought to himself. “Not bad odds… for me.”

A touch on his glove deactivated his cloaking device. “No use wasting energy on the cloak in a face-to-face battle,” Bone surmised. He reached into his belt for his targeting drone, activating it and tossing it into the air. The drone buzzed around his head like an angry bee. Its laser sites helped him in many battles.

He drew his bow and nocked an explosive arrow in. “This should get their attention,” he said as Bone let his arrow fly. Before the Vahzilok could react, the arrow struck within their midst and exploded. The Vahzilok were sent flying to the ground.

Before they could react, Bone tossed a smoke grenade to blind their vision. He leaped down from the steel building, his hydraulic leg enhancements cushioned his landing. Once down, he knocked his next arrow.

He fired at the Reaper. The arrowhead burst into flame and, upon impact, exploded, covering the Reaper and Abominations in burning embers. He reached into his quiver and laid three arrows across his bow. The multiple arrows fired, striking the Reaper and both Abominations, bringing all three to the ground.

Bone turned to face the Eidolon, drawing his next arrow. But before he could strike, black tendrils erupted from the ground and wrapped around Bone. He was frozen in place, unable to attack. The Eidolon wielded dark powers … A gift from Dr. Vahzilok for becoming his perfect creations.

He braced for the next attack from the Eidolon, but it didn’t come. The Eidolon was just standing there, staring at him. “What are you waiting for?” Bone shouted. The thought passed quickly as Bone prepared to take advantage of its lapse and attack.

“I was hoping this day would never come,” the Eidolon said to Bone. “Still, it had to happen sooner or later, didn’t it ‘Teddy.’” Bone was shocked to his senses. Only his wife called him Teddy. How did this Eidolon know his name?

“What kind of game are playing with me Eidolon?” Bone demanded. Before the Eidolon could answer, he broke free from the tendrils, raising his bow and aiming his arrow at the Eidolon. “How do you know that name?”

“Come now ‘Teddy,’ surely you can see past this mask as I easily as I can see past yours,” the Eidolon said mockingly. “Or maybe you’re just in denial.”

Bone slowly lowered his bow. He realized the truth in the Eidolon’s words, but he refused to believe it. “No, that’s not possible,” he said. The Eidolon peeled back the leather bindings that encased its body, removing its mask and exposing its face to Bone. Though bald, Bone recognized the eyes and lips – even the little mole on her cheek – of his wife.

“Val?” Bone asked. “Can it really be you?” The Eidolon smiled as if she enjoyed tormenting Bone.

“It’s me, Teddy, the wife you abandoned and left for dead.”

“I didn’t abandon you,” he explained, peeling his mask back to look at his wife, eye to eye. “I searched for you for days with Positron. We found no trace of you or Daniel.” Bone’s voice trailed off at the mention of his son’s name.

“Don’t you dare say his name,” the Eidolon screamed. “You have no right to speak his name. You have no idea what they did to him.”

“Yet here you are? Did you really become one of them?” Bone ripped back at her. “How could you do that? How could you join the Vahzilok?”

“I did what I had to survive,” she justified. “They were going to kill me, just like they did Daniel. So, I offered myself to them – to Dr. Vahzilok himself – to become one of his Eidolon. I did it to save my life.”

Bone couldn’t believe what he was hearing. She willingly gave herself to the Vahzilok, after what they did to their son.

“The Valerie I knew would never have done that. She would have died before joining these monsters,” Bone argued.

“What do you know about life and death,” she snapped back. “You have your precious medical transporters to protect you. I was on my own. I had a choice to make and I chose to live, no matter what I had to do.”

“You’re right about one thing,” she said as she pulled the mask back over her face. “Valerie Johnson is dead. I am Black Mary.”

Bone realized the truth in her words. “Then this is goodbye for the last time,” he told her as he put his mask back on. “But know this, Black Mary. The next time we meet, I won’t hesitate to kill you.”

Black Mary just stared at him. “Neither will I, Bone the Headhunter,” she said. “Neither will I.” Without hesitating, Bone pulled back his bow and fired a flaming arrow at the body bags, making the body parts unusable to the Vahzilok. Black Mary didn’t flinch. She just stared at Bone. He turned away and leaped into the air, heading toward the Faultline exit, back to Steel Canyon.

Suddenly, the sewer grate opened up and a group of Vahzilok stepped out. The Mortificator walked over to Black Mary. “Black Mary, what happened here?” he asked. She continued to stare off into the distance.

“We were ambushed by Bone the Headhunter,” she explained. “He destroyed the body bags, but I got him… I got him right through the heart.”

The Mortificator smiled, knowing that the Eidolon hurt that which the Vahzilok’s feared most. As they gathered up the remains of their fallen, they were too busy to see a tear rolling down Black Mary’s cheek. It was the last tear she will ever shed for her husband.

Across town, as Bone leaped through the air, he also shed a tear. He hasn’t cried since he lost his family the first time. He’ll never cry for them again.


51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverseThe Outlander War can be previewed at Inkitt.

Halloween is more than a holiday, it’s a fantasy writers dream come true

fca4ce85-0b3b-4b59-b288-0ab3d781338a“When witches go riding, and black cats are seen. The moon laughs and whispers, ’tis near Halloween!”

This is the time of year when it starts to get darker early, the air is crisp and cold, and a full moon makes you think twice about being out after midnight.

Halloween is a special time of year, even more so for us fantasy writers. This is when we can let our hair down (for those of us who still have it) and let loose with all the scary stories we’ve been storing up for the past year.

I saw a great special on TV the other day that explain how dressing up in costumes and “trick or treating” was invented by a lady in Kansas to keep kids from vandalizing neighborhoods in their small, rural town. That may be true, but Halloween has always had a darker meaning.

Though it is widely believed that many Halloween traditions originated in the Celtic harvest festivals with pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain, how it is practiced and celebrated today is the as the festival was Christianized as Halloween. Most of us carry on the tradition as we did as kids … By decorating our homes with jack o’lanterns, skulls and tombstones, watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and passing out candy to little kids while saving the leftovers for the rest of us.

As a writer, Halloween brings out the best in me. You have a wealth of myths and legends to choose from to scare your readers. In the instance of my third book, The Outlander War, I brought a couple of “Halloween inspired” characters to my story … The half-demon Abdel Ben Faust and the Wraith Legion of Purgatory. Here is an excerpt from my “soon-to-be-released” novel which shows how deadly a wraith can be.


Dotted along the coast of Avalon, sitting atop the raised cliff-face, were outposts manned 24/7 by the Knights of the Round Table, Shield Maidens, the Dragon Guard, and Elves from the Hîldrägo Boquè. Their job was to keep an eye on the fleet off the coast and report any movement toward Avalon, by sea or by air.

At one outpost, located directly across where Emmyr once floated in the sky, sat a small group of men in the third hour of their watch. A small fire kept them warm, but it was of little comfort out here. It was three o’clock in the morning, and the tedious, sometimes boring, nature of the watch was already getting to some of them.

Of all the knights there, Sir Eadric Cuthbert was the oldest. At nearly 100-years-old, and he was still considered by many to be in his prime. He had fought in many battles throughout his career as a Knight of the Round Table, characterized by the many battle scars on his body. He could have had them healed but he preferred leaving the marks as they were, because each one was a story. His shaggy beard of black and gray was the only hair on his body as the rest either fell out or was burned off at one time or another. He leaned up against his halberd, a two-handed polearm with a broad ax blade and a pike, as he tried to shake off the sleep. He knew he had too much to drink before coming on watch, but the young men kept asking for one more story and he couldn’t help himself.

As Eadric dozed, Feredir kept his gaze locked off the coast of Avalon. As one of the youngest members of the elite Hîldrägo Boquè, the Elf warrior was always mindful of his duties while on watch. He memorized all of the ships situated off the coast of Avalon and took careful inventory whenever he assumed watch. His stark green eyes and brown hair highlighted his beautiful features, wearing the traditional copper-colored armor of the Hîldrägo Boquè. Armed with his long bow and long sword, his normally dutiful attention was interrupted by the occasional snoring of Eadric, waking himself up with every loud gasp for air.

“Are you sure you should be standing the watch so tired, Sir Eadric?” Feredir inquired politely.

“Nonsense Feredir, why I once stayed awake for four days straight on twenty minutes of sleep at the siege of Kohlwick Hollow,” Eadric replied as he snapped to attention. “I usually need some action to keep my focus so I don’t drift off.”

“Well, you’re not a young man anymore. You should take it easy on the late night revelry.”

“Speak for yourself lad,” Eadric snapped back. “It’s late night revelry that keeps this old man going.”

“Lad?” Feredir said as he glared at Sir Eadric with a look of bewilderment. “You do realize that I’m more than 1,500 years older than you?”

“Ah, it’s not the age lad, it’s how you carry yourself,” Eadric answered. “You walk like my son, Dabney, use to … Strong, confident and full of life. Me? I’m an old man, past his prime, who tries to be ‘one of the boys’ by drinking the night away while telling one of a hundred stories of my life as a Knight of the Round Table.”

“You speak too harshly about yourself Sir Eadric,” Feredir said to comfort the old knight. “You have lived a long and fruitful life, serving the people of Avalon with honor. You have nothing to be ashamed of.”

“He’s right Sir Eadric, your presence means a lot to young men like me,” one of the other knights spoke up. The other men nodded their heads in agreement, chiming in to support the aged warrior.

Eadric said nothing in reply. He just leaned against his halberd and sighed. Feredir saw that something was on his mind. “Is something bothering you, Sir Eadric?”

“My son, Dabney,” Eadric said, his voice turned solemn and sad. “I haven’t thought about him for over a year now, not even speaking his name.”

Feredir jerked his head, unsure of where Eadric was going with this. “Dabney died last year at the battle of Idlehorn Mountain,” Eadric continued. “We were defending the right flank when a Drow Strider came right at us. I got under the beastie with my halberd while Dabney sliced it right between its eight eyes. The Drow fell off the spider’s back, so I ran it through with the pike.

“We turned our back on the spider, thinking it was dead, but it had a little bit of life left. It grabbed Dabney and ran him through with its stinger. Some lads carried him to the rear while I continued to fight. When the battle was over, I went to find Dabney but …”

His voice trailed off, not finishing his sentence, but Feredir understood what happened to his son. “They had to burn his body because Drow spiders lay eggs inside their victims when they die. The only recourse was to burn the bodies before the eggs could hatch. I’m very sorry Sir Eadric.”

Eadric wiped the tears from his eyes and took a deep breath to regain his composure. ”That’s alright lad, we all have to go sometime. I’ll see my son again one day, that’s what keeps me going.”

The two remained quiet for almost half an hour until Eadric finally broke the silence. “Do you remember a Storm Giant by the name of Boras?”

“Boras? I remember when he came down from Merlin’s Pinnacle to raid cattle and sheep farms,” Feredir recalled. “His people were starving because they didn’t stock up enough for the winter, so he took it upon himself to get some provisions, as it were. I heard it took more than 100 knights to finally bring him down.”

“101 actually …” Eadric joked as he cracked a smile. “Let me tell you about it, you see …”

“Oh no Eadric, not the Boras story again!” came a voice from behind. The men all turned to see Sir Hunter and Chancellor Beauchamp walking toward them. Hunter was carrying a Lancer, as if he was ready to fight while Henri carried a teapot.

Eadric walked up to Hunter and greeted him like a brother, embracing him enthusiastically. “What are you doing here Sir Hunter?” Eadric asked. “I thought you were in Alfheimer?”

“I finally got a clean bill of health from Doctor Bonapat, so I took the first flight back here. My mother was driving me crazy!” he joked. “Actually, I’m just escorting Chancellor Beauchamp out here. Henri thought you all could use some efion tea.”

“Mais bien sûr,” Henri chimed in as he poured some tea for each of the men. “I wanted to bring you some of Chef Manfred’s world famous Cioppino, but he would not let it out of his sight. De toute façon, the Gil-Gamesh always said that everyone needs a little something to keep them going until morning, n’est ce pas?”

Sir Eadric greedily took the cup from Chancellor Beauchamp. “God bless you, Chancellor, this is just what I needed!” He took a big sip of tea, savoring each swallow with a soft moan. “Ah, a Christmas Hot Toddy! Just the way I like it!”

Efion tea is an Elvish drink that provided nourishment to Elves when they travel away from Alfheimer. To humans, it’s like an energy drink on steroids. A side effect of the brew is that it mimics the flavor of whatever you’re thinking, from sweet to savory.

Henri offers a cup to Feredir, but the Elf politely refuses. “No thank you, Chancellor Beauchamp. I had some before I came on watch. I am perfectly … fine.”

His voice trailed off at the end of his sentence as his eye caught something different off the horizon. Hunter knew how keen the eyesight of an Elf was and tried to see what he’s looking at on the horizon. Though it was a clear night, the moon was waning with a small sliver of a crescent high in the sky.

“What is it?” he asked. “What do you see?”

“There’s a new ship out there, one I’ve never seen before.”

“Are you sure Feredir? Those metal contraptions look all the same to me,” Eadric interjected.

“I have observed all the same ships for the past few weeks, that one is new,” he said pointing out. Try as he might, Hunter could barely make out the ship in the darkness.

“Can you describe it? Do you see any writing on it?”

“It looks like the other large warship, the aircraft carrier I believe your father called it, but the front of the ship is curved upward like a ramp,” Feredir said. “There is some writing on the side of the main structure but I’m not familiar with the language.”

“Show me!” Hunter demanded. Feredir took a dagger and wrote a few letters in the dirt next to the fire. Hunter didn’t recognize the words but he knew the style of the language. “That’s Russian, I think,” he said. “It must be a helicopter carrier of some sort.”

“Is that the machines with the spinning blades on them?” Feredir inquired.

“Yes, why?”

“Because there are four of them headed our way!” Feredir stated as he drew his bow.

Hunter turned to two of the younger knights standing with them. “You two, pass the word down along the coast that invaders are coming toward Avalon,” he commanded as the two men took off in opposite directions to warn the other outposts. “Henri, go tell my father what’s going on! We need him here immediately!” Henri dropped the teapot as he took off running toward the main encampment.

Hunter reloaded his Lancer with two new spellshots as he and Sir Eadric crouched down low behind the protection of some rocks. Feredir kept his head above the rocks, keeping a close eye on the approaching helicopters.

“How far out are they?” Hunter asked.

“Three of them are holding their position about 500 feet of shore,” he said as he scanned the horizon. “I’ve lost the fourth one.”

“What?” Hunter exclaimed as he and Eadric jumped up to see.

“Where did it go?” Eadric bemused. Before Feredir could answer, the three men heard a whirring sound from just off the cliff. From below the cliff edge, a helicopter rose up in the air in front of them, threatening them with 7.62x54mm rotary mini-gun.

The three quickly ducked down as the helicopter opened fire, pelleting the ground around them with rapid-fire spray. Feredir notched an arrow and readied himself. The Elven warrior stood up and fired off an arrow at the helicopter pilot but it ricocheted off the front windshield. He quickly shot off one more, but it had the same result, as he dove down behind the rock before the pilot adjusted his fire toward him.

“My arrows won’t penetrate that infernal machine!” Feredir complained. Hunter weighed all the options until he came up with an idea.

“I think I can help you there,” he said as he pulled up his Lancer, ready to fire. “After I fire, hit him again. Your arrows should penetrate this time.”

Hunter took a deep breath before he popped up and fire his Lancer at the helicopter. His spellshot—a combination of magic and alchemy loaded into a cartridge the size of a shotgun shell—fired a freezing spray at the helicopter, coating the front of the aircraft in a layer of frost. The windshield froze instantaneously, causing the pilot to stop firing momentarily as he attempted to get his bearings.

Feredir knew what he had to do as he quickly popped up and fired another arrow at the windshield. This time, his arrow shattered the glass and pierced the pilot through the chest. The aircraft became erratic as it spun around and around as the co-pilot tried to regain control. Feredir didn’t give him a chance to recover as he fired another arrow, this time killing the co-pilot with an arrow through the throat.

The helicopter spun out of control as it flew over the three warriors and dove down toward the ground. The engines shut down just before it impacted the surface, exploding in a giant ball of fire. Sir Eadric and Hunter roared loudly at their victory while Feredir just stood there silently, with a hint of a satisfying grin on his face.

“Now that was teamwork,” Eadric cheered. “Well done lads; well done to both of you!”

Hunter looked closely and calculated the distance from the cliff to where the helicopter crashed. His face turned sour as he made a grim discovery.

“The barrier has shrunk even more,” Hunter surmised. “It reaches almost 300 feet away from the cliff.”

“We should order the outposts to move in, otherwise, their infernal weapons can reach us,” Eadric replied.

“I agree, we need to warn the others immediately,” Feredir concurred. Before Hunter could say anything, the sound of engines filled the air. The three warriors turned around to see two more helicopters rising above the cliff, moving towards them. The two open up with their mini-guns, tearing up the ground as they strafed toward them.

With uncanny reflexes, Feredir grabbed Hunter and threw him to the ground behind the outcropping of rocks. Unfortunately, Sir Eadric was not as fast. The spray from the mini-guns ripped him apart as he fell to the ground.

Hunter looked over at Eadric’s lifeless body, saddened at the death of his friend. Even Feredir, who only knew Sir Eadric for a short period of time, mourned his loss. The two watched as something strange happened to Eadric. His body glowed briefly as his spirit rose from his body. It hovered over the corpse for a moment as it reformed into a wraith—an armored warrior with a ghostly visage for its head. The energy from his spirit absorbed into the heart stone on its chest as the gem beat to life.

Once fully formed, the wraith screamed an unearthly shriek before it flew into one of the helicopters. As the ghostly spirit passed through the craft, it unnerved the pilots as it swerved right into the other helicopter. The two collided into each other, shredded into pieces as the blades from one cut into the other. The two helicopters fell straight down to the beach below, exploding on impact. The wraith that was Sir Eadric was gone.

The last Russian helicopter was not deterred by the destruction of the first three. It hovered back from the cliff and fired a pair of 9k114 assault missile at the two hiding behind the outcropping. Hunter saw the missiles being launched from the aircraft. He grabbed Feredir by the arm and pulled him away from the rocks as quickly as possible.

The missiles hit the rocks, causing a massive explosion that hurled the two warriors through the air. They crashed into the ground hard, knocking the wind out of them. The helicopter moved in closer as its mini-gun whirred to life and started firing.

“Acheron Draconis!” shouted a voice from behind as the Gil-Gamesh summoned his dragon form, erupting with magical energy as it formed around him. “Defendo!” he chanted as the dragon’s wings folded down in front of Hunter and Feredir, protecting them from the gunfire.

“Infernus!” he commanded. The dragon form reared back and breathed fire, blasting the helicopter with full force. The helicopter exploded almost instantly, dropping down on top of the other two wrecked aircraft.


51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverseThe Outlander War can be previewed at Inkitt.


Why is it so hard finding time to write? Is it cat videos, politics or Fall TV premieres?

19614154_mIt is really hard to find the time to write. I mean, everything is right there for me … The plot is laid out, the character development is in place, and my computer is turned on. So how can’t I find the time to right when the new episode of “Great British Bake Off” is on?

That is the dilemma facing many writers. Your more experienced authors know the tricks to power through it and make themselves write a few more sentences, and then there’s the rest of us. We can’t help checking out Facebook, watching the next adorable cat video or even what mess Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton have stepped into.

I look at the pages I’ve written so far and just stare at the screen. My fingers graze the keyboard, putting a sentenced or two together and then, poof! I just stop in my tracks and click over to the internet. Why? Why does this always happen? Is it writer’s block or just plain laziness?

As an independent author, I don’t write for a living. I work a regular 9-to-5 job and write in my down time and at night, but that’s hard after working all day and you just want to unwind. I love to write, it’s my passion, but I find myself easily distracted.

That’s why I think a lot of this is really a form of writer’s block. Author and blogger  has a lot of great suggestions to get past writer’s block, but some of those suggestions are the same things distracting me.

I did like one thing he said. “Sometimes you just have to write something you want to write.” That is so true. I’ve been a military journalist and public affairs officer for more than 30 years. I’ve written everything from news stories, sports articles, feature stories and basic press releases. I’ve been writing fantasy fiction for a little more than 10 years. In that time, I have come to love writing. It is the zen to my day. When I get an idea and put it down on paper, the rush is exhilarating.

I know it seems like I’m doing a lot of complaining without offering any solutions and, that’s probably true. I guess this is my way of reaching out to my fellow writers and asking, “what do you do to make yourself write when so many things are screaming for your attention?”

This is my cry for help, and I hope someone is listening out there. I could sure use some good advice right now.


51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverseThe Outlander War can be previewed at Inkitt.

Bad time for politics, great time for comic book fans

I am a bit of a political junkie. I watch the news a lot, read all the online news sites and keep tabs on Facebook and Twitter about what’s being said in this year’s election. That being said, I have been ready to take a long walk off a steep cliff since June. If you don’t know who you’re voting for by now, you’re either too stupid, not paying attention or don’t care one way or the other.

I have to say that I don’t want to hear movie stars or other celebrities gloss over about who they think we should vote for. It turns me off, especially if my views are different from theirs. I think back to the whole Dixie Chicks debacle during the Bush Administration. I loved their music and when they decided to put their politics in the forefront, it made them unappealing to listen to. By the fact that they are no longer a group demonstrates my point exactly.

2015-12-03-arrow-headerSo where am I going with all this? I don’t want to see political correctness in my favorite comic book characters. I don’t want to see them changed or updated for the purpose of political correctness. I want to see the ’70s “Blaxploitation” version of Luke Cage, the X-Men that stand up the bigotry and bias of humanity, and the dark, brooding Batman that strikes fear into the hearts of criminals. Why can’t we have comic book characters be comic book characters?

We are losing our grip on what it means to be a comic book character. Everyone is trying to be edgier, darker, more shocking than the next one and it’s getting out of hand. We have a new generation being introduced to comic books through great series being put out on Netflix and the CW, and yet, they’re getting skewed. Luke Cage is being panned for being “too black” and people are criticizing the casting of a “white guy” as Iron Fist? These are people who clearly don’t know who these characters truly are.

At the same time, some of the producers are going “over dramatic” on some series. Arrow and The Flash have both gotten poor ratings for relying on too much drama and not enough action. Agents of Shield has also been guilty of this. Yes, we want to see character development but at the same time, the thing that brings them to life for fans like me is the action and adventure that goes with it.

Maybe it is this “politically correct” environment we live in that tries to make these shows something for more than just the average comic book fan. I understand that but if you change the essence of the character to fit a narrative that meets the criteria of PC, it dilutes the story into a mess.

This is something we, as writers, deal with all the time. Times change and, yes, people need to change with them. Captain America went from World War II hero to fighting the Cold War to fighting terrorism today, and through all that, he never changed who he was. The essence of Steve Rogers was always there, except when they made him a double agent for Hydra but we won’t open that can of worms.

I know that most of the people who write the storylines for TV are themselves fans, but even they have to change things to make them fit into an hour show. Stories yes, but not the characters themselves. Let’s be true to how they were originally written.

Why can’t my dreams write my book for me?

e468bf21e67b6fef45a081e8d9986f2fI’ve read a lot about the psychology of dreams. Anais Nin said, “Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.” I tend to believe that because, in my dreams, are the very pages of every story I’ve written and have yet to write.

Dreams are the grandest stage of all, where everything you can imagine plays out in a world that never ends. In my dreams, I can be as rich as Bruce Wayne, as smart as Tony Stark, and as powerful as the Hulk. I can live in the heart of New York City, on a magical, fantasy island or even on another planet. That’s the beauty of dreams. The possibilities are endless.

Many creative people got their start from something as simple as a dream. George Lucas said, “Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you imagine it.” This from the man that created an entire universe, you know there’s something to it.

My dreams are where I get my best work done. Earlier this year, I finished the third book in the Forever Avalon series, The Outlander War. I’m in the process of having it edited right now, so I’ve started working on the next novel in the series. I have days where I can’t sit in front of my computer and write, yet in my dreams, the story is so vivid and pronounced. Why is that?

I know what I want to say, I know what order I want to put the words on the paper, I know how the story should go and yet … NOTHING! It’s as if, from the moment I wake up, everything shuts down, as if the actors have finished the play for the evening and are going home. It’s so frustrating. I wonder if I should forgo sleep, stay up late and just try to force it out.

“Sigmund Freud said, “The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.” If you can look past all the psychological babble in that quote, the word you’re looking for is ROAD. You have to follow the road to get to the meanings behind those dreams and to be able to write them down.

It took me more than 20 years of having the same, recurring dream to finally write it down into what is the Forever Avalon series. I’m hoping it won’t take another 20 years to write this next chapter in the series, but I know that I have to be patient. If I follow the road, it will take me where I want to go.


51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverseThe Outlander War can be previewed at Inkitt.