Mixed In

It’s National Novel Writing Month and I have been challenged to put up something from my work in progress. My work in progress is still at a delicate stage but I’d love to share the opening of my novel Mixed In, a tale of chemicals and dystopia. It will be released this spring by City Owl Press. Until that time, here’s a sample. (Danger,naughty word included!)


Creating a beer is much like breeding a dog. Dogs have that one tricky gene, number fifteen, that can cause height variation between 5 inches and 7 feet, more than any other land vertebrate. (Imagine humans ranging from 2 to over 30 feet tall.) Hops are complicated, having intricate aromas, regional differences, and changing chemistry upon brewing.

Sipping the dark and sylvan house ale, I studied the wavy haired bartender. A pretty man with smooth skin, a dark mustache, and little sideburns, he resembled Nikola Tesla, who despite his love for frequency and vibrations, was said to have died a virgin.

I’d taken refuge in the Union Station bar after my bus broke down as I rode it home from work. Officials in black bomber jackets and belts covered with devices that hung like pine cones walked past the window. I hadn’t seen that black uniform before. Those belts loaded with technology told me something. I was in what Cochtonville considered a bad neighborhood.

I wasn’t a citizen of this city-state, carved out of Iowa, with a name pronounced “Cock-Ton” like an enormous penis. I was a chemist from Michigan on a work visa and didn’t worry about the officers. I had a permit to be here and, unlike most of the population, to have seeds. This was my first month in the country and I was struggling to understand my new home and connect with the people here.


Update: Mixed in is now available in print.


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