So, who the hell am I? My name is Tom Dillon, and I live in Olympia, WA, with my wife and her cats (they ignore me). So what are you doing here, you may be asking yourself. I’m a writer, and that’s where you, gullible fools that you are (I mean that in the best possible way, naturally), come in. Here’s how this works: I give you free stuff (stories), and you give me feedback (hate mail, packages of unmarked bills, whatever you think is appropriate, really). Pretty straight forward, right?

It has occurred to me that you may not have had all your questions answered by the paragraph above, and so I will have to enlighten you. Below, I have interviewed myself, which should be helpful. Don’t worry, I’m not Fox, I promise that I’ll ask myself tough questions, so that you may receive a comprehensive impression of who I really am. Of course, if I somehow miss a question that you think should be in here, go ahead and send it to me at tom.d.sf <at> gmail <dot> com and I will probably answer it.

Q – Are you the greatest thing since sliced bread?
A – Yes, but I think that you were thinking of fire, not sliced bread. If not for my extreme modesty, who knows what damage I would do?

Q – What is up with the weird logo at the bottom of the sidebar?
A – That is a Creative Commons license. There didn’t seem to be any point in locking up my work in copyright, so I have made it so that you can copy it, and distribute it however you want without my permission (so long as you do not make money off of it). The issue of copyright is a complex one, but I think that I agree with Cory Doctorow that for non-established authors (a group in which I most certainly belong), the problem is not that their work is being stolen, but rather that no one knows who the hell they are.

Q – Why are your stories so dark? Are you an unhappy person?

A – Updated 10/25/2011 – Sure, some of my stories are dark, but then again, some are lighthearted and funny. My recommendation is that you read more of my stories. In particular, I would direct you towards the Horizon and Broken Shores series. Which is to say that this is a problem with you, not me.

Q – I’ve heard that you’re a dirty Communist, is that true?
A – Good save there, making an accusation into a question, very clever. The truth is . . . complicated. If you take that to mean that I support Stalinism (former Soviet Union) or Maoism (Chinese Communism), then you are wrong. What I do support is democracy, freedom, liberty, and the issues that go along¬†with them (I’m for womens’ rights, gay rights, immigrants’ rights, etc. and against war, racism, and exploitation). Although I was, in the past, on board with the whole socialist platform, that is no longer the case. Instead, I might be better described as “post-capitalist” these days. What this means, I think, is that I’m not convinced that capitalism is a good strategy for mankind’s long-term survival, but that I’m not sure what should replace it. In the meantime I will continue to advocate for progress that will make the world a better place.

Q – Where does the name Pawnstorm come from?

A – Excellent question, I’ve been waiting for someone to ask me that for a while now. I used to spend a lot of time playing chess. One day, one of my friends, who I almost always beat just started marching his pawns forward. My over-extended position could not hold and I lost, falling victim to a pawnstorm. You could also take it as relating to to politics, as I think that change should flow up and not down, and I suppose that would be correct as well.

Q – I’ve heard that you use a Dvorak keyboard, is that right? Isn’t it hard?

A – Yes to the first, no to the second. If you aren’t familiar with Dvorak, check out this site. Basically, as a writer, I figure that I will do a lot of typing over the next few years, and that means that I will run a very high risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Then I stumbled on this post by Holly Lisle, and I decided to give it a shot. The change is just a software change, no new keyboard required (although it will force you to touch type), and after a few months of practice, I am much happier with my new layout.

Q – I’ve noticed that many of the stories that are available for free on this site are also available for purchase on Amazon. What is up with that?

A – While I would like to make money off of my writing, I understand that I need to first build an audience in order to do so. To that end, I want my work to be available to the largest number of people, for example, Kindle users. Unfortunately, I have not found a way to publish my stories for the Kindle without having people pay for them. Second, putting up a story on Amazon does require a few extra steps, like formatting it and putting together a cover. Granted, these things aren’t nearly as difficult as publishers would have you believe, but they do take some time and a little money (conversion software and stock graphics, mostly). Third, you are paying for the convenience of using the Kindle, if there were a good way to make people pay for web content, I would probably be doing it. Finally, I believe that my short stories are worth $0.99 a piece (some of the shorter ones would probably be more appropriate at $0.49, but $0.99 is as low as I can go). All of that being said, I can understand that a reader may be angry at buying something that they could get for free. If you feel that way, let me know, and while I will not refund that money, I can give you a copy of a story that is not available for free.

Still have unanswered questions?¬†Just send them my way, and assuming that I feel like answering them (really, I’m up for just about anything, but if you ask me something that I wouldn’t tell a co-worker, then you’re out of luck), I’ll do that here.

P.S. – If you haven’t figured it out already, the only person who I am representing is myself. The opinions on this site are my own (well, mostly, sometimes I borrow them from others without realizing it), they do not represent my work, my family, or my friends, just me.