This is the dimension of imagination.

Welcome to my sandbox!

I'm Merc Rustad, a robot velociraptor in disguise. I write things, attend college (film major),  watch lots and lots of movies, read stuff, and play video games.

My pronouns are they/them/their.

I'm on Twitter: @Merc_Rustad

And you can find a list of my published fiction here.

Next stop...the Twilight Zone.
  • Current Mood: artistic artistic


Hello, f-list! I HAVE TEMPORARILY RETURNED. Life has been...oof. Yeah. Busy, exhausting, with a side-helping if TOO MUCH TO DO AND TOO LITTLE TIME.

I don't have brain to update all the things right now, and unfortunately, I am just going to mark my feeds as all read for MH and spoons reasons. (Ping me if you want me to see/read anything specific!)

*sets out cookies for all*

I hope you are well, and I am hopeful to be back on f-lists and catching up with peoples. :)

For the moment, I must dash off and pretend to be an adult. XD Be well!

2015: Looking Back

I know it was a rough year for a lot of people. My heart goes out to everyone who was/is suffering. *BIG ROBOT HUGS*

My year was...better than expected. Honestly, when I started meds for depression and anxiety in March, I wasn't sure how that would affect everything else. Turns out, it really helps when you can function and are not constantly unable to do anything.

(A big shout out to my friends and my mom who helped me get help and supported me the whole time. <3 I'm doing so much better, it's a little overwhelming. I've been happy. It's so strange to feel something other than the mire of depression. Which is not to say it's cured or ever going away; but it's been trimmed back to manageable levels for the most part and I'm so grateful.)

Despite the roughness that was this year for many, myself quite often, I feel the need to highlight the positive things that occurred.

Lots of change happened in 2015. Year-end-summaries are always weird for me. Doubtroaches try to make me think I did ABSOLUTE NOTHING all year...which is bullshit, obviously. So! I made lists, because I love lists, and lists prove that I did do stuff. Quite a lot, actually. WITNESS ME.

"Batteries For Your Doombot5000 Are Not Included"
"An Aria in Iron"
"For Now, Sideways"
"Once I, Rose" [sold -- Daily Science Fiction, 2016]
"The Smallest Darkness"
"The Gentleman of Duskfall"
"The Sweetness of Honey and Rot"
"Later, Let's Tear Up the Inner Sanctum" (novelette)
"Nameless Pilot, Ascending Dawn"
"The Anrdroid's Prehistoric Menagerie" [sold -- Mothership Zeta, issue #2, 2016]
"The Darkness We All Become"
"With the Burning of the Night"
"Adrift Beyond the Rising Sun" (novelette)

I BEGAN A FUCKING SPACE OPERA NOVEL, YOU GUYS. (It takes place in the same universe as "Tomorrow When We See the Sun" and it's going to be pretty epic.) My goal is finish it by the end of March.

I also (almost) finished a novella of some 25k. It is terrible and full of holes and may need to be twice the length in revisions (and then cut back down to proper novella size, maybe) but whatever. It's the longest piece of fiction I've managed to stick with for a while, and what the hell, I enjoyed it.


Here is a list of published stories in 201 (awards eligible and generally readable and whatnot). :)


"Once I, Rose" — Daily Science Fiction (2016)
"...Or Be Forever Fallen" — InterGalactic Medicine Show (January 2016)
"This Is Not a Wardrobe Door" — Fireside (January 2016)
"The Android's Prehistoric Menagerie" — Mothership Zeta (January 2016)

"In Sink" (director/DP) [not posted yet]
"Side Effects May Include" (DP) [not posted yet]
"What Monsters" (writer/director/DP/editor)
"Smile" (writer/director/DP/gaffer/editor)
"Killer Death Bunnies From Outer Space" (writer/director/DP/editor) [not posted yet]
-"The House of Doctor Morbo" (several quasi-doc and interview projects stitched into a Night Gallery-esque format) [not posted yet]
"Puddles" [animation] (written/illustrated/animated)
"The Bedtime Book" [animation] (written/illustrated/animated)
"The Fence: Ep. 12: Jerry Means" (DP/director/editor)
"The Clown's Lament" (director/DP)
"Mirrored Hours" (co-writer/director/DP)
"Unknown Underground" (director/DP/editor)
"Costume Magic" (director/editor/DP)
Filmmaker reel/demo reel
WHAT MONSTERS HIDE BENEATH (writer/director/producer/DP/co-editor)

(There's a few other projects I helped on, but they are not listed here for various reasons.)

You can see anything publicly posted here on my Vimeo page.


Grabbed from a wonderful thread on Codex, these are some thoughts on what I learned about my writing and process.

I feel like I should be able to remember ALL THE THINGS, because I feel like I did a bunch of leveling up (well, you know, in the rare times I didn't feel like I was abjectly failing everything because brains are dumb XD).

One thing I learned (and re-learned, and have to keep re-learning) is that I enjoy writing, and it can be fun. It's better when it's fun, even! Which does not mean it can't be hard, or infuriating, or there are days I don't like it. That happens. What I learned (re-learned, will re-learn) is that I need to enjoy SOMETHING about it if I keep doing it. And finding the things I love and working them into the story is a good way to make me like it and have fun.

When I enjoy the things I create, I think they become better. (I've gone through streaks of trying to write to a certain style or thematic elements or...whatever else, and usually I hate it, but then doubtroaches sneak up and I forget why I didn't like doing the thing I didn't like and try to make myself do it again and BLEH.) So, yeah: having fun. Allowing myself to be passionate and insert the things I love into the stories I want to write.

Going forward? I'm making myself a little sign to put by my computer that will have some kind of reminder about the FUN, and the passion. (Not sure exactly what it'll say, because I just decided to make the sign! BUT IT WILL BE AWESOME, guys.)

Enjoying my writing means, for me, it'll be better and I'm far more likely to get the emotional range and nuance I'm aiming for if I like what it's about. ^_^

Other things I learned:

- processing/thinking time is necessary to my writing, and is not 'a waste'. It's an integral part.

- naps are awesome and I refuse to feel bad about taking naps when I need 'em.

- [another one for the 'must constantly relearn' pile] brains need recharging and refueling. And whatever method works is JUST FINE. (reading, gaming, movies, walks, etc) There isn't 'one true way' to recharge the system to be able to create.

Here's to another year! Happy 2016, everyone!

Awards Eligibility 2015

It’s been a whirlwind of a year, and while I’m bolstered on chai tea and a bagel, here are my awards-eligible stories published in 2015.



“Tomorrow When We See the Sun” (Lightspeed, December 2015) - 7,000 words - SF [audio]

Space opera! Cyborgs, spaceships, gods, memories, duty and identity.

[I consider this my strongest story published this year, and would be honored if you considered it.]


“Where Monsters Dance”  (Inscription Magazine, March 2015) - 7,300 words - fantasy [audio]

A dark not-a-fairy-tale story about women and monsters, friendship and family.


“To the Knife-Cold Stars” (Escape Pod, February 2015) - 5,000 words - SF [audio]

Wirepunk, cyborgs, a living cityheart, and learning how to live again.


“The Sorcerer’s Unattainable Gardens” (Daily Science Fiction, April 2015) - 1,500 words - fantasy [audio]

Once upon a time, a shadow and sorcerer fell in love...until a curse broke them apart.


“Under Wine-Bright Seas” (Scigentasy, May 2015) - 2,400 words - fantasy

An undersea journey to find identity, gender, and acceptance.


“Finding Home” (Vitality Magazine, March 2015) - 2,500 words - SF

Multiple realities, family, and choosing your own home.




in the day after the world stopped being (Apex, August 2015)

A post-apocalyptic fairy tale.


Everything is available to read free online (or to listen to on audio where noted) -- if, however, you would like files in PDF or ebook formats to read, please email me and I will be happy to send you copies.

Here's to 2016!

"Tomorrow When We See the Sun" is up at Lightspeed and io9!

I'm very proud to share my space opera, "Tomorrow When We See the Sun"!

Artwork by KG Schimdt

A story of cyborgs and spaceships, identity and duty, this is one of my favorite things and I'm honored to see it featured in print and audio at Lightspeed; it's also up on io9 as part of the Lightspeed Presents feature.


If you'd like to know more, there's also an Author Spotlight in which I talk about influences, inspirations, and the fact that I'm working on a novel.


I hope you enjoy!

"Tomorrow When We See the Sun" up at Lightspeed and io9!

I'm very proud to share my space opera, "Tomorrow When We See the Sun"!


Artwork by KG Schimdt

A story of cyborgs and spaceships, identity and duty, this is one of my favorite things and I'm honored to see it featured in print and audio at Lightspeed; it's also up on io9 as part of the Lightspeed Presents feature.

If you'd like to know more, there's also an Author Spotlight in which I talk about influences, inspirations, and the fact that I'm working on a novel.

I hope you enjoy!

I post, I live, I post again! WITNESS ME

Or, you know, not post forever. >.>


I've got a behind-the-scenes album on FB, which has all kinds of spoilers and hilarious crew photos, and also an official page for What Monsters Hide Beneath with a production stills album! If you're curious what I've been doing the past 2.5 months. (Answer: filming. Lots and lots of filming.)

Let's see, on the writing front... since last post, I have written three flash stories, one slightly longer story (these get their own posts later), worked on a SPACE NOVEL outline, tweeted a lot, SOLD SOME THINGS OMG (more later), had a poem published in Apex , , outlined more things, generally scrounged a little brain for wording now and again.

I've also played so much Mass Effect, and Dragon Age, and Mass Effect. BioWare has me emotionally compromised on so many levels, I cannot even.

I haven't slept much (or else I sleep all the time, I'm not sure) and have been in a yo-yoing state of 'excited to do things!/OH GOD SO STRESSED *hides in despair*' almost constantly the last three months and...let's say mental health could be a lot better. (Dr appointment tomorrow, at least.)

BUT ANYWAY. FALL IS HERE, GUYS. I can wear sweatshirts again! And SOON WINTER HATS. (Soooo looking forward to pulling out my monster hats. ^_^)

Also I'm almost done with principle photography for my capstone film, what is happening.

*buzzes around on a sugar-high*

  • Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

CONvergence and stuff

So I went to CONvergance 2015, a con here in the Twin Cities. It was...big. It's only my second-ever con so I was definitely overwhelmed. Went to a couple panels, which were all good, and wandered around in costume for a bit. That was about all I could handle. (I'm very happy at least half a dozen people recognized who I was! And that the few others to whom I explained Zenpool seemed to get why it was hilarious, because they were familiar with Deadpool*.)

pics! (cw for wound/burn makeup)Collapse )

So the beginning of last week (all of last week? WHERE HAS TIME GONE) I was building the costume, and then there were production meetings and emails and paperwork and avoiding holidays and stuff. SO MUCH STUFF. I changed my work schedule and have been planning out my entire summer based on which days I'm filming (and there are a LOT, and also I am excited as hell about this movie I'm making, you guys--SO EXCITED. There will have to be a sperate, offical blog post!)

It's been mostly a blur, admittedly. On the bright side, I sold a story! TO A VERY COOL MARKET. More on that when I can announce it publically. And I have reprints coming out as well! AND ALSO I WROTE WORDS, somehow, I'm not even sure how I did that. But I managed a flash fic for a Codex contest and I'm rather pleased with it.

And I'm almost finished with my second playthrough of the Mass Effect games because who needs sleep, amirite?

So...yeah. It has been a week. Possibly more. I'm still so wiped from the con and all the things that I can't even keep track of what happened when or what I was doing. >.>

(I don't think I've read my LJ/DW in over two weeks, either. o.O)

Anyway. Forward!


(*Not sure how many of my peeps are familiar with the Deadpool comics, but as you may have noticed, I am a HUGE fan. Zenpool is Deadpool with his moral axis flipped, so instead of being chaos, he becomes an agent of peace for the Axis storyline. (Then of course goes back to being regular Deadpool.) The weird thing about the con was that I did not see ANY Deadpool costumes. o.O It seems like every con I see pics of has one or more? Which kind of disappointed me, because I really wanted a pic with another Deadpool. Ah well. Maybe for Halloween!)