Monday, May 25, 2020

Diversity Representation and Checkboxing

If you don't know Otto Penzler, he is to murder mysteries what Burroughs is to the Pulp folks, or Asimov to the post Campbell SFF. He's edited more anthologies than I can count, he runs his own press and his own bookstore.

Then there's this....

Image may contain: 1 person, text

I think it's time for this rant.

Ahem.

Diversity.

Representation.

"Marginalized peoples."

These are of course, synonyms for bullshit.

If you ever get around to writing a story -- novel, a short, what have you -- and anyone, anyone tells you that you need more of X, Y, or Z "character," smack the fool in the face.

Because the only characters you need are the ones that drive the story forward. Anyone else is a waste of time and words.

This may be funny coming from me, because I've had people tell me I have great diversity in my novels. This is the point where I have to smile, nod, and say, "Thanks, what did you think of the book?"

Funny thing, those who like the "diversity" don't like my books.

But I don't even care. You may have guessed. I sincerely don't notice. It takes me five minutes to add up how many of X I may or may not have. I may have one or two lesbian characters, but I didn't ask them, and it hasn't come up, so I don't think about it. Ask me if I have any black characters, it takes me at least a few minutes to remember, oh, yeah, I have a Pope who is literally from Africa.

Why don't I know things like this off the top of my head?

Because they're characters, not tokens. For me, every character I have is better defined by characteristics than by anything else. 
Granted, give me time, and I can compile checklists for people who want them. Aida Jones of the murder mysteries, who I have in my head as a taller Mariah Carey. Brian Levine, whose body type is "big black football player #4", but I remember him best as ex-Delta who knits. 


I've got a few more characters, but I'm already bored compiling THAT list. Because I hate "checkboxing."

I just thank God that none of my readers give a damn about that sort of thing. Thankfully, they can't, especially given how I like to subvert the cliches -- and let's face it, checkboxing is so cliche, it's painful. 

Let's put it this way. I've been able to tell people about the cast of characters of TV shows I've never seen, just based on cliches. "Oh look, any team has to have an Asian -- probably female -- a black engineer / gadget man, someone with a disability, and maybe a token white guy."

And we can all thank God that I don't even talk about sensitivity readers. The first fucker who goes "I'm offended" while beta reading a novel will find themselves IN the novel, and far more offended. Hell, I'm fed up with "Let's bash Christian," Dan Brown-lite novels, and I'm perfectly happy to offend someone who harps on about how X or Y is offensive.

Hell, someone called me a white supremacist in a review because I used MS-13 as a random encounter bad guy.... because the biggest gang in the world, so big they're on a terrorist watch list, and run human trafficking operations has to be the villain "because they're not white."

Nooo. They're the bad guys because they're bad people. And because I'm really tired of Ayran Nation gangs. Talk about cliche. I've only seen MS-13 as the villain in one novel, once -- Vince Flynn, Consent to Kill. And they were only in one scene as hired guns.

"But what about LGBTQMOUSE and the strong waman?" What about them? To call the first a minority is an exaggeration. I've seen numbers that suggest that it may top off between 1% and 2% of the population. As for the second, one might think I've got enough in my novels -- but trust me, my "strong waman" don't work for the check boxing idiots. After all, they don't spent any time trying to deliberately show up my male characters, or be the bestest evar....

If you are confused by the above paragraph, go watch an episode of Batwoman for the check boxing definition of "strong women" -- the women are "perfect," indestructible, without flaws, and don't need no man ... so much so, that the men in the episodes are disposable, easily replaced by any female character no matter the function. If she's part of the LGBTQMOUSE faction, the woman get extra invulnerability points.

I'm not even going to discuss the trans movement. The public face of the trans movement seem to be so obnoxious, there's been at least one article on kicking "T" out of LGBTQ. Between mediocre men declaring themselves "trans" so they can join women's sports to batter women (see MMA), 

So, yeah, I don't play these games. They're stupid and lead to some of the worst writing I've ever seen or heard. 

Characters in the story have to fit the story. If Thomas Nolan wasn't married with children (both wife and kids are armed), trust me, no one would know what his sexuality was. If Sean Ryan's girlfriend wasn't an agent who brings him his client in It Was Only on Stun!, it wouldn't have come up there either. I'm not even sure it is mentioned in Set to KillWe won't go into the books with the romance subplots.

If the story is twisted to fit the check boxing, we get CW shows and Agent Carter. And no one wants that. Just look at their ratings.

So, write your own stories. Don't try to shoehorn anything or any one that doesn't fit in naturally. 

You've just seen a bunch of woke idiots fire one of the biggest names in modern mystery so they can virtue signal how diverse they are, solely by judging authors by the color of their skin, and not the quality of their writing.

Be judged by the quality of your writing, and not the BS you can jam in.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Corona Lockdown Status Report

I think I'm done with lockdown.

Sorry everybody, but I knew this was BS from the very beginning. I think a lot of people did. Trust me, you don't want to hear all the comments that I've heard from friends and family within the medical profession. There's a lot of cursing and spitting and swearing. 

Short version: The state lock downs were stupid, medically unnecessary and just an excuse for democrats to be tyrants.

Okay, that last bit is more my somewhat more political friends.

But then, I get to live with de Blasio and Cuomo for Mayor and Governor -- two invertebrate eunuchs who only have a job because the GOP have abandoned New York for at least a decade, if not close to two. Who are so incompetant, they're trying to fix their broken budget (broken for easily the last two years) by demanding $61 BILLION from the feds, "or else."  The "or else" includes firing cops, at a time where the state government has already made prisons a revolving door.

But as I said, this lockdown BS is pure stupidity. This is the first time in the history of the world where HEALTHY people have been quarantined. 

And now, I'm at the point where I'm just tired of this. I don't even like going out most of the time, and it's only been a few weeks of good weather here, but no, we're done here. I'm ready to go outside, even though I generally don't want to be bothered with sun

"BUT YOU JUST WANT PEOPLE TO DIE" whine the Reichstag Firemen and their supporting Karens.

Look, you want to cower in fear in your basement until your savings run out, you go right ahead. At least if you're Muslim during Ramadan in New York City, Meals on Wheels will come to you. Everyone else seems to take a back seat. In California, Newsome will keep you in house arrest, then make sure you starve.

But then again, I just turned in two books in two months to my publisher. And I should probably get back to self publishing some other works while I'm at it. I wonder what happens when I hit thirty books.

Anyway, you may want to check out one of the following. 



Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Complete works of Declan Finn (May 2020)

The other day, I was trying to keep track of all of the various and sundry releases I've made.

The list really is starting to get out of hand. 

My first book came out in 2012 with It Was Only On Stun! It was just a test run for what was to come. Though people do like that one even today.

But yeah, in 8 years, it's become difficult for me to keep track of everything. So I need a flow chart just for me.

However, the rest of you might want it to keep track of everything as well. So when I started that list, I figured, "here you go."


And then, more, unrelated numbers crunching came up. 

The Escape From Italy was a bit more costly than even I thought it would be. So that even if the stupid fines aren't enforced, the Go Fund Me that Moira started for us is still valid.

So this will be one part "this is my form list" and one part "Money? Sure? I'll take that."

Also, this is a bit of a chart of "if you were reading things in publication order" ....

We'd start with...




If you don't recall, It was Only on Stun! introduces the professional security specialist Sean A.P. Ryan being dumped head first into an SFF convention.

He is hip deep in nerds, genocidal madmen, terrorists, IRA gunmen, and a cartel that has a grudge with him.

So it acts as a nice prologue to ....




It was a book a long time in the making. One part history paper, and one part "f*** Dan Brown" (okay, it was a different author that pissed me off), this was a mystery, an 80's action movie and a small war rolled into one.

You can find the Silver Empire Link here.

Then I did A Pius Legacy, then A Pius Stand.


Because nothing says "epic" like kidnapping the Pope, leading a jail break, and declaring war on the Vatican.

 


Then there was Pius History and Pius Tales -- basically, the footnotes and the short stories. These were also pulled from the shelves in order to be rereleased by a publisher. But I ended up with books of The Pius Trilogy. Because I'm apparently doing the Dune "trilogy" of a dozen novels.


Pius History: The Facts Behind the Pius Trilogy by [Finn, Declan] Pius Tales (The Pius Trilogy Book 4) by [Finn, Declan]

If you're new here, The Pius Trilogy is my answer to every Smrt Story who thinks they can jam history into a thriller so they can spread whatever Orwellian rewrite of history they like among the populous. In this case, there's a secret about the Catholic church that people are willing to kill to cover up. The only question is: who do you trust?


For those who want to purchase from the publisher directly


The Silver Empire links for


Then, in a post-Pius universe...






This is the return of Sean AP Ryan, after he appears in Pius, and it's more of a postscript to Pius than it is a sequel to Stun! 

This time, Sean ends up in the political end of the SFF spectrum, hip deep in lunatics, armed authors, all set in the city of Atlanta for WyvernCon.

No relation to DragonCon, which takes place in Atlanta.

And this is the companion piece. Sort of.





Long.... long story. It's insane comedy. If you don't know what the title references, you're probably better off without trying this one.

And with mustn't forget my solution to dystopias ... with gun fire.




This one is particularly interesting, because it's nothing like anything I've ever written. In fact, it's unlike anything I've ever read. I don't like dystopia. I think they're boring, filled with the exact same cliche.

Winterborn and UnSub -- the Dragon Award nominated work -- are set in a San Francisco that ... sadly, looks much like San Francisco of today, only a little worse. Add a spy of unstable temperament, a flaky assassin, and an unstoppable serial killer, and a collection of mercenaries who are increasingly enamored of the almighty dollar.

And, of course, the series everyone likes....


Take everything from Dracula about vampires.

Add philosophy and microbiology to explain how vampires work.


Add faith, redemption, a love story, Vatican ninjas, and lots of gunfire.

Shake well.

The first book is possibly my more published novel... because it's been killed by one publisher, resurrected in self publishing, then republished by a second publisher.

Oy.




My first Dragon Award nominated work. For best horror, as it says on the cover.

Kick ass vampire.

A romance that works.

Three-dimensional characters, even among the side characters.

And then there's Vatican ninjas.

One is a heartless, bloodthirsty killer. The other is a vampire.
College freshman, Amanda Colt knows few people and wants to know fewer still. She enjoys fencing and prefers facing a challenge every once in a while. She is beautiful, smart, and possibly the most interesting person on campus.
Then she finds tall, intense Marco Catalano in her fencing class. With a mind like a computer and manners of a medieval knight, he scares most people - but not Amanda. They both have secrets, for they are both monsters.
As they draw closer, they must find the line between how much they can trust each other, and how much they can care for each other. Each carries a secret that can destroy the other. But they must come to grips with their personal drama soon because a darkness rises around them. Bodies keep turning up all over New York, and an army of vampires closes in on all sides.
They have only one hope - each other.





Obviously, the sequel to Honor at Stake.

Take everything from book one... add in a demon that just won't die.


After saving Brooklyn from a nest of vampires, Amanda Colt and Marco Catalano are a little banged up. He's been given a job offer to deal with vampires in San Francisco, and it's a tempting offer - it would get him away from Amanda, his feelings for her, and get her away from the darkness inside him. When a death in the family compels Marco to move to the West Coast, they're both left to fend for themselves.

Then the creature known only as Mister Day leaves their world in tatters, and they must once more join forces against the darkness. Only Day is no vampire, but a creature beyond their experience. It will take the combined might of Marco, Amanda, and all of their allies just to slow it down. They have no weapons that can kill him. They have no way to imprison him. To even fight him is death.

But they have to try - or face the end of everything they love.



Book three of the vampire series.

And the 2017 Dragon Award Nominee for best horror.


A 2017 Dragon Award Nominee for Best Horror Novel!
Marco is spiraling out of control.
He knows it. His team knows it. Everyone around him can see that he’s just a bomb waiting to explode.
The only woman who can bring him back from the edge is also the woman who lit his fuse. Ever since the demon Asmodeus tried to murder Marco, Amanda Colt has been hunting down every lead to find the true evil behind the attack. Her investigation uncovers a vampire assassin that Amanda has faced once before - and she lost. Stronger than anything they’ve face before, the assassin isn’t alone. As Marco flirts with self-destruction and the armies of Hell prepare to descend, they must come together to stop a thousand-year-old assassin that has never failed.
Even worse, they must finally face up to their feelings for each other!

Then there's book 4.




And there are some shorts....
The epic conclusion to the Dragon Award nominated series!


The final war begins.

Merle Kraft, Marco Catalano and Amanda Colt have battled against the mythical Council, a supernatural conspiracy that monsters fear. This war has brought them up against vampires, minions, and demons from Hell.. Along the way, they have accumulated allies among the police, the military, the mafia, college students, lowly street gangs, and even other vampires. Marco and Amanda have overcome their biggest terror - their passion for each other.

But now, they face the final threat, one that is the culmination of every threat before them. This creature from Hell has powers beyond anything they’ve ever seen before, and has allies of his own: including SpecOps minions, an army of vampires, and packs of werewolves.

And that was before Marco got bitten.





One is a bloodthirsty monster. The other's a serial killer. 

This is going to get messy.

Blood Stained Cliffs of Dover
a Love at First Bite short story


In World War II, the allied invasion of the continent hinges on keeping one secret absolutely secure. No one must find out, or all hope is lost.

Tonight, German spy Konrad Achterberg is about to discover what that secret is.

He's also about to find out that the Nazis aren't the scariest predators in the night. 

Because something in the dark is colder than the dark. 

And it is hungry.


The Silver Empire Links




And, of course, my other nonfiction.




And, then, of course, there's



Oy.

As of this minute, book 8 and 9 are turned in to the publisher. And book 10-12 are already outlined. We're in the home stretch of the series.


My name is Officer Thomas Nolan, and I am a saint.

I can smell evil. I show mercy to the lesser criminals - the desperate. Even those I've put behind bars seem to like me. But now there's a serial killer bringing darkness beyond imagination to my city. I can smell his stench a mile away. But how can I prove it?

How do you do forensics on a killer possessed by a demon?

And I don't think the reviews get much better than this one.




All saints are dead.
Detective Tommy Nolan is no stranger to bizarre events. After all, he's a New York cop. And after the demon, he thought he'd seen it all.

When home invaders threaten his family, he was prepared to take it as a risk of the job. When it turns out the intruders were covered in the mark of the demon, he knew the trouble was just beginning.

Now, it's a race against time as the cult who raised the demon take their revenge. They know that Tommy is not yet a saint. Because all saints are dead.
Detective Tommy Nolan is having a bad day.

First, the celebrant was murdered during mass. Then the SWAT team knocked down his door trying to kill him. 

With the million dollar bounty on his head, every gunman and demonic monster is coming out of the pit to collect it.


Tommy has to discover who's out to make him a martyr before he becomes a saint for real.





London is alive with the sound of shadows.
When Tommy Nolan was sent abroad to avoid being made a saint too soon, he thought he'd be a glorified tourist. But when an impossible prehistoric artifact the Vatican is looking at is stolen from the British Museum, they do the first thing that comes to mind -- they call the cops.

But Tommy is soon convinced that the artifact is more than it seems. The crime scene looks like a war zone. The owners of the stolen merchandise eye him with suspicion. His new partner has a shady, mysterious past. The police are ready to arrest him. The city itself seems primed to explode.

Worst of all, the darkness itself is closing in on Tommy, the city, and everyone who lives there.

But Tommy isn't one to curse the darkness. The darkness curses him.





He might be on his last crusadeStill working abroad, Detective Tommy Nolan has a hot tip that leads him to Germany. Women and children are disappearing from Catholic Bavaria. The local police have their hands tied. Tommy is the last hope for answers.

Yet again, Tommy is in over his head. What starts as a sex trafficking ring turns into a terrorist conspiracy to unleash Hell on Europe. To stop it, Tommy must fight Nazi vampires, terrorists, and a swarm of succubi who want him as their next meal. Tommy has always crusaded for justice. But now he might be on his last crusade.







God wills it. A Saint must find a way.All Tommy Nolan wants is some peace to enjoy his family. He’s been to hell and back, and now he needs a break.

But evil doesn’t need to take a breather, and now the Vatican is back on his doorstep asking for help.

A nearby monastery has been desecrated and the exorcist monks murdered in the most brutal ways imaginable. A legion of demons is gathering for something big, and Tommy’s the saint they need to help.

An old enemy is the ally he needs, but can Tommy trust him? Can they track down all of the demons in time?

And what does the Necronomicon have to do with it all?

(No Amazon link yet)

Detective Thomas Nolan has finally returned home. In typical police fashion, he is welcomed home with a murder case and gunfire.

After one arrest goes spectacularly wrong, Tommy is assigned another case and another dead body.

But everything goes wrong from the start of the case. The deceased is a member of a nearby military base, and no one wants to answer his questions. A local bodega gives him mind-splitting headaches. Worst of all, someone is after his children.

To make matters worse — Tommy no longer has his charisms.



Silver Empire Links


And then there's




Too Secret Service



My first serial novel, currently in three parts. The Omnibus edition is coming soon. 

Part 1: 
Part 2

Part 3: 

Dances with Werewolves



Part 1: part 2:





Short stories

Well, this will be odd, considering that many of these are from out of print sources. 

And, of course, we can't forget the short that appeared here.



This one SHOULD be out of print. It's from a press that no longer exists. Which means the remaining copies might be collectors items at this point.

This story hasn't been rereleased yet. Give me time.



Arresting Merlin: A Magical Short Story by [Declan  Finn]
Now, at one point, there was an anthology of the Tales of the Once and Future King. It had a poorly edited frame tale, and had a lot of selections that I've heard mixed reviews over. No, I never got a chance to read it, and the reviews talked me out of trying.

However, the people who left reviews liked my short story, Arresting Merlin, where a beat cop has no idea what's in story for him.





The short story I published here was Zombie Jamboree, where a consultant who is prepared for everything gets to put his contingency plans to the test.




The Pirate King: An AP Ryan Short Story by [Declan Finn, Dawn Witzke]



Mad Dog Moon: A General Mattis short story (Love at First Bite Book 5) by [Declan Finn]

Once upon a time, there was another defunct anthology called MAGA 2020 and Beyond. The anthology is dead, but the short story is not.

Let's just say that I took the nickname of General Mattis a little too literally.





Long before the Heroes Unleashed universe, the Newquists were working on superheroes. 



Places Beyond the Wild: A Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Anthology (Z-Day Book 4) by [Humphreys, Daniel, Corcoran, Travis J.I., Finn, Declan, Piatt, P.A., Schantz, Hans, Del Arroz, Jon, Anjewierden, J.M., Brumley, Bokerah, Paolinelli, Richard, Beckwith, J.D.]


My short story here is "Last Stand of the Mad Dog." 

Let's just say that Dan liked Mad Dog Moon.

Silver Empire link.



Short Story: Lupus Dei





This one is free if you sign up for the Silver Empire Newsletter.

And yes, It's a Saint Tommy short. It's Tommy's first day in Rome after Infernal Affairs.


Then we have the Planetary Anthology books I'm in 







Storming Area 51 (A Bayonet Books Anthology Book 2) by [J. R.  Handley, C.J. Carella, J W Kiefer, Walt Robillard, Michael Gants, Sarah A. Hoyt, Alice Peng, Jamie Ibson, Tim  Niederriter, Phillip  Ginn, E. A. Shanniak, Chris Winder, Marisa Wolf, Aaron Seaman, Doug Burbey, Nathan Pedde, Tim C. Taylor, Casey Moores, Cisca Small, I. Ronik, Michael J. Allen, Alex C. Gates, Declan Finn, IQ Malcolm, Milissa L. Story, J. William Adler, Joshua M. Young, Sophie J. Shepherd, Lawrence N. Oliver, Mel Todd, Drew Avera, Philip K. Booker, Tamsin L. Silver, Robert W. Ross, Daniel Medrano, R. Max Tillsley]

The short story here is Area 51 is Not Enough.

Let's just say that Marco and Amanda are back. And they think the government may just be up to something.
And then, coming up the fun continues.
  • Supernatural streets (An anthology)
  • Hussar (St. Tommy NYPD #8)
  • Destiny (St. Tommy NYPD #9)
Current tally of published works.
  • 26 books total
  • 9 general anthologies 
  • 7 Short stories published by themselves.
And I've only been at this for just over 8 years. Not bad. Obviously, I've been catching up recently, making up for the years that I wasn't publishing more than one a year.

And, while we're all here, I'd like to submit Deus Vult as best horror for this year's Dragon Awards. So, by all means, please vote on that, too.
This has taken two days to do, so I'm going to lie down now. Thanks everyone.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Awards for everyone!

You ever get to the point in your resume when you have to remember if anyone's ever graced you with an award? It's weird, isn't it?

Much to my surprise, I've actually gotten to that point. 


Catholic Reads, Best of the Year


2019: WINNER, Hell Spawn


Helicon Award for Best Horror

2019: WINNER: Saint Tommy NYPD #1: Hell Spawn

2020: WINNER: Saint Tommy NYPD #6: Deus Vult.




Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance Book of the Year



2015: FINALIST: Honor at stake

2017: FINALIST: Set to Kill

2017: FINALIST: Love at First Bite Book Two: Demons are Forever (under the name Murphy’s Law of Vampires)

2019: WINNER: Saint Tommy NYPD #1: Hell Spawn




Dragon Award

500x500_book_banner

Best horror

FINALIST 2016: Love at First Bite #1: Honor at Stake
FINALIST 2017: Love at First Bite #3: Live and Let Bite
FINALIST 2017: Best Apocalypse: Codename: UnSub


Speaking of awards, you should probably check out my current suggestions for Dragon Award nominations. I think you'll like them.