Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Troubles and Tribulations


Reporter Susan Randall is going through the worst time of her life, as is LA. It begins with a typical ride-along with a local patrol car, usually a serene, boring assignment; and it is, until she gets shot. It gets worse: a serial killer is having a fun time in Los Angles, slicing through the homeless population. Each victim is mutilated in a less-than-typical fashion: their hands are sliced in such a way that they riffle like a deck of cards when touched. Susan wants the case, and gets it and everything that comes with it.

“Everything” includes not only the killer sending her e-mails, but a man named Raymond Weil, who keeps showing up: first at the crime scenes, then at the funerals of the victims. Despite his claims of demonic involvement in the murders, Raymond knows more than the police do about the serial killer and makes for a great lead for the story. 

That is, until Susan suspects he knows too much.

As the search for the killer proceeds, Susan becomes intrigued by Weil’s life and his continued persistence in relating the demonic to a serial killer. Before too long, she discovers an unnerving secret that causes her to suspect Raymond shouldn’t know some of the things he knows, especially as the City of Angels slowly becomes more like a city of Hell.

Joseph Michael Straczynski is the creator of the television series Babylon 5, wrote over one hundred episodes of miscellaneous TV programs, ran Amazing Spider-Man and Thor for several years, and will soon take over writing for Superman and Wonder Woman comicbooks. Straczynski’s style is often marked by creative wit and a keen observation of society at large. Tribulations is no exception. Throughout the novel, he uses his years of experience in Los Angeles with his graceful wit and driving narrative that forces the reader to push on. Despite his claims of atheism, one would hardly suspect it with his knowledge of past demonic incidents—both in theological and pure historical terms.

There is one mistake you should not make before you continue reading: that this is a spiritual novel. Whether you are Freud, the next generation, an atheist theology major, or a Catholic priest, you can enjoy this book. One might say Straczynski is part Walker Percy and part Jeffery Deaver: humorous, thrilling, and just dark enough to make you look in the closet, just to be safe. Straczynski uses his considerable talents to merge psychology, sociology, and theology into a story that unites profiles of serial killers, the sociology of a riot, and a profile of evil.
Truly something for everyone.

Month in review: November, 2011

Well, another month shot to hell.  :)

Anyway, this has been an interesting little month. This was the month I discovered and I posted links to almost every single blog entry.

So, all of that adds up to this month having over 13,255 hits on the blog.  It's been a good month.  Even if I had to rewrite the top ten blog list. I may still yet have to.


There is a Story By Twitter coming up soon on the blog, and probably next Monday.  If you have a twitter account, find join my twitter feed (you can find a link in the right hand side). Otherwise, you may not get it for a while.

I've written characters of mine who take surveys, starting with Egyptian cop Hashim Abasi ... who has a list of enemies on his mouse pad.

And, if you ever missed a video we've done thus far, well, you can't: here are the complete Videos of A Pius Man.  Not to mention that there's also a video going around the net that makes me think I have to seriously up my A-game: a live action recreation of a video game fight from the epic game Arkham city.

Oh yes, and there is a contest going on: I hope someone has notice.

Our music blogs have had: Dragonforce's Heart of a Dragon, Final Fantasy's One Winged Angel, and MozartWe also had Tom Smith's Cooking for 93 ... a little something for Thanksgiving.  There was also the classic science fiction summary in song Rocket Ride, by Tom Smith, as well as some Dragonforce's Where Dragons Rule.  We also had some Two steps from Hell, and the greatest beer that any bar has ever had for sale: it's Three-oh-seven Ale.

I've also had the most FAQ that any author has ever had to deal with: "Where do you get your ideas from?"  Here's an answer.

There was also some issues with Google.  Feh.

And, finally, there was a self defense review: with kill shots, Occupiers, and ... something else, I'm sure.

See you Monday.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas charity opportunity.

Karina Fabian, former guest blogger and interviewee,  has asked me to post this.  So I have.  Enjoy.

No, I didn't say a lot. But I think the below will do, don't you think?

Dear friends and readers, This winter, I have two things in my heart and on my mind:  caring for those less fortunate than me (or indeed, much of the world) and my DragonEye, PI stories.  For Christmas, I’m combining them and would like to share them with you. Those of you who are “Vern Fans,” know about my dragon who works in our world as a private investigator, and his partner, Sister Grace, a mage and nun in the Faerie Catholic Church.  They’ve saved the worlds and their friends in numerous stories and novels.  Last year, I wrote a story for Flagship about their first Christmas together.  Not only is Grace struggling with the Mundane idea of Christmas, but their home is threatened by a land developer who wants to tear down the entire neighborhood and make a mall.  When the Ghosts of Christmas come to visit him, however, Vern and Grace have to solve the mystery before the Christmas Spirits become Angels of Death. I have revised and am publishing “Christmas Spirits” as a serial story to raise funds for Food for the Poor. This is a wonderful charity that helps people in impoverished nations help themselves. It allows donators to choose their gifts--whether rice for a family for a month, school supplies, livestock, tools or even houses.

I'm asking that you please check out the story, and, if you enjoy it and want to see more, that you donate even a dollar to the cause. Also, if you enjoy the story, let your friends know. I'll post every Tuesday and Thursday as the donations come in.   Right now, we have raised enough to send a family 20 baby chicks and are halfway to a fruit tree in addition.  Vern would like to send them a cow (he is a dragon, after all), but Sister Grace and I are dreaming of raising enough to buy someone a home.  Can you imagine giving a HOUSE for Christmas?  Will you help? Find the story at  You can also get to it via my website,  Look under the Christmas dragon for the link.   You can learn more about Food for the Poor at

Thanks for your attention!

Karina Fabian 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Self Defense Review: November 2011

It's that time of the month again.  We're back with yet another self defense review.

I started off this month with my last -- as in final -- article on Occupy Wall Street. I've had it with these people.  Not to mention that I wrote the article the day before the OWS were told that, no, squatting is illegal, and we're taking your tents away. Thank you.  If you ever wanted to know the problems that local business had with Occupy Wall Street, just click here.

If you ever wanted to scare off attackers, or at least make yourself look like a target that would give them trouble, you might want to try here.  You even get a song with it.

I've mentioned more than once that, well, accidents happen.  When you're attacked, and you must defend yourself, someone could die.  You should avoid it whenever possible, but sometimes, well, accidents can happen.  My friend Carlos helped me out with this one.

And, after I stole more than a few good lines and articles from this book, I decided to do a little review of The Special Forces Guide to Unarmed Combat.  It's surprisingly useful.

And, just for fun, I did a nice little article on how to Survive Black Friday.

I hope you all enjoy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving blog: Cool stuff. Cooking for 93.

The odds that anyone is going to read the blog today are so slender, it's improbably ridiculous.

However, for those of you who have tripped over my website today, you will not go away empty handed.  

First up: have you ever had to cook for relatives?  On Thanksgiving?  Without any help from the vast army you're feeding?

If the answer is yes: enjoy.

Next up, you've seen my videos -- and if you haven't, look in the right hand margin, and you'll find them soon enough.

However, now that I've seen this awesome group, I think I should hire them before I try doing another one.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Music blog: Tom Smith's Rocket Ride, Where Dragons Rule, Halo

This is Tom Smith's classic "Rocket Ride."  Basically, making fun of every major high-budget scifi movie made .... possibly in the last twenty years.  Give or take a decade.

I think it's kinda fun.


Dragonforce: Where Dragons Rule, as done to Halo.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Coming soon: another twitter tale.

Last week, you learned about the strange situation I'm in with google.  This week, I've fixed it, as you can tell by the strange ad layouts you see around you.  And, I think that I like these ads better -- when I have them, that is.

However, I spent so much time getting that fixed, I'm missing a blog for the day.  I think the moral of the story is: don't bother with google ads, unless you like being screwed over.

However, I will make a little note here: Does anyone remember "Boys of the Old Brigade"?  It was story by twitter that I put together a while ago.

I'm thinking of doing it again in December, only with a story called Coyote Christmas.   I've written out the whole story in proper format, and I've done a twitter version.  The former was 18 pages, the latter only 7.

However, there is one major difference.

This time, I actually have a twitter account.

How many people do you think I can confuse on Twitter with lines like

Calling me a rent-a-cop is like calling a mushroom cloud a really neat special effect. 

It should at least get someone's attention.

I'm thinking of saving this story for December 5th.  So, if you want to catch it live, join my twitter by then (the join button is in the right hand column).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy Google!

Sorry, this blog will be postponed for today. Nothing new is going to happen.

Why?  Because Google has decided to jerk me around

This blog, APM, has recently had a slight bump in traffic.  How slight?  Well, to break it down, the blog has had just over 16,000 viewers.

Thus far, November has brought in over 8,000 new readers.

Google Ads, who usually have a place in the right hand column, or just under the latest blog post, have decided that my latest bump in Google Ad clicks is sketchy.

If you don't have Google's Adsense on a blog, it's simple: you get paid by click.  The more hits you get on the website, the more likely it is that someone will click on your ads, and the more clicks, the more money.

However, you don't get paid until you make $100.

Before November, I had "made" $40.  Since the start of the November, I've brought in more than that -- not much, but I could buy a new laptop, if I buy it wholesale ....

In other words, just when I'm actually about to make ANY money, Google pulls the plug on me.

I'm going to spend the next few days waterboarding someone at Google .... um, I mean, appealing my case to these overstuffed shirts.

It's not much, but for someone who is too overeducated to be employed even at McDonald's (I think they're afraid I may take over), it's something.

Pardon the interruption.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Music Blog: 307 Ale, Halo, Dragon Rider

Yup, more music ....

By the way, before we begin, please remember that we have a contest ongoing.  Also, if you could check out some of our sponsors on the way out, it would be nice.  Thanks.

Anyway, today is the return of Filk music.

Tom Smith: 307 Ale .... the world's first hyper beer.

More below the break.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Top Ten Blog Posts, November, 2011.

Well, this has been an interesting week.

I recently came across a network called  I figured "hmm, maybe I should post some of my blog posts up there."  After a while, I posted .... a lot.

The website for APM did not go down .... though we had about seven THOUSAND newcomers ....

If you are one, welcome.

Anyway. we've had to rewrite the top ten most viewed blogs blogs of A Pius Man.  Apparently, people really like comic books, theology, and blowing stuff up.

#1 Sex, DC Comics, and ... wtf?  This should not come as a surprise to anyone. This was a hit within the week it was posted, and shot up, and stayed up ever since.  Written in the wake of the initial DC reboots, this blog took a look at how DC treated two of their best female characters .... badly.

#2 Disasters to Marvel At: A Comic Discussion. Before DC comics had ever earned my ire, Marvel had done a great job at annoying me, by turning their entire world into a giant hamster wheel, where there is a lot of running, and no one goes ANYWHERE

#3 Mr Phelps, You Are Disavowed… No one likes poor Fred Phelps, founded of the Westboro Baptist Church, probably incest master, definite cult leader, and all-round narcissistic little prick.

#4 Evil Religions 2: Baby-raping Catholic Priests. Part of my Evil Religions series (the title was ironic) I took a look at everyone's favorite cliche -- namely, "Oh look, a priest on television. Who does he rape/ maim/ assault /kill?"

#5 The Pirate King, a Story of Sean A.P. Ryan.  One of my stories about the infamous mercenary Sean Ryan, a man who doesn't exactly look like the heroic type, and may be too crazy to be a bad guy.  Basically, a Somali pirate picked the WRONG ship.

#6 Snarky theology 3: Evolution, Creationists, and other irritants.  Also part of the Evil religions series ... Sort of.  Some people like to complain about evolution. That it proves or disproves EVERYTHING about religion.  If you really, really think that way, well, I think you're a flaming idiot.  Here's why.

#7 Scott Murphy's Notebook: Spytech This was a complete shock to me. Honestly.  I tossed together some fun facts I've collected over the years, and  compiled them.  Before, NO ONE had read this blog.  Now ... well, what a difference a post on Stumbleupon can make.

#8 Snarky Theology 5: The Passion, Jews, and Good Friday.  I wrote this the week before Easter.  Too many people watched Mel Gibson's The Passion, and I wanted to look at a few things.

#9 Snarky Theology 2: FAQs about Lent. Again, another "why are people reading this one?" post.

#10  The flame war is postponed ....  After the Japan Earthquake, some little twit online made a comment that went viral.  I decided someone should smack her down.  I did.

Anyway, so, again, if you're new, welcome.  Take a look around.  We have a nice introduction column on the right.  And, before you left, please click on a sponsor or two.  We have some interesting ones, and, we need the cash.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

FAQ: Where do you get your ideas?

I've touched on this briefly during the series on how I created A Pius Man, but, apparently, the question many authors are besieged with is “How do you come up with your ideas?”

Short answer: formal viewpoint. Or a functional mentality.

For example, last year, I saw Forbes Magazine with cover article about how al-Qaeda was losing money, and it suggested that Osama "needed a new business model."

I can not make this stuff up.

The point is, people look at things from a “formal viewpoint.” I would look at a large pile of money and think of where a character would hide it. An accountant would probably count it all. A pyromaniac would look at it as stuff to burn.

In my case... to use an example, in 1998, my family went to London and stopped off to see the Crown Jewels. Everyone else stared at the jewels. I went and looked at the security. I didn't take notes, since I didn't want to be thrown out of the Tower of London by the fastest possible route [the jewels were a few floors up]. The British Museum got the same treatment from me -- The Elgin Marbles from the Greek Parthenon had their own wing.... so, if the Greeks really wanted them back, they could steal them with a few construction helicopters and just airlift the whole wing—the Israelis did that with an Egyptian radar tower once to great effect.

Basically, it's a matter of looking at things from a certain viewpoint. I suspect that if I go see the Mona Lisa, the majority of my time will be pondering how someone could disable the security guards, the electronic surveillance, and walk away with a few paintings from the Louvre. Though the answer would probably be to steal something from the basement storage area—less security, without the individual alarms on every piece.... hmm, now that's an idea....can someone scan for Semtex at the entrypoint to the Louvre? Hrm...

The sad thing is that the above was really thought up as I wrote it.
[More below the break]

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Music blog: Heart of a Dragon, One Winged Angel, and Halo

Sorry, this Tuesday, I can't honestly say that there's anything I want to blog about.....

So, music blog.

You remember back when I mentioned I was a nerd? This is proof. I present you with the most epic soundtrack I've heard in years .... the main theme for the Halo video game series.

While I originally wanted to post this video, the owner disabled embedding. Darn it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

To steal a phrase: I report, you decide

I've never posted any evidence about the Pius XII debate.  I do today.

Look it over yourselves, see what you think.  I found it ... interesting. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Videos of A Pius Man

Thus far, anyway.

I was wandering through the video section of the APM Facebook page, and I realized that I haven't done a video trailer for ... a while.

If you're relatively new, you've probably never seen any of the trailers.  Unless you're really diligent in spelunking through the FB page, then you've probably come across them.

This is where I've collected the ones done thus far.

This wasn't the first one, but it was a remodeled version of it. I cleaned up the typeface a little, and I think the visuals are spliced together better.

The images are obviously not done by me. Anyone who's found the Vatican Ninja images I've done will notice that.  They're from a lot of books that take one side of the Pope Pius XII argument, such as it is. And, just maybe, a Dan Brown novel.

I'm subtle like that.

And then, then there were the character trailers.
[More below the break]