Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas to all, and to all an oy vey

Merry Christmas, to one and all.  Or, as my Jewish friends call it, merry "Chinese food and movie" day.

If you're wondering, no, I'm not really going to blog today, of all days.  After all, I'm crazy, not particularly stupid.

However, I think this is a great time for O, Holy Night, by Peter Hollens.  So, turn up the volume, and enjoy.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tonight's the night

I do not do sweet and touching.

But for this, I'll make an exception.  Silent night, done by Lindsey Stirling.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

We Three Kings and The Force Awakens (review)

A few things.

As mentioned previously, my book, Honor At Stake is going through a serious price drop. The usual $22 paperback is now under $8 as of this writing, so buy now while supplies last. Yes, really, there are 7 left at Amazon.

The Pius shorts are still on sale. Both Pius Origins and Pius Holidays are less than a dollar on Kindle, and the complete Pius Tales (with bonus material) is in paperback and on kindle

Now that that's out of the way, first up: Christmas Music! Enjoy.

By the way, can you guess what I saw this weekend?  One hint.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Music Blog: Celtic Carol - Lindsey Stirling

Tis four days before Christmas, and all through the house, we're going to close up the blog early -- can't you hear the mouse?

However, before I abandon everyone to their last minute Christmas shopping -- and you forgot aunt Shelly, didn't you? -- a little bit of Christmas music is in order.

Not too long ago, we had Silent Night, by Lindsey Stirling. This time, we're going a little bit more Irish. If you haven't figured it out from Maureen McGrail, and Sean Ryan, and Scott Murphy as characters in my novel, I'm a little bit Irish. About 50% if you want to bicker.

So, it should come as no surprise that today's "God rest ye merry Gentlemen" is going to be a little Irish....

With Lindsey Stirling.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Angels We Have Heard on High - Piano Guys

I prefer singing this carol to an instrumental, but right now, I'll take it.

And let's face it, these guys know how to put on a show.

Be well all, and Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christopher Lee's Heavy Metal Christmas

Christopher Lee (RIP) singing Christmas Carols with an electric guitar in the background. Your argument? So very invalid .... or does that meme already so five minutes ago?

Friday, December 18, 2015

Music blog: The Cruxshadows- O Holy night

Because it's Christmas.  It is time to party. And this is awesome music. And yes, it's the Cruxshadows, just try it anyway. Trust me on this, would you?

And, just for the record, if you're one of those Black Saturday shoppers, seriously, just buy Honor At Stake. The price has dropped to $10. It's a good deal, and it's readable for all ages. It really is. It'll make life easier on you.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

And now, the rest of the Christmas story

As was mentioned yesterday, I've been having such fun fixing my printer. After TWO HOURS, there is a solution.

That solution? Get another printer.

 Thankfully, it's still under warranty, so I'm getting yet ANOTHER new one. It looks like two novels will come out next year. At least. Yay.

Now, a bit of business.

1) Sad Puppies 4 is still taking nominees.  If you think that Sad Puppies Bite Back is good enough for Best Related, or if Honor At Stake is good for best novel, or if this blog works for best Fan Writing or Fanzine or something, by all means, go ahead. PLease do it soon, because I have no idea when the nominations end.

2) Amazon has slashed the price of Honor at Stake to $10 in paperback. If you're a hard copy person, now's your chance. Strike!  I'd actually suggest them as Christmas presents to boys and girls of all ages. It might actually be perfect, strangely enough. Guys like the action. The women like the romance. And no one hates this book. I'm shocked, really.

3) Please remember, I have anthologies out there -- Pius Holidays, Pius Origins, and the complete Pius Tales.  They're dirt cheap.

4) There are two videos here. One is about the mice that nearly ruined Christmas by making it a really silent evening (no, really, just listen). I think you'll like it.

There is music below ... watch one before playing the other, I think.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The First Rule of the Caretaker

The following blog post is not one designed to evoke pity, a bit for sympathy, or note of any particular plight. In fact, the short version is that I'm okay, I will live, nothing is the matter. Technically.

The first rule of taking care of other people is simple: if you don't take care of yourself, you are completely useless to anyone and everyone else. It you turn into a wreck, you have failed. You have failed your friends, you have failed those who rely upon you, and you have failed yourself.

I haven't failed just yet, but I'm close.

I have, over the course of this month-plus, posted haphazardly, neglected my radio show, and I've barely managed to keep in touch with friends, colleagues, and my marketing is at the bare minimum. I can't even keep up with twitter or email.  Think about that a moment. I have problems finding time to delete junk mail.

Among fighter pilots, there is a thing called target focus -- you focus so hard on what you're aiming for, you crash into it. When I'm on a major massive project, I can, occasionally, fall into that.

In short, I'm a little burned out.

Right now, I am home again (home again, jiggity jig), and yet there are moments when I try to relax, I cannot focus, my nerve endings feel like they're firing and my heart rate it spiking. I have had no time to myself for over a month now. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Even though I'm home, I'm having my time eaten up by people who want my attention. Who need my attention.

Of course, I ALSO need to finish everything I've fallen behind on while I was away. Up to and including SIGNING THE CONTRACT FOR BOOK 3 OF MY VAMPIRE SERIES.  Yes, that's right, I had the contract before I left, and I never got a chance to print, sign, scan, and send it into the publisher. And now the brand new printer doesn't want to work. Yay.

I'm going to need alone time now. This may require me to lock myself in a dark room for a while. If I do not reply to your correspondence, DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY.  There is a reason I have scheduled no new radio programs since my return. Even the idea of ranting and raving is actually something that hurts right now.

I need downtime. And quiet. Mostly quiet.  Quiet I cannot get because I've had repeated phone calls in the two hours it has taken me to write these paltry few hundred words.

In short, I really do need to be left alone.

I'll be posting a lot of Christmas music from here on out. Because it's Christmas. And because I think Christmas music might be the most my nervous system can handle at this minute.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a bah humbug.

Monday, December 14, 2015

My Christmas Spirit Needs an Exorcist

I've been going to church since I was ... born, probably.  Though I must admit, of the many, many bible quotes I've heard, one that always struck with me was the one about the proper way to pray. You're not supposed to throw ashes on yourself, wear ratty clothes and pray on street corners. The proper way is to pray in a closet, out of sight of everyone. You're not showing off, and you're not showing how good pure and noble you are, etc.

It's one reason why I'm not going into a lot of detail about what I've been doing lately.  The other reason is that it's really none of your business, it's someone else's private affairs,

Though I have to tell you, it's been an interesting month.

I've gone into some details here or there, but for the newcomers, let me catch you up.

For those people who have gathered / guessed, I was in Indiana helping a friend of mine not only bury her husband, but also do other things. Like move. Sort of. Suffice it to say that it's a long story, and it's none of your business. So there, nyah.

However, one of the things I've noticed is how many people are thanking me for doing this, or how many people are talking about how good a thing I'm doing.

At which point my reaction is, invariably, "What else would I do?"

No, seriously, a show of hands: you have a friend. Your friend suddenly has to bury someone near and dear to them. What do you do?

(A) Go help
(B) Stay away
(C) Send platitudes and do nothing else
(D) Help as much as you are able.

If you're a halfway decent human being, A or D is your answer. And I could do A.

And some of the people who expressed how good my actions were? Many of them were doing D -- researching legal questions and technical computer questions, and referring real estate people, or sending money, or passing the hat around.

Because guess what, people are good. Who knew? You know, aside from the book of Genesis.

At the end of the day, my Christmas spirit does not actually need an exorcist. Strange as that may be. I have practically been drowning in Christmas spirit -- there are literally dozens if not hundreds of people who have thrown support into this effort. At the end of the day, both my friend and I came out the other end of this relatively sane ... well, as sane as ever, so you do the math.

In short, the Christmas spirit is alive and well and acts in really odd ways.

And yet, somehow, through all of this, even the people who are piling in with the goodness, people think I'm doing the good deed.

But what else would I do? It's Christmas. And there are a lot of good people who have made all of this turn out far better than it otherwise could have.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

I have returned

And though they tell you I am lost
And their words report my death is come
The fates have left me breathing still
Very much alive

And though my mind is scarred by battles
Fought so long ago
I return victorious
I am coming home
And though the path that I have traveled
Have tread against the flow
There is no need for sorrow
I am coming home.

The reports of my death? Slightly exaggerated.

After driving a nice solid 12 hours....

Packing a sedan to the brim with stuff....

Being nearly driving off the road by bad drivers in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania....

I am pleased....



To announce that I have come home to my beloved New York.

But I still hate Mayor DiBlasio. He raised the tolls again just to get into the freaking city. Screw that guy. With a flaming hot poker.

... And crap, I need a radio show on Sunday, don't I? Dang it...

While I work that out, have some music to celebrate my return.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tom Kratman, ISIS, The Return of Sean AP Ryan, and the cast of The Pius Trilogy

Yes, I'm still in Indiana. Otherwise, I would have posted something yesterday.

So, I recently got fan mail that asked me when I was getting back to the world of Sean A.P. Ryan (professional nutjob) & Co. And it was more of a when, not if question. There was a mention of Voodoo curses, so I'm not taking any chances.

Recently, I posted about pornstars, and mentioned how I researched "adult entertainment" because I wanted to put Sean in the most uncomfortable position I could find.

That was actually going to be book 3.  Because book 2 was going to be about Sean Ryan running security for a Natalia Boatman, a young scifi actress who was going to Harvard. Because there was no relation, at all, to Natalie Portman. Really.  There would be terrorists who want to kill her ... mostly because she's Israeli, and a high-profile target. Oh, and yeah, her uncle has heard about it, and he wants to sort the situation ... oh yeah, and he happens to be a semi-retired Mossad hitman.

And did I mention that there would be a mercenary involved who appeared in It Was Only on Stun!?

And that's part of the problem.  There are few people who like Stun!  Surprisingly enough, it's one of my least reviewed books, and the one with the most mixed reviews. So there's little incentive to finish that trilogy.

However, I do have another idea for the continued career of not only Sean AP Ryan, but also the entire cast of The Pius Trilogy.  And one that might be more up-to-date given his post-Pius career.

Simple premise: After Pius, there's a new President in charge, and he is nowhere like President Barry. If you're read A Pius Stand, you probably know who the new guy is.  But the short version is that he is not a fan of standard business as usual practices.  After a terrorist attack, said President wants to assemble an armed NGO that will hunt down and kill terrorists, steal their money, and use that money to bankroll doing the same thing over and over again.  And it would be led by "the most relentless, determined, psychotic son of a bitch" that he can find.

No points for guessing who said psycho is.

And you can probably guess who the team he assembles is going to be.

If you're a Baen reader, this might sound a little familiar.  Very slightly familiar. There is a passing similarity in that terrorist-hunting duties are handed off to a private contractor. But since Tom Kratman is a former Lt. Colonel and is essentially a one-man think tank on waging warfare, and I'm a schlub from New York who's only fired two guns in his entire life .... one apiece ... these are going to be two very different outcomes.  Less military / war novel, and more Monster Hunter International  for hunting terrorists.

It's one way to take it. And given ISIS lately? Sounds pretty darned timely to me.

Actually, doing the Impossible Missions Fund effects a space opera I was working on.  Why? Because Sean AP Ryan was not the first Sean Ryan I created.  The first Sean Ryan was of the 2300s (or was it the 3300s?) in said space opera.  Either way, setting up the IMFund creates a family business for later on.

Anyway, welcome to the dark recesses of my brain, and what's coming down the pipe later on.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Music blog: Nightwish - Ghost Love Score

Yup. Nightwish is back.

No Christmas music, I'm out of Christmas Music right now.

We still have plenty kicking around the blog right now, so just search for Christmas music, I'm sure you'll find some.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Holidays in Death

So, a friend of mine died. And his widow is also a friend.

As you might have gathered from the infrequency of posts lately, and the timing of my Death in the family post, he died the week before Thanksgiving.

Because, you know, that's just awesome timing. Amazing timing. Perfect freaking timing.

If you've ever had someone die in your life, you're not surprised by how much stuff is left behind.  If you haven't, you'd be amazed.

Though some of this has been interesting.  Why? Because my friend is amazed and surprised at the outpouring of affection and generosity.

And, yes, I've made it a point to laugh at her about that. She's used to that from me. Though it didn't really sink in, she was still in shock over everyone she knows online being sweet and kind to her. Teasing her about it is the only way to make it get through.

Yes, it's also tough. It's always tough dealing with a death of a loved one. It's even tougher digging through the crap left behind.  Take my grandmother for one, a hoarder.

Just imagine the material parts of death. A short obituary is about $400. A cheap, prepaid funeral for my grandmother was $6,000. And this was barest of bare bones in New York City. Now imagine it in Chicago.  Yes, Chicago. The pit that has earned the name the Second City.

Me? New York chauvinist? Naw. Ignore that the only hat I brought was an NYPD baseball cap.

But, yes, death leaves a ton of crap behind. Furniture that you might not need, but you want because it's sentimental. Bills that need to be paid as part of a regular routine, but you don't really have a regular routine anymore, because a great big part of your life has just been ripped out, and you're looking around wondering where that person is. Because it's pretty much like phantom limb syndrome -- that part of your body is gone, but it still hurts and itches, and you can't actually do anything about it, because it isn't actually there for you to work on or effect.

This of course doesn't count bills that you don't know about. Because if the deceased happened to bury important pieces of paper all over the place in random places, good luck finding them, hunting them down and paying these bills.

This of course also expects that there's enough money kicking around to pay all of these rotten bills and kill off the parasites that are busy trying to get their money while you're busy. And maybe there is, but you can't remember or retain anything because there are some parts and some things that put you into a bit of a haze.

And thankfully, there are friends. Friends who will send money, or offer help, or have you over for Thanksgiving dinner.

And it's hard on everyone, even the friends. Because there's really nothing to be done to help but to be there. And hug someone when they cry -- three to four times a day. Sometimes, a friend tries to make suggestions about arrangements in order to make it quick and cheap and don't break the bank ... which doesn't work when there are dozens of people who need to be contacted that might not know unless the obit is somewhere they can see, and even then it's a shot in the dark.

And of course, there's even the politics of death. Of death! Can you imagine? And not even family politics, but personal politics -- after all, if you can't afford all the newspapers for the obit, you shoot for the one that matches the politics of the deceased, and hopefully all of the people who know him that you're trying to reach.

Then there's the funeral itself.

Something to consider. Something from my family history.

When my maternal grandfather died, his obituary was in the paper. Including day and date and time of the funeral. My father was staying at the house. When the dog started barking, my father went to the front door.  A truck had been pulling up to the house and the driver was getting out. The driver saw my father and got back in the truck, then pulled away.

So, yup, always something new to go wrong.

Not to mention that if I were to run the soundtrack of this outing, one of the songs would be "Always Something There to Remind Me."

Do I even need to explain that one?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Music blog: Gothic Christmas

Because I am a sick, sick man.....

Yes, I'm still dealing with funeral arrangements and such. Because apparently, some people don't want to bury the deceased the weekend of the death. Because some people want to make sure friends and family show up. Who knew?

Anyway, I already did my proper blog post for the week, and it's Sad Puppies related.  Yup. It's not over yet.

In fact, Sad Puppies 4 is already underway.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Do I want a Hugo? #SadPuppies Again

This blog is going to wander a bit, but I ask that you stay with me.

As of this minute, I'm not doing too badly in the Sad Puppy nominations. Enough so that Vile 770 is really, really rooting for me.  Solely based on the premise that I will single-handedly destroy Sad Puppies just by being nominated. No, no joke.

So, great question, do I want a Hugo?

No idea.

Some people shoot for the moon, because why not?

I say that if you shoot for the moon, you're gonna run out of oxygen if you miss. Just ask any space mission.**

Author J. Michael Straczynski (and yes, I can spell that without looking up his name) grew up with the Hugo as a mark of good writing. The Hugos were everything good about science fiction. It was how he chose what to read growing up when he borrowed books from the pharmacy book rack (he always returned them without breaking the spine, so, it's really borrowing, not stealing). And when he got a Hugo, he was moved and surprised and in awe.

The only Hugo award winning novelists I've read in the last 15 years? JK Rowling and Neil Gaiman. That's it.

I grew up with Asimov and Neal Stephenson, These people don't rate.

Sure, I've read Hugo award winning novels.  Ender's Game and Hyperion, and Dune.  But lately? Those winners are not who I read on a regular basis.

For me, it's Weber and Ringo and Correia. They're people who have fun with powered armor and wrecking worlds. Mostly Baen authors.

And no novel from Baen will get another Hugo unless it's Lois Bujold. John Ringo doesn't want it. Kratman is more on the Rabid Puppy side. Correia doesn't want it. And no one has even discussed David Weber or Timothy Zahn, which is a crime in itself.

Then again, the people I admire also make money at writing. So I'll take that.

Without anyone I admire getting Hugos, I don't have the motivation of JMS.  So, solely on my own initiative, do I want the grand prize?

First of all, I think I'll be shocked and amazed if I get a Sad Puppy nomination. Delighted as Hell. Because on the one hand? The women in charge of Sad Puppies 4 want thousands of people involved in this. That's PR I can't buy ... okay, maybe I can buy it, but I couldn't afford it.

Also, it means that a sudden and violent wave of animosity will come down on me like the hand of Satan, and I'll take that press. After all, I am a Cis White Male with blond(ish) hair and blue eyes. I'm even Catholic, so Vile 770, the Guardian, and everyone else who want to lynch the big dogs will be able to go into Opus Dei conspiracy theories instead of evil Mormon comments.

Because, yes, I can see the CHORFs spinning Vatican conspiracy theories should I get a nomination. A Pius Man will suddenly be lambasted with negative reviews. I'll get a whole 15-seconds of fame, and I'll probably end up with the usual reputation of everyone else -- evil blah blah blah.

But as I've noted before, I'm a Conservative Catholic in New York City. For me, this is called Tuesday.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Guest post: The Real Scandal

Declan Finn confession: I watched the first season of Scandal...okay, maybe even some of the second season (I think I gave up after a sitting President asked the first lady for a divorce -- The soap factor, it's over NINE THOUSAND).

Dawn has addressed the real Scandal of the past week. What is it? I'll let her tell you.


I was going to write something mushy about Thanksgiving or being thankful, but I’ve seen too much stupid crap lately that I’m in the mood to slap stupid people.

First is Scandal. You may have heard about the recent Planned Parenthood episode of Scandal. If you haven’t, let me give you a quick rundown.

The show Scandal revolves around the exploits of Olivia Pope who makes her living covering up political scandals in DC. She is having an affair with President of the United States. It glorifies lying, cheating, stealing, torture, murder, backstabbing, infidelity and other things that normal people abhor. The show is so over acted it is ridiculous. And EVERYTHING is a world ending crisis. A Senator breaks a fingernail...the fate of the United States hangs in the balance until Olivia Pope brings in an emergency manicurist to fix it two seconds before said Senator has an interview where that broken nail could start a world war or some such. The drama is so over the top it would make a teenage girl proud.

Yes, I watch the show...or rather I did. The show is rather a lot like a traffic accident where you just can’t help but stop and stare. I also like the puzzle aspect of the plot. It starts with a problem and Pope has to find a way to make it go away one way or another. Usually that involves all sorts of nastiness, some of which bleeds into later episodes.

Sooooo...Olivia gets pregnant and “has to have” an abortion. If she doesn’t the fate of the Presidency is at risk. President Grant would lose his political power if it was found out his whore was having his baby. (Getting caught banging women who aren’t his wife didn’t seem to hurt Clinton any, but I digress.) Yes, God forbid, a person’s life would be more important than political power.  The show didn’t just reference the abortion, they thought it was a wise idea to make the entire episode a commercial for abortion “rights.” (I never could understand how it’s a right to kill another human being.)

Over at Vogue, Michelle Ruiz writes:
It was a remarkably meta moment: a fictional politician tackling the real-life assault on abortion rights and women’s health at the very moment when it remains timely and pressing. Not only did the episode begin the process of destigmatizing abortion on television, but as Planned Parenthood said in a statement after the episode, “The millions of people who tune in to Scandal every Thursday night learned that our rights to reproductive healthcare are under attack.”
The stupid in that statement is mindblowing. People don’t watch that show for political commentary or for life tips. These people are deluding themselves if they think that abortion on Scandal does anything but make it look as bad and as selfish an action as it is. I mean come on. Olivia is no teenage girl who falls for the bullshit that sex comes without consequences and gets knocked up. She is a grown ass woman who is unapologetically the whore for a married man. She didn’t choose an abortion because she didn’t think she had any other options, it was political decision.

On the other side of the fence, there have been boycotts and hand ringing over this single episode. Um...hello. The entire show is about using and tossing away people. Killing a child is well within the realm of vileness that is Scandal. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is expendable on that show as long as it’s done in the interests of gaining more political power. The characters are not sympathetic and when bad things happen to them, the first thought is “they got what was coming.” Get with the program.

Second on my list is the Reproductive Freedom Festival being put on by a Words of Choice blog. (No I’m not linking to the site. It’s nasty. Trust me on this.) They claim to be “pro-women’s rights, pro-human rights, pro-reproductive rights, pro-reproductive justice and pro-choice.”

One of those things just doesn’t go with the rest. How the hell can you be pro-human rights if one of the things you support is killing humans? The stupid is beyond words.

They are wanting short theatrical works that celebrate the dismembering of children that they can perform live in New York City next year. Oh yay. Exactly what no one in their right mind would ever go to see.

Anyways...that is all the stupid I can handle for now. I may be back with more at a later date. Ciao.

Legends are coming

So, I took a good look at this.  I say look because I'm literally next to a sleeping person as I write this, but I have a pretty good feel for this one without the audio.

Monday, November 23, 2015

#BlackFriday shopping list -- here we go again

Well, at least this year, Christmas decorations went on sale in September...

Yes, last year, they were in August.

Yes.  August!


Anyway, black Friday is coming, and we must be prepared. This is yet another list to make your shopping lives easier -- for Black Friday, or for the upcoming Cyber Monday. I've reviewed some of these books (links attached), and others are new even to me, but have come recommended to me. You might want to try some of these items below.

In short: give the gift of books to people you care about. They're cheaper than iPods. Heh.

As with last year, I will start with suggesting my own novels. Not even all of my own novels, just some of them. The newest ones, for starters.

To start with, there's Honor At Stake.  Because everyone loves this novel. Is it because it's romance? It is because it's vampires? Urban Fantasy? A little YA-ish? A little Christian-fic?

I have no idea.

But if you're new here, it's about a boy meeting a girl.  One of them is a homicidal monster. The other's just a vampire. It has Vatican Ninjas, and holy water burning vampires, and sunlight killing unholy monsters AND NONE OF THE VAMPIRES SPARKLE, DAMNIT.

Ahem. Anyway.

People like it. If you look at the Amazon reviews, everyone likes it. Everyone. Even people I don't know like it. I'm not sure why, but there you go.

Another newcomer on the scene are the anthologies.

Pius Origins blows up stuff.

Pius Holidays blows up even more stuff with Christmas lights and the accompanying music.

And Pius Tales gives you all that and more.

Yes, Pius Tales is actually out now.


What can I say? It's been a LOOOOONG week.

If you're new here, there are the usual suspects.

A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller -- It's surprisingly well reviewed, no one hates it (yet, give me time), where I take the war to Dan Brown, and every other nimrod who thinks they can write bad history in a thriller and get away with it.

A Pius Legacy: A Political Thriller -- The villains who survived A Pius Man have decided that some payback is involved.  Step one? Kidnap the Pope. Then the fun really starts.  Surprisingly, this one had better reviews than the first.... also fewer. Anyway, please buy the book already. Thank you.

A Pius Stand: A Global Thriller: The end of the trilogy. Saving the Pope has consequences.  And army. A war. And no quarter given. It's time to finish the fight.

And, while I"m doing this.....

Codename: Winterborn .... the "other" novel, also strangely well reviewed. Genre: character-driven scifi espionage. While on a mission to the Islamic Republic of France, Lt. Kevin Anderson's team is betrayed by the politicians who sent them. As the only survivor, Anderson must stop the senators involved before the next team is slaughtered on the altar of political greed. He's certain he won't survive, but he will make this sacrifice, for his Codename is Winterborn. I recommend this for all fans of Baen novels -- like John Ringo, David Weber, and even your straight up thriller writers, like Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, et al.

On with everyone else.

Several of the following books you may have seen before. Trust me, there's a reason they made one of my top reading lists.

Murder in The Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes -- if you've been reading my blog for a long time, you know that I loved this one, and I can't possibly recommend it enough.... and then there's The Watson Chronicles, which is even better.  The only books I will recommend over my own, and I'm told my books are pretty awesome, so, yeah...

The Book of Helen -- dang, this was a kickass little novel.  The West Wing meets the Trojan war, this novel goes beyond the "they all lived strangely ever after" of Helen of Troy, and follows the rest of her life after she came home from Troy.  Yes, Helen did have an "after Troy."  You know the mythology, and now, this is the rest of the story.

Ordinance 93:  I've reviewed this book, I've interviewed this author, and I somehow still haven't mentioned her on the blog yet. Ordinance 93 is a thriller that sort-of centers around abortion. It's not really a pro-life book, despite how I referred to it in the Examiner posts.  It's a very long story, but if you're interest, check out the review. It would take too long otherwise.

Infinite Space, Infinite God II .... a Catholic scifi-anthology, so,

Greater Treasures -- Imagine the Maltese Falcon with dragons. Nuff said.

Stealing Jenny, by Ellen Gable: After 5 miscarriages, Jenny is about to have a pregnancy come to full term... until a psychotic woman kidnaps her and chains her in her basement with the intention of taking the child for her own. I liked this one.

Amy Lynn: You can read my review right here.

Night Machines by Kia Heavey .... this one was interesting.  Almost Doctor Who-ish by way of Rod Serling.

And, of course, there is an endless list of books I can recommend, which happen to be a different tab at the top of the page -- includes Flynn, Ringo, Weber, Thor, etc, etc.

Tears of Paradox, by Daniella Bova.

In the not so distant future, Michelle hides in the shadowy cornfields of rural Pennsylvania, waiting for her unborn child, targeted by the untouchables who have assumed absolute power . Michelle’s husband, Jason, remains in their hometown, struggling against overwhelming odds to keep his wife and child from being found.
The blue-collar Catholic couple have already endured numerous losses, including that of a baby son, born under mysterious circumstances. This pair of childhood sweethearts and their family and friends have always stuck together, but the storms of transformation turn everything upside down. Friendships disintegrate, fathers and sons become enemies, and trust is a thing of the past. The ways of traditional America have gradually become what those in power term evil. What used to be evil is now the law, strictly enforced by the bureaucracy, and for ordinary people there is no middle ground; you either play or pay.
Deviation from government policy will land you in jail… or worse. Media figures who aren’t part of the power structure begin slowly disappearing, and Jason must depend solely on God to help him save his wife and baby. 
My review here.

And then there are the Jack July novels I reviewed.  Amy Lynn and Amy Lynn: Golden Angel.  Just buy them. Read them. The first one could be dark YA.  The second ... yeah, for adults only. One's a solid novel, the second one is a solid thriller. Just go with me on this one, okay?

Now, as far as books I haven't looked at yet.... [Below the break.]

Sunday, November 22, 2015

TONIGHT on The Catholic Geek: Potluck Podcast with the Novel Ninja

The Catholic Geek: Potluck Podcast

Again, since I'm not doing the show this Sunday, Novel Ninja and CG owner Matthew Bowman is taking over! Co-starring and CG author Lori Janeski.  Matthew and Lori will be talking about superheroes, Catholic news, TV shows, Star Wars, ISIS and the refugee crisis, and more. Plus, special guest: Strawpope Frank! Yes, Frank's back in the news, even though it's getting ever more easy to tell the difference between him and Pope Francis.

All that and more, plus your calls!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Music Blog, Shut Up And Dance (Alex G Acapella Cover)

More Music to write to.

I am a fan of Alex G on YouTube. She's a good singer, and there's something about the way her mouth moves I find interesting to watch.

And the song doesn't suck either.

I was going to do some deep, stirring Peter Hollens. I decided to say screw it. Party time.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Guest Post: Casting Honor at Stake, book 2

Declan again. Still alive. Dawn's back, with a post I probably will get around to doing for book 1. No, I haven't done this one yet. And I should. It's been a hard couple of weeks.

Casting Murphy’s Law of Vampires’s Dawn Witzke, Declan’s beautiful, charming and talented sidekick. I’m back again. You might remember that I asked Declan Finn very nicely to let me read his sequel to Honor At Stake back in September. it wasn’t so nicely, but he let me read it anyway. I am now finishing up reading the final version (Or almost final version. There may still be some changes after the editor gets ahold of it.)

Sorry, I’m not going to get into the details of the book. I’ll let Declan do that when he decides it’s time. Instead, I’ll just say that you’ll definitely want to read it when it comes out. There is a lot of action and new twists to the Marco/Amanda romance plot. I had to force myself to put it down.

Anyways...I figure I’d take a crack at casting this one.. This was so much harder than I thought it would be. Guess I need to watch TV and movies without falling asleep. (I only made it through  the first 5 or 10 minutes of Iron Man...sorry Declan. Better luck next time educating me on Marvel.)

Here are my picks to play the characters with prominent roles in this book.

Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll)

Deborah Ann Woll played a vampire in First Blood, she also played Karen Page in Daredevil. She comes off as reserved and unassuming. I think she could pull off Amanda.

Marco (Cam Gigandet back in his Never Back Down days circa 2008)

I chose Cam because he always has a that little smile and he’s got the body. He’s a bit older than Marco, so I used my time machine and plucked him from 2008 when he played in Never Back Down. Declan would probably disqualify him simply on the fact he also played a vampire in Twilight.

Merle (Tim Kang)

Tim Kang, from the Mentalist, came to mind the minute that Merle showed up in the picture. He’s laid back and doesn’t get too excited about anything.

Merle’s ex wife Kristen (Molly Sims)

Neither Tiffany nor George says a whole lot in book 2, so I picked actors that I thought might look the part. Apparently, they can act fairly well too.

Tiffany (Laura Vanderoort)

Laura has had lots of bit parts in shows that I have seen, such as Haven and CSI:NY.

George (Drew Gallagher)

Not familiar with his acting, but he looks good and considering the number of lines he has in the book, that’s all that matters.

Yana (Riley Voelkel)
Riley is also from the Originals. She is short and cute and played a cheerleader. I think she can pull of Yana.

Bosley (Claire Holt)
From the Originals. She’s an Australian actress. I can see her more as someone in charge than Billie Piper. Billie seems more the type you’d want to get drunk with, not put in charge of keeping hords of vamps from killing each other. More formal and pulls off dangerous and bitchy very well.

Mr. Day (Jonathan Rhys Meyers)
If you need someone dark and dangerous (and hot...damn) Meyers is my first choice. I remember him from King Henry VIII, City of Bones and Dracula. Okay, so in the book he’s not a nice guy, but I figure if you’re going to have someone dark and dangerous after you, he should at least be good to look at. (I would volunteer to be his personal assistant during the filming...because, damn.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Checking in: I'm doing funerals and I'm still alive

Welcome to my world. Especially when I'm a little odd, and suffering from jet lag (Why am I so tired? Oh, wait, I'm an hour behind New York).

Not too many details here, but things are interesting.  Last year (okay, maybe the year before), I had to clear out my grandmother's brownstone because it looked like an episode of hoarders that had been rejected because it was too horrifying for viewers. This isn't half as bad, but the decedent was, at times, a bit of a nerd-stereotype when it comes to workspace garbage.

Personally? My attitude towards death is simple: "So he's in Heaven or in Purgatory... on his way to Heaven ... why is everyone crying?"  So, you can imagine how hard I have to work to not sound callous or dismissive, or just plain being a heartless robot. Yes, I'm great fun at funerals, but I have to make sure not to sound like I'm enjoying someone being dead.

Thankfully, one of the people left behind understands that, so I don't feel like I'm walking on eggshells.

Also, funerals are expensive. Thankfully, where I am is not New York. It's a little more midwest. So it's not a $10,000 funeral, but damnit, even obits are expensive. Yeesh.

Death, a growth industry that will never actually die out until the universe explodes.

There are additional complications, but so far, all's well.  I'm basically on point for a few groups. I think I'm a representative, but I'm not certain.

Guest Post: Sidekicks (NOT with Chuck Norris.)

So, while I'm off and about in dark territory (known as places outside of New York ..... yes, I kid), Dawn Witzke has offered a guest post.

You might remember Dawn from her guest post in Sad Puppies Bite Back. You might even know her as the one who did the covers for Pius Tales, Origins, and Holidays.

You can find Dawn at her page here.


The past few weeks have been hell for so many people I know, including myself. Friends lately have lost parents, spouses and children. They have struck hard times financially. Relationships of many years and those that are fairly new have or are falling apart.

And problems never seem to come one at a time. They hit a person, one after another until they either crumble from the onslaught or the person fights. In either case, everyone needs a sidekick to catch them when they fall or to give them backup.

I’ve never been big into comics, except Heavy Metal. And, regardless of what Declan says about me living under a rock, I do know a little about some superheros. I was more of a Zorro fan myself, but I have seen a Superman, Batman and Spiderman movie or two in my life. Superheros don’t do things alone. Superman has Lois and Kent, Batman has Robin and Alfred and Spiderman has M.J. and Aunt May. Okay, so there have been a few changes over the years, but, you get the picture. Friends are important.

Everyone needs awesome sidekicks and supporting characters to help them when problems come along and celebrate with them when things go right. A sidekick who will drop everything to step up and help you out. Supporting characters who will provide a shoulder to cry on, a hug, moral support or a strong right hook. They make all the difference in the world when a crisis hits.

But, it’s not enough to have those people as friends, you also have to be that friend who others can lean on for support. It doesn’t require any money or knowledge to give a hug or listen or just be there for another person.

Personally, I like to brag about my friends. They really are pretty amazing. I have my sidekick, Brenda, who I tell everything to. We are complete opposites in so many ways, but we have been through everything together; jobs, college, children, men. We take turns being the sidekick, but it works for us.

There are also my supporting characters aka rest of my friends. They are ones like, Karina, who will do word sprints with me when I’m feeling lazy or some of the guys who I share dirty jobs with. (Yes, I know. Bad Catholic.) There are the ones I can complain with and those who will fawn over cute puppy pictures with me. Each has their own supporting role that is necessary.

Okay, Declan is in a class of his own. There are just some things I do with him that I don’t with my other friends. And no, it’s not what you’re thinking, you pervs.

So what if you don’t have a sidekick and your supporting characters aren’t much support? Or, you just really don’t want anyone to know about the crisis you’re going through? Well, there are generous people out there who give their time to lend an ear to complete strangers. There are hotlines for just about everything, including drugs, alcohol, depression, suicide, abuse, etc. Just put in the crisis you’re going through followed by “hotline” and you’re likely to find a few that apply. You’ll have an instant supporting character on the other end of the line.

Remember to thank your sidekick and supporting characters for being there for you. And make sure you’re there for them. Life is so much better with them around.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Anthologies are here

Item the first, I'm still going to be here as time allows, so I may not be on for a while. Though I'm going to try to upload guest posts should I get any. I've got one or two people who have offered posts. We'll see who follows through.

Item the second, all three books are out on Kindle. Pius Origins  and Pius Holidays, both on Kindle. Pius Tales should be out sometime within an hour or so of this post, on Kindle and paperback.

Pius Origins is out, only $.99


The short stories here include:

One Way to Get out of Jail
Sometimes, a legal defense can be murder.
We Have a Pope!
Spinning a story can go both ways.
Mile High Murder
A killer is roaming an airplane. And no one can stop him. Should anyone try?
Swiss Family Mafia
Being a bill collector can be trying.
Tinker, Tailor, Goyim, Spy
The Bostonian Catholic walks into Mossad. What is this, a joke?

But wait! There's more! Including character interviews and essays on their creation.

Also, ...

Pius Holidays is here, only $.99

Includes some fun stories as

God Hates ... Superman?
Crowd control made easy.
Erin Go Boom
Priest vs. terrorists. Oops.
Boys of the Old Brigade
Beating IRA terrorists 140 characters at a time.
See Something
Say something ... or beat someone's head in.
Let Freedom Ring
Terrorists come to blow up Boston. Nobody can stop them! Thankfully, there's a nobody on call.
Coyote Christmas 
Come for the party, stay for the wild animals.
O Little Town of BethMayhem
Terrorists are going to blow up Bethlehem on Christmas Eve.
Deck the Maul
A mercenary works mall security on Black Friday. Insert your own joke.

And, finally, Pius Tales, for $2.99 in Kindle, and $7.99 in paperback ... link to be posted. Sorry about that, there was a delay. Should be up today. Period.

Includes .... everything from above, plus additional content, essays, commentary, additional stories, story extras -- over ten thousand words of additional content.

Be well, all.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

TONIGHT, on The Catholic Geek: Pirates and Alternate history

The Catholic Geek: Pirates and Alternate history 11/15 by We Built That Network | Culture Podcasts

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Tonight, at 7 PM, EST, I will be talking with Fred Hembach on alternate history, including his latest book, The Devil's Dictum, where the United States of America was founded by pirates.

Frederick Gero Heimbach's fiction has appeared at Every Day Fiction and Liberty Island. He was editor of the podcast Protecting Project Pulp throughout its run. He can be found on the internet as Fredösphere and in the real world as a resident of Ann Arbor, Michigan, along with his family. The Devil's Dictum is his first novel.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Death in the family, Hence a few delays

A few things.

1) Before I say a single word, THIS MONDAY, November 16th, Kindle will see the release of Pius Origins, Pius Holidays, as well as a paperback and Kindle edition of Pius Tales. These will be as dirt cheap as Amazon will let me push them, people.  These are $.99 for the Kindles, and $7.99 for the paperback, and I'll be making them as free as possible as often as possible.

2) The radio show MAY have some interruptions. Why? Because I will not be at my house, at my computer, with my usual toys and scripts and stuff at my fingertips. Also, because I have no idea if the place I'm going will be able to access Blog Talk Radio.  Why? Because BTR is built by absolute dummies.  Also, because I have no idea if I'll have the time to do a two-hour show, and I'm not sure if I can done THIS MINUTE.  I might be able to persuade Matthew Bowman to do the show again for the next week or two, or I may not. So, no idea.

3)  Blog posts will be haphazard for a while. Unless some people want to offer me guest posts.

4) If you want details about who died / who's dying, where died, how died ... no. Sorry. I'm not going to bleed all over the internet. I'm not emo.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Okay, I'll beg: please buy Honor At Stake

You know? I think everything is going well. Maybe. Probably. Honest.

Okay, I have no clue.

Good news...

So, I've got 22 reviews on Amazon (21 of the same on Goodreads). And, really, everybody loves me.

No, really, everybody loves Honor At Stake.

I've even had people who've bought the book as gifts. I'm shocked.

No, really, I'm shocked.

Remember that meme I've been using since Honor At Stake came out? Where did I put it?

Oh, yeah, this one.

I mean it. I really do.

Apparently, at this minute, Amazon has only ten copies left of Honor At Stake.  So, that has to be great, right?


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Music to Write to: Pirates (Taylor Davis)

I heard Peter Hollens do this one, and he didn't really do enough of the main theme for my taste.  This is a good version of it without just going to the HHHAAANNNSSS Zimmer version.

Lucky for her, Lindsey Stirling never did this one.

Monday, November 9, 2015

May the stupid be with you -- Tor on Star Wars, Supergirl and Marvel

Tor, will you people stop being morons for five seconds? Please? That way I don't feel compelled to school your ass?

First, I saw the article on how "Supergirl is a metaphor for Being a Modern Woman," but you know what? I decided to not fisk it from orbit because it was just so stupid.

There's spin, and then there's using the stupid as an alternate energy source.

Especially when I got to the part of "In almost every scene, the Supergirl pilot is about a woman falling short of expectations, usually set by men." ... Except that the most belitting she gets is from her female boss.  Sorry, you have failed this review, this article, and, well, life. Thanks.

But hey, Supergirl is fighting men. And nothing can be good because men exist. And ... tell me how Tor isn't misandrist?

Second, I saw an article literally entitled "Is Marvel Shying Away From A Black Widow Movie Because They Know They’ll Never Get It Right?"  Which is funny because I just saw that Marvel announced a Black Widow movie within the last three months. So congratulations, Tor, you done f**ked it up.  A lot. Again, yet still, already.

Uh huh ... yeah, the entire thing boiled down to the Black Widow "controversy" a few months ago. In short: They're just fretting that Black Widow won't be a feminist movie, because they think their own narratives are the only ones that should be told.

And then, I read through their article asking if Star Wars fans should forgive The Phantom Menace, and if we should.

You know what? That's the point where I realized that Tor is a worthless piece of crap.

Follow this logic, if you can.  The article on Phantom Menace states that at least an hour should be cut from the movie. An hour. After cutting that, you get a tv episode. Maybe less.

And, after going through everything wrong with The Phantom Menace, the article cites a few things that were good about the movie .... and that's it. The article then uses those few breadcrumbs as proof that Star Wars fans should get over ourselves, and seems a little offended that we haven't all ready.

In fact, there is as least one section of the article that states that, well, The Phantom Menace is canon now, and if you don't like it, you can't really be a fan of Star Wars, now can you?

Welcome to hipster-fascism, ladies and gentlemen.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


Yup. That's right.  After 22 Episodes, I am going to take this Sunday off.

After last week's schedule SNAFU that left me on the air by myself for the better part of the first hour, and the fact that I have no guest this Sunday?  

Yeah, I think it's best that I take off this round.

However, we've got a treat tonight, we've got the Novel Ninja, Matthew Bowman, showing up as the guest host for the evening.

You may know Matt Bowman from his personal website. You may even know him from his job as an editor.  You might, at the end of the day, know him from an entry of Sad Puppies Bite Back.

Tonight, he has the head of the local Royal Manticorian Navy, and a priest to discuss the synod, hence the title: Synods and Starships

The Catholic Geek: Synods and Starships 11/08 by We Built That Network | Culture Podcasts

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Terror is also a form of Communication

So when I was going through older posts to repost, I came across this one -- Terror is Also a Form of Communication.

The problem is as I read it, it wasn't actually that interesting. Maybe it's because I'm now at a point in my life where I'm doing nothing by marketing, writing blogs, and writing books -- and the blogs ARE the promotions, etc, etc, et al.

However, I had a theme going, and it just stopped.

So, with your permission, let's start this conversation again...

* * * *

During The Pius Trilogy, and during Honor At Stake, I've had characters who are a little vague. And no, I don't mean mysterious. The most vague characters in both are the most blunt, and the most straightforward, and the person who's seemingly the most willing to tell you exactly what's on his mind.

In Honor, Marco Catalano will tell you exactly what he's thinking if you ask him. Just have to ask. Granted, he won't volunteer what he's thinking, you have to ask, but he'll answer. He is rarely evasive, but even when he is, he can be honest while he's lying. Because truth makes for the best lies.

For Pius, Sean A.P. Ryan is the other end of that spectrum.  mercenary,self-described cleanser of the gene pool, and he lists his resume in terms of property damage and body counts.

Both of these characters are a little intense. Neither have to be evil, despite destruction, chaos and / or death. Heck, just look at comic book characters like Wolverine who slash hordes to pieces all the time, and his kill count is probably somewhere in the thousands by now ... assuming he doesn't get rebooted into being a hippy... And then there's Deadpool ...

But I digress.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Return of Everything

One, yes, I'm back. My guest has left for parts unknown (Iowa is greatly unknown to me) and I am now free and clear to right blogs again. The first thing I did was go over to the Catholic Geeks and pump out some articles, because I like to fulfill my obligations.

And, after finishing those news articles, I have to ask ... What is wrong with everyone lately?  Why is everyone and everything dedicated to reboots?

Okay, in some cases, I understand it. If it's a comic book something, fine, yay.  But why are people bothering bringing back crap that no one liked in the first place?

For example, Star Trek.  I understand bringing back Star Trek, because it's a force to be reckoned with, a franchise that's on the rebound.  So I understand having the return of Star Trek to the small screen.  Granted, in this case, it's smaller than usual, because it's "coming back" to computer streaming services, not to network or cable television. And, since the films are doing so well, it only stands to reason that Star Trek would take another stab at TV.

Star Trek has a fan base. It has some really die hard fans. These fans will cut you if you point out how DS9 ripped off Babylon 5Star Trek is a franchise monster that's on the rebound.

THAT I understand.

But Van Helsing?  Remember that terrible Hugh Jackman film in 2004?  It's coming back, only to the Syfy channel and gender-swapped. And apparently with nothing to do with the original movie. None of the original people behind the film seem to be working on it, none of the cast are released, and it's being brought to us by the channel behind Sharknado.

Who thought this was a good idea? No one liked the original film, it died a horrible death at the box office, and it's so old, no one currently going to college probably even remembers it.  Honestly, it was 2004.  Do you remember that year very well?  It was the year after Lord of the Rings had finished, leaving Harry Potter to continue on inertia. Van Helsing was just a bad film.  And even worse, they've made it Vanessa Helsing -- unless it's Vanessa van Helsing, that means even THE NAME OF THE SHOW IS WRONG.  And if they make her nickname "Van," I'm going to throw rocks at the tv screen. That's such a stupid nickname, no one would swallow it.

Yes, I'm only pissed at the gender-swapping because they've managed to screw up the name in that route.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Music blog: World of Warcraft (Peter Hollens)

How can you not write epic fight scenes and end of the world scenarios written to this music?

After all, this is Warcraft.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Call back blog -- Don't Panic: a writer's guide to disaster

So, this one was originally posted in 2011

As I'm still playing tour guide through tomorrow, I shouldn't have too much in the way of new material. Heck, I barely got the radio show up and running.  That's a funny story for another time.

Anyway, enjoy.  I should be back on Wednesday. I hope.

* * * *

I should start by mentioning that this is going to be less about writing disasters, and more about a character reacting to them.
My characters have all sorts of problems.

In my books, I've had people confronted with Being beaten to deathDestruction of public property, heartbreaka small war, as well as vampires and the end of the world.

In most cases, this is easy for writers to put down. Fear is easy, everyone has experienced it in one way or another.

In my case, not so much.

There are two moments in my life that highlight the reasons my characters react the way they do.

One New Year's eve, I was over at a friend's house.  My sister decided to be helpful in the kitchen, and went to work cutting vegetables with a mandolin slicer.

Somehow, my sister managed to cut off the pad of her little finger.

The husband of the house couldn't look at the sight of blood. The wife felt immediately ill. My sister felt faint from blood loss almost instantly.

I rolled my eyes, sighed, made sure that the severed part clicked into place with the rest of the meat puzzle of my sister's finger, wrapped it, and drove her to the nearest ER.  We were seen immediately, since it was only 6pm on New Year's eve.  Midnight would have been a different kettle of fish, I'm sure.

I didn't freak out before, during, of after the incident. I was mostly annoyed that the evening might be shot to hell.  I went out into the parking lot with my cell phone and started calling people to wish them all a happy new year.  It took about 90 minutes for my sister's nine stitches to put her back together again. And a fun time was had by all.

And this isn't gloating. This isn't "I kept my head while others lost theirs!" moment. This was a moment of irritation, annoyance, and "Damnit, I have to play ambulance driver? Really?"

Now, you could say this happened to someone else. so why should I worry.

Then there was the time I was accused of being a terrorist....

The Catholic Geek: Fred Hembach on Alternate History 11/01 by We Built That Network | Books Podcasts

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Call back blog -- The Mind of the Maker

This post was originally put up over five years ago and yet, this is all still true.

Yes, at the end of the day, characters wander all over the place from where you initially point them. They eventually come back to where you pointed them at the end of the day, but you'd be surprised where they have to ricochet off of to get where you want them to go.

Heck, when I was doing Honor At Stake, I've still got those issues. I had cops and mobsters showing up, when they were never in the book -- not that they weren't planned to take on as big a role as they did, I mean that they were never in the book in the first place.  I had a cop appear at one point because I needed someone to deliver information. He was to never darken my plot ever again.  He wasn't going to be there, period.

By book three, he's got a subplot.

Hell, there is also a mobsters known simply as Enrico, who I based off of Michael Rennie, of The Day the Earth Stood Still, and he was only there so there could be just another bump in the rode. Nope. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just a thing that happens.

Now he's becoming a major player over time. Yeesh.

The fictional people are still taking over my life.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Call back post -- Bad Romance: How to be a Cynical Romantic

This first aired on my blog four years ago.

It's hard to remember that I had a blog for so long.

Anyway, this kind of tells you where I am as far as personal development goes. I went from "I'm a cynical bastard" to writing romance novels. Who knew?

Anyway, the next few days should be very much like this.  I have a guest coming into New York City for the next few days, and I'm going to be playing tour guide all the way.

This one is a little strange to look at.  The profile on Manana has been modified due to image issues, and the original pic is replaced with the lovely and talented author Kia Heavey.  If you haven't read her books, I do recommend them.

Again, there will be several of these over the next few days, so yes, I'll be out and about. There will be a radio show on Sunday, and that should go up, And I may even have a music post squeezed in somewhere.  But I'll be wrapped up until around Tuesday. And, since my blog audience has more than tripled since then, this should be new to a great many people.

Be well, all.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Review: Supergirl

My name is Kara Zor-el” …

And she spent 5 years on an island....

No, wait, that’s Oliver Queen. My, does Greg Berlanti love that opening.

Anyway, a feeling of excitement and dread followed the announcement of a Supergirl show. The media blitz looked like “OMIGAWWWWDDD!!!! A FEMINIST ICON! OH YAY!” I’m not sure if I have properly given a phonetic rendering of a Valley Girl there, but that’s what I was shooting for.

Despite the initial commercial, which looked like it would just be Felicity Smoake (from Arrow) with superpowers, the media buzz around this reeked of Social Justice Warrior, Politically Correct bull. In fact, the closer it got to the air date, the heavier it got. What excitement I had was starting to wane.

Then I saw the pilot.

Monday, October 26, 2015

What is a Jessica Jones?

Oh F**K this is going to be creepy as Hell.

.... Ahem. Anyway. I wanted to get around to doing this one now that we actually have a full trailer, not just bits and pieces scattered all over the universe.  There are possible spoilers ahead -- spoilers for the comics, anyway, not sure about the tv show.

So, in Marvel Comics earlier this century, they had a Marvel "Max" line -- mature content. No nudity, but certainly rated R ... well, R-ish ... especially around language. One of the headline titles was Alias -- no, nothing to do with the TV show of the same name with Jennifer Garner (how's that for 6 degrees of Marvel?).

Anyway, Alias focused around, surprise, Jessica Jones, a former superhero who was now a PI. She's a drunk, she's self-destructive, in a meaningless "purely physical" relationship with another hero, Luke Cage, just so she can feel something, (in quotes because they end up married with a kid by the end, if I recall correctly), and she's a borderline basket case.

In short, she's the poster girl for PTSD. What happened? What could destroy a superhero?

Enter, Zebediah Kilgrave, aka The Purple Man...

No, it's not the dumbest villain name in comic books -- I think that belongs to the Condiment King (yes, really) -- but Kilgrave has two characteristics. 1) Yes, he's purple. 2) He has mind control powers.

And, as you probably noticed in the trailer, Purple Man's favorite trick is telling other people to kill themselves. Originally a Daredevil villain, Kilgrave makes Hannibal Lecter look downright charming and friendly.

And when she was a superhero, Jessica Jones was held captive by Kilgrave for over six months. Because he was having "fun."

And that's how the comic book opened. With the full-blown PTSD aftermath.

So, if you were casting someone who could kill you by talking to you, who would you pick? Every time I asked someone this question, I was told "Vincent D'Onofrio." However, he's playing the Kingpin.

So, who else? Who?

Who indeed?