Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Why I died -- #GamerGate, the Pope, Honor At Stake

So, why was yesterday's post not even a freaking music blog? Because I was dead to the world at that point. Mostly because the last seven days have been ... interesting.

If you didn't hear my radio show on Sunday, the Pope's visit brought out my inner psychosis.

Then again, I've been living in a world where up is down, black is white, and words mean whatever the talking head on television wants them to mean.

I did an article on about How Obama dissed Pope Francis, then expanded on it slightly over over at Catholic Geeks.

Then I talked about how the Pope smacked Obama right back.

Then I explained Vatican standard operating procedure.

Then I banged my head against a wall over how many times the media has lied about the Pope.  This went over so very well, the author John C Wright cited me on his page!  Yay!

As a cure for all of this, I made an article out of a twitter Hashtag: #MakeAMovieCatholic.

Yes, that was the CURE for the insanity. Sad, isn't it?

Anyway, as of now, my sales numbers on Honor at Stake are in flux.  Yes, they're all fluxed up.  I expect that to not get any better this week.  Why?

This guy.

Yup, Jim Butcher just came out with a new book. Enter the 800-pound gorilla.

Of course, I'm one of the people buying said book, so I can't complain too loudly.

Then again, I'm at a point where Amazon is useless for giving me sales numbers, so I have to go by sales  and author rank.  Which is the equivalent of trying to divine my sales by whatever random number Amazon gives me.

And of course on top of that, Honor At Stake isn't just on Amazon, so I might find out that everyone's buying a copy on, say, B&N or some place called Kobo. I'd never know until the check comes in. And no, the check isn't coming in for a while.

However, I have 19 reviews thus far, and I'm told that's a lot, so I must be doing something right.

It's probably not a good plan to beg people to buy the book the same week as Jim Butcher.  Buy Butcher. Because he's Butcher.

If you have any left over cash, then buy my book.

Be well all.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Thanks, I'm dead -- a little #GamerGate, a little Honor at Stake

Yes, I know, I suec. I only did 6 posts last week. And now I'm taking Tuesday off.

One or two things.  Listen to the radio show.  If you don't remember who Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn are, it'll catch you up.  If you do, the short version is: damnit, they've found new ways to screw up.

Honor At Stake is doing great.  With 19 reviews already, before the first month is over with, they are all positive. I suspect now might be your time to buy it.

Anyway ... be well all. I"m going to fall asleep. I'm writing this and posting it manually. So that tells you my day.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Pope In US, then goes home - Please don't come back

I know this sounds anti-Catholic, but the Pope's visit has been the biggest pain in my neck in I don't know how long.  Not his fault ... but still, damn it, I've had more than enough of this crap.

I mean, good God, the amount of crap people believe about Pope Francis is insane.

Gee, the Pope doesn't hate guns, he meant WMDs (as he condemned before the UN)

If you read the actual transcript from Vatican Information service, -- notice that it does not contain the word "gun" at all. 

If you read the breakdown at the Catholic Geeks, it's spelled out even more that the Pope doesn't like WMDs because he specifically said weapons of genocide.

And to top THAT off, the Pope went to the UN and specifically mentioned WMDs. How much more do people need? How many times does he have to say WMDs before people realize he meant WMDs?

Of course, "The Pope Hates Money. He's a dirty Commie."

Oh for God's sake. the original quote was: "And behind all this pain, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea called 'the dung of the devil' -- an unfettered pursuit of money." Looks like he meant greed, to me.

Oh yeah, and he talked about how the economy needs reform while he was in Latin America. Considering how many companies who invest in that part of the world plan to pull out in ten years before the government confiscates everything, And oh, look, "people come before profits." I'm shocked, shocked I say.
Does the Pope seem to believe in man-made climate change, and that's annoying, but can't have everything. ...However, he DOES NOT believe in the standard nihilist bullcrap that comes with the usual crowd of fascists. Nor has he supported any of their conclusions (Earth is Gaia and Man Must DIIIIEEEEE!!!!!!)

As for the environment he keeps talking about, though, you might notice something strange. His "environment" talk includes human industry and human ecology as part of nature. Had one listened to his UN speech, his "environment" includes natural law, individual rights, the family. Because that's the only way that his talk of "war hurts the environment" that really makes sense. Toxic waste isn't part of the usual munitions.  But in his UN speech, he noted, gee, war impacts the environment by trampling on humana rights, tears apart families, which are the bedrock of the state.

Come on, human ecology and human industry as part of the environment? That's something even Ayn Rand would approve of -- or so I'm told by fans of Ayn Rand.

And then, some of my favorite right wingers are going off the rails ... though in one case that might not be his fault.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

TONIGHT on Radio Show: ShadowDancer, #GamerGate, Ninjas, and Tom Knighton

 Yup. GamerGate has come to the radio show. Things will be interesting.

Remember, the show starts TONIGHT at 7PM, EST.  You can listen in here, but there is also a call in number and a chat room at the main page for the show.

Check Out Culture Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with We Built That Network on BlogTalkRadio

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Review: Scream Queens
Holy Hell, that was the most bizarre show I think I've sat through (and tolerated) in years. Perhaps ever.

Imagine one of the vapid sorority girls from Buffy The Vampire Slayer ... the movie ... and imagine one of them narrating a serial killer movie. If you think it's going to be bizarre, yeah, that's about right. Including one victim who sent out a tweet as she's being murdered.

Statements I've made during this program included "Off the wall insane," "deranged."

Let's start with Jamie Leigh Curtis as Dean Munsch, who hates the local sorority, Kappa Kappa Tau. In her efforts to crush them, Munsch insists that Kappa let in everyone, without filters. The head of Kappa is named Chanel, and her minions are Chanel #2, #3, etc. And oh yes, Chanel is the narrator.

Our heroine -- I assume -- is Grace, whose mother, a Kappa sister, died giving birth to her. Grace discovers this hate-filled mean girls reunion, and plots to take them down after an incident kills their maid / cook (nicknamed "White Mammy").
Meanwhile, you have a man in a red devil costume murdering at least four people over the course of the first hour. And, yes, I stopped watching somewhere after an incident where a lawnmower decapitated "Deaf Taylor Swift" (yes, really). This doesn't include the acid bath for the first corpse. And ... well, murder #2 had the killer (in full costume) having a face-to-face text conversation with his victim -- the last text being "I'm going to kill you now." And of course, "White Mammy" had her face burned off after being thrust face first into a deep fryer.

Random line: "I Googled blood oath and this is what came up."

Sigh. Just ... part of the problem is that none of these people are really likable. Grace has some virtues, but not much of a personality. She's noble and virtuous and is going to make Kappa about sisterhood once again! (Even though it's clear from the opening prologue in the 90s that it wasn't).

The Kappa girls are strange varieties of "conservative" (backing Jeb Bush? Really?). Jamie Leigh Curtis' Dean is a former leftie who hates the Kappa girls and how "they bitch about being objectified while dressing like sluts!" ... while at the same time, she's sleeping with a male student.

Yeah, don't worry, politics aren't really a reason to stop watching. The (deliberately, and caricatured) vapid characters, an overdose of insanity, or gruesome murders, might not be your cup of tea. And oh, yes, we've got a narration peppered with enough slurs to be distracting (referring to new pledges as "gashes," sluts, the Dean as "Box-Munsch-er") unless you're really used to men's locker rooms (and I might be insulting the men's locker room.)

This might be someone of interest for people who have a high insanity threshold, or really enjoyed the satirical aspects of the Scream films. I'm keeping a wide berth of this one. And this one? I'll happily never watch again.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Review: the Player
Wait, hold on -- Wesley Snipes is allowed on television? I thought he was condemned to be doing direct to DVD films for the rest of his natural life. But, I guess that's what happens when the IRS is on ones back.

Anyway, The Player opens with Snipes over a dead body....

And then, time for something completely different. Oh look, a main character, named Alex Kane. More importantly, he can act.

Enter Ex-FBI agent Alex Kane, now a security consultant. He thinks on various levels, is observant, and is a little insane. We have the standard James Bond-like opening to show off Kane's skills -- including jumping off a roof to swing in through a hotel room window in order to foil an assassination.

In short, the opening is very much like Human Target ... another show I miss.

When Kane's ex-wife (who he is still very, very friendly with -- as in showering together with) is murdered, his pursuit and capture of the killer is interrupted by Cassandra King (played by Charity Wakefield). Kane is, of course, accused of the murder, and adopted by a Mr. Johnson (Snipes). Johnson and King run a unique gambling ring where the bored super-rich predict and bet on crime...Because they're not going to always bet on black.

Yes, someone on NBC saw Person of Interest, and decided that they could come up with something similar. But then again, so did Fox and Minority Report.

Now, while I'm all for private enterprise, but this strikes be as a little ridiculous. Snipes didn't exactly help encourage me with this particular ad campaign. And placing bets on crime because it's predicted solely by data analysis? This part of the show is far too much like Person of Interest. As long as this conceit doesn't turn into a plot with a killer AI dueling another one, this may not be a problem. We'll see.

However, the action is tight, Kane is likable, with enough character to show promise. Granted, Snipes is overacting while trying to underplay it, and he's failing miserably ... but Snipes is on for maybe two minutes at a time, so it isn't a drawback.

At the end of the day? It's fun. It's a nice, simple, straightforward action show. Almost 24-ish in nature. I'll be watching it again.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

TV Review: Limitless

This show is based off of the film of the same name. While I have never seen it (nor had I heard of it at the time), I have gathered that the film Limitless  starred Bradley Cooper. In it, Cooper plays Edward Morra, a fellow who has gotten his hands on a drug called NZT. NZT is supposed to enable a person to use 100% of their brain -- because it's working on the myth that humans use only 5% of our brains (we actually use all of it, it's just used for various and sundry functions).

In the tv show, Bradley Cooper is back as Morra, and has chosen a random schlub, Brian Finch, a wannabe musician, to grace with doses of NZT. This of course brings him to the attention of the FBI, as represented by Jennifer Carpenter (Debra Morgan from Dexter), and Hill Harper (the first ME from NCIS: NY).

Anyway, Limitless starts in mid-action, backtracks to Finch's personal history as a failure, as well as his father's (Ron Rifkin, Alias) medical issues. And even though it's only a few minutes, they didn't need to layer on the "loser" factor so much. 

Yes, it took five, maybe six minutes of the episode before Finch gets his NZT and becomes interesting, but God, I hated it. I wanted to give up on it in a matter of minutes, that's how heavily they layered it on.

But, enter the NZT, and we're off to the races -- were Finch can file hundreds of personnel records, doing Flight of the Bumblebee on an electric guitar, diagnosing his father's ailment, etc..

Of course, Finch becoming interesting comes at a price. His original NZT dealer (not Cooper's character) is murdered, he's found with the body at the crime scene, and in order to get away from the FBI, Finch is off and running. And that's the 20-minute mark.

The pilot progresses to a simple premise: people who are using NZT at a law firm are showing up dead, being murdered for this super-smart pill. After a confrontation with the killer, Finch is wounded, and Morra -- now a Senator -- has to come to the rescue, providing more NZT, and a shot to prevent side effects (which includes death).

So of course, Finch finds the bad guy, the FBI recruits him as a consultant, and a tv show is born.

Really, at the end of the day, I can only suspect that someone watched Sherlock and decided "We need to go full Cumberbatch, because smart people are entertaining." Some of the same tricks are used -- the graphics to represent thought, stopping the action to go through his thought processes. He hasn't used a memory palace yet, but he's already used a perfect memory to connect a collection of dots. And it's interesting in that when the pull wears off, Finch isn't exactly a dummy.

Honestly? The show is strangely engaging. It's fun. I'm surprised. In fact, I thought I was going to turn it off in the first five minutes. But, as pilots go, it wasn't so bad. And it might go somewhere. Right now, this was a proof of concept episode. And I'm good with that.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Review: Minority Report

Having disliked the original Minority Report film with Tom Cruise, I was nevertheless intrigued by the ads for the new TV show. It looked like an interesting science fiction police procedural. In fact, it looked so good, it reminded me of Almost Human.

You know, the wholly original premise that Fox cancelled in the Spring of 2014?

If you don't remember the film Minority Report, the premise was "pre-crime," and people were arrested on the word of three precognitives. The MacGuffin for the film was simple: one of the three telepaths disagreed with the predictions, and someone considered "Hey, maybe we should arrest people for things that the actually do." The film ended with the universal agreement that the entire "pre-crime" program was a bad idea.

So, this show opens with cops complaining about the good old days when they stopped murders before they happened. Yup, that's right. Completely and utterly forgetting the point.

All I can think at that point is, well, DIDN'T YOU PEOPLE SEE THE MOVIE?

I can tell you right there, I had some problems with the show the minute they bitched about the good old days of pre-crime.

Then they decided to stop the setup references to the movie and actually start acting like cops who have some idea of how to do their job.

Of course, our story opens with one of the three "Precogs" from the film, who is still getting flashes of murders in the future. He's so concerned about these flashes, he tries to stop the murders in progress. And fails. He tips off the lead investigator about his visions, and the perp commits suicide rather than be arrested. Then, because no television cop can every be happy with a closed case that requires no paperwork, the investigator easily tracks down our Precog, just in time for him to have another vision.

That was the first twenty minutes. And I can honestly say that I stopped caring.

I have to ask, was there one good reason this had to be Minority Report? Yes, I know that it's over ten years old and that the teens who saw in in the theater are now money-spending adults. Yes, I know that nostalgia sells. But the movie wasn't even that good, and there is so little connection to the film, the name is really the only end result.

And when they try to connect it to the film, that's when the show goes off the rails (to be explained below).

I'll freely admit that Minority Report had some cute moments and some fun bits of business. The cops have contact-lens HUDs with infrared scanners and crime scene reconstruction right out of Batman: Arkham Origins, and reacted like Tony Stark's user interface in the Marvel film.

And that, of course, Batman isn't the only video game that the stole from. They also ripped off a few character designs from Mirror's Edge, up to and including an Asian female with eye tattoos.

In short, it was nice to see some of the various and sundry bits of cute technology. But at the end of the day, I'd rather have Almost Human return. DO YOU HEAR ME, FOX EXECS, YOU LOUSY BASTARDS?

The acting was ... okay, I guess. The older precog, who operated alongside Tom Cruise's character in the movie, is fraught with concerns about changing the future, blah blah, let's hide in the middle of nowhere forever, blah blah, CAN WE HAVE A STORY?

And these people ... really don't have a character. One is "cop" and the other is "plot device," and that's about the extent of it. The driving force of one is "cop," and the other is "I have to act on these visions because I get these visions." Seriously, just say "With great power comes great responsibility" and be done with it why don't you?

At the end of the day ... I just don't care. I don't care about these people, I don't care about this setup, and for the love of God, if you want a show about precrime, go watch Person of Interest and be done with it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Music to write to: Amaranthe - Future On Hold


And some good music.

But, before we get to that, some reviews.

One ... at a romance blog.  No, really. A romance blog -- a pink, frilly romance blog -- read my book and liked it.

And at an "Awesome SFF Book and Movie Reviews" blog, I got 4.75 out of 5 stars ... yes, really.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Agents of SHIELD, a roundup

This is every blog done on Agents of SHIELD thus far. Yes, I know I did a roundup in the article the other day, but this is backup, someplace one person can go and say "Okay, let me run the checklist."

By mid-season, I was starting to wonder what the bloody blue Hell is going on on this frigging show!

When Forbes chimed on on the situation, they dismissed "those nitpicking nerds crying over wanting a tie-in show." That's when I took Forbes out to the woodshed and I beat them over the head with their idiocy.

Then I discussed how the show got better after Winter Soldier came out. Because they were allowed to actually have a plot.

Then it ended with Samuel L. Jackson as the deus ex muthaf*&ka himself, Nick Fury.  In short, the last sex episodes were kinda fun.

And I declared that Agents of SHIELD no longer sucked.  Yay! We're doing spy crap on a spy show!. And having comic book characters on a comic book show!  Wow, who would have thought?

Meanwhile, over at The American Journal, I had a conversation about the ten reasons why Arrow beat the ever-loving crap out of AoS.

Later, I tried to tie Agents of SHIELD in with the rest of the MCU, or at least see where it was going.

And I gave it an offhand positive review middle of last season.

And then there was my overall look at season 2 with some thoughts on what I know of season 3.  In short.... it may not suck.  Eventually.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Agents of SHIELD, Agents of Suck or Agents of Meh?

The TV season is almost back on, so I figured it was time to start my review of, well, last season.  And I decided to start with my usual punching bag, Marvel's TV show Agents of SHIELD

Until I went looking, I didn't know how much space Agents of SHIELD had sucked up on the blog.  I really didn't.  It pissed me off so badly, I've blown about eight blog posts, and God only knows how many words on this.

By mid-season, I was starting to wonder what the bloody blue Hell is going on on this frigging show! Sexual relationships with actors who are 22 years apart?  Ick. Just ... no.

Meanwhile, over at The American Journal, I had a conversation about the ten reasons why Arrow beat the ever-loving crap out of AoS. And I had to cheat to expand the reasons why AoS had anything at all to offer.

When Forbes chimed on on the situation, they dismissed "those nitpicking nerds crying over wanting a tie-in show." That's when I took Forbes out to the woodshed and I beat them over the head with their idiocy.

Then I discussed how the show got better after Winter Soldier came out. Because they were allowed to actually have a plot.

Then it ended with Samuel L. Jackson as the deus ex muthaf*&ka himself, Nick Fury.  In short, the last six episodes were kinda fun.

And I declared that Agents of SHIELD no longer sucked by season two.  Yay! We're doing spy crap on a spy show!. And having comic book characters on a comic book show!  Wow, who would have thought?

Later, I tried to tie Agents of SHIELD in with the rest of the MCU, or at least see where it was going.

In short, it's been a fairly long while since I mentioned Agents of SHIELD.  I had more to say about it when it was a just plain crappy show that I wanted to become interesting.

So, what happened in Season 2?  Spoilers, if you care.

Agent Coulson starts rebuilding SHIELD after the events of The Winter Soldier, using tech and facilities of the old SHIELD, but rebuilding the personnel.  How we can have anything left over from the old SHIELD if Winter Soldier spilled those secrets all over the internet?  No idea.  Presume that Nick Fury had secrets he never put in computer files, and that only he knew about -- secrets that include Coulson's continued, postmortem existence.

Granted, for this to work, it must include every old, Peggy Carter-era facility, as well as several helicarriers that Coulson has in store for Avengers: Age of Ultron. But that came later.

So, those are the plot holes for EPISODE 1.

Music to write to: Babylon 5: Into the Fire

Okay. A few things.

One, a new review of Honor At Stake comes to us from the award-winning author Karen Kelly Boyce.  Let's just say that if you wanted a Catholic review of the book, you're going to really get it from Karen there.

Other things.  Well, we're up to sixteen reviews on Honor At Stake.  Yes, 16, already.  That's already better than one review a day.  I wish I had known that this would be the case when I started. I would have done ARC copies many moons ago. And many books ago.

I'm sorry if I'm starting to slow down, or the quality of these posts are dropping. I'm doing my best, but most of my days are spent marketing. Or planning for marketing.

Anyway, our music today is the final cut I've got left of all the B5 music from the long ago departed video game.

Enjoy all.

I'm going to take a nap.

Monday, September 14, 2015

#MondayBlogs - Honor at Stake: Government Work

Were I a betting man, I would bet that government will screw up more things than they solve. Why? Go to the DMV and tell me how great government is. Hell, the USPS is  protected from competition by the government, regulated by congress, and is backlogged by tens of thousands of packages. This doesn't even count corrupt politicians.

So what does this have to do with Honor at Stake?

Enter Merle Kraft.

Merle Kraft is one of three -- that we know of -- Kraft brothers.  Merle Eurasian with midnight blue eyes.  Tal is a six-foot black fellow ... with midnight blue eyes.  Dalf is black ... Irish, with -- you guessed it -- midnight blue eyes

It was an offhand statement from my father when I was in high school, maybe early college.  Merle would be a government operative who opened safes ... without safe-cracking tools.  Tal would be a stage magician.  Dalf would be ... something darker. More of that old time religion.

Of course, if you haven't figured it out, these are only their nicknames.  They are Merlin, Taliesen, and Dalf.

Over time, Merle became more of an X-File sort of person.  While he has not met a vampire, he insists that he has a few people in his chain of command because people who read his AARs went insane. He'd never really pinned down anything, or had enough evidence to say "Ah-ha! This was a demon!" Usually, there isn't enough left of the perps to prove if it was something monstrous, or just a Scooby-Doo villain.  But he's had enough run-ins with this sort of thing that he has his own thoughts on the matter.

And he really wants to be wrong.

Seriously, it's bad enough that his brother Dalf taunts him a lot.  Also, when someone took a picture of Dalf once, his eyes glowed red for a few minutes afterwards -- not the photo, Dalf; the camera never worked again after that.  The SD card had the computer virus from Hell, apparently.

So, if there are so many people -- military men and even spies, and Vatican ninjas -- who know of or ran into vampires, why does Merle not know anything about it?  If the army didn't kick it up the chain of command, surely someone else would have, like a spy. Someone should know something.

Well, that part is complicated, and has to do with book two ... and a bit of book three. Let's just say there was a lot of shredding going on in the 90s. And many, many things were never put down in the computer system.

When Merle Kraft is brought into the story, an FBI agent has been murdered. Which, of course, wouldn't be a problem that required Merle ... if it hadn't been the fifth FBI agent to be killed on the same investigation. At which point, Merle ends up facing another adversary who seems stronger and faster and virtually indestructible.

Afterwards, he gets a visit from a redhead named Amanda Colt ... and then Merle's life gets so, so much stranger.

I almost feel sorry for him. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Tonight on the Catholic Geek: Jonathan Ryan of Ave Maria Press

Yes, this is very late in the day.

I'm talking with an author and writer from Ave Maria press.

Check Out Books Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with We Built That Network on BlogTalkRadio

Friday, September 11, 2015

Honor At Stake, 9-11, and New York fiction

As was mentioned, I've got two main characters for Honor At Stake.

As I've also mentioned, they are both New Yorkers ... well, the vampire has lived in my fair city for about 25 years, so that confers some sort of status of citizenship.

Which means that both of them were in town when 9-11 happened.

The human was about five or six, and got to watch it live, and in person, in the borough across the river, Brooklyn.  Yup.  My character watched the whole thing happen live.  Even remembers the snow on the ground that wasn't even snow. It was ash.

The vampire remembers 9-11 just as well, but couldn't go outside until the towers fell. The ash and dust blocked out the sun, and, well, a vampire didn't really need to breathe in all of that mess, so could go outside at that point.

But before that, the vampire could see the towers fall over and over again on tv, because cable made it possible to watch the second plane strike over, and over and over again, because this was before everyone having an iPhone, and we didn't see the first hit until later.

One character could only barely understand that an airplane had hit buildings, and that people were falling out of the windows -- couldn't hear the impact, but a young imagination is more than enough to fill in that particular blank.

The vampire understood what was happening perfectly well, and wondered how many thousands dead wouldn't be reported, because vampires went up in flame and fire and sunlight from broken windows.

One would grow up to become a monster. The other wished that vampires were bigger monsters -- and hungry for Islamofascists.

You see, I won't say that the world changed for me on 9-11. I had always known that Islamic terrorists needed to either stay home and kill each other, let the Israelis kill them, or be killed by us.  I always knew that blowing up some random stuff when they did something stupid was a bad idea -- they knew what we would do, where we would bomb, and suffered not at all for what we did with a few bombs. I had always known that Osama bin Laden would have been better off six feet under.

Before 9-11, I had figured that Islamofascism would die a slow death, along the line of Darwin,  Yes, as I stated before, I would have been happy to have offed Saddam in the 90s, or invade Sudan to stop the ongoing genocide, but I figured no one would do it for purely humanitarian reasons.

After 9-11, kill 'em all.

Will it follow me and all of my characters for all the days of my life? Maybe. I honestly don't know. It's possible. Codename: Winterborn would not have happened without it.  And I can honestly say that Honor at Stake wouldn't have happened without it.  Not only has it affected me, and the characters, but it shaped the story the first time out.

I have a space opera that I wrote back in the 90s that has undergone some serious revision as far as the bad guys are concerned. It's not entirely influenced by the evil of 9-11, but there are echoes and elements here and there.

Victor Davis Hansen, in his book Ripples of Battle, examined how small battles -- some that people never even heard of -- have lasting effects, touching all sorts of things. With 9-11, it might well have created the next generation of politicians out of vets from the sandbox. Maybe you have a few people who lost someone, and they become a President of the United States who nukes Mecca. No idea.

But I know that 9-11 has definitely shaped these books, and my characters, and large parts of the way I think and approach things.

And, right now, I also know that I will never forget. I don't think my brain will let me.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Revenge of Honor At Stake

One thing that I've been noticing lately is that I've gotten a few people who have encouraged me to do sequels to Honor At Stake.

This includes Dawn's little tribute that looks like something out of Misery.

This also includes someone who has suggested manacling me to a desk to get me to write faster.

And other such comments that include murder, maiming, torture, and other variations on "get it done NOW."

Fun fact: Book two is under contract already, and merely awaits editing and publishing. Book three is also written, but not under contract yet, because I kinda have time.

However, Eternal Press will not pick up book two unless book one sells well. Right now, we've got 13 reviews, and they're all good.  Not bad for day 9.

Anyway, I've got two running storylines throughout the quartet.  One is the relationship of Marco and Amanda. I make certain that there is visible progress throughout the books. The other is the threat of book one ... which is a lot bigger than at first glance. Which is pretty much evident by the ending.


Yes. For the record, it's a quartet.  At least for the primary threat. I've been thinking of expanding the series beyond just four.

And, yes, book 4 is half written.

Pardon me. But I"m writing this at midnight. I'm going to fall down in short order for some odd reason. Because apparently, sleep is required for basic human function.  Huh. Who knew?

Short version: books will be coming.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Music to Write to: Babylon 5 video game music returns

Why a music blog today?

Because I expect to brace for impact with all of the anti GamerGate folks trolling the internet.

Because I've spent a lot of time yesterday spreading reviews of the book everywhere, I've been beta-reading someone else's book, and because I've had people tell me that they can't write to music that has lyrics.

Yes, I've been busy.

And so, it brings us to today's music choice.

A while ago, I posted some bits of soundtrack from the aborted Babylon 5 video game.

Now, parts of this soundtrack will sound familiar if you kept up with every last bit of business that Babylon 5 has done since then -- like Legend of the Rangers or The Lost Tales.

Sit back, relax and enjoy.

.... And listen to it as you read Honor At Stake

What? You didn't think I was going to go an ENTIRE day without mentioning it once, did you? I have a publisher to answer to now. :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Anita Sarkeesian, #GamerGate, and Writing 101

Beware, this is going to have a lot of stupid. LOTS of stupid.

And plenty of blood.

Now, as I mentioned yesterday, I'm going to take a whack at #GamerGate's easiest target, Anita Sarkeesian -- the smirking brunette you see in the video below. Why "easiest"?  Because this pseudo-academic makes so many statements that proves she doesn't play video games, it would embarrass anyone who had even an inkling of shame.

Luckily, Sarkeesian doesn't have any, which is why she's part of the anti-GamerGate crowd.

And, yes, I know that, when you look at the attached video, there's a statement of Anita's at the one-minute mark that has her stating out loud that she is "not a fan of video games," while at the same time portraying herself as an "honest critic who is also a fan."

Seriously, Anita, turn it off, no one is buying it anymore. The internet is forever.

As I said, this is going to be a writing blog. Will it also take a few swipes at the anti-GG crowd? Mostly insofar as I'm pointing out standard, basic writing devices that have been used all over the place, and yet have been presented here as something only done to women.

And some of these claims?  Some of these are not only stupid, but slanderous.

You do not *have* to watch the following video, but if you do, be warned, there will be CGI blood and violence.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Politics of the blog, Writing, of #GamerGate

Usually, on a federal holiday, I don't bother posting anything. I just post a music blog. Mostly because no one swings by.  But that was before Sad Puppies brought a slough of people for the blog. for today, I'll just make it short.

So, last week when I explained why, now that Sad Puppies III was over, I was not going to be playing with #GamerGate, and the band of nuts who have declared themselves the enemies og GamerGate.  While there is substantial overlap between the Anti-GG crowd and the Puppy Kickers, the former seem to be even freakier and more deranged than the latter. And, while I'm all for beating up on pederasts, I'm not interested in playing with folks who think defending such a creature.

Then I got a comment telling me that they'd by Honor At Stake because I'm on the right side.

And it has occurred to me that I should have dived into politics years ago. Why? Simple enough, I suppose.  I generally read people who share at least some core beliefs with me. Father Andrew Greeley was an old school Chicago Democrat, but still a Catholic priest, and that gave us enough commonalities to get me interested in his works ... that and because I grew up with his entire body of work around the house.  John Ringo and Larry Correia are as conservative as any prepper, and they're both just plain fun.

So of course people are going to shop based upon personal politics.  It just makes sense. Perfectly reasonable. Why didn't I think of that years ago?

Because I just hate it so much.

Every time I've spoken of politics, well, you can find the posts easy enough.  I generally don't fit easily into any box. I'd be a big-L libertarian, but I'm not an authoritarian (if you ever meet a big-L libertarian, you'll find that it's their way or none at all).  I'd be a regular, plain old libertarian, but abortion disturbs me in ways I have trouble describing. I'd be Republican but lately, Republicans and Democrats both seem more interested in political power than doing, you know, what's right for the country.

I guess I'm a libertarian with conservative leanings?  The CATO institute once described themselves as being for machineguns and marijuana.  I can almost get behind that, I just hope they aren't for both at the same time.  Right now, I am so, so tempted to legalize every drug imaginable, tax the crap out of it, and let the drug users OD -- but every country to have done that thus far has had their economies tank.

Anyway, expect a slight uptick in political speech on this blog. I might even go after some of the stupid statements of Anita Sarkeesian.  Why? Because I can tie them into writing. How?  Heh heh heh.  Just wait and see. You'll find out.

But, until then, enjoy your copies of Honor at Stake.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

TONIGHT ON THE CATHOLIC GEEK: Michelle Buckman and Death Panels

Remember all the really freaking horrific crap going on with Planned Parenthood?

Meet the woman who predicted it 20 years ago.

Tonight, 7PM, EST.  You can listen to it here, live, or in the archive.

Or go to the main page for the call-in number, and the chat room.

Check Out Books Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with We Built That Network on BlogTalkRadio

Friday, September 4, 2015

Within Temptation - I Don't Wanna (and Reviews)

Yup. Another music blog. Because it's been a long week, it's late and I've been busy doing marketing on every last Facebook group that would even give me the time of day. About six hundred of them. Yes, really. So I'm a little out of it.

Before we get to the music....

First: The Otherwhere Gazette has given me a good review on Honor At Stake.

Second: My acquaintance Nissa also gave a review on her site.

Third: the Amazon reviews aren't too bad either. I may not suck at this.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

#GamerGate, #SadPuppies, Honor At Stake

I'm really running out of things to say about Honor at Stake aside from "please buy the book," but I don't want to come off as that desperate in the first week. Maybe when week two starts ... on Sunday.

But, seriously, I hate marketing. It really almost makes me want to get into another Sad Puppy fight.... but if I really wanted to, I could go into a fight over GamerGate, I suppose, even though there's not really a connection. Yes. GamerGate. That's back again, but then, it's never really left.

For the record, GamerGate is not about the "Quinnspiracy," but came hot upon the heels, so the lines are blurred.**

I'd get into the GamerGate mess the way I did with Sad Puppies, but my most recent exposure is, well, news reports about how an anti-GamerGate trans person looks far, far, far too hard at a 6-year-old cousin while she's wearing a swimsuit.  And, of course, all of the anti-GamerGate CHORF bastards are backing the pederast.

So. Yeah, it gets that messy.

I'm pretty darn sure I don't want to play with this level of screwed up right now.  Sure, Arthur Chu was a little rapey, but mostly came off like he was a schmuck.  Scalzi appears to be an arrogant snot, but who cares? And David Gerrold really does seem to scream Vox Day a lot. Then there's George RR Martin, who should try writing a book someday.

But I am not going to start fighting with people who feel the need to defense incest and pederasty.

Don't fight with a pig. You just get dirty, and the pig likes it.

You want my POV on video games and how and racist, and blah blah blah, Vox Day they are? That's easy.  I'll let the lesbian gamer go into detail about that -- HINT: she is not, in any way, a fan of the anti-GG crowd.

So, I won't say that I'm an active supporter of GG.  I tripped over "Daddy Warpig" on Twitter when the Puppy Kickers dragged him into the Hugos, saying he rigged the process with a handful of tweets -- 20 to be precise.

Yes. Every time you see how "GamerGate rigged the Hugos," that is what the claim is based on. Twenty tweets.  Nice, huh?

The last thing I need is to dive into more politics at this point. Then again, I'm sure that everyone in GamerGate would be perfectly happy if they were left alone to enjoy their video games. But then again, GamerGate is perpetuated by the anti-GGs trying to claim that gaming culture is dead and Vox Day.

Seriously, Vox isn't Darth Vader, people, leave him the Hell alone. Grow up. Bother somebody else. Maybe he won't make it his full time job to make fun of you.

As for me, I should probably note that Sad Puppies 4 has begun.  And I tossed my hat into the ring for the hell of it.  Not because I really think I've got a hope in hell of winning a Hugo, but there really is no such thing as bad PR.  Just ask Vox Day.  Hell, his books making fun of Scalzi and Co have already outsold Scalzi.  Proving that it sometimes pays to have the right enemies.

But then again, I have always believed that you can tell a lot about people by their enemies.

As for right now, I shouldn't HAVE TO be begging about sales just yet.  By day 3, I have 8 reviews, and 6 are verified by Amazon. 7 of them are 5-stars. Yay

My reaction? You want to know how I feel?

**Quinnspiracy -- Game designer Zoe Quinn's messy and public breakup with her boyfriend, where she may or may not have been sleeping around with her boss as well as game reviewers.

**GamerGate -- in which a group of gamers who believe that there is collusion among game reporters to spin a politically correct CHORF/ SJW message against gamers and gamer culture, and make games "acceptable" to good, old-fashioned Soviet reprogramming. This includes Anita Sarkeesian and her ilk, who insist that video games are all racist, homophobic, misogynistic, and just scream Vox Day already, why don't you? 

New Yorkers for Vampires

New York is more than just the buildings. New York is definitely more than the hundred thousand asshats who are supposedly our representatives to the rest of the country -- yes, I think the hipsters, the Village people, and the "Manhattan is an island off the coast of Europe" crowd may top only 100,000 in a city of 8,000,000.

Okay, a gross exaggeration.  That may come to a million total.  But voter apathy in New York being what it is, it creates for a strange government.

While everyone wants to say that New York is Bloomberg or Al Sharpton, or Tony Danza, every New Yorker I know would rather have Rudy Giuliani back.

My point is that New York is the people.

Granted, half of the pedestrians want a Darwin award (some of whom will practically dare you to hit them), and the other half will time the traffic so they don't have to wait for the light (that's me).

As I've noted before, the motto of New York is somewhere between cherchez le buck (follow the money) or "Leave me alone and I won't hurt you."  Libertarian?  Maybe more moderate than anything else.

So, what happens when the monsters come to town?

The first people who'll notice are doctors.  The victims rolled into the ER. Once the victims start to pile in, the ER will notice that something's off. Then the local high-risk population will start to notice (hookers, runaway, gypsies, tramps and thieves) because they'll be the ones targeted first.  This will in include local street gangs. Then the cops will notice after a while, because that's what criminal informants are for.

When it stops being the high risk population, and starts going into "respectable" homes and neighborhoods, and victims, that's when everyone else starts to notice.

Except that the high-risk population is used to violence.

Criminals have been known to have grown up with police officers on the same block.

Everyone knows everybody else, or can at least find somebody who does.

So when a street cop has to put three into the face of a vampire and the vamp turns to dust when his head comes off, they form a band of brothers who are in the know, and try to stay very, very quiet about it before they end up in the booby hatch.

When the cops and the street gangs start to open carry crucifixes, they notice each other and understand.

When the street gangs gain the attention of a smart mobster, whose own men are starting to buy it, he's going to muscle in.

And then somebody will have to make them all play nice. Probably at gunpoint.

And this doesn't even begin to include what happens when the local Vampire Association starts to notice and decide that this new threat to humans is a threat to their existence -- that's book 2.

That's one of the things about the "big city"  -- I would argue that New York isn't one. It is a collection of towns and areas and shires. Bayside is not Flushing. Howard Beach looks nothing like Breezy Point. Jamaica Estates looks nothing like Jamaica Avenue. The Bronx is not Staten Island. One side of Northern Parkway, Crown Heights looks nothing like the other. Greenwich Village isn't Williamsburg .... though I suppose there is some crossover.

My section of Queens, in less than a square mile, has a Buddhist temple, the Sikhs, two Catholic churches, two black churches (hats and gloves for the women, ties for the men, period).  The synagogue is maybe two miles from the Buddhist temple ... and the Greek Orthodox church.

New York is many, many things. Hipsters, elitists, snobs, Hasids and gangstas, the Irish of Breezy point, the Italians of Howard Beach. and most of us are just regular people who merely want to get through the day.

But if you f*** with us, we will bring some holy hell down on you.

Welcome to New York. Where the vampires will play nice, or the vampires will burn.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Honor At Stake and New York City

I'm really running out of things to say about Honor at Stake aside from "please buy the book," but I don't want to come off as that desperate on the second day it's been released. The begging comes later. Maybe on day three. :)

I would have released this blog post much earlier -- around 10 hours earlier -- but I was busy marketing. All day.  Welcome to social media hell 101.  It almost makes me want to get into another Sad Puppy fight.

But for a moment, let's talk about where I grew up. 

Yes, I'm a New Yorker. I've mentioned it here and there, but I don't think I've ever discussed it in detail.

I live in a corner of they city that in no way resembles a city.  This isn't the wild and winding roads of suburbia, held under the tyranny of homeowners' associations and whatever whim they have this week.  We're under the general tyranny of the New York City government, but the current mayor is such a schlub, he can't even be an effective tyrant. The gun laws are a little insane (Arresting tourists who carry legal weaponry? Really?), but I await New York's version of the Supreme Court decisions Heller or Posner.  Then things will get odd.

Keep in mind, I like the city, not the government.  Also, I like the entire city, which includes five boroughs, including Queens, my little corner of odd.

And Queens, for the record, is not Fran Drescher, the same way that the Bronx is not Tony Danza. It sets my teeth on edge when someone is held up as an example as a New Yorker.

My New York is where everyone in a three block radius can identify each other on sight -- maybe not by name, but at least enough to say hello -- the cops are cautious and vigilant, and generally only give attitude when it's given to them.  (Ed Conlon's book, Blue Blood, read it, learn it, love it).  Everyone is quite content to let everyone else just go about their business and be left alone.

Yes, I'm certain that the majority of New York is libertarian in nature.

New York is NOT Manhattan. In fact, of all five boroughs, large chunks of Manhattan are not New York, but a whole bunch of elitist snobby little bastards who are far more interested in making sure everyone votes the right way than in anything else.

And then there's Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  It's a nice little area that has all the accommodations of a big city (and the traffic patterns), but really does feel like a small town.  And this is where Marco Catalano lives.

See, you had to know it would get there eventually.

Marco is sociable enough.  He's got his issues. To start with, he's smart.  We're talking full-on Sherlock smart. Maybe Mycroft smart. He is living in a world of goldfish. Brooklyn allows him to socialize when he wants to, hunt when he needs to, and be perfectly alone when he wants to get rid of people.

Marco's minions, two street gangs, are in a section off of Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn, nearer the center. The area is not as nice looking, and I'd consider ripe for demolition, but any place put back would be seriously overpriced.

As for Amanda Colt, she's isolated by numerous factors. To start with, she's far too pretty.  She's also far too smart. This combination results in her being constantly attracting  men who sniff around her while being comparatively too stupid to hold a candle near her. She's not in a world of goldfish, but it does seem like all of the good ones are taken.  Thankfully, the Upper East Side of Manhattan is high priced enough to filter out most of the population, and allows her to move wherever she likes.

So, where do two people like this meet?  Well, in college, of course.

My Hudson University is a mythical place that has a campus in Manhattan. No, there are no campuses in Manhattan.  Even NYU is merely a series of buildings.  To go from one building to another is to empty out to the city streets. 

However, I went to St. John's University, in Queens, which used to be a golf course, so yes, they had a campus. I practically grew up there.

But it's on this mythological spread that our protagonists meet. They don't quite fall in love. It's their last chance to reach out and touch someone.  They don't really any anyone else. Just each other.

Welcome to New York. We're all connected. Usually by the mass transit system.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


So, being slightly over prepared, I sent out a few advanced copies of Honor at Stake.

Most of these were either for the sake of blurbs, or for reviews. So some I can link to, some I can't, since they were sent to me directly.

This one -- not official, was a personal contact, but dang it was fun -- was
"OM... you did NOT do that! You did NOT just leave it at that! I think I hate you! Gaaaaahhhh!!! I still can't believe you did that!! *thud* I was just sitting here, into the home stretch, telling my husband, "You know, I don't like vampire stories much, but this one is so different... the action, the theology even, and the romance is so... so... NOOOOOO!!!!" Can't wait for the sequel and I'm highly recommending it when it's released!"
I honestly think that's one of my favorite reviews this far. I believe I now know how Jim Butcher feels when he wants to make the audience suffer. MUAHAHAHAHAH


Other review, from Karina Fabian, who I think is getting back at me for something...okay, she's not, she sort of does puns on a reflex.
"When Vampires try to take a bite out of the Big Apple, they'd better watch out. From street gangs to the Mafia to Vatican ninjas, the best and the worst of humanity bond together to save their city. Finn is a master of the fight scene and nonstop action - Honor at Stake will leave you feeling sucked dry."
A good review that hurts at the same time. That takes skill. :D

From Lori, one of my cobloggers at The Catholic Geek.  As of this minute, the full review is on Amazon.
"Honor At Stake is what happens when a monster-killing action flick meets a solid romance and a compelling character study in a world where "good vampires" actually make sense.  It is thoroughly enjoyable, and I can't wait for another installment."
It's strange when people actually tell me they WANT another book. Huh.

Remember Dawn Witzke? The Guest Puppy?

She did a whole review.   But, some highlights?
  • Declan uses a good mix of show and tell to create a unique voice and awesome story.
  • He does an impeccable job of balancing the action, suspense and romance. Usually, you get one with a side of the others, but not in this book. All three are served up in equal shares.
  • The “rules” for vampires are consistent. Declan does stray from the original vampire lore, but not so much that it’s not believable, unlike a book with sparkley vampires.
  • There are Vatican ninjas involved and they have cool toys.
  • The romantic scenes are very well done. Declan has a rare gift to be able to write romance scenes that women actually want to read. Men usually fall short in that area.
  • There are hooks throughout that force you to keep reading because you just have to know what happens next.
  • Did I mention there are ninjas? Oh, and fencing and krav maga and explosions and loads of other fun stuff.

And finally, there is a review from Margot St. Aubin, who read several versions of the book before I submitted it anywhere.

"The closest thing you could describe me as in high school was a Goth .... 
then there was Twilight. Sure, an enthused friend handed them to me. She did a fine job of convincing me they were awesome.
They weren't. Then Declan Finn comes out with Honor at Stake. Dammit, I thought I was over this. I'm even hauling out my Rasputina and Black Tape for a Blue Girl thanks to his guy. He already knows he's responsible for all the Cruxshadows appearing in my playlist. And, he's not sorry at all. That's a good thing. It will be all his fault if I start wearing black lipstick again, I swear. Okay, I'm joking about that last part. No, seriously, this guy writes about... ahem, real vampires, not the sparkly fucked up Jar Jar Binks of the vampire world. They are deadly hunters, with vestiges of humanity that make them more frightening.""