Thursday, March 31, 2016

Set To Kill excerpt: Chapter 16, Fine Dining

The Hugo nominations are due today, but I'm sure that none of my readers need that reminder, right? Heh heh heh. Anyway, I presume that you've made the right nominations -- ie: you nominated the things you liked.

As for me?  66,472 words into the sequel to It was only on Stun!  I'm in the home stretch on the first draft.

This is the point in which Sean Ryan meets a fan artist from online. She is of course based on no one in particular.

Heh heh heh.

* * * *

Sean surveyed the room, and was happy to see that someone took his advice, creating a dais at each end of the room. On one end of the room were all of the Puppies – though he had to correct himself as far as Jesse James was concerned, especially if he didn't care about the Hubbles. James was not on the dais, but nearby, dining with his family. The two teenagers looked more like adults, both girls dressed like young women, and his wife, Barbara, Queen of all things Goth, was dressed in solid black.
On the dais, it was Rachel Hartley, Gary Castelo, Colonel Bradley, and Omar Gunderson. Hmm. Where's Kovach?
Sean spotted Kovach off to the right of the dais, as far into the corner as possible. There was his wife, all red hair and martial artist's body.
Sean fingered his wedding ring, and knew he should call Inna before the night was over.
He looked to the other end of the dais, and the anti-Puppies. In the center sat the publishers of Rot – Patty and Terri Smith-Smythe-Smits – and they both actually looked like a man and a woman instead of two gender-neutral mannequins. S. Tempest Teacup and NKVD sat side by side, on the left of the Rot publishers, and Johnny Prada had the seat to their right.
Sean frowned, noting two empty chairs next to Prada. I can see one being empty, but two? No, there shouldn't even be one. Friedman's chair – if he ever had one – would have been removed. I wonder if Moshevsky had problems getting here. And where's Adler? Sean glanced at his watch. They're both an hour late.
Sean tapped his ear buds. “Someone go to the Hilton, I think that's where I stashed the Puppy-kicker regiment. If we have any Stormtroopers there, I need two to go to the room of Kendall Adler, of Rot publishing, and check on Fred Moshevsky. They're on the top floor with the rest of the guests, and that requires a special key to get to the floor, so talk to the front desk before you go up. Just make sure they're are still alive.”
Yes sir,” came the answer. “You have a good time at the banquet.”
Unlikely,” Sean answered. “Who is this, by the way?”
Moses Lambert, 501st Stormtrooper regiment, Petty Officer first class, retired, sir.”
Sean gave an amused scoff. “Don't sir me, I work for a living. Let me know if something comes up. I –”
Sean stopped. Limping into the room was Fred Moshevsky, looking something like a dressed-up lab assistant for Doctor Frankenstein. The hump over his right shoulder seemed to be bothering him even more now.
Cancel the lookout for Moshevsky,” Sean told Lambert. “He just dragged his sorry ass in here.”
Confirmed,” Lambert said. “Signing off.”
Sean frowned, studying the rest of the room. Moshevsky limped over to his correct area, then hopped onto the dais before taking his seat.
Sean raised a brow. I'm trying to figure out if he's got new orthopedics in his shoes, or has better mobility in some areas than others.
He looked over the rest of the hall. It was relatively calm. He was almost surprised. But then, the room seemed entirely divided into political ideologies. The fun wouldn't start until there was interaction between the two groups.
Then I have to break out my taser.
Excuse me sir?” came a gentle, lilting voice next to him.
Sean turned. At his shoulder, there was a tiny slip of a woman. She was Asian, with a broad, smiling face. Her deep brown hair was combed back on her right side, and covered her left, going diagonally past her eye. Her glasses were wire-framed, and she had cute, dangly earrings. She wore an outfit too long to be considered a little black dress. Sean was grateful he didn't turn around too fast. She looked like if he had collided with her, he would have broken her. She wasn't even five-feet tall, and a size two, at best.
May I ask if you are Mister Ryan?” she continued.
Sean turned on his smile, and tried hard to maintain it. He didn't want to be distracted, but playing nice was required. “Yes I am. And you are?”
I am Cryomancer,” she said, the lyrical nature of her voice made the last vowel turn up, almost as though she was asking a question. “Part of the Puppies?”
Ah.” Sean gave a slight bow at the waste. “Yes, I had heard of you. I hope you are enjoying your stay at WyvernCon?”
Cryomancer beamed. “Oh, yes, I am. Greatly. I also appreciate your security arrangements for me. The Stormtroopers who have been with me all day have been most helpful.”
Sean nodded, spotting the two guards standing back a ways. It was odd seeing the two guards with a woman who was dressed in a costume that was either Japanese school girl, or Donald Duck's sailor outfit, he couldn't tell. “Good. I didn't want anything should happen to you. Especially since you're the only person here who has a potential direct threat against them.”
Cryomancer nodded a little. “I know. But I cannot imagine Crabs showing up, can you?”
He blinked. “Wait, who?”
Crabs? John Weir?”
Okay,” he said slowly. “Is that his actual nickname?”
He has many internet handles, most of which have been banned from commenting at most websights,” Cryomancer explained. “But most of us believe that Crabs suits him best.”
Can't imagine,” Sean said wryly. “How damaged do you think he is?”
Very,” she said simply.
He the only one you have anything to worry about?”
Only if we have terrorists here,” she said. “Islamofascists do no like me.”
Sean cocked his head. “Excuse me?”
She smiled brightly. “Read my SWATting. It did not quite happen like that, but I live on a military base.”
Sean blinked. This should be interesting. “I'll read it right away.”
Thank you.” She gave him a quick hug, and darted away.

Sean frowned, confused, then pulled out his phone, and called up Matt Kovach's A Pius Geek blog, and looked for Tearful Puppies Bite Back.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

#SadPuppies Voting in 48 hours (and counting)

Remember ladies and gentlenerds, the Hugo nominations are due in less than 48 hours.

While, of course, I would like you to nominated Sad Puppies Bite Back and Honor At Stake on your ballots (SPBB in every category, if possible -- I'll need all the help I can get), but please, pick whatever the bloody heck you like. What I like shouldn't impact you or your choices in the least. I never really thought my book was so awesome as to warrant a Sad Puppy suggestion, but heck, I'll take a Hugo nomination. It would be interesting.

Remember, this is The SP4 List. And you can vote for something else if you like. Heck, someone even told me they were going to vote for A Pius Geek as a FanZine, which took me totally by surprise, since I didn't even see it on The List (though it might have been in the spreadsheet, I honestly didn't look).

If you want, however, my suggestions ... I don't have any.  Keep in mind, I haven't even gotten around to reading all of the freaking best novel nominees yet, so you know I'm behind.

These are the best novel suggestions.

As I've said, Ringo and Correia don't want a Hugo. So I wouldn't waste the vote.

Ann Leckie did a cute trick with her first Ancillary book, but she's already got a Hugo, so toss a coin on that one.

And Brian Niemeier wants a John C. Campbell award. So, check out Nethereal just in case.

This leaves us six books left ... If you can't  guess, yes, I would recommend my own novel, for reasons I'll go into below. I would also recommend Butcher, and Wright. I've read the Butcher, and what I'm reading of Wright makes me want to just hand him the award.

Sadly, Novik lost me when her Dragon series ran at least one book too long (I think they rewrote Waterloo to be a draw and I said "Nope. Thanks. I'm done."). And after that, all that's left is Williamson and Stephenson. Stephenson has gotten a few Hugos, so I'm not worried. As for Williamson ... you'll have to read him to get why.

But, again, your call.

By the way, while I remember, Lou Antonelli posted something in a FB group of mine recently, so I think he'd like it if I passed it along.

Obviously, as far as my stuff goes, I'd love to go in for the maximum amount of Puppy-Kicking discomfort. Like, you know, Best Novel, Best Related, and Best Fan Writer. I would love so see some of the comments at 770 call for my head. Please, 770 schlubs, I want you to.  BWAHAHAHAHAAH. (And yes, for those people who would like me to be precise in my provoking, I mean the guys in the comments section who are insane, not Glyer in particular).

I also await the bitching that my SP parody last year is a series of "death threats" -- yes, really. Some have said that. I think that will be especially amusing as they all going insane. I mean, hell, the ones who think I'll destroy SP4 were already amusing.

However, just for some amusement at my expect, as I was rereading that post from last October, I came across a line of mine that's hilarious in retrospect.
I think my "popularity" has to do with the fact that the year isn't over yet, and voting for Sad Puppies 4 is about two months old.

And now you understand why, even though I'm relatively certain I'd be hard-pressed to even get a single nomination (really, just one), I'm not ruling anything out. Why? Because I didn't expect to get this far. And Sad Puppies Bite Back might be something I could win. Best Novel? Heh heh heh.

And I'm really surprised I got even the SP4 suggestion in Best Novel.

Think about it: I don't know any of the Big Dogs personally. I'm hardly "a Name." Seriously, I'm on a list with, what, 7 or 8 NYTimes Bestselling authors?

Now, obviously, it's hardly head-scratching. At the end of the day, Sp4 suggestions went to the people whose fans showed up. Mine did. And I'm ever so grateful for that. And I'm not sure I can ever thank my fans, and my friends (all three of you), enough for showing up.

I'm surprised, I"m honored, I'm touched ... touched mostly in the head, but that's nothing new ... and I'll be interested to see just how far this goes. Because I'd really like to show up at WorldCon with a full-sized SP4 t-shirt, and recording the reactions I get. Maybe if Patrick Nielson-Hayden would want to get into a shouting match with me, and see how far that goes, hmm?

Now, pardon me, I have nearly 66,000 words and 217 pages done in Set to Kill, so I should probably get back to it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

K List writers, Vox Day, and a few #SadPuppies

So I tripped over this on Larry's blog the other day. It's an old one, apparently. Basically, instead of an A-list or D-list writer, he went through the whole Alphabet, from John C. Wright, to Larry, to, well, Damien and Andrew Clamps / Yama Marston of Marshfield Massachusetts (though to be fair, I'm told that he's been decidedly absent from the internet lately, so who knows, maybe he's finally on his meds) .

Then I got to these two sections. his Blog.

J List – What the F**k? I’m a Real Writer? =$
  • Authors who are still getting used to the idea people want to read their crap. 
  • Authors who have sold a respectable number of books. 
  • Authors who check their book’s Amazon rank every hour. 
  • Authors who start to pay most of their bills with their royalties.
Check ... getting there ... not quite that bad ... not quite there.  

Real might be stretching it a little.

K List – Welcome To Mid List =$
  • The average professional author with a writing career. 
  • Authors making enough money to be really tempted to quit their day job except their spouse won’t let them. 
  • Authors who are still really happy when anybody shows up to a signing. 
  • Authors who are still terrified that their fans will realize they’re a talentless fraud any minute now.
I suppose -- I'm doing it all day .... this is my day job .... I'll take anyone at a signing (I'll take a signing) ... and yes.

Yes, my life looks strange. It's even stranger in my head.

Then again, I've had some interesting fans recently.  I noted last week that I've been quoted by 770 and John C. Wright.  Apparently, I was also quoted extensively (on the same topic) by Vox Day.

So, that's always interesting. Also, Castalia House has started to follow me on Twitter. So, things are either going to get really interesting ... or really odd.

But then, odd is pretty much the status quo.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Review: Jessica Jones

So, I have, at long last, gotten to Netflix series Jessica Jones.

Where do we begin?

We should begin in Episode 2, because that's where things actually start to get interesting. But, alas, we must begin in episode 1.  And our first image? Two people we don't know, having sex in a car, with our illustrious hero snapping away with a camera. When the client is shown the pictures, and throws a fit, he is promptly thrown through the glass of the office door.

Enter Jessica Jones.

That sets the tone for much of the early episodes. Several minutes of sex, with a smattering of character and violence. Frankly, I think the first 90 minutes could have been condensed to 60. Because, seriously, there's sex, and there's violence, bit violence should add something to the plot, and the sex should too.

Episode one has two nice people looking for their daughter. They're from the midwest -- perfectly pleasant, hardworking, good people. They're missing their daughter Hope, and wants Jones to find them. What she finds, though, is the man who mind-controlled and abducted her for ... weeks? Months? Years? It's never quite spelled out in the show.

We don't ACTUALLY know about that for all of episode one, however, and we're trying to figure out what the hell is going on for most of it, especially since half the episode consists of atmospherics.

In the middle, Jones goes to a bar, picks up a bartender, and jumps him for sex.

Episode 2 is mostly a hunt for how her abductor is alive, because the last time she saw him, he had been hit by a bus. Literally. The mid-point of this episode is where things get interesting.

Enter: the bar fight.

Yes, there's a barfight. For those people who have not yet seen the series, nor know anything of comics, the bartender mentioned above is Luke Cage.  The short version is, he's interesting. Heh. Heh. Heh.  The bar fight is amusing, very low key and surprisingly well done, and almost subtle with some of the little tricks they do.

By the end of episode two, we have the introduction of our villain: Kilgrave.

Trust me, I'm the Doctor
(Yes, that's the name of our badguy: Kilgrave. Even Jessica Jones makes fun of this later on, asking if the name "MurderCorpse" was taken.)

Enter David Tenant, the star of the show. Yes, he's playing the villainous, deeply evil, very psychotic Kilgrave. In the comic book, he was Zebidiah Kilgrave, an Eastern Bloc spy who had a run-in with some chemicals that gave him mind control powers. Yes, mind control. They also turned his hair and skin purple, giving him the name "The Purple Man."

Yes, really. Because comic books.

Luckily for the former Doctor, Marvel TV spared him the fate of being sprayed in purple dye, merely dressed him in a lot of purple, but not so much that he looked like a pimp from the 1970s.

However, because Tenant is British, they changed the origin story so that he got his superpowers from science experiments. More on that below.

Overall? We've got an okay little series, that, went it stays on point, it is solid. When it doesn't, though, then we're in trouble.

But special attention must be paid to episode 6. Yes. Episode 6, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways...

So, a rape victim of Kilgrave has gotten pregnant, and "needs" to have an abortion. Because it's "a tumor growing inside me." Yeah, that's a charming and pleasant way to refer to any baby. So there's a subplot about slipping her an abortion pill that eats up a lot of the episode and goes nowhere, really. They do their best to make it relevant, but really, we could have done without it -- using the remains of the baby to perform experiments (because embryonic stem cells?) Seriously, writers, did you run out of things to fill out the time?

Time is a large problem of this show, because there are so many time wasters.

Time Waster 1: Jones usually works for a lawyer, played by The Matrix's Carrie Anne Moss, who hasn't really aged all that well, nor has her acting. She's a bit of a bitch, who's cheating on her sainted doctor spouse with the secretary -- the lawyer, the secretary, and the spouse are all women, by the way. Because it wasn't just enough to have a show about rape victims and their rapist, but we've got to have it as two relatively horrible people in the midst of their divorce, and let's make them gay. And this adds nothing to the plot, by the way. We don't care about the lawyer, the doctor, and only a little about the secretary. But at the end of the day, they were three (maybe 2.5) horrible people doing rotten things to each other. It was just "Hey, Lesbians! Let's rub this in people's faces. Because Lesbians."

Has not aged well. Really.
Time Waster 2: Episode 6 abortion subplot

Time Waster 3: Sex. Lots and lots of sex. Jessica Jones and Luke Cage sex. Trish and her boyfriend sex. I'm trying to figure out how there wasn't Lesbian sex. Maybe Carrie Ann Moss wasn't interested. And the sex is boring. It's not interesting. They made some attempt to make it amusing, with the two of them smashing a pipe at one point, and breaking a bed in another scene, but they don't really try to make the joke work, and so the entire thing becomes a waste of time.

Time Waster 4: The neighbors. Siblings Robyn and Reubin, the upstairs neighbors, are annoying. He's "in love" with Jessica Jones, though it's expressly stated that he can't tie his own shoelaces (he even wears loafers). Robyn is a shrieking, neurotic, "why am I listening to this fruitcake" lunatic.

There's a reason I got through 11 episodes in 8 hours. Liberal use of the fast forward button.

Though I never sped through David Tenant's scenes, mostly because he's just that watchable. Hell, David Tenant stole every scene he was in as the charming and freaking terrifying Kilgrave. He's pleasant and friendly, until he's not, and then he'll pleasantly tell you to kill yourself. He was basically a Criminal Minds villain with superpowers, only I skip those scenes in Criminal Minds. His origin is such that you can't tell if you should feel sorry for him, or if he should just have a stake driven through his heart. (I'm sure the effect is better on normal people, but even when I felt sorry for him, I also feel sorry for rabid dogs, but they have to go). You can't tell if he's a spoiled child who grew old but didn't grow up, or was he maltreated and poorly parented? The answer ... both, really. You'll see. At the end of the day, you can't really tell how much of him being evil is him, as a spoiled child grown up, or if he was maltreated. The answer is really a bit of both. Is there good? Maybe. Ish. But there's so much fuckery going on in his head and in his actions, he gives serial killers a bad name. He's not a very shallow monster. He never really lies, he just selectively remembers. His entire history is deeply edited in his own head. He is a simple evil, but complex in his generation.

Actor Mike Colter also stole much of the show as Luke Cage, known in the comics as .... Luke Cage. Or as Power Man. Trust me, Luke Cage is a much cooler name -- Nicholas Cage used it to inspire his stage name. In this, Luke Cage is a bartender who happens to be indestructible. He's an interesting, grounded character, who brings a good deal of gravitas to the series. He was in just over half the episodes (7 of the series' 13), and the episodes that lacked his presence were lacking.

Much must be said for actress Rachel Taylor, who plays Jones' sister Trish -- a former Hannah Montana parallel who has grown up to become a well-adjusted sidekick. Basically, she's a sidekick in a Norah Roberts novel -- you know, the plucky best friend who has grown up with / adopted the main heroine (in this case, both), and is there to provide encouragement, humor, and happens to carry a gun. As possibly the most normal person in this series (Luke Cage being a close second), she provides an interesting counterpoint to all the misery and psychosis around her.

However, the worst part of the show is part of the plot. In a 13- episode arc, a lot of the subplots feel like padding, or are otherwise generally annoying. But the worst part of all of this? Worse than abortion subplot #6 or the lesbian divorce case or the gratuitous sex scenes? There is one primary reason for keeping Kilgrave alive for most of the series. and then, that reason is gratuitously removed.

Good God, crap like that pisses me off. It's sort of like the opening to Alien 3 -- hi, we killed off two of the characters from the last film that we spent THE ENTIRE FILM trying to save, that entire effort was wasted by gratuitous writing on the part of the writers. Thanks for your time, but the entire series was a waste. Ciao!


Overall, the good parts are so superior to the bad parts, that I'd recommend it. When it's good, it's very very good. When it's bad, it's boring. At the end of the day, call it a 6/10 -- because if you want to stick around for every last minute of the show, you're going to want to tear your hair out.

One big problem that will be an issue for folks like Matt Bowman. Our friendly neighborhood Novel Ninja would prefer that the Marvel Cinematic Universe feel more like a tightly knit little world. Agents of SHIELD, NetFlix, and Avengers films seem to be three separate and distinct worlds. Sure, the smaller shows might make mention of the bigger events -- the alien attack on New York from the Avengers films, or "the big green dude and his friends." With Jessica Jones, all of that is one big missed opportunity. Looking at her Wiki bio, she has been hip deep in this world since forever, with casual references to SHIELD, Spider-man, Daredevil, Miss / Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers), Scott Lang / Ant-Man, and that was before she was even a Private Eye. As Danvers, Lang, and SHIELD were already established within the lineup before the scripts were being written for this series, it seems a bit of a waste that no one thought to connect them in this.  Heck, Matt Murdock couldn't have popped up as a lawyer?

Again, final grade: 6/10. When it's good, it's great. When it's bad, it's awful. Anyone religious should probably take with a grain of salt and a shot of tequila.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Music blog: Within Temptation - The Truth Beneath The Rose

So, I'm not done with Jessica Jones yet, but I'm done with episode 11. I got this far, so, yaaay.

Anyway, tomorrow is Easter, and I'll be doing a prerecorded radio show, mostly with myself. Yes, I know, not that interesting, but what can you do? It takes time to set up interviews. Don't worry, His Tankness, Mr. Knighton, should be on the first show in April. So there's that.

So, for now, Music.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

#SadPuppies -- or other?

I've watched the first two episodes of Jessica Jones, and it is depressing the everliving heck out of me, though there's some hope that it might, eventually, not suck at the end of the day.

But right now, I'm drained, tired, and dang I'm ready to hit the hay. And hell, the last post was so off, I think even Mike Glyer felt sorry for me. Now I know I'm in trouble....

Then I read the comments over the last 24 hours. One in particular had snide insinuations that I was a Rabid Puppy. And, well, hey, "There's no real evidence that there's a difference between the two groups."

Uh huh. Well, I think I can stay away for a little while longer.

So, let me get this straight.

Sad Puppies 4: Run by Sarah Hoyt, Katie Paulk, and Amanda Green
Rabid Puppies: Run by Vox Day / Theodore Beale.

Sad Puppies 4: Voted on by whoever shows up to the website.
Rabid Puppies: Nominated by Vox Day / Theodore Beale.

Sad Puppies 4: Has 10 recommendations per category (when available)
Rabid Puppies: Has 5 nominations per category.

Sad Puppies 4: Best novel includes Honor at Stake
Rabid Puppies: Best short story includes Space Raptor Butt Invasion. No, I'm not kidding. It exists.

Sad Puppies 4: Sarah Hoyt, Katie Paulk, and Amanda Green are relatively non-personal about this
Rabid Puppies: Vox Day posts a blog about how Sarah Hoyt isn't really an American, and is a transnational, etc, etc.

Sad Puppies 4: Wants to have a wide audience for the Hugos
Rabid Puppies: Wants to destroy the Hugos

So, I have to figure one of two things.

1) There is a lot of brain damage going on around here. The type that leaves people unable to tie their shoelaces and comprehend simple math. 2+2=4. Vox Insulting Sarah = Bad Blood. Because if these two groups are the same people, then there's not a lot of coordinating, is there?

2) These people are just plain mendacious, pretending confusion so as to blur the line between the two groups of Puppies.

Obviously, I'm leaning towards number 2.

Now, to answer  the obligatory "YOU MUST BURN VOX IN EFFIGY!!!!" crowd, a bit of a disclaimer.

Look, on the one hand, I'm not going to defend anything said by Vox Day. Nor, however, will I condemn him. Why? Because I haven't looked into his main points of view, and I have never actually read every last little thing about him. I've barely read his blog, and I've only read a single book of his.

The way I understand it, Andrew "Clamps" Marston is only free and at large because Mister Theodore Beale decided that he was screwed up in the head, and shouldn't be punished for being mentally ill. This doesn't really gel for me with a guy who's supposed to be a white supremacist. "Merciful" is usually not mentioned in the same breath. Also, as I mentioned last time, I read his book The Irrational Atheist, and what's on his blog seems, at times, different from that person -- and I've had comments in previous blogs suggesting that I'm not the only one who has seen this.

So, pardon me if I'm not going to declare a fatwa on someone I never met.

But at the end of the day, the two groups have vastly different stated goals. The leaders of both groups don't seem overly fond of each other. There are different methodologies, different nominations, and different political favorites for President of the United States.

Seriously, these Puppy Kicking schmucks really need to up their A-game. I feel like I'm only getting the bottom of the gene pool whenever an SJW variant comes to the blog.

Maybe if I get a Hugo nomination, they'll get more interesting.

But until then, the Puppy Kickers should note something.

This is Sarah Hoyt.

She's one of the leaders of SP4

This is Vox Day. He runs Rabid Puppies.

Any questions?

On Brussels, or Kill Them All

My apologies for not commenting on this sooner, but I wanted more data to work with.

Terrorists should die.

All of them.

The Geneva Convention says so.

Didn't know that, did you?

In the great old tradition of the, well, Traditional Rules of Warfare, anyone who wasn't in a uniform, but acting on behalf of an opposing enemy, caught in your territory? Those were spies. You shot them. No trial, no rules, you just shot them in the head, or the chest, or in the gut if you're feeling vindictive.

The role of spies and keeping them alive is a relatively new concept, brought to you by the Cold War. Everyone wanted to get their spies back. Spies became political chess pieces. They became useful beyond spying.

Before that? Spies could have had anything done to them, and no one would have blinked.

A lot of the Geneva Convention seems to be, at least superficially, a codification of the traditional rules of warfare.  Only the language that they use is "illegal combatants" -- does that term sound familiar? It should. That's what almost every terrorist is. If one is not clearly labeled as one side or another -- or if clearly and deliberately mislabeled for purposes of shenanigans -- then that person is toast. Because Illegal combatants HAVE NO RIGHTS under the Geneva convention. Sadly, Saddam's army would have had better luck if they kept their uniforms on ... well, those who weren't in hiding because a war crimes tribunal would have strung them up.

Let's be clear here, shall we? The Islamofascists want us to die. They won't be happy until either we die, or they do. I'd rather it be them.

That's pretty much it. Now I don't generally advocate the standard "kill them all" approach, but I do prefer that we climb the tree. It worked for Osama bin Laden. We got a high ranking commander, we got a courier, poured water down their nose while hanging them upside down, terrified the crap out of them, and climbed the ranks.

My only suggestion would be find a terrorist, find the next step up the chain of command, confiscate as much of their cash as possible (because money buys all sorts of explosives), kill that level of the chain, move up to the next round. Or kill them later, either way.

If you want the really short version, read Tom Kratman's Desert Called Peace and Carnifex, which are two solid books on the nature of this enemy and how they should be fought. And killed.

As for other countries, well, I won't say "If you're not with us, you're with the terrorists," but if you're gonna be neutral, be ACTIVELY neutral. Swiss-level neutral. And the Swiss do NOT like people screwing with their neutrality. Act on behalf of some other country while in Switzerland, they will throw you in jail as fast as they can get their hands on you.

So too should "neutral" countries if they want to be truly neutral. "Hey, France, you've got jihadis in your suburbs? Throw them out. You don't even need to arrest them, just don't harbor the little bastards. Okay? Thanks."

But there are no de facto neutral countries, not realistically, and definitely not in the long run. Think about it, the standard Islamofascist has two categories: themselves, and everyone else. You're either with the terrorists, or on their target list. Hell, even ISIS and al-Qaeda hate each other. If they can't coexist to kill non-Islamofascists, what makes anyone else think that they won't be next?

Realistically, no one can be neutral in a war against Islamofascism. Either these guys die, or they kill you. Normally, there would be a third option for forced conversion or being taxed into poverty UNTIL you convert, but ISIS doesn't seem to have that on the agenda. They just seem to be in raping and beheading. (Most Islamofascists don't seem to be interested in anything that might benefit them. When Israel left the West Bank and Gaza, the locals trashed everything of value left behind. Because "It's Israeli." No one thought to use anything for their own benefit, because they'd rather die than use Israeli technology or shops. Because they hate Israel and the West more than they like themselves. They would sooner buy weapons than food.)

And for the record, I know that Islam considers an infidel becoming a Muslim a "reversion," as they believe everyone is really a Muslim to start with, but no. I'm Catholic. Always been Catholic. Will probably always be Catholic. If you have a problem with this, feel free to come visit me at 938 West 35th street, Manhattan, New York. Otherwise, take it up with someone who cares.

No one who takes the enemy at its word can be logically neutral. But the amount of people who had dismissed Islamofascism for most of the 20th century are legion.

Or, to paraphrase the immortal words of John Adams: "Islamofascists have declared us in a state of open and total war. Why the bloody hell can't we?"  This is not The Mouse that Roared, where a country the size of the Vatican declares war on us and then fights with bows and arrows. These people strap bombs to their women, their children, their brothers and their sisters, and gleefully send them to their deaths.The Islamofascist is one who believes in dying more than they believe in living, and all I suggest is that we accommodate them. Is that so much to ask?

With Brussels, Europe is once more reminded that they're not neutral. And no, don't blame the refugee crisis, this goes back so much further than Syria and ISIS. Two of the bombers were born in Brussels. This was a seed planted long ago.

But, unlike the Swiss, Europe generally treats neutrality as something that happens because they say so. Switzerland has only been able to stay neutral because everyone banks there, and the entire country is a natural walled off location (their walls are called "The alps") and everybody in the country has a freaking NATO automatic rifle. Screw with the Swiss, and they just go into the mountains and snipe at you until you run out of either money or blood.

The rest of Europe? They don't have that defense.

The first thing Europe should do is establish border control and create Ellis Island. Yes, I said Ellis Island. Remember, Ellis was created to quarantine folks coming into the country, screen them for diseases, and to find out if the people coming in were the people they wanted to come in. Step 1 would be to do that for the Syrian "refugees." Yes, I put that in quotes. The UN says that they're mostly women and children. The individual countries say that they're mostly fighting-age men.  In the event that the individual countries are right, they should really screen the refugees carefully. Once it has been decided that the individual in question is A) really a refugee and B) not someone who will blow the place up, then and only then should they make the decision to let them back into the country. And all the interrogators should be women. Let's face it, if the men object to the women interrogating them, and get violent over that, send them back to deal with ISIS. If they can't put up with the "discomfort" of a female authority figure to escape the ISIS rampage, they can go back and deal with ISIS on their own.

Step two is to start actual investigations of organizations suspected of supporting terrorism, or tracing funds of same. This isn't rocket science, people. It really isn't.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Evil of the Puppy Kickers

A bit of a note here. Yesterday's blog went over very well. Surprisingly well, really. It was linked to by both John C. Wright (mostly for making an observation) and File 770 ("Going 15 rounds with Walter Damien a bit of overkill, since he stretches Damien on the deck in the first round.") I think that went over well.  

This one has a slightly different tone, especially by the end. My major hope is it all meshes together. I've had three people tell me it makes sense. But I'm running on two hours of sleep, so I'm just happy that individual sentences make sense.

You will notice some weasel-words here and there, mostly because there are some things I cannot know for certain. Is Cat Valente being misinformed in an echo chamber, suffering Stockholm syndrome (suggested yesterday in the comments), or just a vile person? I've heard multiple opinions arguing for all of those points of view. Damien, however ... well, you'll see.

The worst thing I have ever heard said about Supreme Dark Lord and Rabid Puppy Supreme Vox Day is that he's a racist. Perhaps a white supremacist. I find him strange, and his statements come off as highly eccentric.

Which is just another way of saying "Wait, what?"

To be honest, before Sad Puppies 3 came out last year, I had only read one thing by Vox, his book The Irrational Atheist. The person who wrote that book seems vastly different from the one who tried to label Sarah Hoyt a "transnationalist." There's a reason Id on't follow him that closely.

But last time I checked, Vox Day has really never dismissed his enemies as being subhuman. Nor has he suggested murdering any of them. Not even NK Jemisen, who has her own little war with Vox going that stretches back at least two years. He'll still debate, or reason, or scream right back at her, but he'll at least reply to whatever is thrown his way.

You may not like what he says, but he at least acknowledges that she's someone worth having a fight with.

Can't say that for the Puppy Kickers. They like being the ubermensch of their own little Reich, and it's getting tiresome, really. The ones who are really in charge rarely, if ever, acknowledge any argument outside of their own little echo chamber.

And why should they? Puppies are evil. Puppies are ... well, not even human.

Look at it for a second, shall we? The Kickers seem to dismiss us, won't acknowledge our arguments, jazz-hands any appeal to sanity, and we won't even go into the bomb threats of Arthur Chu's people. They're just bat-guano.

But let's look at it from Sarah Hoyt's point of view a moment.

you’re worse than the Soviets who condemned the Kulaks during holodomor, worse than the people on the street who mouthed the Nazi lies about Jews during WWII.  Why worse?  Because those people lived in fear of their lives. They had to say what they did because they feared being next on the kill list.

But you? You willingly go along with slanders and destroy reputations and attempt to destroy livelihoods for the sake of a plastic rocket.  To coin a phrase:  It profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world … but for Wales, Richard?
She gets extra points for the A Man for All Seasons reference.

She's also right. Can we think for one moment about what they're fighting for? Once upon a time, they declared that the Hugo was "science fiction's most prestigious award." Now, they can't seem to decide if it's "only" for the people of WorldCon, or for the "TruFan" elite.

Either way? They're trying to destroy people all for the sake of a plastic rocket. It doesn't even vibrate.

2009 Hugo Award Trophy
The jokes are just so easy.

#SadPuppies ask -- who's rabid?

John C. Wright
After the Sad Puppies 4 list came out last week, things went weird. Very weird. How weird, you ask?

As I mentioned last week, a comment at File 770 called me "The next John C. Wright." Which, frankly, I'll take becoming the next bestsellling Catholic SFF writer, compared to golden age sci-fi.

But I'm relatively certain that they didn't mean it as a compliment.

And then, things got stranger.

For example, I was going through the Twitter Stream for @SadRbtPuppies, and got Cat Valente versus Charlie Martin.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Happy Families, and a Boring Puppy

Tolstoy once wrote that "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

This, of course, is just bullcrap.

Don't believe me? Go to a meeting of the children of alcoholics sometime. Sit and listen to the stories. But, more importantly, look at the other members as they nod in agreement. They're all checking off the boxes on the list. Because it's the same exact crap, with minor variations, on a race to the bottom.

For the law enforcement people who come across this, could you please tell me if the following sounds familiar: A domestic violence complaint comes in to 911. A patrol car pulls up to the incident, and two officers engage. No matter who is being beaten, or who is doing the beating, it's a crapshoot whether or not the victims will turn on the responding officers or not.

It's depressingly easy to call that one.

On the other hand, my family is awesome. We watch TV shows on playback, with the pause button ready, because we're all -- all of us -- ready to rewrite the episode, or call where the episode is going. Sometimes, we prefer our endings to the episode than what we get.

The family films have always been Die Hard for Christmas, Blown Away for St. Patrick's Day.  1776 and Yankee Doodle Dandy and Independence Day for July 4th.  Mother's day is The Manchurian Candidate, and father's day is The Empire Strikes Back.

We spend family time talking about philosophy, Ronald Knox, GK Chesterton, and the faith, because it's a living thing that we understand and enjoy and apply to our lives, without having to worry about having holier-than-thou rollers in our midst.

Sometimes we talk current events, because the family motto is that we exercise our freedom from the press.

I never really had a rebel phase. Because teenagers are morons, and I didn't want to go near them. I'm the nutbar who waits for marriage, so dating was interesting (read: nonexistent).

Now, riddle me this -- how alike is my family to yours? Granted, if your family is miserable, I can't help you, you don't necessarily have a basis for comparison.

Granted, on the other hand, the more and more I socialize with my fellow Puppy supporters, the more I realize I'm really boring in comparison.

I am a Catholic, born and raised.  For me, I'm not sure I have faith. I know there is a God, and, frankly, the tenants of the Catholic church just make sense. So does natural law. I don't think I've ever had a crisis of faith, because all of the arguments I've heard from anti-Theists are stupid, self-centered and arrogant. All the arguments I've heard from simple atheists are .... "I don't believe. Who cares?" And we go on our merry way.

I grew up as the standard fat nerd. When I was in sixth grade, I read The Once and Future King and Mary Stewart's books on Merlin (yes, even The Wicked Day). I read them both for fun.

When I was 16, I wrote 400,000 words of a space opera in my free time. (Yes, I have to rewrite some of it. Also, I have to find the time when I'm not getting requests for Sean Ryan novels and vampire sequels.)

And my father is truly awesome.

The week after my 18th birthday, I unleashed a song parody of "I have a little list" from The Mikado. I had modified it for my high school, and it had gotten out into the wild.  If you've heard the song before, you can understand why that's a problem. If you haven't, go check out a copy on YouTube.

If you've heard the song, and can't figure out what's the matter, I will give you a little bit of context. I was born in March of 1982. So I became 18 in March of 2000.

For those of my readers who might be too young, I'll spell it out. This happened the month before the first anniversary of a school shooting at a place called Columbine.

So ... yeah, you can imagine how well that went over. Though I do have relatives in the legal professional, so that ended as well as could be expected. This is sadly the most interesting thing in my personal life that might be of interest.

When I was in college, I had heard of Krav Maga, and tried teaching myself. And dang, it's fun. Then I took classes, and kept ending up with something going wrong just before my level 2 test. Yup. Murphy's law.

And the majority of the past ten  years has been dedicated towards my books. Thankfully, at current rate of speed, I'm starting to catch up for a book a year (right now, call it seven).

So, depending on your point of view, I'm very well adjusted, and I'm a little boring. I've never had any major trauma, and I've been fairly restrained. Then again, that's mostly because I don't want to end up in jail.

But my acquaintances have multiple personalities, and panic attacks and ADHD, and that's just one person. The others are even more colorful.

But, considering how much I've gotten done in the past year alone, it's been an interesting little ride. I have the potential for a shot at a Hugo -- for Sad Puppies Bite Back, if nothing else. Not bad for someone who's only had this blog for 6 years. With luck, my current publisher (Damnation was bought out) wants to get all of their backlogged books published by July. Which kinda means that I'm going to have three books published this year from the publisher, and a third published via self-publishing. And all I have to do is figure out which I want to read at LibertyCon.

Also, maybe a forth. I think I've rubbed the serial numbers off of Sad Puppies Bite Back that, if I should get a Hugo, I'll probably publish it for $.99. We'll see how things turn out by the end of the year.

But not bad, huh?  It's a start.

What started off this little reflection on my life? I'll give you a hint....

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Catholic Geek: Regency Vampires 03/20 by We Built That Network | Books Podcasts

The Catholic Geek: Regency Vampires 03/20 by We Built That Network | Books Podcasts:

Page Zaplendam debuts on The Catholic Geek to talk of Regency Vampires, villains, and Catholic fiction, with our host, Declan Finn.

Page Zaplendam is the debut author of Order of the Blood, a Regency Vampire fiction novel. She writes about vampires, a dark age future, and writing. You can find her on FB and Twitter, or on her blog Zaplendam is the debut author of Order of the Blood, a Regency Vampire fiction novel. She writes about vampires, a dark age future, and writing. You can find her on FB and Twitter, or on her blog

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Awesome #SadPuppies News

So, I am apparently the most awesome Puppy ever, having three award recommendations in the Hugos, Sad Puppies Bite Back being the #1 Best Related work.


My Sad Puppies Motto
Aaaannnnnddddd that was me, gloating. I'm done now.

Saint Patrick's day music blog: Auf Wiedersehen Crossmaglen

I mentioned in the previous post that you have to have an odd sense of humor to enjoy some of these songs.

Now, just imagine your average British recruit in the 1960s, with a recruiting Sargent spinning yards about pulling duty in the post-war Berlin ... and meanwhile, the recruit is sent to Northern Ireland. Talk about your bait and switch.

For the record, "crag" [sic], pronounced "crack," is Irish slang for a good time.

St. Patrick's Day music blog: Little Armalite

Did I ever mention that my masters thesis in history was on the rebel songs of the IRA?

For the record, an Armalite is a rifle. And this is only if you have an odd sense of humor.

Or if you enjoy gun humor.

I do both. Heh.

Music blog: Amaranthe - Leave Everything Behind

I'm going to be working on a few things this weekend. And Thursday has the Sad Puppies Nominations come out.

So, music.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Set to Kill, Chapter 12 Excerpt

Yup, another excerpt for Set to Kill. Sorry about that. I guess you'll just have to lived with it a little. Yes. I would have done another article, but these took the wind out of my this week.  I just broke 46,000 words on the book in the last two days, as well as wrote the large blogs.

So I'm moving as fast as I can. 

With any luck, you can probably finish It Was Only On Stun!, perhaps the Pius Trilogy, before I'm done with this. 


* * * *

Mercenary and part-time assassin Michael DeValera looked through his telescopic site at the body of Sean A.P. Ryan. The target was down, one solid impact in the chest. Cracked sternum? Check. The bullet should have punched a hole in him big enough to see from there, with enough blood spatter to look like a mosaic, but the traffic swarmed around Ryan, blocking DeValera's view.
Everything was according to plan.
Obviously, it was far earlier than he had expected. He had spent hours last night putting up the arrangements, killing the right guards, cutting the hole in the window. Ryan had to come to the Weston sooner or later, and the decided lack of traffic comparative to the other hotels, together with its one good main entrance, made it inevitable that the target would wander into his sites sooner or later. Though he had expected it later, in the evening.
A door smashed in behind DeValera, and he smiled.
Release your weapon, fiend, or die.”
DeValera looked over his shoulder. It was the elf, swathed in black silk, almost ninja-ish. That would at least explain how he got there so fast. The blond freak seemed to appear and disappear at will.
DeValera dropped his rifle in the extended window sill flower planter at his feet, then stood, turning to face the thing calling itself an elf.
DeValera looked the blond up and down. “What are you?” he asked in his perfect diction. “Dressed for Halloween?”
The elf's eyes narrowed. “You shall pay for what you have done, villain.”
DeValera smiled. “Come and get me, little man.”
The elf took one step forward, and stopped when he heard the click of a land mine under the carpet.
DeValera raised a perfectly black eyebrow. “Really? You caught that? Oh well, better luck next time.”
The elf's mouth tightened. He reached behind his back and flicked a knife right at DeValera's head. It bounced off of the sheet of bulletproof glass cutting them off from each other.
I did my homework on you people,” DeValera gloated. “I don't get caught.” He pulled a Zippo from his pocket, light it, and dropped it in the ledge flower pot with the sniper rifle. The thermite in the pot burned bright and hot in an instant. “Ciao.”
DeValera started for the wall, tapped a button in his pocket, and the breacher explosives he put on the wall blew up, creating an easy opening for him to step through, leaving the elf to die.
After all, his mines came with a 30-second timer delay. The elf would either step off and die, or stand there and die.
He was three floors away when the mine finally exploded.

At least Ryan stayed in one piece when I killed him. This one won't be so lucky.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

On the Subject of Murder

When I was an undergraduate, over a decade ago, I once had a man sit down next to me and tell me his life story. This was nothing new. Over my time at college, I had been the walking confessional for a multitude of people. The accidental ménage à trois over the summer break? I heard about it. A woman whose mother stated that she aborted every child "just so I could love you and you alone"? Heard it twice.

But this time was a little different. I don't recall how the conversation started, but I remember vividly where it ended up. You see, he was an immigrant from Ireland, and he had just done a seven year stint for murdering his sister's rapist.

Yup. Situation normal for me.

If you are somehow shocked or surprised, don't worry, I wasn't. My attitude was to shrug. I'm relatively certain I would be interested in doing the same if I had been in his circumstances. My Irish compatriot elaborated, stating that he had felt nothing while he offed the son of a bitch in question, and casually mentioned that he cared about who he cared about, and wouldn't have felt much of anything if he had killed any other random person in the area -- though he was careful to point out other people to use as his example. He wasn't trying to intimidate me, merely trying to illustrate a point.

What I didn't know then, but know now, is that sociopaths come in several varying flavors. Though how much of that is "sociopath" and how much is "I scared the shrink" is a topic for another day. In America, the American Psychological Association has decided to make psychopathy and sociopathy lumped into "anti-Social personality disorder."

My general attitude is to say "Oh, screw off."

Let's be real for a moment, shall we? If someone comes into my home and I kill the little bastard, I may be affected by many things, but I will not, under any circumstances, feel guilty over murdering him, her, or it. Given how good I feel after a rousing class of Krav Maga, I may -- and I stress MAY, in large capital letters, as I have never done it -- even feel good about having killed the intruder, if only for no other reason than I survived the ordeal. This would probably have me labeled as a sociopath by most professional shrinks.

Should a someone in the military feel even a speck of guilt over having killed someone trying to kill them? They might, but are they obligated to? Nope. Sorry, but when people are shooting at you, shooting right back at them is the only reasonable course of action.

But if they don't feel guilty about it, congratulations, they get the label of sociopath. And, of course, baby killers, and monsters, and murderers and ...

Yeah, they should just shut the hell up. I call BS on the whole concept of a soldier being automatically "a killer," with all the negative connotations that usually comes with.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Spectre: a review

So, I just saw Spectre this weekend.

It was .. ahem.... how do I put this....?

It's NOT the worst Bond film I've ever seen.

It's not even the worst Daniel Craig Bond film I've ever seen.

However, this is the one that pissed me off the most.

Let's start with the good elements: The bit players were great. M, Moneypenny, and Q were quite enjoyable.  Even "C" was entertaining, played by Sherlock's Moriarty, Andrew Scott, who is for once, UNDERacting -- and you know he was hired by the Bond people because they particularly wanted to have him fall from a great height, to his death ... because they didn't kill him like that in The Reichenbach Fall, and the Bond people rectified that.

As for the rest of the film?

It sucks. It's dreadful. It's confusing. And worst of all, it's BORING.

The plot is simple: Judi Dench's M has one last mission for Bond -- an assassination, then show up at the funeral. Bond goes, seduces the widow of the man he just assassinated, and is pointed to a secret meeting of Spectre. Bond overhears a name he knows, sees someone who is dead, and is promptly chased out of the meeting. Bond hunts down the person whose name he overheard, and is told to go pick up the girl of the day to find out more. She is of course kidnapped.At this point, I start having major problems.

When the Bond girl du jour is kidnapped from a clinic that looked like it should be owned by Telly Savalas in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Bond chases the bad guys' three car caravan with a plane. Yes. he's using a plane to chase cars. Now, I've seen Bond films where he is chasing someone through the streets of Moscow on a tank, and where he's been chased down a snowy mountain where Bond was using only one ski ... and yet, somehow, those feel far less absurd than this chase with the plane. Also, those were at least entertaining.

The editing is terrible. At least, I presume it's editing, and not just a terrible script. One moment, we see Bond standing in front of a clinic in the Alps as the bad guys drive away, and the next, he's in an airplane flying after them. Where was the plane? No idea. Did we see it at all in the film before then? Nope. Does he explain? Not at all. It gets worse later on, where Bond gets out of an empty, abandoned and gutted building before it explodes .... by riding out on a perfectly good and usable speed boat that's apparently just left under the building. Yup. Apparently, speed boats are so disposable, it was just left there.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Set to Kill, Chapter 11 Excerpt

Yes, this is yet another excerpt from Set to Kill, my sequel to It was only on Stun!

Sean has killed yet two more people. I've decided to get rid of the fight scene here because, well, it has a nice punchline, and I can't give you the ENTIRE book.

Right now, I have 41,000 words written. I think I'm not doing too badly for a book I announced two months ago. Though I need to have fewer distractions. Now that I don't have to worry about monitoring Sad Puppies for right now, I'm good. Yay. Maybe this will go faster.


* * * *

Sean lowered the gun, and swept the area once more with his eyes. He expected screams, some yelling, maybe some stampeding.
Instead, he found everyone on the floor staring at him.
Without any preamble, a tall CosPlayer, wearing SWAT gear and a Cookie Monster mask, started clapping. Others were merely taking footage on their phones and uploading it to YouTube, live.
The door burst open behind him, and Sean started, and was about to bring his gun up when he saw that Gary Castelo had charged through the door, tetsubo held high. The author, stopped, looked at the bodies, and said, “Sorry I'm late. I was caught up in a discussion about midichlorians. Jesse was particularly loud.”
Matthew Kovach was right behind him, peeking his head out the door. “Show's over already? Nuts.” He took two steps out the door, and looked around. “They only sent two guys? What? They're figuring that their odds would have improved after the first four waves of douchebags?”
No idea.” Sean slid his gun away. “I'm just hoping they didn't follow me here, but I can't see any other way to have known where I was. I didn't really know until I checked the schedule.”
Kovach rolled his eyes. “At this moment, we're the greatest concentration of Tearful Puppies in any one place, in public, at the entire convention. Where else would you have been?”
Sean frowned. “Point.”
I'm just wondering why you didn't shoot them in the first place,” Castelo said.
I didn't want to get into a gun battle in the middle of a convention, duh.” Sean rolled his eyes. “I might have gotten the critic fan over here, but these guys are professionals. I prefer to close on the guys with the guns, and shoot the ones with the knives. Better than having a swordfight, that's for darn sure.”

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Flashback blog: Setting things on fire

Originally posted last February, this was before I had 6,000 readers a week, so there may be one or two who haven't seen it originally.

[If you've seen this before, well, don't be surprised. I have jury duty today, so my time's a little backed up. Sorry for the rerun, folks.]

The Mad Genius Club is going to force me to actually work. I don't mean they're holding a gun to my head, but they are making me up my game with their most recent posting of their year's topics.

If they're going to up their game, let's see who can out-blog who. Ha!

… Which, sadly, makes me think “Who ha's? Didn't Sarah Hoyt talk about this once?”

If you'd been to Cedar's blog last week, you've already read this one. If you haven't ... why haven't you?


If you're interested in pacing an entire series, you could do much worse than look at the fantasy novels of Terry Goodkind. In his case, the solution to one, world-ending doom leads to the next world ending doom. I did that in one series, the Pius trilogy, where book one ends nice and happy and yay the bad guys are gone … then that lead into book two, where the bad guys had a backup plan, which led into causing problems in what would be book three.

But for pacing an individual novel, the short version is, I like putting pressure on my characters. I have to, otherwise I don't get the best out of them. After all, these are thrillers. Even when I'm going through character moments, the moments have to keep the tension on – on the protagonist or on the reader. It is perfectly and completely fair to have a long conversation about love and emotions, and politics and economics. It can go on for as long as you like … though the reader might find it more interesting if there's a bomb in the room. (For those of you who don't know who I mean, watch the Tommy Lee Jones film Blown Away, and pay particular attention to the kitchen scene. What scene is that? You'll know it when you see it.)

With my Pius trilogyI take the “machinegun through the door” a little too literal at times. The first chapter opens with a gunman picking up tech expert at Rome's airport, and leads into a body being blown out of a window and landing on their car. Then I reveal that it's the head of Papal Security picking up a Secret Service agent. When I'm not dropping bodies out of windows, everyone has just barely enough time to analyze what's going on before they're attacked again. Or they have a nice quiet conversation about their past, their feelings, their character exposition … did I write that out loud? Oh well … and then somebody is mugging them, or shooting at them, or performing strange gymnastic attacks with a halberd. 

 Yes, that last part is a long story. Read A Pius Man for that one.

With my other project, Codename: Winterborn (yes, after the Cruxshadows song), my protagonist, Lt. Kevin R. Anderson has more internal pressures driving him. At the opening of Codename: Winterborn, send Kevin and his team of spies into the Islamic Republic of France (the IRF … or the Irritating, Revolting Frogs).

Then I kill off almost everyone Kevin likes, because some politicians thought that blowing the cover on his SpecOps team would be just a great idea for political points, and their bank accounts.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Hollywood Racists

Last week, we saw the biggest collection of racists in Hollywood since The Birth of a Nation, where the Klu Klux Klan rode to the rescue (reviewed by President Woodrow Wilson as "History written with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true" -- partially explaining why I hate Wilson).

It Actually Really, Really Sucks That TV’s Iron Fist Is White
The week started with the second round of bitching about Iron Fist.
For those of you who don't know who and / or what Iron Fist is, it's another Marvel property. The premise is that Danny Rand, billionaire, has the power of the Iron Fist -- the ability to focus his chi so that his body is like iron.

Obviously, someone at Marvel really likes that element. That and mercury (quicksilver).

Anyway, the entire premise is watching him deal with racism. Yes, really. He learned martial arts as a child, growing up in Asia. He was actually adopted by a Chinese leader in a Shangri La knockoff, raised to be as much of one of their own as possible. He was the outcast, the minority. He had to overcome the same obstacles of every child, compounded and made concentrated even more by being the wrong race. Handled well, it is a powerful, moving thing.

Then you have the "in" crowd bitching that it sucks that Iron Fist is white.  No, no, not that he's too white. But that he's white at all.

Yes, really.

The key paragraph?
Yes, it’s true that the comics character Iron Fist is white, and thus it is indeed technically accurate for a white guy to play the role on TV. But technical accuracy does not equate “the right thing,” for lack of a better term. Because as with so many superheroes, there is nothing about the character of Iron Fist that requires him to be played by a white person. Nothing. It is fundamental to no aspect of his personality, his origin, his powers.
I think we call that completely missing the point. In fact, not only is that missing the point, I think that's someone who googled Iron Fist, skimmed the Wiki page, and discovered nothing that said the word "race" or "racism" and decided that meant that they could go forward.

And, wait a second -- The character of Iron Fist was a nod to the Hong Kong, Wire-Fu exploitation movies of the 70s, and would pair him up with Luke Cage as a pairing with Blacksploitation films of the same period.  These schmucks would demand that the character be rewritten so that ... surprise, they can put Chinese people back in their place as martial artist characters.

Strange, I thought that making him white would remove stereotyping the character, but apparently, the good leftists would rather the stereotypes be put back into place.

However, that was completely overshadowed in the mainstream community by Nina,  It's a biopic about black singer Nina Simone. The complaint? The actress isn't black enough to play the part!

The actress?  Zoe Saldana.

So, let me get this straight: A character who is an outcast because of being white shouldn't be played by a white guy because "it has nothing to do with the character," but Saldana isn't black enough.

I'm sorry, I haven't seen this level of racial purity regulations since the Klan.

But then again, what do we expect from the party of both President Wilson and the KKK?

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Amazing Idiocy of Stephen Davidson

I've never had an issue with Amazing Stories until about five minutes ago (4:10 pm, March 7, 2016). Apparently, that's because I never paid attention to them.

In an article called "Puppy See, Puppy Do-Do," Stephen Davidson wrote
Of particular note is Honor At Stake by Declan Finn. He wasn’t shy at all about recommending his own work and apparently working the room works! Honor came in at #2. Funny how the same thing that was done to the Hugos last year popped up in SPIV, huh?
Wow. I "wasn't shy" about recommending my book? Um ...

1) Is any writer?

2) If Davidson learned how to read, perhaps he would have noticed that Honor At Stake wasn't nominated by me in the first place. It was nominated by an account calling itself "Zev," on September 8th, last year

On November 11th, I learned that I had several votes for Honor At Stake, and I figured "I should at least vote for my own freaking book."

On November 30th, I even debated with myself if the Hugos were even worth it.

Then I forgot about it. It was a nice idea. It was fun thought. But I had no chance. I knew I had no chance. How many hundreds of votes would come in? I had maybe a dozen or two reviews at the time?

Then, everyone who reads my blog learned about it at the exact same time as I did. Somehow, I was #5 in the top ten list. Without any help from me. Huh?

Then I figured I should put up a token fight.

I only started my "campaign" (ie: posting on the blog) about voting for Best Novel after learning Honor At Stake was even in the top ten list. Heck, my real goal for SP4 was "best related" for Sad Puppies Bite Back. I never expected to get anywhere with best novel, and suddenly I was in the top ten. So I went for it. And he's bitching about me saying to my fans (all two dozen of them) "Hey, if you think it should be nominated, vote here."

Geez. Seriously, dude, learn to read a calendar. Heck, learn numbers, particularly dates.

And "Working the room." I posted three, maybe four blogs, and that's working the room? Uh huh.  Yeesh. Stephen King himself said he didn't want a Hugo because it was all about working the room, and suddenly Davidson is annoyed with what very little I did? Repeat after me, Davidson -- "It's fair for me, but not for thee." You've already declared that anything SP4 does is cheating and unfair, even if it's the exact same stuff you do

But, what do we expect from the Puppy-Kickers? These guys barely think we're real people. I'm almost certain they believe that the "Evil Legion of Evil" versions I used in Sad Puppies Bite Back is actually real. I'm sure there are some who think SPBB is a documentary. Lord knows the 770 crowd think that SPBB is "revenge porn" (talk about missing the point)

Frankly, I'm disappointed. I expected more from the Puppy-Kickers. Poop jokes? Really? Snide insinuations that the game is rigged by glad-handing? Please, I expected better quality BS from them. If this is the best they can do, they need to up their A-game.  Or do my death threats only come after I get a Sad Puppy recommendation? Because I was looking forward to fisking the poorly-worded threatening letters on my blog.

This is pathetic, moronic, and just plain "ick."

Besides, Davidson doesn't have anything to worry about. After all, I'm going to get trounced by Wright and Butcher, and Stephenson, and probably Novik and Williamson.

But I would like to apologize to Mr. Davidson.  I'm so, so sorry that I have fans and friends who enjoy my book and will vote and campaign for me. But again, it doesn't matter how many votes I get. It only matters how many of your friends are counting the votes.