Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Catholic Geek: Honor at Stake and Sad Puppies Bite Back 01/31 by We Built That Network | Books Podcasts

The Catholic Geek: Honor at Stake and Sad Puppies Bite Back 01/31 by We Built That Network | Books Podcasts:

Host Declan Finn flies solo for the first time-- deliberately-- in this prerecorded episode. Sorry folks, no chat room or call ins tonight. During tonight's broadcast, Finn will discuss the latest in Sad Puppies and the Hugos, and do select readings from his Sad Puppy nominated works, Sad Puppies Bite Back and Honor at Stake.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Hugo Nominations upcoming (also, Amaranthe - Razorblade)

Item the first.

Hugo nominations start around Feb 5.  So, get your licks in now at, and tell them about your favorite author(s) in science fiction and fantasy from 2015.  Don't forget that this includes categories like film, fanzines (like blogs) best fan writing and best related work (like Sad Puppies Bite Back could be), novels, etc.

No, I'm not subtle. I'll stop. I promise ... right after I'm told that I didn't even get a Hugo nomination. Then I'll stop. Honest.

Though, right now, I'm still wrapping my brain around getting looked at twice for Best Novel in SP4 -- heck, I knew SPBB would be a contender, but Honor At Stake? Not so much.

Anyway, be warned.....

There be Puppy Kickers ahead.....

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Fisking Tor's Racist Counter

Liz Bourke is my favorite punching bag at Tor.  Why? Because she is such a tool, it's not even funny.

I've gone a few rounds with her before, on women in military science fiction, and on strong women characters.  The short version is that she never learns.

And then there's this piece of stupid.
There’s a counter in my head. Imagine a tiny recording demon, making marks in its ledger, constantly alert.
Yes, but he's not an accountant, otherwise your economic theory would be better.
There’s a counter in my head, and I can’t turn it off.
When it goes off, will your head explode?
It counts women present in a narrative. It counts people who aren’t men. It counts queer representation. It counts—although somewhat less strictly, due to the blinkers of its upbringing—the presence of people who aren’t white, or who aren’t able-bodied. It counts up roles. It compares and contrasts roles. It counts incidences where things follow a trend, and where they diverge. It recognises patterns. Dead women. Sexual objects. Motivating objects. Objectified. Tragic queerness. Queerness-as-a-phase. Women sidelined. Elided. Present but only significant for how they relate to a white able-bodied cisgender man.
And I'm certain that your random emphasis of words doesn't at all help.

If you're only reading books with white male protagonists ... maybe you should read some Baen books. Sarah Hoyt, Larry Correia, or John Ringo's Princess of Wands. I find Kratman's Amazon Legion an interesting concept for women in military scifi.

How about a nice Honor Harrington?

Hey! I got it! You should watch Ender's Game, because there were multiple Indian and Muslim characters in that one, and as we all know, those two make up 2 billion people on planet Earth. Go what Ender's Game.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Sad Puppy Best novel is....

So, someone did a breakdown of how the Sad Puppy 4 counts are going thus far.

Right now, best novel looks like this.

Now, it's one thing to be in the top ten, which is surprising enough -- and for which I thank my enthusiastic fan base, I'm seriously shocked -- but it's another thing to be in the top five.

And no, for those of you wondering, I'm not beating out Correia or Ringo because I'm better than they are, but because they've stated that they don't want a Hugo, and would reject one if offered. So, count on their readers knowing that and thinking "Nah, I'm not going to bother them."

I'm not shocked that I beat Ancillary Mercy because, well, Ann Leckie is enjoyed by the Puppy Kicker crowd, and I suspect that some of them figured "Hey, we can manipulate the Puppies! Yaaaay."  I may be wrong, but most of my friends and acquaintances couldn't get through her books. Just listen to any of my radio shows with Tom Knighton.

While I have not read Nethereal, and cannot comment on it, I am shocked that I'm above Jim Butcher.

It occurs to me as I write this that I'm even shocked that I'm on the same list as Ringo, Correia, Butcher, Wright, Stephenson and Williamson.

Heck, I'm surprised I'm even allowed on this list.

Welcome to science fiction, truly, the great equalizer.  Huh.

Oh well, here's where the fun starts. If this keeps up, I'll be marked for slander and libel all over the internet.  So, please, by all means, anyone who hasn't voted yet, please do feel free to cast a vote for me.

Because as I've said before to the Puppy Kickers...

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Catholic Geek: Chasing Freedom 01/24 by We Built That Network | Books Podcasts

The Catholic Geek: Chasing Freedom 01/24 by We Built That Network | Books Podcasts:

Host Declan Finn has Marina Fontaine discussing her dystopian novel 'Chasing Freedom.' At long last, a dystopia that's not depressing.

Marina Fontaine is an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, a proud American and an unrepentant book addict. Because of her background, Marina especially appreciates an opportunity to discover, share and support pro-freedom art in all its forms. She is a co-founder of Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance group on Facebook, runs Small Government Book Fan Club on Goodreads and has a blog on Liberty Island. Marina lives in New Jersey with her very supportive husband, three children and four guinea pigs, working as an accountant by day and an aspiring writer by night.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Set to Kill, chapter 1

I've banged out about 2,000 words on Set to Kill.

Have a quick look at some of them.

Yes, some of them. I'm not going to show you the ENTIRE book... And I haven't written it all yet.

But just to show you that I'm doing something.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Movie night: The Detective

So, item one, obviously, the radio show did not go off as planned. I couldn't log into the system, and by the time it was up and running, the show would pretty much be done with.

Anyway, just to make my life easy for five minutes, I'm going to show you a movie. For free.

If you've never heard of GK Chesterton's Father Brown ... have you been living under a rock? Before there was Father Dowling (and you've at least heard of that one, haven't you?) there was Father Brown, created by Chesterton out of thin air.

While there have been some attempts at Father Brown (the most recent evoking the most homicidal reaction from me), this is probably the best. Not because of the accuracy of the scripts to the stories (for that you want the Father Brown as done by Kenneth More) but because of the best execution of character, done by Alec Guiness.

And it's for free on YouTube.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Catholic Geek: Creating Evil, with Page Zaplendam

The Catholic Geek: Creating Evil, with Page Zaplendam: Page Zaplendam, author of Order of the Blood, discusses development of evil in novels, with host Declan Finn.

They'll discuss vampires, self publishing, female leads in fiction, fandom, and fantasy/scifi in general. Order of the Blood: The Unofficial Chronicles of John Grissom is currently free for kindle purchase on

If you're interested in a softcover copy, you can enter the Giveaway for Order of the Blood until January 18th on Fans can chat with Page Zaplendam on FB, Twitter, or on her website,

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Music to Write to: May It Be (Peter Hollens)

Yup. The end song from Fellowship of the Ring.

Yes, I can write to it. Mostly because I have trouble singing it. Heh

Enjoy everybody.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Announcing: Set to Kill, A Sean AP Ryan Novel

So, I was hanging out, discussing the sequel to It Was Only on Stun!, perhaps around another convention. As mentioned, I had considered a sequel where Sean would be protecting "not" Natalie Portman at Harvard, or perhaps where he was protecting an adult actress on a set.

And then there was the idea where I was going to send Sean Ryan to protect DragonCon.

Originally, when the concept rattled around y brain a few years ago, it was going to be the murder of JJ Abrams by J. Michael Straczynski, and Rick Berman would be arrested for it at the end of the novel.  If you have no idea who these people are, don't worry, this involves LOTS of inside baseball. Also, William Shatner-- mentioned in the book only as "the Whale"-- in the same room with Chris Pine. Hilarity ensues.

Sean: "What do I have for security?"
"Star Wars or World War II?"
"Star Wars.  They're all marines or cops. It's the only reason they can march in file.  And hit what they aim at."
Sean cackles.  "Exxxcellent. I have an army!"
"We have a hulk."
Sean: "What?"

This premise was never going to happen. This sequel was never going to happen. Why? Think about it for a moment-- It Was Only on Stun! was not the best-received novel I've ever written. Why do a sequel?  I have one or two fans of the book who are loudly demanding a sequel, but aside from that.

Anyway, while I was having this discussion with a friend of mine, Margot St. Aubin, she started laughing, and jokingly suggested a crossover with my Sad Puppies Bite Back Universe.

As all of those you were present for the creation of SPBB, making suggestions like that will only get them added.

So, of course, Sean had to be at "WyvernCon" in Atlanta, to "protect" three groups of players in FanDom from each other.

Imagine trying to explain this to Sean.

"So first, we have the Tearful Puppies Save the Orphans campaign--"
Sean: "The what?"
"Long story on the name.  Anyway, we have Larry, Intergalactic Lord of Hate--"
Sean: "Who's that?"
"Him, over there?"
Sean: "The seven-foot tall teddy bear? Hey, I think I bought a few guns from him."
"Probably.  Anyway, you have the Stunning Yet Vile Space Princess and her umbrella of Death--"
Sean: "Darth Leia?"
"Not quite. The Portuguese female over there. The White Mormon Male with a great rack."
Sean: "....Um .... Dude ... She's clearly a woman."
"Long story."
Sean: "There are a lot of those, aren't there?"
"You have no idea. And you have Jessie James."
Sean: "That's an alias, right? Pseudonym?"
"Nope, it's his real name. Don't bring up the old West outlaw. Just don't.  Anyway, that's him over there."
Sean: "Is he wearing a kilt?"
"Is that common?"
Sean: "Lemme guess, long story?"
Sean: "And the hot, blue-haired goth chick is...?"
"His wife. She's smarter than all of us put together, and we have some rocket scientists at this con, so don't make jokes."
Sean: "I'd never. So, we have the Sad--"
Sean: "--Puppies, and they're interested in what?"
"Saving the Hubble Awards from their own obscurity and left-wing nutters who have control over it."
Sean: "No one cares about the Academy Awards, and no one's trying to save that from left-wing nutters.  Have I heard of this Hubble Award?"
"Oh, sure. Asimov won it. Heinlein won it. I think Ellison won it."
Sean: "Two out of three ain't bad. And the Distressed Puppies are trying to ... what? Make sure other people can play with the Hubble?"
"Basically so that anyone can win an award based off of talent, merit, that sort of thing."
Sean: "Good luck on that. Hell, the Golden Globes have been screwed up since the start, and that's voted on by five guys in the foreign correspondents dinner. So, the people who were begging for my protection are the Bawling Puppies?"
"TEARFUL .... no, those are the Puppy-Kickers."
Sean blinks .... shakes his head ... counts to ten .... "The what-now?"
"We have a few names for them.  SMURFS for one.  CHUDs for another."
Sean: "Riiiight.  SciFi people and their acronyms.  Next you're going to try convincing me that and RPG is NOT a rocket propelled grenade."
"Smurfs, what about them? Lefty-looney nutjobs?  That's it? Who are those players?"
"Well, you have John Prada -- wrote a Star Trek Fan Fic named Goldshirts, and got a Hubble for it."
Sean: "I thought they were Red Shirts?"
"Not on the Next Generation.  Also, you have the guy who invented the Hairballs."
Sean: "Something a cat coughed up?"
"Kind of like the flat cats made by Heinlein. The guy's name is Jerry David."
Sean: "Uh huh.  And you said something about another group? A third group?"
"Yes, the Hydrophobic Puppies. They want the Hubbles scrapped, burned to the ground, and start over with something new."
Sean: "Well, if someone told me they were going to burn down the Academy Awards, I would just make sure that George Clooney was still in the building when it went up.  And who's in charge of the Rabid--"
"Hydrophobic Puppies!  It's a her, actually. She goes by the name Agnes Dei."
Sean blinked:  "Riiiigh. Sure. Of course.  So, lemme just get this clear. You have the Hubbles, the lefties who own the Hubbles, The Hydrophobic who want to burn the Hubbles, and the Tearful Puppies who want to save the Hubbles from themselves. Is that what you're telling me?"
Sean nods slowly: "And the Hubbles are this great big Sci-fi award?  At WyvernCon?"
"Nope. UniversalCon.  But they wouldn't allow any Puppies there, so they all thought this would be neutral ground."
Sean looks around the room: "They do realize we're in the South, right? They have guns here, don't they?  And the --whadid'ya call them? The smurfs? Thought that this would be neutral ground?  Are they smoking many drugs, or only great quantities of one in particular? Because if it's the latter, I need to be on the lookout for if it hits LA anytime soon."
Let's not even go into Sean Ryan meeting someone who goes by "Tom, the Tank Engine." And don't even get me started on his reaction to Avery the Porpoise, the official spokesperson for Tearful Puppies.

And, of course, I had a few titles in mind.

Goldshirts was one, just because I'm a bit of a smartass.

Cry Havoc, based off of my own blog post of the same name...but that's way too much inside baseball.

The Puppies of War would fit better ... and might even bring in anyone who's following PuppyGate, et al.

But then I considered that the first book was It Was Only On Stun!  Therefore, wouldn't it just make more sense to have this become Set To Kill?  Of course, someone will have to die, but the first one was a murder mystery, why not this one?

And keep in mind, everything you've read has been cooked up tonight.  No, I don't outline all that often, why do you ask?

But yeah, this just goes strange. Sean Ryan meets people who are not real-life authors -- I say they're not real-life authors because they look more like the SPBB authors than anyone in real life. After all, the SPBB versions are already fictional, this would just go the rest of the way.

Obviously, most of the jokes write themselves.

And don't even get me started on what happens when we bring in Middle Earth's Most Wanted Elven Assassin. Who, if you've read both Stun! and The Pius Trilogy, you'd know has stuck around.

Keep in mind, there will not be too much crossover with the Pius books.  There would be no Scott Murphy in this one.  There won't be German spies or commando priests, or IRA hitmen ... okay, there's the one who's on Sean's payroll. but aside from that, no.

Unless of course, they decide to just butt into the story without asking me. That happens.  Sean wasn't even supposed to be in the Pius books, so that tells you exactly how much control I have over these people.

This should be fun. Or deranged. Deranged is good.

As for self-published versus regular publishing ... good question. The covers are cheaper if I do regular publishing. And I think Damnation might be amused.  But we'll see.

Step one is, as always, WRITE THE DAMN BOOK.

Be well.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Review: Chasing Freedom

I hang out with a lot of political writers.  Then again, most if not all writers still to be political, to some degree or another. And the most common form of political writing lately is the distopia, or perhaps dystopia, depending on who's writing it.

And dear God, I am sick of them.

Granted, there have been some solid ones.  Remember, after all, Daniella Bova's Tears of Paradox, which honestly looked something like it was out of Walker Percy than anything else. There's Ordinance 93, that was mostly an action thriller with heavy espionage elements than a distopia. There's every John Ringo novel, which looks like he's destroying the world at one point or another.

But for everyone one of those, there are easily ten that don't make the cut. Or drive me to tears. Or drive me insane. I don't even finish them, because I can't.  Honestly, it's either the despair, or the writing, and the occasional "Why am I not doing something fun, like having a root canal?"

And then a friend of mine, Marina Fontaine, wanted me to look at Chasing Freedom.

Finally, at long last, something fun.

And this one is a distopia that's easy to digest, easy to read, and simply enjoyable.

Our main characters are Julie and Randy, and we follow them from being teenagers rebelling against a Politically Correct system gone amuck, via blogs and rallies, and watch them blossom into resistance fighters against a totalitarian system.

What's that you say? Sounds like a variation on Red Dawn?  Sounds like a TEA partier's worse nightmare? Must be written by some redneck in flyover country?

Oops, sorry, no.  Marina lived under the USSR.  She's been there, done that, got the t-shirt. You want a tyranical nightmare, she can build one.  However, this isn't Tolstoy (who was a moron). You will not want to read this one with a bottle of vodka.

Chasing Freedom is different from all the other distopias for a number of reasons. The tone is lighter and hopeful. It's also filled with creative ideas about how to circumvent a dictatorship.  For example, Amish country becomes a safe haven for people fleeing the nightmare that is the urban environment (like New Jersey).  Also, this is a distopia that operates on the level of a Tom Clancy novel, following various and sundry people at multiple levels of the resistance and the political hierarchy -- from the schlub in the street, to the grunts running the black sites, to smugglers getting people to Canada.

Despite having all of these characters at all of these levels, they're easy to keep track of. They have histories, they have easily traced relationships, and they all connect to each other.

Another difference is that this is not outlandish. This is not a delusion. Much of the tyrannical elements are visible from here. You can see these coming. And when you see the ones at the start of the novel, the ones to follow are easier still to see.

And the best difference? This is one book. Sure, there could be more novels, but this is basically it, one novel, one story -- a history of a resistance, encapsulated in a few hundred pages. I honestly can't name you one person who's done that.

Just do yourself a favor, and buy the book already.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Flashback Blog: So, you want to be a writer?

Originally posted five years ago, it was a filler post then. Apparently, it's a filler post now. Who knew?

With apologies to Doctor Who....

So, you want to be a writer?

Maybe not, but keep reading, you might be entertained.

The first rule that many people tell you in creative writing is “Write what you know.”

I'm going to tell you that this is the last thing you should do.

No one wants to read about your family drama. Do you think that Vince Flynn is actually a terrorist hunter? Or that Bob Kane dressed up as a giant bat? Or that Stephen King is a demonic clown?

Okay, demonic clown is redundant …

NOT me.
Saying “write what you know” is as ridiculous as suggesting that I am either: an athletic mercenary with enough weapons to take Latin America / a soccer-playing Vatican Secret Service agent / or a commando priest. [Edited: or a hot female Russian vampire]

I would recommend, generally, that you write what you read. Unfortunately, your writing will probably suck at first. Keep writing. It will still suck. Do it again. Repeat until you no longer suck. Trust me, I speak from experience. And from the experience of Timothy Zahn, John Ringo, and several other authors who discovered how to write the hard way –by writing.

That would lead to an obvious follow up: read.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Catholic Geek: Sad Puppies 4, the Embiggening

The Catholic Geek: Sad Puppies 4, the Embiggening 01/10 by We Built That Network | Culture Podcasts

Host Declan Finn (Honor At Stake) welcomes the return of author Tom Knighton (Bloody Eden). They'll discuss Sad Puppies 2016, the Hugos, and the cultural impact that Puppygate has had on the Science Fiction community.

T.L. "Tom" Knighton is a former Navy Corpsman, a journalist, blogger, husband, father, and writer living in Albany Georgia. He is also a contributor to

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Midseason TV review: Blindspot, Castle, Blacklist

Yes, this seems like an odd collection of shows to group together, but two are against each other on Monday night, and two are both on NBC.

Starting with Blindspot, they had a good, strong run of episodes to open this season ... until they hit a solid wall.  In an attempt to make each episode about government corruption, they stretched themselves beyond the breaking point with one episode that was so badly executed, even the actors seem to have a hard time getting through the episode, and the director must have filmed everything in one take in a rush to get the crap over and done with.

Am I exaggerating?  Well, how about this: the main plot of the episode is around evil corrupt cops, using body cameras for blackmail. Their first blackmail victim was blackmailed because he was a gay sports star ... yes, because that apparently still matters, because evil football, or something.  And of course, evil corrupt cops, because Ferguson, or something.

Meanwhile, in the same episode, you had the FBI division commander involved in going over the NSA data that was scooped up in PRISM, in cahoots with the CIA director and the FBI agent's girlfriend. Yes, that's right, girlfriend.  Let's jam as much gay / bi /whatever into the episode in one big round of Lefty-storylines and vomit it out in one go. We have once more returned to the grand old days of the CIA is evil -- and not in a-Libertarian sort of "all government is evil" kind of way, more like a 90's cartoonishly-evil way.

Since then, Blindspot hasn't quite recovered. The villains since then have been deranged, perverted Bond-villains.  It's jarring, given what happened at the start of the season.

The mid-season reveal is ... casually blowing away the CIA Director, and showing that our girl of the million tattoos had her own memory wiped.  Yes, really.

Blindspot is on a razor's edge here, and may not make it to the end of the season.

Castle, on the other end, is still as fun and as odd as ever.  Despite having an opening gambit that made me certain would spell the series' doom, the show has managed to continue to be as charming and as creative, and as deranged as the ones before.

That being said, Nathan Fillion has made mutterings about leaving, and last year, the show didn't even know if i would be renewed.  So, I'll lay money that this is the last season, no matter what the storyline says.

As for The Blacklist ... I like half of this show a lot.  Half of this show is dealing with the supervillain du jour while being hunted by the FBI, and the other half is about soap opera stuff that makes me crazy.

Basically, this is a vehicle for James Spader to ride roughshod over everybody. And it's always a joy to watch him play. Frankly, they should just show him onstage all the time.

Strangely enough, for the most part, yes, I like all of these shows. And I especially want Blindspot to get back to the quality of the early days of the season. Seriously, how can you screw up Lady Sif as Jason Bourne? Get your acts together, people.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Berlantiverse: Arrow, Flash, Supergirl (Midseason review)

Greg Berlanti, in his attempt to save DC Comics media from itself (most importantly, from it's movie department), has been doing everything himself -- up to and including giving a "not" Justice League their own limited run series.

Let's start with the new kid on the block-- Supergirl.  While it started off with an okay pilot, and a three or four-block of episodes that were somewhat mediocre (and whiny), this show has finally gotten off the ground, and up up and away. With the debut of characters like Red Tornado and Dr. T.O. Morrow, up to and including the Martian Manhunter.

They were so close to screwing it up and making it a soap opera, but they've decided to actually have a comic book show.

Now, granted, there are some things that are fitting close to pattern. For example, they're using a lot of Superman tropes, up to and including Max Lord as a makeshift Lex Luthor.  But they've finally got it working for them, and cut back on the feminist tripe and cliche`, and decided to go into an actual SUPERHERO SERIES. Heck, leave it to Berlanti to have an episode where they point out that Superpowered people still need hand to hand combat experience.

But Supergirl finally has an overarching plot, and it's all the better for it.

Then there's Arrow. After a season three that was so damn dark it needed NVGs, Arrow has a sense of humor. Oliver Queen has a sense of humor, at long last. We've even got a bad guy with charisma and something that looks like charm. Heck, we've basically got a bond villain in Damien Dhark, only with magical powers. Despite having a season where we're bringing people back from dead after digging up their desiccated corpse, and a visit from John Constantine, as well as going back to that lousy island, this show is STILL visibly brighter than last time out.

Most importantly? They're cutting back on a LOT of the soap opera elements. Thank God.

Which is interesting, because the bright and cheerful The Flash is getting a little darker. Not much, but a little. But they've been working so hard on expanding the universe, so much so that they've included another universe. Then again, they also have magic and time travel.  Short version? I'm looking forward to Legends of Tomorrow, even though I really do think that's a terrible name for a TV show. Though I also want to see King Shark again, because that character design looked AMAZING.

Also, Berlanti seems to be building up to a Green Lantern tv show, especially with all the various and sundry references to Hal Jordan's Coast City, as well as his place of business, Ferris Air.

Speaking of which, did anyone else note that Supergirl mentioned Opal City? Can I have Starman now? Or at least The Shade?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Midseason Review: Scorpion and NCIS

Scorpion, a CBS show that tries to go out of its way to break up the usual CBS patterns. On a network that likes to stretch out sexual chemistry between characters far beyond the breaking point (see: JAG, or the original NCIS), Scorpion seems to work hard on establishing chemistry early on, and develop it in a semi-natural manner (or at least natural for a collection of fairly broken oddballs).

If you don't recall my review / know this show offhand, Scorpion is a collection of geniuses working as contractors for the government, putting them on a wide variety of tasks -- working on space satellites to drone uplinks. and, like most tv shows, each character has a specialty, even the two relatively normal people who work with them (their FBI doorkicker and their handler).

However, the nice thing about the show is that everyone is allowed to be smart. In an age of shows like Unforgettable or other scripts when one person is smarter than everyone, and everyone else is too stupid to live, it's so nice when everyone is allowed to, you know, have a brain.

There's even character development and growth. Sometimes to comedic effect, but often in ways that are strangely touching.

In short, who knew?

The NCIS franchise, on the other hand, is mostly strong and pushing forward.  NCIS original is fun, with relatively good character development. Gibbs is finally allowed to look more like his age, after taking several bullets to the chest in last season's finale. Tony DiNozzo is finally going to be leaving the show, after his character has finally decided to grow up at age 40-something.  McGee and Bishop are still some of the more interesting characters, and may be some of the last people standing.

NCIS LA has gone through a serious down trend in writing lately. Honestly, I have no idea what happened to the people writing this show, but there was a slough of terrible episodes that made me want to give up on the entire program. Despite it having two former stars on its roster, Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J are possibly the least interesting people on this show, and I look forward to the day when their characters are axed off.

However, NCIS LA still has more and better quality episodes than NCIS: New Orleans, a show that is bordering between mediocre and just okay. In its second season, NO still feels like it's trying to find its general identity.

Yes, you really can follow the general trend.  The NCIS franchise really does feel like it's finally starting to slow down, and maybe they're about ready to shut it all down. Which, to be honest, would make my tv viewing life just a heck of a lot easier.

In a world where the TV competition is getting harsher, NCIS seems to have given up. Maybe they should have more crossovers with Scorpion

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

CSI: Fascist, a mid-season review

Yes, technically, this is a review of CSI: Cyber, but no, CSI Fascist works.

This show sucks. Yes, that's the word. Sucks. The writing? Juvenile. The acting?  The acting is bad. How bad? Lucy Lawless as Xena was Shakespeare compared to the acting gig of Patricia Arquette on this show.

The plotlines of late have amounted to the Left-Wing propaganda narrative of the week.  From banks are evil to cops are racist, to the federal government will come in on a shining white horse every time and they are always right and they can stampede whatever rights get in their way. Because it is, after all, for your own good.

Even the one good actor that they imported, Ted Danson, cannot save this drek.  Danson is probably even embarrassed to be on this show, given how little he's actually in it. Comparatively, he has the same amount of screen time as Peter MacNicole did in the first season, and MacNicole was the best thing on this show, despite being on for only minutes an episode.  And, in all honesty, MacNicole  should have had at least one line discussing Lord of the Rings, in particular, the actor playing Aragorn, if only so he could have used the line, "He is Viggo!"

But no one probably even remembers Ghostbusters II on this set.

If you are at all aware of this show, Patricia Arquette plays FBI Agent Avery "I'm always right" Ryan, who has no personality beyond that of a dishrag. But she's constantly chewing out subordinates for being human and not a lifeless automaton like her. She bitched out her head doorkicker for hitting a pederast one too many times, grounding him in their DC offices, and whining some more when he leaves the building to do his job.

And of course, the might and awe of the FBI is never wrong. Private companies? Run by morons, and they can't hire anyone with a tenth of the competence of the Feds. No individuals can compare to the power of the FBI ... except for deranged loners with magical computer powers.

This series was encapsulated in one moment of a recent episode.  One of their former criminals, a woman serving time in the Cyber division, is up for early release. Avery's statement is designed to keep this woman under her thumb and in the FBI, against her will, because God forbid this woman go out and have a life with her own free will, because who knows what she'll do if she were allowed to be a person.

Avery later confesses to Ted Danson's character that IF AVERY HAD TOLD THE TRUTH, her pet criminal would be free right now.

Yes, you read that right -- Patricia Arquette's character lied in order to keep an employee under her thumb against her will.

I might -- I say might -- tune in next week in order to see if her character is assassinated.

Also, now that I have watched a few episodes with someone whose specialty is in cyber security, almost every piece of information that they're spinning about technology happens to be on par with the "technology" being taught at Hogwarts to Harry Potter.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Catholic Geek: Star Wars and Sherlock 01/03

The Catholic Geek: Star Wars and Sherlock 01/03 by We Built That Network | Books Podcasts

Declan Finn fights a sore throat, annoying cough, and other ills in an attempt to ring in the new year with author Ann Margaret Lewis (The Watson Chronicles), who returns to discuss the latest Star Wars film, and the newest foray into theSherlock franchise.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year (in review)

This has been such a bizarre little year.

March .... I have to edit Honor At Stake while my primary computer is down due to painting and carpet layers. Oh yay. Oh shoot me now...

April starts: What the hell is Sad Puppies?  Who is this Torgersen guy? What the hell is going on with the Hugos, anyway?

April ends: Sad Puppies Bite Back begins. I have no idea what I'm getting into.

May: I finally have an idea of what I'm getting into. File 770 has a hit out on me (actually, just 770's readership.)

July - The Catholic Writer's Guild had me on two panels.

And I got a radio show....

And a new blog to post on...

August - The Hugos melted down.

September: Honor At Stake is published! Yay! It starts to take over my blog. I also discover GamerGate, and why I'd rather play with the Puppy Kickers.

For October, I showed a friend and fellow Catholic Writers Guild member, Dawn, around New York City.

In November: The anthologies get published, technically leaving me with three books coming out in one swell foop. The same day they're published, I fly out to Indiana to help a friend bury her husband (who was, in fact, also a friend).  That bled over into December, and there's still some of that going on.

No, I didn't go into detail on it. But this year was BUSY.  In 2016, I'm going to try for one better.

I intent to be a guest at:
   New York Comic Con -- because I could walk there if I had to.
   LibertyCon -- because all the Baen people are there.
   DragonCon -- because it is AWESOME
   WorldCon -- because I want to wear a Sad Puppy logo and see who notices.

I hope to get a Sad Puppy -- if not a Hugo -- nomination.  I'll take it for Best Novel OR best related or fan writer.  Though as I said, I may settle for just a Sad Puppy nomination. Because that level of exposure? I don't think I could buy.

Though wouldn't it be hilarious if I got a Vox Day / Rabid Puppy nomination?  Then EVERYbody loses their minds. BWAHAHAHAHAHAA.


Also, I should have two -- yes, two -- books coming out this year in my vampire series. And I'll see what I can do about self pubbing some of my own stuff as I go along.

Let's see if we can't make 2016 more interesting than 2015.