Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Top ten blogs of January 2017

The first year has started, and I've stopped posting everything relentlessly online, and I'm only down to 18,000 readers a month on the blog. That's not a bad take overall.

What made it on the blog? What was the most popular thing?


My suggestion page, for books. Yes, these are some books I'd highly recommend from last year. It's also my begging letter for people to remind me what came out last year.

Fisking the Six Foot Blivet

I'm not too surprised at this. I did take a few swings at a punching bag who wanted to go after Brian Niemeier.

The Catholic Geek: Hugos and Werecougars 01/08

....No. I have no reason for this to be any more or less popular than any of my other shows or blogs.

Rumors Bargains and Lies

I addressed some really silly rumors aimed in my direction, mostly the one that was the most insane. However, the most important part is the review by JD Cowan.

Midseason Berlantiverse Review: Arrow

.... Yeah. I have no idea why this was so popular.

Midseason Review: Quick Hits

Or this. Maybe people are really just looking for opinions on current TV shows.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

The blog where I hoped that things would slow down. They have a little, but the month of February hasn't started as I write these words.


I'm surprised it's not higher up on the list. Though Jeffro Johnson credits this, in part, for the sales shooting up on Appendix N. I hope he's right.

Live and Let Bite, Best Horror at the Dragon Award...

This is my logical argument for why I'm going to bring home a Dragon Award this year.
.... Why, yes, I am delusional, why do you ask?

Music Blog: Dragonforce, Through the Fire and the Flames...
You know why this one made it. Because it's DRAGONFORCE.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Live and Let Bite Roundup

So, in case you're new here, and wondering what this Live and Let Bite is that's all over the blog, let's back track a little bit, all the way to the beginning, if you like.

There is, of course, book 2, Murphy's Law of Vampires, which tackles demons, San Francisco, an blowing up even more damage to public places.

And now, there's Live and Let Bite
The third in the Dragon Award nominated series, Love at First Bite.
Merlin “Merle” Kraft has been fighting the darkness for months. He left San Francisco in the capable hands of Marco Catalano and his anti-vampire team to defend them against vampires. With special operators at his command, Kraft has been killing every vampire he can find in the Middle East. After clearing out a nest in Tora Bora, he is finally brought back to New York, and the investigation that led him to vampires in the first place.

Marco is starting to spiral. He knows it. His team knows it. Everyone around him can see that he’s just a bomb waiting to explode. The only woman who can bring him back from the brink is also the woman who lit his fuse.

Ever since the demon Asmodeus tried to murder Marco, Amanda Colt has been hunting down every lead to find the ones ultimately behind the attempt. After months of investigation, she learns that something in the dark is colder than the dark. It is a vampire assassin that Amanda has faced once before, and Amanda lost. This assassin is stronger than anything they’ve face before, and it isn’t alone.

With Marco ready to self-destruct, and the armies of Hell ready to descend, the three of them must come together and stop a thousand-year-old assassin that has has never been stopped, and has never failed to kill her target.
This book is going to be awesome. How awesome?

I'm almost certain that Live and Let Bite will take Best Horror at the Dragon Awards. Why? Pure logic on my part....

And if you think that logic has anything to do with awards, I have a bridge to sell you. Heh.

There was the cover reveal. Nice cover, huh?

Then I showed a bit of chapter 4, where our hero was ... a little cranky.

Chapter 6 saw how the world of the supernatural coincides with the real world

Chapter 5 gives you a sense of just how dark this will get.

And, there is, of course, the playlist for the novel.

And, now, there's really nothing more to do than to suggest you try buying these books and enjoy.


Thanks to everyone

I want to thank everyone who aided and abetted my launch of Live and Let Bite today, as well as the launch party last night.

Some of these people played around with the launch party on Facebook. Some shared links. Some boosted the signal on their blog, or their social media.

To Brian Niemeier.

To Alfred Genesson

To Jeffro Johnson

To Jagi Lamplighter Wright

To Dawn Witzke

To Russell Newquist.

To Marina Fontaine

To Kia Heavey.

To Gregory Stern (yes, I've noticed the tweets. Thanks).

Virginia Mueller of Bookhorde.

Jason Rennie.

Moira Greyland Peat.

Karl Gallagher

Trish Strucker

Ann Margaret Lewis

Brad Johnson

Yes, there are a lot of people here. In part because I've put a lot of effort into promoting the book, and asking for help, and because I have a lot of really awesome people in my general social circle.

And now ... they're still available for under $7. Enjoy.


Live and Let Bite is ALIVE (Also, 1 dollar deals)

All right.

It's published. 

Live and Let Bite is, at long last, live and ready to go. Or at least it should be if Amazon is reliably still working on PST, instead of EST.  (Stupid Amazon. Give us OPTIONS for time. Thanks.)

Thank God.

Everyone here knows by now that the third novel in my Dragon Award nominated series is now out and live. 

And, for a special bonus for all of those people who are new here -- you can get all 3 books for less than $7.

That's right, my Dragon Award nominated novel Honor at Stake, as well as Murphy's Law of Vampires are both live today -- and today only, midnight to midnight -- for $0.99 each. 

And then there's Live and Let Bite for $4.99.

... Why, yes, that is a little more than Honor at Stake was in December, but not only is this a new release, I'm taking my cue from a survey of several other authors in my general range.

... No, that does not include the price point on Jim Butcher's books ($9.99 a book? Really?). I may be insane, but I'm not quite that delusional.

Now, for the record, this is not a trilogy. This is a quartet. Why? Because I have an inability to let things go at merely 3 novels. Especially when I had a lot to cover in book 2 and 3. I mean, I have emotional subplots, the overarching plot, the primary plot of the individual book

In short, these are busy little books.

Also, I've been making the villains tougher and tougher to beat every novel.

The first one involved our three heroes tag-teaming the one bastard.

I had those three, plus the San Francisco team, a team of Vatican ninjas, and a REDACTED to take out Mister Day.

Just wait until you see what it takes to drop our villain in Bite

Hell. Just wait until you see what I do to everybody in book 4.

Anyway, here are the books du jour


And, if you like, feel free to spread the word around about today's deal.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

TONIGHT on The Catholic Geek: Battle of the Dragons. 01/29

The Catholic Geek: Battle of the Dragons. 01/29 by We Built That Network | Books Podcasts:

At 7PM, EST, host Declan Finn has a new book out, and will discuss it with co-host Dawn Witzke.

In the second hour, things get interesting with Brian Niemeier, where they will discuss his new novel, The Secret Kings.

Brian Niemeier was the nominee for the 2016 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and winner of the First Annual Dragon Awards for Best Horror. He chose to pursue a writing career despite formal training in history and theology. His journey toward publication began at the behest of his long-suffering gaming group, who tactfully pointed out that he seemed to enjoy telling stories more than planning and adjudicating games.

And if you haven't read book 1 and 2, we can fix that. 

If you have, please, review them.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Music Blog: Winterborn

"Winterborn," by the Cruxshadows. I never know what to do with this band. They are nominally "Goth,"  but they tend to use a lot of classical imagery. I first encountered from in a John Ringo novel called Ghost.(A book I will talk about at a later date, with a few cautionary notes ... it's not that bad, but there is one section that should carry a warning label)  I had no idea what the song was about, so I looked it up on YouTube.

This one stuck with me enough that I titled a book after it. So that should tell you something.

In this case, the visuals are taken from the video game "Halo 2."

And, yes, it did inspire some elements of Codename: Winterborn

And if you haven't read book 1 and 2, we can fix that. 

If you have, please, review them.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Live and Let Bite, Table of Contents

So, Live and Let Bite is out next Monday.

And here are the chapter titles.

Chapter 1: Love Bites
Given how Murphy's ended, you can guess how this is.

Chapter 2: Bite Me
Merle's new job.

Chapter 3: Suckers
Amanda decides it's time to see Marco.

Chapter 4: Live and Let Bite
We covered this chapter

Chapter 5: Blue Blood
Covered this one

Chapter 6: In Cold Blood
Covered this one.

Chapter 7: Spytalk
More spy stuff

Chapter 8: Getting Back Together
Amanda and Marco come together.

Chapter 9: Passion Play
Things come to a head.

Chapter 10: Shot in the Dark
Merle makes a new friend

Chapter 11: Danse MacabreMarco makes even more friends.

Chapter 12: Terror By Night
We meet the enemy

Chapter 13: FalloutThe enemy is not us.

Chapter 14: The Most Dangerous GameGuess who that is.

Chapter 15: Strike of the Minions
I make Renfield look like a piker.

Chapter 16: Angels of December

Chapter 17: Bullets Over Grant Street
Remember what I said about minions before? Heh heh heh.

Chapter 18: Battle of Brooklyn
They try to strike Marco where it hurts.

Chapter 19: My Minion Can Beat Up Your Minion
It strikes back.
Chapter 20: Great Balls of Fire

Chapter 21: Bloody Details

Chapter 22: A Theory of Everything
We start tying things together

Chapter 23: Complications
Not over yet.

Epilogue: Cry Havoc
This means war.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Superversive Fiction, build the ultimate list

Once a while back, I did an article discussing Superversive fiction, and why we need the term, and the movement

And now, it's becoming far more of a thing thank you'd think of at first.

As Jagi Lamplighter Wright posts on the Superversive site.
We are actually beginning our Superversive Book List! Our goal is to have a suggested reading list that can be shared about, listing books–from all time periods–that are worth reading! Hopefully, this will eventually lead to a Year’s Best list and a Superversive Award.

But for now, we are merely compiling a list. The results will be posted in a special Superversive Reading List place.

What is a Superversive book, you ask? A book that lives up to the motto: Good storytelling, great ideas.

For convenience sake, while this is not necessary, it would be nice if you could mark your suggestions by catagory:

Superversive — good storytelling, great ideas

Starship Trooper
 Harry Potter

Noumenal Superversive (NS) – what I call Superversive–a story that lifts you out of the ordinary into something finer and higher.

 The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe — and all the Narnia books
 Wrinkle In Time

Childrens — books that are Superversive, but specifically for children.

Watership Down
   The Dark is Rising

So come one, come all!

Write down your favorite Superversive book titles! 
I've already started to assemble my own list.

  • Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International, as well as his Grimnoir Chronicles.
  • Wright’s “Iron Chamber of Memory”
  • “Les Miserables” -- not SF, so that's probably wrong.
  • “Chasing Freedom,” Marina Fontaine
  • Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series
  • “Out of the Darkness,” by David Webber
  • John Ringo’s “Special Circumstances” series
  • Timothy Zahn’s “Heir to the Empire”… okay, Zahn doing Star Wars. And Cobra. And … oh, just Zahn.
  • James Rollins “Sigma” novels are very scifi and very superversive as well.

I’ll work out some more later.

But right now, the most important thing? They want suggestions.  Go ahead, go over to their blog, and post your suggestions right now. 

And, once you do that, check out some of the books below.

And if you have, please leave a review.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Guest blog: Amie Gibbons's "Making it" List

Author Amie Gibbons offered me a guest post for the blog. I, being a burnout case lately, agreed.

Amie’s Author Makin’ It Alphabet List

This is a shameless ripoff of Larry’s List of Author Success.  It was funny and seemed spot on, but I kept comparing it to places I’d be in my own life if I made that much so I decided to just write mine down.

A: I Can’t Even Imagine Having That Much Money!!!  All the $s:
More money than the Queen of England, could buy an island, could buy a president (What! I wanna be that person pulling the strings behind the scenes. Do I bash your dreams?), sets up a trust for a scholarship to a private university that’ll fund kids going there for hundreds of years.

B: Nope, Still Can’t Imagine It: $$$$$$$$$$
You have huge TV shows/movies based on your books, are a household name, can buy a few Senators, go on talk shows for your books (It theoretically happens), have lessor authors actually write your books under your name, and don’t even bother going to cons because you’re above mixing with the hoi polloi of common street writers.

C: Could Pay Off Law/Med School Loans With One Year’s Net Earnings: $$$$$$$$$
Otherwise known as The Dreammmmmm.  This is around where Larry is (I’m guessing based on his descriptions.)  You could pay expenses, taxes and then write a check for those loans in one fell swoop and still live for the year.  For normal people who didn’t bet their future on a brand name law school, substitute house for law school.  And after that first year, you have enough money each year to help out poor students of your choice by paying their tuition in a scholarship or two.

You’re also probably the guest of honor at a con or two a year and have signings with hour long lines.

D: The Top 1%: $$$$$$$$
According to some BS literary journalists (I use journalist as loosely as possible because you know they do), these are the authors raking in at least a hundred thousand a year.  They don’t count Indie authors, so if you’re Indie, you don’t get to be on this list because some literary fop who couldn’t make it as an author and became a magazine writer says so.

E. The Indie Authors Top 1%: $$$$$$$$
You make as much as (probably more than) the D list, but can’t be there because you’re “not a real author.”  And it’s still in the arena of enough money to pay off those student loans, it just may take you two years instead of one.  Or you could buy a Congress person, invest enough to be at risk of being accused of insider trading if you know anything, or buy that stupid literary mag… just because you could.  You go to the cons as a guest of honor, a normal guest, whatever.  You’re doing well and want to help the newbies learn.

F. Livin’ Large and Lovin’ Life: $$$$$$$
You’re living comfortably, paying those student loans off at a steady pace that’ll get them out of the way in a very reasonable five years or so, buying a new car, and looking into running for state judge, legislator or local mayor with your own funds.  It’s probably not enough to buy the election, but hey, that law degree has to be good for something, at least enough to make you more qualified than the jokers actually in office.

G. Professional and Proud: $$$$$$
You live off your writing, and it’s enough to live comfortably and pay off some amount of those loans. Not fast, but you make your monthly payments to get the suckers out on the ten year plan.  You have some savings after that and are considering a new house, or at least a new car.  And your spouse is no longer carrying your ass like they have been since you quit your day job.

H. Quit The Day Job! $$$$$
You make enough that you make more by writing and marketing your books during the time you were doing your day job than you would by “authoring” at night and doing your day job.  You are making the ten year loan payments but are really glad your spouse is covering the house payments and half the utilities because if you lived on your own, you’d be seriously pinched.

I. You Would Quit The Day Job If It Weren’t For Those Pesky Loans: $$$$
You make enough that you could live off your writing, but can’t get rid of that extra income just yet because of those damn student loans. You’re finally paying them down though, so go you!  You pay the loans with day job money and food/utilities with your book profits, even have money left over to go clothes shopping!  If you weren’t too exhausted after your two jobs to go do something, of course.

J. Wow, People Think I’m a Real Author? $$$
You make more as an author than you did in your first job out of school. In all fairness, you weren’t making that much because it was a BS public interest job you took to get experience so you could get a real job, because these days that big, expensive grad degree just doesn’t mean that much… no matter what they charge.  But hey, you’re paying your loans down between the two jobs, so it wasn’t the biggest mistake of your life, right?  Right?  Maybe it’s a good time to spring for another expensive bottle of something or other because you have enough profit for a splurge here and there.

K. Quarterly Taxes Are Bullshit! $$
I can’t believe I have to do this four times a year!  Who came up with this *%#$ rule?  Wait, that means I’m starting to make it, right?  I have enough that I have to deal with this bullshit even after taking the taxes I go over and would usually be my refund from my day job and my author expenses into account.  That’s pretty cool.  And I can pay expenses and my loans with my spouse covering my ass on the house… as long as we don’t have kids for ten years.

L. Shopping Spreeeeeeeee! $$
You made enough one month to go shopping from your profits  (the real profits, the ones you calculate after you take expenses and taxes into consideration) after you pay your bills.  And this is real shopping.  The I’m buying silk, suits, shoes and scotch shopping, and then getting a fancy ergonomic chair to do the writing in… that last one counts as a business expense, right?  Maybe it’s time to get an accountant.  Wait, have I made enough to have to pay quarterly taxes?  It’s definitely time to get an accountant.

M. Time To Pop The Champagne! $
Holy shit!  You made as much off one book in a year as you would’ve if you had gotten a deal with the Big 5 with a typical new author advance.  That means you made it!  You’re an author!  You get an expensive bottle of champagne and pop it.  And after the euphoria wears off, you realize that’s not that much money.  It’s enough to cover your half of the bills if you stop blowing the money on booze and dinners out though.  Not bad.

N. I Can Actually Pay For Something Monthly With My Profits?!?! 1/2$
Checking Amazon once an hour to see where your royalties are, checking CreateSpace at least three times a day to see paper sales, and getting a happy every time someone buys something or there’s a spike in KU sales. Calculating at least once a day how much you’ll make over the year if the trend keeps up, and crashing whenever your sales do because that’s all you’ll make ever and since sales went down you must be a failure and it’s time to just give up and focus on your day career, and hey, sales went back up, you’re happy again.  And doing the math, you can pay your phone bill from profits as long as sales don’t go down again… oh crap, why do they keep going up and down like that?
You do conventions to network and shove your books down the throats of anyone who comes to your panels.
(This may or may not be where this author happens to be hanging out right now.)

O. I’m An Author! 1/4$
Published some shorts or a book so you’re getting some sort of monthly royalties, got something published in a magazine for a one time payout and get to tell people at work you’re an author!  You start planning what you’ll buy when you make it big and dream about how quickly you could pay off your student loans while you’re at it.  You take your spouse out to dinner and that’s pretty much all the profit you’ve made so far.
The average literary writer who won some award or got something published in one of those literary magazines that at least pay the writers, so that’s something.

P. Literary Fop $?
You tell everyone in your writer groups you’re a real writer, while they are just commercial and you’ve sold stuff, but can’t tell anyone where it is because, well, reasons.  But they exist and you are the only real writer there.  And you proceed to tell all the writers in your group about how bad and shallow their writing is, while yours is deep and symbolic so you’re going to get published soon.  You’ve got an agent, which means it’s only a matter of time until you get published and of course the house is going to put their all behind promoting you so you’ll make it big overnight, so there.

Q: All Bow Before The Next Dickens… Emphasis On The Dick: 0$
You work at Starbucks, but that’s just while you finish the next great American novel.  You’re going to be a star, like J.K. Rowling, but not all commercial like she is.  You’re going to be rich and famous on true literary merit.  You have an MFA in creative writing so you know what you’re talking about.
If you stay here, you may become a high school English teacher or a creative writing professor in college who will churn out other P and Q-holes.

R: Couldn’t Make It As Authors:
So they became editors and agents.  Not necessarily a bad thing.  Some people are great at reading, editing and analyzing without having the ideas or the wherewithal to become authors.  It’s what they do in this position that makes them good or bad.

S: Yeah, I’m A Writer, I Guess: $0 (so far)
The people who have written a few books and shorts but know enough to know they aren’t up to par… Yet.  You made the basic newbie mistakes and are pounding out words every day whenever you can get away from work and life.  You already know this is a profession and you have to put in the work, and you’re well on your way.  You’re the future of writing.

T: Dude, I’m Totally A Writer Too! (Never gonna have $$$$$)
The guy who says he’s a writer too and goes on to describe his amazing book.  Sure, it’s not done, but he has a few chapters and wouldn’t you like to read them and tell him how brilliant he is?

U: Starting To Write But Not Really Telling Anyone Yet: (Not thinking about the $ yet.)
The people who’ve started writing, don’t know what’s going to become of it besides the fact that it’s a fun hobby.  You can go from here to S or T.  If you find yourself saying how cool your book is and doesn’t someone want to read the rough draft, go home, grab a drink, and keep writing, sparky.

V: I’ve Got This Great Idea!
Sit here and let me tell you about it… half an hour later: so that’s brilliant, right?  So I’m thinking you write it and we’ll totally split the royalties.  50/50 sound fair?

W: The Writer’s Group Troll: (No $, no sense, no respect, just no.)
They’re in the writing group, they do write, or so they say, and they just love to tear up everybody’s work.  They rip your work up because they don’t like your politics, they tell you that you need to explain every tiny detail in the first chapter for “world building,” which would just destroy your book because it’d be so boring.
These are also the people that hang out on review sites or have blogs, tearing up others’ work under the guise of reviewing.

X: The Subterrestrials on File 770 and 4Chan: (No $ ever, probably don’t even have one job, let alone a second one as an author.)
These are the people sitting in their parent’s basements and ripping apart authors, actors, photographers, basically anyone who dares put anything out there.
This is the dark part of the internet, that shadowy place is outside our borders.  You must never go there, Simba.
No, really, don’t go there.  Not because those pussies are dangerous. (No offense to real cats, who, even though they’re neutered, have more balls than those wankers.)  But because if you go there, you’ll get violent when you see what they’re saying about your friends and you can’t afford that good of a lawyer yet.

Y: The Anti-Authors: -$
The people who get jobs as literary critics or just write about it in whatever passes for journalism online these days.  Technically they get paid, but they do it at the expense of real authors, which is why they’re the negative dollars.  They pass judgement from on high, and might have a government grant or two to produce “art” but never actually stop drinking long enough to do it.

Z: Politicians Getting Illegal Campaign Contributions… I Mean Advances.
And the cream of the creepy… drum roll please.
Publishers give them great huge brib… I mean advances, the politician gets a ghost writer to write some non fiction thing about their life or their thoughts (which are created by other people who are footing the bill for the politician) and then people buy the book so they can put it on their coffee table and tell their friends they are up on the issues and cultured.

Alright!  That took so much longer than it was supposed to.  I am literally a starving artist right now.
And since I’m a starving artist and still figuring out this marketing thing, here’s an oh so subtle push of my new book, Psychic Undercover (with the Undead),

Singers are a dime a dozen in Nashville, so despite her mama's urging, psychic Ariana Ryder's working her way towards a career in law enforcement at the FBI, one tray of fetched coffee at a time, instead. She's got an extremely handsome boss, a dancing partner among the lab techs, and a solid year as the team rookie under her belt...

Right until the director gives her a big break, working undercover as a singer at a club to investigate why it's being targeted by a serial killer. This might have worked better if the club didn’t happen to be a vampire nest.

Now, with the vampire's investigator, Quil, on her case, the jurisdictional battle isn't the only thing heating up as they race to solve the case before the killer strikes again!*

*Vampires aren't the only things that go bump in the night...

Playlist for Live and Let Bite

Apparently, music playlists are popular.

I mean, heck, John Ringo has them. Why not me?

Yes, I know. Ringo usually just lists his listening playlists in a chapter by chapter breakdown in the back of his books.

However, Ringo doesn't have a blog he needs to fill with content, so work with me people.

For, for our first entry ... you could have Marco's theme harkening back to the final revelation of Honor at Stake.

But, in this case, after the end of Murphy's Law of Vampires, Marco has not heard back from Amanda for months.

And now, in Live and Let Bite, he can only assume what that means, and he doesn't assume anything good.

And as you saw in the other excerpt from chapter 4, Marco is ... cranky.

Amanda comes to San Francisco to find Marco, and possibly protect him.

As we saw in the other excerpt, she finds him .... a little different than she remembers.

This next one works on various levels ... up to and including Merle's chapter, and another chapter later on called -- wait for it -- A Theory of Everything.

Enter ... A theory of everything.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Live and Let Bite excerpt, Chapter 5: Blue Blood

This excerpt is the entire chapter.

Live and Let Bite will have a heft dose of world building. There will be more backstory built into history, the characters, the world, the relationships, and, more importantly, who knows about the little rabbit hole that our heroes have fallen down. After all, vampires have been around forever, that's why we have Vatican ninjas. Why the hell has it taken Merle Kraft so long to catch on? Why has it taken the government to catch on?

And this one will be a big piece of that.

I keep saying this should be the Dragon Award winner for a reason, people.

For those people who have read Murphy's, you can see where bits and pieces fit together, especially with the creature known only as "Mister Day."

The following sequence brings Merlin "Merle" Kraft back to the investigation that he started in Honor at Stake. But before he can really begin, he has been intercepted by the NYPD, and not because he's being profiled, but because the Police Commissioner has some information for him. 

For the record, if PC Wilson sounds like he could have been played by Tom Selleck ...

Ahem ....



Merle Kraft walked into New York City’s One Police Plaza and merely looked around the office building, hoping that he wasn’t about to get mugged by reality - or a bunch of cops with nightsticks.

Despite being a secret agent with connections to the government and the FBI, Merle had no idea what he was doing in the headquarters of the NYPD. All he knew was, after an 11-hour flight from Israel to New York, he had arrived at Kennedy airport, only to find the police waiting for him. They wanted to bring him to the Police Commissioner.

Merle smiled genially, then went along quietly.

On the top floor of 1PP, Police Commissioner Ray Wilson sat behind his desk, and welcomed Merle with a nod, barely looking up from the paperwork on his desk. Wilson was a large fellow, tall, with a full head of dark hair. It was a surprise for someone who was his age - Merle knew it was in the sixties, but he looked more mid-fifties. If the vague hints in the PC’s bio were to be believed, his conditioning probably had something to do with being Naval Intelligence in Vietnam… which, to Merle’s mind meant “I used to be a SEAL.”

Personally, Merle thought he looked more like Teddy Roosevelt.

“Hello sir. You wanted to see me?”

“Yes please, have a seat.” Wilson turned through some more pages. “If you ever wonder why there is a minimal police presence in high-crime areas sometimes, it’s because that every time a police officer even needs to look at a suspect crosseyed, he has to fill out a stack of papers about, oh, yea high.” He held his hand about a foot over the desktop. “I should know, because I’m the one who gets all of the forms in triplicate.”

Merle chuckled as he sat. “Shouldn’t there be a hundred guys between a street incident and your desk?”

“Maybe. But that’s what it feels like.” Wilson looked up from his desk, his black wire-framed glasses making him look like an owl. He set the papers aside, leaned back, and folded his hands across his stomach.

“One of the last times you were in town, you made inquiries with one of my detectives about a Marco Catalano and an Amanda Colt.”

Merle nodded. “Yes sir?”

“This brought you to my attention.”


“Because you are a government employee that no one likes to talk about, asking one of my officers about one of the citizens of my fair city. You had no obvious reason for it, and you had just wrapped up a case here that ended in the decapitation of someone whose body had completely disappeared. I hope you don’t mind me saying so, but that looked fishy as hell.”

Merle chuckled. “Yes, I can believe that. Trust me, I think a great many projects I’m sucked into have the smell of salmon about them.”

“Right. Since then, I thought you had been staying out of my city, so what you were doing has been none of my concern, and none of my business. However, now that your ex-wife and your son are in San Francisco, there is no reason for you to be in my town except on matters that are my business. I think it’s time that you and I have a talk.”

Merle wasn’t about to argue. “Okay. How do you figure?”

“After I made a few inquiries, I realized that there are a great many things than I don’t think you understand about your position.”

“My position? What would you know about my position?”

“To begin with, Mister Kraft, you were a cost-saving measure.”

“A what?” I could understand if I was a minority hire, but a cost-saving hire?

Wilson nodded. “You see, back in the 90s, we already had a team in the government. More than a few teams. The Initiative, as you know it, came later.”

Merle sat, blinked, and tried to do some math. “You had teams, plural? Vampires and ghoulies aren’t new to the government? And somehow, you have known the whole time?”

The Commissioner paused a moment. “You’re aware of my record?”

Merle nodded. “You’ve been a cop since you left Vietnam. You’ve been Commissioner in several cities, mostly setting up methods of patrolling in order to prevent crime.”

“That’s not all I’ve been setting up.” The PC leaned back in his chair, his hands behind his head. “When I was in Nam, I also ran missions into Laos and Cambodia. I won’t say they were all missions. There were a few times where we simply got lost; that isn’t a euphemism, that’s the fact of navigating in the jungle. However, I can tell you that I and my men ran into some strange crap. And by strange, I mean your kind of strange, things with fangs and fur, and occasionally scales. We were soon brought in for special training, because we tended to run into a lot of this stuff. About half the folks who worked the tunnels in Nam had similar run-ins, and we all kept in touch. Because when there’s a network of tunnels running under an entire country, trust me, things that like the dark will start migrating there.

“About the early 90s, most of the guys running ‘special’ missions had been laid off, or cut back, part of the ‘Peace Dividend.’” Wilson scoffed. “Peace Dividend. Right.” He coughed, and cleared his throat.

“Anyway, beastie attacks had been down, the Cold War was over, and the idiot in the Oval Office decided that we weren’t going to be involved in the world as much anymore. If our boys weren’t running into these creatures, we weren’t going to be using special teams, or have special training. And if we stopped hiring and training, well, it’s just less likely for ‘this sort of thing’ to get out into the media, right?”

The Commissioner growled to himself. “We won’t even go into that part of it. Anyway, someone decided that when weird stuff started showing up in America, then it was time to start bringing someone in who could handle it locally. Someone with, well, initiative.”

Merle narrowed his eyes. “Me? Great. Why didn’t they clue me in on some of this? I didn’t even know vampires were real until the past year. Heck, why didn’t they get some of the old band back together and give me someone to work with?”

The PC shook his head. “From what I heard, some of the higher-ups in some fringe eco-groups were put in charge of the EPA in that administration, and so they declared that the dangerous things we knew about were put on a classified endangered species list. Not only were they to be protected, they were to be protected by completely denying their existence on every level of government.”

“That means I’m left to myself.” Merle sighed. “Such mishegas. Is it at all possible to bring in some of these guys from the old days?”

The Commissioner rolled his eyes. “Son, most of these men have been cashiered for more than 20 years. I include the ones who weren’t outright thrown out of the Army, or served in other branches. Now they’ve been hired by private military contractors.”

Merle thought it over a moment. Just because the US had stopped running into vampires and lycanthropes and whatnot, didn’t mean that they had just gone away. Like the “Peace Dividend” bull, just because the White House ignored threats didn’t mean that they had just gone away. In fact, if the US had stopped caring, and assuming that the nations of the world had already done as much as they could, that meant someone had to pick up the slack.

“Don’t tell me that PMCs have their own monster hunting squads?”

The PC waggled his eyebrows. “Okay, then, I won’t.”

Merle processed this a bit more. “We ran into them in the sandbox after 9/11, didn’t we? Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan. That’s one of the reasons that the PMCs were brought in, isn’t it? They had the special hunters, and the regular military hadn’t.”

The PC nodded. “Got it in one. As the Secretary of Defense said, they had to go to war with the military they had, not the one they wanted. It was easier to hire PMCs than to recruit and train soldiers to fight a single type of enemy. The military tried to start building back up, but -”

Merle held up a hand in the “stop” gesture of a cop halting traffic. “But let me guess, the next administration decided that we didn’t need a special monster squad, we just needed Predator drones?”

PC Wilson didn’t even smile. “Precisely. Meaning that if you want a monster squad, you’re going to have to assemble it yourself.”

“There’s a difference between ‘Some Assembly Required’ and just getting an empty box and a diagram without any parts.”

“You’re doing a good job already. In fact, I think you’re already doing better than you think you are.”


Wilson smiled tightly. “Back in Nam, we hadn’t said anything after our first encounter, because we didn’t want to be dragged into a rubber room. But we were prepared for our second, and by then, someone had found out what we were doing and why. We had been read in to the situation, and we had the facts of life explained to us by one of the higher-ups.”

“Okay. That’s to be expected, I suppose.”

“Remember how I mentioned you came to my attention?”

“Yes. I had Kristen run a background check on Amanda and Marco. Why?”

PC Wilson reached into his desk, pulled out a sheet of paper, and slid it in front of Merle. It was a New York City ID for Amanda. “She’s why you came to my attention. She was the government agent who briefed my men. The woman known as Amanda Colt used to have your job. She was one of the people fired as a cost-saving measure. You’re her replacement.”

Merle gaped at the photo. “Son of a bitch.”

And if you haven't read book 1 and 2, we can fix that. 

If you have, please, review them.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Catholic Geek: Live with Jeffro Johnson 01/22

The Catholic Geek: Live with Jeffro Johnson 01/22 by We Built That Network | Culture Podcasts:

At 7:30PM, EST host Declan Finn will welcome the illustrious Hugo Award Nominee Jeffro Johnson, where we will cover as many topics as we can squeeze in, from pulp fantasy to the New Wave to the genesis of tabletop role-playing games, the transition short fiction from primary influence to major irrelevance... the weird campaign to prevent people from reading anything from before 1980 and science fiction's transformation from Christian to Post-Christian. Cast down the false idols of some snarky clique's "Big Three". Take a look back at the really awesome stuff that is now completely unimaginable!

Jeffro Johnson is a lifelong fan of science fiction, fantasy, and tabletop games. His researches into the origins of role-playing games lead him to rediscover the forgotten pulp fantasy canon. At the conclusion of his survey, he inadvertently set off a literary movement. He has blogged for over a decade at Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog and is editor of the Castalia House blog, for which he has received Hugo Nominations for Best Related Work and Best Fanzine.

His personal blog: Jeffro's Space Gaming blog

His Magnum Opus: Appendix N

The Best Fantasy and Science FIction site on the Net: Castalia House blog Editor

His Unfiltered Personal Social Media: Google (Not for the faint of heart!)

He also runs the Castalia House Twitter Feed

While you're waiting for the show .... how about buying his book, Appendix N? If you've done that already, review it.

And if you're looking for something to read until then, remember, 

And if you haven't read book 1 and 2, we can fix that. 

If you have, please, review them.


Friday, January 20, 2017

Forbidden Thought Lauch Party! - Superversive SF Livestream

This is post number 1100.


And if you haven't read book 1 and 2, we can fix that. 

If you have, please, review them.


Music Blog: Dragonforce, Through the Fire and the Flames

This one song is called Through the Fire and the Flames. When I first saw this, is was in a John Ringo. novel called Choosers of the Slain. It was a sequence where a helicopter gunship is heading to wreak havoc on an entire mountain filled with terrorist infantry.

Which is why, everytime this piece conclude, I think "And then the mountain blew up."

Just let the imagery flow through you.

Also, if you haven't already, check out some of the books below.

And if you have already, leave a review.