Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Unleash .... THE HEROES

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Today I would like to give you some blessed relief from me talking to you about my books....

.... So I can talk to you about other people's books.

Superheroes are in.

You may have noticed.

Well, Silver Empire has. 

They've been working on a project for the past few months to feed the public's ever growing interest in Superheroes: Heroes Unleashed. 

What is it? Glad you asked. It's actually a shared world on the scale of old-school Marvel or DC -- think of Crisis on Infinite Earths or Secret Wars, first edition. One superhero world, in one superhero city....

With five authors.

This is the brain child of Morgon Newquist, my editor, and one of the better authors in some of the anthologies I've been in.

Kai Wai Cheah, 2017 Dragon award nominate author
JD Cowan, who has reviewed ... most of my books.
Jon Mollison, of the late "Sad Puppy Book Club" website.
Richard W. Watts who ... I should know, but don't ask me for his credits right now.

But today, my publisher Silver Empire brings you -- The Kickstarter Campaign.
Five Amazing Authors, Five Super Novels!

Here at Silver Empire, we've been waiting nearly a year to bring you the exciting Heroes Unleashed project! We've collected the best up and coming authors to bring you this amazing, first of its kind collection of new, interlinked superhero novels! No, these aren't comicbooks or graphic novels, these are straight up novels, packed with all the superhuman action and goodness you could ever ask for!

Authors Morgon Newquist, J.D. Cowan, Kai Wai Cheah, Jon Mollison, and Richard Watts bring the Heroes Unleashed universe to life with their five Phase I novels. Each novel will begin a series of its own that will continue for at least three books.
I'd go into details on these books, but you can see it here, on the Kickstarter page

On the Kickstarter, today, as well as while the campaign develops, they intend to add more and more art and samples from the novels throughout, so if you're not impressed by what's there today (and I think you should be, it's kinda awesome) come back every so often over the 21 days the Kickstarter will run.

The backer rewards are as follows
* $1 - the first 100 pages of Heroes Fall right now (don't even have to wait for the Kickstarter to end).
* $5 - pick 1 ebook from the Phase I selection
* $15 - pick 1 paperback from the Phase I selection (signed)
* $20 - the complete Phase I ebook selection
* $30 - a limited edition Heroes Unleashed "Phase I Backer" t-shirt
* $40 - pick 1 hardcover from the Phase I selection (signed, limited edition, Kickstarter only)
* $90 - complete Phase I paperback collection (signed)
* $190 - complete Phase I hardcover collection (signed, limited edition, Kickstarter only)
* $1000 - YOU get to be a minor hero or villain in a future Heroes Unleashed book. Includes custom art. Limit 5. 
Each of the rewards are limited, so, keep that in mind. Sooner would be better.

Keep in mind, this is only Heroes Unleashed PHASE 1.  Yes, phases. The new Marvel Method ... the one that makes money, not the current batch of comic books with art so bad, it even makes my cover art looks good. (Not that it annoys me or anything....)

There will probably be even more data on the future of the project during the campaign. Just a guess.

Now, I'm sure there will be some people who are wondering why do this now. "But Declan," I hear you say, "they already publish books ... like yours ...without needing outside cash."

As they point out
What we need
To be honest, we don't need a whole lot. Four of the five books are already basically done (first drafts are finished, editors have had a crack at them). All we really need at this point is covers and promotional artwork.

What your pledges support  
Your pledges support getting us those covers and promotional artwork, they'll help us promote the books, and - most of all - the authors will get paid at their respective royalty rates, which will help ensure that they keep writing more Heroes Unleashed stories!
You will note in the kickstarter page, everything is co-authored by the little man who wasn't there. This of course brings us to one nifty little trick that more than a few publishers employ -- a shared co-author on all of these books. Like "Richard Castle" of the real life Nikki Heat and Derek Storm novels has one name, multiple authors, this has a similar track. In part, it's a way to mess with Amazon's algorithms. According to an author at I-Con, back when it was my local con, Baen would have senior writers work with junior writers, so the bestselling author name would confound Barnes and Noble's purchasing algorithms (for example, back when March Upcountry came out and Ringo was relatively new, the computer for the bookstore thinks "David Weber sells millions of books. We should order millions of books. Ignore that John Ringo name, Weber sells millions of books.")

Again, that's just what I heard at I-Con. I may be wrong.

In the case of Heroes Unleashed, Amazon will give higher priority to authors who sell books more often. I heard that about a year ago, I think. Anyway, now, HU has a single co-author on all of the books, even the ones that aren't written yet.

It's a little meta.

Anyway, look over the kickstarter, see what you think. And, frankly, give at least one dollar. At least one. Why? Because for one dollar, you get the first hundred pages. And if you like them, kick in more so you can get more stuff.

I'm a cheap bastard, and that's a good deal even for me.

Kickstarter here.



             

Sunday, August 19, 2018

On the Latest Catholic Scandal (2018)

You know, I saw the most recent headlines on the current Catholic scandal out of Philadelphia, and I felt like I was back 20 years ago when they basically ran the same headlines word for word about Boston.

My reaction?

Well, I wanted to scream, and rant, and rave.

I wanted to point out that the numbers are "300 CATHOLIC PRIESTS OVER 70 YEARS IS 4 BAD PRIESTS A YEAR! AS A CORRUPTION RATE, THAT DOESN'T SUCK"

I wanted to point out that almost all of the priests involved (probably all of them, really) might as well be time-stamped with "The Sexual Revolution" intended into their foreheads.

I wanted to point out that there are 30,000 child molestation cases a year with the Public School system, where the hell are all of THOSE stories?

But you know what? I literally wrote this blog already. Right here.

And the facts have changed so little, I don't even need to change anything.

So I'm going to not waste my breath.

Though I am curious about what the PA AG thinks he's doing, when the statue of limitations are over, and most of the abusers are 80 years old. Does he think he's distracting from the Democrats raping each other over and over again? Does he think he's actually adding anything new? Or does he just want to grab headlines and the media are desperate to grab at something?

Nevermind.

Not like anyone's going to listen anyway.

Here, have some fun Catholic books.



             

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Honor at Stake: The Paperback Edition

Honor at Stake is back!

.... Again.

For a third time.

The 2016 Dragon Award finalist for best horror is finally back in Paperback.

And we are ready to kick some ass! Yee haw...

Anyway...

The paperback is out just in time, really. It gives everyone time to purchase one of these snazzy new covers for DragonCon. Heck, it gives me time to get some for DragonCon. Either way, it works.

Meanwhile, I hope everyone is ready for the upcoming rerelease of the novel Good to the Last Drop. The grand finale of the series should be fun.

Heh heh heh.

Also, coming soon: Silver Empire is nearly ready to unleash something massive. I'll discuss that when there are more details.

But right now, here's Honor at Stake, in paperback.




Monday, August 6, 2018

Enter: The Dragon Awards 2018

The nominations are in and counted. Time to see who the current Dragon Award nominees are

Best Science Fiction Novel

  • It Takes Death to Reach a Star by Gareth Worthington and Stu Jones
  • Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey
  • The Mutineer’s Daughter by Chris Kennedy and Thomas A. Mays
  • Win by Vera Nazarian
  • Sins of Her Father by Mike Kupari
  • Artemis by Andy Weir

I'm happy to see Chris Kennedy on the list again. And Mike Kupari. Chris is good people, and I've liked some of Kupari's other works.

Though at the end of the day, I think we can all lay money on Andy Weir getting it. Because he's Andy Weir.

Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)

  • Shoot the Messenger by Pippa DaCosta
  • War Hammer by Shayne Silvers
  • Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Land: Predators by Aleron Kong
  • The Traitor God by Cameron Johnston
  • A Tempered Warrior by Jon R. Osborne

I'm relatively certain this one goes to Brandon Sanderson. Not because I like the man (I've never read anything by him) but because many people seem to like his stuff.

Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel

  • Cold Bath Street by A.J. Hartley
  • A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
  • When Tinker Met Bell by Alethea Kontis
  • Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne
  • Warcross by Marie Lu
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I'm going to take a shot in the dark that this one goes to Sarah J. Maas. Why? Because most of my internet tribe have heard of her, even people I don't consider "readers" (granted, by my lights, "reader" means that they have a library that outstrips the local lending library)

Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

  • Communications Failure by Joe Zieja
  • Points of Impact by Marko Kloos
  • Ghost Marines: Integration by Jonathan P. Brazee
  • Price of Freedom by Craig Martelle and Michael Anderle
  • Legend by Christopher Woods
  • A Call to Vengeance by David Weber, Timothy Zahn, and Thomas Pope

Oh, look. Timothy Zahn writing in the David Weber universe.

I wonder who will win Best MilSFF this year?

Duh.

Best Alternate History Novel

  • Dark State by Charles Stross
  • The Sea Peoples by S.M. Stirling
  • Witchy Winter by D.J. Butler
  • Uncharted by Kevin J. Anderson and Sarah A. Hoyt
  • Dream of the Iron Dragon by Robert Kroese
  • Minds of Men by Kacey Ezell

Oooh. Four way split between Stirling, Kroese, Anderson and Ezell. That's going to be tough.

I think I'm going to place money on Kroese. Why? I expect the other three to cancel each other out among an overlapping fan base. That's why.

Best Media Tie-In Novel

  • Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray
  • Before the Storm by Christie Golden
  • Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson
  • Fear Itself by James Swallow
  • Legacy of Onyx by Matt Forbeck
  • Desperate Hours by David Mack

Who cares?

Best Horror Novel

  • Beneath the Lighthouse by Julieanne Lynch
  • Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
  • A Time to Run by Mark Wandrey
  • The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
  • Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King
  • Glimpse by Jonathan Maberry

Now that's a tough one. First of all ... did I know that Mark Wandrey was in horror? (checks last blog post) Yes, yes I did. Nice going, Mark. Two categories this year. Well done. I know exactly how you feel, since I was in two last year myself.

Best Comic Book

  • Mighty Thor by Jason Aaron and James Harren, Marvel Comics
  • Doomsday Clock by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, DC Comics
  • Aliens: Dead Orbit by James Stokoe, Dark Horse Comics
  • Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerads, DC Comics
  • Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples, Image Comics
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader by Charles D. Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli, Marvel Comics

And ... yup. We're now back to I don't care. Next.

Best Graphic Novel

  • Chicago Typewriter: The Red Ribbon by Brandon Fiadino, Djibril Morissette-Phan, and James Greatorex, Dark Legion Comics
  • Brandon Sanderson’s White Sand Volume 1 by Brandon Sanderson, Rik Hoskin, and Julius M. Gopez, Dynamite Entertainment
  • Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol
  • Monstress Vol. 2: The Blood by Marjorie M. Liu, Sana Takeda, Image Comics
  • Vision (The Vision) by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Marvel Comics
  • Paper Girls Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughn and Cliff Chiang, Image Comics

This might be the year of Brandon Sanderson.

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series

  • The Expanse, Syfy
  • Game of Thrones, HBO
  • Lucifer, Fox
  • Supernatural, CW
  • Star Trek: Discovery, CBS All Access
  • Altered Carbon, Netflix
  • Stranger Things, Netflix

I'm voting Lucifer. I can tell you that I don't think STD will win.

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie

  • Incredibles 2 directed by Brad Bird
  • Thor: Ragnorok directed by Taika Waititi
  • Blade Runner 2049 directed by Denis Villeneuve
  • Avengers: Infinity War directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
  • Black Panther directed by Ryan Coogler
  • Ready Player One directed by Steven Spielberg
  • Deadpool 2 directed by Dave Leitch

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I don't have anything to say to this aside from

Image result

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game

  • Fortnite by Epic Games
  • Cuphead by Studio MDHR
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War by Monolith Productions
  • Destiny 2 by Bungie
  • Battletech by Harebrained Schemes
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus by MachineGames

Well, I at least called it that Cuphead would be in the lineup here.

While I was a fan of the game before Middle-earth: Shadow of War, there was a lot of anger around SoW's microtransactions and end of game gameplay that encouraged in game purchases. Destiny 2 has had mixed reviews. While Battletech and Wolfenstein are classics, I didn't hear of this new Battletech, and reviews for Wolfenstein II were disappointed in the gameplay and execution.

My money is that this is between Fortnite and Cuphead.

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game

  • Planescape: Torment by Black Isle Studios
  • Nocked! by Andrew Schneider
  • Lineage 2: Revolution by Netmarble
  • Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition by Square Enix
  • Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery by Jam City

Final Fantasy XV. Why? Because at this rate, Harry Potter is for old people.

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game
  • Rising Sun by CMON Games
  • When I Dream by Asmodee
  • Mysterium: Secrets and Lies Expansion by Asmodee
  • Azul by Plan B Games
  • Red Dragon Inn 6: Villains by Slugfest Games
  • Photosynthesis by Blue Orange

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game

  • Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition by Games Workshop
  • Force and Destiny Role-playing Game: Knights of Fate by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Bubblegumshoe – RPG by Evil Hat
  • Cooking with Dice: The Acid Test by Oddfish Games
  • D100 Dungeon by Martin Knight
  • Magic: The Gathering Unstable by Wizards of the Coast

I have nothing for you in either case. I'm generally out of those scenes.

.... What's that? Why didn't I mention Good to the Last Drop not being nominated? Duh. It was off the shelves months ago. It's kinda hard to push a nomination of a book that no new readers can get into, now isn't it? It was a long shot even if the books were on the shelves.

This should be an interesting year for the Dragon Awards.

Non illegitimi carborundum.




GenCon: This Won't Stop

I generally dislike discussing politics, but enough is enough.

In a move that will shock no one, after months of Anti-FA violence and rioting in the streets, calls for right wingers to be harassed and assaulted...

A right winger was harassed and assaulted at Gen Con. Shocking, huh?

Brian Niemeier has the details on the incident in question.

Richard Paolinelli has called for sanity to reign, saying clearly that This Must Stop.

I'm here to tell you that it won't stop.

To look at the history of Leftism is to look at the history of mass slaughter and bloodshed.

The French Revolution? Tens of thousands dead. Check.

Slavery in America? Tens of thousands dead. Check.

National Socialism? Tens of MILLIONS dead. Check.

Any Socialist movement? HUNDREDS of millions dead. Check.

Abortion movement? Tens of millions in America alone, God knows how many worldwide.

I don't know why, but Leftist psychopaths never really know when or where to stop. Even at the beginning, with the French Revolution, it devolved into purity tests and the Committee of Public Safety. Ultimately, the Committee itself was fed to the guillotine.

Today? Well, the Leftist nutters of today don't know where to stop. Part of it is the higher ups in the Democratic party encourage violence ... possibly as a way of keeping the base engaged.

But looking at violence spreading to Gen Con, I'm here to tell you this: the only way to make the violence stop is to force them to stop. Psycho Leftists won't play this game if they know they're going to lose.

  • Step one: When they attack, hit them fast and hit them hard.
  • Step two: Press charges.
  • Step three: Sue them for everything they're worth.

Let me explain.

Step one: The will to self defense.

First and foremost, keep your head on a swivel. Keep aware. And be ready to hurt someone if they take a swing at you. The first step to stopping attacks by Lefty psychos is to make sure that every time they try to hurt someone, they're the ones who are left bleeding in the gutter.

Get self defense training. Carry knives where legal. Carry guns where legal.

But most importantly, if you wish to defend yourself? Reconcile yourself to the fact that defending yourself will require harming someone else. Because defense training and weapons will do no one any good if the owner doesn't have the will to use them. If you punch someone, punch through them. If you shoot, shoot to kill. If you draw a knife, be willing to draw blood, or don't bother.

And frankly? Given that these people attack people from behind, or attack people only when they're in mobs? I suggest that if you find yourself in this situation, reconcile yourself to using deadly force. Because if more than one person tries to corner me, I expect to have to kill at least one of them before the attack will stop.... and since most police will probably arrest everyone left standing until everything is sorted out, expect to spend some time in cuffs, even if you're 100% in the right, and you can prove it with video footage. I also recommend body cameras / cell phone cameras, just to make sure that the gang of idiots don't foot, then edit, their own footage.

Because if two or more people come up to attack you, and you AREN'T in fear for your life, I sincerely worry about you.

Step two: Press charges

There is no such thing as a friendly bar fight anymore. I know that for some people, they can take a couple of swings at each other and end up with drinks in the back of the bar. But these lefty nutcases? No. They only exist to hurt people. First, hurt them fast and hard, preferably with blunt objects.

Then, after the attacker is on the floor, if he's still alive, don't walk away. Don't try to have a friendly chat. Don't try to convince him that he's in the wrong, and you understand that he's insane. No. Call the cops, have the cops haul his ass away and throw him in jail. Because not only will these Lefty psychos stop when they risk getting hurt, but they will also be unable to hurt anyone else when they're in jail.

And once they start getting thrown in jail? Well then, that'll make the average human being think twice about starting a fight.

Step three: Sue them.

Most street cops have better things to do than to try and sort out the details of a fist fight. Most prosecutors have better things to do than to spend countless hours prosecuting an assault.  You may never get to the trial stage. The attacker may plead down to a misdemeanor.

That's when the civil suit comes out. And pick your charges with your lawyer. Mental injury. Physical injury. The short version is that by the time you're done, you will own them.

Jim McCoy has also touched on this a little. The right to self defense. Because the Gen Cons and the 770s of the world want people who disagree with them DEAD. Not converted, dead. They label any dissent as the work of "Nazis," and claim it's time to punch "Nazis," because "Nazis" are untermench. They are subhuman. Are you a Jewish Libertarian like my friend Jason Garrick? "Nazi." Do you support Israel over Palestine? You're a "Nazi." Are you a Democrat who believes in conversation and discussion with people who disagree with you? "Nazi." Are you a woman / black / homosexual who wants to #WalkAway from the Democrats? "Nazi."

I disagree with almost every -ism of Lefists, and a good chunk of those among the right. So, yeah, I expect them to come after me sooner or later, because they don't believe in my right to exist.

So, I hate to break it to Richard, but yes, this has to stop ... but we'll have to stop them. By force.

Because we talked about peace.

They don't want peace.

We talked about cooperation.

They don't want cooperation.

They. Want. War.

I only suggest that we acknowledge that the lefty psychos have already started this fight, and that we should be the ones to finish it. And we should finish this fight by putting the violent ones in the hospital, before they start putting people in the morgue.

Non illegitimi carborundum.




Sunday, August 5, 2018

Declan Finn's DragonCon schedule.

So, guess who's going to be a guest at DragonCon?

Me.

My tentative schedule is as follows:

Title: Vampires in Legend, Folklore, and FictionDescription: Long a staple of urban fantasy, vampires first appear in folklore, often unrecognizable from the versions contemporary readers and viewers are familiar with. Our panel explores how those early stories have influenced the fictional depictions they create, and others they admire.
Time: Fri 02:30 pm Location: Chastain 1-2 - Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Melissa F Olson, E.J. Stevens, Declan Finn, Clay and Susan Griffith, J.F. Lewis, Dacre Calder Stoker)
And yes, that Stoker is a relative of that Stoker.

So ... yeah.
-------------------
Title: Autograph Session:Time: Sat 11:30 am Location: International Hall South 4-5 - Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Declan Finn, Walter H. Hunt)
-------------------
Title: The Isms: Looking at Classic Fantasy from the Viewpoint of TodayDescription: Social consciousness changes, but books are forever. Something that was once progressive today may seem anything but. Are these works simply products of their time or true reflections of the person? Let's not toss the dragonet out with the Hatching Sand and shells. *Trigger Warning*
Time: Sat 10:00 pm Location: Embassy EF - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Jody Lynn Nye, Toni Weisskopf, Larry Niven, Declan Finn, Lisa Manifold)
-------------------
Title: Meet the Authors: Dragon AwardsDescription: Listen to the nominees of the Dragon Awards. Maybe we will even have this year's winner sitting with us. We will have past year nominees.
Time: Sun 05:30 pm Location: International North - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Declan Finn, Marina Fontaine, Larry Correia, Bill Fawcett, Mark H Wandrey, R.R. Virdi, Jonathan P Brazee, Aleron Kong)
So, I only get to be on panels with the queens of short stories, the head of Baen, one of the greats of SFF, the bestselling author in military UF, and two of my friends.

No pressure.





Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Review: Death Wish



This is going to be strange. Why? Because I generally don't get requests to do reviews.

However, JD Cowan asked me to review this one when this was in theaters...

My fiancee made me sit all the way through Tomb Raider ... you may have read that review.

Image result for Death Wish
Equally odd ... because I have never really been a fan of the Death Wish series. I don't really have anything against it, I just hadn't seen many of them no TV, nor did I ever go out of my way to watch them.

But when the Death Wish remake came out, I went out of my way to watch the original with Charles Bronson.... it was okay. It seemed a little ... dated? It was very slow. Though it was an interesting look at a really young Jeff Goldblum.

Fast forward to the modern remake.

Dr. Paul Kersey (Willis) is a surgeon with a loving wife and daughter. He lives in Chicago's Lake Shore Drive in 2016, during the spike of 90-kills a week, and 40 on a weekend. When he is called away to surgery, his wife and daughter are attacked in their own home. His wife is murdered, and his daughter left in a coma. Inspired by his Texas father-in-law, Kersey steals a gun from a gangbanger in his own ER, and starts to practice. It's clear at this point in the film (about 40 minutes in) that he's going to use it for some less-than-legal purposes, he still takes his time, builds up his skills ... mostly by watching YouTube videos. And after interrupting a car jacking and saving a boy from the corner street dealer (the Ice Cream Man... yes, really) he starts hunting the men who attacked his home. And we're off to the races from there.

I like this film. I really do. Like the original, this one took its time. I think Bruce Willis waits a whole 45 minutes before killing anyone -- which is a long time in a Willis action role. There is so much time spent building up the characters and establishing a rapport with them, it was strange -- I actually gave a damn about what happened with these people.**

Unlike the original, this one doesn't spend long elliptical moments spent on nothing, but it also doesn't rush. Also unlike the original, this one had a plot.

Yes, I said it. Charles Bronson's Death Wish was an anatomy of a man as he goes from a nonentity to being a vigilante with a taste for hunting the wild criminal through the streets of 70s New York. Bruce Willis is a father who has learned the art of self defense, and goes hunting the people who murdered his family -- killing a few other criminals along the way. And yes, he does seem to have a taste for it.

Somewhere around killing "the Ice Cream Man," this Death Wish almost feels like The Fugitive for the dark side.

And frankly, while this one moves faster, it may have a lower kill count (I think Willis killed only 8, while Bronson killed at least that many) and I think it did their social commentary better. Yes, really. It felt really weird laughing in the middle of this film at "a vigilante in the age of social media," with the talking heads of the radio arguing about the morality of the situation, and coming up with ... a shrug.

You know how odd this film is? I even liked the directing. And I generally don't care about camera angles and panning shots. But this one used a lot of nice camera techniques that surprised me -- hell, I'm surprised I even noticed them.  Now,I don't know Eli Roth from a hole in the ground (I think he does horror films?) but I can't complain about his directing technique. I'm certain he's spent some time looking at Hitchcock films -- it's definitely clearer in the first hour than in the later segments, but Roth still has them sprinkled throughout. Though Roth does like a good Chekov's gun ... several of them.

And it's so nice to see a film where gun owners aren't branded as nut cases, just enthusiastic.

Let's go over the acting a bit.

Bruce Willis ... was allowed to act. He isn't doing John McClain here, nor is he doing his more recent routine of devolving into self-parody. There are some moments where I felt like he should have put more effort into the emotional bits, but that slack is picked up by some of the other actors.

Vincent D'Nofrio ... it a great character actor. As usual. And it was amusing to see him as Bruce Willis' brother, as they have similar hairlines.

Dean Norris, as the investigative cop ... I don't know, there's something about having Chuck Norris' brother in a Death Wish film that strikes me as funny. Also, the interactions between him and our main character felt a lot more real here than it did in the original.

Granted, really, the only thing I think needed work in this movie may have been the development of the bad guys ... but I don't think that interfered with the plot at all.

Overall, really good. Give it 7/ 10. Good movie. Recommended.




**Sigh. Yeah, I feel I gotta look at the original. Look, it's a really good snapshot of the mood of the era: screw "the man," who needs the cops?, and still thinking that Kitty Genovese was really left to die without anyone calling the cops (it's a myth, from what I can tell). The ending was more about how the cops "just want this all to go away," and rather than addressing the crime, or the situation. Here, it's more about making certain all of the right people are in the ground, and that the vigilante killing stops. But wow, do I not care about anybody in that movie. Everyone feels lifeless while we have long shots of very little -- I would call them ponderous, but it doesn't really ponder anything. It tries to be deep and go into vigilantism, but honestly? It didn't work. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Good to the Last Drop, Cover reveal

Here we go again. The last round of the rereleases.

It's been strange thinking that I've come out with a book a month for the entire year, and I haven't published anything new yet outside of short stories.

Then again, I'm going to keep publishing with new material starting September and going forward from there.

Right now, I hope everyone has read Honor at StakeDemons are Forever, and Live and Let Bite. There might be some minor spoilers along the way.

Anyway...

For those folks who were here the first time through will remember the original cover to book four, Good to the last Drop.  It was made by author Dawn Witzke, and looked something like this.



And, again, if you've finished Good to the Last Drop, you have some idea of why it looks like this. It was taken from the original batch of photos I made when doing Honor at Stake, at Mount Olivet cemetery in Queens... though that is technically not a spoiler.

Those of you who have read it already, you know why there's a red wolf there. You know why there's a sword. And you know why the location.

I never thought this one was perfect (the face on Amanda seemed a little off) but I was fine with it.

Now, we have a new publisher, a new artist, and a new cover.

The new cover is


Ah... dang, that redhead is hot....

I'm sorry, what was I saying?

Anyway, the art is solid. The model is attractive. I can even fit it into one of the scenes from the book. I even like the lens flair.

Though on the other hand, I recently had someone on Twitter tell me that the covers would probably make him bolt for the hills if it weren't for the fact that he was familiar with me and my work. Probably too much romance novel.

Um, guys, while I do see that you have a point, I would like to discuss what genre we're in. In a world where we have gunfights with the mafia, Vatican ninjas, vampires, SpecOps teams, flashbangs, MOABs, werewolves, and throwing Stars of David.

From what I can tell, there is no such thing as "urban fantasy thriller." However, the best genre that they DO have is "vampire suspense." Now that sounds like the proper genre for what we're doing.

Now, look at this photo of the top books in vampire suspense from a few months ago.


I will say again:

This isn't the genre vampire romance.

This isn't the genre vampire girl books.

This is the genre of vampire suspense.

Even though #4 was written by Lynsay Sands... a romance author.

But again, this is a snap shot of the top books in vampire suspense.

And, frankly, if I could turn your attention to the "creator" of the urban fantasy genre (no, not Bram Stoker, even though I'd make that argument), this is the cover of Laurell K Hamilton's earlier work, back when I would argue she was still a good urban fantasy novelist, as opposed to writing ... well ... bisexual furry orgy porn.


Image result for Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter

.... That's it. You couldn't tell that her costar in this book involved a mercenary named simply "Ted" who decided to hunt supernatural beasties because humans had become "too easy."

What about the comic book version of the same novel? Certainly, those have to be "better suited" to an urban fantasy series with enough guns that Hamilton and Larry Correia end up on the same gun panels.



.... Uh huh. Okay. Nevermind then.

So, if anyone has a problem with the new cover of Good to the Last Drop, well, take it up with Amazon's genre system. Because we're following the trend of cover art in a genre that should be perfect for us.

Also, again, the redhead is hot. And the art is nice, full stop.

Good to the Last Drop will be coming out within the next few weeks. And if you haven't read the previous books yet, here they are.


              

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Social Media Whining

Social Media
On the one hand, I love the internet.

The internet enabled me to self publish, which in turn got me a publisher.

On the other hand, there's so much stress and melodrama that I could have done without it and become a plumber.

Come on, you know it's true. And the last few months should prove it better than anything.

Let's simply start with the egomaniacs who are so super sensitive to comments and posts that they have to lose their minds.

Starting Small

I mean, heck, there was a project where I was so thrown by editorial comments that I went to a group of friends and went, "Okay, I'm showing A, B, and C, so I can imply and the audience can infer D, E and F.  But the editor is seeing X, Y, and Z .... what am I doing wrong?"

So, of course, I ask what I'm doing wrong, in a post about my personal anxieties .... and said editor decided to go bat guano insane, then whine bitch and moan about how "unprofessional" I am that I was complaining about them....

Huh?

Welcome to the internet, where your personal anxieties about the quality of your own work are actually considered insults to someone else...

Then again, in Sad Puppies Bite Back, I had conservative authors SWATted, and Lefties proclaimed that SPBB threatened them.

So this isn't about any one person. This is about, well, the internet.

Don't worry, I'm certain that someone is going to whine about this post too.

No, seriously. It's insane. My friend and fellow author Jon Van Stry wanted to celebrate with friends in a group on Facebook about how his sales had gone up! He found marketing that worked! Isn't it great!

Then at least one person decided to go outside the group and bitch about how it was "bragging" to mention how good your sales were....

Welcome to social media.
  • You can't be happy -- you're bragging.
  • You can't be sad -- you're either pathetic or playing for attention
  • You can't be angry about politics -- you might alienate readers
  • You can't be anxious -- you might offend someone even more insecure than you are.
Social media, where it's all about the "me" in media.

Hell, there are also whiny little bitches who block me, then complain "Declan Finn is passive aggressive!!!" .... Really? Unblock me, I can be aggressive aggressive if you want.

But no, there's a reason I've gone on a recent rampage of unfollowing or blocking people on Facebook. Why? Because social media is a sewer. It's filled with people who want to get a reaction. And I don't want to play in the sewer. We're now at the point where a lot of people (correctly) deride tabloid sights like File 770 for being a bot-filled rumor mongering sewer... but they don't seem to see social media as a whole is much the same thing. It's like high school all over again. Everyone, go get your cliques! Then make fun of the fat guy / nerd / geek / "outsider". If that person hits back, belittle them some more because all of the insults are merely "constructive criticism." Huh?

Again, it's high school. But instead of high school cliches, first we can break down by politics. Then by profession. Then a splinter group forms so they can make fun of the larger group, and then bitch whine and moan about individual members, because God forbid civility happens. "X isn't Left/ Right-wing enough."  "Y isn't / is too Libertarian."  "Z is a prima donna / playing victim / bragging / trolling / isn't serious" (that I've seen all at the same time).

Social Media at Large

And it's not just local social media. It's not just my streams. Or my groups. Or just personal interactions. Take the larger view in the regular world.. Expand this to social media at large.

It's no longer "avoid the comments section, and you'll be fine." For the past three, maybe four years, we've seen the "comments section" become a living, breathing part of the internet. Social media has elevated the sewer of comments to general discussion....

Or, looking at it from a different angle, social media has lowered online discussion to what used to be dismissed as "the comments section."

Every thread has has potential to become a flame war, and duel of the trolls. If feels like half of every post made online threatens to turns into "I hate X." Every thread turns into some type of virtue signaling. What group defines what the signal looks like. "I hate Vox Day / Trump / the Alt-Right" are just some of the virtue signaling I've seen on threads, public or private... and those aren't even the Leftists.

Hell, think I'm exaggerating? Look at half of the Sad Puppies "discussions" from 2015. Half of it was the bots of China Mike's File 770 throwing mud, and another quarter is by "professional" authors, mostly employed by Tor, throwing mud. The rest of the discussions were ... actual discussions, with real ideas being exchanged. Mostly by Brad or Larry.

And today? Today it's gotten even worse.

Look at the Origins or ConCarolinas BS. All of that was generated by glorified lefty trolls on Facebook. Either trolls who libeled Larry Correia, or trolls who claimed that John Ringo's fans "made them feel unsafe."

That was enough to get both of these bestselling authors removed from conventions.

Online, we have a Twitter channel called Diversity and Comics, and it's mostly about observing the downfall of the major comic book series and companies. He started his own comic book Jawbreakers... and it's starting to look like comic book "professional" Mark Waid went after his publisher to prevent Jawbreakers from being distributed.

Jawbreakers is now a fully funded kickstarter projected, and making money hand over fist.

So, I will acknowledge that these stories have happy endings.... mostly. Larry had been banned from Origins, but Origins has lousy attendance (according to people I know who were there, with photos).

But ConCarolinas has vowed never to bow to SJW and online pressure about guests ever again.

Jawbreakers will be published despite outside pressure.

Idiocy
But still, does anyone remember ten years back? The active phrase about the internet was "don't look at the comments."

Now, imagine back then if the comments of a blog or a YouTube channel actually dictated guest attendance at Cons.

Imagine if a flame war meant whether or not a product could be carried in a store.

Imagine a flame war having real world consequences and dictating what celebrities can show up at what locations?

I'm trying to imagine this happening as recently as five years ago. It would have been insane. I honestly can't imagine that it would have happened even two years ago, but I may just be way too optimistic about this.

But now? Mobs of trolls believe they can destroy people through slander / libel, and in some cases, they come close.

These "mobs" are only about twenty, and sound like hundreds.

Any number of authors have come under attack in the hopes that online lynch mobs will hurt them, or destroy them, or get them unemployed. It's been done to me. It's been done to Brian Niemeier. It's been done to Jon del Arroz. On the level of conventions, it actually worked (once) against Larry Correia and John Ringo. It's up for grabs to see if it'll work on that level again.... I'm certain someone will try. I don't think it's going to work, but we'll see.

So, yes, social media is important. Don't get me wrong. But it can also be a pain in the ass, where one whiny little a-hole can make the noise of twenty, whining and crying whatever narrative they like. Social media has lowered the standard of conversation online to such an extent, it's barely worth talking to some people.

Just remember, non illegitimi carborundum, and the internet is filled with the illegitimi.

Just like high school.

And this is why I don't write about high school. I write about adults in college. And setting things on fire.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

#GunnControl

Every time I want to do my "Social Media Whining" article, five new things come up that I should probably discuss.

For example....

James Gunn was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy 3 last week after someone pointed out his "jokes" that were fairly ... pedophilic in nature. Gunn would be caught deleting over 10,000 tweets going back years.

Normally, I would say "Eh. We don't have any evidence of him going near kids".... except, let's go back to those TEN THOUSAND TWEETS. And given that the news out of Hollywood West these days is all sexual deviancy all the time (between the rapist Harvey Weinstein, the sex cult of Allison Mack, Kevin Spacey as child molestor), even the whiff of scandal makes me suspicious that we're barely seeing the tip of the iceberg, and Hollywood looks like the Titanic.

Is it possible Gunn isn't a pedo of some sort? It's not impossible. After all, his sense of humor does skew to the squicky, even in his movies ... though I'm not sure that's evidence in his favor.

However, I do note that Chris Pratt is on Gunn's side, and Pratt has made a name for himself as a genuinely good guy.

... Which doesn't matter if the scumbag in question is good at manipulating people.

Though at the end of the day? Frankly, Gunn was the guy who said that Roseanne Barr -- whose entire schtick is that she's offensive -- should be fired for telling an offensive joke. Gunn tells dozens -- probably tens of thousands -- of "jokes," and the same people who wanted to lynch Roseanne are defending Gunn.

Welcome to Hollywood. your defense is based solely on who you are, if you belong to the right clubs, and who you're f***ing.

So, screw Gunn. He wants to lead a lynch mob over one joke, he shouldn't be surprised when the committee of public safety can't protect his ass in the end.

Why do I bring it up?

Because Rian Johnson, the director of the travesty that was The Last Jedi, has just deleted TWENTY THOUSAND TWEETS.

Hmm, gee whiz, the guy who wanted to interject nihilism, moral relativity, and sexual deviancy into Star Wars (seriously, tell me Holdo didn't give you a Dolores Umbrage vibe), is purging his Twitter page like their's no tomorrow. I wonder if he figures Disney will throw him under the bus as well. And Johnson is the dick (pun intended) who has been fighting the fans, telling them they're all scum for not "properly appreciating his masterpiece."

There is a policy in certain circles of business where everyone is fired, and then "reinterviewed" before being taken back into the company. It's a way to screen out trouble makers, people they don't like, that sort of thing.

I think it's time to take Hollywood out, fire them all, and screen all of them for crimes and misdemeanors. Granted, that would probably take the form of an FBI investigation, if we had an FBI worth a damn. Maybe if started by arresting everyone in Hollywood, doing a thorough background check, then letting them go. We can file it under RICO, where guilt by association is allowed. I'm sure the innocent (all five of them) would happily act as informants, and wear wires.

Then we take all of the beautiful people, guilty of sex trafficking (like Mack) or rape, or molesting children, and then we throw them into general population for ten years. When they come out, maybe they aren't so pretty any more.

And, since, under RICO, we can confiscate proceeds from criminal activity, the Hollyweirdoes would pay for their own incarceration. Maybe they can even afford extra protection by the prison guards from their fellow inmates.

Sound harsh? Maybe. But I've known too many victims of child molestation and rape to find anything that Gunn said funny, even if he meant them as a joke. I've known too many occasions where rapists like Weinstein get away Scott free. My personal belief is that all of these people are caught, tried, and be set on fire, or buried alive in lye.

Non Illegitimi Carborundum.



Update on WorldCon, via Kairos

Over on Kairos, Brian Niemeier had dissected the current stupid over at WorldCon in his post: #owngoals: World Con Edition

..... The Stupid. It burns so much.

I couldn't make this crap up if I tried.

Monday, July 23, 2018

WorldCon Melts Down

[EDIT: Brian Niemeier has all the details. It's so, so stupid.]

It's funny. Because Monday was going to be a post where I discussed social media whining and how Facebook and Twitter have lowered the level of discourse to the sewer that used to be dismissed as "the comments section."

Then James Gunn gets taken down by social media, so I figured I needed at least a little editing on that post before it went live.

Before I could get to editing THAT, World Con melts down.

Now, I'm not entirely up on all of the details, but I've got enough to make my head

So far, the gist is this: a typo in a World Con bio led to one of their guests being "Misgendered." According to the rules of conduct of WorldCon, the con ITSELF violated their own rules by misgendering this person.....

In short: the SJWs at World Con can't SJW ENOUGH for the SJW "masses" at the convention. This means the SJWs melt down online, while sane people sit back and laugh at them, because we saw all of this coming years ago. By "we" I mean Larry Correia, Brad Torgersen, and everyone else kicking around in 2015 who were shaking their heads at the slow motion train wreck that has apparently kicked into fast forward.

Meanwhile, middle aged white guys like John Scalzi noted that he was only allotted one panel at WorldCon, and the morning coffee meeting. His only comment at first was "Huh." He, of course, seemed to realize that he did not show sufficient enthusiasm for the Party, and stated later on Monday that he was happy to give up all of his panel time...  I wonder if that's code for "I'm taking my ball and going home."

Meanwhile, as Jon del Arroz has pointed out, Scalzi seems to have been spurned in favor of .... well, any local writer of whatever random minority status they could get, and throwing them on every panel, whether or not they have any relevant experience. Because apparently, experience is racist because it's "a white thing."

.... That last part is supposed to be a joke. Time will tell if it becomes the latest drivel about racism.

It has been a glorious train wreck in the making. Time will tell if this really does become the end of World Con.

Heck. I don't even know how Jon del Arroz's lawsuit is going. If that kicks into high gear soon, things will become even MORE entertaining.  Heh heh heh.

Meanwhile, enjoy some books that are relatively politics free, and all about action, high explosives, and true love .... with some violence and bloodshed thrown in for fun.




Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Live and Let Bite returns from the grave

My Dragon Award nominated novel for Best horror, Live and Let Bite, is back.

As the new write-up goes.
Marco is spiraling out of control.

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 edge 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 true evil behind the attack. Her investigation uncovers a vampire assassin that Amanda has faced once before - and she lost. Stronger than anything they’ve face before, the assassin isn’t alone. As Marco flirts with self-destruction and the armies of Hell prepare to descend, they must come together to stop a thousand-year-old assassin that has never failed.

Even worse, they must finally face up to their feelings for each other!

I really enjoyed writing this one. I honestly did. I had more action, more pieces in play, and added several more layers to my vampire lore, and hey, while I'm at it, I even introduced the concept of minions, and how they can be weaponized beyond the usual bug-eating Renfields I usually come across in vampire fiction.

And best of all, I started pushing Marco over the edge. Because I do so love pushing my characters. "Hey, let me poke this one with a stick and see how he reacts." Hey, it worked with Kevin Anderson in the Codename series. And Marco is way more unstable far more often. Heck, there are days that I think the only thing stable about him is that he's unstable.

Not to mention that watching Marco and Amanda pound out their relationship issues was highly entertaining. When in doubt, remove all of the angsty BS, and get down to some more of the "fun" aspects of the relationship.

Though I will admit, it's strange to have women readers approach me online -- including romance authors -- and congratulate me on having such great love scenes where everyone is fully clothed. I had one person ask "If this is when everyone keeps their cloths on, I want to see what happens when you actually do a sex scene." (Hint: It won't look like a Bioware game.)

So, yeah, this one had Vatican ninjas and anti-vampire US SpecOps commandos (led by a were-wolfhound) versus an army of vampire minions who are themselves former mercenaries. If Renfield had an RPG, I suspect Dracula would have ended differently.

It was especially fun to write out more bits and pieces of Amanda's biography and reveal it to the readers.... Be warned, that link has spoilers. Hinting at expanding on Amanda's powers and abilities was also entertaining. But that's less for this book, and more laying the groundwork for the final fight in book four.

Not to mention that I had more fun with Jennifer Bosley, of the NYC Vampire's Association. I liked building up her relations with three other characters over the course of this one.

Oh, and the RPG attack on the hospital was a nice little shootout. Complete with creative ways to use nail guns and defibrillators.

So, Live and Let Bite is back. If you haven't already, now is your chance.





The Dragons are coming.
If you don't have your ballot filled out already (either IRL or in your head,) here's my list. It includes the lists of other people, so there are options.
Just remember to vote.


320x320_Nominee_Click

Monday, July 16, 2018

The end of One More Day?

At least two different articles lately have been eagerly anticipating the end of the comic book Abomination that is One More Day.

Don't bet on it.

For those of you who haven't read my rants on Marvel comic books, One More Day wasn't the start of the decline of comic books, but it was close. But while Civil War started the real downhill spiral of Marvel (so much so that a casual reader like myself noted) One More Day is what made me give up all hope.  (Read here for my in-depth dissection of Marvel's fall, even before politics entered into it)

The TLDR version is that Peter Parker's Aunt May was struck by an assassin's bullet meant for him. She's dying, and we the readers have to believe that NO ONE IN THE ENTIRE MARVEL UNIVERSE CAN FIX A F**KING BULLET WOUND. Not Doctor Strange, Doctor Doom, or Doctor Octopus.

This convoluted plot point leads us to the forced choice decision of MAKING A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL..... Nope. not even a mild exaggeration. The character isn't named Satan, but Mephisto.

Image result for mephisto

Subtle, right?

But instead of trading Peter Parker's soul for the life of his aunt ... Mephisto wants Peter's marriage with Mary Jane. Because Joe Quesada didn't like Peter Parker being married, despite Peter and MJ being married for nearly 20 years of real time. Quesada's desire to screw up this story made J. Michael Straczynski leave Marvel. (When asked at NYCC a few years ago, Joe said "Ask Joe Quesada. Here's his room number.")

Fast forward another 10 years, and the timeline post-OMD is a mess. There are plenty of references to Peter and MJ being married ... though they're not married anymore.

Anyway, fast forward to now, and the Amazing Spider Man Annual #1. Multiple article are referring to how "OMG! They're going to undo OMD."


Sigh. In the immortal works of Admiral Ackbar: It's a trap.

Also, what is wrong with MJ's face. The artwork, gah!

Anyway, you know how Captain America was made into a Nazi not too long ago? Nick Spencer, the same man who did that is the same SOB in charge of Spider-Man right now. Given his talent for screwing up continuity of the universe. and for trashing fan-favorites, I wouldn't lay any money on this one way or the other.

On the other hand, Marvel couldn't time this any better. DC Comics massively bungled a year-old buildup to the wedding of Batman and Catwoman. The Fans are pissed that the much-hyped "Batrimony" issue went over like a lead Hindenburg, with Selina Kyle jilting Bruce Wayne for reasons that amount to bad TV pop-psychology. Why? Because married superheroes are anathema to these bozos.

Right now, this is the PERFECT time for Marvel to go the exact opposite direction. Marry MJ and Peter Parker again. Perhaps have a battle over Aunt May or Mephisto. Then move the character forward. That would be awesome. That would be smart.

That would be...

Not something I see Nick Spencer doing.

Don't buy it -- literally or figuratively -- until Peter Parker and MJ have walked down the aisle... and it's proven that she's not a shapeshifting alien.




The Dragons are coming.
If you don't have your ballot filled out already (either IRL or in your head,) here's my list. It includes the lists of other people, so there are options.
Just remember to vote.


320x320_Nominee_Click