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.


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....


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.

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


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.


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.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Final Dragon (Awards)

So, the Dragon Awards eligibility window is shut.

The votes need to be in AT THE END OF THE WEEK. You have five days left. Voting stops on July 20th.

I've seen only three people publicly post their lists. I had one other person email me his list. I had hoped to start a conversation, but no one wanted to play.

Kai Wai Cheah posted his list, and several of his list looks like mine -- including War Demons and Good to the Last Drop. Thanks, Cheah.

Happy Frogs is Jon del Arroz's list. He agrees with me on Alternate History, and also agrees with me on a few others, though his placement is different than mine.

Vox is nominating Castalia House authors .... but then again, several of them are John C Wright, so who's going to argue with JCW getting nominated again?

EDITED TO INCLUDE: Jim McCoy's list. Which is also interesting.

Just remember the rules, everything published between July 1, 2017, and this June 30th, is eligible for....


This is my final post on it.  Okay, my last post as far as nominating goes. Voting will, of course, depend on what is finally nominated.

My personal involvement is nowhere near as insane as it was last year. Last time I had 3 books up, and 2 books nominated. This year, I have one horse in the race, Good to the Last Drop, book 4 of Love at First Bite... It is the last sequel to the Dragon Award nominated Honor at Stakeand Demons are Forever. Good to the Last Drop came out last September, and was removed for the rerelease.

Anyone who has read the book and thinks the series deserves another Dragon nomination, feel free. Fire for effect.

If you have not yet read Good to the Last Drop .... sorry about that. But it'll make a good filler vote if you're missing something in fantasy, YA or horror? I don't know, just a thought.

Best Science Fiction Novel

MY VOTE: Karl Gallagher: Torchship Captain.
Are we at all surprised? There's a reason I kept putting it at the top of the list. Reviewed here.


Robert Kroese: Dream of the Iron Dragon
Kroese puts out good stuff, from Rex Nihilo to Erasmus Keane. This one is "Vikings in space." This is actually Jon del Arroz's pick for his Happy Frogs selection.

Suggested to me by various places around the internet.
The Recognition Run
TheMutineer’s Daughter by Chris Kennedy and Thomas A. Mays
Johnny Rockett and the Beautiful Six
In the Rift, Uphoff
Sheik of Mars
Superluminary: The Lords of Creation, by John C Wright -- nominated by Cheah and Vox.

Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)

This one drove me crazy.  No Butcher. Larry doesn't want another Dragon Award. Carrie Vaughn. No Kim Harrison. Monster Hunter Files is an anthology.

The only thing I have is War Demons, by Russell Newquist, my editor and publisher over at Silver Empire books... he sent me the ARC, then my Kindle promptly died.  Take a look at War Demons, then tell me what YOU think.

Jon's Happy Frogs list has Lindsay Buroker for Dragon Storm ... whoever that is.

Other than that ... Good to the Last Drop if you want it for fantasy instead of horror? But my series has been horror in previous years, so there's that.

So, right now, it's either Russell or leave it blank.

Alternate suggestions brought to you by the internet.

Best Young Adult/Middle Grade Novel
The Awful Truth About Forgetting (Books of Unexpected Enlightenment Book 4) by [Lamplighter, L. Jagi] 
The Awful Truth About Forgetting (Rachel Griffin, book #4)....

Seriously, can we get Jagi an award for this series already? I reviewed it here, but really people, just do it already.

This is one category that I don't feel bad about only having one nominee.

Suggested to me by the hive mind of social media.

Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

A Place Called Hope (Z-Day Book 2) by [Humphreys, Daniel]
Consider Daniel Humphrey's A Place Called Hope. Book 1 received the Dragon Award nomination last year in Apocalypse, and Dan mentioned online that book 2 is actually MilSF.

Also, Mark Wandrey and Chris Kennedy -- A Fiery Sunset. It's on my pile ... along with the other books they've put out. My backlog will soon smother me.

Suggested by the internet

Best Alternate History Novel
Hans Schantz,  A Rambling Wreck. I've read it. It was awesome.  AND I HAVE FINALLY REVIEWED IT. About damn time.

Jon's Happy Frogs concurs.

Suggested by the internet
Best Media Tie-In Novel

I have nothing. Jon del Arroz and Happy Frogs suggests Deadlands: Boneyard .... who or what, I don't know. 

Vox has a WoW novel.

I'm going to have to leave this one blank.

Moving right along...

Best Horror Novel

And we're back to this.  Sorry, but the only horror I go near is what I write.

So, there's Good to the Last Drop. Again. Yes, sorry about that.

Now, I could argue that Good to the Last Drop is the culmination of the previous three novels, two of which were nominated for Dragon Awards. I've got demons, Vatican Ninjas, vampire hordes, shapeshifters, and anti-Vampire "civilians" (a collection of police, street gangs, and the Mafia, because welcome to New York, you bloodsucking bastards).

Personally, this might be more Urban Fantasy than horror, but the last two were in horror, so I guess no one at the Dragon Award committee objects.

Suggested to me by readers are

Happy Frogs suggests Russell for this. For conflict resolution, I have some thoughts below.

Best Comic Book  / Best Graphic Novel
Dark Maiden #1 -- by  Jonathan Baird, this one looks like fun. It really does.
"Dark Maiden" is the continuing story of Joan d'Arc the young girl who was the savior of France during the 15th century. The story picks up almost 600 years after her death with her resurrection on Earth. Armed with knowledge of the truth behind the afterlife, and pursued by agents of both God and Satan, she journeys through our modern world on a quest for meaning in life beyond simple good and evil. She is empowered with the ability to see past the mundane world and into the spiritual realm. This time around, unlike during her first life, she sees the universal conflict between the forces of chaos and order in a new light.

Dark Maiden is an examination of the metaphysical question... "What does it mean to live a moral life outside the confines of traditional religious belief?" Joan's story is one of personal sacrifice and heroism without the comfort that her reward is in heaven. She knows what awaits her in paradise and it is anything but a reward.

She is also haunted by the question "What is the favor she must perform to pay for her soul's freedom?"
I'm voting for it.

Happy Frogs wants Timothy Lim -- My Hero MAGAdemia #1. 

Because Jon.

Vox has Alt-Hero.

TV Series, TV or Internet

The Orville is going to be my pick. Probably. Also the Happy Frogs pick.

Vox is voting for Stranger Things. Kai doesn't watch tv.

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie

Thor: Ragnarok ... Yeah, I think I'm going to go with this.

Bright ...? Happy Frogs wants this to win. I rate it a solid meh.

Vox wants to do Incredibles 2. Huh.  Wouldn't have seen him as a family movie guy, but okay.

I haven't seen Infinity War yet, but the reactions are so mixed, I wouldn't bet money one way or another.

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game

Vox wants Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Which surprises me, but sounds like fun.

I'm going to vote for Middle Earth: Shadow of War, largely based on how much I enjoyed the first one.

Though this might come down to Cuphead or Super Mario Odyssey.

Happy Frogs wants the "Doki Doki Literature Club"... whatever the heck that is.

Best SFF Mobile Game

Middle Earth: Shadow of War:

Yes, I like the mobile game. Move along.

Happy frogs will go along with it.

Best Board /Miniatures / Card / Role-Playing Game

Star Wars: Destiny - Fantasy Flight Games  (stolen from Happy Frogs)

Alternate Nominees

Now, of course, there are alternate options. Brian Niemeier went from Horror to SF. I, Daniel or Russell could be in any of several categories. So could Jagi.

So let me run down the list of awesome and I'll give you some suggestions in case you have definite nominees for certain categories, but not others. Think of these as filler nominees for categories you're just not certain about.

Good to the Last Drop .... Fantasy / Paranormal. Military SFF (I have Vatican Ninjas), Horror (because Vampires) ... and YA, as I had written for that reading level originally.

Karl Gallagher: Torchship Captain.  Best SF or best MilSFF. It really doesn't fit anywhere else.

Robert Kroese: Dream of the Iron Dragon -- Best SF, Best MilSFF. Perhaps Alternate History.

War Demons, by Russell Newquist, -- fantasy / paranormal; MilSFF (war veteran comes home with a magic sword); horror;

The Awful Truth About Forgetting (Rachel Griffin, book #4).... YA, fantasy / paranormal, Alternate History

Daniel Humphrey's A Place Called Hope.... MilSFF, Horror, Fantasy (it has zombies)

Mark Wandrey and Chris Kennedy -- A Fiery Sunset. Best MilSF, Best SF,

Hans Schantz,  A Rambling Wreck: Best Alternate History, or best SF.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Good to the Last Drop: Best Horror in the Dragon Awards

The Dragon Awards are due in next week.

Yes, I know, I was taken aback as well. The earlier due date is probably due to giving more time for the vote count ... as well as whether or not some authors are going to be little babies and withdraw their nominations. Yes, I'm looking at you, Scalzi.

But yeah, on July 20th, the nominations need to be in.

I'd like to quickly discuss why Good to the Last Drop should be nominated.

The short version is that Honor at Stake and Live and Let Bite were both nominated for the Dragon Awards, and that Good to the Last Drop is even better, throwing in everything that came in before, on top of adding even more new elements.

The game-changer being my version of lycanthropy. Why? Because the best part, and the first part of these books that even I think comes close to horror, is biting Marco. Because the way I use lycanthropy is simple: it makes one's dark side physically manifest in the form of a furry quadruped predator.

And if you've read Love at First Bite, and met Marco Catalano. This is fun when you consider that Marco might be my darkest character short of being a super villain. Which is interesting when you consider that Sean A.P. Ryan will casually torture people for information, Kevin Anderson will torture politicians to death for the sake of vengeance.

Then I take Marco and I have him bitten by werewolves... causing him to lose what little control he has.

So, yeah, this book? This I could see as being horror. Because I don't think the vampires are that scary. I don't think that external threats are that creepy.

But take original sin, expand it to the point where the darkness within one person, unchecked, can reach out and threaten the people one loves? That's at least interesting.

So ... yeah, I recommend Good to the Last Drop for the Dragon Awards in best horror. If you haven't read it yet, then I'm sorry -- but it's coming back in August, so don't worry. If you GttLD, then please vote for it.

If you haven't .... maybe vote for it if you don't have a horror pick, then read it for the rerelease and see if it's as good as I think it is.

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.


Monday, July 2, 2018

Cover Reveal: Silver Empire's Live and Let Bite

Now, I am honored to unveil the cover to the sequel of Honor at Stake and Demons are Forever, book three of the Love at First Bite series.

The Dragon Award Finalist for Best horror of 2017, Live and Let Bite.

The rerelease is this month. So if you haven't read the first two, now's the time.

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.