Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Why we can't have nice things

I had an interesting exchange a while back with a random jerk on Twitter.

The start of this exchange really begins with my posting yet another stupid thing done by Pope Francis. No, not heretical, not apostasy, just stupid.

I publicly said that I was "done defending this idiot." Because seriously, both John Paul II and Benedict managed to get a hold of their message and deliver it clearly. within short order of becoming Pope. This is ... what? 12 years later, and more often than not, reading a Pope Francis statement is like trying to interpret a drunk text? And of course, guys like me who actually understand Catholic stuff have to be the ones to interpret the Pope into English.

Me: Um, no, he's cleared up red tape so that someone who's had an abortion can walk into a confessional and be absolved without going into a bishop for approval.

It's a long, arduous process that requires time and energy on my part that I just can't be bothered investing as I come out with six books this year as well as publishing several short stories as one-shots, and editing an anthology, and being accepted into three others.

So defending the idiot known as Pope Francis is a waste of my time. This was even before the Amazon Synod insanity. I said as much on Twitter as a comment with whatever latest drivel the Pope was talking about that week.

I end up with a comment by this Rando: "STOP SPREADING CALUMNY!"

Calumny, as defined by Miriam Webster,  is
  • n. A false statement maliciously made to injure another's reputation.
  • n. The utterance of maliciously false statements; slander.
  • n. False accusation of crime, misconduct, or defect, knowingly or maliciously made or reported, to the injury of another; untruth maliciously spoken, to the detraction of another; a defamatory report; slander.
I said I was done defending this idiot.

Somehow, my stating that I would no longer take action was slanderous in itself. 

Frankly, Pope Francis is either an idiot or a heretic. I figured "idiot" in reference to his message management was the more upbeat and hopeful course to take.

Anyway, I moved on. Radio silence from the rando.

Later on, I posted to Twitter John C. Wright's review of Avengers Endgame. John liked it, but, like I did, saw that this was the beginning of he end of the MCU, if not the outright end. Apparently, we differed in our estimates of how the time it would take. Later, even JCW would be shocked at how fast we would realize that this was The End, plain and simple.

This exact same Rando showed up on Twitter. What was his issue this time?
Oh, and if it was a single Tweet, it would have been nothing. I wouldn't have cared. My mistake, I tried to have an honest conversation with this jerk. I asked and offered the Wright review three times in order to having him read it, and then we could discuss it.

His response was, of course, an endless string of insulting memes.

Yes, I was stupid enough to engage with some fuckwit on Twitter. 

See? We really never should engage with people on social media.

You know, I have faults. To quote one of the few good moments from that lousy Firefly universe, if I'd have to pick a sin, "I'm gonna have to go with wrath." It's my default position. I have some redhead in me, so that's a thing.

And lately, I will admit to feelings of envy as hypocritical cowardly invertebrate eunuchs enjoy fame and notoriety for virtues they preach, but promptly violate as often as possible. 

But frankly, if I have any virtue, it's that I'm honest with people. I prefer the term blunt, but some people insist on describing it as "brutal." While I may occasionally soften the blow publicly, privately, people will get the cudgel.

I also have my faith. To be perfectly honest, I don't even think it's faith as much as knowledge, due to personal experiences, but that's a different conversation.

So yes, having someone accuse me of spreading untruths and being an idolater irks me. In part because it's some rando saying "Here is the mote in your eye" when there's a nice big log I can pick out of my eye and beat you to death with.

On top of that -- by slandering me with the blasphemy bullshit, he also slandered John C Wright as well. You know, John C Wright, who is only slightly less Catholic than God himself.  Suggesting that Wright worships anything less than the Lord High God of All Existence requires negative IQ points.

Of course, just to make everything perfect -- and I mean PERFECT -- is this guy's Twitter feed. It is filled SOLID with an endless stream of "WWWAAAAHHHH, The Right should support each other! We should stop punching right! The Establishment Right should fight the Culture War! They should especially support my books of ideas I cribbed from 20 year old anime. But my books! No, I'm not going to review anyone else's. Why should I?"

Of course, this is while this rando jerk is ... punching right. Into my face.

Fucking Twitter. 

I called him on it. He was treating me like an enemy. We were both right wing. We were both Catholic, supposedly.

Know what he said? 

He said he didn't treat his enemies like this. He prefers to talk to them... 

Ain't that special? Shit like this is why we can't have nice things.

Of course, this jerk would later apologize. 

What for? 

"Playing rough." 

Not calumny. Not slander. Not punching right. "Playing rough."

Oh, and it had to be "pointed out to him" by someone else. Because of course rando jerk who whines about people who punch right ... while he punches right ... would have to have his basic hypocrisy pointed out to him by someone else.

This is why I'm not in favor of weaponized autism, since they have no idea what direction "This side towards enemy" is.

And I must admit, this level of cowardice pisses me off. This is the sort of fool who nails himself to the cross and claims that he is being oppressed. He whines and cries about punching right ... while punching right. Bitching at me for one tweet about how the Pope was an idiot, then, within the month, publicly accusing me in a string of nearly a dozen Tweets about violating the first commandment. Yeah. Sure.

Better still is recently, this jerk joined a coalition of people online boasting about how they "created" of epic Christian fiction and fantasy... 

Fascinating. Tell me more about where you were when I self-published A Pius Man back in 2013. Or Honor at Stake in 2015. Or Saint Tommy, NYPD for the past year. Or when Russell Newquist published War Demons in 2017.

As I said, it's funny how "support conservative artists" quickly turned into "support me."

There's a reason why I review other books. Because they're good and they need the PR.

Social media has lowered conversation online to the comments section. The comments section used to be the sewer level of the internet. And now, social media has turned every interaction into bull shit virtue signaling. Whether it be how intersectional you are, or how much more churchy you are. This rando wants to boast about everything "the right should be doing," but lucky for him, he can sit on the sidelines and Monday morning quarterback, throw beer cans at passerbys, then tell you to buy his book because of "the culture."

Funny thing is that I actually believe in the culture wars, and that yes, every indie author who's to the right of Mitt Romney (yes, that's deliberate) should stick together and spread the word around our social media circles about each other.

Until there's some jackass like this who will screw it up for everyone. 

And that's why we can't have nice things.

... I usually feel obliged to pimp a book, but not today. Click on anything in the right hand column, or check out my book reviews on this blog. Or there's my kickstarter. You can find something for everyone.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Music to write to: Powerwolf, Incense & Iron

As I've been writing Saint Tommy, NYPD (kickstarter link here, and series link here**) I've tripped over a few bands.

One of them I tripped over a cover version of Army of the Night. It was covered by Amaranthe, who I had been following for a while now.

So I looked up the rest of Powerwolf.

They're my kind of smartass.

Please remember to contribute to the St Tommy NYPD Kickstarter. It has some good prices on the books. And Christmas is coming up. 

**Amazon CYA: I cut a very small cut from all Amazon links on this blog. Please feel free to click on one of them before buying bulk items for Christmas. :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

I am now an Amazon bestseller

So this has been an interesting few days.

First, my latest release, Deus Vult, became an Amazon bestseller. Practically overnight, from what I can tell. 

It's the little orange tag

Who knew?

(Everyone. Apparently, everyone knew.)

That isn't even the impressive part.

Tuesday, things became a little more interesting.

It seems that Deus Vult made such a good impression, it brought Hell Spawn to #1 as well.

But wait, there's more.

We didn't just make bestseller in Christian Fantasy, but one or two more categories.

So ... these are apparently doing fairly well.

A joke I like to tell my family is that of course I'm doing well -- my major competition in Christian fantasy is dead. CS Lewis hasn't come out with a Narnia novel in decades. :)

But in all seriousness, it's going well. Deus Vult is coming along, so is Hell Spawn.

And then there are reviews by the great author Adam Lane Smith, author of Making Peace.

So... yeah... there's that.

If you haven't read them yet, you can get the entire series via the kickstarter page, or just grab them from Amazon.

Be well all.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Table of Contents for Deus Vult

For those of you who are wondering, well, this is what the chapter headings for my novel Deus Vult ** look like.

Do any of these, perchance, look familiar?

Chapter 1: Visitation 
Chapter 2: Your Mission 
Chapter 3: Walking the grid 
Chapter 4: Behind the Wall of Downey 
Chapter 5: Hell Spawn 
Chapter 6: The Evil in the Walls 
Chapter 7: Cardinal Tape 
Chapter 8: Beyond Bullets 
Chapter 9: The Exorcist
Chapter 10: Death Cult 
Chapter 11: The Essex Horror 
Chapter 12: Infernal Affairs 
Chapter 14: The Dreams in the Summer House 
Chapter 14: Campus of Shadows 
Chapter 15: The Doom That Came to Dunwich U 
Chapter 16: Deal with the Devil … But Only at Gunpoint 
Chapter 17: House in the Mist
Chapter 18: The Last Statement of George Matchett 
Chapter 19: Whispers in Darkness 
Chapter 20: A Shadow over Essex 
Chapter 21: At the Cliffs of Madness 
Chapter 22: The Call of Tiamat 
Chapter 23: Unleash Heaven 
Chapter 24: Crusader
Heh heh heh.

Let's just say that there's a reason I keep this in Essex, Massachusetts. And it's not just because I wanted to blow up parts around Boston.

And, if for some reason, you have been waiting for the last book in the planned series to drop... buy all six books right here in the Kickstarter for the audio book. If you do buy all six, in any format, it comes with the audiobook. And who knows, the stretch goals will probably have audio books for the other novels in the series.

Be well all.

**If you're looking for the E-book version of Deus Vult, click here. Note, all links on my blog are part of the Amazon affiliate program, meaning that I get a small cut of selling my own book. This does not increase the price you pay in any way whatsoever. The only reason I'm even bringing it up is because Amazon legal CYA BS demands it of me.

Monday, November 4, 2019


And it's here, the book that Amazon couldn't kill. Despite the ups, the downs, and the sideways bumps this tale has gone, it's made it back onto Amazon. 

But at the end of the day, here it is.

Book six of Saint Tommy, NYPD releases today.

Title: Deus Vult. 

(Click here to see the e-version)**

It's going to be a big one.

Very big.

To start with, Tommy can't even go on vacation without something going terribly wrong.
God wills it. A Saint must find a way. 
All Tommy Nolan wants is some peace to enjoy his family. He’s been to hell and back, and now he needs a break. 
But evil doesn’t need to take a breather, and now the Vatican is back on his doorstep asking for help.
A nearby monastery has been desecrated and the exorcist monks murdered in the most brutal ways imaginable. A legion of demons is gathering for something big, and Tommy’s the saint they need to help.
An old enemy is the ally he needs, but can Tommy trust him? Can they track down all of the demons in time?
And what does the Necronomicon have to do with it all? 
Read Deus Vult today and find out!
This has everything come together. And I mean it. In ways that I can't even articulate without spoiling it. Pick a book. Pick an element from a book. Any element. Yes, it all ties together. Demons, dealt cults, warlocks, gangs, terrorists, succubi, wealthy psychopaths.... all of them.

I should also mention that this one takes place in Massachusetts. That's something we're going to discuss in a future blog post. Heh heh heh.

And did I mention that we have a cover?

Deus Vult: A Catholic Action Horror Novel (Saint Tommy, NYPD Book 6) by [Finn, Declan]

I don't know I like it. And it has a small sample of the level of devastation that's in the novel. A very small sample.

As in "you think Harry Dresden leaves property damage"? That's cute. Even Dresden would be impressed by everything that gets trashed in this book. And he'd be perfectly happy with it, because none of it would be his fault... Okay, some of it would be his fault. Because Dresden.

But yeah. I slaughter a monastery full of monks. I have several combat exorcisms. I have shootouts. And monsters. And bugs. And demons. And dragons. And heavy artillery. And powered armor. And demonic books. Killer topiary. Killer fishmen. And a little Lovecraft. And this time, the enemies are Legion.

And Deus Vult, mother, fucker.

Image may contain: one or more people and text
As you can see, it's already doing well, before I announced it.
This might be the best thing I ever wrote, with the most horror, most action, and the biggest stakes.

This is going to be so much fun, it's not even funny.

But it will be awesome.

Buy Deus Vult, right here, and now, today. You are not going to regret it. (E-book here)

And, if for some reason, you have been waiting for the last book in the planned series to drop... buy all six books right here in the Kickstarter for the audio book. If you do buy all six, in any format, it comes with the audiobook. And who knows, the stretch goals will probably have audio books for the other novels in the series.

Be well all.

**Note, all links on my blog are part of the Amazon affiliate program, meaning that I get a small cut of selling my own book. This does not increase the price you pay in any way whatsoever. The only reason I'm even bringing it up is because Amazon legal CYA BS demands it of me.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Fall TV review, 2019: Evil

Watch Evil: First Look At Evil On CBS - Full show on CBS ...
To start with, psychologist Kristen Bouchard (actress Katja Herbers) was going to profile a simple serial killer. Then he started speaking in tongues and going insane at the sign of the cross. Vatican assessor David Acosta (Luke Cage's Mike Colter) thinks it might be a case of demonic possession. When the DA tries to twist arms to force Bouchard's verdict, she quits... 

And the Vatican needs a psychologist to help with assessments, because demonic possession can be confused with mental disorders and vice versa.

But assessor David Acosta comes with his own nemesis, Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson). Leland another psychologist who wants to promote dark, twisted behavior, going so far as to tell our heroine that he wishes to release the guilty and condemn the innocent.

And went Acosta tries to pray, something that looks very much like Townsend comes to harass and harangue him.

And thus begins Evil, one of the creepiest, smartest shows I've seen outside of Prodigal Son.

Aasif Mandvi with Mike Colter and Katja Herbers on EVIL
Our Trinity. The assessor, the shrink, and the tech guy.
This show is ... horror, after a fashion. The main plots with the miracle / possession of the week are relatively good procedurals. 

Somebody actually read the novel The Exorcist and decided "Wow, there are a LOT of tests you have to run before doing an exorcism ... or declare a miracle. We could make this a whole series."

These are some nice flashes of creepy in the main plot, and a lot of character driven element to the main story. Though a lot of it is deflated by the scientific, rational explanation presented as a possibility offered by the end of the episode.

There is usually a subplot including Bouchard's four Catholic school girl daughters, so seem to be getting sucked more and more into a tidal pool of darkness. And while everything that seems to be creeping in on them has a perfectly rational explanation, no one actually stops and spells out those explanations, unlike in the main plot.

While I don't know the actress playing Bouchard, she pulls it off quite well. And I've enjoyed Mike Colter's work ever since he was on Ringer, here is no exception.

I do have trouble with reconciling how Michael Emerson can be so normal, while being the creepiest freaking thing in the entire TV show...Okay. He's not the creepiest thing on the show. But damn, is he close.

Then there's "George" -- a Joss Whedon demon who plays a recurring night terror. Though whether or not he's a night terror or a real demon is left up for grabs. But he's entertaining anyway.

While this so is filled to the brim with wall to wall creepy things, much of them from the main plot are explained away, or are just ambiguous enough to be eerie. Because after all, this show isn't called Supernatural, it's called Evil. And the most evil, creepy things in this entire show isn't the potential possession that might be demonic. They're the things that are almost certainly "merely" human... but they're still pure flipping evil.

Right now, an 8/10. Yes, I'm grading it lower than Prodigal Son, but that's because the latter has more laughs. Dark Laughs, but laughs.

Speaking of dark, check out the kickstarter for my current horror series, Saint Tommy, NYPD. It's got a dark, twisted sense of humor, a strange perspective, and generally ... dark. And having fun with it.

New TV Review: Perfect Harmony

I can almost hear this casting discussion.
"We need someone to play an elitist, out of touch egomaniac.""How about that guy from West Wing.""We can't avoid Martin Sheen.""No, not him, the other screaming nutcase.""The Jewish stereotype with a beard?""No, the other flaming egomaniac.""Bradley Whitford?""Yeah. Him. Let's stick him in a setting where the locals make fun of him, and they poke fun at their own foibles."
And this is how Perfect Harmony was born.

The setup is simple. A retired music professor has lost his wife. After taking her to the deep south town where she was born to bury her, he is about to commit suicide... when he is stopped by horrendous singing of a church choir. Drunk, and deciding he will not die to such painful sounds, he marches in, corrects all of their singing foibles, and passes out.

The local southerners take pity on him, and adopt the arrogant SOB.

And this is a comedy.

I will grant that a lot of the humor is culture shock comedy. Those aspects are hit or miss -- the hits usually land in Bradley Whitford's head, so are much appreciated. (Can you tell he may have played this part a little too often?)

But where the show usually shines is in the music. And they have funny music moments. Whether they're slowing down a song to make it intelligible, and it works, or they're doing a rock version of a hymn (I believe one was Nearer My God to Thee).

I'm not going to say it's going for depth, but it does tell you something that I have gotten more laughs out of this show than I have out of any "comedy" in 30 years. (The last comedy I watched was Night Court reruns... or Head of the Class.) And merciful God, the humor DOES NOT RELY on the characters being total morons, or sex, or "I'm so smart, society is stupid." In fact, only one character here is actually a moron ... and even he's not so stone stupid, you expect him to stop breathing.

Anyway, you might want to give Perfect Harmony a try. It has been getting steadily better about the culture shock humor, but solid on the music fun. Expect at least three good laughs.

Let's call it a 6/10. Maybe even 7/10, depending on the episode.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Fall Review 2019: Prodigal Son

From the mind of the creator of Chuck -- Prodigal Son.

So, our hero, Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne) is the offspring of Doctor Martin Whitly, alias the serial killer named The Surgeon (actor Michael Sheen). Bright discovered what his father was and turned him into the cops, let by Gil Arroyo (Lou Diamond Phillips).

Fast forward twenty years and Bright is very ... intense for the FBI. When they declare that they're afraid he's about to break, Bright goes back home to New York. To his mother the blue blood, and his sister the reporter.

Now that Bright is out of a job, he's recruited to the NYPD by the very man he turned his father in to.

This series is dark. But it's also got a dark sense of humor. The father and son are delightfully deranged and demented. Everyone is slightly broken and nuts. I love it. 

Michael Sheen is so wonderfully creepy. He is so evil, and the actor is clearly having fun being Hannibal Lecter with a personality. He's so joyful as he chews the scenery. This smiling psycho is so normal, and yet so freaking creepy at the same time. The camera angles and the lighting are so perfect at highlighting him.

Tom Payne's Malcolm Bright is also wonderfully insane. He has PTSD up one side and down the other. He's only really doing "okay" when he's working on murderers. He's so intense in his performance, he's the right kind of over the top.

Prodigal Son is a fun, insane, dark romp that makes Criminal Minds look like ... okay, Criminal Minds is still flipping dark. But this is more enjoyable in a lot of respects.

Let's call it a 9/10 right now.

Speaking of dark, check out the kickstarter for my current horror series, Saint Tommy, NYPD. It's got a dark, twisted sense of humor, a strange perspective, and generally ... dark. And having fun with it.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Deus Vult Preorders might be delayed

So, a funny think happened on the way to publication of my latest novel, Deus Vult, Saint Tommy NYPD, #6.

If you've pre-ordered the ebook, you'll find it had a little .... accident. The sort of accident that happens when you don't make your mafia payments.

Now, according to Amazon's story, my publisher failed to upload the internal files of Deus Vult. Which is a cute trick. He loaded up the files weeks ago. In fact, he even handed out the e-ARCs weeks ago for people who supported the original kickstarter.

Now, I'd expect this sort of thing to happen in the first book or two. Hell Spawn, maybe. It's a strange freaking time for things to go sideways, and pretend that Silver Empire doesn't know what they're doing.

Especially since, as a self-publisher, Amazon sends me reminders to upload my materials whether I have or not. Yet somehow, Amazon didn't alert Silver Empire about failure to upload materials? Curious that.

I might be less concerned if it weren't for another item. One, another book pre-launch was discontinued. Aside from the same publisher, the books have only one thing in common -- this is the first one of my novels that has been explicitly referred to as Christian fiction. THe other one was as well.

Normally, I'm not the type to indulge conspiracy theories. But two books? On the same day? With (if I recall directly) two different launch dates?

Sorry, but this requires me to believe that my publisher, after publishing 50 books with only one hitch, suddenly screwed up two in a row.

Let's just say that I am not giving Amazon the benfit of the doubt on this one.

Anyway, no worries. If you're still interested in pre-ordering Deus Vult, you can get it directly from Silver Empire. Or you can order the whole set from the current Kickstarter. 

Let's take the best view of things, and teach Amazon that it's not nice to screw around (or screw up) with writers.

New Release: Dances With Werewolves, Part 2

And now, we finish up Dances with Werewolves,** just in time for Halloween.


Secret Service Agent Wayne Williams is dead. But he has to keep busy somehow. When a coven of witches reports a threat to the President of the United States, it's the sort of threat that must be investigated. But it sounds like a vacation for Wayne.

When the witches start to die, and his consultant seems to be magic, it's time for him to get nasty.
CIA Assassin Catherine Miler is on a mission to kill Baron Samedi," a Prime Minister sacrificing American Tourists. When she chases him down to America, things start to get ... hairy.

Author Matthew Kovach is looking for his own version of Derry Maine. What he finds is the "Community of the old time religion."

All three are about to find themselves embroiled in San Francisco pagans, want to be vampires, pharmaceutical zombies, and New Orleans.

And all three have to survive their consultants on this case -- the Kraft Brothers.

This one has shootouts in the Muir woods, car chases in San Francisco, gun battles in New Orleans, Chicago and New York. They have satanists with horn and fang implants, drugged out zombies, witches, mad gunmen, and for the first time in my books, all three Kraft brothers -- Merle, Dalf, and Tal.

I enjoyed writing this one. There was a ton of madcap action, a lot of insanity, and just plain fun.

If you've picked up part one already, you can get part 2 right here.  

And if you haven't, you can get part one here while you're at it.

Just so you'll have something to read when you're done with Too Secret Service and Dances, then you'll want to stop by the current kickstarter....

Also, if you're interested in starting your Christmas shopping early (EG: I'm done already) then you might want to shop for some good books at a solid price.

**According to new, stupid rules on Amazon, I have to inform you that the links to my book give me a little bit of extra cash for you buying the book from my referral link. all links on my blog are like that.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Fall Review: the returning shows

As you all know, in previous years, I've done reviews of the new fall lineup as I see it. I get some of these continuing shows, even after I've given up on them, so I can give you slight updates about some of the crap that's still crap. But I can give you the best reporting on the stuff that isn't garbage.

So, previously on ....

God Friended Me... As noted in my original review, this is a bit of Person of Interest, only they have managed to show off how to show all of the problems of being a prophet, without making it necessarily about religion. Frankly, when this show ends, its best move may be to either leave it entirely vague, or have a direct visitation. Frankly, the writing is getting better, and it was really tightly written before. I think someone plots out an entire season in advance, which is the only way they can pull some of the plot points they use here. Perhaps the best show on TV right now. Even though they've had plenty of opportunity to go full social leftist nut bar, they haven't. And I am so grateful for that.

The Rookie-- Now on Sunday nights, it may be doomed to a time slot that will eventually kill it. But ABC has had some success in that time slot, so who knows? Nathan Fillion is finally starting to expand some of his acting chops, so he's no longer playing just Mal Reynolds or himself -- which, so far, seem to be his own two modes of acting. Believe it or not, the series is actually getting better. And frankly, I think Joseph Wambaugh or Michael Connelly would both appreciate this show. 

Magnum, PI -- Still sucks. In fact, I'm not even sure why they called it Magnum, except to skin the original property and wear it like a skin suit. There were originally plans for a Magnum spinoff series with his Eurasian daughter ... but apparently, making him a lazy Hispanic played by Jay Hernandez, and turning "Higgins" from a stuffy English WWII vet to blonde Bond girl was apparently the ... better option? (No, it wasn't). Totally unwatchable crap, and probably even worse than my original review. The only positive is that Tim Kang from The Mentalist has got work in Hawaii.

SWAT -- they went full SJW BS. It's crap. Worse than the knockoff Magnum. Worse than the new thing calling itself MacGyver. For more details, see my Agit-Prop TV article.

NCIS -- It's the same as ever. So your mileage may vary, depending how what you thought of it before.

NCIS LA -- I watch it for Linda Hunt, and the banter between two sets of characters (Hint: neither one involves LL Cool J or Chris O'Donnell). There is no plot, no matter how much they pretend otherwise. But the banter is fun.

NCIS NO -- Mediocre. Though it's nice to see that Scott Bakula has work.

Bull -- Original review is here. And frankly, it's largely the same thing, different day. Last season was ... my last season of it. Screw it, I'm out.

Blue Bloods -- The writing is actually getting tighter on this series. Character development is still ongoing for most of the major players, and several of the minor recurring characters. I'm not going to say it's Babylon 5 level writing and planning, but the recent episodes are handling 3 or 4 plotlines at the same time, and usually tying together their issues around the Sunday dinner table. It's a nice balance, and every actor gets a workout over the course of the episode. In competition for best TV show out right now.

Hawaii 5-0: I was fed up with this show a few seasons ago. Strangely enough, though, they managed to breathe new life into the show by bringing in new blood and letting them take up most of the screen time. That's good, because Alex O'Loughlin and Sonny Corleone's kid were getting tiresome.

New Amsterdam -- It's a fun show, though our main character is a little stupid at times. He thinks he can cut through bureaucracy with a personal touch and face-to-face communication. The answer is usually no. While he talks a game of socialism every so often, the solutions offered tend to be capitalistic or Catholic. (No, seriously, someone needs to explain to him what the concept of Solidarity is.) There is one particular new character who's a vet, who seriously needs to make a comeback, as he got in some solid hits to our lead's head, and his ego. (EG: "This person needs a home health aid to check on her twice a day." Solution: "Get her a puppy. And a dog walker. The dog walker will check in twice a day to walk the dog, and cost $20, instead of $200.") It's actually getting better from last season, and if it continues like this

The Blacklist -- While I admit, they had some sucky moments for a while, it got better as they have dropped a lot of the family drama and replaced it with the insane Bond villain of the week. Again. They've made what little family drama they have into spy thriller. Even their computer nerd has become a badass. Who knew? 

However, to be perfectly fair, since there are only three shows here that have my full-throated endorsement, how about you check out the latest kickstarter -- because books don't need wifi to stream, or TV's to view on, and they'll go with you anywhere, even the bathroom. Just please don't drop it.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Catholic Politics

After weeks of having nothing but writing on the brain, it's occurred to me that I do have something else to talk about aside from writing.


Thankfully, I don't have anything particular to talk about. I just want to talk about politics in general. Especially since politics are over half of the top ten posts on my blog.

Some of you may not know this, but my faith informs my politics.

Quell surprise, right?

This means I'm pro-life, pro-death penalty, pro-gun, pro-closed borders, anti-taxes, anti-communist, pro-community, pro-capitalist, anti-consumerism, pro-charity, pro-isolationist, pro-just war, pro-assassination, anti-regulation.

How's that for a fun time?

"How can I be any of that?" you ask. "It seems a little contradictory."

Because I follow the catechism of the Catholic church as laid down by the magesterium.

Meaning that I follow the Catholic Church, not whatever random crap is spewed out by the Pope's latest wingnut interview... or whatever the media tells us the Pope's whims are this week.

The magesterium is basically "what the church believes." It does not include "the opinion of the Pope on non-theology matters."

So, no, I don't follow "the Pope," I follow "THE CATHOLIC CHURCH." If you don't see that there's a difference between the Church and the Pope, then you can't tell the difference between Trump and the Presidency, either.

So, let's break this down.
  • I'm pro-life.
Do I need to explain that part? I like to play it safe and say that life begins at conception. Democrats like to play it fast and loose, and think that life begins whenever the paperwork is issued to give a baby a social security number.

There are ramifications of this that are non-political. As children are best raised in a two-parent environment, I kept it zipped until I got married. Since that is best, I waited until I found the perfect woman to get married to. Etc, etc, blah blah. I guess this is also theological and political, but eh.

When you consider how little I like other people most days, you'll see that this is a tough one for me. 
  • Pro-death penalty.
Some idiots like to think this is a contradiction. If you're one of those people, you're a fool. Protecting the unborn is protecting the innocent, who have committed no crime and deserve no punishment.

The death penalty is as close as we can come to justice, in certain cases. Life sentences, and no death penalty, is a nice way of saying "Murder all the guards and inmates you like, the next kills are free." There is no justice there; it's merely a license to slaughter.

"But oh, we're so much more enlightened now." Bullshit. Life sentences are for suckers. They are a luxury afforded by how good we have it right now, and we have it better than everyone else who has ever been born. If you're going to base your theology on current conditions, you are the fairest of fair weather faithful.

For 2000 years, the Church has been pro-death penalty. For over five thousand years, Judaism concurred. If you think that doesn't fall under "tradition informing the faith," then you can just throw out tradition entirely. And if you want to see the size of this baby you're throwing out with that bath water, it's called the Baltimore Catechism. It can stop bullets.
  • Pro-gun 
Self defense is a fundamental, God-given right, and we need the proper tools for it. The political implications of this is simple -- everyone needs to be armed. It should be part of metalworking shop classes and PE. First you build your own gun, then you fire your own gun. When you graduate high school, you get your owners permit. You fuck it up, it's revoked.

Though if I had my way, people would own machineguns, but no one asks my opinion.
  • Pro-closed borders
This may be a little strong on my part. Largely because the Church (1) insists on welcoming refugees, BUT (2) also insist that the immigrants FOLLOW THE LAWS OF THE LAND THEY'RE MOVING TO. 

Obviously, there seem to be some people having a problem with #2.

In America, sorry, but we need to lock the border, create an opening that's more narrow, and check everyone's paperwork as they come in. Frankly, we need to lock down the border and make sure no one comes in until we know what to do with everyone in the country illegally already.

THEN we need to revise the stupid immigration process, because last time I checked, people have bitched about how screwed up it is for 30 years, but no one wants to do anything about revising them. 
  • Anti-taxes
I'm against theft. It was on a collection of stone tablets. And government spending seems to be an endless series of excuses for why the government needs to keep taxing you.

And frankly, the tax system is either rigged to make certain that no one pays their "fair share"-- it's all an excuse for politicians to exert more control over more people. Thank you FDR, you pig.
  • Anti-communist
There's an entire encyclical dedicated to why Communism is evil under Catholic law.

Short version -- again, we're against theft. And stealing someone's work is theft. Wage slavery is bad. Communism is worse. Because it's slavery while dressing it up in language of "communal good," and lately "social justice."

The longer version is here.
  • Pro-capitalist
Catholics invented capitalism. Don't believe me, ask the Medicis. 

And why? When done right, it creates the fairest exchange rate for man's labor.

When done wrong, you get crony capitalism, where only the people with money rig the economy in their favor.

Every time you see something on Catholic economics in the catechism (seriously, check the magesterium, not news articles), they're largely about making certain the capitalism we have is as not as rigged as Socialist dumbasses whines it is.
  • Anti-consumerism
One should not worship anything that isn't God -- this includes worship of the Home Shopping Network. 

Yes that could just boil down to being shallow, but I've known people who worshiped their precious things like Gollum and his ring. (Not only have I known them, I've been related to them.)

That's one of the problems with things broadly labeled "capitalism." It has been used as an excuse to cover greed instead of good business. And when I mean good business -- consider that most of the "robber barons" didn't actually rob anybody, but envy will will slap a label on any success as "greed" and "theft,"

On the other hand, I will admit that "capitalism" has been used to cover a multitude of sins. That's why there's laisse faire capitalism, and there's crony capitalism.
  • Pro-charity

Charity isn't government enforced. It comes from below, not above. Meaning we can and should be helping one another. It's one of the many reasons taxes are an abominations -- how can anyone be charitable and help out their fellow Man if we spend more than a quarter of the paying off our slave owners in the government? It's pretty damn hard unless you have a lot to start with.
  • Pro-community

I, like the church, believe in solidarity. "Hey, look, we're going to treat each other like human beings." You work, you get paid. You sell, you get paid for it. You're neighbors, you help each other out. You see someone in trouble, you help them. The goal is to work out every problem on the most local level. If you can work it out within the family, you do. If you can work it out within the parish, great.

... I think it was once called "living in a community."

Not these forced "diverse communities." Please. Actual community has been heartily discouraged, replaced by photo ops of "look at how diverse we are." Please. I want to show off my "diverse" acquaintances, I'll take a photo of the masses I go to.

The Catholic church -- we take in everybody.

This should also apply to "pro-small government."

  • Pro-isolationist
I largely believe in leaving people alone. Including other countries. 

The church likes to talk about international solidarity, where other countries live in peace with each other. Doesn't mean they give up their sovereignty. 

Of course, the IMF, the EU, the UN all like to believe that there is no sovereignty, but they're a bunch of dictator friendly schmucks. 
  • Pro-just war
As the old saying goes, War is not the answer... unless it's about freedom, slavery, communism and Nazism.

Pardon me, I just eyerolled so hard, I strained something.

Sometimes, the evils of war are the lesser evil, especially when doing nothing allows evil to persist.

(And the first schmuck to insist that industrialization would have ended slavery without a war, the American South was already looking into training slaves for factories, so I doubt that.)
  • Pro-assassination
Sometimes you don't need a war. Sometimes you just need a bullet. It's call tyrannicide. I believe Thomas Aquinas was all for it.

Now we're just back to, "If you're against the death penalty and Catholic, you're a heretic."

  • Anti-regulation
No, seriously, how can the Catholic church be against regulations?

Because the more regulations you pass, the more you abridge individual rights and freedoms.

And most regulations passed in the past few decades have all been about punishing people for ... well, breathing, really.

I think that's it for now. Most of the ranting and raving can be held off for another day.  If anyone wants to go "but you could have done more about X!" ... well, yeah, I could have done a blog post on each of these bullet points. Or I could have added more bullet points.  I still might. But for right now, thanks, but this has been more politics than I like talking about at any one sitting.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Music blog: Sabaton - To Hell and Back (Cover by Minniva)

Like the rest of Sabaton's songs, this is about a historical figure in the military.

In this case, that figure is Audie Murphy, who not only won medals for his fighting at Anzio, but they made it into a movie .... starring Audie Murphy.

The film was called To Hell and Back.

Sabaton is heap big subtle.

NEW RELEASE: Dances With WereWolves, A Merle Kraft Novel (part one)

From the creator of Too Secret Service (me) comes the latest self-published thriller....

Dances With Werewolves.

Yes, really. I'm a smartass. If you didn't know before, now you know.

Sigh .... and, according to Amazon, I have to warn you that every link in the entire blog is to connect to an Amazon Affiliates link-- and if it isn't, let me know -- which means I get additional money for selling you my books. And anything else you might purchase from that visit. So if any of you are interested in buying a $1000 television from Amazon, please, click on a link, then buy the tv. :)

Anyway, back to being serious, this book is special.

Because it's a Merle Kraft novel
Secret Service Agent Wayne Williams is dead. But he has to keep busy somehow.

When a coven of witches reports a threat to the President of the United States, it's the sort of threat that must be investigated. But it sounds like a vacation for Wayne.

CIA Assassin Catherine Miler is on a mission to kill Baron Samedi," a Prime Minister sacrificing American Tourists.

Author Matthew Kovach is looking for his own version of Derry Maine.

All three are about to find themselves embroiled in San Francisco pagans, want to be vampires, pharmaceutical zombies, and New Orleans.

And all three have to survive their consultants on this case -- the Kraft Brothers.

If I were to give you a one-sentence summary of the book? Think of it as a modern Live and Let Die.

Take a look, and see what you think about the insanity that is Dances with Werewolves.

And if you're a fan of audio books, please remember the ongoing Kickstarter campaign for Hell Spawn.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


Because you demanded it...
Silver Empire is creating audio books for Saint Tommy, NYPD.

Yeah, so this is going to get fun.

The books are going to be narrated by Jon Mollison.

If you don't know who he is, he's the author of one of the upcoming superhero novels Silver Empire is working on -- Overlook.

For those of you who don't know Jon by voice, you can hear him in Vox Day's audio book The Irrational Atheist, books by Martin van Creveld, Chuck Dixon, and John C Wright's Somewither.

Or you could just click here and listen to Jon do a first pass on chapter one.

Now, yes, I know, there are some audio issues. But that's why it's the first run -- and why Silver Empire is hosting a kickstarter to produce the audio book.

Yes, a kickstarter. Here we go again.

But sound engineers cost money.

Audio book readers cost money. 

(And really, do you want me to listen to me do an audio book for four hours? Or more? If you want an idea of what that's like, you can click here.)

But I recommend that you click here and just buy the audio book version, if you're into that sort of thing.

The first tier that gets you an audiobook is $15. Last time I checked, this was half the price of the cheapest audio book I've ever seen on audible, so it's a good deal. (Seriously, when did audio become so expensive? ...Says the man whose last audio book was on audio cassette or a free copy of Tom Stranger).

Right now, only Hell Spawn is being made... but even I don't know what the stretch goals are. If we break the barrier, I suspect that books 2-6 will be on the table.

Come on, who's on first?

Click here for the kickstarter

Sunday, October 20, 2019

RELEASE UPDATE: Moon Anthology is (sort of) canceled

The Planetary Anthology series is being discontinued.

In fact, even the five anthologies that have been published already have been discontinued. They will no longer be available for sale online from the publisher.

Which is odd for me. Especially after a year where the Area 51 anthology I was in this year was conceived of, edited, and released in 3 months from call for stories to publication.

So, yeah, the original publisher isn't doing them anymore.

However, the anthologies have all been picked up again by Tuscany Bay Books.

Which means that they're going to be published by Richard Paolinelli, a great author, Dragon Award Finalist, and he's only been doing this for about 30 years.

So he might know a thing or two.

Oh, yeah, and we have a new cover and a new art style.

The next anthology up is Pluto, edited by Richard himself.

After that, however, is The Moon.

Previously, I had announced that the moon would be broken up into two parts -- the moon, and the dark side of e moon.

As of now, the authors include the following.
  • Me
  • Ann Margaret Lewis
  • Margo St Aubin
  • Lori Bowman
  • AM Freeman
  • Richard Paolinelli
  • William Lehman
  • Karina Fabian
  • Justin Tarquin
  • Mark Wandrey
  • Steven Johnson
  • Bokerah Brumley 
  • Karl.Gallagher
  • Paul Go
  • Penelope Laird
  • Caroline Furlong
  • Lou Antonelli
  • Jody Lin Nye 
  • L Jagi Lamplighter
  • Lloyd A. Behm II
  • Josh Griffing

But this one has everything, more or less. 

We have two sets of werewolves ... maybe. 

We have psychotic elves in libraries. 

We have mining on the moon where people have delved too deep. 

We have HP Lovecraft insanity on a fishing trip.

Demonic poker games with the dead. 

The end of the world.

A jail break from a space station for the deranged, making a deal with the devil.

We won't even go into the stories I didn't accept. Heh heh heh.

Next book up in the anthology is Pluto. Edited by Richard himself.

After that? Luna. At long last.

Sorry, I've been ready to get this published for a year now. It's a bit of a relief.

Anyway, while you're waiting for Luna to come out, take a look at the list of my publications. See if you're interested in any of them.

Buckle up. This is going to be a heck of a week for news.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Review: Bane: Conquest, by Chuck Dixon

As a rule, I avoid comic books. I find most of them overpriced and under quality. The last time I went out of my way to collect comics it was J Michael Straczynski's run on Amazing Spider Man. (No, I don't blame him for One More Day.)  Right now, there is so much political crap going on in comics, or so much poor writing (See: Batman's wedding) that you can't drag me to a comic book with a ten foot pole.

But recently, I found myself making an exception for Chuck Dixon, creator of my favorite comic book villain -- Bane.  

Commonly known as an antagonist for Batman, Bane has been largely ill-treated in Bat-media. I find him more interesting that Batman, and more likable than the majority of Bat villains. While many of them are tragic figures (not Riddler, Joker, Catwoman and Penguin, they're arrogant, evil, and larcenous, in that order) Bane is one of the few I genuinely like. When first introduced, he was intelligent, efficient, and not half as crazy as most of the rest of the Gotham crowd. And he had a plan executed so well, I want to see DC writers try to pull it off again to see how they can Mary Sue Batman out of it this time.

In short, he's a villain who plays chess and speaks Latin.

Once again, DC was smart enough to get Chuck Dixon back to once more write Bane. And this time, they allowed Bane to be the main character. (I was largely happy with Forever Evil ... then they dropped the ball in the endgame.)

This is Bane: Conquest.
In the dark waters off the coast of Gotham City, a mysterious crew of smugglers has made a deadly mistake--they tried to bring weapons of mass destruction into Bane's city!

After tracing the illicit arms back to their source, Bane and his henchmen uncover a criminal conspiracy that seems to span the entire globe and encompass every illegal activity under the sun.

But if there really is a secret empire behind all of the world's crime, Bane should--nay, must--be the one running it. And no one--not assassin cults, super-hackers, Catwoman or Batman himself--is going to stand in his way!

Twenty-five years after bringing Bane to life in Batman: Knightfall, creators Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan reunite to tell the most epic tale yet of one of Batman's most dangerous foes! Collects issues #1-12.

This one puts Bane up against a worldwide criminal organization called Kobra ... If you're having flashbacks to GI Joe, please don't. They're not into the world domination business. But they do amount to the biggest crime family in existence. 

The execution is everything I've missed about the character, and about comic books, for quite sometime. The character is smart yet vicious. The action and the odds are over-the-top. There are cameos from terrorists and space aliens. Every frame is on point. Nothing here is gratuitous. The story arc ends with an action sequence that's one part The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen, and Where Eagles Dare.

This is comic books and their best. Where else are you going to have a close quarters combat duel with a mech on one end... and an unarmed man on the other?

By the end of the issue, you get to see why Bane is the best Batman "villain." It's a moment that comes after the shooting is over and all the scheming is done. It's moments like this where I think Bane should get his own series, as long as Chuck Dixon writes it and everyone in upper management leaves him alone.

Amazon has it right now for (checks price) $18. For nearly 300 pages of comic books, that's a darn good deal.

If you like Bane: Conquest, then I will also recommend to you my Saint Tommy NYPD series, or my Love at First Bite quartet -- they're as close as I come to writing comic books of my own.