Thursday, January 31, 2019

Music blog: Masters Of Destiny

I tripped over this one recently. It was fun.



And while you're here, can I tempt you with some sweet, sweet merch?



Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Problem of Papal Authority

Ever since Pope Francis was elected, all of us Catholics have suffered other people trying to tell us what we believe, largely based off of casual comments by Pope Francis in an interview...

Or a presser in a conversation on board a plane...

Or in a rambling, nigh-incoherent speech, even when translated by the Vatican.

As such, we've been lectured on guns, on communism, on the environment, and one of the blogs I contribute to, over the Catholic geeks have spent a ton of time refuting it. They have an entire section dedicated to it.

I think I know what the problem is. And it's not necessarily that he's totally wrong on immigration, guns and economics ... even though he is.

Everyone thinks that the Pope is some sort of monarch. That the whims of the Pope are the dictates of the church.

WRONG!

The following comes from John Zmirak's book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism, which sums it up nicely, I think. Emphasis mine
 No doubt you have read breathless accounts in the press of the exciting new changes allegedly impending in Catholic teaching. Pope Francis has used his bully pulpit tirelessly to vent his private opinions on global warming, economics, immigration, and a long list of other issues on which he is less well-informed than the average American who watches Fox news. None of that matters. As you will learn, these subjects are outside the pope's scope of divinely appointed authority. he has no more claim to anyone's deference on these subjects than a traffic cop who stops you to offer gynecological advice. Peter and his successors were guaranteed infallibility not so that Catholics would know exactly what to do about greenhouse gas emissions and income inequality, but so that that the signs identifying the narrow road that leads to heaven couldn't be switched out for the signs pointing to the broad way that leads to perdition. That, after all, is the purpose for which Jesus Christ established the papacy, the church itself, in the first place -- to show us the way to eternal salvation, not to tell us how to vote.
So guess what -- EVEN IF Pope Francis was some sort of dirty commie (which he doesn't appear to be) he couldn't make that part of Church teaching, since Communism is evil in the eyes of the church, ever since Divini Redemptoris, 1937, when the Church realized that it was going to be a thing and not a passing fad. So no Pope can change doctrine. Only an entire conference of Cardinals and Bishops can do that.

So, why is that? Why isn't the Pope a casual dictator?

Because how stupid do you think we are?

I know the Catholic church has managed some really stupid crap -- just look at the implementation of Vatican II. But we've been around 2000 years. We know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. And you probably just heard that line read in the voice of JK Simmons, and you should have.

The thing that everyone has to remember about the position of the Pope is that we've had Borgias and Medicis on the throne of Peter. Which is like having the Mafia running the church. Francis isn't the worst guy we've had in the chair. He won't even be the dumbest. We've survived 2000 years, and the church has been declared dead 7 times before the 20th century, and I swear it's been declared dead 7 more times in the last 100 years alone. And right now, the most persecuted faith on the entire planet? Christians. In China. In the Middle East. In America. If you don't know this, you're probably not plugged into the right outlets. And no, I don't mean Fox news, just the Tablet will suffice.

And what's Francis doing? He's telling the Catholic church in China to surrender to the state that wants to kill us. He hasn't directly talked about the **Christians** in the Middle East in danger -- and IF HE HAS, he hasn't gotten his message across.

[The child molester problem STILL isn't the "WE MUST REMAKE THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH TO MAKE IT UNITARIAN" the usual suspects like to talk about it. (seriously, 1% of the priesthood has been evil pricks. Find them, kill them, move on). And Francis is ACTIVELY screwing up what Benedict achieved on this front. But hanging them from lamp posts in the Vatican will certainly correct the problem. And for the namby pamby types who think "Wahh, that's so harsh, it's not Christian," my I direct you to the Biblical passage of "BETTER A MILLSTONE BE TIED AROUND THEIR NECK AND THEY BE CAST INTO THE SEA THAN THEY MESS AROUND WITH CHILDREN." Give the average short eyes an option between drowning and hanging, my bet is they're going to take the short drop with the sudden stop.]

There's a reason that in the entire history of the church, only 7 -- repeated ONLY SEVEN -- statements by Popes have been considered infallible, and five of those are up for grabs. So even Popes who USE papal infallibility don't use it like a cudgel.

But yes. We've had bad popes. Bad popes disprove the authority of the Church the way that sin in general disproves grace. In other words, it doesn't.

So, what's the job of the Pope?

The primary job of a pope is not to be a theologian or a holy man. HE'S AN ADMINISTRATOR. He's a bureaucrat. We have been SPOILED under John Paul II and Benedict. They were holy, they were theologians, and they had a great learning curve being an administrator. (Okay, Benedict was a better bureaucrat, but then, he was a German academic. I think they invented red tape).

Francis ... I'm told he has charisma. I don't see it.

But after being spoiled by two awesome Popes, we get ... Francis. There is a lot to say about Francis. He sucks at public speaking. The transcript from which we get his "opinions on guns" is a rambling mess that requires a diagram to track.

Comparatively, Francis is Dilbert's Pointy Haired Boss.

But again, we've had unholy popes in the past. We've had terrible Popes in the past .... but even Popes who've had mistresses (even when the mistress looks like she's running the church itself!) never violated papal infallibility by declaring married priests a thing, or changed premarital sex as being a sin. They never changed what was and was not a sin. It's why we even have a doctrine of Papal Infallibility -- it DOESN'T NOT MEAN HE'S ALWAYS RIGHT, it means he never teaches what's wrong in doctrine.

As the Catholic geeks noted a few times, even in the "Global warming" encyclical (and seriously, can someone read the thing before commenting on it?) he HASN'T CHANGED DOCTRINE.

Now, I will grant you, American Catholics can be very American-centric, while the Pope has to look at the world. While many of the tricks the media use is to apply all of the Pope's comments to American politics, Francis largely doesn't care. And one of his problems lately is that he should. When Francis was made Pope, many expected and desired that he should reform the bureaucracy... all he seems to do is make little cuts that only serve to piss people off. Right now, Francis should come in and break up the US Council of Catholic Bishops -- preferably with a baseball bat. If you don't believe me, look up Zmirak on Twitter, he has a few ideas on the subject.

Though all in all, I think I would have much preferred Cardinal Sarah as Pope Pius XIII. But no one listens to me on that.

 If you think these ideas are radical ... no, none of them are, really. Heck, read Infernal Affairs for some radical ideas.


Infernal Affairs Playlist

For the final battle of Infernal Affairs, I needed something epic.

I found this one going through Spotify one day and it fit.

Army of the Night, a cover of PowerWolf's song, only done by Amaranthe




Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Writing Infernal Affairs

When I wrote Hell Spawn, I was shooting for a police procedural that became a horror novel. Check that.

When I wrote Death Cult, I was told it was okay for me to start things a little faster this time.

Never tell me that the pace must go "faster." I will accommodate you.  Then probably run you over.

Despite opening book 2 with a zombie attack and ending it at raiding a death cult compound, one beta reader told me it was "too slow."

That's probably even worse than telling me the book needs to be faster.

So Infernal Affairs started with a church shooting during mass. Shot priest. Screaming civilians.

Then the SWAT team knocked down our hero's door.


Then the car bomb.

Image may contain: one or more people and nightThen the full frontal assault.

Then the chase throughout New York and New Jersey.

The balrog on the highway.

The parkour chase over Manhattan with hellhounds and MS-13.

You know, the little stuff.

So this one was more of a chase book than anything else. Less horror, more urban fantasy. No modern politics, a little investigation, but a lot of fighting the forces of darkness.

But by the end of the book, I had to wrap up a few things from the previous books. After all, I had a demon, I had the cult that summoned it, I had a "warlock" in the background, MS-13, and now I had to do one thing above all else....

I had to tie it all together and make it make sense.

I think I did a fairly good job of doing that.

Now our heroes have to find out who the warlock is before the warlock gets them. It's going to be quite the bloody mess.

Yeah. If you had even HALF as much fun reading this as I did writing it, you should just bulk the series in hardcover as a set so you can gift it to friends ... or to people you want to piss off ... or both.

Anyway, Infernal Affairs. It's out and ready for the fun to start.

While you're waiting for Infernal Affairs to arrive in the mail, or download, then I ask you stop by the Amazon pages for Hell Spawn or Death Cult and leave a review. Trust me, they help.

Infernal Affairs is here

It's out. Book three of my next Dragon Award nominated series, Infernal Affairs. Yes, I'm that confident, and you will be too, once you read through them.

You know, I used to think that Hell Spawn was the best thing I ever wrote. But now that I've finished book 4, and outlined book 5 and 6, that it was only the beginning.

Because buckle up, we're going to have some fun.

I figured I was going to have to up the stakes.

What's that you ask? I've attacked his family, his police station, his friends and his city, so what could I possibly do to him?

Unleash Hell, that's what.

When I outlined Infernal Affairs, I had expected to address the issue of corrupt police officers. Then, over the course of the book, I would be expanding the threat from corrupt cops to other criminal classes.

Then I realized that I was playing far, far too small.

It was time to expose Detective Tommy Nolan to a new level of threat. He's faced demons, a few zombies, fah! So what! Here's a balrog crashing into the Long Island Expressway, a parkour chase with hellhounds, and that's the first few chapters. So there! We're going to expand Tommy's horizons to a world of monsters so vast, I think I'm going to threaten his sanity a little.

It got so fast, so knuckle-intense, an alpha reader needed to take breaks. I edited it so the down time was a little longer -- meaning I kept all the tension, just gave the reader more time to breathe before all hell breaks loose again. Meaning the readers won't even STOP this time! MUAHAHAHAHAHA.

And this concludes the origin story. Heh heh heh. Yes, dear readers. The first three books are a nice warm up act for Tommy.

This is going to be so much fun.

Anyway! Infernal Affairs, out today! Take a look at it, review it when you can, and enjoy.

Brace for impact, guys, we're going to have such fun.

Book 4: City of Shadows, February
Book 5: Crusader, March
Book 4: Deus Vult, April

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Why no one cares about the #Oscars, 2019

I know I've already discussed how no one gives two damns for the nimrods in Hollywood and their pretensions and their BS.

But it's Tuesday, the blog is late, the Oscars are trending, and I can do this quickly without tuning my brain on.

Let's look at the latest crop of these Oscar nominations that have been forced down our throats this time.

I'll make a few guesses here and there about what's going to win, but those guesses will be made largely on content, virtue signalling, and victim points -- since CONTENT seems to be the last thing Hollyweirdoes want to even consider, unless the content is about a black hispanic homosexual being brutalized by rich white oppressors, or screaming "REPUBLICANS ARE EVIL" over and over again, but enough about the film Vice.

And no, I don't think that was cynical enough for today's insanity.

I don't think anyone cares about documentaries ... (RGB? Zion? I can't even find an IMDB page on some of these).  Foreign language films ... Poland did something about the Cold War, which probably slipped in because no one in Hollywood was looking.

For the log of God Almighty --- FIFTEEN musical score nominations? Fifteen... talk about overkill. I know they expanded nominee rosters to allow for their pretensions and for popular films, but this is insane.  Besides, they all enjoy masturbating to Lin Manuel Miranda, so we know that Mary Poppins Returns is a shoe - in. It satisfies their politics (after all, LMM might as well have started "Orange Man Bad") and has the illusion of being popular (the nicest review I heard called the film "unnecessary"). Then again, as I look closer, the only thing on this list that doesn't check all of the usual boxes is Infinity War.... unless someone really wants Thanos to be the Green Peace mascot.

Original songs ... fifteen. Again. Ugh. This is .... an amazingly terrible collection.

Short films....  who cares? Visual effects....  who cares?

Ah! Best actor! .... Let's see, Christian Bale has signaled his virtue by calling Dick Cheney "Satan." Rami Malek played gay (if he is for real, don't tell me, I don't want to know.) Bradley Cooper... may have had to act. Viggo Mortensen ... I don't want to look at what he did. I"m guessing Bale is the winner.

Best Supporting Actor. If anyone cared about acting ability, I'd even give Mahershala Ali a nod -- I've seen him, he can act. But if I recall correctly, he didn't virtue signal hard enough in Green Book, and no one will ever give anything to Sam Elliott if it can be avoided. So I'm assuming Sam Rockwell for Vice, because George W. Bush is stupid and evil, etc etc, blah blah blah.

Actress in a Leading Role..... I'm assuming it's going to either Lady Gaga for being a freak or to Melissa McCarthy because her Ghostbusters film "fought the patriarchy," thus making it "her turn," or something.

Actress, Supporting role. The Favourite, a film about women being bitchy to each other, is up twice. I'm assuming they get canceled out. I'd say Amy Adams in Vice, but that requires that people like Amy Adams. I do, but Hollywood doesn't seem to.

Animated Feature Film .... I look here and I don't care. I'm sure everyone I know wants it to be Spider-Verse. 

Cinematography .... does anyone care? Costume design, oy.

Directing ... Cold War is up for it (I found it on IMDB... Romeo and Juliet, Cold War style? Didn't more interesting things happen then?). BlackKKKlansman has the virtue signal points, but I'm not sure Spike Lee has enough by himself. Roma ("A year in the life of a middle-class family's maid in Mexico City in the early 1970s.") The Favourite and Vice. This one is more of a crap shoot -- virtue signalling on virtue signalling violence. Though Roma may win out because "working class Mexican" seems to have more victim points than anyone else right now.

Documentary ... eh. Media has decided for the last two years to do very little BUT jerk off to Ruth Bader Ginsberg. So that's my bet there.

Best picture ... already? Oy. Let's see ... Black Panther has been thrown on probably because it made a ton of money and they may not be seen as out of touch. If it wins, it'll be so they can say "we gave Marvel an award. We never have to do it ever again" and move on. Frankly, it's one of the lesser marvel films. It really is.  If BlacKKKlansman wins, they can say they gave Spike Lee something. Bohemian Rhapsody might win ... because gay, but "gay" may not have the right victim status anymore and lacks the points.  The Favourite .... "rich white girls are bitches" movie.... who cares? Green Book seems to be about people who work for a living with people who can act-- I'm almost certain it's not going to win, though it may be the only thing here that might deserve it. Vice, A Star is Born, and Roma might win for the reasons mentioned above in other categories.

Wow, such pretentious bullshit. I'm 100% certain that nothing here was nominated based on the strength of their acting, writing or directing, and based entirely on political math.  Yet again, I'm going to stay far, far away from the Oscars. Screw these guys.

Here, have some books that have no pretension whatsoever



Monday, January 21, 2019

The Year of Three Conventions

This is another year where I'm going to do at least three conventions.

If you're going to be nearby, come and find me

RavenCon

RAVENCON 14. In Williamsburg, VA, from April 5-7.


LibertyCon

LIBERTYCON ... Yes, I scored tickets. Mainly because a fellow author at Silver Empire changed her mind on going.

Chattanooga, TN, from May 31-July 2



DRAGONCON... Did you doubt I'd be going? I'd go to this convention even if they didn't have me as an attending Pro.

As always, in Atlanta, August 30-September 2

Be sure to have plenty of copies of my books when you come. I can only carry so many copies before I hurt myself by accident.

Be well, all.


Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Trailer for #JohnWick3 is here

Yeah, this is going to be fun.



If you're interested in some high tension action to tide you over until John Wick releases, here you go.



Music Blog: ATTACK ON TITAN - Full English Opening 1

I was originally going to give this SOB the time of day months ago on the blog. I had even scheduled a music blog a week.

Then, as is the habit of the Californian soyboy, the little bitch decided to block me on Twitter because we had a conversation on guns and I kept trumping him with, oh, facts. And he started the conversation by saying that since I supported the second amendment, I was responsible for any shooting.

So you won't see him on this blog that often. Though I used to listen to his stuff on a loop for 8 hours a day. I got Spotify because I wanted to make sure creators like him got money they wouldn't get from YouTube. Then he personally insulted me, and now it's amazing how many flaws I catch in his singing.

However, the song for Attack on Titan is so awesome, I'll grant him this one appearance. Though expect a lot more Minniva coming in soon enough.





Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Heroes Fall: Heroes United Book 1

People keep trying to give us "realistic superheroes."

 I think the trend may have started with "Watchmen," which frankly told me more of what was in the soul of Alan Moore than said anything about the superhero genre. A better example (I'm told) is Kurt Busiek's Astro City, which addresses themes such as a man who becomes a superhero to find redemption, or even the legalities of X-Ray vision and super senses.
Here's the successor.

For those of you who long for the days when comic books were actually entertaining, and the most angst you were subjected to was the occasional Spider Man nervous breakdown, welcome to Heroes Fall, Serenity City, book 1, by Morgon Newquist.

We open with The Rampage, a mission where Superman, Batman and .... Iron Fist, I guess.... goes horribly, horribly wrong. One is murdered, the other goes mad, and only one is left standing.

Sounds like fun ... except this isn't a comic book crossover. This is Morgon's new world of heroes and villains. The heroes are Achilles, Pendragon and Banshee. And an epic battle of massive destruction throughout the city 
He wanted to be a good man. Instead he became a hero.
Twenty years ago, Serenity City's great Triumvirate of heroes - Achilles, the Banshee, and Pendragon - maintained a golden age of peace and prosperity. Then, in an instant, it all went wrong. The city's mightiest champion, Achilles, lost his mind during a showdown with the enigmatic supervillain Thanatos and went on a rampage across the city, leaving the Banshee dead and a swath of destruction in his wake before Pendragon could stop him.

Today, as Achilles rots in solitary confinement, Victoria Westerdale investigates a new mystery. Why are young and forgotten heroes disappearing off the streets? Why doesn't anybody else care? And how is it tied in to those infamous events that brought the city's greatest heroes to ruin?

And what's going to happen to them all after Achilles escapes?

The first of a new wave of superhero novels! Coming soon:
  • Hollow City from Dragon Award nominee Kai Wai Cheah
  • The Phoenix Ring from Jon Mollison
  • Gemini Man from J.D. Cowan
  • Atlantean Archons from Richard W Watts
So, yeah, this one was fun. It starts strong, introducing plenty of side characters (even throwaway characters) effortlessly. It was a Hell of a way to open.

Despite the amount of time the blurb spent on the setup, 90% of the story focuses on Victory Westerdale. She doesn't want to be a superhero, just a simple, straightforward hero who saves people and goes back to the daily nine to five. Victory's powers are like Jessica Jones, if the latter weren't a raving bitch. It's mostly a mystery set in a new and improved Astro City. And I can't say a whole heck of a lot without spoiling it, so I won't.

I like the breakdown of the superhero class structure. No, we're not going into class warfare here, merely a practical approach to superheroes. DC and Marvel comics are truly unrealistic -- that only one superhero (Booster Gold, IIRC) -- seems to be offered or has desires for fame and notoriety. In the world of Serenity City, everyone wants to climb the hero totem pole. It's a competitive culture for the next brand endorsement, coming with a good paycheck. And there are some of those heroes who are Iron Man narcissistic and some who are simply saving people and heroing, and taking cash because they'll take all the help they can get. Of course, this environment means that no one really teams up, but considering how many times the JSA and the JLA have broken up, is anyone surprised when heroes can't get along?

The villain of the piece ... there are two. They're both fairly well developed, though one has barely any screen time. If you're wondering how that happens, it's largely because of the quality of the "evil plan." One is a narrative underdog, and the other is a cunning master manipulator. One comes off as David Tennant's Kilgrave, and the other is trying to do "good" for noble reasons, but has all the skills and talents of Richard III, or the MCU's Civil War villain. It's a bit of a train wreck, with a moral quandary that had only one solution.

At the end of the day, fans of the superhero genre should recognize the occasional tip of the hat to everything from The Dark Knight to Astro City to Green Hornet. That would be a spoiler if you could get the permutations right. We have Alfred with superpowers. A character named Ash who I suspect could be played by Bruce Campbell. A healer hero named Panacea (yes, really). A hero lawyer with the ability to cloud men's minds. And oh dear me, we're going to have a realistic portrayl of what it would be like as a superhero, only none of this grim and gritty Alan Moore BS? Be still my heart. 

Also acknowledging that Batman basically has a superpower. Long story. But the description of the bat cave here will have you playing the Danny Elfman score from the Batman film in head.

Of course, Morgon gets her martial arts right. If she didn't, I think everyone who knows her would worry. And she does a good job of playing superhero chess -- how does Y superhero use X powers against Z and Z's powers. Even the execution of powers are well thought out.

Also, Morgon has a degree in Latin, so expect a ton of quotes and references from ... everyone. Peter Pan, The Aenid, The Illiad, The Odyssey, Greek myth, Roman myth, a few other myths. I do so enjoy it when the authors I read actively read other people .... and steal from them. It warms my heart. You get little bits like "He is Lancelot, not Arthur. Byt even Lancelot is better than Mordred."

And the moral of the story, as it usually is in classical mythology -- Pride kills.

Just get Heroes Fall: Heroes Unleashed Book 1, today. If you like superheroes, you'll enjoy it. If you like "literature," you'll enjoy it. Or fight scenes. Or action pieces. Or mysteries. Or Scifi. Or Fantasy.

Yeah. It's just plain fun.

While you're at Amazon picking up a copy of Heroes Fall, here, have some more superhero novels.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Spider-Man: Far from Home trailer

Just when I was wondering what I would post about today, they came out with a new Marvel Trailer.



This is literally the first trailer, and surprisingly, it looks good. Someone should tell it to the people who made the first Captain Marvel trailer. Me? Cynical? Naw.

Anyway, this looks like fun. More importantly, it looks like Sony is treating Peter Parker's friends as disposable as they should be. Tranquilizing Ned is a good start. Though I still refuse to credit ... that as MJ. Though at least someone taught Miss Resting Bitch Face how to smile. Though I'd still like to hit her with a 2x4. As I understand it, tormenting someone you have a crush on is something that happens in grammar school, not high school.

Let's break this down a bit.

Opening: Aunt May seems to have gotten used to her nephew being a superhero. She's gotten even more used to Tony Stark's Happy Hogan. I guess it's good to be a producer.

:30 -- Peter Parker's European vacation. I'm not sure how you work that into bringing along a collection of high schoolers on a vacation that's worth tens of thousands of dollars.... unless of course it's a Tony Stark endowment. Given what happens next, it wouldn't surprise me.

1:12 -- Sam muthaf***ing Jackson as Nick muthaf***ing Fury. Yee haw. Given everything that has happened to Tony Stark, it's good to retire him from this franchise. Also, Peter Parker needs adult supervision, and Tony doesn't really qualify.

1:24 -- And Fury is already stealing this movie. Please, let Ned swallow his tongue. He's annoying as hell.

1:29 -- whoever is doing the music for this trailer is turning the classic 60s Spider Man theme into something that almost sounds epic. Who knew? Props to this fellow.

1:36 -- Spider Man becomes London Has Fallen. I approve.

1:38 -- the bad guys for this film are "elementals." Sorry, all I can think is "So, someone re-purposed Sandman and Hydroman?"

1:53 -- The Spiderman Noir suit? Interesting choice. Though considering how dark the back story on that costume design is, I'm not expecting they'll call it that.

2:03 -- Mysterio? Why's he in this film? As a ... hero? Considering the background on Mysterio, I'm going to wonder if he's the bad guy, and all of the other villains are simply one mass illusion on his part. It would explain why a character whose biggest abilities were splashy special effects is fighting elemental Kaiju.

2:25 -- oh, look, they've decided to make the character called Flash Thompson a fan of Spider Man and a dick to Peter Parker. Now if they just made him a six-foot blond athlete dickhead instead of a preppy Indian midget, they might come close to recognizable to readers of the comic books.

Until the reviews for Far From Home comes out, (proving it's safe to watch) here, have some action packed novels that aren't made for the PC crowd.


Monday, January 14, 2019

Comic Book Fatigue

This is sort of depressing. Because I think I found the true source of this "comic book media fatigue" everyone keeps predicting. Because it's not Marvel films.

It's Television.

The projects coming out in 2019 are uninspiring.

"Deadly Class".... who? 
Huh? What? What's a Rick Remender? And if we're doing Assassin training, why isn't is a Terry Pratchett novel? (never heard of the founding comic)

"The Boys" by .... Garth Ennis.
Because that'll end well. "We're going to be edgy and undermine corrupt superheroes." Yeah, sure. (never heard of the founding comic)

Umbrella Academic.
It's about dysfunctional superheroes. Because that works every time they do the Fantastic Four. (Again, I've never heard of the founding comic)

Doom Patrol, starring Cyborg.
Finally, something I'm very vaguely aware of. A spinoff of the streaming Titans project.... which turned me off with every commercial.

Young Justice: Outsiders. 
I know this one! It's a cartoon! It was even fun at times.... aaaannnndddd it's also on streaming, so screw you, WB.

Watchmen on HBO
.... using an "alternate timeline from the comic." So, I'm guessing MORE sex, nudity and rape. Produced by Damon Lindelof, meaning it will be even MORE unsatisfying and suicide inducing than the comic or the movie.

"Pennyworth."
On Epix (a channel I never heard of), as the people who brought you Gotham bring you the origin story of Batman's Alfred. His sidekick will be Thomas Wayne.
.... Are you flipping kidding me?

"Swamp Thing" ...
This will be taken largely from the "Anatomy Lesson" issue of Alan Moore's run. Again, streaming service.

"Star Girl" ....
They're doing Star Girl, because screw James Robinson and his run on Starman, that's why. At least this one is co-created with Geoff Johns. Which may mean it MIGHT not suck

Batwoman
Sigh. Yeah, they've green lit a pilot. Which, given what little I've seen of Gotham in Elseworlds, means that they're going do to Batwoman what they did to Supergirl -- ie: reskin all of the male counterpart's villains as either female, or "patriarchy." (Seriously, they had Nora Fries running around using Victor's freeze ray. How does this make any sense?) Also, I'm still on the fence about Ruby Rose's ability to act. I've seen her in three different roles, and I want a "learn to emote" switch somewhere.

Here, have some interesting superhero works.


Friday, January 11, 2019

Jim McCoy Reviews Death Cult

I will not deprive you of the fun that is the review of Death Cult by Jim McCoy over on his blog.

I will however, give you a few samples if you don't want to start on his blog.
Ladies and Gentleman (and you in the back) I present to you a plot synopsis of Declan Finn's Latest Book, Death Cult.

Hi
OOF!
OUCH!
Dude, don't
He did?
Really?
That sounds like it hurt.
That had to have hurt
Them again
I'm not sure that's physically possible
I KNOW that's NOT physically possible
COOL!
HOT!
The End!
I don't know about you, but I found that funny as heck. Jim pretty much as the most entertaining reviews on a blog, so you read them for fun as much as you would the book.

For example
In Hell Spawn Saint Tommy fought a demon. It was ugly. There was lots of fighting and many people died to death. It was quite horrifying. I loved the book, but I was a bit worried. Don't get me wrong. Finn is a good author. But when you're writing Christian fiction and you go up against a demon, what comes next? 
.... I'm going to have to skip down the line of the review, otherwise I'm just going to be copying and pasting the whole review.
Finn has built his world very well. We're treated to some old friends and some new acquaintances and they all fit together nicely. I really like it when a book stays true to the universe it is written in. Death Cult does so nicely. The internal logic is consistent, the characters stay true to their own motivations. I don't mean that the book is predictable because it's not. There is, however, a difference between logical and predictable and Finn has found his groove here.
Yeah. This paragraph made me happy on a number of levels.

Trust me, I'm always worried about book two... don't even ask me why. I have no problem writing it, though I always look at it and say, "I didn't make this predictable, did I? This went fast enough, didn't it?"

I'm going to stop citing the review, and just tell you to go and read it. It's highly entertaining.

And of course, once you do that, you can buy Hell Spawn and Death Cult.  And if you have already done that, well then, you can go leave a review. Wouldn't that be fun?



Thursday, January 10, 2019

Catholic Reads declares Honor at Stake one of the best books of 2018

The headline pretty much says it all.
Declan Finn is proving himself to be the go-to guy for the campy fun adventure book that is just smart enough to completely subvert your expectations in ways that never fail to delight.

One of the strongest features of the novel and one of the most Catholic is how it establishes a sense of reality by a great balance of sincerity and dramatic irony. Finn has a way of making things look one way, and then revealing things to be exactly the opposite. It reminds me of Jesus saying he came to turn the world upside-down, and in a way, Finn seeks to do just that for Brooklyn via the lenses of vampire romance action horror (with light sci-fi and espionage elements). I loved its masterful use of dramatic irony and it’s a great portrayal of a young masculine perspective.

This book was also a nominee for the Dragon Award, a feat in and of itself for Indie & Catholic book
Just wait until they read Hell Spawn.

If you haven't read Honor at Stake yet, now would be a good time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Castalia House reviews Hell Spawn



Over at Castalia House, Jon Mollison reviewed Hell Spawn.
Played entirely straight, the result is an urban fantasy for people who don’t like urban fantasy. Instead of the usual kitchen sink approach as seen in the “Iron Druid” series and countless magic-girl of the week series, Finn steeps the universe of Saint Tommy entirely in a Catholic worldview where Earth represents a battleground between heaven and hell. Though the dual nature of the conflict – good versus evil – lacks the political complexity of the kitchen sink approach, it also grounds the novel with a unified system that carries with it the weight of two thousand years of refining, evolution, and tradition. There are real rules to what can be done and how things operate, and that grounding in a single understanding of the rules of the game allows the action to proceed at a faster clip, and with considerably higher stakes than most examples of the genre.
Considering how popular Iron Druid is, I'll take that review.
Which is not to say that this is a book for Catholics only. The matter of fact presentation of the faith that lies at the core of this work never veers into preachiness or ham fisted apologia. Hand wave away the protagonist’s explanations for his powers – most of the supporting characters do – and you’re still left with a gritty tale of a serial killer targeting a cop. Head-canon the supernatural abilities into a secular expression of natural law, and you’re left with a dark superhero tale that makes the nineties grimdark culture seem tame by comparison.
I ...  yeah. I cop to it. This went dark. But it's nice to see that Mollison finds I did it well.
One word of warning on that note – and Declan Finn’s unflinching willingness to show the nature and effects of evil, this novel goes into some ark places where even the most bloody-minded Hollywood producers fear to tread. The setting being New York City, the usual political theater enters the investigation
I don't know why, this part just pleases me.
Declan writes with an economy of words that packs a lot of impact into this relatively short novel. Never quite dipping down into the close-mouthed unwillingness to describe even the most recurring characters or locales, he nonetheless manages to present just enough information to keep things visually stimulating without dragging the action down.


Be well.



Tuesday, January 8, 2019

What's going on with my writing?

So, I'm sure that people are wondering what the heck has been going on with my writing lately.

Lord knows, some of my reviews have questioned it.

Why are my books suddenly getting such a strong political thread?

The Saint Tommy series has been a horror story since book one, ever since the demon claimed his first victim ... assuming that it wasn't during the fight in the precinct.

Can anyone think of something horrible and terrifying doesn't have a connection to a political movement? Hell, I can do a laundry list of human atrocities that are all connected to politics. At the end of the day, if anyone actually put together a list of all wars on the planet, you'll find that some variation on politics is like the top 5 to 10 reasons. (The Irrational Atheist, and I may be stretching the term "politics" to it's broadest, but nowhere near the breaking point).

Then again, we've entered into a strange political climate in which using MS-13 as a source of disposable thugs is considered a "political" choice. So I'm not sure if there's anything left that isn't political.

"Your hero uses guns? You must be a gun nut." .... Thomas Nolan is a cop.

And what did John Wick use? Hair dryers? Is Keanu Reeves an NRA spokesman now?

How about Liam Neeson in the Taken series?

How about every 80s action hero who casually used machine guns in everything?

Strangely enough, some of the reviews are treating this like my most political novel.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

All I can think is "Wow. never read the Pius books."

Though on the other hand, politics really is getting to be a real horror show.

Riots seem to be a viable form of "free speech."

Trash a city, you're "protesting."

Murder over a dozen people? It's racist to discuss it.

Apparently, it's even political and ranting to even MENTION some topics.

Sigh. Pardon me while I bang my head against a wall.

So, yes, while my writing has become slightly more political .... that's because it's been horror, and the most horrid thing I've seen lately is political news. Why? Because I'm a philosopher and a historian by training. And the crap in the news sets my Aquinas senses tingling as well as my Herodotus senses. Imagine That Hideous Strength only applied to real life. If you don't know that novel, you should.

But don't worry, after Death Cult, the politics dies down by a ton. Mainly because everyone is too busy getting shot at.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Help, I'm a writer and I can't stop

Welcome back and happy New Year to everyone.

You may have noticed lately that the blog has gone strange. What used to be a wall-to-wall, daily blog has become a "whenever I feel like it" blog. I didn't plan it that way, and I apologize. Had I known I was going to fall into some ... interesting habits, I would have planned ahead and solicited additional help from the pool of authors I know for guest posts.

But I couldn't think of it that much. I was a little busy pumping out a book that's due in February. A book that I should have started in November, but I dropped the ball.

As you know from a previous post, Russell at Silver Empire likes to have me write up and send in outlines of my books before I start writing them.

This time, I thought I sent book 4, City of Shadows, in with book 3, Infernal Affairs. Instead, I put it off to do finishing touches on it, and completely forgot to send it in as one package.

And, as noted, City of Shadows is due out in February. Which means that once I do the remaining 20,000 words, it has to go to Silver Empire, through the editor (Jagi) and then to formatting and pre-order.

So, once I plow through books 4 and 5, I can relax a little for 6. After #6, there is a new series coming out, a space opera I've been working on for years, so all that's needed is editing on the first three, and some rewrites on most of the others. Thus, I may actually be able to relax and do a few blogs here and there that have NOTHING TO DO WITH MY BOOKS.

Yeah, I'm looking forward to the time when my posts stop looking like marketing.

But, as the title implies, I've been working so much, there's little room in my brain for anything other than work. So if you're getting sick of my "here's my book, here's how I wrote the book, these are my thought processes as I write the book, and here are some chapters, and oh wait look there's another book coming out in four weeks I should probably talk about that a minute-and-I-should-probably-slow-down-but-I-can'-t-because-my-brain-is-geared-to-work-all-the-time-and-I-suffer-from-depression-if-I-don't..."

If you ever wonder what my advice is for people who WANT to write novels for fun and profit, it's simple. DON'T. Because you don't want to rewire your brain like this. If you HAVE TO write novels ... it's too late for you, embrace the suck / fun / joy.

Maybe I should start posting screen shots from my video game du jour. You know, that stuff I do in order to turn off my brain.

Either way, I intend to do better .... sometime soon.

Good God I miss my mind.

Anyway, so you could see what I'm dumping most of my brain power on... here: