Friday, December 01, 2023
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
The Mass Market Paperback edition of Summer's End is now available on Amazon (and will soon be at bookstores if not already there!). The price is less than the trade paperback (obviously) but it also means that the Kindle / ebook price has dropped as well!
So if you'd been holding off before, because the price was out of your budget, or if you simply forgot, now's the time to go check it out!
Thursday, November 09, 2023
I guess home-ownership, especially out in the country. We have these things out here called 'septic-systems'. I grew up with cesspools myself and they lasted a good long time. Septic systems need to be pumped out like every three (?) years. Got it done when we bought the house. Guy told me that with only two people we could go four years easy. That was last year and I called 'em to come pump, they never did, I forgot to follow up, etc.
So the other day I was like 'I smell swamp gas'. But best I could tell it wasn't us (it was late at night). But yesterday I called for a pump out, they had an opening for that day and I took it. Yeah, five and a half years was just on the edge of too long. Both of the first two tanks were full and I do mean, to the top.
Now the tank (or 'vault' as I guess they call it) is about 12 years old now. These things last, I don't know 20 years? Maybe longer? Then you have to get them pulled out and replaced? What the hell? If making them out of concrete is bad, why not make them out of something else? I do understand that waste is corrosive and all that. But still. A good cesspool in the right soil can last 40 to 50 years easy. Something that's getting pumped out every 3 or so years, you'd expect to last at least as long.
The drain cover on the shower broke. So far, no body makes that size anymore. This house was built in '11 and I can't get parts? WTH? I can only guess that all of the plumbing people have switched over to china since then and that, as with everything else, the Chinese make shit. We've probably spent over $50 at this point on stuff that's 'supposed to fit' but doesn't even come close.
Bark scorpions. Been killing about one of them a week now, INSIDE the house. No idea how the little buggers are getting in, but this is obviously the year of the Scorpion. First year here it was Ants. Then Crickets. Then millipedes, then wolf spiders, now we're on scorpions. It looks like next year is shaping up to be the year of the gecko.
I'm holding out for the year of hot housemaids, or good cooks.
The rainy season is upon us in Texas after 3 years of drought. (2.5 really, but this is a round up kinda thing). Almost all of the cracks are gone. Some of these I could stick my arm in up to my shoulder. They were wide, deep, and long. They'd go away in the winter, just barely, but we were getting so little rain that they kept coming back worse and worse. The first storm of the season this year dumped 5 inches. We got over 10 inches that week. But now I need to get the driveways repaired. That ain't gonna be cheap either. Sadly this house was laid out with two instead of one. No, I have no idea why.
The new heat and AC we had put in early in the year has been working like a champ. So that makes me happy. The solar power system, while expensive, has made a significant dent in the electric bill, and they just raised the price by twenty percent on everyone. So, definitely picked the right time.
I still haven't replaced the Ford Flex that got destroyed in June when I got hit. Still waiting for used car prices to regain some semblance of sanity. Then again, with the way our economy is going, that's probably not going to happen unit we get somebody who doesn't hate us and this country running things. I probably should raise my prices, but I really don't like doing that to people. I know a lot of others have and are charging a dollar or two more than me, but I just don't like doing that.
Stand Alone did very well and I've just started on the sequel. Ghost Warrior hasn't done as well. Which saddens me. But I promised Podium three books in that series, so it's gonna go at least that far. Hopefully it'll pick up.
I have another Valens Heritage book to write here soon, and I'll be doing another POI around February I think. I've honestly got too many simultaneous series going on suddenly, but part of that was I thought the Wolfhounds would go to a publisher and I'd only have to write a book every 4 months or so for them. Where now I need to write one probably every other month until it's done.
Yeah, screwed up my work schedule with that one!
The sequel to Summer's End goes out to my publisher at midnight. I finished it last week (a week late) and I'm waiting on feedback from my beta readers and such. I told them they had until the end of today to get it to me. Hopefully my publisher won't be mad at me for being late and hopefully they'll like it.
Wednesday, October 25, 2023
Yes, I have another book coming out, it's on preorder until tomorrow. This one is a sort of Cyberpunk/Shadowrun mix up. It takes place in the world of the 'Days of Future Past' trilogy, several decades later.
And the all important blurb!!
Nash has got a pretty good thing going on. A hot girl friend, who always takes him back, money whenever he needs it, the respect - no matter how grudgingly given - of his peers, and a safe place to lay his head each night when he goes to sleep. For one of the 'animal people' working the underground of the recently rebuilt Vegas, what more could he want?
Sure his memory is sketchy and he hasn't a clue of where he came from or how he came to be. But living in a world of awakened gods, magic users, high tech gadgets, monsters and all sorts of mythical creatures, well that's just par for the course! As a freelance runner, Nash has got a solid rep, even if it is small time. But as long as he's getting fed, having fun, and getting laid, what else is there in life?
Well, maybe that contract for picking up some gamer nerd. If he could score that one, well that would definitely move him up.Now if only Coyote hadn't taken an interest in him...
Thursday, October 12, 2023
Now I've seen more than a few people claim that the lack of DNA testing of everyone in the ENTIRE EMPIRE is a major plot loop hole, or flaw. Yup, not testing a couple Trillion people is just such an obvious oversight.
Okay, let's break this down. How many of you reading this have actually had your DNA tested, and sequenced and put up in a database? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?
Okay, I have had that done. So I know what it involves. I got it done back when companies were doing it for very little cost to the consumer because of research grants and all of that kinda stuff. *Oh! FUN FACT: Did you know that for a period of YEARS the Obama Administration BANNED the ability for people to see their own DNA?* Yup! They DID! No idea why. It was eventually repealed. Keep THAT in mind too! That a modern day government banned people being able to see their own DNA for YEARS!!!
So, again, I've had MY DNA done. Have you had yours? If the answer is no and you've been claiming this is a plot hole, go stand in the time-out corner. Because you obviously haven't thought this through. If you have, well, maybe you need to stop and remember what was involved. Not the getting the test kit, or the spitting in the tube. Or the sending it off. No, think about the time it took to get the results.
Also, think about what kind of machines they had to use.
Then look around your immediate vicinity, say everyone within a hundred miles of where you live. How many people around you do you think have had this done? Ten? Twenty? Unless you live in a major urban center, I can tell you right now it's less than 20. People just don't get this done. But let's get back to the story.
DNA testing takes TIME. It also takes MONEY, and last of all, it takes COMPUTERS. Which in this world, if you've been paying attention are controlled by AI which are controlled by the Nobles, or the very people you're apparently looking for.
Now how much time would it take to test the EIGHT BILLION people on Cor Imperii? How many testing centers would you have to build? How many computers? How many nobles? And WHY, tell me WHY would you do that? The Nobles already KNOW who is and who isn't one of them.
So one: It's way too much money to find something they already know.
two: Do you think the nobles want the people who don't have interfaces to know who does?
three: they call them bastards for a reason - nobody wants them or wants to know about them. In many societies bastards are actually hunted down and killed. Especially if they're Royal bastards.
So again, let's look at this: The nobles are the only ones who can do DNA testing and why would they want to? Remember the war that resulted from their creation? Remember all those nasty problems hinted at back when they were doing the DNA modifications on people? Things that the Nobles and especially the Emperor, don't want anyone messing with because it's a threat to their power now. Oh that last part wasn't stated outright, it's a read between the lines kind of thing. Though who knows, maybe in a later book it will be discussed, as Chase learns more about just how he got to where he is.
Have an example: A blood test to determine your blood type takes about a minute and costs maybe a dollar and ANYBODY can do it.
Now, how many people in your country know their blood type, or have even had it tested? Less than half, I can guarantee you. More likely it's less than 10 percent. And the government doesn't test for it. NOBODY does, unless it's important. And that's a cheap and easy test.
So no, the lack of DNA testing isn't some plot hole or flaw in the story. It just means -I- thought this through and you did not.
Now, for those of you who read the book and remember everything in it, remember when Captain Witner asked Artemis just 'how many bastards are there on the asteroid'? And Artemis gave him a number? How did that happen? Especially when no one is going around doing pointless DNA tests.
Just How Did Artemis know?
Why, the same way Artemis knew about Chase! When you go into cold sleep or suspend, or whatever you want to call it, they put a halo like device on your head (or rather the chamber does it automatically) to help monitor your vitals and it also does certain things that are part of the process. ALL of these units have the AI interface built in. So everyone who goes through cold sleep is automatically tested for an AI interface. As only the people in the military (or certain other government/imperial/nobles) have access to this device, this means the people who will most benefit from this knowledge have it. Or rather the AI's have it.
But unless there is an emergency or a very good reason (like you just got accepted into mech pilot school) the AI's don't tell. In fact you have to be a high enough rank to even ask. Like say a Fleet Captain. Why? Because exposing imperial bastards will piss off the emperor and you'll be shortened. By about a head. Exposing bastards of the other nobles, will also most probably end up with you equally (but perhaps more messily) dead. This is how it has worked in a fair deal of human history so far. I don't think it's going to change anytime soon. Nobles almost always know when they have a bastard child out there. Whether or not they will acknowledge it, is something that they will do on their own terms - not anyone else's, and trying to force them is often fatal.
Remember it was mentioned that there was a big hullabaloo when the Emperor acknowledged Prince Lance? Big enough that people who hadn't even been born at the time remembered it?
AND ON TOP OF THAT!!! Prince Lance SPECIFICALLY threatened Chase's mother about what would happen if she told anybody!! That was clearly spelled out. Which also makes it very clear that they knew that no DNA test would ever be involved. That there would never be an 'accidental' reveal in day to day life.
I mean seriously people! If an author doesn't tell you about something, odds are there's a good reason for it. And when a Best Selling author doesn't tell you about something, an author who has been very successful and who is known for creating worlds that are both flawless and highly interesting, maybe you should stop and engage brain before engaging mouth.
I would think the number of words I've written above should make it clear that I thought about this, in great detail. Give me some fucking credit already. Stop thinking you know more about my world than I do! These are major friggin' plot points and people a whole lot smarter than you (And even me!) beta read this. They could even see the writing between the lines. It's all there. It's just not spelled out explicitly because I prefer for people to have that 'ah-ha' moment when I spring shit on them two or three books down the line! Have some faith!
Friday, October 06, 2023
So I got a review that is pretty positive, but the last line, was pretty funny.
They posted: Finally, the whole "empire is good, communism is rape and murder" can become a bit off-putting at times for us non-Americans.
And I honestly LAUGHED. The DPRS is NOT a communist government!
So -I'm- not the one making the connection between rape & murder and communism. That would be the reviewer.
I also (personally) don't think that 'Empire is Good'. I actually believe it's bad. But that's not what the story is about. A lot of things I write don't reflect my personal beliefs, preferences, or desires. I'm a story teller, I tell stories. I try to entertain people and I think I've been fairly successful at it. At least I hope so!
Oh, for the record, the DPRS is loosely based on the French Revolution. LOOSELY. I didn't want to get into the Jacobians, and all the insanity that came afterwards. So I kinda just cut to the authoritarian government with a dictator running it.
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
I really miss the ability to reply to reviews on Amazon - because some people just don't READ all of the book, they skim over them. Yes, there are things I only mention once, because I don't like to belabor a point and my worlds are well thought out.
Now I don't know if 'Valentine' will read this, but allow me to address a few comments they made and if you're planning on reading the book, you may not want to read this as there are minor spoilers:
(their comments are in italics, my responses are in bold)
What it does have is some serious plot holes. Spoilers ahead!
No, there are not serious plot holes - all of these things are on purpose.
Our hero Chase has an Imperial interface, not sure how the DNA got that to grow in his body, but no one seems to ever check for any interface?
This was gone into IN DETAIL as to WHY he had the interface. It was explained. No idea how you missed that. And why would anyone go around checking for interfaces? WHY? Please explain to me why that would happen when they 'know' where they all are? There are many good reasons NOT to do that and no good reasons to do that. Furthermore, when he finally got to a place where they DID check for interfaces, he told the AI not to tell anyone. You obviously missed that part.
Seems that that would be something checked in an entrance physical to join the military.
He didn't go through one, or did you miss that part? Also why would the Nobles and the Emperor ALLOW anyone else to check for something like that? WHY? I can think of a lot of reasons why they wouldn't - and guess what? I even know why they don't!! That's right, there's a reason! So instead of saying 'THEY MISSED THIS' maybe you should ask 'Why don't they do that? Must be a reason!' Stop thinking you're smarter than the author and know what he's thinking - you aren't and you don't.
Apparently an interface also speeds up your reflexes, but no one notices he's faster than the crew and as fast as his teacher, a duchess?
There are fast people who don't have interfaces. Some of that is due to lots and lots of training. The ONLY time it is ever in a situation where others might have seen it was that first knife fight. As for the Duchess - DID YOU EVEN READ THE BOOK? Seriously! This was ALSO addressed! IN DETAIL! It was a fucking PLOT POINT!
There are other problems, like an Admiral being able to shut down the Emperor's Own, without getting permission from the Emperor.
Again, you skimmed and didn't read it. Again, was gone into IN DETAIL.
I honestly don't know how this person missed so many of the details in the book, but I'm guess they skimmed it and didn't actually read it, because several of their 'plot holes' are actually 'plot points' that got mentioned. Some in detail. Others were hinted at or alluded to. Yeah, I miss being able to reply to reviews, so I can point out just how many things that were in the book, that they completely missed. So people reading the review will realize it's not a very well done one.
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Chase had it all planned out, do a little time in one of the emperor's jails, say a four year stretch for getting rid of some trash that no one would miss, and when he got out, the path to the leadership would be wide open. It wasn't enough to be one of the gang's rising stars, or better lieutenants, he needed jail time, serious jail time — not that juvie crap or just going to county, to garner the respect he needed and deserved.
Unfortunately his bastard of a father, the same one that left his mother to die in poverty and him to run wild on the streets took an interest. Seeing him sitting on the bench when his case went to court was a shock. But not as big a shock as being sentenced to ten years in the Imperial Navy.
That's just the first of Chase's nasty surprises as he finds himself among the Emperor's Own - The Wolfhounds. How, and why, his bastard father sent him there is a secret that only the base AI knows the answer to. When that same AI decides to use Chase to fulfill its own orders, Chase soon finds himself in a situation where if he doesn't die honorably in combat due to the enemy, his own side will arrange those circumstances for him.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, Chase is proving to be just as tough of a bastard as the man who sent him there.
Thursday, September 21, 2023
Tuesday, September 12, 2023
A friend of mine and his wife have a gun store. They just got in a bunch of .22lr Ruger Pistols for really great prices. I have one of these and they're good pistols for target shooting and plinking. They're the old 'side gate' style - like you see in the old cowboy movies. They're all ceracote - except for the cylinders that are like a nitrate finish.
So if you're looking for a good deal on an 'old style' .22, check 'em out below (and they do online sales BUT you need a local firearm dealer to do the transfer to and the price those folks charge changes from shop to shop).
(scroll down to the .22's)
Sunday, August 13, 2023
So I had a few tasks around the house that had been getting put off that I got wrapped up this weekend.
First had to deal with fixing the wall in the Master Bathroom. When the 'frost-free' valve blew out AGAIN - because they're prone to doing that (kinda funny for something that's not supposed to freeze and split that they always freeze and split), I had to open up the wall next to the toilet so I could get in there and deal with things. Now that I have a regular valve in there, hopefully I won't be having this problem again.
But I had a large square hole that needed to be dealt with. This means some extra wood backing strips to tie into, behind the piece of plaster I removed, so it sits level. This also means playing a few games with the drywall screws to get them set right because the piece I'm putting back in is textured and all of that. I also had to put new insulation in the wall, which was full of blown in (as what was being the spot I'd opened had all fallen out).
Once I got that done it was tape and mud. I used to enjoy doing that work, I've done a lot of it over the years, though primarily on my own places that I was fixing up, but quite a bit back when I was doing plumbing work on the side for a friend. I'm actually pretty good at it, even if I don't enjoy it anymore. Then once I got that all done it was texture and paint. Problem was, when the paint dried I wasn't crazy about the texture job. Sometimes when you're in a place with bad lighting, the white texture over the white plaster doesn't stand out that well. Now the center of the piece I put back in is textured as well. So it wasn't bad, but you could tell, if you looked. And that's just not good enough.
So this morning I re-textured before going out to deal with some chores, then re-painted when I got back.
Yeah, now you can't tell at all. Even if you know where to look.
That done I had to replace the two faucets in the master bathroom (it's a double sink) one of them was pretty heavily corroded. The water here is very alkaline and it corrodes the hell out of the facets and other stuff in the bathrooms. One of the faucets was a major pain in the butt to remove due to heavy corrosion underneath - and it's only ten years old. The other wasn't as bad. Next week I'll do the one in the main bathroom.
At this point every faucet and shower head in the house has been replaced, and several outside ones as well. Sucks, but there's nothing you can do for it. The only way to deal with the problem is a reverse osmosis water system and those are hella expensive to buy, operate, and maintain. I still need to tear down and rebuild the shower stall in the master bathroom. That's obviously been redone at least once in the last ten years. Because they used glass and metal. I think I'll go with something else. Because the metal corrodes, no matter what you do.
The other thing I did was go visit friends in the Wichita Falls area, but the wildfires (that appear to have been set) sorta put an early end to that as roads were being closed, winds were getting pretty narly, and there were thunderstorm warnings.
But hey, I got a bunch of chores knocked out of the way and I'm back to writing the newer of my stories. With any luck that'll be coming out next month. I also have one out to Baen to see if they're interested in it. Hopefully they'll like it and buy it.
So that was my exciting weekend.
Sunday, August 06, 2023
The second book in the trilogy 'Par Excellence', is now out. This is the sequel to the book 'Best Laid Plans' that Peter Gerard is writing in my Valens Heritage universe.
If you liked the first book, please check it out.
If you didn't read the first book, you might want to check that out as well.
Linky to the new book: > https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CD6KYH29