Saturday, November 30, 2019

Nathan Lowell - If you like old school space Science Fiction

If you're a fan of the 'old style' or 'old school' Science Fiction, stories of big space ships plying the starways for trade and other reasons, with all sorts of interesting things thrown in, then you should read Nathan Lowell (Amazon Link)

I came across Nathan's Solar Clipper series quite by accident many years ago, and I have to admit, it was a really wonderful story. Except for the end, there was something that happens in the last book (and you'll know it when you read it) that kinda annoyed me. When I finally got to meet Nathan earlier this year (2019) we talked about it and he told me why he did it, and honestly? He was right, it needed to be done. It helped make the story better and it helped make the stories that came after it more interesting as well. He told me he got a LOT of grief over the incident (which I won't tell you because spoilers) and looking at that, it tells you just how many people bought it and loved it.

As an aside that incident in the story didn't stop me reading him. And I was grateful when we got to discuss it over dinner one night when we met at a convention.

The man really is a gifted writer. I've read most of his works (eventually I will read all of them). I highly recommend his stories, the clipper ship aspect is done well with some very interesting takes on things that are uniquely his and that definitely improve the story. As Nathan was once a sailor and spent several years on the seas, he understands the aspects of being at the mercy of the ship you are on and how you can't expect help to be there in a few minutes. That understanding ads a uniqueness to his stories that you can feel when you read them.

So again, I highly recommend Nathan Lowell's Solar Clipper series and the books that run after it.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Black Friday Sales!

Starting at 8AM PST (don't look at me, Amazon picked that time) I'll be having a 'Black Friday Sale'!

The following books will be 99 cents until Monday Morning:

Portals of Infinity, Book 1: Champion for Hire
Portals of Infinity, Book 2: The God Game

The Hammer Commission (Book 1 of the Hammer Commission Series)
The King of Las Vegas (a Hammer Commission Book)

Book 1 of the Days of Future Past Series - Past Tense

Also, written as Jan Stryvant:

Black Friday - Book 1 of the Valens Legacy Series
Perfect Strangers - Book 2 of the Valens Legacy Series

And on Sale for Friday and Saturday until noon at 99 cents and then Sunday and Monday morning for $1.99:

Link to Black Friday Sale Page 

Friday, November 22, 2019

I played High School Football!

I'm sure that by now everyone knows that Al Bundy played High School football. And just how many TD's he scored in the big game. As is often the way of so much of Hollywood and modern TV, the people who write this stuff often seek to deconstruct some of the more important parts of our culture, of the bedrock that has made us what we are, or rather perhaps, what we were.

Now where I grew up, school sports had some import, but they were really only important to the people who had kids in school, and those kids. But they weren't mocked. When I moved to the west coast, school sports really lost a lot of their importance, and the closer you got to any city, the less anyone cared. But now that I'm living in the south again (I was stationed in Mississippi when I was in the service, hence why I can spell it without having to look it up), I have again seen the dominant and almost overwhelming role that school sports plays here.

And that's a good thing.

You see, there are a lot of lessons you're supposed to learn in school. How to think for yourself is the one that's been under attack lately. Basic history, math, economics, those things are pretty much long gone. Don't even get me started on civics. But all of those things were there to teach the basics, to stop you from being ignorant, to give you a sense of place in our country, let you stand on your own two feet, and prepare you to make something of yourself.

High School sports have a different lesson. High School sports is about teaching you to cope. To cope with failure, and just as importantly, to cope with success. You win some, you lose some, right? But how many kids nowadays have never been allowed to lose, so the first time they come up against adversarial situations, not only are they destroyed by it, but many times kill themselves over their failure? How many kids who suddenly find success, and not knowing how to deal with it, lose everything?

That's what playing sports teaches you, up and above teamwork, respecting the others on your teams and respecting the opponents, it teaches you how to come back after failure. How to deal with loss, how to keep keeping on, how to persevere, how to come back and try again. Those are very important lessons to a young man or woman. School sports also teaches you that when you win, that's not the end. You still have to go back out there and win again, and again. Or maybe next time you lose. You learn that just as failure is temporary, winning is temporary as well. Because there is always something new, there is always another challenge.

Life is like that.

And that's why I never really cared for that little joke. Yeah, on the one hand it's kinda funny that Al's biggest achievement is something he did in High School, and he never did anything again after that. It's also kind of sad. People who did well at school sports do not necessarily go on to be rich and famous, or even highly successful. But I've noticed there tends to be a lot fewer failures among those folks than those who never participated. Because you only fail when you stop trying, and the goal of school sports is to teach you to keep trying. Even when things are at their worst.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

An Ending

As many of you probably know, I've been writing this little side project for the last two and a quarter years: The Valens Legacy Series   When I started this series I only expected it to go for six books, even though I had plans all the way out to eighteen. I worked very hard at all of it and I was surprised when after the first arc (books 1 thru 6) the next arc was eagerly awaited. So I wrote that, and then the third and final arc. The series did shrink from 18 to 17, because the second arc ended up more as five books instead of six.

As I told everyone when the story began, it had an ending. It wouldn't stretch out forever, it wouldn't run on until I just abandoned it. Everything would be tied up. I like stories to have an end, especially something with a long overarching story line to it, even if that story line isn't apparent at first. The success of the series, which sales wise is up there with most of the traditionally published authors, is still rather shocking. Honestly, if someone had ever told me I'd write a 17 book series, where every book was a best seller, I'd have asked what they were drinking.

But yet, here I am.

I have been blessed in that, as an engineer I got to work on many ground breaking projects and programs, some of which changed the world in ways we never expected to happen. I got to do things that were new and exciting and some of which made a very big difference. Now as an author, I'm working once again on things that are new and exciting, and which to me at least, have made a very big difference. (And all those folks ripping me off I'm sure it made a difference to as well ;-) ).

So now it's time to move on to other projects. I have two promised books I need to write next, one of which is a POI novel. After that, well I have a short series I'd like to write, very short. No more 17 book behemoths! After that, I most likely will revisit Valens, for a sequel, but I think somewhere in there, maybe I've earned a short vacation.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Batteries — The New Perpetual Motion Machine.

We've all seen it, many times in fact. Someone starts to go on (and on, and on, and on, ad infinitum) about the many miraculous powers of the electric car. They will end all pollution, they will stop the oceans from rising, they will feed the poor, clothe the naked, stop babies from crying, and perform many other miracles daily.

And of course, woe be unto all you heathens who say otherwise.

Now, I'm an Engineer by training. Being an engineer is like being a Marine. You don't join the Marines, you become a Marine. Well the same is true of Engineers. You don't learn Engineering, you become an Engineer. We have different thought processes than the rest of you, because we've been trained into it (I once had to prove this to a lawyer, he was quite shocked). The entire first two years in Engineering school is all about teaching you to think about things differently. And you get rewarded when you do, but I digress.

So, back in the day (up until the 70s sadly), perpetual motion machines were all the rage (they still are among the uneducated — which is anyone who hasn't studied physics, that stuff they used to teach in high school). Well in my High School physics class we went into great detail about why they don't work. In my college physics classes, we revisited that whole notion again and were yet again shown why they didn't work, only now we went into things like the 'Three Laws of Thermodynamics' to get down to the nuts and bolts of it.

And then electrical cars came about and a whole group of people lost their minds.

Now let's clear up a misnomer: Today's electric cars are really Battery Powered Cars. Yes, they have electric motors and run off of electricity, but as in all things, the devil is in the details. Battery powered cars are a dead end. They are un-economical, they pollute (horrendously), and they are dangerous. Far more dangerous than a petrol, or gasoline, or diesel, powered vehicle.

'But how can this be?' you ask. 'We've been told that electric cars are the way, the light, and the second coming of environmental glory!' Well yeah, there's a simple explanation of that. It's called: LYING. Everything you've been told is a lie. And please, hold the shocked expressions and the gasps of incredulity. Governments are more shocking when they tell the truth. Lying is what they do the rest of the time.

Now, while electric cars themselves are an interesting idea that may one day go past the 'fad' stage, Battery Powered Cars are a joke. A dead end. Something that has failed every single time it's been tried, and the only reason they've gotten as far as they have this time is because of the massive amounts of your tax dollars the government has pumped into it, so it isn't readily apparent that all of the companies doing it are losing money. (The same is true for Wind Power and Solar Power — but that's a topic for another day).

There is only so much electrical power that a battery can hold. And that's a lot less than the same volume or weight of gasoline. Some people will then say 'but we just need better batteries'. Well no, you need to change the laws of physics, and unless God himself comes down from heaven and makes it so, it ain't happening. I've had this argument with people who should know better, but sadly they apparently never took a physics class in their life.

Next is the whole 'but electric cars don't pollute' lie. No, they pollute, and odds are they pollute more than a fossil fuel vehicle. How? Well that power has to be generated somewhere and the same 'electric car' progressives are also 'anti-nuclear power' luddites. So all that power is generated by gas, oil, or coal, (and please don't bring up wind or solar, they're net negatives in the power generation world and generate a lot of pollution as well). So the energy for your electric car is generated at a fossil fuel plant, possibly as far as thousand miles away (if you live in California, that's almost a guarantee), and because of physics (that ole party-pooper) they have to generate more power than you need, because a fair deal of it will disappear on its trip from the power plant to your house.

So no, you're not being 'economical' you're being wasteful.

Now let's take a look at those batteries. They're just full of harmful, deadly, and very toxic, substances. Making them is very much an ecological nightmare so what do you think disposing of them is going to be? They're going to need special and very expensive treatment involving a lot of very toxic and harmful chemicals. Or you could just ship them to some third world country were they'll throw 'em all in a pit and bulldoze dirt over them and create a new Love Canal that'll be someone else's problem. So the construction and disposal of those batteries from your Battery Powered Car do more polluting than any fossil fuel powered car out there. Actually I wouldn't be surprised to discover that a coal-burning car generates less pollutants in its lifetime.

And don't forget! Those batteries are only going to last five to seven years, and then you have to replace them! At great cost too! Kinda kills the resale market, doesn't it?

Next of course are the hazards. We've all seen gas powered cars blow up in the movies, but we know that's Hollywood. Cars burn, and the gas tank can 'explode' but it's not that big of a deal. The fire is easily contained and burns out in twenty minutes, tops. But electric cars? They burn for days. That's right, an electric car catches fire? Well hope you have a few days to sit around and baby-sit it. Because that sucker is going to burn for a very long time. Hopefully it won't go off in a massive explosion that levels everything around it (BLEVE), these days that's rare, but it has happened and will happen again.

Oh, and don't forget that the site of your electric car fire is now a hazardous waste site that will cost tens of thousands of dollars to clean up.

So yes, Battery Powered Cars are stupid. They only exist in the numbers that they do because the government (which means you) is paying for them. They are, in effect, this generation's 'Perpetual Motion Machines', a stupid, idiotic, and pointless waste of time, effort and our tax dollars.

Again, I have nothing against electric cars, just Battery Powered Cars. If the people (and the government) behind electric cars were serious, and not just a bunch of folks looking for easy government handouts (and the attendant government corruption that comes with all scam programs) they would be investigating and developing Fuel Cell technology. Fuel Cells have the benefit of low (or no) emissions, and can be quickly 'recharged' like say, filling a gas tank. They're also smaller, say gas tank sized, unlike the gigantic batteries in Battery Powered Cars.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

For those of you looking for Michael-Scott Earle

For those of you who are Michael-Scott Earle fans, the whole fight with Amazon is over, and unfortunately, Michael lost.

BUT Michael-Scott has his own website now: 

So please, if you like his books, go check him out! It's a lot harder to find out what he's got going on now that you can't see it on Amazon, and let's be honest, you shouldn't trust Amazon to always let you know what's going on. They do make mistakes, and of course, they don't know what's going on offsite.

So mosey on over to his website and consider subscribing to his newsletter. For that matter, you should consider subscribing to all of the authors you like newsletter's. Because that way you'll know just what's coming out and you won't have to rely on some algorithm to remind you.