Monday, December 11, 2023

Methane, Swampgas, or why do I have all of these flies? PSA

This is just one of those things that people don't tell you about and almost nobody talks about, because they don't know about it. I learned about this back when I was doing Y2K work on a major natural gas pipeline that stretches a couple thousand miles.

It starts off with this: How do you locate a leak in a natural gas pipeline? You look for the pile of dead flies.

Why is this? It's because Methane gas is what decomposition and rotting gives off. This attracts flies because they're looking for food. Natural gas is Methane gas, (which came from decomposition deep in the Earth) and it's all methane is methane as far as a fly is concerned. So they all flock to it. BUT because there's no oxygen in the area of the leak they're all clustering around, they suffocate. Hence the pile of dead flies.

Now, under every sink, shower, and tub, and built into every toilet, you have a 'u-joint'. The purpose of this is to keep from venting your cesspool/septic system/sewer/whatever into your house. Mostly because it smells bad, but also because it draws flies (third point is that it cuts down on the spread of disease, countries that don't use these - *china*cough*cough* - have disease and pandemic issues).

How does this apply to you? Well, do you have a sink or a tub you never (or rarely) use? Have you noticed an increase in flies in that room? Maybe you have a bar sink in the house or out on the back patio? 

If you don't use it periodically, the water in the u-joint will evaporate and 'swamp gas' or methane is going to come up out of the pipes. It'll stink, and it'll draw flies. I once owned a house that had a caretakers apartment built into the barn. It was always packed with flies and dead flies. Turns out the idiot who put in the shower didn't put a u-joint under it, so I had to tear out the concrete and install one. Oh, and clean up ten years worth of dead flies in the insulation :-6 

So, to avoid these problems in those 'unused' facilities, a couple of times a year, run the water in that shower or tub or sink. Flush that toilet. You'll cut down on flies and on stink, and yes, even disease.

This has been a public service announcement from the people who don't like flies, stink, or disease!

(Oh, and your house will have vents into the system via your drainage pipes that come out the roof - don't cover those, or you'll have all sorts of other unenjoyable issues!)

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Summer's End is now out in Mass Market Paperback!

Hey everyone!

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

The Joys of Well... I don't know... (and some upcoming book info at the bottom)

 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.

*fingers crossed*

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

New Book out! Serendipity, Book one of Ghost Warrior goes Live Thursday!

 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.

Serendipity, Ghost Warrior Book 1

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

On DNA Testing, or why you really haven't thought this through - But I sure as hell DID.

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

This one's kind of funny...

 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 Guess Some People Just Skim

 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

I have a new book out! Stand Alone


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.

Link-> Stand Alone - Book 1 Wolfhounds

Thursday, September 21, 2023

To all of you out there with a period ('.') in your email name


First World Problems...
Okay, first off to all of you out there with a period ('.') in your email name, the part before the '@' sign?
Seriously. It's stupid and most of the software out there handling email can not deal with it because the 3rd worlders who coded it don't understand it. Then again, they can only do what the stupid yellow 'how to' book tells them.
(and understand I tweaked my back and I'm grumpy - so there).
I have the gmail address for my last name. Just me. I have it.
Now there aren't a lot of people with my last name in the world (less than a hundred) and SOME OF THEM use: FirstName.LastName for their gmail address.
Guess who ALL of their emails go to? 
I have access to ALL of their toll pass accounts, their APARTMENT COMPLEX CODES, their MEDICAL INFORMATION, you fucking name it and sooner or later I end up with it. Because they put a fucking dot in their name and MOST mail software is bought at the cut rate version of buymart and guess what? It can't handle that DOT.
So if YOU have a dot in YOUR email name, understand that there is someone else out there, who has the email that caused you to get the dot who is getting ALL OF YOUR PRIVATE SHIT.
This is another one of those 'security' things that the so-called 'security' assholes never tell you about. That email programs can't deal with. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

If anyone is looking for a good deal on a Ruger 22 revolver (side gate model)

 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

Boring and Mundane stuff...

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 Sequel to 'Best Laid Plans' is now out!

 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: >

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Stupid Reviews from Stupid People.

This review annoys me. It annoys me because it's stupid, written by a stupid person who I guess is paid to leave bad reviews. While they may have played it in the background at some point, it's obvious that they really didn't pay all that much attention because of their mentioning of things that didn't happen.

So let's look at the review (this is for Summers End - Audiobook):

Review is in italics, my responses are in plain text:

When you create a protagonist with a certain kind of background, it's important for their personality to match. If not, the reader will just find themselves pulled out of the story when things don't line up as they should.
An ex-siccario being so criminally naive, for instance.

Okay, first off, WTF is a 'siccario'? I mean, if you're going to try and sound cool by throwing out foreign words, maybe, just MAYBE you need to SPELL them CORRECTLY?

A SICario (one C) is a Spanish hitman. Guess what? Hero ain't Spanish. Or even from a Spanish speaking culture. So he's never been a 'sicario', much less an 'ex' one.

Oh, and to be CLEAR a 'hitman' is not the same thing as an 'enforcer' or as a 'killer'. Hitman are hired guns. Street gangs don't use hired guns. They have their enforcers (who are typically the people who administer beat downs) and they have their 'killer's. I don't know what the current slang is for them, but I can assure you it ain't 'Siccario'.

The second half of the sentence is actually funny—as well as the leading paragraph of this review. We have a reviewer who has never committed a major crime in his life, much less been any kind of 'career' criminal talking about someone who is yes, a 'former' killer being 'criminally naive'.

Well you know scooter, before you go talking about what is and isn't 'naive' among criminals, perhaps you need to tell us just how it is you know so much about the personality and behaviors of teenaged street gang members, both current and former, assassins, killers, and criminals?

Sitting at home watching 'Criminal Minds' doesn't count. Also hanging out with your loser friends back when you were in highschool and talking smack doesn't qualify either.

Or, for some reason, even though he wants to be a better man, to suddenly become squeamish or disarm himself in the worst possible situations, just for plot convenience.
I felt myself getting annoyed by this several times.

Ah, someone who has never tried to be a 'better man', and I'm sure has never been a 'bad man'. At best I suspect the guy who wrote hasn't even achieved the status of 'man' much less 'mediocre man'.

Now where in the hell he got 'squeamish' from is beyond me. Maybe he didn't really LISTEN to the book? From this comment alone I'd have to say so. And 'disarmed himself'? The character walked around with a loaded pistol in his pocket for more than half of the book. The only time he didn't have the pistol was when he was someplace where it was against the law and could send him to jail. You know, following the law like MOST law-abiding people do?

As for the pick? Well, if the reviewer had paid any attention at all to the story, he would have known that the hero was trying to disassociate himself from that part of his life. You can't stop being a smoker if everywhere you go, you have a pack of cigarettes in your pocket, now can you? Talk about an incredibly stupid comment. You find yourself annoyed? Maybe audiobooks aren't for you Scooter because you can't comprehend what people are saying to you. I'm already annoyed at you and I'm only halfway through your stupid review.

Also, there's almost no situation where I enjoy a protagonist getting 'lucky' to keep saving them from their mistakes. I don't know why people do this, it's supremely unsatisfying.

I'm trying to think of where exactly he got 'lucky' unless you talk about all of the bad luck he ran into? Most of what I guess this guy considers luck was the hero going into situations with a plan, and making his own 'luck'. That's how life works scooter - there really ain't no such thing as luck. What people call 'good luck' is actually the result of prior planning. Plus experience.

I normally don't ding a story for what I consider character flaws, but when said flaws run contrary to their own back story, I make an exception.

You know, an example of this would be interesting to see. Of course I doubt there is one, he just wrote this because writing bad reviews is what he's paid for (that or it's his hobby - in either case I am sure Scooter here is quite the miserable cuss).

Unsureb if I'll read the sequel. I'm not all that interested in seeing how the protagonist fails/lucks his way up.

Honestly I wished you hadn't even partially listened to this one, but I guess you needed that paycheck, or that shot of attacking something you really didn't understand.  

For someone who has reduced their life to sitting on the old musty couch in their mom's basement and who is both unwilling and unable to do anything useful with their life, putting down imaginary characters in a work of fiction is about the best you'll ever aspire to.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Adventures In Hollywood

Something from the other day made me think about this again, and I thought perhaps I should share. These are a condensed version of my experiences with tinsel town and my foray into it a couple of years ago.

It all started when a very large number of people started telling me that I should get the Valens Legacy Series made into a movie. Or a series of movies. Or a Netflix series. Or any of that. By that time I had earned a surprisingly large amount of money from the series. I had also sold a surprisingly large number of copies of it. I'm talking the kinds of numbers that certain self-hyping tradpub authors who crow loudly about the big contract they got wished they could sell.

So armed with those numbers (which I did have to present - more than once) I started thinking 'if only I knew somebody in Hollywood... And then I remembered that I did. An old friend of mine is a 'somebody' in Hollywood. I'm not going to give any more information than that - because I don't want to get a phone call from him asking why all of these people are now bugging him. So I reached out to him, asked him if he knew anyone who might be interested, if he thought it was a good idea, all of that stuff. He said he'd let me know.

A week or two later he tells me he read the first book, (mind you I didn't have to send him a copy, he went out and bought it) and liked it. He wanted exact sales numbers to see how things went. Then we'd talk.

Over the next few months, there was a lot of talk. I did a book synopsis. I did a series synopsis. We discussed legalities and other issues. He started reaching out to friends in the industry (I won't share names, again, but these are important people), to get their take and their advice. There were meetings, there were more talks. Again, the response was positive. We were given advice on which producers and which studios to target. So we moved forward.

The next step involved several interesting steps. There were legal contracts done for representation. There were some things done with a certain guild to protect certain assets. A screenplay was created - not that it was expected to be what was actually produced, but because you need something to show to people. The showrunners, the producers, the executives, all of those folks want to see a script. They want an idea of how this is going to look and how it will be shot. My friend interacts with a number of studios at a high level on a regular basis. He's known to a lot of people in the industry because of his work, both past, and present (no, he's NOT an actor).

So the screenplay is finished. Mind you it's over a year since I pulled the trigger on this whole endeavor and it hasn't been exactly cheap or easy. There's been a fair deal of work. At this point a famous producer (whose work I happen to enjoy a lot) has heard about it and asks to 'see it first'. So yeah, we give it to him and no one else. Then we sit and wait.

A month later, he comes back and tells us while he loves the story and the idea, the amount of special effects would be equal to (famous movie/series he did) and he'd promised himself he'd never do another movie/series (I'm not gonna say which cause I don't want anyone guessing who) with that many special effects. So, sorry - great story and all, but he wasn't interested.

That, sadly, was that. Because when one of the top producers in Hollywood turns you down - no one else will touch it. Honestly, I can't argue with him. By that point I'd been introduced to so many production aspects of making a show, that I had a far better understanding of how it all works. Valens Legacy, because of the lycanthropes, the magic users, the magic, the combat / fight scenes, would be a special effects and CGI heyday. It would also be very expensive. And time consuming.

Looking back, maybe we should have gone the animation route. It was one of the conversations we'd had back early on, before we starting signing contracts and all of that other stuff. But after almost two years of meetings and everything else, the time was pretty much past. The two other series that had 'lycanthropes' or 'anthropomorphic animals' that had come out of Japan animation studios were approaching their peaks and the crest of that wave would be passing soon. So trying to catch it and ride it was now beyond us.

I'll admit it was exciting at times and fun at others. There was a fair deal of work involved and I learned a lot about what was going on at ALL of the streaming services and many of the studios during that time frame. I knew who were tied up with current or new (not yet released) series. Who was winding down and looking for their next project. A lot of information got shared around about just what was going on behind the scenes that most of us don't hear about (or honestly don't care about because we're not in that business) that was both interesting and fascinating.

And I'll admit that when I wrote Summer's End I kept an eye on keeping the special effects to a minimum. As well as the number of sets. Because all of that was going through my head at that time having just edited a screenplay written by a couple of pro-screenplay writers who I'd been interacting with.

I did take a very different route than most people. I didn't wait for someone to 'option' the story and honesty? I'm of the opinion that the only reason people option anything, is to keep it from being produced, because someone else is out there working on a similar production and they want to cut down on any competition.

Oh, one other thing I learned. Many of the producers in Hollywood are very unhappy with a certain series that a certain author never finished - even though he promised them he would. So now if you're trying to sell something? They want to see someone who finishes their work and is productive - so they don't get stuck having to finish it themselves. That got brought up more than once and I had to trot out my bibliography more than once.

So that's pretty much it. It took about two years to go through all of that. Part of that was because neither of us had been through the process from start to finish before. My friend, due to his connections and his own company, got a lot of free advice from the kinds of people you'd normally have to pay a fortune to talk to, if they'd even talk to you, because he's worked with them for many years. Some of those friends shared what we were doing around the town, which was how 'certain producer' heard about it long before anyone else.

Will I ever do this again? No, probably not. I wasn't happy with a lot of the changes that were made to the story because 'That's the way we do it here in Hollywood'. Yes, I understand that film is a different medium than books. However I tend to feel that my hooks are better than theirs and that my way of presenting a story is better as well. Yes, I let them do it their way, because they are the 'experts' and I didn't want to be labeled as a problem or difficult. But I still wasn't thrilled. I also learned that what I write is too complicated for Hollywood, or at least too complicated for who they think will be watching. And yes, everyone who has anything to do with your property can NOT resist the temptation to put their own fingerprints on it.

Sunday, July 09, 2023

A New Valens Universe Book by a New Author!

 Earlier this year, one of my long time Patrons on Patreon asked for permission to write a trilogy in the Valens Heritage Universe, a story taking place about 20 years after the Valens Heritage series.

Now Peter has always had interesting ideas and I was curious to see how it would do, so I agreed to license him to write the books and the first one just came out. Honestly I'd encourage you to go take a look. It's his first ever novel and I enjoyed it and apparently a lot of other people are enjoying it as well. It's kinda fun for me, as an author, to see Peter's take on some of the things I've done and set up in the world. 

If nothing else, I'd say read the sample to see if you like it or not.

Link -> Best Laid Plans 


Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Car Crash...

 I went to LibertyCon in Chattanooga last weekend (6/22 - 6/25) and on the way home (yes, I drove this year) we got caught in a nasty squall. After most of it had passed and we were on our way again, a gal in the fast lane hit a large puddle and lost control. I think she may have spun a 450, but I'm not really sure, due to just how much water she was putting up into the air.

I was in the middle lane and started moving into the slow lane and had slowed down considerably. When suddenly she got traction and shot forward (she was now pointed across the highway) and hit the side of my car, hitting the left front wheel and then ripping down the side of my car. 

The car is totaled, sadly. She ripped the door halfway off and I'm lucky that she hit me up by the tire and not right on the door, or I'd probably be in the hospital right now. Or worse. This has messed up my schedule this week as I've been dealing with insurance agents, hers mostly as it doesn't appear that she reported this? Of course I had to spend the night in Little Rock and rent a car to drive home, and my wrecked car is now sitting in an impound yard in Little Rock as well.

So it's been a right pain in the ass. 

I'm hoping I don't have to get a lawyer, that her insurance company (State Farm) just ponies up the money they owe me and deal with the car in the impound lot. Then I can move on. However, I need a car that will seat at least four, if not six, can tow a trailer, and gets decent gas mileage and is in excellent shape. Because that's what I just lost - a well maintained 2011 Ford Flex with -all- the options. With the prices of used cars right now, I very much suspect that I'm screwed and won't be getting enough money to replace what I just lost. Looking on line the price of that car is almost TWICE what I paid for it. And of course blue book goes by what I paid 4 years ago - not what that car costs now.

Anyway, hoping I'll be back to writing fulltime tomorrow. I'd hoped to finish the first draft of the new book by Friday. As I've got 30 to 40 thousand words left to write. That ain't gonna be happening...

Oh, the wheel is canted in now, the picture doesn't show it well.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

The Anthology Pinup Noir is live and I have a story in it!

Pinup Noir just went live today. This is an anthology in which I have a story, along with a number of other very good writers (many of whom I know). So if you're looking for something different, I would highly recommend cruising by Amazon and taking a looksee.

Cover Picture:

Sunday, June 04, 2023

New Valens Heritage book is out: Bellicose

 Bellicose <- URL


 Mihalis finds himself in a new situation, one which all of the training he's received growing up isn't helping him to cope as much as he'd hoped. He's angry. He's never truly been angry before in his life and the anger he's dealing with isn't even coming from him! It's coming from the djevels.

His lion side, he's discovered, is far less affected by it than his dark elf, which only makes sense when you consider his dark elf heritage. But if he wants to pull himself back together, he needs to understand
just what he's dealing with and how to manage it.
Then of course there are the other djevels out there. There are more he needs to bring under his banner and Prince Bratsch will undoubtedly be looking westwards towards those lands that once belonged to the former Prince Talt's now dead lords.

Last of all there is that nascent hotel business of his and Sawyer's. Nobody ever saw through Superman's glasses disguise, maybe Mihalis can do the same with those horns?

Saturday, June 03, 2023

Thoughts on a Song

I was out working in the shop on one of the motorcycles, then a few other odds and ends as the rain hit and neither I nor my dog wanted to get wet walking back to the house. So I'm taking care of some repairs that had been put off and the Bryan Adams' song 'Summer of '69' comes on. I'm sure you've all heard it, but mostly he's singing about how High School was the best days of his life. It's a song about disappointment when you get right down to it.

This got me thinking. I don't think I've had a 'best days of my life' as far as looking back and wishing I was 'back there' and how much 'better' then was. This isn't to say I haven't had great times in my life — I have. I have a lot of things I look back on with incredibly fond memories and happiness — people too! Friends, lovers, acquaintances, some who are still in this world and some who are no longer with us.

I honestly don't think I've 'peaked' and I don't know that I ever will.

This isn't to say I haven't been through bad times; I've had more than my fair share of shit. I've been homeless. I've come close to death more than once. I know what it's like to pray to god that when the sun comes up, you're still alive. To see a dozen people killed in an instant, and it was more luck than anything that it wasn't you.

Maybe it's because I've been through some of these things that I stopped viewing setbacks of any kind as permanent. I've seen the truly terrible things that people who think they're entitled or untouchable can do. Been on the receiving end of that more than once. Sometimes there was justice, but more times than not, there wasn't. However, I learned from those things, I grew, I moved on. But I can tell you that:

There is no greater motivator in the world than spite.

There is no sweeter taste than the taste of revenge.

And love will carry you through a lot of troubled times.

But to get back to the song, sure I wouldn't mind being young again, who wouldn't? But I don't spend my life looking backwards, neither should you. There will be good times and great times, but you have to go looking for them. All pain is temporary and all fame is fleeting. All things will pass.

As the saying goes: Life, is a journey. Enjoy the ride.

Friday, April 21, 2023

The Golden BB

 I'm sure that for any of you old enough, that you remember an expression or saying from the late 80's / early 90's: The Golden BB. Because they sure used the hell out of it. I saw it in several movies and also several science fiction novels.

Now, what is the 'Golden BB' you ask? It's a BB. I'm not sure if it's .22 caliber or .175, it's not made of gold, it's not made of anything special at all. However it, through odds or incredible amount of luck, manages to hit the exact right spot to totally destroy a military aircraft - usually a fighter or a bomber.

The Star Wars Death Star explosion? Yeah, something like that, only they did it with a BB. Not an explosive set in the exactly perfect spot.

Now the whole 'Golden BB' thing sounds great, it's David and Goliath on steroids times a thousand, no! A Million!!

The problem is, it's pure bunk. Even if you scale it up to a single bullet from a standard issue military rifle, you're not going to blow up or down any military aircraft with a single shot. You're not even going to get through the canopy to hit the pilot in the head and kill him. 

Why? You ask?

Simple: Redundant systems, armor, all sorts of things. There are very few critical flight systems on an aircraft that a single bullet can destroy. And that's taking them out of the aircraft and setting them on the ground to be shot at point-blank range. For those few things where it can do significant damage, there are more than one, and they're behind metal. 

Now I'm not saying that there aren't weapons out there were a perfectly placed shot can take out some aircraft - but those aren't 'BB's. They're heavy weapons, mounted on something, and they're sending out a pretty large and heavy projectile. They may even be explosive. Or exotic materials (like depleted uranium). They are most definitely NOT BB's.

You have to remember that aircraft fly into things at some pretty high speeds. Like birds, hail, water, dust, etc. And some of those things (like birds) can be pretty damn big. So they're made to take that kind of abuse even if they're not military. And if they are military, well then moreso.

Then there are the engines. Engines are big vacuum cleaners and will suck up anything (or anyone) in their path. Some engines are notoriously fickle, those are ones in older, smaller, and 'cheaper' aircraft. The T-38 was said to flame out if you coughed in front of it. Other engines, like say a centrifugal compressor type, you can shovel rocks in the front and you will get gravel out the back. 

Also most military aircraft (most, not all) have more than one engine. There are usually at least two actuators for each flight control surface. There are back ups for damn near everything, and often back ups for back ups. Then a lot of nifty little tricks that you learn or get passed around for whatever it is you're flying.

So no. No 'Golden BB's.

The reason I bring this up is because we all hear things and are told about things that are '1 in a million' shots / chances, but in realty they're 0 in a million. They can't happen, won't happen, never happened. There are a lot of things like that in life and I've had people who should have known better tell me things that were just so patently wrong it wasn't funny. But everyone likes a long-shot and everyone likes a cool/funny/unexpected/underdog story.

Not saying those things don't exist either. But sometimes, sometimes the claims are just so ridiculously out there that no, no one in their right mind who has any critical thinking skills should believe them.

Yet way too many people do.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Buy a cool knife and help someone out


My friend Benjamin Olsen who makes really great knives is auctioning off one for charity. I have a -lot- of his knives, they really are great. So if you want a good knife and want to help someone out, please check out his auction:

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

For those of you who like AudioBooks

 Audible has the audiobook for Summer's End on Sale currently. I don't know how long this will last, I only know about it because a fan told me.

So if you've been holding off, now's the time!

Summer's End on Audible



Friday, February 24, 2023

Looking for Something to Read this weekend?

Hey everyone, it's time to give some attention to some well deserving writers, some of whom are friends of mine. So if you're looking for something to read this weekend, by all means take a look!

First off, this just dropped today from Raconteur Press: Space Cowboys

This is an Anthology about Cowboys in the future, in space. There are a lot of good stories and people worth discovering: Check it out:


Next up is my friend Jim Curtis (JL Curtis on Amazon).

Jim has three main genres in which he writes. My personal favorite is his Science Fiction Rift World Series. Next would be his Grey Man series, which is a modern day story about a group of people fighting drug cartels in the southwest. This is by far his most popular and you might want to check it out. Third are his Westerns, and while I don't tend to be a fan of Westerns I have found that I enjoy his.

Jim also knows more about firearms than damn near anyone I know and competed in the shooting sports for years. On top of that he's a Navy vet (Mustang) and has seen the kinds of things you normally only find in the movies.

So if you're looking for something to read this weekend, give him a look:


Also I would be remiss if I didn't mention Dorothy Grant and her 'Tactical Romance' series. These are amazing stories that I am also quite fond of. They're interesting and exciting Science Fictions / Military stories written by a former Alaskan Bush Pilot who is married to a retired special forces commando (and no, not an American special forces commando, which of course makes it even more interesting!)

Again, worth the look so please do look:


And while I'm on the subject, if you like Science Fiction (as well as Westerns) you should check out her husband's (Peter Grant) works. His 'Maxwell Saga' is again, another one of my favorites, not just because of his military experience, but he has also a far better understanding of the Tong gangs and their empire than I've ever run into before and you will definitely find that to be fascinating.

Check him out as well:

So, definitely something for everyone out there if you're looking for something new or someone different to be reading. All good people, all good books!

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

New Valens Heritage Book Out!

 Beware of Darkness (Link)   is now live on Amazon in both ebook and paperback formats! 

I don't have a date yet on audio, though 'Ain't it the Life' should be out in Audio come May. Preorders for that will hopefully go live soon.

This is another Mihalis book, and I hope you all enjoy it!

Again link: Beware of Darkness