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: > https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CD6KYH29

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.