Thursday, January 31, 2013

Witch's Nocturne is more fun than 8 seconds on a bronco

"A handsome and likely intelligent guy, who wasn't my best friend and gay, was something of a unicorn in my life. So I maybe let my eyes linger a touch too long on the front of his pants as he approached. And my posture might've stiffened to let him know I was tall and lean, but still had enough curves to make driving dangerous--and fun."
                                                      -- Witch's Nocturne by E.J. Wesley

You know how agents and professional writing blogs are always telling you to write with voice? E.J. has got voice down. You can pick it up in that single paragraph, and it's like he picks you up and stuffs you into Jenny Moonsong's head. It's SO AWESOME.

I LOVE Witch's Nocturne. Finished it in two lunch breaks at work. E.J. brings alive the best aspects of a paranormal hunter by giving us a character that is equally cool to the well-known Anita Blake that we saw in Laurel K. Hamilton's earlier books, Burnt Offerings and my favorite, Obsidian Butterfly. Here's one of my favorite lines from Hamilton (compare the voice with Penny Moonsong):
Accidental sex. He made it sound like I fell down, and there just happened to be an erection in the way.
Anita Blake, Incubus Dreams by Laurell K. Hamilton
Jenny Moonsong on the outside, would not fit your typical Texan. But on the inside she's a gun totin', ass-kickin, mohawk wearin', tomahawk totin' female with size 11 boots (everything is big in Texas). Along for the ride is Marshal and the above tall, dark, and handsome stranger who just happens to be a warlock.

Because the story is short, I'm not going to spoil the plot. But if you're a fan of dark paranormal stories that don't shy away from blood, language, and violence all in the name of putting dirty bad nasties (DBN's) back into the grave, then E.J. is the author for you. Witch's Nocturne is the second book in the Moonsong trilogy and I can't wait for the third. I've seen werewolves, and now I've seen a powerful coven of witches summoning dark powers under a blood red moon. What's next E.J.?

I give this novella five stars, because I can't wait until the next installment. Witch's Nocturne is more fun than 8 seconds on a bronco at a championship rodeo. And you can take that all the way to the roundup.

If you are intrigued, visit E.J. at his blog HEREYou can also pick up a copy of Witch's Nocturne by visiting his book page HERE wherein you will find links to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine online outlets. For 99 cents, you should own this book out of principle. Seriously. Cheapest entertainment ever.


Ellie Garratt allowed me to post on her blog yesterday. If you have time, please go and visit. I'd love to have some more comments to read. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Drawing inspiration from science fiction

The military is doing all kinds of projects that seem to draw inspiration from science fiction. On an article I read on Forbes the other day, I saw exoskeletons that looked right out of Halo, tiny flying robots, a super-fast running robot, computer-controlled sharks, super-sonic planes, augmented reality contact lenses, flying HUMVs that can transform and go underwater, and planes that don't ever need to land. You can view the whole photo essay at the link above.
All of those things were cool, but by far the coolest thing (for me) was the shape-shifting robot pictured above. Sure, it's a long way from the T1000 in Terminator 2. This is a picture of their latest experiment of taking a material that can transition between liquid and solid based on pressure. In their words, "The resulting slushbot may someday be able to slip between cracks or holes in a barrier and re-form on the other side."

How long do you think it will be before someone builds one of these:
Do you think it's weird that so much science fiction seems to become science fact at some point?

Buy the book that critics say
is “a mind-blowing sci-fi read from
start to end.” $4.99 from Amazon
now. Begin your journey today.
I for one kind of think it's a little strange. Fun...but strange.

Have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I'm ashamed to say that I love #YOLO because I know someone it describes

This is just awesome proof that Adam Levine can take anything to the top of the charts. But is it a surprise that "You Only Live Once" (featured on Saturday Night Live this weekend) really resonates with an educated America today? Nope. If you have not seen this video, take the time to watch it. It's frickin' awesome.
But what is "You Only Live Once" really describing? Irrational fear in America? Not hard to believe when 1 in 5 American adults share the following 8 crazy things:
  1. They are unaware who the U.S. declared independence from in 1776. When asked by Gallup, 1 in 5 adults provided answers like Russia, China, and Mexico.
  2. A Northwestern University poll says that 20% of Americans believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth. I guess the orbits of the celestial bodies is still up for debate in some parts.
  3. A fifth of our country still does not use the internet (Pew research center).
  4. 1 in 5 believe the Apocalypse will happen within their lifetime (Time Magazine poll).
  5. Believe Marijuana is more harmful than alcohol. This simply isn't true.
  6. According to the Consumer Federation of American and Financial Planning, 1 in 5 Americans believe the Lottery is a sound financial investment.
  7. Do you believe in alien abductions? 20% of America fears those aliens and their anal probes.
  8. Cannot find the United States on a map. Have you seen this pageant video? Let this lovely contestant for Miss Teen USA give you faith in how she feels America could solve this dilemma.
I'm ashamed to say that I love "#YOLO" because I know someone it describes. And I think if you look around, so do you.
Buy the book that critics say
is “a mind-blowing sci-fi read from
start to end.” $4.99 from Amazon
now. Begin your journey today.
  1. Congratulations to the brilliant David Powers King on sending Woven to a publisher (Finally)! I've been reading about this story for over a year now, and I just want to read it. I'm gonna get the chance soon, and I'm so excited. You can read about his publishing deal HERE.
  2. Elise Fallson is the cutest writer I have ever seen make a video. You've got to watch how she does it on her website HERE. And she's got another blogfest coming up where she flexes some artistic muscle. There's only 22 entries and there needs to be more because all you have to do is caption two comic strips that she'll post on her blog on February 18th. Go sign up now at this LINK.
  3. Author Joy Campbell is doing a Celebrate Love Renewed blogfest on February 14th. Read about it HERE.
  4. Author Andrew Leon is running a Great Chocolate Contest in which you write a story that takes place in the imagination room of his book, House on the Corner. For those of you who haven't read it, I'll summarize (because he doesn't do it on his blog): The imagination room is like the ultimate holodeck on Star Trek. If you L.A.R.P., you would get dressed up with your buddies, go to the imagination room, and boom be transported to whatever fantasy you wanted, whether it's fighting AT-AT's on Hoth or hanging out with the Cullens from Twilight. The thing is, you don't gain any additional powers. It's you and your costume. So you could make this fantasy as dangerous or as fun as you want. Andrew just wants you to take a character that discovers the imagination room above the garage that sits out back of this creepy old house and go to town. Read about his fun prizes HERE. The deadline is February 6th but author Briane Pagel claims he has it all sewn up. I guess we shall see
  5. Author E.J. Wesley is going on a huge book tour starting February 4th for the latest Moonsong book. I'm almost done with it (it's short) and will post a review for you soon. But E.J. is giving away cash and books and gift certificates to a book depository for international people. It's like Christmas in February. Go check it out HERE.
Have a great Tuesday.
No thanks needed for showering your life with more Adam Levine.

Monday, January 28, 2013

My expose on how simply liking Adam Levine reveals six truths about myself

Today I am taking part in the Please Allow me to Re-Introduce Myself blogfest as hosted by the following bloggers:
To quote Elise in describing this blogfest, it is my opportunity to "tell us something interesting about yourself. It doesn't have to be very long, just something you haven't shared with your readers in a while. It can be anything. It can be about writing. Or blogging."

So as of the last six months, I've kinda had this obsession with Maroon 5's lead singer, Adam Levine, and I really just want to use this blogfest as an excuse to post pictures of him. But, I will relate it somewhat to my books because I'm going to work on a picture of Dylan who's a character in my novel, and I'm totally going to draw Adam Levine in that role. Why you may ask? Because I like to live in pretend-land, and I can. Like seriously guys...I CAN DO THIS. And it's gonna totally ROCK. I just haven't decided if I want to make it color or pencil? I've been debating that all week. But I do know he'll be looking down the barrel of a gun, because Dylan likes to shoot people, and he's really frickin' good at that.
First gratuitous picture of Adam Levine. Don't worry
there's more coming your way below.
So yeah, in just one paragraph you now know 1) I like Adam Levine 2) He would play Dylan in my fantastical crazy f*cked up mind where I imagine someone in Hollywood actually thinks my story is worth a film adaptation 3) I dig Maroon 5 and want to see them play Mandalay Bay in March (well maybe you didn't quite get that, but I so want to make it happen) 4) I can draw and there are times when I think I can do faces pretty good 5) I'm really indecisive because how often is it that one gets stuck on whether it should be pencil (black and white) or color and 6) I think guns look cool and even though I'm a democrat, all the coolest characters in my book go around with HUGE guns and kill people with them (but in the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger from "True Lies" they are ALL bad.) And I'm being completely serious...all the bad guys in my book that end up getting shot had it comin'. Thank you Saturday Night LIVE for rekindling the thoughts that had kinda faded...ya know? (You just learned another thing about me...I watch SNL). I've so been re-introduced.
Second gratuitous picture of Adam. I have to admit ladies, he pulls off the tats.
A black and white picture. So help me decide? Should my drawing be black and white or color?
I hope you enjoyed this fantastic expose on how simply liking Adam Levine reveals six truths about myself. Now THAT is brevity.
Have a great Monday.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Please let the rumors about J.J. Abrams be true

When I read yesterday that Disney was close to securing their new director for the much anticipated seventh installment of the Star Wars series, I was intrigued. When I discovered that this mysterious person may in fact be J.J. Abrams, I had this reaction:
I can wear spandex!

This is just the present I wanted one week after "Fringe" (the genius series by J.J. Abrams) came to an end. Everything that J.J. touches is just better. He's kind of like nutella. You can put nutella on anything and it becomes instantly better (well most things).
Just look at Star Trek. I know there are some that think that the series isn't better under J.J., but I think those people are dumb. After the Voyager returned from the Delta quadrant with all of that Borg technology, there was nothing left to do. They had quantum torpedoes and ablative hull shielding that could withstand basically anything. And Janeway destroyed the Borg Queen in one of the most spectacular and well written time-travel episodes ever. So was too good, and really left nowhere to grow unless Star Trek wanted to go up against super villains on an every day basis which would diminish all of that amazing technology and get boring (not to mention silly and expensive).

So J.J. rebooted the series by having his own bit of time travel (which is entirely in the spirit of Star Trek). And (spoiler alert) he blew up Vulcan, thereby creating an alternate timeline in which anything can happen.

Huzzah for J.J.! You are so smart.

So what will Mr. Abrams bring to Star Wars? Well I'm thinking we won't see anymore Jar Jar Binks. What we will see are glorious lightsaber battles because J.J. understands Star Wars. He knows that every guy in the audience got wet when Darth Maul's dual lightsaber blazed to life in his hands. I think we'll see new force powers too. And maybe he'll explain where the purple lightsaber came from, eh? That would be really cool.

Thank you Disney. I trust that you will create a whole new generation of Star Wars fans. And that, my friends, is a good thing to do. :)

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dwayne Johnson is the most interesting man in the world

If he were to mail a letter without postage, it would still get there.

When it is raining, he is thinking of something sad.

He is fluent in all languages, including three that only he speaks.
The most interesting man in the world? Nope
Dos Equis would have you thinking that some old fart is the most interesting man in the world. I, however, disagree, and I'm here to make my case to you ladies (and the occasional guy that likes action films and visits my blog).
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is the most interesting man in the world.
Dwayne Johnson is "The Rock." He brought us "the smackdown" and was great calling out people from the squared circle by using the words, "Candy Ass." That and he's just HUGE. Seriously, we all know that as mighty as Chuck Norris is, Dwayne Johnson could own Chuck in his prime (sorry Chuck).
Dwayne Johnson dressed up as "The Hulk" for Halloween. There's
not a whole lot of people that could pull that off. Like seriously.
When Bin Laden was killed, Dwayne Johnson was one of the first people in the world to know about it and tweeted as much before anyone knew anything. In case you were, ahem, living under a rock and didn’t know, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson tweeted at 10:24 pm Eastern time (more than an hour before Obama’s speech, which was at 11:35 pm Eastern) that he, “Just got word that will shock the world–LAND OF THE FREE…home of the brave. DAMN PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN.”

That's 'cause his cousin is a Navy Seal.

He's one of the few people that actually make a successful transition from sports entertainment to Hollywood superstar.

And now I know he trolls DeviantArt (which is AWESOME). How do I know? Because io9 just clued me in that he's producing a movie exclusively based off of this picture by artist Alex Panagopoulos:
I myself have often looked to illustration to get the old muse flowing. And apparently so does Dwayne! Who knew I had so much in common with "The Rock?" The idea behind this soon-to-be-movie is what do Teddy Bears do when the children who own them fall asleep? I think it's kind of brilliant.
And if you didn't think that was cool enough, Dwayne is going to be Hercules in a new high budget feature film directed by Brett Ratner slated for August 2014 that will TOTALLY redeem those awful Clash of the Titans reboots.

Here's the synopsis taken from io9's own page:

Fourteen-hundred years ago, a tormented soul walked the Earth that was neither man nor god. Hercules, powerful son of the god king Zeus, received nothing but suffering his entire life. After twelve arduous labors and the loss of his family, this dark, world-weary soul turned his back on the gods, finding his only solace in bloody battle. Over the years he warmed to the company of six similar souls, their only bond being their love of fighting and the presence of death. These men and woman never question where, why, or whom they go to fight; only how much they will be paid. Knowing this, the King of Thrace has hired these mercenaries to train his men to become the greatest army of all time. Hercules begins to question King Cotys' motives when he takes his army out to battle and sees them practice on innocent men, women, and children of their neighbors. Deep in his soul something stirs, but is it enough to stop a mad king and his army of the damned from marching across Greece - or even Olympus itself?!

So there you have it. My case for why Dwayne Johnson is the most interesting man in the world.

As for Hercules are you #OMGEXCITED? Okay, I admit, it could be cheesy. But I see all of his movies anyway. He's kinda like the new Ahnold (I saw all his movies too until he starred in that weird one where he was pregnant). I think his career ended with that movie (whatever it was called).

Have a great Thursday.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The poster child for the devaluation of the dollar is Mac and Cheese

The poster child for the devaluation of the American dollar is Mac and Cheese.

I'm not going to be politically correct when I say, "Everyone knows that mac and cheese is poor people food." Now that I've gotten that out, I just want to say I've eaten a lot of it in my life, it's extremely affordable, and offers little nutritional value and mostly fat, fat, and more fat. That's why it tastes good. Does America have an obesity epidemic? Why yes it does. But I'm not here to talk about that, or why Americans buy so much of this, I'm going to rant about how mac and cheese is now the staple in fine food restaurants.
It seems that fine food establishments (consider steak houses like Flemings for example) all now have gourmet mac and cheese offerings on their menu. I've ordered quite a few of these. You know what the secret is? Some off-the-collar ingredient that they already have to order "in bulk" to cover their steaks and to stuff other things with. Outback is now offering "Mac and cheese with lobster" which will just be mac and cheese with chopped up lobster bits that they couldn't use on anything else. But you can see this crap everywhere. "Mac and cheese with truffle infusion."

"Oh you just took mac and cheese and chopped up mushrooms in it. How much you charging? $15 bucks a side dish? And you got some bread crumbs to top that with?! Baby sign me the hell UP!"

Another great restaurant here in SLC that I like to visit called Zy has some snooty mac and cheese dish. Again, it has prosciutto (or ham to the layman) or something like that stuffed in it to justify the expense. 

It reminds me a lot of house flippers. You know the kind (I'm getting increasingly frustrated by them, because I'm looking for a good value in a house to own). These house flippers are like vultures, pounding on doors, running teams of people, pressuring owners to sell, and scooping up properties the instant they go to short sale so a Joe like me who has a day job and just wants to own a house...if I'm a second late...the value is gone with five bids on it.

So what do I have a beef about with house flippers...the fact that they think they can throw one ingredient in a pile of crap and increase the price by $100,000. Seriously. This seems to be the case on a house I was interested in. Seized for $140, coat of paint, new carpet, granite countertops and new cabinets and that's it. No landscaping or nothing. And boom back on the market in four weeks for $240,000. WTF?!

All while the houses around it are in the $140,000 range. How does that even work?
Imagine going to a nice brunch with your significant other. The waiter comes out and charges you for bottled water when all they are doing is filling up the same bottle in the back with tap water. Then they present their new $15.00 specialty. "Will you be having the Charms de la Luck?" Sure you say and order it.
They bring out a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal, only instead of the normal marshmallows in it, they've cut up a package of Circus Peanuts.

I would scream!!!

But that seems to be happening all over the United States. It's called ripping people off, and I'm getting sick of it. Where is the value? I don't think it exists anymore (yes, I know this is a pessimistic attitude).

As authors we work (sometimes for up to a year or longer) to produce a story that costs $2.99 to buy. THAT's a frickin' value. America used to be about value. Now it just seems more and more (outside of authors) that everything is about ripping the next guy off, about taking a shortcut, about hiding expenses or charging outrageous amounts for something that should be really cheap to produce.
Cheap ass work. The person who did this on a new house should be
caned like they do to litterbugs in Singapore because cement is the most
expensive ingredient, and they knew it would hold up for two years. By
that time, they are long gone, and you are stuck with a bucket of crap.
I see it in concrete driveways that start to flake after just two years. Do you know why concrete flakes? It's because the person that poured it shorted you on your cement (an ingredient in concrete that costs the most money).

I was in a house recently rewiring a light switch for my job. I took off the cover plate (which was mysteriously cracked-like why would that happen?) and discovered that a three-box was actually a two-box and a one-box wedged together and all bent to force the faceplate to fit (which is why it cracked over time). The contractor knew exactly what he was doing and cheated the homeowner by doing a crap job.

My friend James and I have a meme that we do whenever we hang together. It's called, "Where does a rich guy get his money?" The answer is always the same: "Off the backs of the middle class."

Think about that the next time you go on a date with your loved one and splurge for a nice restaurant, and you see Mac and Cheese on the menu. Ask yourself, where is the risotto? Well that would be too hard to make money on now wouldn't it?

/end rant

Have a great Wednesday. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Susy Asylum is on its way and here's the cover

I loved Michael Pierce's debut novel, Provex City, and I'm so excited that Susy Asylum is on its way to a kindle near me. Click HERE to read the review that I did for Provex City in August of last year. And without further adieu, here is the cover art:

SUSY Asylum
The Lorne Family Vault, Book 2

by Michael Pierce

In SUSY Asylum, there is no release. There is no escape. No hope. In SUSY Asylum, the patients come face-to-face with their mirrors, locked away with the other halves of themselves who are thirsty for more than blood. Or so says Commodore Chaos.

Oliver and Desiree are introduced to the writings of the mysterious blogger, Commodore Chaos, when they return to Provex City to indulge in what the sublime city has to offer. The blogger claims the Lornes are collecting people venturing between the higher planes of awareness and locking them away in their mythical asylum. But are these legitimate concerns for inter-plane travelers or just the ramblings of an anonymous conspiracy blogger?

Oliver looks to the city as his only connection to his father while Desiree looks to the city as an escape from the torment of losing her best friend—again. Provex City is a wonder of beautiful treasures, entrancing them to continue returning. But behind the beauty, wolves have continued hunting Oliver, a boy who is still mostly unaware of his importance in the rebellion.

Oliver’s belief is waning. Desiree will not always be by his side. Mr. Gordon will not always come to his aid. Oliver finds himself alone, forced to confront his biggest fears, fight his inner demons, and face the very cold reality that no one is coming to save him.

Welcome to SUSY Asylum.
So what do you think? Will you be picking up Susy Asylum on day one?

Also, last week author and blogger Donna Hole wrote a review of my book. If you have the time, go check it out HERE and meet another blogger who is incredibly supportive of authors.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Somehow revealing the cover for Polar Night in the dead of Winter seems appropriate

Book Blurb: When Detective Danny Fitzpatrick leaves his hometown of Chicago and moves to Fairbanks, Alaska he wants nothing more than to escape the violence and heartbreak that left his life in pieces. Numbed by alcohol and the frozen temperatures of an Alaskan winter, Danny is content with a dead-end job investigating Fairbanks' cold cases. That all changes when a pretty blond woman goes missing on the winter solstice, and Danny stumbles upon some surprising connections between her disappearance and that of another Fairbanks woman three years earlier. Forced out of his lethargy, Danny sets out to both find the missing woman and solve his own cold case.

The investigation points Danny towards Aleksei Nechayev, the handsome and charming proprietor of an old asylum turned haunted tourist attraction in the Arctic town of Coldfoot. As he tries to find a link between Nechayev and his case, Danny's instinct tells him that Nechayev is much more than what he seems.

Danny has no idea that Nechayev is hiding a secret that is much more horrifying than anything he could ever have imagined. As his obsession with finding the missing women grows, Danny finds his own life in danger. And when the truth is finally revealed, the world as he knows it will never be the same.

Bio: Julie Flanders is a librarian and a freelance writer who has written for both online and print publications. She is an avid animal lover and shares her home in Cincinnati, Ohio with her dog and cat. Polar Night, a suspense thriller with a supernatural twist, is her first novel. It will be published by Ink Smith Publishing on February 7, 2013. Find Julie online at her blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook

Is that cover rockin' or what? It sends chills down my spine. Congratulations Julie!


This is the last day of my book tour. Thank you everyone for being so supportive. I have been very pleased with the way it has gone. My last stop is with author Jay Noel at his blog HERE. If you don't know Jay, he's awesome.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Five ways in which Fringe is one of the best science fiction series ever even as it ends

Oh J.J. Abrams...what a talent you are.

You have entertained me for five years, and our journey once again is over.

Tonight I shall be watching the Fringe series finale with millions of other loyal sci-fi viewers, and I have to say, I wish it wasn't so. When I first started following this series several years ago, I thought it was kind of an X-Files reboot with a team that dealt with a quirky monster of the week. It quickly shed itself of that legacy, however, and toward the end has become the kind of insanity where I sit back and think: are these writers crazy? I love this.

I think genius and insanity kind of go hand in hand.

Fringe took us to an alternate universe. This really isn't done enough (it's one reason why I chose to break it loose in my book). Star Trek did it well (and I don't think there's a single "alternate universe" episode that I don't like no matter what series we are talking about). But if there's a master example of multiple universes, that paragon is Fringe.

Abrams has given us a great cast. Leonard Nimoy showed up as insane Dr. William Bell who removed slices of Walter Bishop's brain because he was becoming a mad scientist (how nutso is that?). And furthermore, those slices of brain actually get put back into Walter causing his personality to shift.

Walter's own son died so he kidnapped an alternate dimension's "son of Walter" to adopt as his own.

Olivia has had just about anything you can imagine happen to her. Including being a young woman and working with her daughter (who is the same age) because the show decided to leap forward 23 years from the previous season and just start up there.

Why the hell not? Right? But it works.

And when you think of insects stuck in amber, you ain't seen Fringe yet. Whole buildings are encased in Amber. Here is a list of five ways in which Fringe is one of the best science fiction series ever even as it ends:
Being bald and wearing a suit is a sign that you have
super powers in the Fringe universe. How cool is that?
Rogaine for Men would be proud.
1) Fringe made bald guys stylish and scary with the freaky observers from another dimension. They're a cross of the Agents from the Matrix, with names borrowed from the calendar (who names their kid September?), and dared to show a race that's a total sausage hang (I've yet to see a female observer). But that wasn't enough, they also crossed into Vulcan territory, borrowing the insane logic of that race and coupled it with the Borg's "resistance is futile" mantra. Bravo Fringe Bravo.
Fringe "Frog" scene break. There were others equally as cool.
2) Fringe had the coolest scene breaks ever. You know when you are reading a book, and there's a cool scene break that looks like a butterfly or a dragon or a palm tree and you think...damn, that's kind of cool! Way better than three asterix (what my publisher uses). Well Fringe has frogs, six-fingered hands, and other cool scene breaks. If I were stoned and twenty years younger I'd say "That's so meta dude."
Left to right: Peter, Walter, Henrietta, Olivia, and Astrid (token black woman).
It's like the "Lost in Space" gang only without spaceships.
I used to watch this series on Saturday mornings. Yes, I'm that old.
3) Fringe dared to give us a family. We haven't seen that kind of sci-fi mom and pop stuff since Lost in Space! Fringe has Walter Bishop, son Peter Bishop, wife Olivia, and even a daughter in the fifth season that's integral in everything even after she gets smoked. Oh and there's Astrid. She's the token black woman. But I like Astrid because everything that falls through the cracks, she catches.

4) Fringe gave us consistent urban science fiction without vampires and werewolves. That in itself should win an award because urban fantasy as a genre is replete with vamps, werewolves, witches, and angels. I'm not saying that's bad, I'm just saying it's not particularly original.
So much much cool
5) Fringe totally owned quantum mechanics (and quantum weirdness in general). It took the most ground-breaking concepts from the world's leading physicists like Stephen Hawking, and turned stuff like quantum entanglement, wormholes, and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and made them into episodes that BLEW MY MIND!

Goodbye Fringe. I laughed, I cried, you became a part of me. The two-hour series finale airs this evening beginning with an episode called "Liberty" and ending with "An Enemy of Fate."
Today is the second-to-last stop in my book tour. You can find me at the blog of super science fiction writer M.PAX HERE. Please stop by to say hi if you have the time. If not, no worries. See you Monday when I get to do a cover reveal for Julie Flanders. Enter know you want to...
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Can Supernatural reinvent itself?

I thought the first five seasons of the television show, Supernatural, were pretty spectacular. And then in the sixth and seventh season, the good story kind of got lost in a whole population war thing where all the souls in purgatory were at stake and could tip the balance of power in favor of heaven or hell. I didn't really like how that whole thing got executed as the villains ended up being mostly "meh." Plus they killed off Bobby. I rather liked Bobby, and thought he brought a certain direction to the show.

In last night's episode of Supernatural, I thought this is just going to be more of the same: either a monster of the week or some lame episode where the prophet translates some gobbledygook, and it ends up having some catastrophic consequence that really isn't all that catastrophic since it can be solved in a single episode.
Alfie the angel works at Wiener Hut
But I was wrong. They opened up a whole new storyline that really has me intrigued. Crowley (who's the king in hell now and has been since Lucifer got locked up with Michael at the end of the fifth season), was torturing Samadriel, an angel that looks like a kid in a "Wiener Hut" uniform (fast food equivalent of Weinerschnitzel). They were corkscrewing his brain and uncovered some basic "angel programming" that eluded to an "angel tablet." So far in the series, we know of a demon tablet that if used, can lock all the demons up in hell (a good thing). Well the angel tablet can supposedly do the exact same thing (keeping all the angels locked up in heaven) which is bad if you consider that demons will run amok on the world unchecked.

I like where this plotline is going, and it seems odd that they are introducing it so late in the 8th season. I mean how long can the CW keep milking this series along? I guess it's one of their more popular shows so perhaps ten seasons just like Smallville? I bet Jensen Ackles had no idea that Supernatural would occupy such a huge portion of his acting career.

I love analyzing the writing of this show. I think that most of us that write in the paranormal genre start with characters just like Sam and Dean and then struggle to figure out what Sam and Dean should do. We create bad guys and then create maybe an object or a person or a thing that everyone wants. If the wrong group gets it, then all hell breaks loose (and thus a source of tension for the story). And despite being used over and over again, it is still intriguing if done right. The question that tugs at my mind is this: Can Supernatural reinvent itself using this technique? My initial reaction is yes. I guess I'll have to keep watching to see.

I have to admit that I am attached to Sam and Dean, so it's what keeps bringing me back to the show.
Prolific Jamaican author, Joy Campbell has a blogfest that actually ends on February 1st. To participate, she wants your most interesting stories of people taking another shot at a relationship. And these stories must be posted by the February 1st deadline wherein they will all be judged and a prize awarded: $10.00 Amazon Gift card. You must also link your story to her blog which you can find HERE.

In 500 words or less (fact or fiction) you tell the reader why the couple broke up and why they feel compelled to get back together. You must also indicate whether you are posting in the fact or fiction category. I'm going to write a funny maybe why Mike and Ike (the candies) got back together after their breakup.

If you have the time, please stop by Joy's blog today as she's one of the last to host me in my book tour which is ending soon. Again, her blog can be found HERE.

Have a great Thursday. I hope you don't catch a cold, because I caught one and my head is so stuffed that my eyes water.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

So the Being Human season 3 premiere was a real disappointment

The cast of the US version of "Being Human" from left
to right: Sally, Aiden, and Josh the werewolf. SyFy
shows new episodes on Monday night.
So the "Being Human" season 3 premiere (U.S. Version) THAT I HAD WAITED A YEAR to see was a real disappointment. For those of you who are fans of the show, you probably know what I'm talking about. For those of you who aren't, the season 2 finale ended with 1) a gunshot in the dark and the question: is Josh dead or did Josh kill his werewolf master 2) Aiden the vampire got buried in the ground by the Mother of vampires (a great villain) after she killed Aiden's true love (the Mother of the vampire's own daughter) in front of him and 3) Sally the ghost stuck in Limbo trying to save her ghost friends with only her voice coming over the kitchen radio asking for Josh and Aiden to help her.

How could they possibly leave me hanging like this? Season 3 has got to be amazing. I had all of these things dreamt up in my head as to where the writers could go with these great characters. Well here's what they did (SPOILER ALERT):

1) Aiden just got dug up by some person I've never seen before. The vampires all have a sickness, and it's 15 months later and they think Aiden is the cure. One vampire tells Aiden "Mother is dead." Really? This great villain is just "dead". That's like getting to the Empire Strikes Back and someone saying, "Oh that Darth guy died of a heart attack." WTF?

2) Josh shot his werewolf master (no big surprise there). The lameness started with Josh taking 15 months to even begin questioning where the hell Aiden is. Really? We're just to assume that Josh couldn't get any information on Aiden's whereabouts during this whole "disappearance" even though Josh knew Aiden was trying to leave the vampires with Saorin.

3) Sally gets resurrected by an evil witch. It's the evil witch thing that really pisses me off. It's copying the season 4 True Blood plot from two years ago where the evil witch and her coven became the big badass of the season (because True Blood ran out of villains when they got rid of Russell Edgington). Being Human had so much invested in these wonderful characters that they really didn't need to go to this whole "witch" thing. They already had a villain in Mother and they could have done that instead of just saying "she died" off screen. So now the whole Season 3 thing is going to be fixing the vampire plague and fighting the witch who is doing something with Josh's dead werewolf master that she found in the woods.

4) Oh and in order to resurrect Sally, the witch needed Josh to bring her the heart of a person he killed. Conveniently, that person was his werewolf master. Inconveniently, this deed was done 15 months ago and the dude's body was buried in the woods. Josh went out there and was able to retrieve the heart? Seriously? Over a year has passed and it hadn't decomposed to the point of just being soil and some bones. Maybe I don't know decomposition all that well, but it seems to me that a person buried in shallow earth will rot in 15 months unless the ground is frozen. Seeing as this takes place in Boston, that wasn't happening.

Both Josh and Aiden did a chat on io9 yesterday, but I was so mad at the season premiere that I didn't read it. I'm still going to watch the rest of the season, but I think the writers really dropped the ball.
Fellow blogger and writer Elise Fallson has teamed up with science fiction author Stephen Tremp who wrote Breakthrough and Opening, Carolyn Brown (author of the Protector series), and writer Mark Koopmans for a simple blogfest scheduled for January 28th. On that day, post a short snippet that you think others might find interesting about your life. You can locate the sign up on Elise's blog which is HERE.

Cindy Borgne posted a review of my book. If you'd like, you can visit it HERE.


Sex in a sci-fi novel? Yes, please. George R.R. Martin shouldn't have all the fun. Review of #Oculus #Yaoi PLS RT

Have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Arthur C. Clark WTF moment

Artist's conception of a supermassive black hole
Okay, so last night after I got off work it was so cold that just getting out of my car makes my fingers numb. Right now as I type this, it is 12 degrees in Utah. Ick. Don't even bring up the inversion which is giving us red air quality.

Anyway, I crashed on the couch in anticipation of watching the premiere episode of Season 3's "Being Human" which I will talk about tomorrow. I flipped through the channels and ended up on the Science channel watching a special on supermassive black holes.

I'm not going to summarize the episode, but I get suckered into watching these specials because quite frankly, they're interesting.

They had this scientist guy on there and he said that they've discovered that the mass of every supermassive black hole that is at the center of every galaxy ever discovered (there's a lot) is exactly one-half of 1% of the total mass of the galaxy. It's the same everywhere.

I started to think about this and the book "2010" came to mind because there's this totally featureless thing called a monolith in Clark's book. The dimension of the black monolith is always the squares of 1, 2, and 3. So 1x4x9 no matter where they discover it.
So yeah, I had this whole "WTF" moment sitting on the couch and thought of the late Arthur C. Clarke.

I'm just going to say, our universe is really weird. Like stranger than anything that you could just "make up" if you just bother to look.

Today I'm stopping by Cindy Borgne's blog, "Dreamer's Perch." Cindy hasn't been feeling well so if you have the time, please drop by and say "Cindy I hope you get better soon" :). And Cindy is a fantastic blogging friend to have (and one of the most talented science fiction authors I've ever read). She is so supportive, reading blogs, reviewing books, and helping out other authors. I can't rave enough about her and if you aren't networking with Cindy, today is the day you should start. You will never regret it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

And the winner of the Amazon gift card is

Well I'm back from the Consumer Electronics Show, and I'm ready to start paying all the bills that are pouring in from my Vegas trip because I didn't stick with just what my work was willing to pay. I took one day of vacation and then splurged on Vegas shows and some fine dining. Yes, I had a very nice vacation, but there were some pitfalls, and I'm going to tell you about them so that you don't experience the same thing if you make it to Vegas.

My first bit of housekeeping involves giving away the $50.00 Amazon Gift Card for the tweet support I received from my friends because of this post HERE. chooses... Sarah Ahiers Falen!


I'll send you the gift card via email on Monday.

Okay, so the low point of my trip really was the place where I was staying, i.e., the Mirage Hotel and Casino. Right off the bat, the front desk person was snippy and could answer none of my questions about the CES shuttle service. In fact, she seemed clueless that there was even going to be a convention in town. Then in order, this is what I got (I attended the conference with friends):
  1. Room lock didn't work half the time. I think there was a short in the lock so when you stuck in the magnetic key card, it just wouldn't register.
  2. Room had no view. Just the roof of the casino.
  3. Volcano attraction was broken and being repaired.
  4. Found a bandage with dried blood on it stuck to the computer desk. That was gross.
  5. Television had like 10 channels on it that showed anything other than local news. You had to pay for everything else.
  6. WiFi did not work the entire first day and pretty much sucked every day after. There's no way you could stream anything. I was just lucky to get a blog post up every day last week. That was a real chore. Thing is, the technicians we spoke to by phone said the WiFi is only shared over six rooms. He had the nerve to blame other rooms for hogging the bandwidth.
  7. We went to the spa and my friend Tomeka got handed a robe with human feces on it. She took a picture and we got our visit comped.
  8. The buffet at the Mirage sucked. Worst buffet ever. Felt like I was eating at Chuck o' Rama. Their shrimp was old and really smelly, crab tasted bad, and the ribs were cold. Complete bullsh*t if you ask me. I teased my friends that they probably just grabbed the dead fish from the lobby fish tank and served that at the buffet.
* The Mirage did comp the spa visit and also took off the $25 a day resort fee as an apology.

  1. The Wynn everything. We ate there at Tableau four times, ate the best dinner I've ever dined upon at Wing Lei, enjoyed the drunken noodles at Wazuzu, and with the money we saved from the spa at the Mirage, we did the spa at the Wynn. Best spa experience ever hands down. I will never visit Vegas again and NOT stay at the Wynn. Oh and did I mention that everything but the room is cheaper at the Wynn? Yeah...the Wynn is a winner. Did I mention that the Wynn is sending my friend and I some robes from the spa? They're so comfortable. Oh and they have this deluge shower that literally pours 10 gallons of water on your head a second. It's like standing under a warm waterfall.
  2. The Vegas shows. We saw David Copperfield, the Jersey Boys, Absinthe, and Daniel Tosh and they were all amazing. Daniel's show is really short (like 45 minutes of standup is all). But Daniel's hilarious.
  3. The best buffet in Vegas is the Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan. It has fourteen flavors of gelato, a gourmet macaroni and cheese bar made right in front of you, French macarons, and just incredibly fresh cuisine including wine service at your table. Go see the will be blown away.
  4. I chickened out on Goretorium and I consider that a highlight because I read one person's experience and said, "I have no idea what possessed me to even think I want to see this attraction." Sure, Eli Roth blew 10 million on it, but it's supposed to be incredibly scary and they plunge you into a maze that just goes wrong at every turn. Nope...I skipped that one.


Today I'm at Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog. Please go read my post if you have the time. You can find his blog HERE.

I'm also at Charity Bradford's Blog. You can find that post HERE. Please visit both if you can because then the lottery fairies will bring you millions of dollars in power-ball money*

*Disclaimer: If you believe this, you should also look into a bridge I have for sale in Iowa.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Consumer Electronics Show Day Three. Is the nation in an educational crisis?

I enjoyed the last panel that my work paid for me to attend on Thursday. It ran all day and focused in and around higher education technology. Just as a little background, half of my salary is paid through federal vocational rehabilitation which is a program that focuses on getting individuals the right kind of education and training for them to become gainful contributors to society. V.R. of course has its challenges, and I wanted to find out more information regarding what's out there that could help our clients to achieve success. What I ended up getting can more or less be summed up by the question: "How well does society in the United States prepare college graduates for a life of work?" I'm sure all of you have answers to that question. For me, the answer is obvious: it doesn't. The cost of higher education has become grotesque...beyond the means of people (like me) to afford. Sure, you can take out student loans. But graduates today will step into the workforce for the first time with a mountain of debt and many with skills that are obsolete within six months. So if you don't swim right away, then within a year or two, you're sinking. Is the cost of education worth it?

It's an interesting dilemma and really goes well with some of the other panels I attended at CES this week. Take for example the quandary of all of those out-of-work professional drivers who will be in their mid-forties and face obsolesence. The person in charge of that particular panel chafed at my question (if you remember) and merely said, they will have to get trained in other jobs that are created by leading innovations.

Okay...sure. So how does one get trained? Well apparently it's for the cheap cost of another $50,000 that you could either borrow or starve your family out (I suppose you could try selling your soul to the devil, but I don't think he's buying these days as sin is free).

Basically, this panel on higher education had a debate that went on for hours. They know that as of 2011, there exists 9.4% unemployment for those possessing only a high school degree. The ones that fall outside of that percentage have jobs at Burger King or McDonalds, right? But who cares, they have jobs. They just can't make any money at the jobs that they do.

The panel knows that normal "non-unicorns" are graduating with a ton of debt. A "unicorn" in this context is the "mythical" genius student that gets into Harvard at the age of 15 (my book "Slipstream" is about the life of a "unicorn" of this nature). These panelists know that a path to a degree should allow for the learner to pick and choose what they want that is in accordance with their goals. Take for example the "engineering" student that is forced to study Spanish literature and read Don Quixote. They want to put an end to this. However, to accomplish this, means to go to war against the Department of Education, and the DOE (the people that pay my salary through Voc Rehab) is an entity that moves very slowly and does not adjust to change the same as people posting a relationship status on Facebook.

It literally means a revamping of the "credentialing system." This "system" has been in place for decades, but technology has arrived. The West is well beyond what we should be doing and is facing what it must be doing in order to retain a position of leadership. The answer is a new pedagogy, because the United States is a nation that is in (right now) an educational crisis.

The United States is setting itself up to be essentially "irrelevant" within my lifetime. Nice. Here's some statistics for you: 36 million college students lost their way at some point and didn't get credentialed. They are smart, but have no certificate to show it. Because the system is the way it is, without that certificate, they are condemned to a life of poverty. Our system is not set up to help those students who may run into trouble mid-course. Our system is set up to count the dead bodies at the end. It's not a good system and creates obstacles for success to preserve the value of the certification as a reward at the end.

That would be all fine and dandy if businesses valued those credentials. But increasingly, businesses are hiring their employees based off of portfolios. They are examining the work of someone and could care less what the credentials are. That's the way Silicon Valley currently operates and is becoming more and more the business norm.

So the value of a degree is basically becoming less and less.

However, all of this discussion is moot since the Department of Education sent no representative and as far as anyone can tell, congress can't agree on anything anyway between the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling that a discussion on educational reform isn't going to happen.

Interesting eh? I found a lot of food for thought in this last summit at CES. However, being presented with all problems and no solutions I guess seems like a waste of time. But at least there's a discussion taking place (probably one that gets even less attention than the one regarding gun control in our country). I predict that both will peter out, and we'll accept our irrelevance while China, Singapore, and other countries become global leaders and the United States watches Honey Boo Boo and gets fat on "sketty and butta", but continues to feel important simply because we all own firearms (and someone in the country knows the launch codes to nuclear weapons). And as much as the evangelicals in our country will want to blame the intellectual abyss that will become America, it will not be because of gay marriage.
"The mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting."
--Plutarch. (I really liked that quote and thought I'd share). You're welcome
Book Tour Stuff: Today I'm at Mimmi's Musing talking about my love affair with assassins. Go HERE to read about it :)

I'm talking about the hockey culture in "Oculus" on Puck Buddy's. Find the post HERE. Thank you, Jeff, for putting up the article on this blog recognized by the New York Times for its ground breaking articles.

Also I may be at Melissa Stevens tomorrow. Find that blog HERE.

Next week I shall be back from Vegas trying to resume a normal schedule. Thanks for your patience. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Consumer Electronics Show Day Two and some Absinthe in Las Vegas

Upon entering the Smart Homes and Digital Consumers seminar hosted by J.D. Power and Associates, I was greeted with the following quote from their president, Finbarr O'Neill:
"Consumer demand and expectations for digital lifestyle services continues to grow at a dramatic pace. The conveniences of monitoring and controlling more aspects of our lives through digital interface will change both engagement and dimensional aspects of the customer relationship."
I can't say that I don't agree. There's a clear and pressing need for Smart Home technologies at all scales of income. The one that I am most familiar with has to do with differently-abled individuals who rely upon assistive technology in order to live somewhat independently of a caregiver. However, these individuals can ill-afford the price tags of many assistive technology devices.

Think about this for a moment. We are entering a phase where technology in the home allows a quadriplegic to control all aspects of their environment. You can set the thermostat, turn lights on and off, change the channel on the television and operate a satellite DVR all without raising a finger. Home security is tied into this as well. You may have seen advertisements made by Xfinity touting their new remote camera systems allowing you to view activity both in and around your home.
This is the panel. We have Eric Anderson, Executive Vice President Products, Control4,
David VanderWaal, Director of LG Electronics USA, William F. Davidson,
Senior Vice President, Investor Relations at Qualcomm, and Chris Williams, Sr.
Director of Intelligent Home Product Development from Time Warner Cable
At the J.D. Power seminar, Time Warner indicated that they are rolling out the first of many intelligent homes in the next year. I thought this was excellent news.

Eric Anderson said there are many connection issues, and stressed that all of this "stuff" needs to be personalized and customized to each individual. We've gone from the generation of those that say "I want my MTV" to a generation that demands "I want all of my things from home available to me on the go." An interesting observation, but I can't say that I'm surprised given the selfish demands of the "me" generation.

The Qualcomm representative had a bunch of statistics. One of them purported that a person looks at their phone 160 times in a day (on average once every six minutes). So for them, the discussion is about visual appeal, battery life, and the fact that the "World is flat" which is a line stolen from a best-selling book and illustrated by the fact that social networks were key in making the "Arab Spring" a reality.
Because I know you guys love statistics, this is a pie chart that illustrates
how cable companies are leading the charge in providing Smart Home technologies
that everyone needs/wants. What do I say to this? Excellent. Lets regulate the
cable companies then. Regulation via public utility for a public service is the
only way to guarantee that these services "everyone needs" will be standardized
and that the price won't go up simply because the provider wants to make more money.
I'm sure "regulation" wasn't the point of the seminar. But it's what I was thinking
the entire time. I guess they really should check us democrats at the door.
Finally, the guy from L.G. stated that their goal is to promote ease of use, control, and lifestyle. Their goal through the use of their innovations is to give time back to the consumer.

All of the panelists agree on one thing. The need for Smart Home technologies is not just for the super rich. It is for everyone. Everyone will benefit from all of this and they want the companies to come together and create a standard so that everything will be compatible with everything else.

Then they started taking questions. Of course, you can count on me to bring up the uncomfortable question. And it did make the panelists jump a bit and caused the Qualcomm guy to utter, "I think I need to answer this question carefully."
The digital lifestyle ecosystem. It's a chart that shows how just paying
for cable leads to so many other roads, i.e., computer access, television,
movie rentals, game rentals, security, social networking, etc. Cable is
the doorway by which all things Smart Home will soon be possible.
I asked this, "If you are sitting up there saying that we all need these, I agree. This is even more true of the people that I help on a daily basis who have no ability to care for themselves without a care provider being around. So I ask you this: do you foresee the government coming in and regulating this industry just like a public utility? Would you oppose this? If you are saying that Smart Home Technology is a public service, then the price of those that offer it, i.e., Comcast or Xfinity needs to have price regulation just like a utility. In order for them to raise their prices, they should have to petition the government to be allowed to do so. Do you agree or disagree?"

There was a bit of "avoiding my question." It was their opinion that the only "regulation" that would need to take place revolves around privacy as they would be collecting massive amounts of information on consumers living in these homes in order to provide them with the best services. But other kinds of "regulation" might stifle innovation. Meh, that sounded a lot like a capitalist excuse.

Wednesday night, I attended the best show I've seen in Vegas yet. It's called Absinthe and it was at Caesar's Palace. It's in a very intimate setting and is for adults only. There's swearing, nudity, profanity, and audience members get randomly picked on by a foul-mouthed ring leader. But the Russian and Polish acrobats are not only gorgeous, but so close you can reach out and touch them. They even high five you during the show. Admittedly, I was in the front row.
If you like adult material (if you like my books basically), and watch rated-R
movies, go see this show in Vegas. It's truly a five star act. F*cking incredible
I might add. There's eye-candy for every sexuality IN SPADES.
All I remember from this night is blue eyes, a chiseled narrow nose, pronounced Adam's apple, and mousy brown hair...a Russian so beautiful, I'm speechless. I guess "Yay, Vegas!" applies because I'm glad for all those who escape from Putin's grasp. I just hope America treats them well. They certainly put in the hard work. I'm still in awe from the sheer display of strength that I saw only a few feet away. Guys doing hand stands thirty feet in the air with only one arm, girls getting slung around by their necks, and a high wire act without a net involving two guys carrying a third who balanced on top of a chair that was balanced on top of a pole. He almost fell, but caught himself. It was nerve wracking. None of them couldn't have been older than 30. And they performed many of their acts shirtless (girls included and one married man got titties rubbed on his face for you alpha males out there). She was oiled up too (and glistening). I think I'm going to write a Russian into my books. After this show, I don't see how I could avoid that.
This is a video someone uploaded on YouTube. I saw this from a few feet away in the front row. Crazy chair guy is so athletic, it's silly.

If you have the time, please go and visit Melissa's Imaginarium as she is kind enough to support me on my book tour today. You can find the link HERE.