- Lost wp.me/swwUg-lost 2 days ago
- Editin' wp.me/swwUg-editin 3 days ago
- Just outlined five more Tobias Fox stories for my editor. On my phone. #likeaboss 5 days ago
- Gotta love it when amazon recommends me my own book. #awesomeday 6 days ago
- "Hill 142" is off to my newly-minted Beta Readers. Let's see how they like it. #althistory #amwriting #urbanfantasy 1 week ago
May 21, 2013Posted by on
I was going to review Kristen Simmons’ Article 5 over at SBR today but… well, you ever read a book that twigged your brain? I mean, one that really, really made you sit up and think “What the hell is this writer on?”
As an author, I know how hard it is to write a book. To spend all that effort, energy and time into crafting characters and a world that you completely love. It’s an adventure, and it literally breaks your heart when someone tears it apart. Someone you don’t know, someone who you never even heard of (of course, this postulates that someone you have heard of ripping your book is gentler… this is false. It actually hurts more when a well-known author literally says “Dafuq is dees?”)
I can wrap my head around a dystopian society in the US. I can, really. I can suspend my disbelief that much. I can even accept that some major points of the US would revert to ultra-conservative and begin to ban any and all individual thought. Again, looking at society right now, I can see this happening with some ease.
HOWEVER… that being said, I cannot buy into the idea that all of the US (save for a very tiny, less than 1% population) will accept this change and go along with this. I cannot accept that even the most conservative of religious nuts is going to allow a government to take their weapons. Not now, not anymore. Especially if some unnamed agent attacks and destroys major cities along the coasts.
(I can already hear people screaming “But Reagan approved an assault weapons bans!” to which I reply “No, he was against fully automatic weapons unless they were already owned and registered. Plus, this was after he was out of office. Didn’t want to hurt his reelection chances.”)
I’ve never had to put down a book that many times because I kept shaking my head (I had to put down Ghost by John Ringo six times, for instance… this one shattered that record by a lot). The setting was just… wrong. But that still doesn’t seem to compare to the other feeling I was getting while reading this book. The thought that, according to everything that seems to be popular and selling today, feminism is dead.
I couldn’t help but feel like Simmons’ character Ember is the most useless waste of space I’ve ever come across. She literally weeps, screams, cries, cowers, hides, and relies upon her ex-boyfriend to protect her once she finally does make her escape. Then, for some reason or another (this one bugs me a lot), she trusts almost everyone they meet, leading them to even more trouble and allowing the authorities to easily track where they are running to (oh, and this book also has a very efficient government that can find anybody in a matter of hours across an entire region with nothing other than eyewitness accounts and paper forms… ha. haha. ahem). This is not a strong and independent girl. This is a cowering, helpless little wannabe princess.
This takes me back to Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series. Yes, I do hate on that series a lot, because the lead character is nothing more than a girl with a secret, but otherwise is helpless and waits on the boys to do the rescuing and whatnot. The victim mentality is something that I really, really hate. Why spread a message that seems to state that a girl should never be proactive? Why should a girl/woman wait around to be rescued? Why isn’t the girl/woman doing the rescuing?
I’ve hashed out my dislike for one of the main characters in Revolution as well for this very reason. The last two books of The Hunger Games trilogy does this. And Stephanie Meyer’s gets a lot of crap from me about this, too. Why are publishers and producers forcing this “poor little me” female characters onto society? Why pigeonhole them so? Why give so few sterling role models?
I know that women are the majority readers of romance, but c’mon. Little girls do not start out life thinking “If only I can read a book where the heroine is being constantly fought over by two gorgeous hunks.” If this is your definition of feminism, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Most readers I know pick up a book to be entertained. Look at a college required reading list some time and then tell me just how many people would have picked up those books to read for pleasure. I don’t think it’s going to be many, though I can hear the few hipsters who stumble across this saying “I read it before it was required reading.”
If anybody has any ideas about why publishers and television are doing this, I’d love to hear it. Hopefully this happens before I lose my cool and start really flipping out about the lost woman of the modern society.
May 20, 2013Posted by on
I’m doing some editing on Hill 142 right now, thanks to my newly-appointed Beta Readers. Alpha Reader took a backseat to this one, primarily because she doesn’t know the subject matter. Plus, she’s busy.
I also just signed up to do six additional anthologies. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking but, again, it should be fun. They’re all going to be Tobias Fox stories, so it’s not as though I don’t know the character. I even outlined them on my phone (I was bored and riding shotgun to go see Star Trek: Into Darkness) so I would have some notes to go by when I finally do get around to writing them.
One more short story due by June and then I can finally turn my attention back to novels. Thank god. I love writing shorts, but a lot of them have shorter deadlines than I’m used to and, while I excel with deadlines, it’s an added stress I don’t need.
Back to editin’…
May 13, 2013Posted by on
So that “I ran 2.5 miles and it didn’t hurt” thing I was talking about the other day?
It took a day for it to catch up with me, but for the past two days I’ve been walking around like an 80 year old arthritic man. My hips — hips! — hurt, and I don’t even want to talk about the pain my quads are in right now. It’s inhumane.
So naturally I’ve been walking more at work than before…
A friend of mine sent me a short story to look over before he submitted it yesterday (no, I don’t do this often. I did it for him because I’ve known him for a very long time now) and it got me to thinking about the lack of quality supernatural villains these days. No, I’m not talking about his villains, but just about everyone’s. Jim Butcher had some excellent villains in his early days, but now he has to keep upping the ante (and have a complete bomb of a villain occasionally, like in Ghost Story). Stephanie Meyer had… glittery Italian evil vampires? Whiny emo werewolves? Not sure.
(I’m looking at my bookshelf right now and I can’t seem to find any urban fantasy outside of Butcher… that’s odd)
Larry Correia had some pretty good villains in his Monster Hunter Inc series, but his evil overlord villain is sorta stuck in a whole different dimension. And the villains in Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series are rather pathetic and easily defeatable (if a barely trained girl can defeat them through the power of menage a trois, then anybody can beat them).
*sigh* I miss the Mayor (Buffy fans know who I’m talking about). I miss the Big Bad. I miss the villains who can actually make the hero sweat a little, make them nervous, make them realize that they probably won’t win. It makes the hero’s fight that much better, the victory that much sweeter. If you have a badass superhero, then damn it you better be bringing one bigger badass of a villain to the table. Let the conflict drive the plot, not the plot drive the conflict. Let that hero bleed, feel pain, feel desperation.
Sometimes your characters will achieve some amazing things if you just push them hard enough.
May 11, 2013Posted by on
Taking a quick break from Hill 142 to share this breaking news–
I ran 2.5 miles today without stopping. I hurt, but it’s a good hurt. Tomorrow, same goal. 2.5 miles. I want to be at 5 miles by the end of July.
Okay, back to wrapping up this story. Just one little tidbit to rewrite and then it’s DONE.
May 6, 2013Posted by on
A really cool review came out today for Sha’Daa: Pawns which made me giggle. I do like writing nonstop adrenaline rushes.
Did you know, ladies, that a large number of you drop the “F” bomb more than I do? Yeah, I was a bit surprised as well until I listened to one of my neighbors (figures… right when the hookers move out, someone else goes on a menopausal meltdown… yes, that was sexist) go on about their — boyfriend? child? I’m not sure — being worthless and all they ever do was party. F bomb, this, F bomb that… it was a literal smorgasbord of F bombs. I was wondering if I needed to cover my cats delicate and sensitive ears since, you know, they’ve never heard foul language in their lives (*cough cough ahem*).
It’s fun, having weird neighbors. I just wish that I had a farm, and the weird neighbors were about, oh, half a mile down the road. Then it would be even more fun.
For me, at least. I don’t know about the other neighbors down the road. They’d probably not like it at all.
Almost broke my wrist today. That was fun. Large bone bruise, swelling, stiffness… all because I tried to drop 72 pounds of cast iron metal onto it. I must have dense bones or something because really, it was focused onto three square inches of bone. It should have broken. *shrug* I will never get over the wonders of the human body.
The injury, however, doesn’t seem to be affecting my typing, so this is good.
Yeah, this post got a little spastic. My bad.
May 4, 2013Posted by on
So I went to see Iron Man 3 today and… well, it took me for a pleasant ride.
Ben Kingsley, for the record, is one amazing actor. I mean, completely amazing. I had the villain all figured out, but then the entire twist hit me sideways and I can say I didn’t see it coming. Now, I knew there would be a twist — it’s a Marvel movie, come on. But still, I didn’t see what they pulled coming.
And to those chuckleheads who left before the end of the credits: Ha!
Okay, wrapping up Hill 142. Gotta get this one out before I can put together a business proposal.
May 1, 2013Posted by on
In case anyone was wondering how my declaration of war went, well, you could say that it’s 1991 all over again and I had General Norman Schwarzkopf leading the charge for me. The hoochies have moved out. It is glorious. The 42nd Regimental Pipes and Drums have completely routed the enemy with minimal casualties (Private Wally the Wildcat is suffering from PTSD and a case of “The British”, whatever that means).
Now, it may have been entirely coincidental but years of D&D playing has taught me that there is no such thing as a coincidence.
In other news, I’ve seen the preliminary cover for Dreamers in Hell and I must say, it is my favorite Heroes in Hell cover thus far. It’s absolutely stunning and I think readers will be pleased with it. I know I’m happy with it. Can’t wait to post the final version of it on here.
Still writing. Still working. One of them I love to do, the other pays the bills. I’ll let you figure out which is which.
April 29, 2013Posted by on
A declaration of war is a big thing, something one does not declare without considering the ramifications.
The decision took me about seventeen seconds this morning.
I have really bad neighbors who live above me. They’re two college girls who have lots of parties, smoke wayyy too much and seem to be running a brothel out of one of their bedrooms. They also have a dog who, despite all things, is rather well-trained and pretty decently behaved. I’ve learned, living beneath them, that two barks from him means “Gotta pee!”
Unfortunately for the dog (and for me), the girls are usually too drunk or hungover to actually be bothered with taking him out to pee in the morning. They’ve let him suffer for hours before letting him go out onto the balcony, where he pees all over the place (I don’t blame him. I totally understand) and it leaks down onto my porch. I’ve talked with the office quite a few times but until I “catch them in the act” (which I suppose means recording the dog peeing on the balcony while standing under it… asstards) there’s nothing they can do.
My noise complaints also have gone unheeded. I’m okay with partying (really, I am. I’m not that damn old) but partying until 7 AM on a Monday morning? Really? The office says I need to have the compliance officer (an off-duty cop who lives here) catch them in the act. Again, not sure how to do this, since the noise seems to come in waves and is totally random. A steady thrum of noise would be survivable, but the random scream or laughter or dropping of dead body onto the kitchen floor gets annoying quick.
So today was the final straw. Poor dog barked for three hours before they let him out. They were still partying when I got home from work. Someone dropped an ashtray onto my porch. I decided it was time for a little payback.
You see, one thing that is nice about my complex is that from the hours of 6AM until 10PM, you can be fairly noisy. “Fairly” noisy, so long as nobody’s getting killed or abused. And I like to listen to music. Random music. Music that can, if unprepared for it, can startle you. At random intervals. And make your ears bleed when played at the right volume.
So enter my collection playlists containing 16 hours of Scottish bagpipes. Preferably, the 42 Highland Regimental Pipes and Drums. Direct speakers upwards, crank volume up to about, oh, MAX, and then I let ‘em have it. They lasted about two minutes before I could hear them shouting ”turn it down” and “what the hell is that noise”.
The bagpipes played. Scots worldwide cheered. The groaning of college dimwits grew louder. “I’m going to call the office!” I hear one shout. I smile. I wait.
The average response time from the compliance officer is about eight minutes, faster in the mornings. I’ve timed it. Oh yes, precious, I’ve timed it well.
Five minutes, thirty-six seconds. I cut the bagpipes. Six minutes, compliance officer walks by. He stands outside my porch (I can see through my blinds) and looks around before he leaves. I wait three minutes to ensure he doesn’t come back.
42nd Regimental at full volume. This time I give it nine minutes. By now the girls upstairs are screaming at each other (and their boyfriends) to “do something about it”. Boyfriends leave. Yeah, they “did something about it”, you skanky, disease-ridden sweethearts: they left, leaving you all alone with an individual who practiced psychological warfare in the Navy as a hobby.
I have a new hobby. It involves… music. And insanity.
I cut the pipes. Compliance officer walks by not twenty seconds later. I cut that one a little close, but a message needed to be sent. Compliance officer knocks on… my neighbors door. No answer before the dude and his wife both work in the day. Compliance officer walks around some more, knocks on my door. I open it.
Me: Oh, hi.
CO (after introducing himself, not realizing I already know who he is): Have you heard anything strange?
Me: Well, yeah. I think those girls upstairs are going on about their boyfriends or something.
CO: Oh. Them again.
Me (trying not to laugh): Other than that, and their dog barking, I haven’t heard anything. Why?
CO: Well, they’ve been complaining about this screeching sound…
Me: Odd. They sound like screeching harpies but, other than that…
CO: Sorry to bother you.
Me: It’s okay. It’s time for me to get up anyway.
I close the door and wait. He’s hovering around the building and I think that he’s on to me. I wait ten, fifteen minutes. He finally leaves. Pipes come back on. Door upstairs slams and the girls flee their apartment, get into their respective cars, and tear out of the parking lot.
Compliance officer returns. Nothing. I think the’s starting to get pissed off at the girls who keep calling (who, at this point, aren’t home any longer).
Tomorrow morning: the 1812 Overture, Cannonade edition.
War has been declared, the battle has been joined.
April 27, 2013Posted by on
I should be asleep but since I ran a quick road trip yesterday to Soldier’s Retreat, I slept last night. For 12 hours.
Apparently I was tired.
Hill 142 is mostly done. I need to polish it up a bit, but overall I’m happy with it. The Gods Anointed is… uh… weird. It wants to be done but when I read it, I know it’s not. Strange. Like a soufflé that keeps threatening to burn but you know if you pull it out of the oven now it’s going to sink…
Heading home either late tonight or early tomorrow. Quick weekend jaunts are not my thing but needs must.
April 23, 2013Posted by on
Update. Right. Forgot.
So A Promise Made is going to be in the next Sha’Daa anthology, currently titled Facets. I also was trying to squeak a second story in but I couldn’t really get it to work. It came off as a monologue but the story structure needed to be more of a script (transcript, diary, screenplay, etc). I was a little annoyed with myself for not being able to wrap my mind around the structure (I wanted a script, since A Promise Made is more of a journal, and I hate duplicating myself). I guess I’ll survive (dramatic sigh) and wrap up Hill 142 before too long.
Wraithkin is coming along. It’s around 70,000 words right now, with 75% of it being action. I’ll break that up a bit so as to not overwhelm delicate sensibilities– ah, who am I kidding? I’ll probably add more carnage and mayhem before I mellow it out a bit. Hopefully it won’t go above 120,000 words because I can’t see publishers getting excited about a MilSF/romance/political thriller being about 600 pages long from an unknown-ish author.
Yes, I said romance. Because the entire book is fueled by a love story.
I also have to finish The Gods Anointed for the Not To Yield anthology soon, I think by June 1. So that makes two shorts and a novel to finish by June 1.
I can do this. I just need proper motivation… which, depending on how things work out, may have occurred this morning.
Also: reviewed Chuck Gannon’s debut solo novel, Fire With Fire, over at Shiny Book Review today. You should give it a go and buy this book.