Blog Update


I know a lot of people hate on Larry Correia because of his politics, but nobody can state with any honesty that he doesn’t understand business. He and Steve Diamond (another accountant… what’s up with the accountants taking over writing?) host a weekly podcast called WriterDojo, which is designed to help out those who are struggling to become a professional writer.

For those of you who are just getting into the writing business, today’s episode on the WriterDojo podcast, “The Basics of Business“, can be really helpful. There are some good tips on how to handle contracts, advances, royalties, etc. It’s not advice nor counsel, mind you, so keep this in mind. Most of what they talk about are their own experiences and they’ll even clarify that they are not telling you what to do, just more along the lines of what to watch out for.

Here is a link to WriterDojo. There are 3 episodes already. Pretty good stuff.

Blog Update

FantaSci 2021 — The Fuzzy Head Edition

(Warning — the following contains words put to paper by an exhausted author who didn’t sleep well last night after arriving home. Reader discretion is advised)

I should point out immediately that FantaSci 2021 was a huge hit. I don’t know how many people there were off the top of my head but everyone I spoke to said they would probably be back next year, which makes me happy. A con less than a four hour drive from my house? Yes please.

We rolled in on Thursday afternoon and immediately ran into my co-author (and very good friend, bestselling author, and roommate for the weekend) Chris Smith. It’s amazing how much you can miss your friends after a year of almost face-to-face meetings. Yes, Zoom and other apps helped a bit, but nothing beats seeing someone in person (and drinking a beer with them).

Since I had nothing else going on, we hung out in the outdoor porch area and spun tall tales of just how miserable our lives have been since we last got together. Philip “The Docfather” Wohlrab and Brian H. joined us, and then we hung out and shot the breeze until it was almost 0300. We called it a night at that point because the key to surviving a con is to remember that it is not a sprint, but a marathon. There’d be plenty of time for carousing the following two (for them, three) nights.


Friday morning we rolled out of bed to search for some food. Had to be quiet because roommate was still asleep (the wuss). While out in the lobby deciding on where to eat (and what) we ran into the International Lord of Hate, Larry Correia, and his wife Bridget. Larry and I are collaborating on a Monster Hunter project titled Monster Hunter Memoirs: Fever… just in case you hadn’t heard. 😉

Larry and Bridget hadn’t eaten since they left Yard Moose Mountain the day before and were ready to kill for some food. Since this would be bad, the four of us drove over to Cracker Barrel for some breakfast.

Side note: I thought my midsize sedan was roomy until Larry sat in the front seat. Since Bridget is taller than I am, I got to sit behind Larry. 6’5″ does not translate well in a small car. I understand having an oversized SUV now.

While at breakfast we talked shop a bit and basically devoured everything the server put in front of us. I normally don’t like cheese with my hash browns but that morning it was to die for. Plus, it was interesting watching them interact with one another while talking with us simultaneously. Larry and Bridget, as always, are an awesome couple and work together very well as Team Correia. It’s a good model to follow for relationships.

We headed back to the hotel because Larry had a panel at noon (my first one would be at two) and ran into a plethora of people. I don’t remember them all (because as I apologized to them all at the time, I can remember names, and I can remember faces, but I can’t put names with faces unless I’ve known you for a very long time). However, I was happy to see many old friends from Libertycon here.

My first panel at 2PM was called Jump Shot. On the panel with me was Ian J. Malone and Stephen Simmons. Ian was way more prepared than either myself or Stephen so we decided he was the moderator. Unfortunately, we were competing against two other panels with bigger names, so we had only one attendee. However, we talked a lot of baseball and it was unanimously agreed that the best rule change MLB could have at the moment is to get rid of the pitch clock and the DH rule.

After this I had a few hours until my next panel, so I found my way out to the outdoor patio. The hotel had very comfortable sofas to sit on out there, and there was a nice breeze with fans… well, next thing I know someone is shaking my shoulder and telling me I was going to be late to my next panel. Great — not even a dad and taking afternoon naps already. *sigh*

The next panel was titled Kill ’em All, and the schedule planner was very wise indeed. Chris Smith and I teaming up on a panel is always comedy gold and worth the price of admission, in my not-so-humble opinion. We have years of experience being on panels together and have gotten to the point where we know how to set up a joke for the other without any planning whatsoever. Doug Burbey and Dr. Robert E. Hampson joined us as we talked about the best kills we’ve had in books. My favorite actually was a scene Chris wrote in our collaborative project Kraken Mare. Great panel with a very engaging crowd, all of whom seemed to be fully on board with the idea that the more explosive the death scene for the redshirt, the more honor there is in the death for the tuckerization.

Since I had nothing else to do on Friday, we hung out on the porch and accepted offered drinks from random people who wanted to talk about stuff I couldn’t talk about yet. Primarily, details regarding MHM: Fever. I’ll repeat here what I told everyone else: it’s going to be awesome and that’s really all I can say. However, someone discovered I have a weakness for hard cider, and the intense questioning with bribery torture began. Finally, after three hours of rigorous beer drinking torture, I broke and admitted that the main character of MHM: Fever’s name was Chloe Mendoza. Everyone who had already read Monster Hunter Bloodlines picked up on that name immediately. That seemed to satiate the bloodthirsty hounds (thankfully — more beer and I might have given up the Court of Feathers… ooops), and they wandered off as I managed to drag myself to bed. It was only just past midnight. I must be showing my advanced years with my inability to hang. 43 is creeping up on me, you know.


I was up early on Saturday morning, hangover-free, as is my superhuman ability (which seems to draw the ire of all who I tell about it, which is, admittedly, everyone who appeared to be nursing a hangover… still don’t understand why they hate me so much). The Baen Roadshow was scheduled for 10AM (ouch) and someone was handing out mimosas for those who needed them. Good plan but then, superhuman powers here. I was told I needed to be at the Roadshow, so I wandered in and hung out while Bean Books Head Honcho Toni Weiskopf gave out free books to people in the crowd. A surprisingly good turnout, considering the hour, and we got to see lots of new covers, including Lydia Sherrer and John Ringo‘s first collaborative project.

My first panel after that was actually one I knew very little about. Fantasy Gaming was supposed to talk about how playing RPGs helps authors build worlds, and while I’ve played some RPGs in the past, I didn’t borrow any of that in my fantasy novels, preferring instead to pull from actual lesser-known mythological beings from history (the Malaysian mythos are particularly fun). Fortunately, Stephen Simmons, Christopher Woods, and Jon Osborne knew much more than I did and helped me out.

Side note time: I was actually getting real-time quotes from the Care and Feeding of Authors panel, where Larry Correia and David Weber were being teased by their respective wives. David wasn’t there, since he had a deadline to meet and was up in his room writing, and I heard a rumor Larry was hiding in the corner laughing the entire time, but it was hilarious when the words “boom boom time” were mentioned as a way for stress relief. With this crowd one could never know if it was a comment on going to the range and shooting, or something else…

While on my Fantasy Gaming panel, I asked Larry if he wanted me on the Future of MHI panel, since, well, you know… he responded back positively and I was on my way to crashing the Guest of Honor’s panel. Heh heh…

Truth be told, I was a little nervous for some reason. I’ve done hundreds of panels before, and been on panels with Larry even, but this one just felt different. Larry has some amazing fans and suddenly all their attention is focused on me… yeah, nerves. However, Larry knows his stuff and we were rolling pretty smoothly. It was really hard not to give out too much about MHM: Fever since it’s exciting, but we somehow managed. After, I was off to another panel, this time a reading. I was going to be reading… nothing. I didn’t have anything I could read at the moment, so instead I opened an Ask Me Anything panel. A few people showed up and wanted to know about my current and future 4HU projects, which I gladly spoiled the hell out of. So three people (besides myself) know about Sunshine, Child of the Stars, and why she is such an anomaly. I also talked about The Executioners, which I will be writing with Matt Novotny.

Funny story: I was outside hanging out with a few other authors and Matt asked me if we could write a book together. Jokingly, I think, but then I responded with “sure… want to help me out with The Executioners?” I think I floored him a little. I’m looking forward to working on it with him. He’s got a unique style and voice that I think will work well with Lieutenant Mayhem (me).

My last panel of the weekend was a late one. Do You Want To Join My Anthology? featured myself, Mike Massa, and Monalisa Foster. I think between the three of us we’ve been in over 50 anthologies, so we gave a lot of pointers to new and aspiring authors on how to get into anthologies. Plus, as a bonus I was able to explain the process of building an anthology, since I am in the process of it at the moment. It’s always strange to be on the editor side of things. Gives me a new perspective on it, and I have a lot of respect for those who do this all the time.

After this panel, I was exhausted. Hung out on the back porch for a bit but turned in early. I was wiped out. Like I said before, it’s a marathon and not a sprint. I must have forgotten this sometime Saturday.


Sunday was a whirlwind of shopping after breakfast. I hit the dealer’s room and picked up a few shirts and a bag from Mystik Waboose. From there I started saying my goodbyes because I thought we were heading out early to get home in time. That quickly changed as I realized I was on “The List” for dinner with the Correias and the Webers, so we stayed much later than intended. Finally got on the road around 8 or so and rolled back into Casa Cordova at or around 1 in the morning. Cats seemed interested to see us, but I went straight to bed. This morning was going to come early and I needed some rest.

Conventional Thoughts

I didn’t really understand just how much the pandemic and subsequent closure of, well, everything had damaged society on a deep and fundamental level until I spent time normalizing this weekend. It was a little awkward at first because, at heart, authors are introverts and socializing with our “tribe” is something that only gets easier with time. With the shutdowns, socialization for us introverts became rare and we retreated into the psychological armor we’ve built up over the years to protect us. This was a pretty tame con when compared to massive stuff like Comic Con and DragonCon, but it you could feel the energy from everyone who was there. We needed this more than anything. Social interaction, as a species, took us to the moon. Taking away human interaction, depriving people of sensory stimulation, is akin to torture. Why do you think locking someone up in solitary confinement is considered punishment for the worst offenders in prison? Heap that onto a people who need the emotional support of their friends and fans, and you create a lot of trauma that will take years for people to recover from. Everything could go back to normal tomorrow and you won’t really feel like a part of the “community” until months, even years later. The damage has been done, but conventions allow us to pick up, rebuild the community, and remember what it’s like to be the social animal who craves physical and mental contact with our peers.

Kudos to Joel Lyons and the hard-working staff of FantaSci. For a second-year con, they were outstanding and responded well to when snafus happened. Yes, snafus happen at every con, but what differentiates a good con from a great one is how the staff responds. FantaSci did a good job responding to any and all problems, and were constantly roving around and checking in on authors and guests to make certain we were okay. That sort of attentiveness is always nice.

Will I be back to FantaSci next year? If they’ll have me, then hell yeah. It’s relatively close to the house, has a great staff, and most of my con family attended. I know I missed people and I am really, really sorry if I’ve forgotten to mention you here.

Blog Update Conventions



First they came for John Ringo,

but I said nothing,

for I was not John Ringo.

Next they came for Larry Correia,

but this time I spoke up,

for Larry is a brother to me,

and I will bleed for my brother,

and I will show no fear in the face of our enemy.

A few weeks back, I read that a convention in North Carolina (ConCarolinas) uninvited author John Ringo on grounds that they feared for his safety due to what was deemed to be “valid threats”. John graciously accepted their explanation and let it lie, though his fans were, well, pissed is the politest term one can use to describe their displeasure. Then someone decided to slander John on another website, and the feces really hit the rotary impeller. Pretty sure there’s going to be some legal issues for the individual who accused John of vile things in the near future.

However, outside of giving John and his editor a head’s up about what was brewing, I stayed out of it. I know quite a few people at the convention and felt that they, for the most part, handled it well. There were a few hiccups and horrible explanations along the way (sometimes at a convention the right hand isn’t aware of what the left is doing, and vice versa) but overall John was satisfied with their response.

Fast forward to today, when the Origins Convention in Ohio rescinded their GoH invitation to Larry Correia after some individuals (I typed out quite a few different descriptions before settling on the one that would remain PG) raised a huge ruckus and demanded that Larry be removed from programming. No doubt these “concern trolls” exhibited mannerisms which can only be described as “whining two year olds” in order to get their way.

The convention, instead of sticking to their guns and maintaining that they were a convention for all, decided to screw over my buddy. So I crafted the following letter to their Executive Director and fired it off.

Dear Sir,

It recently came to my attention that NYT bestselling author Larry Correia had been uninvited from your convention following an outcry from a few malcontents.

I can attest from personal experience of attending cons with Mr. Correia that, not only is he a gracious guest who loves interacting with all types of fans, is a huge gaming nerd who fits in with the stated mission and goals of Origins according to the website. This attack on his character is nothing more than a witch hunt, very similar to the one which was used on Mr. Correia’s coauthor, John Ringo, a few weeks prior at another convention.

Mr. Correia had always shown grace, been polite, and worked with the concom of every convention he has attended. Those who seek to discredit and destroy him are abusing the rules of your convention in a manner which they were not meant for and raising enough of an outcry that your convention, undoubtedly, feels compelled to respond to. Unfortunately, instead of speaking with Mr. Correia, it appears that you have reacted in a manner which can only be described as “knee-jerk”. You have allowed concern trolls to dictate your guest list while alienating you from a fan base which both pays to see their favorite author and supports other commercial endeavors at conventions as well.

Conventions such as Origins are supposed to be for all fans. However, with outward appearance of appeasement to the vocal minority who seek to undermine all of Mr. Correia’s hard work as well as alienate his fan base from any future conventions you might host, it behooves me to suggest that you are hurting nobody but yourselves with this move.

While I am not as big of a “name” as Mr. Correia, I still have developed quite a following as well, and I have already let my readers know that Origins is not a convention that I will consider in the future. Which is a shame, because literary and gaming are two of my biggest draws.

I do hope that you consider the ramifications of appeasement in your future endeavors. I understand that Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain tried your tactic as well, and history showed just how poorly it worked out.


Jason Cordova

Now, I’m probably nothing more than a drop in the bucket, but money talks in the convention industry, and if nobody is at your convention spending money, no authors/vendors/artists are going to come.Now, I don’t like calling for boycotts of any convention, because it’s a tough industry. So I’m going to let the convention continue to be abused by those who would rather see a convention fold than simply dealing with someone they don’t like by, oh I don’t know, NOT ATTENDING HIS PANELS?! C’mon people, it’s not hard. You look at the schedule. You see he’s going to be at so-and-so panel. You DON’T GO. Easy peasey.

If you’re fragile enough that someone’s name who you’ve never met or interacted with before can cause you some sort of traumatic injury, you might want to avoid the crushing crowds of a con. I wouldn’t want anyone’s feelings to get hurt if there was an inadvertent apology tossed in there.

In honor of Larry, go out and preorder his latest book. The best way to give someone the middle finger is to support the one they want to shaft.


Blog Update

The Dragon Awards

The inaugural Dragon Awards (hosted by Dragoncon, the biggest party for nerds in the entire southeastern U.S.) went off smashingly. I can’t wait for them to release the results numbers so we can see just how many people actually voted. I’m going to throw out a number and say… hmm… 10,000. While that may seem like a high number, I’m guestimating and lowballing the potential voters by comparing them to the Hugo Awards and Worldcon 2016.

Worldcon had 7,338 members (supporting and attending) and 2,903 voters for the Hugo Awards in 2016. That’s roughly 39.56% of members voting.

Dragoncon had 75,000+ attendees this 2016, but I seriously doubt the voter turnout was equivalent to the Worldcon voting participation. I dropped about 20% of the prospective votes due to general apathy to awards on a whole by Dragoncon attendees, guessing that the amount of Dragon Award voters was about a measly 17%. That would make the vote total about… uhh… math sucks… I write books not equations… 11,250. This number is probably high, but still… that’s a hell of a lot of votes.

I’ll be honest. I did not nominate anyone for the Dragon Award. Not because I didn’t feel any books weren’t deserving, but because I’d read about 450+ books so far this year, so I felt limited in what I could nominate because my options were too numerous. So I decided to wait and see who the nominees were and then vote.

So what I’ll do is post my pick in italics, and the winner in bold.

  • Best Science Fiction Novel: 

my pick — Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)

winner — Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm, John C. Wright (Castalia House)

Thoughts: This was a tough category, because I thought both books had solid merits. I went with Charles as my winner due to past experiences working with him in Eric Flint’s 1632 universe. Still, Wright’s work is top-notch and there is no shame in losing out to him.

  • Best Fantasy Novel:

my pick — Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia (Baen)

winner — Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia (Baen)

Thoughts: I had pegged this book back when it first came out as Larry’s best work to date. I never really imagined him as a high fantasy author, and this book blew any preconceived notions of Larry being a “monsters and guns” guy away. This is one of the rare fantasy books I’ve reread multiple times where the authors name on the cover isn’t Weis or Hickman. Plus, while I love Butcher, I just didn’t feel the same about this new steampunk series as I did his Codex Alera one.

  • Best YA/ Middle School Novel

my pick — Changeling’s Island, Dave Freer (Baen)

winner — The Shepard’s Crown, Terry Pratchett (Harper)

Thoughts: no shame here. Pratchett is the greatest, and even though I secretly hoped that Freer could pull off the upset, I knew deep down that Pratchett had this one locked up. If Freer hadn’t been nominated, my vote would have gone to Alethea Kontis’ “Trix and Faerie Queen”. I don’t do YA/teen romance normally but Kontis is a terrific writer who makes “the kissy parts” not too over the top. 😛

  • Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

my pick — Hell’s Foundations Quiver, David Weber (Tor)

winner — Hell’s Foundations Quiver, David Weber (Tor)

Thoughts: Not a huge surprise here, though Django Wexler’s “The Price of Valor” was pretty good. Matched up against Weber’s SF/Fantasy mashup, though, it pales in comparison. This series is better than Weber’s Honor Harrington one.

  • Best Alternate History Novel

my pick — Germanica, Robert Conroy (Baen)

winner — League of Dragons, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)

Thoughts: For a voter, this category sucked. I had to choose between Novik, two separate 1632 novels, and Robert Conroy’s “Germanica”. There was no way I could put one above the other, so I pretty much dismissed the 1632 novels out of hand due to what I termed in my head a “vote split”, leaving “League of Dragons” and “Germanica”. I then pretty much flipped a coin 13 times (superstitious) and “Germanica” came out on top, 8-5.

Voting in this category, as previously stated, sucked. I hate when the decision is damn near impossible.

  • Best Apocalyptic Novel

my pick — A Time to Die, Mark Wandrey (Henchman)

winner — Ctrl Alt Revolt!, Nick Cole (Castalia House)

Thoughts: I have a vested interest in seeing a good friend win, so I picked Wandrey over Cole, even though I enjoyed both books equally. Considering how little press or push there was behind Wandrey’s latest, I was proud of how well he did to even make the short list. Cole’s novel was a tremendous piece of work and I’m glad that it was picked up.

  • Best Horror Novel

my pick — Honor at Stake, Declan Finn (Caliburn)

winner — Souldancer, Brian Niemeier (self-published)

Thoughts: This is the only category where I disagree with the process, primarily because I felt that “Souldancer” should have been in the Best Fantasy list. Still though, Niemeier’s “Souldancer” was an amazing (if slow-paced) work. I felt that “Honor at Stake” should have won, but I can’t fault them for sticking Souldancer in this category. It’s a weird freaking book!

  • Best Comic Book

my pick — Daredevil

winner — Ms Marvel

Thoughts: I don’t really have an opinion on this one, because the most recent Daredevil is the only comic I’d read of those on the short list. Can’t vote for something I hadn’t read.

  • Best Graphic Novel

my pick — The Sandman: Overture, Neil Gaiman (Vertigo)

winner — The Sandman: Overture, Neil Gaiman (Vertigo)

Thoughts: This one was a no brainer. An excellent book that is part of an excellent universe. I only wish that Gaiman wrote faster.

  • Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series

my pick — The Flash (CW)

winner — Game of Thrones (HBO)

Thought: Penis! Floppy Penis! God damn you, Trey Parker! I can NEVER get that South Park song out of my head whenever I hear the GoT theme song come on and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT!

In all seriousness, Dragoncon was made for something like Game of Thrones. I love The Flash, though, and with the series setting up the FlashPoint universe, the writing and series is going to be headed in a new and exciting direction. Unlike Game of Thrones, where it seems to be a long and predictable chess game where it’s Daenerys/Snow vs the White Walkers for control of the Seven Kingdoms.

  • Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie

my pick — Deadpool

winner — The Martian

Thoughts: I knew The Martian was going to win, so my Deadpool vote was a defiant vote in the face of conformity or some crap. I would have LOVED to see the hundreds of Deadpools at Dragoncon race up there to accept “their” award. Alas, it was not meant to be. A terrific movie beat out a hilariously fun one.

I don’t remember any of the games I voted for, which is a bad sign. I might have missed them.

So thoughts? How did your vote compare to the winners? Any surprises?


The Obligatory Update

Despite my best efforts (I mentioned it on Facebook, once), I did not become a finalist on the Goodreads Choice Awards 2014 list for any of my stories or novels (SF, Horror or… uh… one of the others). Lamentations! Egads! And stuff. No, I’m actually rooting for Larry Correia to win Horror. Why Larry’s Monster Hunter Nemesis got put in horror is beyond me. It’s urban fantasy. On the other hand, at least he’s not competing against the likes of Jim Butcher. Nope, he only needs to beat out Stephen King. Pshaw, easy stuff there.

I’ve been hard at work at Murder World: Kaiju Dusk these past two weeks. I’ve also been closing on the new house, which actually happens tomorrow (yay! made it in time for the 2014 tax year! woot!), and trying to figure out where the hell fall went. Seriously, it went summer, 2 weeks of falls, and winter. I’m looking out my window right now and it looks so sucky out there that I’m actually not going hunting today. No thank you. Maybe Wednesday, since tomorrow it’s supposed to be a high of 25F. For southern Virginia, that’s freaking cold this time of the year. Or any time, for that matter. I moved away from Colorado for a reason, damn it.

I have some book reviews to do, but this book needs to be done first. I’m actually hoping I can finish it up before I move into the new place (which will be after they update the electric… I’m not dealing with fuses when I need a 220v breaker box) but that may not actually happen.

This weekend I’ll be joining the TRMN down at Barnes & Noble in Lynchburg, VA to do charity work. The Clifton Forge Area Food Pantry is busier than ever and, as the holidays approach, need goods. We’ll be accepting donations at B&N this Saturday in exchange for gift wrapping books and stuff. I’m pretty good at this “gift wrapping” thing, so it should end well for us. If not, I’ll just blame Gerry.

Blog Update

The Correct Words

Today is lesson day, and since everyone’s use of vocabulary seems to be screwed up, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that people throw out words without actually knowing what they mean. And since I’ve been lumped in with those “fascist Mad Genius people” over at the Mad Genius Club, I figured that I’ll use my mad genius skills to educate you.

The first is one of my faves, and gets tossed around so much that you’d think people would actually look it up to see what it means.

Fascism: (n.) — a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government.

(side note: the Google definition which came up — and differs from the Merriam-Webster Online — uses the synonym of “right-winger”. Clearly Google doesn’t pay attention and this is an honest mistake by a global conglomerate who desires to intrude upon our daily lives and use our personal information to make them money while dictating what we can say and who we can say it to via “Terms of Service” agreements that we ignorantly click on a daily basis. Purely accidental on their part, I’m sure.)

Now, I’ve seen many of my friends called this lately because they don’t fall in lockstep with the most vocal of voices on the left in science fiction and fantasy. Those who are saying that the very nature of science fiction is being dragged through the collective mire of conservatism by those “fascist racists” are so very wrong in calling them fascists. It’s right there in the description of the word. If you change the word “government” to “club” or “organization”, can you tell me who the fascists are please? I’m curious, because it seems to me that the loudest people who want to kick everyone who disagrees with them out of their club or organization is not the Mad Genius Club or their “ilk”.

Okay, I’ll agree. That was akin to clubbing baby seals who’re high on heroin. I should educate people on better uses of other, more challenging words.

Racism: (n.) — poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race.

Again, people I respect and call friend on a daily basis are accused of this because they dared disagree in their arguments with the collective left in science fiction and fantasy. Larry Correia is called a racist almost every day, despite being Hispanic (side note: the current moniker being thrown around — white Hispanic — is actual racism, as it seems to separate individuals from their heritage and discredit them using superfluous arguments against one portion of their skin color while ignoring their race, which allows people to casually dismiss them due to the tone of skin. Similar attacks took place in the 1880’s, when former slaves in America journeyed to Liberia to colonize and were disparaged by “true blacks”, i.e., actual Africans). Sarah Hoyt is called racist because of her last name (her married name), forgetting that she emigrated to the U.S. when she was 18 and is from Portugal (that’s a Hispanic culture, for those of you who are keeping score at home). But I don’t see either of these people treating anyone any differently due to skin color. I hear both of them espousing the need to judge people by what they’ve done, which is fine by me. We use it to judge our politicians, do we not? That’s why we don’t elect people with absolutely no history of leadership in any roles–

Bad example. The point being, I can say with absolute certainty that neither of them are racist. But again, you’re probably saying that I’m using easy examples and breaking down to explain the truth. I need to use a different methodology in explaining things, right? Okay, so let’s continue.

Straw man: (n.) — a weak or imaginary argument or opponent that is set up to be easily defeated.

This one is a little more difficult, because it’s easy to use a straw man argument without even meaning to. How to explain it in simple terms… ah, perfect. Draw up a caricature of a cross-burning KKK Grand Wizard and have him demanding that we keep black people in chains and whites are perfect. Using that example, you then accuse me of wanting to take the country in that direction when we’re discussing diversity in Science Fiction. I’m put in a position to where I have to defend myself against the association with the caricature and surrendering my position on the previous topic, and you have easily defended your argument and put me on the defensive. It’s a slimy tactic in arguing, and one that many within the science fiction community seem to be embracing when it comes to attacking people like Larry and Sarah. A lot of people, however, counter by saying that they’re just playing the Devil’s Advocate role in the argument, which again shifts the focus of the argument from the topic at hand to some superfluous caricature of an argument, allowing them to keep their supposed moral high ground while derailing the actual conversation. Because people do not seem to be able to discuss differing opinions these days without one party being labeled a “fascist” or a “racist”, the art of discussion had disappeared, replaced by horrible “straw man” arguments and internet hit squads.

Look, we’re a combative species at heart. We enjoy competition. Arguments are a form of competition. So if you’re going to fight on the internet and bully people around who do not agree with you, can you at least, for the sake of the dictionary, use the correct words?


Blog Update

Kickstarters? Yeah.

Fall is in the air! How do I know? Because it was freezing this morning when I took Sophie out on our walk.

One of the nicest things about living on a farm is the quiet. You never really appreciate how noisy the city is until you live far enough out of it. And by “appreciate” I mean “Thankful you no longer have to live in an area where your neighbor can look inside your bathroom window from his bathroom window”.

However, the downside of living on a farm is when a cow loses her calf in the middle of the night and is constantly mooing for it to return. Meanwhile, baby is asleep about four feet away. *sigh* It’s okay, though. Sophie is a city dog, and watching her acclimate to the life on a farm is rather amusing. She still doesn’t know what to make of those huge mobile steak factories that wander around the hills, for example.

My interview with up and coming author Kal Spriggs went live yesterday after a glitch over at SBR. For some reason I missed a zero when imputing the release time and… the Kraken never showed. So I manually updated it and post it. You can find out more here about Kal and his methodology in writing.

I generally don’t back a lot of Kickstarters because, well, I don’t have a lot of disposable income (being this fabulous is hard and pricey) but I have supported three now since I first heard of Kickstarter two years ago. The first one, Pixel Who, was an artist’s 8-bit graphic rendering of everything Dr. Who related. I have all the stuff I won in that Kickstarter sitting in a protective tub, waiting to be put into a frame and mounted on the wall. The second and third ones are ongoing at this time. The first is a Kickstarter coin challenge by Larry Correia, of Monster Hunter International fame. I missed out on the Schlock Mercenary coin challenge earlier this year and was extremely annoyed by this. I swore I wouldn’t miss out a second time, so I went ahead and supported Larry’s efforts. It still has quite a ways to go, but he’s already crossed the $50,000 threshold. That’s impressive, for some collectible coins. If you want in on this action, click here. It’s the usual bid process — meaning you promise to pay X amount on a certain date and, in return, you get Y products. It’s a win-win all around, one of the many reasons I like Kickstarter.

The third Kickstarter I’m supporting (okay, unofficially, since Larry’s coin challenge cleared out my disposable income) is Janine K. Spendlove’s Kickstarter for the third War of the Seasons series, The Hunter. I reviewed book one, The Humanover at SBR a year and a half ago and never got around to reading the next book in the series (The Half Blood). Now, Janine’s using Kickstarter to publish the third book in the series (she’s active duty Marine, so she doesn’t have time to do what some authors (like me) do, but I’m fully endorsing this Kickstarter. $5 gets you a guaranteed e-copy of the book in any format you desire. I’m hoping that my status as Mountain Bear — Great Leader at SBR scores me a free copy one day (not holding my breath, however) but, in the meantime, you can pledge $5 (or more!) and score a book.

I’ve debated about doing a Kickstarter to get the cover artist I want for Wraithkin but, truth be told, I can imagine that many people would be interested. I mean, it’s not as if I have a wide readership. However, the guy I have in mind for the cover isn’t that expensive, so I may yet do a Kickstarter and see how it goes.

Probably not, though.

Okay, need to kill off some people and talk about Roman gods. Have a good day, people.




Ah, Libertycon… where sleep goes to die.

As usual, I had a blast at the convention and would like to thank Brandy and Derek Spraker, as well as the rest of the Libertycon staff, for putting on one hell of a con. The food was good (except I forgot to mention my onion allergy, which almost caused a trip to the hospital), the staff was friendly and the atmosphere was mostly fun and friendly.

I rolled into town Thursday around noon and was exhausted. I had worked the night before and, in order to be on a daytime rotation for the weekend, had to stay awake all day Thursday so I could be semi-functioning during the con. For those of you who thought I was angry or distant, I’m sorry. I was just exhausted. I really can’t wait to go back to days so my sleep schedule can be what everyone else’s is. So yeah, Thursday… my room wasn’t ready at noon (not surprised) so I ran into Peggey, who introduced me to her friend Johnny-minion (that’s what the name tag said; don’t judge me), who was tasked with keeping me company while I wandered the hotel grounds like a zombie. He (mostly) kept me out of trouble, and we did lunch at the Brewery next door to the “world famous” Chattanooga Choo Choo.

Note: it’s not so much “world famous” as it is a “Southern thing”. If I’m dropping that much money on a hotel, my room had better not smell like ass.

Anywho, Johnny-minion kept me out of trouble and passed me off to my handler when she arrived with Scott. I stumbled around, I think I ate dinner (I was beyond reasoning at this point) then was served alcohol in Grill Sergeant’s not-quite-a-party room party, where I ran into The Amazing Writing Hoyt’s (Sarah, Robert and Dan– not sure where Marshall was), Michael Z. Williamson, Evil Penguin, and Speaker to Lab Animals (to be known as S2LA from here on out… that’s too much to type). Tried some of Grill Sergeant’s BBQ, which helped clear up that sinus problem (and woke me right the hell up). Ran into Chris (one of my fellow reviewers at Shiny Book Review as well as aspiring author) and generally had a good time. I think I crashed around 10PM, since I wanted to be up early the next morning for my first ever Range Day.

I’ve been coming to Libertycon since 2006 and I have never managed to make it to a Range Day, which is something of a Baen Barfly tradition at LC. Usually it’s because I oversleep but, with my sleep schedule already out of whack, I was wide awake at 7am. Got some breakfast and caught a ride to the range with Chris and Doc, who is going to  be a character in a future book (Doc is a combat medic in the Army, much like my little brother Nick). He’s a really cool guy who also happened to be on a panel with me later that night.

So we do Range Day, shoot a lot of pictures of Zombie Shane, watch Tripp blast away with an AR15 (he pulled the trigger so fast that it sounded like a fully automatic…. and then the kid giggled. That was some scary crap right there), managed to get the nickname “LT” as I, the one with the map, kind of got us lost as we went hunting for food, and finally made it back to the Choo Choo in time to do registration.

I got into the wrong line (naturally) and then proceeded to confuse the hell out of everyone as they tried to figure out who I was. I mean, they “knew” me, but I think the registration people were expecting someone a little… older? Possibly. I still look “youngish” enough to confuse people. Got it all straightened out, grabbed my schedule, and went back to ConSuite to see who else had arrived.

Which was just about everybody.

Too many people to list, but I was especially happy to run into Vonnage and SubDude, who is no longer in the Navy. This means our Havoc Lords series will finally get written. Yes, I’m writing another series. But this one has SCIENCE in it. REAL SCIENCE!

So my first panel was Opening Ceremonies, which is just a basic introduction of the main Guests of Honor. Larry Correia MC’d and did a pretty good job of it. Right after that was my first “real” panel of the weekend, Dreams of Steam: Gadgets and Gizmos.

One of the first things I learned on this panel is that I really don’t “know” steampunk. Oh, I can write about airships (primarily because I treat them as navy vessels that fly), but outside of that, I really never gave much thought to the whole “technology” side of things. To me, it doesn’t matter if it’s steampunk, splatterpunk, cyberpunk, dieselpunk… so long as the story is character driven, it’ll sell. I tried to get this across but I don’t think I did a good job communicating it. Hey, I was out of practice — cut me some slack.

I spent the next 45 minutes signing books. Lots and lots of books. Over 100, I think. It seemed like everyone had a copy of Lawyers in Hell, What Scares the Boogeyman?Dreamers in Hell or Sha’Daa: Pawns for me to sign. This was fun, and I plopped my butt on the ground so I could sign without being in the way. I’m glad I have an easy signature. That could have been painful.

I had a few hours to kill after that so I went back to ConSuite and BarFly Central, where one unfortunate individual told me that the food at BFC was for Bar Flies only. He was corrected of this (honest mistake, since I didn’t have a BarFly ribbon) and I got some food, and ran into Larry Correia for the first time.

I did not fanboy. You should be proud.

Also of note: Larry isn’t kidding when he says he’s a big guy. My neck hurt looking up at him, and then his wife is my height, so it was as though I were in the Land of the Giants. He’s a really cool guy, though, and had to run as he had wayyy more panels than I did. I lounged around some, talked with MadMike about some ways to kill zombies (because that was our next panel), and then it was off to my best attended panel of the weekend: Messiest Ways to Kill a Zombie.

I had thought, coming in, that my chemical reaction/explosion would be the winner. Nope. John Ringo wrote about how a tank spun out across a road slicked down with zombie guts. However, I will admit that I liked S2LA’s idea about the pathogens and how to really make things “messy”. The crowd was pretty good and Larry kept everyone in check (even John) and it was probably the most fun I had on a panel all weekend.

Didn’t party much Friday night (was tired) and crashed. Good first day to the con.

Saturday wasn’t as much fun, though, and that was mostly my fault.

BarFly Breakfast was hosted by Quilly Mammoth and his wife Christine, with the donations going to Operation Baen Bulk and Wendi’s Toof Fund. Good food, but I was a bit cranky because I was still tired and managed to find myself over at the Dreamers in Hell Roundtable, which had… zero attendees.

Seriously. Crickets, man. It was a kick in my ego’s nuts. Thankfully, I don’t have much of an ego to start with.

The roundtable turned into business planning meeting as the authors talked about their next story ideas. I mentioned a few ideas I had for Ponce de Leon and talked about Of Woe and Sloth. Other than that, I kept quiet mostly and let them handle the meeting (which is what I suspected I would be doing anyway). Afterwards we did a group photo of the Hellions authors (Susie took some pics, I hope I get to see them soon) and I was off to do my Autograph Session at the Perseid Press table.

Signed a few more books (seriously, where the hell did all these books come from?) and mostly talked to Tom Barczak about how well-behaved his three boys were. Saturdays, for some reason, are usually something I don’t remember afterwards. It’s not because I was trashed (I wasn’t) but mainly because there’s just so much going on that it’s hard to keep track. After my signing I was invited to the first ever Christening at a Libertycon.

Took some amazing pictures (that baby is going to be a linebacker) and got to watch something I’d never seen before. Sitting here now, typing this out, and I realized I’d never seen a Christening before. I didn’t think about it at the time it was occurring (I was taking pictures) but now… wow. To be invited to such an event makes me feel amazing. Honored, even. I’m thankful that the Vanner’s invited me to watch and attend.

After this I needed food. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time before my next panel, Sha’Daa: Pawns and Sha’Daa: Tales of the Apocalypse re-release. Two people showed up for this one, and I didn’t really get to talk much about my Sea Dragon vs Navy SEALs fight. I was starting to get a bad feeling about my panel attendance and a noticeable pattern was starting to form. Ugh. Well, at least I have other stuff I can talk about, right?

With that in mind, my next panel, The World of Steampunk Roundtable almost kicked off a fight because, as I admitted earlier, I don’t really know steampunk. I held my tongue as I listened to someone who self-describes himself as a “dick” bitch about how society is horrible and lacks manners and class, which is why he does steampunk. That made little sense at the time and now, two days later, makes no sense at all. I think what he wanted to say (and was afraid of not being “PC”) was that he desired the stronger distinction in classes like there was in the Victorian Era. I may be wrong, but that was my impression.

He also called me “one of those writers” when I admitted that I call my steampunk story “steampunk” because it rolls off the tongue better than “alternate history with varying technologies” or something. *shrug* And? I’ll take my check and cash it either way, TYVM. 🙂

I was extremely grumpy at this point and needed some food, so it was back to the ConSuite for me. I got to drinking (it’s a CON, people… if you don’t drink, you’re either a recovering alcoholic or underage, or found religion) and managed to miss my next panel completely. Uh, oops?

Worst part was? The ConStaff were presenting me with an amazingly kind gift and had a big “roast” planned, and everyone was in on it.

Why didn’t someone tell me to make sure I was AT THAT PANEL?!?! ARGH!

To those of you who planned the party: I am really, really sorry. I don’t think I can express enough just how sorry I am.

Book release party for Dreamers in Hell was next, and the announcement that Iron Clad Press will be publishing my first Tobias Fox novel, Unholy Vengeance, was made. I spent the next five hours hanging out with John Ringo, Miriam, Mel, Grill Sergeant, and various others at poolside. Funny story there…

John (talking to Melanie): Jason’s given you one of my books to read, right?

Melanie: Yeah.

John: Okay, good.

Melanie: Yeah, he had me read Ghost.

John (horrified expression on his face): I am SO sorry! (glares at me)

Me: …I thought it would be funny…

I really did. So did everyone else. Ah well. Afterwards I crashed because, well, I was still tired and the con was starting to kick my butt.

Up early, packed, checked out. Found some food in BFC and prepared for my last three panels of the weekend. What’s New in Horror moderated by Larry Correia, and I had a lot of fun on this panel. Talked about the various projects we were working on as well as the stuff in horror we all liked, including I Am Not A Serial Killer. Good conversation and the time really flew here.

Bought some shirts, saw Melanie and Scott off, and got to hang around for a few more hours with Larry at the Dead Dog Party. Shared my story about how I accidentally insulted Niven and Pournelle (long story) and got to share the SEAL mission from hell with a few friends (SubDude was extremely helpful, since his memory is better than mine and the story will be showing up in one of the Havok Lords books later). Talked a bit with Robert Hoyt (creator of Ninja Nun, of which I am a HUGE fan) and caught up with a few other people.

I will admit, the drive home last night was scary. I had to stop somewhere in southern Kentucky because I was too tired to drive and managed a nap. Got home around 4 AM and promptly crashed.

Overall, the con was a blast as always. I can’t wait until next year and I hope I can go.

Blog Update Fantasy Heroes in Hell Publishing Science Fiction Tobias Fox Wraithkin Writing

Trolling For Love

I made a huge mistake today. I got sucked back into Wikipedia.

There’s just something amazingly addictive about updating wiki pages while adding information, updating, and even deleting irrelevant material. It’s not as though I have nothing else to do (he writes as he stares at the open word document which has been mocking him for three days). But there’s just this… sense of accomplishment? I don’t know. It could be why a lot of wiki editors are fascist thugs when editing. They don’t like being told they’re wrong. Or they just enjoy being trollish.

Don’t forget that at the end of this month, Dreamers in Hell comes out. If you haven’t already, you should probably pick up Lawyers in Hell (which I’m in) and Rogues in Hell (which I’m not in) for some back story. Naturally, the books don’t necessarily “need” one another, but being able to follow serial stories like Janet Morris’ Eshi epic (I don’t know what else to call it) really makes a difference when reading the books as the series. Plus, you get other serial characters as well.

Let’s see… have you bought Michael Z. Williamson’s latest work, Tour of Duty, yet? It’s a short story collection (“anthology!” the sheep bleat in the distance) and it’s available now. Larry Correia has Warbound coming out in August. I’ve read it and it is an amazing finish to the Grimnoir Chronicles. I’ll have my copy of MHI for him to sign at LC26 this month, since this copy is #10 I’ve had to buy (people borrowing the book and not giving it back). I figured “Buy 10, get an autograph for free” or something.

Counting down until Mental Ward: Echoes of the Past is released. Gotta love all these books coming out.

Oh, I also am writing the following stories as we speak (type? converse digitally? technology is making idioms weird):

  • Blighted 
  • Most Faithful
  • No Time For Love
  • Pillars
  • Sacred Hunt
  • The Messenger

Those should keep me busy for the next few months. If not, I can always finish Wraithkin, edit some Christian Cole, or pound out Unholy Vengeance.