Check out the prologue to "Alone In The Light" by clicking here

An excerpt from: Alone In The Light

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Memorial Day... A small rant.

Memorial Day is a great day, right?! It's often heralded as the "unofficial start of summer." And I can go to any department store, clothing store, furniture, electronic, etc.... And get 50% off of damn near anything! 

Wow! Who knew that a good sale only required the deaths of so many US men and women?

Today, while driving, a sign caught my eye. Large, blue and red letters proclaimed "HONOR OUR VETERANS" ... the next line was "SALE LASTS UNTIL TUESDAY!"
-- I mean, really?

Fuck you.  

Not only is it NOT Veteran's Day and you're pandering to people - but you're also being a complete dickhole by cashing in on the deaths of so many good men and women. I will not shop at your store.

Today or ever.

Monday, May 21, 2018

PTSD. It's what's for dinner...

I'm going to venture into the land of 'WAY too much personal information" segment of our blog...

I suffer from PTSD due to some of the times and adventures I had back in my younger, Army days... and I, more or less, live with it these days and things are "okay" - but there are certain, special times of the year that it comes in swinging... like a wrecking ball to quote a shitty, shitty song.

The problems associated with PTSD are many... but, to me at least, the big ones are the lack of sleep, lack of motivation, and withdrawing from other people and social settings. Because, let's face it - if you add those things up - the last place you want to go is... anywhere.

On top of that - there is the occasional misuse of certain substances... namely alcohol. It is used as a method to combat some of the effects brought about by PTSD - mainly anxiety and, in some cases, the lack of sleep. Or, you know... so I've heard.

So - not sleeping, being all pissy, and not wanting to interact with people can do a number on you. I've put on 4 lbs in the last week because I've been stress-eating, drinking too much alcohol, not sleeping, and skipping the gym. It's not cool.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Apocalypse WOW!!! A Post-Apocalyptic Literature Post.

I am a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories. I have read dozens of books with the same premise - The world has ended, people are trying to still be people.

And I love them. All Most of them.

I don't mean Dystopian novels like The Hunger Games or The Handmaid's Tale - Which I also love - I mean straight-up world-ending, 50% or more of the people in the world are gone and we're watching the last of humanity try to survive just ONE. MORE. DAY...  And it's fucking glorious. I don't often feel the same about PA movies. They're usually good, but trying to depict truly Post-Apocalyptic life on screen is a far more challenging task than in print. There are a few exceptions though.

I just finished HELL DIVERS by Nicholas Sansbury Smith from Audible (Read by the AMAZING R.C. Bray). It's about a group of WWIII survivors living aboard an airship 250 years following the near-complete destruction of the human race. The 2 ships - Aries and The Hive - float above radioactive superstorms trying to stay alive. When they need supplies or parts to fix the ship they send their Hell Divers to the ground to find what they need. It's a very bleak and depressing world... and I picked up Hell Divers II as SOON as I finished the first one. Pick it up - you'll like it. Hell Divers III is available for pre-order too now!!  I think this book could make a fantastic TV series or Movie... I don't like saying "I'd love to see this as a movie" because I feel books are 99% of the time WAY better as a book. But this one has a lot of cinematic themes that could be done well on the screen...

Reading this book has me thinking about some of my favorite reads in the Post Apocalypse genre... there are a TON of them. But I thought I'd share my thoughts on a few of them...

Thursday, May 10, 2018

These Books are MADE OF PEOPLE!!

Much like Soylent Green - Books are made of people.

Well, no. They're actually made of paper and ink... but they're FULL of people and characters. And that, in my opinion, can really make or break a book.

Most of these people are complete works of fiction. They come from the brain of the person writing the book and they give them their own lives, personalities, and purpose. And that's pretty cool.

So - what about when we write a story and BASE the people in our story - fictional people - on people we know in real life?  It makes the writing easier and does half of the work for us. We now have somewhat of a background for the character, and some basic traits and habits already in place for us to work with. But is that a good idea? I haven't really decided yet.

I once wrote a short story - okay, it was 72 pages when I abandoned it - where I used the actual names, physical descriptions, and overall ACTUAL real person as the character in the story. Bruce was Bruce. Angie was Angie. And so on... These characters and their struggles were all fictional - but they matched up to their real world counterparts quite well. And - I don't think any of the friends I actually used in the story were ever in a life or death situation following a global pandemic and the rise of feral mutants.... Hmm... I should check on that.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Music Makes The World More Alive...

Well, here we are again with a stab at randomness...

Before I get too far gone - can I just say that "YAY!!!! Black Panther is out and I can watch it again!!"

So... music. Wait... is that where I'm going with this? Sure. Why not?

I personally think it has to be difficult to write a story with music in it. I mean - as soon as you use a current song, your dated. If you come up with your own song... nobody knows it. If you rely on "That one classic rock song by Jimmy Hendrix" there is a 90% chance everyone will know it. Now, if you're writing about time travel, you're golden. You can put in whatever you want and make that song an integral part of your book without the risk of being dated... I think. This is new territory for me.

Some of the books I've read have really used music well - The Time Traveler's Wife (YES... I am
aware that I talk about this book often. It's really good. You should read it. Then we can discuss it together! Which would be AWESOME) has a GREAT use of music in it. Live music when they see The Violent Femmes in concert in Chicago. His mother is Annette Lyn Robinson/Annette DeTamble who is a famous musician and the use of her past performances within the book are 100% spot-on.

But so many bands are mentioned....
The Femmes, Patti Smith, New York Dolls, Joni Mitchell, Sex Pistols... Und so weiter.... there is an extensive list of musical performers in that book. A full list can be found here...  And the narrators of the book did a great job of reading the lyrics when the songs were in the books. It was great!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Family Moments...

This post is, for lack of a better word, one of those "slice of life" moments.

Our son gambled on a fart last night... and lost.

He was laughing and playing and then he suddenly stopped and looked up and said "SOMETHING CAME OUT OF MY BUTT!"  He was rushed to the toilet and all was taken care of.  But then we let him have his privacy. I went to the kitchen and AJ went upstairs to get him some fresh underwear.

While we were both out of earshot he apparently announced that he was finished and would like to get up... and neither of us heard him.

As I hear AJ's footsteps on the stairs, I hear quiet, uncontrolled sobbing from the bathroom....

We rushed in to find him with his head in his hands and tears falling to the floor in a steady stream.  Turns out that when we didn't show up immediately - he thought we'd abandoned him to live forever on the toilet...

A cookie and some book-time with AJ and he was right as rain.

It's the little moments.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Fact vs Fiction In A Fictional World...

When I first started my current job - I traveled. Like... a lot. I hit 39 of the lower states, 3 Canadian provinces, and Haiti... On top of that, I spent some time moving around with my short, decade-long, stint in the United States Army.

My point is - I got around.

As I read current fictions and stories, I wonder - do the writers go out and visit these places when they write about them? Do they rely on Google? Is it all from memory with a dash of made up bullshit to keep it fresh? OR... is it a combination of them all?  And on top of that - who the hell pays for it all??

Right now, I could write some pretty good descriptions of many of the places to which I've traveled in my life. Some with crystal-clear details... others with a general sense of familiarity. But - which is the better choice?

One of the things I love when I travel is seeing the places mentioned in books. Even if it's just the city name or railway stop. When I was reading "The Android's Dream" for the first time, I was traveling through the DC, Virginia area... where a lot of that story takes place. It was good timing on my part. When I first went through Ender's Game I happened to end up going through North Carolina... again, good timing. It made the books more... real? I don't know if real is the right word. But it gave the stories more presence in my actual life.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Dreaming About Things... and Stuff.

Dreams are weird. You have good dreams, bad dreams, dreams where you're naked that are fun and dreams where you're naked and they suck. Your brain basically says "Hey, here's a random assortment of images and sounds from your life... how fucked up would you like to be tonight?"

And just like that - your day either starts out good... or shitty.

I, for one, have some pretty messed up dreams from time to time. Not bragging - just more of an FYI. My wife, on the other hand, has what she calls "weird dream theater" - and trust me - it's weird.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

LET'S DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN!!!! and again and again and again and again...

May is national Time Travel Awareness Month!

... that is not true at all, but I'm running with it. Especially as I just spent a night with a pacifier-less child who spent 3 achingly long hours of the night telling me in no uncertain terms that she, in fact, wanted her binky. So we're hitting the coffee again today like it's meth and I'm some sort of crazed addict.

She's lucky she's an adorable child. 

But - her binky-less, cry fest got me thinking about time travel. Because, OH HOLY SHIT how great would it be to travel back in time to when she lost the binky - and make sure it didn't go missing!?!?

It also helps that I'm currently reading Paradox Bound for the 2nd time... It's a pretty excellent time travel story by Peter Clines... so time travel is on my mind ALREADY... and her pleas just added to that. And I don't just mean traveling forward in time - I mean jumping around, doing stuff... time is, after all, a wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey thing...

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

I've come here to drink coffee and be REALLY random...

Some days - life just isn't fun. Migraines, work, stress, kids kicking you in the kidneys while you sleep... stuff like that.

It's on those days I like to rely on caffeine.

Shitloads of caffeine.

Like... oh, holy shit, that's a lot of caffeine.

Today... is one of those days. I'm on cup #2 of coffee, plus a Mt. Dew kickstarter**... which, by the way, has become my new favorite thing. I imagine there will be more of these in my near future.

But I'm not here to talk about coffee... Well, not SOLELY to talk about coffee anyway. I'm here to talk about... uh... something?  I'm not sure. Let's see where this goes.

I took a poll on Facebook to see what exactly I should write about... the answers varied wildly. Music, Politics, artificial lifeforms, listening to people talk about their swolness, travel, driving without a top on my jeep, candy corn... and so on.

And yet... none of these topics moved me. That is because I am a heartless, over-caffeinated monster... I'd make a great villain in a book. Sitting behind my keyboard, laughing maniacally at my computer monitor as I laugh at the people of the internet and ignore their pleas for entertaining material. I would just sit and drink my caffeinated beverages, browse reddit... Wait... that's not very villainous. Sounds like a dude in his 30s.