2018 Book Release Schedule

It is becoming that time of year again where I sit down with my hopes and aspirations, then set out a schedule that would invariably disappoint me. This is also known as my 2018 book release schedule!

January – Ashwood Falls: Benjamin
February – Jassik Creed & The Meek Prince
March – Star Traveler: Atlas Gambit (#3)
April – Blood in Space: Harvest
May – Ice Storm Chronicles: Curse of Ice (#2)
June – Undisclosed Title
July – Undisclosed Title
August – Star Traveler: Plague of Setaris (#4)

Ashwood Falls: Benjamin – Coming Soon 2018!

You all know how much I love reading and writing. Sometimes I get hit with this feeling of a story because of a conversation or an idea just tickled my fancy. Now, it’s time for you to meet Benjamin.  I’m happy to announce my next novella and it’s based on the Ashwood Falls Series!

Ashwood Falls: Benjamin cover

“I know where you’re trying to go, Benjamin Holly. The question is: Will you make it there alive?”

You have met those in Ashwood Falls and the lives they live protected by those things on the outside but what about people who have yet to make it there or do not even know of it’s existence?

Benjamin Holly is one such man. Alone in the world and trying to find the place he sees in his dreams, he struggles to stay ahead of a darkness that’s following him.

Join Benjamin as he faces his nightmare in a little tourist trap where he must make decisions that could effect him and an entire race forever.

Got thoughts on the idea? Want to discuss writing in general? Why not leave some comments or subscribe to my newsletter to stay up to date on all the new things I have been working on?

Yes, Fan-fiction is Real Writing

I think one area of the writing world that gets a lot of flak is the fan fiction world. If you were like me (before my scolded me), I felt that Fan fiction was the dregs of the writing world. I not only found out that was unfair but rather cruel to the hard-working writers who live and thrive in that world. I’ll admit, I was one of those “writing snobs” until my beautiful wife put me in my place.

Fan Fiction is Real Writing

Writing is writing. I never thought fan fiction was more than self-gratification  until my wife began to tell me some of the stories that she had read. I could not believe how much detail and dedication that fan fiction writers have put in to their works. There was even a story that was over a million words! I’ve never broken fifty thousand, let alone a million.

There is a lot of dedication to the fan fiction world, more than maybe some of freelance writers have ever put in to our own work. Even though it’s not an original world, many of the stories bear the blood, sweat, and tears of a dedicated writer.

It’s No Different than a Professional or Aspiring Author

When in terms of dedication and being a writer, fan fiction writers are exactly the same as a professional or aspiring author. Many writers, including myself, got started in other people’s worlds and pour the same amount of dedication and heart in to their works. Many times they do not have the ability to get an editor or professionally proof read their works.

Independent publishing can suffer the same amount of editorial error and proof reading mistakes since a lot of us are in the same boat as a fan fiction writer. Unless we’re established with a decent fan base, many of us cannot afford hiring an editor.

They have feelings too

Fan fiction writers are people just like you and me and the horrible amount of critique I have seen from other authors is saddening. There are people behind the story no matter how bad or good it is. To attack a writer’s work is never acceptable. That is why critique is important and should be taken seriously. They deserve the same amount of feedback as we do.

Fan Fiction Writers are a strong knit community

And I am glad of that. My wife has given me a tour of the fan fiction world and they care for each other a lot. They have the advantage of not only having the bonds of being a creator of fan fiction, they also have the love for the world they are writing in.

So the next time you see a fan fiction story, why not give it a shot and if you find issues, give feedback like you would any writer of any story.

[Short Story] Question of Survival

This is a story that I wrote two years ago. It has made the rounds to magazines, e-zines and other sources. It’s time for it to see the light of day as it was my first flash fiction I had written. Enjoy

—–

Honestly, survival had never been promised or guaranteed. Actually, David’s recruiter had expressed the sentiment in no uncertain terms, but he still decided to sign up. Was it his youth that made him think he was invincible? That nothing could kill him?

Well, the answer was obvious now, sitting on a dying world, watching the last friendly dropships race for the sky, without him.

The world was broken, the mission had failed, and three minutes to slow to the dropship made him a permanent resident. Now, the only friends in this world were broken, red, exotic trees among the eon worn rock and the irritating beep of the low oxygen warning as his new friends.

Had it all been worth it? That was the question that was running through his mind as he made himself comfortable on a low rock. Honestly, David was surprised he was not feeling more emotions about the fact that he was going to be dead in thirty minutes or so. He had fond thoughts of his family and their smiling faces over Christmas dinner, but there was no fear. No sign of the aching panic that would well up inside.

Maybe it was the cross he wore around his neck and the continued promises of his mother that there was something on the other side of this life. In a way, he hoped that she was right. That was the only emotion that flitted across his tired mind, his mother. Should would be devastated when they got the notice of his MIA status. Missing in Action, what a way to end his life.

David sighed and let the pulse rifle slide out of his hands as he mulled over what could be on the other side. Actually, in a way, he was rather curious to see what would be waiting for him. Another final frontier that he could explore just like what drove him to join the Terran Stellar Army. Maybe, there would be a way for him to see his mom, just one more.

There was only one way to find out.

David reached for the clips to his helmet.

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Dead in Space – Released!

It is finally time. It has taken quite a while to get it done but I am finally able to release it. I am proud to announce the release of the second book in the Star Traveler Series! As of this post, Dead in Space is available both on Smashwords.com and Amazon.com!

After taking the leap into deep space, the crew of the Icarus must traverse the long void between star clusters. Everything would have gone according to plan if it was not for a simple error on the part of a manufacturer. Facing death in space or an ancient trap, Captain Sinclair Barrett must make decisions that could seal the fate of the entire crew. Will he make the right one or will they be forever stuck in orbit of a dead world?

Where  can you get it?

 

City Slicker VS Wheel bearing

What do a wheel bearing, car maintenance, and I have in common? An accident waiting to happen. Let me show you how a city slicker changes a wheel bearing.

For anyone that knows me, mechanically inclined is not how I would be described. Before joining the military, I did not know the difference between screwdrivers and how many different types of hammers there really were. I was a bookworm, and hands-on stuff was not my forte. I mean, I spent my life around books and computers. I could not only speak rough Klingon, but I could also write login scripts with my eyes closed. I mean, all that changed when I joined the military and in their infinite wisdom, saw all my computer experience and said, “This is so amazing, you’ve got such great computer and networking skills. Let’s put you in aircraft maintenance and see how those skills fair there.”

I wound up in a tech school of Egress Systems (ejection seats) with no clue what Philip’s head screwdriver was. I survived the nightmare there (barely) and made it to my base where I then spent six years perfecting my knowledge of ratchets, sockets, torque wrenches, and my favorite, the rubber mallet. (It’s great to threaten your junior airmen with).

For the past few months, my car’s left wheel bearing had been going bad, making a rough grinding noise that was deafening above fifty-five miles per hour. I could sense the tension in the axle and my gas mileage had become crap. I knew something had to be done, but I could not afford to take it to a garage. The last garage I took it to cost me three hundred and fifty dollars to replace them.

So, like the fool I am, I told myself, “I’ve seen it done, I can do this myself. I’ve got YouTube and my father in law if I hit a snag. Hell, I’ve even worked on F-15s!” Yeah, I did not hear the stupidity coming out of my brain.

It was a bright Sunday morning when I trudged outside with my brand new wheel bearing from Advanced Auto parts, my father in law’s tools, and optimistic hope that would have blinded the sun if it was not hidden behind the clouds. Taking my wheel jack out of the trunk, I began to manually heft my blue cirrus off the ground excited to rip that wheel off and switch out that wheel bearing. I would be done before breakfast. As I pulled the wheel off, that’s when I encountered the brake caliper.

So, it seems that in my excitement, I had completely forgotten that the wheel bearing was buried between the axle and the brake rotor. I stared at the dirty, taunting piece of equipment that I was not expecting, sure it was mocking me with its dirt and rust stained exterior.

Fumbling around with it, I made a choice (wisely) to pull out my phone, find some shade so I could see the screen (since the sun had come out to mock me) and spent fifteen minutes going through YouTube trying to find a caliper removal video that made sense. Once discovering that it was only two screws that held it in place, I grabbed my sockets, found the size and began to wrench that bugger off.

For the next five minutes, it was pretty smooth sailing. The clicking sound of the wrench set going, my son asking me “what is this?” for the millionth time, and the sun starting to make my back itch with sweat. Pulling off the caliper and the rotor was simple. There was a cotter pin holding on the nut, and that was going to be a cinch. Cotter pins are the lifeblood of egress techs, that and stringing together curses in colorful ways while trying to remove the parachute mortar from the frame.

‘I just need to remove this cotter pin gently, and I can re-use it.’ CRACK! ‘Okay, I’m going to need a new cotter pin. Where the hell do I buy cotter pins?’

I also realized that I did not have the socket big enough to remove the nut holding the wheel bearing in place. I had a 28mm, but it seemed to be a 32mm that was needed. Sending my little boy inside so I could swear audibly, I began to hammer at the nut trying different methods to get it to loosen. Pliers, plumbers wrench, me threatening to find a blow torch, I did everything. Finally, my father in law showed me mercy, and we hopped in his car and sped to Advanced Autoparts to use their rent a tool program. We were also able to successfully hunt down cotter pins at a local tractor repair store I did not know about.

By the time I got home with all my equipment, even a few extra tools I had thought I would need, it had taken me another hour to find a way to break the torque on the nut. It was supposed to be hand tight but was actually stupid tight to the point I had to stand on the long wrench handle and press my weight down to finally get the sucker to release.

Another thirty minutes fighting the 7/16th long bolts in the back (after discovering they were replaced by a different type of bolt and so the torque set I bought was a waste), I finally had the taunting wheel bearing in my hands.

In the end, it was late afternoon by the time I lowered the car back onto its re-attached wheel and had the pleasure to discover that the right-hand wheel bearing was also bad and needed to be replaced. My foray into home done car maintenance was enough to make me swear it off to never do it again.

And I was going to do it until the oil light came on and told me that I needed to get it changed. Staring at the car, sun gleaming brightly off of it, I had sighed and clicked on my phone. Oil changes were not hard were they? Actually, there are quite some different types of oils and filters and being overwhelmed, called it a day and went inside.

So, that’s it, my first in-depth car maintenance and it brought back all the reasons that I hated maintenance and tools including the busted knuckles and smashed fingers. Thank goodness there wasn’t safety wire. Would have probably bled out from all the cuts. For all of you who like doing your own car maintenance, with respect, you are frickin’ nuts.

 

 

The Ivory Child (1916) Review

The Ivory ChildThe Ivory Child by H. Rider Haggard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I take all the H. Rider Haggard books that I have read, The Ivory child stands out to me as one that almost unseats Allan Quatermain as my favorite of his works. The Ivory child was an amazingly told story about two ancient religions and their symbols fighting each other and Allan was only there with a friend to try and save the man’s wife.

It had everything you had come to expect from a Haggard novel, but this book had even more including references to previous books of him, and they came together in a beautiful finale.

As with many of Haggard’s books, there can be a lot of monologuing, but I found it sparse and easy to get through in this novel. It is especially fun if you have already read Allan and the Holy Flower as there are discussions and re-occurring characters from that story.

I am giving this book five stars because I feel that it is a five-star book and I look forward to reliving that adventure again one day.

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She (1887) Review

She (She, #1)She by H. Rider Haggard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have been a fan of H. Rider Haggard’s work for quite a number of years though my reading of his works have been limited. For a time, I absolutely loved his King Solomon’s Mines and the sequel Allan Quartermain. When I discovered that the books were available in audiobook from from librivox.org, I had to download the other ones and read through them.

This book, She, has been on my list for quite sometime knowing that it has influenced many other writers like C.S. Lewis’ Queen Jadis and “She who must be obeyed” has been a line used in a few movies.

I found this book to be a rip-roar adventure just like H. Rider Haggard’s other works but found the story weaker than his other works. Ayesha was characterized very well and I thought the character was very fascinating. The problem I had the most was the ending. Though I won’t go into detail, it felt like the writer had accidentally designed a too powerful character and had to use a dues ex machina to solve the story beat.

This book is fascinating to read in the collection of imperial Victorian literature of the time and though our modern perceptions have changed and can consider this book racist, I found that H. Rider Haggard had kept it to a minimum focusing more on a story in Africa than anything else. If you can look past these, I think you will find a very interesting story.

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The Stories of 2017 – Where are They?

Over the year, since I released both Sword of Shadows and Kaon Rising, I have been working hard on getting some more stories told. Life has been very hectic on me which in turn has not given me much time to work on them. I thought it was time to give you an update on what to expect for the rest of the year.

Jassik Creed & the Meek Prince
Yes, I am still developing this one, and there is only 20% left to do on the first draft. There is still editing to be done, so I’m not looking at a release until December of this year. All the art is done, and I am hoping to release samples of it in the future!

Star Traveler 2: Dead in Space
This story went really well but hit a few snags that I was not anticipating both with my work schedule and with some plot issues I did not catch on the outline. 60% of the story is written, and I’m hoping to have the rest done by September of this year

Blood in Space: Harvest
I love this story, but it doesn’t love me. I keep struggling with getting it on paper due to writer’s block. I know there is something subconscious that I need to fix, but it has yet to come to me when I write it. I get to put a few words on paper when I have a moment, but it sits only 40% done. I do want to finish it because I thoroughly enjoy this one but it might not be until January of next year.

Ending
I have a whole bunch of other stories I want to write, and I might release them here and there when the energy hits me, but the biggest part that I have been fighting is writer’s block due to the stress and exhaustion from my job. I just find myself sitting at a computer screen staring at the words wishing the great ideas I just had would finally come out. Have no fear, I haven’t given up yet, and I will get these done. I love them, and they each hold a special part of my heart.

The Castle of Otranto (1764) Review

The Castle of OtrantoThe Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I first stumbled on to this title while perusing the Librivox archive and the title caught my eye. I was not quite sure what I was getting myself into, and it turned out to be one of the funniest stories I’ve ever read.

I’m not sure if the writer intended for all the hi-jinks and it could simply be the way modern, twenty-first-century eyes look at the novel. Walpole wrote the book in the 1700s, and the melodrama could have been the standard of the time. I found the way that everything seemed to tie into each other and invariably hit a snag gave meaning to the phrase plot twist.

Only later did I find out when I did a bit of research that the book is considered the grandfather of Victorian Gothic romance and I can see why. Almost every trope and stereotype is featured.

Once you get past the old English, the book became quite enjoyable, and it held my attention through to the end.

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