Monday, November 30, 2015

Do I want a Hugo? #SadPuppies Again

This blog is going to wander a bit, but I ask that you stay with me.

As of this minute, I'm not doing too badly in the Sad Puppy nominations. Enough so that Vile 770 is really, really rooting for me.  Solely based on the premise that I will single-handedly destroy Sad Puppies just by being nominated. No, no joke.

So, great question, do I want a Hugo?

No idea.

Some people shoot for the moon, because why not?

I say that if you shoot for the moon, you're gonna run out of oxygen if you miss. Just ask any space mission.**

Author J. Michael Straczynski (and yes, I can spell that without looking up his name) grew up with the Hugo as a mark of good writing. The Hugos were everything good about science fiction. It was how he chose what to read growing up when he borrowed books from the pharmacy book rack (he always returned them without breaking the spine, so, it's really borrowing, not stealing). And when he got a Hugo, he was moved and surprised and in awe.

The only Hugo award winning novelists I've read in the last 15 years? JK Rowling and Neil Gaiman. That's it.

I grew up with Asimov and Neal Stephenson, These people don't rate.

Sure, I've read Hugo award winning novels.  Ender's Game and Hyperion, and Dune.  But lately? Those winners are not who I read on a regular basis.

For me, it's Weber and Ringo and Correia. They're people who have fun with powered armor and wrecking worlds. Mostly Baen authors.

And no novel from Baen will get another Hugo unless it's Lois Bujold. John Ringo doesn't want it. Kratman is more on the Rabid Puppy side. Correia doesn't want it. And no one has even discussed David Weber or Timothy Zahn, which is a crime in itself.

Then again, the people I admire also make money at writing. So I'll take that.

Without anyone I admire getting Hugos, I don't have the motivation of JMS.  So, solely on my own initiative, do I want the grand prize?

First of all, I think I'll be shocked and amazed if I get a Sad Puppy nomination. Delighted as Hell. Because on the one hand? The women in charge of Sad Puppies 4 want thousands of people involved in this. That's PR I can't buy ... okay, maybe I can buy it, but I couldn't afford it.

Yes, I do like this puppy of war.
Deal with it.
Also, it means that a sudden and violent wave of animosity will come down on me like the hand of Satan, and I'll take that press. After all, I am a Cis White Male with blond(ish) hair and blue eyes. I'm even Catholic, so Vile 770, the Guardian, and everyone else who want to lynch the big dogs will be able to go into Opus Dei conspiracy theories instead of evil Mormon comments.

Because, yes, I can see the CHORFs spinning Vatican conspiracy theories should I get a nomination. A Pius Man will suddenly be lambasted with negative reviews. I'll get a whole 15-seconds of fame, and I'll probably end up with the usual reputation of everyone else -- evil blah blah blah.

But as I've noted before, I'm a Conservative Catholic in New York City. For me, this is called Tuesday.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Guest post: The Real Scandal

Declan Finn confession: I watched the first season of Scandal...okay, maybe even some of the second season (I think I gave up after a sitting President asked the first lady for a divorce -- The soap factor, it's over NINE THOUSAND).

Dawn has addressed the real Scandal of the past week. What is it? I'll let her tell you.


I was going to write something mushy about Thanksgiving or being thankful, but I’ve seen too much stupid crap lately that I’m in the mood to slap stupid people.

First is Scandal. You may have heard about the recent Planned Parenthood episode of Scandal. If you haven’t, let me give you a quick rundown.

The show Scandal revolves around the exploits of Olivia Pope who makes her living covering up political scandals in DC. She is having an affair with President of the United States. It glorifies lying, cheating, stealing, torture, murder, backstabbing, infidelity and other things that normal people abhor. The show is so over acted it is ridiculous. And EVERYTHING is a world ending crisis. A Senator breaks a fingernail...the fate of the United States hangs in the balance until Olivia Pope brings in an emergency manicurist to fix it two seconds before said Senator has an interview where that broken nail could start a world war or some such. The drama is so over the top it would make a teenage girl proud.

Yes, I watch the show...or rather I did. The show is rather a lot like a traffic accident where you just can’t help but stop and stare. I also like the puzzle aspect of the plot. It starts with a problem and Pope has to find a way to make it go away one way or another. Usually that involves all sorts of nastiness, some of which bleeds into later episodes.

Sooooo...Olivia gets pregnant and “has to have” an abortion. If she doesn’t the fate of the Presidency is at risk. President Grant would lose his political power if it was found out his whore was having his baby. (Getting caught banging women who aren’t his wife didn’t seem to hurt Clinton any, but I digress.) Yes, God forbid, a person’s life would be more important than political power.  The show didn’t just reference the abortion, they thought it was a wise idea to make the entire episode a commercial for abortion “rights.” (I never could understand how it’s a right to kill another human being.)

Over at Vogue, Michelle Ruiz writes:
It was a remarkably meta moment: a fictional politician tackling the real-life assault on abortion rights and women’s health at the very moment when it remains timely and pressing. Not only did the episode begin the process of destigmatizing abortion on television, but as Planned Parenthood said in a statement after the episode, “The millions of people who tune in to Scandal every Thursday night learned that our rights to reproductive healthcare are under attack.”
The stupid in that statement is mindblowing. People don’t watch that show for political commentary or for life tips. These people are deluding themselves if they think that abortion on Scandal does anything but make it look as bad and as selfish an action as it is. I mean come on. Olivia is no teenage girl who falls for the bullshit that sex comes without consequences and gets knocked up. She is a grown ass woman who is unapologetically the whore for a married man. She didn’t choose an abortion because she didn’t think she had any other options, it was political decision.

On the other side of the fence, there have been boycotts and hand ringing over this single episode. Um...hello. The entire show is about using and tossing away people. Killing a child is well within the realm of vileness that is Scandal. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is expendable on that show as long as it’s done in the interests of gaining more political power. The characters are not sympathetic and when bad things happen to them, the first thought is “they got what was coming.” Get with the program.

Second on my list is the Reproductive Freedom Festival being put on by a Words of Choice blog. (No I’m not linking to the site. It’s nasty. Trust me on this.) They claim to be “pro-women’s rights, pro-human rights, pro-reproductive rights, pro-reproductive justice and pro-choice.”

One of those things just doesn’t go with the rest. How the hell can you be pro-human rights if one of the things you support is killing humans? The stupid is beyond words.

They are wanting short theatrical works that celebrate the dismembering of children that they can perform live in New York City next year. Oh yay. Exactly what no one in their right mind would ever go to see.

Anyways...that is all the stupid I can handle for now. I may be back with more at a later date. Ciao.

Legends are coming

So, I took a good look at this.  I say look because I'm literally next to a sleeping person as I write this, but I have a pretty good feel for this one without the audio.

Monday, November 23, 2015

#BlackFriday shopping list -- here we go again

Well, at least this year, Christmas decorations went on sale in September...

Yes, last year, they were in August.

Yes.  August!


Anyway, black Friday is coming, and we must be prepared. This is yet another list to make your shopping lives easier -- for Black Friday, or for the upcoming Cyber Monday. I've reviewed some of these books (links attached), and others are new even to me, but have come recommended to me. You might want to try some of these items below.

In short: give the gift of books to people you care about. They're cheaper than iPods. Heh.

As with last year, I will start with suggesting my own novels. Not even all of my own novels, just some of them. The newest ones, for starters.

To start with, there's Honor At Stake.  Because everyone loves this novel. Is it because it's romance? It is because it's vampires? Urban Fantasy? A little YA-ish? A little Christian-fic?

I have no idea.

But if you're new here, it's about a boy meeting a girl.  One of them is a homicidal monster. The other's just a vampire. It has Vatican Ninjas, and holy water burning vampires, and sunlight killing unholy monsters AND NONE OF THE VAMPIRES SPARKLE, DAMNIT.

Ahem. Anyway.

People like it. If you look at the Amazon reviews, everyone likes it. Everyone. Even people I don't know like it. I'm not sure why, but there you go.

Another newcomer on the scene are the anthologies.

Pius Origins blows up stuff.

Pius Holidays blows up even more stuff with Christmas lights and the accompanying music.

And Pius Tales gives you all that and more.

Yes, Pius Tales is actually out now.


What can I say? It's been a LOOOOONG week.

If you're new here, there are the usual suspects.

A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller -- It's surprisingly well reviewed, no one hates it (yet, give me time), where I take the war to Dan Brown, and every other nimrod who thinks they can write bad history in a thriller and get away with it.

A Pius Legacy: A Political Thriller -- The villains who survived A Pius Man have decided that some payback is involved.  Step one? Kidnap the Pope. Then the fun really starts.  Surprisingly, this one had better reviews than the first.... also fewer. Anyway, please buy the book already. Thank you.

A Pius Stand: A Global Thriller: The end of the trilogy. Saving the Pope has consequences.  And army. A war. And no quarter given. It's time to finish the fight.

And, while I"m doing this.....

Codename: Winterborn .... the "other" novel, also strangely well reviewed. Genre: character-driven scifi espionage. While on a mission to the Islamic Republic of France, Lt. Kevin Anderson's team is betrayed by the politicians who sent them. As the only survivor, Anderson must stop the senators involved before the next team is slaughtered on the altar of political greed. He's certain he won't survive, but he will make this sacrifice, for his Codename is Winterborn. I recommend this for all fans of Baen novels -- like John Ringo, David Weber, and even your straight up thriller writers, like Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, et al.

On with everyone else.

Several of the following books you may have seen before. Trust me, there's a reason they made one of my top reading lists.

Murder in The Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes -- if you've been reading my blog for a long time, you know that I loved this one, and I can't possibly recommend it enough.... and then there's The Watson Chronicles, which is even better.  The only books I will recommend over my own, and I'm told my books are pretty awesome, so, yeah...

The Book of Helen -- dang, this was a kickass little novel.  The West Wing meets the Trojan war, this novel goes beyond the "they all lived strangely ever after" of Helen of Troy, and follows the rest of her life after she came home from Troy.  Yes, Helen did have an "after Troy."  You know the mythology, and now, this is the rest of the story.

Ordinance 93:  I've reviewed this book, I've interviewed this author, and I somehow still haven't mentioned her on the blog yet. Ordinance 93 is a thriller that sort-of centers around abortion. It's not really a pro-life book, despite how I referred to it in the Examiner posts.  It's a very long story, but if you're interest, check out the review. It would take too long otherwise.

Infinite Space, Infinite God II .... a Catholic scifi-anthology, so,

Greater Treasures -- Imagine the Maltese Falcon with dragons. Nuff said.

Stealing Jenny, by Ellen Gable: After 5 miscarriages, Jenny is about to have a pregnancy come to full term... until a psychotic woman kidnaps her and chains her in her basement with the intention of taking the child for her own. I liked this one.

Amy Lynn: You can read my review right here.

Night Machines by Kia Heavey .... this one was interesting.  Almost Doctor Who-ish by way of Rod Serling.

And, of course, there is an endless list of books I can recommend, which happen to be a different tab at the top of the page -- includes Flynn, Ringo, Weber, Thor, etc, etc.

Tears of Paradox, by Daniella Bova.

In the not so distant future, Michelle hides in the shadowy cornfields of rural Pennsylvania, waiting for her unborn child, targeted by the untouchables who have assumed absolute power . Michelle’s husband, Jason, remains in their hometown, struggling against overwhelming odds to keep his wife and child from being found.
The blue-collar Catholic couple have already endured numerous losses, including that of a baby son, born under mysterious circumstances. This pair of childhood sweethearts and their family and friends have always stuck together, but the storms of transformation turn everything upside down. Friendships disintegrate, fathers and sons become enemies, and trust is a thing of the past. The ways of traditional America have gradually become what those in power term evil. What used to be evil is now the law, strictly enforced by the bureaucracy, and for ordinary people there is no middle ground; you either play or pay.
Deviation from government policy will land you in jail… or worse. Media figures who aren’t part of the power structure begin slowly disappearing, and Jason must depend solely on God to help him save his wife and baby. 
My review here.

And then there are the Jack July novels I reviewed.  Amy Lynn and Amy Lynn: Golden Angel.  Just buy them. Read them. The first one could be dark YA.  The second ... yeah, for adults only. One's a solid novel, the second one is a solid thriller. Just go with me on this one, okay?

Now, as far as books I haven't looked at yet.... [Below the break.]

Sunday, November 22, 2015

TONIGHT on The Catholic Geek: Potluck Podcast with the Novel Ninja

The Catholic Geek: Potluck Podcast

Again, since I'm not doing the show this Sunday, Novel Ninja and CG owner Matthew Bowman is taking over! Co-starring and CG author Lori Janeski.  Matthew and Lori will be talking about superheroes, Catholic news, TV shows, Star Wars, ISIS and the refugee crisis, and more. Plus, special guest: Strawpope Frank! Yes, Frank's back in the news, even though it's getting ever more easy to tell the difference between him and Pope Francis.

All that and more, plus your calls!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Music Blog, Shut Up And Dance (Alex G Acapella Cover)

More Music to write to.

I am a fan of Alex G on YouTube. She's a good singer, and there's something about the way her mouth moves I find interesting to watch.

And the song doesn't suck either.

I was going to do some deep, stirring Peter Hollens. I decided to say screw it. Party time.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Guest Post: Casting Honor at Stake, book 2

Declan again. Still alive. Dawn's back, with a post I probably will get around to doing for book 1. No, I haven't done this one yet. And I should. It's been a hard couple of weeks.

Casting Murphy’s Law of Vampires’s Dawn Witzke, Declan’s beautiful, charming and talented sidekick. I’m back again. You might remember that I asked Declan Finn very nicely to let me read his sequel to Honor At Stake back in September. it wasn’t so nicely, but he let me read it anyway. I am now finishing up reading the final version (Or almost final version. There may still be some changes after the editor gets ahold of it.)

Sorry, I’m not going to get into the details of the book. I’ll let Declan do that when he decides it’s time. Instead, I’ll just say that you’ll definitely want to read it when it comes out. There is a lot of action and new twists to the Marco/Amanda romance plot. I had to force myself to put it down.

Anyways...I figure I’d take a crack at casting this one.. This was so much harder than I thought it would be. Guess I need to watch TV and movies without falling asleep. (I only made it through  the first 5 or 10 minutes of Iron Man...sorry Declan. Better luck next time educating me on Marvel.)

Here are my picks to play the characters with prominent roles in this book.

Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll)

Deborah Ann Woll played a vampire in First Blood, she also played Karen Page in Daredevil. She comes off as reserved and unassuming. I think she could pull off Amanda.

Marco (Cam Gigandet back in his Never Back Down days circa 2008)

I chose Cam because he always has a that little smile and he’s got the body. He’s a bit older than Marco, so I used my time machine and plucked him from 2008 when he played in Never Back Down. Declan would probably disqualify him simply on the fact he also played a vampire in Twilight.

Merle (Tim Kang)

Tim Kang, from the Mentalist, came to mind the minute that Merle showed up in the picture. He’s laid back and doesn’t get too excited about anything.

Merle’s ex wife Kristen (Molly Sims)

Neither Tiffany nor George says a whole lot in book 2, so I picked actors that I thought might look the part. Apparently, they can act fairly well too.

Tiffany (Laura Vanderoort)

Laura has had lots of bit parts in shows that I have seen, such as Haven and CSI:NY.

George (Drew Gallagher)

Not familiar with his acting, but he looks good and considering the number of lines he has in the book, that’s all that matters.

Yana (Riley Voelkel)
Riley is also from the Originals. She is short and cute and played a cheerleader. I think she can pull of Yana.

Bosley (Claire Holt)
From the Originals. She’s an Australian actress. I can see her more as someone in charge than Billie Piper. Billie seems more the type you’d want to get drunk with, not put in charge of keeping hords of vamps from killing each other. More formal and pulls off dangerous and bitchy very well.

Mr. Day (Jonathan Rhys Meyers)
If you need someone dark and dangerous (and hot...damn) Meyers is my first choice. I remember him from King Henry VIII, City of Bones and Dracula. Okay, so in the book he’s not a nice guy, but I figure if you’re going to have someone dark and dangerous after you, he should at least be good to look at. (I would volunteer to be his personal assistant during the filming...because, damn.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Checking in: I'm doing funerals and I'm still alive

Welcome to my world. Especially when I'm a little odd, and suffering from jet lag (Why am I so tired? Oh, wait, I'm an hour behind New York).

Not too many details here, but things are interesting.  Last year (okay, maybe the year before), I had to clear out my grandmother's brownstone because it looked like an episode of hoarders that had been rejected because it was too horrifying for viewers. This isn't half as bad, but the decedent was, at times, a bit of a nerd-stereotype when it comes to workspace garbage.

Personally? My attitude towards death is simple: "So he's in Heaven or in Purgatory... on his way to Heaven ... why is everyone crying?"  So, you can imagine how hard I have to work to not sound callous or dismissive, or just plain being a heartless robot. Yes, I'm great fun at funerals, but I have to make sure not to sound like I'm enjoying someone being dead.

Thankfully, one of the people left behind understands that, so I don't feel like I'm walking on eggshells.

Also, funerals are expensive. Thankfully, where I am is not New York. It's a little more midwest. So it's not a $10,000 funeral, but damnit, even obits are expensive. Yeesh.

Death, a growth industry that will never actually die out until the universe explodes.

There are additional complications, but so far, all's well.  I'm basically on point for a few groups. I think I'm a representative, but I'm not certain.

Guest Post: Sidekicks (NOT with Chuck Norris.)

So, while I'm off and about in dark territory (known as places outside of New York ..... yes, I kid), Dawn Witzke has offered a guest post.

You might remember Dawn from her guest post in Sad Puppies Bite Back. You might even know her as the one who did the covers for Pius Tales, Origins, and Holidays.

You can find Dawn at her page here.


The past few weeks have been hell for so many people I know, including myself. Friends lately have lost parents, spouses and children. They have struck hard times financially. Relationships of many years and those that are fairly new have or are falling apart.

And problems never seem to come one at a time. They hit a person, one after another until they either crumble from the onslaught or the person fights. In either case, everyone needs a sidekick to catch them when they fall or to give them backup.

I’ve never been big into comics, except Heavy Metal. And, regardless of what Declan says about me living under a rock, I do know a little about some superheros. I was more of a Zorro fan myself, but I have seen a Superman, Batman and Spiderman movie or two in my life. Superheros don’t do things alone. Superman has Lois and Kent, Batman has Robin and Alfred and Spiderman has M.J. and Aunt May. Okay, so there have been a few changes over the years, but, you get the picture. Friends are important.

Everyone needs awesome sidekicks and supporting characters to help them when problems come along and celebrate with them when things go right. A sidekick who will drop everything to step up and help you out. Supporting characters who will provide a shoulder to cry on, a hug, moral support or a strong right hook. They make all the difference in the world when a crisis hits.

But, it’s not enough to have those people as friends, you also have to be that friend who others can lean on for support. It doesn’t require any money or knowledge to give a hug or listen or just be there for another person.

Personally, I like to brag about my friends. They really are pretty amazing. I have my sidekick, Brenda, who I tell everything to. We are complete opposites in so many ways, but we have been through everything together; jobs, college, children, men. We take turns being the sidekick, but it works for us.

There are also my supporting characters aka rest of my friends. They are ones like, Karina, who will do word sprints with me when I’m feeling lazy or some of the guys who I share dirty jobs with. (Yes, I know. Bad Catholic.) There are the ones I can complain with and those who will fawn over cute puppy pictures with me. Each has their own supporting role that is necessary.

Okay, Declan is in a class of his own. There are just some things I do with him that I don’t with my other friends. And no, it’s not what you’re thinking, you pervs.

So what if you don’t have a sidekick and your supporting characters aren’t much support? Or, you just really don’t want anyone to know about the crisis you’re going through? Well, there are generous people out there who give their time to lend an ear to complete strangers. There are hotlines for just about everything, including drugs, alcohol, depression, suicide, abuse, etc. Just put in the crisis you’re going through followed by “hotline” and you’re likely to find a few that apply. You’ll have an instant supporting character on the other end of the line.

Remember to thank your sidekick and supporting characters for being there for you. And make sure you’re there for them. Life is so much better with them around.