Saturday, April 25, 2015

Within Temptation: Faster

Music to drive to... a song called Faster.

Yes, I've done an awful lot of Within Temptation lately.  Apparently, when I find someone new (to me) I play them to death.

News to me, too.

Friday, April 24, 2015

April is the busiest month [in review]: killer puppies, Daredevil, and more.

Yikes, a lot happened this month.

The Political Cliche's in writing, in which I bitched about the various and sundry mistakes and forced crap shoved into the faces of your standard television watcher.  It was a follow up to the one about Christians.

This was before the attack of the puppies.

The month of Daredevil, from the trailers to the series itself.

Then, of course, we had the Puppies of April. First we let slip the Puppies of War, then we watched the backlash go insane.  Then again, the Puppies are responsible for my FANifesto. Sort of.

Then there was the week of the trailers -- Batman v. Superman, Ant-Man, Star Wars, and the post script for my Daredevil review.

Then I had my analysis of porn ... yeah, that was odd.  Then again, that came after my Rape article, as well as my sword video.

And of course, there was my update -- my book is about to be published.

Then, of course, there was the epic return of Lindsey Stirling to the blog.

8 blogs, 3 weeks, and we're not even counting the six music posts.

I seriously don't know how Larry Correia does the 1000-word articles every single day.  Yikes.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

When Puppies Attack



This isn't about Sad Puppies again....

Okay, I have a Sad Puppy Primer up at Liberty Island -- you can see this train wreck from the beginning. It's not nearly as snarky as my last two piece on the topic, but it does link for a few of my own blog posts. Because I can use the hits. :)

However, a fun piece of Sad Puppy news from Brad Torgersen's FB page.

First, a post by Brad himself.
You know, once upon a time, I really did like to just goof around on Facebook. Share funny stuff, enthuse about this or that passtime, occasionally be risque, often have a laugh with friends (on every "side" of any given thing) and *always* with the intent to have a good time.
That was before I embarked upon my political career as Skeletor.
Well, Skeletor is getting tired.
The skull mask is gonna slowly go back into the toy chest over the next few weeks.
To which someone answered: "If you are Skeletor does that make Larry Cobra Commander? Is Sarah Hoyt the Baroness?"
"John C. Wright must be Megatron then."

I love nerds.

In other news.

My vampire novel, Honor At Stake, is up and running.  The editor has gotten back to me. We're getting along like a house a fire. Sort of.

And she let me keep the line "Would you rather vampire sparkle?"  "Do you want to live?"

Oh yes, we're going to get along so very well.

I'm also on the final rounds of edits before the typesetter gets their hands on the book.  Yes.  I might get proof copies in short order. Isn't that something else?

Let me see, I'm actually going to be paid money for several projects. Yes. Money. Strange, isn't it? Someone wanted my opinion on their book, and boy, are they going to get it -- MUAHAHAHAHA-- and the Sad Puppy piece might actually bring in some sales.  Who knew, huh?  Cash.  I'm shocked, shocked I say.

But as I write this, it's almost 2:30 in the morning, so I'm going to turn in.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Within Temptation: Paradise

We'll ignore that it looks like Fallout 3 ...

Oh heck, that's half the charm.

Within Temptation, and Tarja, the former lead singer for Nightwish.

Because Nightwish.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Pornstars are People Too

It's occurred to me that this blog has had a sudden uptick of porn lately.

This is sort of odd for a Conservative-ish Catholic who writes novels about Vatican ninjas and hates sex scenes in mainstream fiction.  Had you told me I'd be talking about porn on my blog when I started it, I would have laughed in your face.

But, first we had retired actress Celine Tran, doing a nice sword fight video.  Then there was Sarah Garlits and the blog on rape.  It's starting to look a little strange. I can almost hear some people saying "Declan, is there something you want to share?"

Let me elaborate a little on my history with porn ... That sounds worse than it is. It's actually much stranger than that.

Before The Pius Trilogy ate up a quarter of my life, I had other projects I wanted to work on.  In fact, the one-volume A Pius Man was going to be the end of a series of books, with each of the characters appearing in other novels.  My series about the Secret Service Agent and the CIA assassin featured Father Frank Williams, the Pope, Giovanni Figlia, IRA leader Deaglan Lynch, the author Matthew Kovach, Scott Murphy, and mafia kneebreaker Jon Koenig, scattered in various and sundry parts throughout.  It's where the FBI computer hacker Blaine Lansing first appeared with Jennifer Lance.

It Was Only On Stun! was the first novel with Sean A.P. Ryan, and the first of a trilogy. If you've read the book (and I don't blame you if you haven't) I like dropping Sean into places where he is out of sorts and uncomfortable. The second book was supposed to feature protecting someone who was NOT Natalie Portman during her time at Harvard.

The third book was supposed to be Sean protecting a porn actress. Which would be hysterical.  He's not a prude, but he is really uncomfortable being around a naked woman he's not involved with. I figured it would be hilarious.

However, I knew nothing about porn.  But, having been to an all-male high school that shall not be named, I had heard the name Asia Carrera.  It was someplace to start.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Within Temptation - And We Run

I don't know the rapper, but obviously, I'm on a Within Temptation kick.

And you know what? I like it. Even the production values on the video look pretty good.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Nerd News roundup, Star Wars, Daredevil, Ants, Batman, and Puppies

Enough Sad Puppies for this minute. Well, at least the depressing parts.

Peter David has commented on the Hugos, and said, "Eh. Whatever."

You saw J. Michael Straczynski's comment the other day, which boiled down to "Either put up or shut up, Hugos."

Now, for a little bit of awesome.

First....

I've finished watching Daredevil. It is still awesome. Vincent D'Onofrio, when he's sane, can do whatever acting gig he wants. His Wilson Fisk was sympathetic and terrifying. Carlie Cox was suave and funny as Matt Murdock.  And Foggy Nelson nearly stole the series -- which is a toss-up between Foggy and Murdock's priest for who stole the most screen time.

And even though they didn't have the standard "after the credits" tag, they had one mid-season tag (the episode called simply "Stick"), hinting at a grander story arc here, probably involving the magical/ninja/Yakuza known as the Hand. It will be interesting to see what else pops up over the next three series Marvel has planned.

For the record, the best exchange? "You took Spanish in college just to get near that Greek Chick.  Whatever happened with her anyway?"   "Oh, it didn't go well."

I see this being very interesting in the long run. Though if there's another Daredevil series, they may or may not do Elektra, assuming that the Jennifer Garner role didn't blow it.

Did anything else happen this week?

Oh yeah, CUE THE MUSIC.  Star Wars has returned!



The force is strong with this family.  It looks very badass, from the crashed Star Destroyer in the desert to the tense (but not over the top) action and special effects. The X-Wings look like standard dogfighting photography.  And, if I'm reading their implications right, they're going to follow up on Leia as having the force.

The graphics look great. The production values and costumes look great. And is anyone else going to complain about grizzled Han Solo?

But I'm with the Novel Ninja, I want my Grand Admiral Thrawn (or Timothy Zahn's, depending)

Then we have: Even MORE Star Wars. For the record, this is a video game. Ignoring the people (who move a little awkwardly), I have problems telling this apart from live action.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Attack of the Puppies

UPDATE: Tom Smith, who's work has appeared on this blog before, has created a new ditty just to hate on Sad Puppies.  He did it with the help of ... David Gerrold. I'm getting a pattern here.  In case he tries to shove it down the memory hole, just click on the picture to the left and feel free to peruse it until your heart's content.

For obvious reasons, he is no longer going to be posted on my site. None of his work will exist here anymore. For him to back this sort of hate is beyond the pale. And I'm sick of it.






Sad Puppies has made me, well, sad.

Actually, no, they haven't, but people I have liked and enjoyed have severely disappointed me.

If you read the last post, you know what "Sad Puppies" is. If you haven't, you may be a little lost.

David Gerrold, for those of you who don't know, started out as a kid who slipped a script over the transom, and started his career. His script created Tribbles -- yes, of Star Trek. Since then, Gerrold has been one of the Names in SF.

Then he went full racist psycho on author and Puppy supporter Brad Torgersen, going into full hysterical name calling.

It's been a bit of a theme.

I don't like throwing names around, but a lot (ok, two, but two seem to be more than enough) of the anti-Puppy crowd is evil. Not wrong, not incorrect, not misguided, not even deluded. They. Are. Evil. Full stop.

"Now now, Declan, aren't you exaggerating?"

Lemme give you a fer-instance, shall I?

Brad Torgersen went out and posted a photo of his family on his blog. He wanted to show that, yes, he's a real person, with a real family. He supports Sad Puppies, and that doesn't make him evil, damnit. He's not some sort of monster from the black lagoon waiting to eat the children of lesser writers (Scalzi, I'm looking at you, you schlub).  Sad Puppies are people too.

Then someone went and called his wife a human shield. Because she's black.

...

...

...

You're expecting another meltdown, aren't you?  You're expecting me to rage and rant and go completely psycho.

Before that happens, please note, I don't really know Torgersen outside of the FANifesto idea. I'd like to know him, but I'm too busy just trying to keep up with everything from Cedar and Sarah and Larry and Matt and Larry, and Larry and damn, Correia posts a lot.  But, alas, I can't keep up, and Brad has been one of those people I can't even follow on Facebook because I have no time.

But this?  That thing above?  No.  You don't do that.  That is vile and hateful and spiteful, and what sort of person EVEN THINKS LIKE THAT?

This. Is. Evil. Period.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

Daredevil Has Arrived

So, miraculously, that didn't suck.

The first of the Marvel NetFlix tv shows has debuted ... oh, the whole season has dropped on Netflix like an atomic bomb ... and I've seen the first three episodes of Daredevil.

What did I think?  I think it's borderline artistic, and in this case, I'm thinking that's a good thing.

If you saw the Affleck version, you know the story, though the NetFlix version is very understated -- Matt Murdock "sees" by using his senses. Instead of the CGI "vision" in the Affleck version, all that Matt Murdock has to go on are sounds, and smells he talks about.

The storytelling is smart. It doesn't hit you over the head with anything, just emphasizes some points a little, and that's about it. The origin story is littered with little, Arrow-like flashbacks used to great effect.

In fact, there's nothing really over-the-top, and even the stunts are relatively low-key in comparison, though there is more straight-forward martial arts (real moves from real, identifiable martial arts, including capoeira, some Krav Maga weapon disarms, and some boxing styles).  While not being over the top, wi-fu (wire-fu), there are serious, serious stuntmen involved in this, some of them from the Taken franchise. And they are all having fun.

It's also nice to have a show on the streets of my home town that are back-end streets that look like places that I can identify.  That doesn't happen. Ever. But it does today.

Music blog: A Stirling Return

I was going through the music playlist of the blog (just hit "music" and watch the fun start), and I noticed a few things.

One, I haven't really done a music-for-music's sake in a long, long while. The biggest blog of music I've run into was in December, over three months ago.

Also, I haven't posted any Lindsey Stirling for over a year.

Time to fix that, I think.

Also, the last few blogs were kinda heavy.  We need some light.

This one is called Child of Light....



Master of Tides ....

Do I know why it sounds like an Irish Jig while she's dressed up in colonial-era garb? No. Just listen to the music.



And this is Child of Light with lyrics: Shatter Me.  Turn up the volume on this one.




I have no idea what Senbonzakura is from, but it's listed as a cover.  It's pretty. I'll take it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cry Havoc! And Let Slip the Puppies of War!

UPDATE: Due to the backlash, the EW HACK behind the piece has deleted her Twitter account.  The Puppies ate her twitter.

ALSO:  Larry has posted on his Facebook Page.  Brad Torgersen has posted on his blog.  Sarah has commented.  Tom's got a second one. John C. Wright has a list of links. And The Novel Ninja has been unleash.  


If you have never heard of the Sad Puppies Save the Children Campaign, you're about to.

If you've ever wondered why I don't talk politics on the blog, brace for impact.

Sad Puppies has been about bringing balance to the Force, or at least the Hugo awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy.  See, a few years ago, the great and powerful Larry Correia dismissed the Hugo Awards as being nothing more than a popularity contest for World Con.  Once upon a time, it might have awarded good SF&F, but it has now gone to politically-based "literature" over good reads.

How so?  Well, look at the Hugos a little, okay?

If you don't believe that the Hugo awards have become a problem over the years, let's take a look at the progression of the award. The first best novel winners started with Fritz Leiber, Alfred Bester (who wrote the most influential telepath novel ever), Robert Heinlein, Phillip K. Dick (author of the book Blade Runner was based on ), and Walter Miller (Canticle for Leibowitz). Bester and Miller influenced the 1990s tv show Babylon 5. Heinlein's book Starship Troopers was made into ... a really, really bad movie.

These are award winners from the first ten years, whose competition included Theodore Sturgeon and Kurt Vonnegut.

Now? Let's put it this way. Baen books is one of the biggest publishers in science fiction today. Their top lists of bestsellers include John Ringo, David Weber, Timothy Zahn, Elizabeth Moon, and even Correia. In the last 25 years, books from Baen have been nominated 8 times for a Hugo, and it's mostly been Lois McMaster Bujold, or Elizabeth Moon, with Correia getting one nomination last year.

Ringo has pumped out nearly 40 books in the 15 years he's been writing, almost every one a bestseller, but he can't get a nomination? 

David Weber has been writing for at least 20, if not 25, and his books have been compared to Star Wars meets Horatio Hornblower, but not one lousy nod? Timothy Zahn is responsible for resurrecting the entire Star Wars Franchise in the early 90s with his Heir to the Empire trilogy, but has never been suggested for a Hugo in 25 years! What. The. F&*(!

The nominees lately? People who are friends with the former President of the SFWA, John Scalzi, A race-baiter named Jemisin. Someone named Mira Grant four times in five years (still hasn't won). George RR Martin (never won). Waaayyy back in 2009, they had Gaiman, Cory Doctorow, Neal Stephenson ... and John Scalzi, but that's at least a lineup of I've heard of.

Oh, but the entire Wheel of Time saga was nominated for best book last year. It lost to someone named Ann Leckie, for a debut novel called Ancillary Justice, with a great big blurb on the front cover ... from John Scalzi. See how that works? 

JK Rowling managed a nomination and a single win, and she's made more money than the population of the UK.

Terry Pratchett wrote dozens of books over the span of forever, and he never got a single nomination.

Remember, Science Fiction Writers of America have been undergoing a full-on, Stalin-level purge lately. Heck, even former members of the SFWA have come out against their lock-step, utterly insane behavior -- writers such as Sarah Hoyt. Even current members are protesting some of the more deranged moves -- people like Harlan Ellison, David Gerrold, Mercedes Lackey, Barry N. Malzberg, Jack McDevitt, Larry Niven, Mike Resnick, Harry Turtledove, and Gene Wolfe. And let's face it, when Harlan Ellison is calling you a schmuck because you're too far left, you're probably a schmuck. You know the SFWA has gone too far when even the New Statesman thinks' you're a leftist schmuck.

This is about as bad as the Oscars, where only the prestigious and elite of Hollywood's most pretentious can even be bothered getting a nomination. Only this time the clique is smaller, and even more vicious. High school-level vicious. And it's time someone stood up to these schmucks.

Cry havoc, and let slip the puppies of war! Commence ... the saddening!

When Larry Correia pointed this out, he was told "No!!!!! Hugo represents AALLLLL fandom!!!!"

Larry said: "Here, let me show you."

Daredevil: the GOOD trailers

Don't get me wrong, I liked the original Daredevil trailer, but these actually make the entire storyline look interesting.

It also shows us Karen Page, who was a long-term character in Daredevil, on-again, off-again girlfriend of Matt Murdock's (one of about five hundred, from what I can tell), before she was murdered by Kevin Smith during his brief run (though if she's back from the dead again, I wouldn't be that surprised).

In other Daredevil news, apparently they'll be going to swap out this black costume in the trailers with the classic red costume (not the early yellow one, thank God).





Monday, April 6, 2015

Stupid Writing Cliches, the revenge: Political cliches

I seem to be going after a lot of cliches lately. First there was the Christian cliches from a few weeks ago, now this.

ILLEGALS.

Want to give this alien a work permit?
This pisses me off because I'm a New Yorker, and I know how the world works on this. At least in New York City.

The usual cliche is "Oh, illegals can't come forward on crimes because they might be deported!"

WRONG! When pigs fly. When this is pulled on tv, you know it's crap.

For the past 15 years, New York has been an "asylum" state for any and all undocumented / illegal immigrants. Deportation doesn't happen. Period.

If you want to make the argument "They don't trust cops in their countries, because it's all corrupt where they're from,"  fine. You can make that argument. It's even a valid argument.

But to suggest that anyone is sending any illegal back anywhere? That's just a joke in most of the country, since the federal government has to ship them back home, and they haven't even thought about it in six years.

But this especially rings false in New York -- which is where you usually see the cliche anyway.  Hell, we can't even ship back criminals who enter the country illegally. Some of them make Al Pacino's Scarface look like a documentary. (I prefer Paul Muni, myself)

Also, the good, pure and virtuous illegal? Don't believe it. In the last year, tens of thousands of the undocumented immigrants are members of gangs, like MS-13, who traffic in drugs and people. These are not nice people.

Now, if you want to give me a story of the men and women who come to America, put in the time, energy and effort to become legal citizens? That's a story I will happily read, and happily wallow in. Because that's a story worth reading. And one that's far, far more believable.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Rape is Not Entertainment

[Do I even have to say "trigger warnings ahead"?]

I have some odd followers on Twitter.

I have members of the Catholic Writer's Guild who follow me, because I'm a Catholic writer.

I have conservatives and libertarians follow me, because I'm politically ... complicated.

 I've been re-tweeted by Larry Correia, lord of gun porn.
Sarah Garlits

And then there's Sarah Garlits, aka Sarah Blake. Who's more ... porn porn. Sort of.

For those of you who don't know Madam Garlits, yes, she is an adult entertainer. No, I don't mean porn actress ... she used to be, but now does burlesque variants. It's complicated.

And I'm getting off topic...

How we tripped over each other on Twitter, I don't recall. I don't know why she follows me, but I find her interesting. And if you're new here, for me, "interesting" is a compliment.

She is also a rape survivor.

Garlits maintains a blog for abuse survivors, and she's very, very well-adjusted, considering her back story. She documents her day-to-day recovery, researches the topic thoroughly, and it's always an interesting day when someone on the internet teaches me something.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Battle of An-Nasiriyah

An acquaintance of mine from high school was in this fight and thought I should take a look at this.

I read it, and thought you should read it, too.
The story is taken from the Facebook page of the Battle of An-Nasiriyah Reunion. Monday, March 23, is the anniversary.  Remember, this is when there was a Saddam, and Iraq had an army that wanted to kill them. 

This is neither my story, nor my writing. Trust me, no one with an ounce of sense would let me near a battle zone. I'd probably shoot in the wrong direction.

As this is not my writing, if this gets taken down due to copyright of some sort, don't be shocked.

There will also be swearing. Why? Because this was written by a man who works for a living.

This was one long day from Hell. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

A FANifesto

"We hear that you want to redefine fandom."

Apparently, it has become a thing out on the web to stigmatize anyone "normal."

"Normal" in this case is odd, because this version of normal casts so wide a net that, for the first time in my life, even I come under it.

Basically, if you are a straight white male who does not read "important" science fiction, by the "right" authors, you are not a true science fiction fan.

Oh reeeeeaaaally?

Wait for it ...

Wait for it ...

...

...

ARE YOU PEOPLE F***ING STUPID? WHAT SORT OF ABJECT F***ING MORON EVEN TRIES TO THINK LIKE THIS? ARE YOU BORN BRAIN DEAD, OR DID YOU HAVE TO BE DROPPED ON YOUR HEAD A MILLION TIMES TO BE SO DEVOID OF BRAIN ACTIVITY, AND YET STILL BE ABLE TO OPERATE A KEYBOARD?

*Pant* *Pant* *Pant* *Pant*

Ahem.

As I was saying, this is an idea that is devoid of serious content and thought. It makes one wonder what the author was smoking at the time that he made this particular proclamation.