Friday, November 30, 2012

Pacific Rim just in time for Christmas

I'm so excited! This week Guillermo del Toro started releasing viral videos to help in the marketing of the kaiju fest that is Pacific Rim! OMG you must watch now. And check out the frickin' cool blueprints below. This movie just begs to be made into the greatest roleplaying game ever.
Below you will also find blueprints taken from Screenrant. These are Jaegers. A Jaeger is a gargantuan robot that has two human pilots in the head with one controlling the left hand side and the other controlling the right. The Jaegers are what humans use to fight off the Kaiju in the movie Pacific Rim. And if you don't know what kaiju are, the word means "strange beast" in Japanese and is basically Godzilla, Mothra, and Gamera. You get the picture? You will find my analysis of each Jaeger design in the captions.
ABOVE: The Russian Cherno Alpha. I love the way the head looks. It's
kind of a cross between a cylon helmet and that of a knight's jousting helm
from the Middle Ages, only with huge cannons on the shoulders.
ABOVE: The Japanese Coyote Tango. This looks like a smaller, swifter Jaeger.
My guess is that it is highly maneuverable and we can expect to see some
karate-style moves in this particular robot.
ABOVE: The Chinese Crimson Typhoon. Note the multiple arms. My guess is that this
thing will break loose with some really awesome multiple arm spinning action
and probably flame throwers of some kind. I'm sure Kaiju will not like fire.
ABOVE: The Australian Striker Eureka. This thing is gonna be a massive slice
and dice warrior Jaeger. Just look at those blades on its forearms. Plus the huge
reinforced chest makes me think we'll see some real pro wrestling moves from
this baby.
ABOVE: Finally we have the American Gypsy Danger. It almost looks like the head
can recede into the body. The arms look like they have some kind of missiles in
them. But most of all, my eyes are drawn to that huge dish in the center. I bet
some kind of Death Star super laser comes out of that to totally melt faces.
It's Pacific Rim just in time for Christmas. I hope you are looking forward to this movie as much as me. It's quite possible I may be more excited about this show than I was about Prometheus.

Have a great weekend. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Breaking Dawn concept art looks really damn cool

Okay, I haven't seen Breaking Dawn Part 2 yet in the theater. But it is on my "to do" list along with "Lincoln." I was perusing io9 (one of my favorite websites) and came across this concept art. Those of you who follow and read my blog regularly already know that I like to dabble with art and that I own some art books. So naturally, I clicked on the concept art for the movie, and it looks pretty damn cool.
I tried to read the original "Twilight" book in 2008. I went to the book store across the street and picked up a copy, and I remember really looking forward to it because it had to be an excellent book if so many people loved it. I remember feeling disappointed by it, and I stopped about a third of the way through. But I did go and see the first two movies. One of the things that I liked about Meyer's vampires are their strange powers. I hadn't seen that in other vampire books (aside from what I consider to be normal vampire powers). You do get some of that in Anita Blake but it's more or less reserved for ancient vampires. In Meyer's books, the vampires are more like super heroes, and I think that's just really cool.

My friend went to Twilight with his wife. He tweeted: @MichaelOffutt OMG. I paid for the whole seat #breakingdawn2 but only used the edge!

So have you seen Breaking Dawn 2? What do you think of this concept art? Did you like the way Meyer's vampires have super powers?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In America we are about to have our zen moment

Oh America, as we all head toward the fiscal cliff...the last week or so has left me with a lot to think about regarding the results of the election. Let's see, we have whiners who are signing online secession papers for their state, and the rhetoric from the right that is bent on saying democrats are creating an indebted nation for our young without so much as a nod to the fact that as George W. Bush (Republican President extraordinaire) left office in 2008 with an extraordinary legacy:
  1. A downward financial spiral backed by predatory lending, legally sanctioned greed and pyramid schemes, and an economic policy to comfort the 1%.
  2. An America that was losing 750,000 jobs a month.
  3. An America with a GDP shrinking at 9%.
  4. A stock market collapsing and with it the retirement prospects of millions of people.
  5. An America ripe with Foreclosures and evictions and with whole neighborhoods emptied.
  6. An America caught in a grinding and unnecessary war in Iraq, which killed a hundred thousand Iraquis and 4000 Americans and further plunged us into debt.
  7. An America with Osama Bin Laden still at large.
  8. An America where banks as large as Lehman Brothers flat out died.

Ah but let's just blame all that on Obama, right? Well with the election over and Romney the Plutocrat buried under a landslide of electoral votes that did not go his way, I guess it's time to look at where the money is going to come from to repair some of this damage. Don't mind the dude that got elected campaigning on the fact that he was indeed going to raise taxes on the 2%. It's not like your used to listening to anyone with a different opinion.

However, you should.

Because dear republican, us democrats will keep you grounded in reality. Let's take a look at some of the latest talking points that have occurred this month:

Conservative: Raising taxes on the job creators will destroy America and hurt the economy.

Liberal: This is just a scare tactic. America for 80 years before the Bush era tax cuts had much higher taxes on the rich (capital gains) and a social safety net for the middle class (you can look this up). The Bush era tax cuts treat CEO's like Warren Buffett as if they were an endangered species like the bald eagle. Truth: job creation is never going away. If you have an idea that will make you a million dollars, and you know it for a fact, you will do anything to make that idea a reality because greed is that much of a motivator. If you aren't doing this, you're stupid or you don't have an idea that would pass on Shark Tank. It's okay to not have ideas. Just don't use that as an excuse. Most of America is filled with empty heads when it comes to business anyway. Most of us live mediocre lives. If you are 50 and still dream of making your first million, statistics are against you. Most millionaires do so before the age of 30. Sorry, but that's just how it is. Math hurts sometimes.

Conservative: Papa Johns founder and CEO will lay off workers because Obama has been re-elected because The Affordable Care Act will cost him too much money. 

Liberal: Another scare tactic. The math on what it costs the founder of Papa Johns to cover his workers with health insurance amounts to a million more pizza sales or raising the price a small margin on the cost of the pizzas. And he's giving away 2 million free pizzas in a commercial advertisement with Peyton Manning, anyway. The truth of this "claim" is that if the "job creator" of Papa Johns could outsource ALL of the pizza jobs to China, he would have already done so, and it would be called "Papa Sans."

Conservative: Hostess was killed by the greedy unions who are now besieging Wal-Mart, the great institution of American capitalism. Unions have a clear socialist agenda.

Liberal: Socialist? No. Unions are comprised of people who are tired of living on food stamps and eating Top Ramen and being forced to work on Thanksgiving, which is a nationally recognized holiday. Also, let's not forget the recent factory fire in Bangledesh that killed 150 people making garments for Wal-Mart. Maybe they could have used a union, and children who are now orphaned would still have parents. And when we look at Hostess, let's examine what really happened. Hostess had eight CEO's in the past ten years (bad management perhaps?). Hostess faced a continuous and significant decline as moms (yes you women out there) made a healthy choice to stop stuffing Twinkies in your kids lunch box and to opt for food fare that didn't include ingredients used in rocket fuel (yes Twinkies have this in them). Additionally, the last CEO of Hostess took a 300% increase to his wage after getting the union to accept a wage cut, dropping most of their workers to only $35,000 a year (which in my opinion is unacceptable). And then they wanted to cut even more out of the equation. Really? I suppose if that had gone through and the company didn't tank, the CEO would have wanted another raise.

My point (yes I do have one): I hope that there will be improved discourse between conservatives and liberals during Obama's second term. And stop with the secessionist talks. You lost. I didn't speak secession when my candidate Al Gore got defeated by yours in 2000 (even with all the fishy poll results in Ohio). Nope, I said he's my president even if I didn't vote for him. And then sat back and watched him proceed to financially rape our country.

Both parties need each other, even though we may hate what the other person is saying. Through open communication across the aisle, we may even find the best course to direct our country. But none of that can happen if people continue to be angry and shut their ears to what the other person is saying. Republicans and democrats are yin and yang, forever circling each other, and I think that is how it is supposed to be. In America, we are about to have our zen moment.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My prediction regarding the Iron Throne of Westeros

With the calendar about to turn to a new year in just a few short weeks, season 3 of "A Game of Thrones" really isn't all that far off. Recently io9 ran an article on the characters least likely to sit on the Iron Throne by the time Martin pens the last page of A Whisper of Spring which is tentatively the title for the last book (following The Winds of Winter due to hit shelves in 2015). So I'm taking my argument to you, dear readers, who are also fans of Martin's epic fantasy saga.
Daenerys Targaryen
My prediction: Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow.

Why? Daenerys is the last of the Targaryens, she is the blood of the dragon, and I think the coming of the dragons is going to be instrumental in the war against the Others (the White Walkers). And I think Jon Snow is a Targaryen. I think there's plenty of evidence written subtly into the narrative penned by Martin to suggest that Lord Eddard Stark could never be unfaithful to his wife. He was just too much of a goodie two-shoes that the whole "I'm a cheater" thing is really bothering me. I think that Jon's mother could possibly be Lyanna (who Robert Baratheon loved very much) and who was kidnapped by Rhaegar (called the mad king). What if the mad king raped her, and she bore a child, Jon, and then forced her brother, Eddard, to raise the child as his own upon her death bed and to protect him so that no one would know he was a Targaryen?
Jon "You know nothing" Snow
Why it would be the greatest kept secret in Westeros. And that, I think, is brilliant.

So this is what I see happening. The kingdoms softened up by warring with each other no longer have the strength to withstand the White Walkers. The White Walkers march all over them with an army of wights at their back and keep heading south. The North falls. Then Daenerys shows up with her dragons and arms the men with dragon glass weapons and the might of old Valyria. And because Targaryens are known to intermarry, Daenerys and Jon Snow hook up and take the Iron Throne as king and queen.

And that is my prediction regarding the Iron Throne of Westeros. Thoughts anyone?

It kind of gives me goosebumps thinking that this may be what Martin is doing.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Analysis of The Walking Dead Season 3 Thus Far

"The Walking Dead" continuously surprises me. I used to think that any story in a zombie apocalypse could never be extended into a series because the monsters are one-dimensional. Boy was I wrong. The way in which Kirkman and his team of writers have developed this world for AMC is nothing short of genius. With the mid-season finale looming just a week away, season 3 has made me understand through subtlety so many things about a zombie apocalypse that truly make it an "end of the world" scenario.  Here's my analysis of high points we have witnessed thus far and what they mean to me:
In "When The Dead Come Knocking", Michonne finally meets Rick because she walks
up to the chain link gate carrying baby formula in a shopping basket in the midst of a
herd of zombies who can't see her because she is dressed in zombie blood and gore. It's
a chilling scene to see a woman so calmly approach the gate and to be so comfortable
around the reanimated dead. Verdict: Michonne may be the most insane person the zombie
apocalypse has ever produced and thus, the most suited to survive.
1) The introduction of Michonne and the Governor, Rick losing his mind, the psychopath Merle, and the sociopath in Carl (Rick's son). My analysis: If you are normal like you and me, you cannot survive the apocalypse. Only people who are insane survive the end of the world, because insanity is the only psychological trait that is capable of dealing with legions of the undead. If you live for any length of time...if you are not insane, you will become insane. You can't escape it.

2) The death of Lori in childbirth. This was more  horrific than T-Dog's death, and it showed how far society has fallen. Women have not had to worry about death from childbirth for nearly a century. But throughout human history, it was a problem. Well with the episode that featured Lori's death, it's back and it's here to stay. Welcome to the stone ages again. The message to all women in the zombie apocalypse: getting pregnant just may be a death sentence.
In season one, this group didn't handle zombies well at all. There was lots
of panicking, screaming, and running. Now they don't even kill zombies if
the zombies are moving too slow. They don't even bother. They're treated
with the same indifference as a fly buzzing around. The ability to see such
things as merely a part of the scenery is disturbing because it's like they
no longer care or are shocked by anything.
3) The reanimation. In season one, the CDC showed us through sophisticated computer technology that the reanimation occurred shortly after death, and that nothing of the former person remained. Yet, we also saw in season one that Morgan's wife turned the knob to their door as if she remembered her home even though she was one of the walking dead. Then in last night's episode, a scientist was trying to discover if a newly reanimated zombie would remember either its name or recall a picture of his family. These kinds of questions, though unanswered to this point, seem to beg of a greater existential one: why is this happening and what exactly is a zombie? Is it a new form of life? Or is it truly an undead creation with no memory of its past life? I also think it may have to do with religion. More humans have souls? And if they do and something is left behind, then what does that say about an afterlife? Maybe it says there is no afterlife at all for any of us and that a person's soul could remain earthbound in a rotting corpse forever.

It's been a fascinating series. I'll be sorry to see it go on hiatus for a few weeks until it starts up again in either January or February 2013.

In other news, did you purchase your PowerBall ticket? I happened to be in Idaho over Thanksgiving weekend and since they (unlike Utah) sell PowerBall, I bought a ticket. Biggest jackpot ever. May the best ticket win. Boy, would $425 million be a real life changer or what!

Have a great Monday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Giving thanks from a serial narcissist

I made this turkey for you.

"Really?" you might say. "It's wonderful. I'll pin it on my fridge or display it on my door."

Even though I'm only eight, it makes me smile because it's the right thing to do. But in reality, I expect it, because let's face it, I cut colored paper up like no one's business. And my turkey is better than anyone else's turkey.

Here's a news flash for you. Nothing has changed between those days and now. I see right through you so don't even hide.

If you're a're like me. You started by making perfect cut-out turkeys in your grade school class. That's how it starts. That's how you get indoctrinated into the system and told you're special. It's the other kids that ride the short bus.

Now that you're older, you drink chai or chocolate because either is the moniker of a sophisticated snob. But saying "chai" just makes you sound sophisticated. "Chocolate" doesn't have that effect.  You can thank Halloween for that because people give it away free to kids who dress up as a cow. There's no prestige in cows. Gateway has it all wrong.

You should thank a billion people in India for that. There's no sophistication to drinking chai in India as people consume it while wearing rags and riding on top of the train instead of inside it. But here in America, Starbucks can charge you $4.00 for a 20 ounce cup. Did you ever bother to ask yourself what $4 could buy you in India?
Liquid validation of your greatness.

No. Because you're a sophisticated snob like me. A morning for you, dear writer, upon the expectation of someone reading your words and leaving a comment may cause you to 'dirty' yourself. The brisk winds of winter usher in that crucial moment where you stare at the sign and say, "Not the usual chai today. I'm getting the chai charger (code for dirty chai)." All because the fifteen minutes you spent primping your hair is now ruined. COULD THIS DAY GET ANY WORSE?!

"Really?" asks the helpful coffee barrista (I like that word. It sounds so much better than clerk). "That's so...daring."

"I'm enslaved by nanowrimo and still have to stuff my turkey. I need 'daring.' It's a no holds barred day."

"What's a nanowrimo?"


Wait. Calm yourself. This person doesn't get you. If the wind hadn't ruined your perfectly-coifed hair, you'd answer. "I'm writing a novel," you smile and say.  And then you go to the restroom to fix your hair while annoying person makes your chai charger.

But maybe it's not as simple as a wonderful blend of cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. Maybe what you really want is Tazo because (and let's be honest) it's the best and you only deserve the best. That's why you own an iPhone. Because Apple tells you it's the best with their commercials and commercials never lie. And as for that clerk! They'd better not skimp on the espresso or you'll mooch even more off their WiFi access!

Revenge is a chai best served cold and on ice cubes and in a cup made from recycled plastic. I think Shakespeare said that.

But, and God forbid, what if it's a peppermint mocha day. The combination of refreshing mint and sweet chocolate in a red cup that tells you, "Yes, it is indeed Christmas. Ho Ho Ho and all that, lass." Because let's face it. You're a narcissist and you wouldn't know the season unless your publicist told you what season it was. And you don't need to be rich to have a publicist. If you know where to slum, you can get one for thirty bucks who can spell your last name right half the time. But you get what you pay for, and that's America!

So from one writer to you (who I expect to read everything I write, who I expect to purchase my books and shower praise upon me with five stars) have a great Thanksgiving!

I'll be back on Monday. Until then, frequent your Starbucks, down your chai and chocolate, conquer your nanowrimo, and remember the mantra of every writer: "My colored paper turkey is better than yours, and you better post it on your sidebar, dammit!"

And maybe think of a blogfest or two that nobody needs.

Adieu :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Another picture of Jordan from Oculus and my first Oculus review

This weekend I didn't feel like writing so I drew another picture of Jordan from Oculus. I have no idea what kind of background to use, and I absolutely suck at backgrounds so it may stay this way for a while. If you look at my other art, it's usually a wall or some trees (because trees are easy). I just didn't want to draw trees. I really need to try and expand my absolute hatred of all things scenery. It's just...I HATE DRAWING SCENERY. It's soooo boring. But I know I anchors the picture.

I sooo need a partnership with someone like Rusty Webb who can whip up the most amazing landscapes and backgrounds.

Anyway, this picture came of me desiring two things. I wanted to put slight freckles on Jordan's skin. I thought they turned out great. I also wanted to satisfy my leather jacket fetish. I loved doing the leather jacket! It was so much fun. And note, I even colored his teeth and put texture on the cuff of his right arm from the dress shirt he's wearing under the jacket.

I don't know why I can spend hours drawing a guy and all of his clothes, but I absolutely dread the background. It's another reason why I'll never be a real artist.

If you think of a background that might be cool to try, you should let me know. I just...don't want to do trees. He should be indoors, because he's barefoot.

This drawing was done using coloring pencil on illustration board. You may pin it, or use it if you like. Just give me credit.

Oculus also got reviewed. You can read it for yourself HERE.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dear Munk Davis Oh How I Miss You

Today is the Oh, How I Miss You blogfest hosted by Andrew Leon, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and Matthew MacNish.

The bloggers we really miss…
and the ones we would really miss!
Do you have a couple blogger buddies who aren’t posting as often? Those who’ve pulled back and seem absent from the blogging world? Do you have blogger buddies you are grateful they are still around and would miss if they vanished? Now is your chance to show your appreciation and spotlight them!
On November 16, list one to three bloggers you really miss and one to three bloggers you would miss if they stopped blogging. Then go leave a comment on those blogs.
Our blogger friends are special – time to let them know! 
Okay then! With that in mind, I want to say that I miss Munk Davis. You can find his blog HERE. I don't remember how I found Munk, but I instantly liked his avatar with the cooky hat that he wore and the fact that he was a chemical engineer. I took three years of chemical engineering before I went into something else. I feel like I have a kinship with this Oregonian, even though we've never met.

And he has an astounding sense of humor. It really shines through in his writing (which I got to beta-read). I hope he gets busy and publishes the thing. "Booker" is such an unusual name.

As for bloggers I would miss, there are so many. So I'm just going to say all of you. I would miss all of And I hope you continue to be a part of the online community.

Cheers to the three men above who came up with this blogfest.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Blog Fests Still Looking for More People

First up, I wanted to talk about the "Merry Christmas to All" blog fest that my friend, Briane Pagel, is trying to put together.

You can find the sign up for this blog fest/ original post HERE.

In a nutshell (because Briane is incredibly long winded about anything he writes), authors who sign up for his blog fest agree to:

1) Choose one week day (Monday thru Friday) either on November 23rd or any day following (up to and including Christmas Eve).

2) On your chosen day, you write a post that has something to do with the holidays. You also give away one free ebook to someone who comments or is chosen through some other means. You can do the giveaway through a rafflecopter thing or whatever.

3) Do your best to spread the word about the other books being given away, either in your post, or on days when you are not posting.

I would never consider Briane's rules to be super strict as he's a big squishy soft guy that is a lawyer who tries to legalese everything. The important thing is to try and participate, which I hope you do because you all write such great books and people need to hear about them :).
Please remember that tomorrow is the "Oh How I Miss You" blogfest. This one is hosted by Andrew Leon, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and Matthew MacNish. They don't need nearly as much help as poor Briane's fest does. Briane's only has four people which means the "blog fest" is gonna be really short, especially since we all just read each other's books anyway. Sign up for the "Oh, How I Miss You" blogfest on Alex's blog HERE.

Have a great Thursday.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

If I channel David Sedaris maybe I can understand

If I channel David Sedaris, maybe I can understand why some people do the things that they do. I can finally understand why we have sales opening on Thanksgiving or why people get mad at saying Xmas when the entire notion of punching someone in the face under a banner that reads "Christmas" to get an LED television that's 70% off, isn't any better.

Or any more in the spirit of "Christmas."

Maybe I can understand why a critic would choose to "criticize" when they haven't actually read the thing their critiquing. People say all kinds of things about the Affordable Care Act. But when I ask them if they've visited to read it, they say no. They don't have the time. But they critique it nonetheless.

Maybe I could understand why, even if I put on an elf hat and a green suit and stood next to a candy cane in a shopping mall, I wouldn't be an elf. I'd just be a creepy fat guy in a green suit. And I'd understand Christmas even less. Elves don't get Christmas. Elves were invented by department stores to sell stuff. That's the only reason they exist.

People will say, "that's not Christmas, that's just people being nasty." But you're wrong. You can stick your head in the sand if you want to.  It is Christmas. The holiday is totally that, and it gets worse every year. Democrats have been called socialists. I always wondered what a socialist looked like.  So what does a capitalist look like? Well, capitalists look like the day after Thanksgiving in a Wal-Mart store. That's Christmas, and you can hear the cash register bell ringing like a sleigh bell with a ho ho ho. Half the people will buy things that come with instructions. They won't read them. Instead they'll leave bad reviews on Amazon.

"I write and don't read," one of them might say.

"Oh really?" I ask. "What are you writing?"

"A critique of your book. I give it 2 stars because I just can't bring myself to give it 1.5."

"How generous of you.  Is there more?  I'm curious what you didn't like?"

"I don't like your character, Jason."

"You mean Jordan.  It's Jordan Pendragon," I say. "His name is in there hundreds of times."

"And I didn't like how you pulled off the time travel parts," expert critic adds.

"There's no time travel in my book. There's no time travel on the blurb or the synopsis."

"Actually this is the worst time travel book I've ever read. And why do you refer to hockey as ice hockey?" opinioned person asks.

"Because in America we have field hockey. I want to make sure people who aren't Canadian know the difference. And there's no time travel in my book."

*Snorts. "Why did you market this book as time travel? Jason Pendragon uses too many drugs. Kids don't use drugs. You should write that instead. And they don't have sex either.  What an unbelievable book."

"His name is Jordan. It's not Jason. You didn't read the book, did you?"

"I can't say I'll read any more. Saga of Jason Pendragon doesn't interest me. Lucky it was a free book. 1.5 stars. Too many other books to read."

Yeah, so maybe I could understand if I channeled David Sedaris. Or maybe not. Or maybe some people are just jerks who don't read anymore because they're too busy writing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A day late to the Renaissance Fair, but who's counting

I'm one day late to the party, but better late than never I say.

The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear by M. Pax definitely seems to be heading in a different direction from Mary's usual offerings. I've read one of her books, a pretty hard hitting science-fiction, and I really liked it. Here's what it's about:

A New Adult Urban Fantasy, The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear is the first book in a new series. And it’s out now! The main character, Hetty, is a 22-year-old stumbling about in an effort to become a full-fledged adult. She struggles with self-esteem, weight, relationships, and making the transition between college and the real world.

Graduation from community college isn’t the magic elixir Hetty Locklear counts on for becoming an adult. Her parents, who work the Renaissance fair circuit, insist she spend part of the summer with them. Hetty doubts pretending to live in the Middle Ages will help her find her way.
To make it worse, an entity haunts her at her dead-end job, warning her of a dangerous man she doesn’t know. The ghost leads her to a lover who has a lot of secrets. He pulls her farther into peril and into a strange, hidden world of genetic experimentation.

New Adult Urban Fantasy with a contemporary sci-fi twist. Mature content.

Available as an ebook at Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords / iTunes / Kobo
Visit for more links.

M. Pax is celebrating her latest release with a jousting tournament and contest at Cheer for the knights to help them win the grand prize, and you’ll be put in a drawing to win an ebook copy of The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear. Five will be given away. Huzzah!
Have a great Tuesday and stop by to wish Mary a happy release day :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

I'm drawing characters. This time it's Andy.

Because it was so snowy outside my window this weekend here in Utah, I decided to finish a pencil drawing I started a month or so ago of Andy Callahan who makes his appearance in "Oculus." So this is what I think he looks like. In the last third of the book, there's a part where Jordan spends Thanksgiving with Andy at his parent's home in the Hamptons, which is surrounded by woods. It snows and interesting things happen. And yes, I really like writing about the children of the 1% (because let's face it peeps...the 1% live a lifestyle I will never know).

Thanks for all the support regarding the "Oculus" cover reveal. For those of you who indicated interest in being part of my blog tour, I sent all your contact information to my publicist, Roxanne Rhoades, who is helping me set it up. I just got overwhelmed with individual emails, the book getting plopped in my lap, and planning my business trip to the Consumer Electronics Show on January 5th.

Between that and trying to figure out what to do, I just realized I could use some assistance. Roxanne previously helped Ciara Knight which made me think, if Ciara got help from this lady that's good enough for me. Plus she was uber affordable. I was like, "OMG, I spend that kind of money on one meal out with friends. So totally worth it."

So if you get an email from Roxanne about scheduling, please don't toss it. She's just helping me. Things are super busy at work too. And look at it this way, with her helping me, my visiting to your blogs shouldn't diminish because I'll have time to do so now. :)

Thanks everyone. Have a great Monday.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Oculus is here

So this is my cover. It's full of creepy crawlies. And seeing that you've probably already viewed it by now on my sidebar or through the tab above, I wanted to offer a little explanation of what's going on here. The cover does fit the book. Even if you may be scratching your head and thinking...can Mike really write about spiders
this much? Yes, yes I can. So here's the scene that this cover actually reflects (although it is a symbolic cover and not an actual scene as taken from the book):

(Kolin and Kathy in front of a computer terminal,
and Kolin tells Kathy to start a video they both can watch)

Kathy did as instructed.  A video started up, showing an individual approaching the front of the building.  He wore a long cloak, but his face was unmistakable.  Charon possessed skin as transparent as glass.  He had silver eyes and deep red hair that flowed down from his scalp and swept over his shoulders to fall in the darkness behind his hood.  As he walked forward, he parted his cloak, and Kolin saw the redness of Charon’s heart, beating under all that transparent skin, supplying blood to the demigod’s limbs so that he may live.
From inside the flap of his coat, millions of glass spiders emerged and washed across the black asphalt like a glittering flash flood.  Charon directed them like Poseidon must command the waves of the ocean.  They blazed with their own silver light and swarmed over cars, benches, and lampposts, scurrying toward the front of the building.  Guards at the doors pulled out pistols and shot off a few rounds but were quickly overwhelmed by the spiders.  These tiny arachnids with gears visible on the inside of their glass skin spun silver thread about the struggling humans, encasing them, and then proceeded to drill into their heads, lacing their brains with microfilament fiber optic wire.
The video had no sound so Kolin couldn’t hear the screaming.  But he could see the men and women shrieking.  He watched.  His skin got clammy under his armor; his mouth dried of spit.  Despite the fact that the wounds inflicted by the spiders were small, blood flowed over the floor as thick and sticky as syrup.
The spiders continued their march and entered the building, cocooning anyone they came across.  The millions of tiny creatures were unstoppable, like a deadly tide, and they crawled over everything, leaving threads of blinking light that flowed into Charon’s body.  People fell in the lobby and became enshrouded in webs.  They collapsed in doorways or in the chairs in which they sat.  Meanwhile, Charon just continued to cackle and smile with glee.
So what's going on with the cover. Well, the color red is very important to the book. The team that Jordan plays on is called "The Big Red" and its colors are red and white.  Jordan plays ice hockey so the spiders are walking on what could be construed as glass or ice. Blood on the ice is an important theme in this book, hence the blood droplets underneath the spiders. So in a way, the cover is perfect for the story and they definitely look like a part of the same series. I wasn't sure if I quite liked it, but it's growing on me. What do you think?

The book did go on sale today. Go HERE for purchasing options.

A FAVOR ==> If you are looking for an idea for a post (I'm not asking for any special treatment), could you just mention the cover in a snippet either today or tomorrow?

I'm not blogging tomorrow so I'll see you Monday.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thanking the Resurrected Insecure Reader Support Group Wednesday

Dear reader,

This is my time to say thank you to the many people who have taken the time to read my words. I appreciate you because you invested time in me. Without you, I would still think I had no voice. I would still feel invisible. In many ways, my life is greatly improved for having and keeping this blog.I feel like I am now part of an amazing community of the most intelligent and diverse minds in the world. Even if we disagreed either politically or ideologically, the intelligent discourses that we have engaged upon either on your blogs or through mine has been an entertaining experience, and I look forward to many more in 2013. I am thankful to you, dear reader, for everything that you do.

"The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude." Friedrich Nietzsche

This blog fest is the brain child of Tara and Vicki. You can visit their blogs by clicking on their names in the previous sentence. :)


Now onto my second blogfest which also happens on a Wednesday. Many of you are familiar with it, as Alex Cavanaugh came up with it and truthfully, I think it's the most brilliant blog fest ever for three reasons. 1) Simplicity. 2) It re-occurs. 3) It's helpful. Alex, my man, you are a genius.
My insecurity comes about mostly this week because I'm wondering when exactly to start a blog tour for my next book. Deron with Double Dragon Publishing gave me my cover art this week. I wasn't expecting it. And truthfully, I don't think he really was expecting to tackle it. Deron is kind of random. He focuses 100% on getting the book to where it can be bought online. That's where his responsibility ends. And, he has tons of projects to do, because as you all know, everyone is writing (this is a good thing in my opinion because writing encourages critical thinking). Literally, DDP has posted on their website that they will probably not get to new submissions until 2014. I said to him, "I have no problem in waiting my turn. Do not give me any special favors." He responded by saying he'd probably get to it in the spring.

Something obviously happened between then and now, because he just got excited about it and is going to publish it this week. I haven't even had time to think about sending out review copies. But none of that matters anyway because the only people that are going to read it are people who have read the first book. No one I know dives into a series in the second book. No one.

Anyway, with regard to publishing Oculus, it hasn't quite happened yet because there were "issues" with the equation editor that I use in Microsoft Word (yes, my book has math in it). However, before you, dear reader, let out a groan...Donna Hole (beta reader extraordinaire) had me remove all the calculus. She said in pretty blunt words "THIS HAS GOT TO GO." And I said, "Yes ma'am." No calculus at all remains. It is simply one square root equation and one polynomial that Jordan explains fully in the narrative. It's easy stuff that we all learn in fifth grade.

Now, my insecurity isn't that I won't have support from bloggers for a tour. It's that I can't make a decision. THIS is one of the things that really does paralyze me. I AGONIZE over decisions. I've been living in an apartment for four years because I can't decide on where I want to live, or what kind of house I want. Seriously. I'm driving an old car because I can't decide if I want a new one or not. I sometimes can't decide whether or not I should go to a doctor. Right now, I can't decide whether I want my blog tour to start in December or January.

Now, I AM going to have some help from a professional marketer/publicist. I've been communicating with her and really like the fact that she'll be helping my scatterbrained mind to stay organized. I may seem organized on this blog, but if you knew me in real life, you'd know how scatterbrained and "not together" I really am.

I may decide to do some in December and some in January and skip over the dead space between Christmas and New Years. But no matter what, I have a decision to make.

If you would like to see my cover art, you can find it on the tab OCULUS BLOG TOUR above or just click on those caps. If any of you are reading this and would like a free blog post (sometimes we could all use one of these), I'd appreciate a cover reveal on your blog whenever you'd like. The book isn't commercially available yet, but I expect it to be on Friday. You can find the blurb HERE under the words "Short Synopsis." I myself am doing a cover reveal tomorrow just because it's Thursday and it's the first day this week that I don't have anything scheduled.

This is the last blog fest I'm participating in that also falls on today. It is the brain child of Mina Lobo, a fantastic and supportive author from the blog "Some Dark Romantic." Please go visit her and check out some of the blog fest entries if you have the time.

I wrote a post in the first year that I started blogging. It's about exclamation points, and you can find it HERE. It still gets quite a few views but not any new comments. I promise, it's really funny if you go and take a look.

Whew...I think I survived "Thanking the Resurrected Insecure Reader Support Group Wednesday".

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Monsters in fiction need to make sense. Wisdom from author L. Blankenship

I am pleased to welcome author L. Blankenship to my blog. I discovered Ms. Blankenship a few months ago. She's a fantastic speculative fiction author, and I have to say that I've been zooming through this offering of hers like a kid through cotton candy. Perhaps next week, I'll have a review for you. Until then, please read what she has to say :).



The saints favor her, else-wise a peasant girl like Kate Carpenter would never be apprenticed to the kingdom’s master healer. But her patron saint also marks her ready for the duty of tending to a mission that must cross the ice-bound mountains.
Their little kingdom faces invasion by a vast empire and desperately needs allies; across the snow-filled pass, through the deathly thin air, is a country that’s held off the empire and may be willing to lend an army.

Kate knows about frostbite and the everyday injuries of wilderness travel. She can heal those.

She’s not ready for the attentions of a ne’er-do-well knight and the kingdom’s only prince, though.

And she isn’t ready for the monsters that harry them night and day, picking off their archers first, wearing the party to exhaustion, pushing Kate beyond the limits her healing abilities.

She must keep them alive, or her blood will be on the snow too.


The monsters that Kate and her companions face are unsettlingly smart and organized. The cover story to keep their mission secret is that they're on a hunting trip to thin these monsters' numbers. Who's thinning whose numbers becomes a going question once the travelers are worn to exhaustion.

They call the monsters lamia. The lamia are wolves who've grown up drinking the magic-laced waters of a fount -- it changes them into something more dangerous. But lamia are still part of the local ecology and however intelligent they are, they still need to "make sense."

Any fantasy world that includes monsters, whether it's dragons or unicorns or invented creatures like my wolf-lamia, ought to take basic ecology into consideration. Even monsters need to eat and raise their young. They need places to sleep and everyday lives to go about.

It's a personal peeve of mine that in so many movies, our hero goes into a forest/jungle/desert and immediately trips over a large predator who has nothing better to do today than chase a random human around. This is usually fatal for the predator, too. It's a senseless and annoying trope IMO.

Author photo of L. Blankenship
I asked myself some basic questions, when I was creating my lamia:

  • What do they normally eat? Why are humans on the menu? My answer: they eat deer and elk, normally. But most humans are easy to kill, especially children. It's the ones with bows you have to look out for. 
  • What ordinary animal are they filling in for? My answer: wolves, bears, and cougars all at once. An area can only support a limited number of predators, and my lamia fill all those niches.
  • What are their motivations for approaching humans? My answer: they are defending their territory, especially the magical fount. They know humans are competition for both the fount and for prey in the stretch of forest the lamia claim.  

What questions would you add to my list?

Find L. Blankenship at the following places:

And you can find her on GOODREADS located HERE.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The politics of revenge in a zombie apocalypse

SPOILER ALERT -- This blog post discusses season 3, episode 4 entitled "The Killer Within" from "The Walking Dead."

In the image above is Andrew from Season 3 of The Walking Dead and from the comic book of the same name. Those of you who have followed my blog for some time know I periodically like to talk about story elements present within the shows that I watch. Aside from being another nail-biting episode, upon finishing, I had questions about the moral nature of man and the idea of screwing over your fellow man in a zombie apocalypse for no good reason.

Primarily...what I wanted to know is why?

Screwing over your fellow man has never really made sense to me in any science fiction drama that features terrible creatures that will eat you. Burke did it in the movie Aliens and when I watch the movie, I still wonder why. Was Burke insane? Did he not see what the alien xenomorph did to humans. It has got to be one of the most gruesome fates ever imagined.

A zombie apocalypse isn't much better.

With Andrew, he had to run for his life from Rick after his nefarious plot (along with inmate Tomas) was exposed and they tried to kill Rick. Rick chased him to a zombie infested yard where Rick slammed the door shut on Andrew. The last thing we heard were Andrew's chilling screams.

Well, we learned Sunday night that Andrew survived without getting bit and somehow made it to a safe place where the zombies couldn't get to him. Now, if that were me (and trust me...there'd be long odds that I could ever survive one day in a zombie apocalypse) I would count my lucky stars, use the skills that I have to obviously survive multiple zombies, and go into the wild and look for a place where I could find food and shelter away from people that want to kill me. Perhaps I could find another group of survivors that could take me in if I showed them that I could be a good person with valuable survival skills.

But this isn't what Andrew does. He gets back into the prison with the intent to screw over Rick and his crew. Doesn't he realize that each time he encounters the zombies that he is risking his life? Why would you ever do that given that the zombies could kill you and the people you are screwing over can kill you? I would be terrified of both. And he literally gets an entire herd of zombies all riled up by blasting the alarm at the prison. This can only end one way.

So why would a person do that? And does it seem just a little unbelievable? Like maybe they needed to establish that the character was a lunatic before going down this road? Or do you think it's perfectly reasonable that a man on his own (that should feel lucky just to be alive in such a cruel world) would turn from thoughts of survival and focus on those of revenge against people who failed to kill him?

I look forward to finding out what you think regarding revenge in settings where the stakes for your very survival are extremely high to begin with, much less inviting wrath from another front.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Laura Diamond and New Pride

Everyone please welcome author Laura Diamond. She's excited about her new book and wants to tell you all about it :)

New town, new love, new terror.

It’s here! My prequel novelette, NEW PRIDE, releases today. I’m SO stoked for it to run wild in the world.

NEW PRIDE was born from my upcoming novel, SHIFTING PRIDE (coming December 7, 2012!). In SHIFTING PRIDE, the main character, Nickie, searches for her missing father, Richard…and NEW PRIDE is all about Richard’s journey to independence and new love.


A shape-shifter without a pride, Richard Leone strikes a tenuous friendship with power hungry Derek from an unstable, rogue group. On a hunt in the forest, they encounter a gorgeous brunette, Molly, partying with friends around a campfire. Derek tells the rogue pride and they bristle at humans trespassing on their territory. Richard risks life and tail to protect his secret and the humans—especially Molly—while simultaneously trying to win her heart. When Molly is kidnapped, he faces taking on the rogue pride alone, but quickly finds he has to put his trust in Derek, not only to rescue his new love, but to ensure the rogue pride doesn’t wreak havoc on his new town.

Author Laura Diamond:

Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist and author of all things young adult paranormal, dystopian, horror, and middle grade. Her short story, City of Lights and Stone, is in the Day of Demons anthology by Anachron Press (April 2012) and her apocalyptic short story, Begging Death is in the Carnage: Life After the End anthology by Sirens Call Publication (coming late 2012). Her debut young adult paranormal romance, SHIFTING PRIDE, is coming December 2012 by Etopia Press. When she's not writing, she is working at the hospital, blogging at Author Laura Diamond--Lucid Dreamer , and renovating her 225+ year old fixer-upper mansion. She is also full-time staff member for her four cats and a Pembroke Corgi named Katie.
A bonus:

I will be giving away copies of NEW PRIDE to several lucky fans! Please click the link below and fill out the form on my fan page to enter.

Thanks! >>>> LINK TO GIVEAWAY <<<<

Buy New Pride today on Amazon HERE for $2.99.

How to find Laura Diamond on the web:

And now, you get to see the author in the flesh talking about her work. Grab a drink, click play, and listen.

In The DM Zone—Talking about SHIFTING PRIDE

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Five things I don't want to see in the new Star Wars films

So the Star Wars/Disney deal is big news and my mental preparation includes a list of things that I hope Lucasfilm will not do in episodes 7, 8, and 9. I have a lot of faith in producer Kathleen Kennedy, as her name is on every single Spielberg film going back to pretty much Jaws. That is a resume of pure excellence that hardly anyone in my mind could top. Still, I do have five suggestions. Could we not have:

1) A romance in the middle episode of the trilogy. You can't dispute that Star Wars is pretty formulaic. The first in the trilogy is the introduction to the characters wherein they fight something evil and triumph with all happy faces to closing credits of John Williams iconic score. But the middle episode has always dripped with gushy romance. Empire had it first and then it continued with "Attack of the Clones." I say break with the formula. Of course, audiences could expect it by now so who am I to complain?

2) Can we not screw over the "extended universe." There's this word that floats around the sci-fi world. It's called "Canon", and it refers to the material that is officially endorsed within the Star Wars universe. Anything that is an outlier, gets kaboshed with the phrase "That's not canon." So if something in a Star Wars comic book or novel gets crushed by the words "not canon" then what the hell is it? I suppose "made up" would suffice. But then, isn't the whole thing "made up?" The whole "that's not canon" is just irritating. The Alien franchise is awash with this as movies like Alien vs. Predator get proclaimed "not canon." It just seems to me to be something that a nerd uses to dismiss the contributions of another that are viewed publicly as piss-poor.

3) Can we get new actors/actresses for Leia, Han, and Luke? I really do not want to see their old asses playing these parts. Harrison Ford looked like he was about to die in Cowboys and Aliens and don't get me started on Mark Hamill. He looks like Roger Moore does (remember James Bond)? My suspension of disbelief can only go so far and this pic of Roger just makes me cringe. We all gonna age and age sucks. Hollywood is definitely not immune.
4) Can merchandising not include Princess Leia and Queen Amidala as "Disney Princesses."

5) Disney please please please do not take on Michael Bay as a director even if he begs and pleads. Just imagine "Star Wars Transformers." No No No No No. And please no Megan Fox or that awful Kate Beckinsale. Every movie either of these women is in sucks the big one all the way home. They are terrible.
One of the worst directors ever. Sorry,
money does not equate skill or intelligence.
It just means "you're rich."
I think if we steer clear of these things, I shall be a happy movie goer. I have to admit, I'm excited about Disney taking control of this franchise. As much as I liked episodes 1-3 (I have watched them several times), I think they could have been better. Almost in the role of a beta-reader, I would have made suggestions if possible. For example, I would have cut the Jar Jar character and redone Darth Maul so that he had more speaking parts and more of his back story on display. I would have hired a different child actor for the boy that played Anakin. Oy...he was terrible.

But I wasn't a beta reader for Lucas so all that's a moot point. What Lucas came up with (in my opinion) was still really good but it could have been better.

Having seen what Disney has done with Marvel's movies really blows me away. So I expect HUGE HUGE things. I expect to have directors like Joss Whedon or J.J. Abrams. Just Michael Bay. Transformers makes my brain melt out of my ears.

And that my friends is all I have to say on that.

If you didn't visit Mary's blog yesterday, I was a guest on Spacedock 19. I talked about Japanese Kaiju and it was awesome. Read about it HERE.

Have a great Thursday.