Monday, September 30, 2013


Through fire is the will of the maker enforced, shaping the metal into a blade of dangerous intent.  Rhythmic hammer blows may be accompanied by chant or incantation or blessing to infuse the newly crafted weapon with specific magic or other supernatural purpose, especially if hands beyond those of mortals are involved.  Air is breathed into the forge, fueling the flame and infusing the weapon with spirit.

And make no mistake, it is a weapon.  Call it nothing less.  It is no mere tool, brought into being for myriad function and adapted to combat.  The sword is a weapon, decisive and fearsome, edged for cutting and pointed for stabbing.  It is the one and only thing it was created to be.  The metal of the blade is chosen for its strength so that it may easily destroy tender, yielding flesh.  For thousands of years, man has been resigned to fighting his own kind.

Water is introduced to the fusion of elements, tempering the blade against stress with the fluid's cooling stability.  In its own ways, water is as mystical as fire and it is a special strength it shares with the sword.

Feared or hated by goblin, demon, shade and beast, whether supernatural or mundane, spawn of the dark or the light, none crave the blade's keen bite.  Inscribed with arcane symbols, imbued with the spirit of its wielder or ornamented with rarest gems, magic will only make the weapon more formidable.  In fact, the most ready counter to any sword, enchanted or otherwise, seems ever to be another sword.

Was your weapon custom-made or forged by means beyond mortal ken, perhaps an immortal's gift from another realm, fat with the weight of its destiny.  Draw forth your terrible blade, polish it bright and let others cringe before its shining menace and feel its awesome power.

Off the top of my head, of the many exotic personal weapons appearing in character hands throughout CHILD OF FIRE AND BLOOD, more than half of them are enchanted swords.  Face it, they're tough to get away from.  Do you have a favorite sword, magic or not, that holds a special place in your psyche?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

17152--Should You Choose to Accept It

The time is here.  So I'm calling upon you.  Why?  Because you love to read.  Coincidentally, I've been writing.  You're smart, so I know you're getting this.

I've been posting chapters on this site for a while and now the book they're from is ready for you.  The series is THEOBROMA and the first book CHILD OF FIRE AND BLOOD.  It's an epic fantasy/sci-fi adventure.  Because of its length, it's going to be released in four parts.  Part One is 406 pages/80,000+ words.  Part Two is about 550 pages/107,000+ words.  The first is what's available to you now, PART ONE: A RISING STORM.  Since you've been enjoying it so much, I'm giving you the opportunity to get your hands on it from the source before the release goes live.

Sure, you can go through Amazon if you like.  Don't think I won't appreciate it.  Buy copies for everyone you know and tell them to do the same.  Magic, dragons, swordplay, immortals and super science await.  Conspiracies, lost cities and sprawling warfare will ensnare with their intrigues.

Here's the thing, though, at Amazon a copy will cost you cash.  From me, you guessed it, you're trading for a review.  Put it on Goodreads, Amazon, tell your Facebook friends, put it on a blog of your own...hmmmm....I suppose I could do with a copy, too.  I really would like the feedback, good or bad.  I'm just asking for a review.  What you write is up to you.

I had a calculus professor who worked like that back in college.  Granted, at his best he was a self-important *ahem*, but he maintained that he didn't care if we turned in a sheet of paper with a chapter from "Moby Dick" on it for our homework as long as it had the student's name at the top.  He said he had only been tested on it by one student.  Instead of differential equations, he got "Call me Ishmael."  He gave the student credit for doing his homework.  And people dare question the sincerity of our educators.  Granted, I did have occasion to prove that he didn't pay attention to a lot of things he said in class, but that's another story.

I promise you it'll be easier to handle than either calculus or anything Melville ever put to paper.

Now, if we're going to do this, I'll need your email address.  Contact me with a reply here and I can set you up with a PDF.  At the end of October, some call it Halloween, I'll have a drawing from the names of those who've done reviews.  That's right, do your homework and you may win a prize.  It's worth it to me because, like most authors, I'd like to get some reviews posted about my book.  Sorry for stating the obvious.

Right now, I'm thinking two winners with a choice of an autographed copy of Part One or a free copy of Part Two.  Winners get to choose.  Victory has its privileges.

When sales go well, though, I'll work up something more grand for the release of Part Two.  As always, your support is appreciated.  Thanks.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

17141--What Would You Do With One Million Dollars

You probably have what seems like a very clever idea.

You probably wouldn't do something as silly as blow it on making a movie.  Well, not unless you had a really amazing idea, right?

Sharknado was made on a one million dollar budget and has a 3.5/10 rating on IMDB, reviewers citing bad special effects, acting, script and general concept.  No surprises there.
Over on Rotten Tomatoes, LA Times' reviewer says gaping plot problems are the point of movies like this, inspire fabulous in-home commentary and great consumption of alcohol.  With only 7.5/10 from averaging 11 reviews, Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 91% score.
Syfy ran it 3 times in its premiere month, with viewership increasing each time.  A National Weather Service rep joked, "As with any waterspout or tornado, the best advice is to be in an interior part of the lowest floor of a sturdy building and not outside, whether sharks are raining down or not."
It has trended on Twitter thanks to celebrity involvement in discussions, including Wil Wheaton and Olivia Wilde.  Syfy has held a Twitter contest for, yup, a title for the sequel.  Will it be Shark Night Rises?  No, Sharknado 2: The Second One is scheduled to premiere in July 2014.
Wow.  Probably the most amazing million dollars Syfy ever spent.
Who greenlights these things?

Monday, September 9, 2013

17136--Everyone Makes Mistakes

It's just part of the human condition that everyone makes mistakes.  Since they're made by humans, even machines make mistakes and that includes the machines made by machines because the first machines were still made by humans, anyway.

The deeds of most, for good or ill, can pass harmlessly into memory.  Some people leave big footprints, make larger ripples in the pond, with a greater impact on the world to mark their passing.

Albert Einstein was certain he made a mistake once, but it later turned out that he was mistaken about that, which made him seem even more brilliant about knowing things before everyone else.

Now, Nikola Tesla had some great ideas and did some astounding work.  That man did things a hundred years ago that have defined the lifestyle of our world today.  One of his biggest ambitions was to provide free energy to the public.  Implementing that ambition would've put us on track to living the Star Trek dream of universal abundance.  The roadblock Tesla ran into was that furthering his work cost money.  Securing funding meant working with people who insisted on making unlimited profit when providing power to the people.

Was giving in to them a mistake?  His choice may have helped put us under the thumb of mega corporations and given the bankers another tool to use against us, but I wasn't in his shoes.  He may have had more idealism than wisdom to hook up with his genius, but it seemed to have cost him a great deal.

Which cost all of us a great deal.

What else is there to say?

Monday, September 2, 2013

17129--Pursuit of Happiness? Priceless.

Can you make change for me? 
This isn't a philosophical question or an enlightened social challenge.  I'm talking economics, specifically monetary trade.  I've heard that Alban is about to replace all the gold and silver crowns in circulation with a fresh mint issue of gold and silver imperials.  I don't want to get stuck with the old ones because they're about to be outlawed, but I'm concerned his Highness is going to short the new coins on their precious metal content.  It's most likely that the Fourth Tribe is going to handle the actual administration of the exchange for the Crimson Throne and it's always a good idea to keep an eye on that bunch of sneaky bankers.  You didn't hear that from me, though.

Personally, I think the gold and silver royals from Tazhir are a far more ornately crafted collection of coins.  The Sapphire Throne has also been pretty trustworthy regarding the quality of their money.  They're very proud of their coins, but it's no wonder if you see them.  Queen Valinae is quite the beauty and the engravers got the likenesses spot on.  They're not as widely or commonly used as the coins from Alban and Zadiasam, but probably because they haven't circulated as many.  Alban has a much larger population and an unrivaled wealth of precious gems to bolster their economy and trade.  I'm fairly certain that whichever nation can get their coin to take popular hold among the independent city-states of Bentrci will earn considerable influence on the global economy of Tarakk.  It's just a theory, if you care about such things.

The different nations keeping their coins distinct helps with exchanges.  Tazhir uses octagonal discs.  Albani crowns are hexagonal, but the rumors about the imperials that are going to replace them Is that they're round.  Brilliant, huh?  Who wants to have to chase coins when you drop them and they're rolling away?  Nobody, that's who.  His Majesty didn't ask for opinions, though.  They're his coins, after all.  That's right, they're going to have his face on them.  They're making me take an interest in Zadiasam's coins.  No faces, just words and numbers etched into silver or electrum.  They're rectangular.  Those practical little blocks aren't rolling anywhere.  I guess one should expect nothing less from people so in love with their sciences.

Long before pondering these particular monetary and economic concerns, it occurred to me that the United Federation of Planets had really gotten their act together.  Yes, the Star Trek gang.  I know that most of what we see of the Federation is through military eyes (for those of you who hadn't made the connection, Starfleet is military even though they stress exploration), and I've often wondered what their designers must have against pockets, but they certainly don't have money problems.

Now, Kirk has said that they don't have money, though there has been reference made to credits.  Picard has pontificated that the pursuit of material things doesn't consume their minds.  Some have called them communist.  Technically, Earth and probably much of the UFP is socialist.  There is governmental structure (which communism would lack) and the means of production and industry are chiefly under control of that structure.  Why don't the people seem to mind chafing under such a system?  Well, the people of the UFP enjoy a great deal of freedom and abundance.  How is this possible?  The Federation has grown beyond our meager constraints and achieved the capacity to create more energy than the people need for anything they conceive of doing.  Coupled with that is also the technology to employ that energy in the creation of virtually anything an individual needs or wants.  With all that taken care of, the Pursuit of Happiness is all that remains and people seem to be encouraged to find that bliss.  With a sweet setup like that, who gives a damn about the accumulation of wealth besides people who want to master their Scrooge McDuck swimming techniques or collect antique pieces of culture?  There's certainly no need for taxation and no need for money concerns at all unless you want to trade with someone who has something you want that can't be replicated.

There's just no pleasing some people.

Well, thus begins the writing.  What macguffin are you after?  Who has it and what's it going to take to get it?  Good luck on your bestseller.