Friday, October 30, 2009

Greetings From Zombieland, Wish You Were Here!

Zombieland is living proof that greatness can be achieved if you set your sights low enough. (Or maybe I should say 'unliving proof'.) I shuffled into the dark with little or no expectations of an amusing next two hours. What I got was a big sack of gore (In a risky diversion from zombie protocol, this movie has the unmentionables going for your intestines more often than your brains. Must be easier to get at since they all seem to have bad teeth.) and a whole lot of laughs. I'd say this movie is done very tongue-in-cheek but the living dead have a noticeable absence of cheeks so it's really more tongue-lolling-between-gnashing-teeth but you get my drift. The characters are awesome and over the top, the CGI zombie mayhem is well done, and Bill Murray plays himself. All in all, a very good movie if you like that sort of thing. Not only that but there are lots of handy pointers on how to survive and thrive in the Zombie Apocalypse, which are surprisingly relevant for today's pre-zombie world. Or maybe... we're not so pre-zombie as we think.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Stalking Esterlyn

While this would be a great title for a new thriller/horror/police procedural novel it's actually what me and the family did last night. We packed the little ones into the minivan and drove up to Calvary Chapel Lake Stevens where Esterlyn was stopping for their Open Your Heart Tour. Any time Esterlyn is in the area we usually find a way to go see them. How many times? Well, let's just say I've now noticed that their trademark collection of lamps sitting out all over the stage have seen better days.

It was an excellent evening of worship songs and a message on serving Christ by bringing His word into your everyday life. At least, that was the part of the sermon I heard before Son Number Three got a little fidgity and I had to excuse myself to wander the halls with him. Pastor Bob Caldwell is from Boise and is touring churches with his son who headlines the band. The guy is hilarious and cuts quickly to the Meaning of Life which is glorifying God instead of trying to glorify ourselves.

If the tour ends up in your area it would be a very good idea to do some stalking of your own and see what's going on with them. And stop at the local dollar store to buy them some new lamps.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Reviews and the Rogue Blades

Rogue Blades Entertainment gets profiled at Christopher Marshall's blog in November and you should all go there often to see what he has to say. Unless, of course, he says something bad about my stories, in which case you should protest him and stick pins in home made voodoo dolls.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

You Can't Take the Sky From Me

While this may be true if you're Malcolm Reynolds, it's apparently not true here in the American reality we've elected ourselves into. Here's an interesting article on the government capping pay for bank executives who lead companies that took TARP money. This should be disturbing to everyone, even those who cheer for the rich to be humbled. Put very simply, when the government is encouraged by the masses to target and punish a minority group (and they actually do it) we are heading down the road to tyranny.

From a liberty standpoint, this move only highlights that when liberty is reduced anywhere, it is reduced everywhere. What happens to the next target of the wrath of the masses? What happens when we run out of minority targets and we start in on other groups within the majority? Eventually, my friends, they will come for you and your salary.

From an economic standpoint, this is national suicide. The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money. We say we'll only tax the rich in order to pay for all these wonderful government handouts. How can we tax the rich when we systematically destroy their wealth? After a time, what's left to tax? Eventually my friends, they will come for you and your income.

It's staggering to me that people are actually applauding this move. They clearly can't see where this is headed. To quote Star Wars: So this is how democracy ends? With thunderous applause?

We live in interesting times.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Haunt of Jackals

This month's CSFF tour brings us the coolest title in a long while. Haunt of Jackals is a new christian horror novel by Eric Wilson. It's the second book in the Jerusalem's Undead trilogy, and the entire premise is amazing. I love the idea of taking some passages within the bible and adding a little what-if to them. Throw in some action and danger written by someone competent, and you got yourself something wonderful.

Here's the list for the rest of the tour:

Brandon Barr
Wayne Thomas Batson
Jennifer Bogart
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Amy Browning
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Julie
Carol Keen
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika
Nissa
John W. Otte
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson
KM Wilsher

Monday, October 19, 2009

Marcher Lord Select

This is an interesting new thrust in the publishing world. Marcher Lord Select by Jeff Gerke, the creator of Marcher Lord Press, is a contest to let readers judge and select a book to be published. It's interesting because I think it just might work. When Amazon.com tried something like this I was stunned by the horrid offerings of dreck and drudgery. Reading some of those submissions was just painful. Gerke knows his way around an editor's desk so I'm thinking that the final entrants will be genuinely worth reading.

Here's a bit from the news release:

"Marcher Lord Select is American Idol meets book acquisitions," says publisher Jeff Gerke. "We're presenting upwards of 40 completed manuscripts and letting 'the people' decide which one should be published."

Of course, I have nothing ready to submit even though "The Granite Strand" is over 16,000 words for a total of 47.7K in the saga so far. Right now I'm still content to keep them as individual short stories but I'm seeing possibilities to keep on going. Maybe next year there'll be an MLS II.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New Yahoo! Still Sucks

And I can't say that it's growing on me. In fact, the more I try to use it the more I find ways for it to suck worse than it already does. Does anything on the new interface actually work twice in a row or does everyone else get the error message so often that it burns a pattern in your CRT? They must be trying to get into Guinness's for colossal suckism.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I Aim To Misbehave

Recently I watched the movie Serenity for the first time. Then a couple of weeks later I watched it for a second time. Now, thanks to hulu.com, I'm watching the series Firefly. It's something that I'd heard of and knew there was a rabid fanbase for but knew little more than that.

It's frakkin' awesome.

Just about everything in Serenity was perfect. Spaceships, blazin' bullets, swords, humor, darkness and light... it had everything you need. The libertarian in me loved Captain Mal and his instinctive refusal of government control and 'meddling'. The whole story arc of little guys bringing down the system with the truth was fantastic. Characters were real and flawed and heroic. Summer Glau kicked more butt in this movie than she did in the whole series of Terminator.

Me, as a guy who's not crazy about big government (Remember: A government that is big enough to do anything for you, is powerful enough to do anything to you), who bristles at the sight of red light cameras, who shakes his head at the never ending parade of seat belt laws and helmet laws and cell phone laws and smoking laws, and who cries at the sight of people floating down to their local welfare office instead of evacuating the city like they should have loves Malcom's line that is the title of this post. There may very well be a huge and growing government that thinks it has the right and the obligation to control everything I do in the name of what's 'good for me' but my general response to that is...

I aim to misbehave.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Triond: The Cash Flow Juggernaut

Once again Triond has sent me oodles and oodles of residual income. Destined to sustain me for the rest of my life, this month's payment of eighty two pennies is one of the biggest, most rewarding paydays I've yet to pull down with them. You too can be bringing in the copper! Just come up with some clever articles like my Life Lessons From the Marines and let the glorious round metallic windfall shower you with goodness. (I feel like mixing up some fruity drinks with umbrellas in them even though it's 53 and cloudy here.)

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Sequel of Life

After church yesterday I attended the memorial services of a friend's wife, who had been struggling against a degenerative disease for some time. The service was intimate and brief and moving, especially when my friend's daughter stood and told us what a great mom she'd had over the years. It's times like these that make you think about the mortality of your own loved ones. I sit and look around the downstairs play room and wonder what the future holds for everyone that I hold dear.

My friend said something interesting, both sad in a good way and sad in a sad way. He said that life is like reading a book. You're just reading along and turning the pages, enjoying what you have in front of you, and then all of a sudden you turn the page and there's no more writing. You stop and you think, 'Oh. That was it. That was the last page.' In his wife's case he now thinks back, 'Wow, what a good book that was.'

I'm not sure of his or her religious views but I know that, as for me and my house, when the last page is turned and we're all left staring at a blank piece of paper, there's another book sitting on the shelf. Beloved, the sequel of my life has already been written. It just hasn't been released yet. It is rich and full and it's a whole lot longer than volume one. And so I look around the downstairs play room and I'm comforted that God has a plan in place. He has the next book of my life tucked under his arm and He is waiting for just the right time to hand it over. That's a good feeling to have. I pray that all of you feel the same way.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

It Ain't Shakespeare

Bang! Zoom! Heroic Fantasy Quarterly does it again with three powerful stories that lovers of powerful stories will love. The Hand of Afaz is a tale of delivering justice no matter where it takes you, easily one of the best stories I've read in years. Monster in the Mountains, whose title is also its plot, is tough and gritty and would have been a great addition to Rage of the Behemoth. The Waking of Angantyr has a plot of revenge and ghosts and blood magic and hot chicks with magic swords; all the things that make for a rousing tale that not even the Bard could have come up with.

The editors of HFQ have not missed their stride at all with this sophomore edition and I think we have nothing but good things to see from them in the future.