Motivations: Blood Trade

I never really wanted to write a vampire book and I’m not a fan of Twilight (I read the first book and thought it was okay, but didn’t love it.)  Urban fantasy really isn’t my cup of tea either.  But my writers’ group used to meet in Borders and they would seat us right between two massive shelves of vampire books.  We would always joke with each other that we should all be writing one.  I always commented that my vampires wouldn’t be lovers.  They would be the bad guys.  I did finally relent and have a slightly good vampire, but she wasn’t really that good.

I started writing Blood Trade and got to the third chapter, when it took a really dark turn.  I was describing not the Vegas that I knew, but one that was in rapid decay as the forces of darkness took over.  I liked it.  So I went back and rewrote the first two chapters and the whole book got much darker.

I had originally planned my heroine Xochitl to be a goth girl, but as with the rest of the story, her background and character got MUCH darker.  I have to say, I really like how the story came out, but it is DARK.  I actually have the first two chapters of a sequel already written, but who knows when I’ll get to it.  After all, I’ve had the first few chapters of the Amathar sequel done for years.  I will say this though, the sequel to Blood Trade (assuming I ever finish it)  will be even darker than the first one.

Motivations: Women of Power

I got the idea for Women of Power from  Feedbooks was one of the early sites to get great ebook downloads (though I think it has suffered a bit since they went commercial).  One of the great things among their original books back in 2009, were fan-fiction comics– mini books with comic book covers that were prose inside.  They were mostly based on DC characters like Batman and The Teen Titans.  I decided to try my hand at writing one of those.

There was a whole club and web organization which assigned which books each writer was working on.  That seemed like a whole lot of trouble to me.  Plus I just like to go with my own characters, so that’s what I did.  I made up All American Girl and Skygirl and patterned their descriptions after some cover art I purchased for the “comics.”  I wrote and posted the first two “issues,” but by the time I had finished “issue” (read chapter) three.  I decided that I wanted to make it a full novella.  I set it aside and didn’t get back to it for two years.

You can still find issue 1 of Women of Power still floating around the internet.  I took issue 2 down because it was significantly different than what became chapter two in the book, and I didn’t want people reading the former and then jumping into chapter 3 of the latter and getting lost.

My son and I plotted out a sequel, but I’ve since lost my notes on it.  In any case, I don’t think I’ll ever get around to writing it.

Apple Watch

img_1475One of the things I’ve done to treat myself recently, was to buy an Apple Watch.  It’s stainless steel, space black, and I love it.

Things I’ve done with my Apple Watch: Checked the time, sent and received a text, sent and received a phone call, Shazamed a song, bought a candy bar from a vending machine, checked my pulse, counted my steps, kept track of my calories, checked the weather, got turn by turn directions, did some deep breathing, used it as a TV remote, and, drum roll….. took a shower.

Apple Store Adventure

2729x1536Anyone who knnows me, knows that I am a huge Apple fanboy. I have an iMac, a MacBook, an iPad, and iPad Mini, and an iPad Pro, an iPod, and of course a iPhone. Everyone in my household has at least two of those of their own. So when I found out that they were offering Apple Camp to teach 12-year-olds, I just had to sign up my sweet niece.

Well, halfway through the 1 ½ hour class, I passed out. It turns out I accidentally overdosed myself on my antibiotics. The Apple store employee helped me find a cool place to lie down, brought me a pillow for my head, a cold cloth for my face, and a bottle of water. He offered to call someone for me, but I had already called my wife by then. He and another Apple Store employee checked on me about every three minutes, even after my wife had arrived.

That’s going above and beyond.  And believe me, they treat you just as well if you have a computer problem.

The Drache Girl – Chapter 18 Excerpt

The Drache GirlThe following day, Staff went to visit Iolanthe. He was aware that it might not be seemly, but he didn’t care. He hadn’t seen a glimpse of her in five days, eight hours. He hadn’t held her and kissed her in sixteen days, five hours. And he hadn’t made love to her in eighteen days, three hours. His plan to arrive when most members of the household were not up and about went awry when he forgot that it was the Zaeri Sabbath. As he was walking up the steps, the lizardman major-domo opened the front door and out stepped Yuah Dechantagne and another beautiful dark-haired woman.

“Good morning Mr. Staff,” said Yuah. “May I introduce my friend Honor Hertling?”

“Good morning ladies,” he replied.

“Don’t mind us. We’re on our way to Shrine.”

The two women went down the stairs and around the house, while Staff stepped in the open door and waited in the parlor as Iolanthe was informed by the servant of his arrival. When she entered the room she stole his breath away. She wore a pink dress, decorated all down the front with metallic brocade in the design of stems and leaves and inset with pearls where the blossoms would be. The collar was high in back, plunging down in front, revealing her long, thin neck to its best advantage. Her auburn hair had been carefully curled, long in the back and short curls falling across her forehead. The look was completed by a pink top hat with a gauzy veil which covered her face, but did not hide those remarkable aquamarine eyes.

“Going out?”

“I was,” she said. “I didn’t know when I was going to see you.”

“I didn’t know when I should come.”


Iolanthe held out her elbow and Staff took two steps forward to take it. The elbow wasn’t enough though and his left hand reached up to caress the side of her cheek. Her eyes opened wider, but she offered no protest. His hand followed up the line of her jaw.

“My God, you’ve pierced your ear.”

“Yes, both of them. I got the idea when we were in Enclep. All the women there have pierced ears.”

“They also carve magic runes into their breasts and rub ashes into the open wounds to make them stand out.”

“Well, maybe I’ll try that next week. You will note that I’m not the only one in town with my ears pierced. If both Senta and I do something, it’s sure to become the next big thing.”

“I’m surprised you are comparing yourself to Zurfina’s girl.”

“I am not comparing us. Still, there is no denying that the child is popular. Shall we take a walk around the yard?”

Staff led her by the elbow through the front door, held open for them by the same lizardman. Down the front steps, they turned left and followed the winding cobblestone pathway between the trees, rock gardens, and empty flower beds.

“This yard should finally look the way that I want it to this spring. I’ve spent a great many marks to get it ready.”

“You’ve spent a great many marks overall. I understand you’ve been paying for ships full of Zaeri refugees to escape Freedonia and come here to live. If you keep it up, you may lose your reputation as a heartless and manipulative bitch.”

“Oh, I doubt that will happen. Let’s sit down in the gazebo.

The small white gazebo on the west side of the yard had a two person porch swing suspended from lengths of small steel chain. Staff held the swing steady to allow Iolanthe to sit down, a purely chivalrous act since the chains were hung so that the swing moved only a few inches either way in any case. He then sat down beside her.

“I didn’t want the children playing on this swing, so I had it strung like this,” Iolanthe explained. “They have their own swing and a slide out back.”

“Are they safe for the children to play on?”

Iolanthe’s neck stiffened and she slowly turned to look searchingly at his face. She found what she was looking for.

“How long have you known?”

“That Iolana was mine? Since the first moment I saw her. She looks just like a picture I have of my sister, before she died. Except for the eyes.”

“Yes, she has my eyes.”

“She’s beautiful.”

Perry Rhodan

If you’ve never heard of Perry Rhodan, check him out on Wikipedia.  In Germany, he’s like Star Trek and Star Wars all rolled up in one– hugely popular.  Back in the 70s, there were English translations of the first hundred or so Perry Rhodan adventures (out of nearly 3,000), and I was really into them.  I remember taking a cross-country trip with my family and stopping at every grocery store and bookstore and news rack in every town we stopped in, trying to piece together my collection.

Well, now a six-part storyline from the Perryverse has been translated and published and is available at your favorite ebook store.  I haven’t read it yet, but I plan to.  Ain’t nostalgia great?

Apple TV

For my birthday a little over a week ago, I got several very nice presents from my family, including a new Apple TV set top box.  We’ve had the previous (3rd gen) for a while, as well as a Roku box in the other room.  Both of them are good.  The new Apple TV though has a potential to be much more.  It will all depend on what kinds of apps come out for it.  I’ve downloaded a few games, but mostly we’re still using it like the old Apple TV, which means we’re not yet getting our money’s worth.

Los Angeles Part III

As you read this, I’m back home and probably happy to be so.  As I write it however, I’m sitting poolside at the Airport Merriot in Los Angeles.  It is a mostly cloudy 75 degrees, so it’s quite pleasant and even though I’m out in the middle of the deck, it’s not too sunny.

Sadly, there are no bathing beauties walking around in barely there bikinis– Just a couple of families splashing and talking around the pool.  Of course there could be women looking at me and thinking much the same thing, in reverse.  I’m sitting here in slacks and a shirt, because I didn’t pack a swim suit and forgot to even pack shorts.  There you go.  Not that my choice of clothing would make much of a difference.  Even old ladies are not particularly interested in what a fat old man is wearing.

Hey!  There’s guy that looks just like George Lucas!  Nope.  Not him.  Great hair though.

Troubles in (Mac) Paradise

I updated my two Macs to OS X El Capitan this week.  While my iMac is better than ever, and had no problem, my little macbook air decided to turn into an expensive brick.  Between the fact that Macs are pretty easy to troubleshoot and the fact that it wasn’t my first computer crash rodeo, I had it back up and running after about 6 hours work.  That includes getting all my apps and files restored.

I was really happy that I bought Microsoft Office from Amazon.  I was able to redownload it and get my install key from the Amazon site lickety-split.  Nice to have them looking out for me.

Women of Power – Chapter 7 Excerpt

Women of Power NewStella’s cell phone rang again.  She picked it up from the night stand, slid it open, and held it to her face.


“Stella?  It’s Dynagirl.”

“Hey, Dina.  Perry’s not here.”

“I know he’s not there.  This is an EAS call.  We have a situation.  We’re being invaded.”

“From Canada or Mexico?”

“From space.”

“What, again?”

“Yes.  Get ready and keep your phone with you.  I’ll call again.”

Stella got out of bed and took a quick look out the window.  A massive mother ship was moving into position over the city.   She hopped into the shower.  There was no way she was going to fight aliens without first washing her hair.  After brushing her teeth and throwing on a little hair gel, she squeezed into a fresh All American Girl costume.   A glance in the other bedroom told her that Linda was still not home—not the best time for Skygirl to go AWOL.  Stepping out onto the balcony, Stella sat down in the patio chair and waited.

The gigantic ship stopped at a point where it was almost exactly centered over the Sears Tower, or Willis Tower as they were trying to get everyone to call it.  Stella estimated it at five miles in diameter and about a quarter mile thick.  Around it were buzzing dozens of small craft, more every minute, though it was unclear to her from what point on the great craft they were launching.

After several minutes, Stella went back inside and sat down in the living room, turning on the TV.  Tanya Everson appeared on the screen.

“Word comes to us this morning from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory that the spaceships we see above us arrived on a trajectory that seems to indicate they are from 61 Cygni, a double star system that is approximately 11.4 light years from our sun.  What else can you tell us, Bill?”

The picture changed to newsman Bill Drake standing in Lincoln Park.  In the background, Stella could see that the statue of Johnny Liberty was back in place.  He was still missing his cape.

“Viewers will remember that it was just three years ago when the Earth faced invasion from Epsilon Eridani.  Ironically, scientists tell us that the two space fleets were actually flying through the vastness of interstellar vacuum for much of the same time…”

“That’s not ironic, Bill,” said Stella to the TV.  “It’s just coincidental.”

“…also that the earlier invasion was only stopped at a great cost, including the loss of arguably Earth’s greatest hero, Skyman.”

Stella’s cell phone rang again.


“No, it’s Dynagirl again.  Do you know where Skygirl is?”


“Well, if you find her, keep in contact.  I’m on my way over.”


“Yes.  There are no ships attacking Detroit.”

“I guess that’s one good thing about the population shift,” said Stella.

“I suppose so,” replied Dynagirl.  “I’ll see you soon.”

“That’s enough waiting around,” said Stella, and with a leap flew out the balcony door and into the sky.