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Where New Pulp Lives! And from Time to Time...Dies!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Drive-By Updates

1.  The copy edits for GUARDIAN are done and turned in to the publisher. By the way, did you know the e-book is available for pre-order?  Buy, buy, buy!

2.  The e-book for DEMON has been reduced in price to $0.99 for the holidays!  Again, buy, buy, buy!  I'll make it even easier.  Click the link to your preferred reading device!  Kindle  Nook  Google Play  Kobo  iBooks

3.  Still working on finishing up WATCHER, the third book in the Mike Caldwell series.

4.  I recently got the paperback rights to PROGENY back.  This is my favorite of my books, and one that's sold pretty lousy.  I plan on re-examining it, maybe changing the title, etc.  It's supernatural noir (think ANGEL HEART/FALLING ANGEL) that probably got sold too much like straight horror.  So I'll tinker with it and see what comes out of it.  Meantime, you can still get the e-book if you're interested.

5.  For all you Germans, the German language edition of BIGFOOT CRANK STOMP hits the streets December 31st.  You're welcome!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Demon Holiday Sale

So the e-book for Demon has been reduced in price from $2.99 to $0.99 for the holidays.  So, if you get an e-reader as a gift (or want to give someone a awesome e-book to read on their new or broken in e-reader) consider giving the gift of Demon.  Below are the links to the various stores you can purchase it at.

Kindle

Nook

Kobo

iBooks

Google Play

Scribd


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Quick Movie Review - Nomads

Yeah, that movie from the '80s.  Directed by John McTiernen (first flick) and starring Pierce Brosnan and featuring Adam Ant as a demon.  Yes, that last part is correct.

This is, simultaneously, an intriguing and terrible movie.  The concept is cool and it definitely embraces the slow-burn building tension of Hitchcock. From watching it, you can see why McTiernen was so successful with his action set pieces like Predator and Die Hard. He clearly understood, from the beginning, that less is more and ratcheting terror is better than an all out assault of gore from the outset.

That being said, it's still a tough movie to get through.  It's 90 min run time feels too long.  There are moments of ridiculousness (the demon chick dancing on top of the car for the camera).  The murder house really is fleshed out.  All you really get is this guy is a anthropologist who is now a professor but hey, he's still willing to chase strange cultures in the wilds of urban L.A.

And then there's Adam Ant.  Adam Ant!?!

When you think about it, this movie should be much cooler than it is.  I mean, demonic nomads living among us?  But sadly, it just isn't.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Quick Movie Review - Under the Skin

Not sure how to feel about this movie. It's equal parts mesmerizing and boring; disturbing and dumbfounding; unique and pretentious.

See, no idea how to feel.  But I will give it some credit for being original, very stylistic, moody, a slow burn, interesting, and utterly heart wrenching (I'm looking at you kid on the beach).

Do I recommend it? Yes. Will I watch it again?  Not sure.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My advice to SONY in regards to SPIDER-MAN

In Ghostbusters there's many a great line. One works here: "If someone asks you if you're a god you say...yes!"

Now, thanks to SONY-gate and all the hack stuff, we now know Sony and Marvel were working on a deal that would see Spider-Man crossover into Marvel films, Marvel potentially producing separate Spider-Man flicks, and Sony pretty much not having to do much other than contribute about 40% of the budget on the Spider-Man flicks and rake in profits.

Someone at Sony said no.  Because of hubris.  They think they can resurrect Spider-Man after two terrible reboot flicks.  They think they can spin-off separate movies with ho-hum villains teaming together (Suicide Squad is beating you to it, Sony).  They think people will pay to see a Venom/Carnage movie.

They're kinda navel gazing. Pride before the fall, and all.

What's interesting is Marvel.  They're basically saying, "Help me help you."  They want Spider-Man to themselves, of course, but are will to team up, front most of the cost, and do all the work, just to give the poor bastard some decent movies.  Sony thinks, "Nah, we'll be okay.  We're going to make an Aunt May prequel flick."

Holy shit.

Anyway, Sony's is stupid and should seriously reconsider this offer.  To paraphrase the above quote: "If Marvel asks you if you want to make billions of dollars doing hardly anything you say...yes!"

Friday, December 5, 2014

Great Review of DEMON

Adam Shaftoe has posted a great, wonderful, honest and thoroughly humbling (for this dear writer) review of DEMON over at his site The Page of Reviews.  Please go check it out.  Tweet a link to it.  Post a link on Facebook.  It's this kind of review that gets people talking and possibly buying books (as, I'm sure, a review that will be up on SF Signal in the near future).

Oh, and the humbling part for me?  This:

The narrative serves to plumb the depths of both characters until such time as they, together, are able to reconcile themselves with the world. Thus, the demon of Demon is not Samyaza, but the more intangible demon of self-doubt.

Bingo!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I told you so (sort of), Mr. Bond

Back in Feb 2013, I wrote this super long essay on my theory on how the first three Daniel Craig Bond flicks are all clever remakes of the Roger Moore movies.  At the end, I took a stab at what the next Bond would look like and what book they may "remake". Here's what I said:

The book that hits all these notes, and one that can be re-adapted fairly easily, is On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  How are they going to do it?  Not sure.  But I think this is the one they’ll target, most of all because of the big bad guy (Blowfelt or some who resembles him) and Bond’s love interest, his eventual wife.  The wife he loses at the end when she’s killed by Blowfelt.

Think of it this way.  The main crux of the book is that Bond continues the hunt for SPECTRE even when M and MI6 doesn't think it exists anymore.  Determined to find out on his own, he tenders his resignation.  In the movies, it's been years since QUANTUM was discovered.  Maybe in the years between Quantum and Skyfall, MI6 broke up a lot of QUANTUM's organization.  Maybe they even think they won.  But Bond is still suspicious because they never caught the leader.  The new M wants to focus on other things.  Bond wants to find the head of QUANTUM.  This leads to the Blowfelt moment and the death of his eventual wife later on.


Today, the next Bond flick was announced and the title is:



Now above, I stated QUANTUM because, at the time I wrote that, EON didn't have all the legal rights to the SPECTRE or Blofeld material.  I figured they'd just go with QUANTUM and someone who sure as hell seemed like Blofeld (and of course, I spelled his name wrong, too).  And they still might use QUANTUM in some form.  The symbol of SPECTRE is an octopus and QUANTUM could have been one of its tentacles.

Anyway, adding to this, the first actual meeting between Bond and Blofeld in the books was in the book On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  Now they haven't confirmed Blofeld as the villain, but with Christoph Waltz being announced as the bad guy, there ain't no way in hell he isn't Blofeld.

We still have to see what the plot ends up being but I'm sticking to my guns that it'll be along the lines of OHMSS.  Blofeld will be the bad guy.  And if it has anything set in the Alps at a ski resort, I'm calling it a win on my part.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Gifts and Party or Festival Hats

I'm a firm believer that everyone should have a go-to hat they wear to a party or festival.  I stuck to this religiously in college, sporting my Grand Poobah hat for several years at joyous celebrations.  I also have a Bullwinkle hat that can be employed.  However, I haven't had anything new in a long time. Nor have I worn my old stuff.  Just feels like a retread.

So, if anyone wants ideas for gifts for me, I want a new party/festival hat. Something I can wear to ComicCon. The one I want?  Something like this:



Let me know when it's in the mail.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Badass Movie Mogul - The Highlander Edition

So there's a lot of talk about a remake of Highlander.  Or reboot.  Or whatever.  Basically, if it's an existing property, there might be a remake/reboot.  Highlander is ripe for this treatment.

Look, the first movie is good.  Not great and certainly flawed but, at the same time, is all kinds of awesome.  Whether it be the bizarre casting (hey, let cast Sean Connery, a Scot in a movie about a Scottish immortal, but he'll play an Egyptian with a Spanish surname)(oh, and let's cast a French guy with a thick accent to play a Scot), or the mid-80s soundtrack heavy on Queen, or just the fact it's a bunch of dudes cutting each others' heads off to steal their essence... Look, it's batshit crazy but fun.

Now, with all this awesomeness, Highlander should be more legendary.  But it's not.  Mainly to a fucking godawful piece of shit sequel followed by not as bad but still bad follow-ups and a decent syndicated series.  Basically, it deserves a reboot if done correctly (I'm looking at you, Clash of the Titans fail!).

So, how to do a really good reboot that still honors the past?  Here are my suggestions:

1.  Do not cast Tom Cruise as Ramirez.  I don't hate Cruise but, hell, Connery wasn't the best choice either.  If we're going to say Ramirez is Egyptian who's lately been spending his days in Spain, then, let's cast a Spaniard or Egyptian.  My personal favorite: Javier Bardem.  But hey, if you can't get him, then why not cast Antonio Banderas?  My wild card: Peter Mensah.

2.  Do not cast a smart ass as Connor McCloud.  There were rumors that Ryan Reynolds might take the part.  No, no, no.  I like Reynolds but he's Deadpool, not the Highlander. No, you need tough and aged and learned and someone who can quip.  My choice: Toby Stephens.

3.  Do not cast a big dude to play the Kurgan.  Look, no one will be as big and intimidating as Clancy Brown.  He is the motherfucking Kurgan.  However, you can still have a Kurgan that has presence and is a badass.  Who you don't want to fuck with.  To me, the only person who could pull that off is Mads Mikkelsen.

4.  Keep it mysterious.  Don't go trying to explain why these guys are immortals or why they have to cut each others' heads off, or why the get power when they do.  The mystery is what makes it intriguing.  Unlike Highlander 2.

5.  Get a director who can direct action sequences and understands good fight choreography.

6.  Keep it simple.  Fighting.  Few special effects.  Something to care about, not something to behold yet ultimately forget (looking at you Transformers).

You'll notice I didn't go with big names for most of the mains.  I think this movie succeeds on the concept and execution, not Big Names.  Get good actors, a decent director, and a good script and shoot it for under $50 mil and you'll make money.

Well, Hello There!

I wasn't supposed to post this yet but hey, it's already up on Amazon!  So why not?

Behold, the cover for the forth-coming GUARDIAN, sequel to DEMON!



And hey, the e-book is also available for pre-order!

And while you're at it, why not pick up the e-book of DEMON?

So, what it about?  Here ya go:

The heart-pounding, action-packed sequel to Demon

A secret order at war with itself.
A Syrian official who wants to set the Middle East ablaze.
And all of them want nothing more than one unlucky CIA agent . . .

CIA agent Mike Caldwell just confronted a fallen angel and survived. But he wasn’t the only one tracking down Semyaza, and the demon’s escape from an ancient tomb has caught the attention of several powerful entities. And now they will stop at nothing to get Mike to play by their rules.

Heading off on an international mission to confront the covert brotherhood that is mercilessly murdering people he’s close to, Mike must risk everything in an effort to save the world from certain destruction.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Kids, Star Wars, and Proper Viewing Order

About a week ago, I was watching the girls, trying to figure out something to do.  They wanted to watch TV.  My oldest, five years old, specifically wanted to watch LEGO Star Wars cartoons, which she's nuts over (well, all three are nuts over Yoda).

Those are funny cartoons but I wasn't up for watching them again after watching them the day before and the day before that.  Instead, I figured why not watch the real thing.  The oldest had already seen the first Star Wars (A New Hope).  Let's try Empire.

We did.  And it was awesome.  She couldn't stop asking questions.  I told her to be quiet and listen and most of her questions would get answered by WATCHING.  She then states, "I ask a lot of questions when I'm excited."  From there, it was the start of a question followed by her putting her own hand over her mouth to check it.

When we got to the end of the flick and we find out who Darth Vader really is, she bugs out.  Not just because, SPOILERS, he's Luke's father.  But because it's Anakin Skywalker!  You see, she knew Anakin from the LEGO cartoon.  He was a good guy!  She had no idea his relation to Luke.  So this was a double-mind stomp.

Of course, the next question, "Well, how did he turn bad?"

Roger, let's check out Phantom Menace.  Which was cool (although I'm not the biggest fan), because she got to learn about Darth Maul (also knew from LEGO) and how he lost his legs (in the cartoon, he has robot legs).

Then we checked out Attack of the Clones.  Which was cool because she learned where the Clones came from (also in LEGO) and why everyone is fighting.

So, now we come to the present.  Rather than jump to Revenge of the Sith, we're working our way the The Clone Wars cartoon series.  She loves it.  When we're done with it, we'll do Revenge and then finally move on to Return of the Jedi to wrap it all up.

Why am I sharing this with you?  Well, this is an important question for responsible parents.  In what order do I introduce Star Wars to my kids?  Start with the prequels and you ruin the Darth Vader surprise.  Do the originals first and you kind of risk confusing them going backwards in time for the prequels.  My way, you get the best of both worlds.

My order:

1. LEGO Stars Wars cartoons.  These introduce the kids to characters, are funny, and gets them asking, "Who's that?"  or "Why is that important?"  Good primer.

2. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

3. Star Wars Episode V:  The Empire Strikes Back

4. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

5. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

6. Star Wars: The Clone Wars

7. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

8. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Do it this way and you get the introduction to the key characters, the Rebellion, and the mythology of the Jedi/Sith (1-3 above).  Follow that with the Tragedy of Anakin Skywalker and the Fall of the Republic (4-7 above).  Wrap it all up with the Redemption of Anakin Skywalker and the Fall of the Empire (8 above).

Quick Movie Review - Killing Them Softly

I actually dug this movie quite a bit.  Good cast.  Nice, slow pacing.  Great dialogue.  It's a modern 1970's era crime flick.

Hell, if it had been made in the '70s, it'd probably be considered a classic.  Simple, straight forward, violent, reflective, funny.  Yeah, there's no shaky cam or car chases or tons of action.  But that's OK.

I guess you can say it breathes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Winding Down of the Promotion Sledgehammer Swinging

I have a few more guest posts at other people's blogs and then the onslaught of DEMON promoting will pretty much be over.  Well, it'll never be over.  But the "hitting you over the head with a sledgehammer" portion will be.

Thank you for your patience and support and overall coolness.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Drive-By Updates

1.  If you didn't see, Demon came out in paperback on Veteran's Day!  It's now available in both mass market paperback and e-book from Harper Voyager.  Hit the link for all the different places to snag a copy.

2.  I did a Mind Meld at SFSignal in which I discussed books outside of spec fiction that are more than worth your time (and may be even inspiring or scary).

3.  I did an interview at My Bookish Ways where I discuss Demon, what scares me, and conspiracies!

4.  I discussed Demon, my Navy experience, and how my experience has influenced my writing over at the Harper Voyager Veteran's Day edition of their blog.

5.  I discussed Paperbacks and Childhood Dreams here.

6.  I apologized for all the self-promotion but why it's necessary here.

7.  And I made my Star Wars Episode VII predictions here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens...Predictions!

If you know me and this blog, you knew this was coming.  So, here are my predictions for the next Star Wars flick.

Okay, so here's what we know: it's set 30 years after Return of the Jedi, it stars Luke, Han, Leia, Chewy, and a bunch of new people, and the Rebels (or New Republic, whatever they're called now) are still struggling against remnant forces of the Empire that, hey, don't buy their Democracy shit.

Now, I won't go into all the different spoilers floating around on the web.  None are confirmed and some read as wishful thinking.  However, there is one I think is more than likely true and makes perfect sense.  So, beware of possible spoilers if this all proves true.

Ready?

Okay, one of the rumors is that Luke has kind of disappeared.  The thought is he's voluntarily imposed exile on himself.  Why?  Well, this is where everyone has an idea they think is right.  And I'm no different!

I buy the self-imposed exile angle.  Let's go back to the end of ROTJ.  Luke has redeemed his father and brought him back from the dark side.  He just cremated the remains (which more than likely is just the armor and the mechanical parts, as we see Anakin as a Force Ghost a few moments later).  He returns to his buddies and parties it up with the Ewoks and shit.

Only, he doesn't really.  If you watch those last few scenes with Luke, he's got a look of grim accomplishment on his face.  He did what he had to but he's not dancing or, hell, even smiling.  In my opinion, he's kind of like Frodo at the end Return of the King.  He succeeded but everything is different.  Things can't go back to the way the were for him.  He's seen and done too much.

But he doesn't know a lot.  What I mean here is he's a powerful Jedi but without the wisdom or the learning or the foundation of, say, a Jedi Temple full of learned masters to fall back on.  He's on his own.  And if you think about it, he got, what, a few days of training with Kenobi? Mostly sword play and the basics of the Force.  Then he got a few more with Yoda, a lot of mental training and the basic rubrics of how the Force works but that's it.  And then he went and defeated the most powerful Sith apprentice ever and was more than willing to confront the Emperor.  Shit, the Emperor wanted Luke to strike down his prize, Vader, because he knew Luke was even more powerful.

That's a lot of fucking power in a young man who, by the start of the third movie, was already a great pilot, skilled with a light saber, and mastered his emotions (for the most part).  At the start of ROTJ, he was force choking and Jedi mind-tricking with the best of them.  He'd already gone toe-to-toe with Vader and held his own (even though he lost his hand).  By the end of ROTJ, he was willing to sacrifice himself for everyone.  That's a lot with very little training.

Which is why it makes sense that by the end of ROTJ, Luke might be like, well, now what?  I got all this power but not nearly enough of the wisdom to teach someone.  Heck, if he took an apprentice, it'd probably turn out disastrous.

My theory, he tried to tutor Leia.  It makes the most sense.  She's his sister.  They have a bond.  She has Force power.  And it gives Luke someone to work with while he fine tunes his teaching skills.  But it doesn't work out simply because Leia's not interested.  She's the politician, the natural leader.  The galaxy needs her wielding a pen, not a light saber.  Luke can't argue with the logic but he still knows he's in no way ready to be a Master.

So he goes in search of wisdom.  He decides, if he's going to become a learned Master, he needs to learn the history of the Jedi and the Sith.  And since there are no Jedi archives, he literally goes on a scavenger hunt for history, artifacts, and relics.  Maybe in some grand vision to rebuild the Jedi archives.

But things go wrong.  Remember, he's super powerful.  Maybe all Leto Atredies powerful.  Not a man that becomes a sand worm but a man who's become more of the embodiment of the Force than he's capable of controlling.  Ever seen the show Carnivale?  Think the avatars and how much damage they could do if they didn't have complete control of their powers.

Which means he goes into exile.  There, he meditates and learns to master his power, like Banner mastering the Hulk change.  Meanwhile, he uses agents to find the items and information he needs.  Trusted agents.  Confidants.  Maybe even blood relations.

Through this hunt for information, he discovers a dark force who is doing the same thing.  After all, there is a vacuum created by the defeat of the Sith and the complete lack of Jedi other than Luke.  Someone's going to fill the dark side vacuum.  And they're doing the same thing.  They're have power but not the grasp of Sith history.

So, there's a thirty year race between Luke and his agents and the dark force that's employing similar tactics, all while the Rebels struggle to quell the Empire's loyalists.  Plots with plots, wheels within wheels.  By the end of the flick, I think Luke will have exposed this dark force and will emerge from exile, in full mastery of his powers, ready to go to work.

Last predictions, Luke can manipulate things across time and space, mostly space.  He's had the gift of vision since Empire Strikes Back when he told Yoda what he saw and Yoda confirmed, "The future you see."  From the same movie, we learned he could communicate over long distances to both Leia and Vader.  By this next flick, I think he'll be able to Jedi mind trick or even manipulate objects across vast reaches of space.  And the whammy, he'll manipulate and control the mechanical remains of Vader, using them to infiltrate this mysterious dark force.

Finally, the adversary, the dark force.  This one may be a bit of a stretch but let's look at some evidence.  In the original Star Wars, Vader went toe-to-toe with who? Leia.  He captured her, tortured her, and failed to break her even after the destruction of her home planet.  In all that time, he never caught a whiff that this was kin.  He did with Luke.  So much so by the time ESB starts, he's fully acknowledge Luke as the son of Skywalker.  But not Leia.  She just rebel scum.

In ESB, when Luke has his visions of Han and Leia in danger, maybe even being killed, Yoda and Kenobi both try to keep him from leaving.  We're meant to think, hey, he's not ready to face Vader.  He needs to finish his training.  When he leaves, Kenobi declares, "That boy is our last hope." To which Yoda says, "No, there is another."  This, of course, is in reference to Leia.  But Kenobi already knows Leia exists.  He was there for the birth.  So why does Yoda say this.  Clearly, Kenobi believes Luke is the only one who can save the galaxy. Yoda laments, and yes I mean laments, that there is another.  But in his voice you can tell he doesn't believe the chances are as good as they are with Luke.  You might say, that's because Luke is more powerful in the Force.  I say, "Nope!"

They chose Luke because he was powerful but also because he was less likely to turn.  That's why Kenobi remained on Tatooine while Luke grew up.  Leia, all but forgotten, being raised by a rich senator with no exposure to Kenobi or Yoda.

Fast forward to ROTJ.  Luke and Vader face off for the last time.  Luke's thoughts betray him.  It's only then that Vader learns about Leia.  And what does he say, "If you cannot be turned then perhaps she will."  Luke freaks out and kicks ass.  You might think, oh, Vader was just baiting him. And I'm sure that's exactly what he was doing.  However, there's truth in that statement.  Up to that point, Luke had resisted (and would eventually resist all the way).  Perhaps Leia, if confronted with the same challenge, would not be as successful.

Kenobi even seems to confirm this earlier in the film when he speaks of truth and points of view.  He then admits to Leia being Luke's sister with this caveat: "The Emperor knew, as I did, if Anakin were to have any offspring, they would be a threat to him.  That is the reason why your sister remained safely anonymous."

If you read it in the context of how the Sith operate (i.e., only two at a time, a Master and an Apprentice) and if you know the history of the Sith (apprentices always killing their Master and taking new apprentices), then it makes sense what Kenobi is saying, from a certain point of view, is that the Leia posed the most risk at joining Vader, becoming his apprentice, and deposing the Emperor (an offer he made to Luke at the end of ESB).  Hell, Vader even says the Emperor has foreseen it.  Perhaps he foresaw the wrong kid.  In the second sentence,  Kenobi says that's why Leia remained anonymous.  He doesn't say, "that's why you both"...And that's why Luke retained the surname of Skywalker.  He was the Hope.  Leia was always the potential Threat.

So, in short, Leia is the dark force and has turned to the Dark Side and this will be the twist at the end of the film.

Anyway, I'm sure I'm 90% wrong on all this but it's always fun to speculate!