Okay so I’m a week in the future.

Last week I said the election was this week. I realized after I posted it, but decided to leave it, as a monument to my own craziness.

Tomorrow is a year since my knee surgery. Yikes.

Saturday is the opening day of NNWM.

And this post stands as a testament to the fact that I have GOT to get organized.

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Time Flies, or, I don’t got it.

Wednesday next is one year since my knee surgery. I still have trouble with the leg.

I’m not feeling posting, lately. Next week is the election; maybe that’ll cause enough consternation that I’ll have to post.

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Progress: Slow, but progress.

In all aspects; the next book is coming, but slow. Everything else is coming, but slow.

I’ve found that getting the right amount of sleep is making a pretty big difference. The writing is really impacted. Lately, I’m getting more, better sleep.

It’s really hard not to get political lately, but at the same time — that whole scene just burns through you and makes you a husk… it’s just vitriol and hate, and that takes a serious toll on a person. I’ve lately been cutting out reading any sites that just anger me. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything by not being pissed off all the time.

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Pre-NNWM, Hockey.

It’s not November, but this month I’m doing a sort of miniature NNWM attempt, to try and gear myself up.

Hockey starts tomorrow, the first of two seasons.

So, Here. We. Go.

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I Don’t Like Big Butts, and I Cannot Lie

To each his own.

But the cultural… attraction to big butts has gotten to be a bit much. It’s not that I think people shouldn’t like them; again, to each his own. But it seems like there’s a whole lot more attention paid to them and this attitude about big asses. No, thanks. You can keep those.

I like small, round butts. Not flat asses, not long weird butts, and not big ol’ scary butts. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Where’s the song about the regular size butt? Why’s everything gotta be King Sized?

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There’s no way I can avoid passing this on.

Learn your history, or look like a fool: Mr Goebbles’ words are wise words to live by.

Via Unc, of course.

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No Agenda Here

There be spoilers here.

I don’t write with an agenda.

There’s nothing here that is meant to convince you of anything. That’s not what I’m about; I’ve learned a while ago that people are mostly set in their ways about the topics that I’d want to sway them on (guns, gender relations — though now that I’m married I don’t really care about this one as much, taxes, etc). My stories aren’t meant to have some deep seated message; I’m not writing Aesop’s Fables. I’m writing stuff that I enjoy and one of my favorite things is going back through it when I’m editing and finding parts that make me laugh out loud, or sneaking in little digs at annoying people, or inside jokes. The idea behind my writing is that it should be entertaining and fun.

In the Cigars and Legs series the protagonist is a pretty tough guy despite having a heap of bad luck thrown his way. He was going to school for engineering; he joined the Air Force; he served in Korea. Even before he begins the story as a Gawain-like character he is experienced, he’s had to kill, and he’s been hurt. There’s the mysterious break-up with his high school sweetheart, too — we don’t know what happened (okay, I do), but we know he’s a deeply romantic man who has been utterly broken. Broken enough that he hadn’t been home since he was eighteen, and he’s nearing thirty when the book starts.

So we’ve got a fighter pilot who comes home and finds one of the best friend’s in the world to him was murdered and nothing is really being done about it. He’s a man of action, and he gets into high gear trying to find out just what happened. During the course of this he meets the romantic interest.

She’s no slouch, either; I wasn’t interested in writing a dumb, helpless female character. She’d be too flat, and Audrey Carmen is anything but flat. She’s got bad habits, she’s something of a bad girl (by 1950s standards — today she’d be a prudish square), but despite all that she’s extraordinarily feminine. She’s got the shape (curves — again, by 1950s standards), she lets Ron be the man, she’s the loving female. Sometimes she’s got a smart mouth, but not to the Emma Stone Queen of Sarcasm level that a lot of female characters have now. She’s not a bitch.

His enemies are some evil guys. They’re running drugs, whores, weapons. They are corrupt. But they’re not standing off to the side twirling their mustaches. They have lives, families, things they care about besides money and getting laid. They don’t see themselves as that evil; most of them got caught up in the whirlwind and couldn’t stop.

It’s set in the 1950s because that’s when I wanted to set it — there’s the possibility of racial tension, mentioned by Ron pretty early when it comes to his dead friend, and how he was the opposite of that. He briefly covers why, in his mind. It’s touched on again a time or two. But there’s also a real lack of technology to help Ron: he’s got a lot of guns that work pretty well, but recording devices for audio and pictures? The 50s might as well be a different world when it comes to that. At one point I think he gets a lunch-box sized tape recorder and he had a ridiculous and expensive (by any standards) camera. At the time I believe the camera he uses was a few hundred dollars, which is a couple grand now.

Another interesting side-bit: The Miranda Warning didn’t exist yet. Miranda v Arizona wasn’t until 1966, twelve years after The Boots Are Red opens. The public interaction with the police today can be pretty horrifying if it goes wrong. Back then you didn’t have any protection at all.

In the Sword of Nalin books, the main three heroes are scientists tossed into an extraordinary circumstance (and one tag-along bratty woman). They’re not in the best shape, they’re not trained fighters. They’ve got way less experience than Ron does, and the circumstances are a lot more dire. But they want to be heroes with every bit of their being. They are driven, and now they face the opportunity. They face it like men, and they screw up all along the way as they try to learn their surroundings.

The main female character, Zern, is strong, and smart — but not as strong as she thinks she is. Her primary role in the beginning is helping to guide them to keep them from dying stupidly. Like Ron, she starts out pretty well broken. She has to come to terms with her inflated sense of worth, bred into her by her lineage and position. She screws up, too.

The villains there are a varied bunch, and again — they’re not just twirling their mustaches. Aria wants justice and is blinded by that and her love of her own skin. The cult of the Beloved want to return things to the original order and gain their own power; they believe and they are committed, and that makes them dangerous. The same could be said of the good guys.

It’s the commitment and the facing of odds that make it worth writing about. It all comes down to a battle of wills, wits, and raw strength. This doesn’t mean they never need any help. Just the opposite: They do need help, and they’re committed enough to their path to ask for it, or demand it if need be. Sometimes they might beg.

Ron appealed to me in many ways because he’s very driven. He’s also the embodiment of masculinity in many ways, without being a cartoon parody, a He-Man. He’s still got emotions, desires, and all the rest of the things that make up being a person. He’s not a perfect physical specimen, the world’s best shot (or anything). He’s a realistic man with an intense, burning desire to solve the case.

There’s no message hidden in his cases, I’m not trying to bullshit people with some sneaky political gems. Ron gets a case and he must solve it. My job is to make it interesting and worth reading, to make you care about him solving the case, to make you hope the right people live and the right people die, and not hope all of us end up on an island suffering each other’s company for all eternity.

So buy a book.

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Death Threats, Having Real Enemies, and being a Coward

I don’t have a lot of real enemies in life, but it’s easy to construct one in my head of a person who has (even unintentionally or unknowingly) wronged me. Someone who has slighted me. It’s easy, really easy, to imagine that this person is somehow responsible for an ill in my life and therefore they are my enemy. When I was a teenager it was always my then-girlfriend’s parents, because for whatever reason, parents didn’t like me. (One even said I had no future. HA.)

But those people aren’t really my enemies; worst case scenario, they’re an asshole I have to deal with. When I worked as a cook in college there was another cook who was a real asshole. Most nights I probably imagined him as some great villain (okay maybe if he’d been smarter). In reality, he was just a loser, a guy way too old to be working shifts at a chain restaurant for less than twice minimum wage at the time. But he annoyed me, so in my head he was this enemy of mine.

What put all that aside in my head was having a real enemy, someone who actually wanted to kill me, and tried. I’m not writing this to sound like a bad ass; I survived because I did only one thing right, and despite doing everything else wrong. I wasn’t practicing situational awareness, I wasn’t prepared, I wasn’t in great shape or skilled in martial arts. I survived because I was a coward, which is a kind of guilt that never goes away.

But that situation is why I roll my eyes at anyone complaining they’re getting internet death threats. Like internet romance, internet violence isn’t something to really worry about 99.999% of the time. Report the troll and move on — don’t give them power or attention, just get them in trouble for any laws or terms of service they violate. Be prepared in real life, but don’t act like some kook on the internet is actually going to do it.

In my situation, the guy (we’ll call him Yoyo, a nickname for him my dad coined) actually wanted to kill me, and he came to where I was with the full drunken intent to do so — and he was armed. I was saved by the fact he had only seen me once, and he was drunk, and it was dark, and my gut told me to just keep going when he called my name out. Had I turned around I have no doubt I wouldn’t be writing this right now.

I can’t write this post without explaining why he wanted to kill me, so here it is: I had stolen his woman, in his eyes. In reality she was out the door because he’s (obviously?) an unstable lunatic. But to him it was my fault she was leaving, and I was his enemy. He couldn’t let it go. (To be fair, I did swoop in pretty fast, and if I could do things differently I’d get in his face and tell him that I did steal her away — at a time when he was unarmed. I have no guilt or shame over what I’ve done.)

He came to find me, and he called my name, gun in hand. I kept going and got in my truck without even hesitating. Since then I’ve wondered what I could have done differently, and imagined all sorts of violent reactions where I get the better of him. Instead, I should have just called the cops when I knew he was driving around trying to find me, armed and drunk, and let the legal process take it’s turn with him. It would have saved me a lot of grief and I wouldn’t feel like such a punk. What I was doing may or may not have been an asshole move, but it wasn’t illegal.

For all I know, he still wants to kill me. But calmer heads prevailed and he’s apparently decided that either a) he won’t get away with his foolishness twice, or more likely b) he likes being a free man a lot more than he wants me dead. He’s kind of a little fellow, and would not do well at all in prison.

So no, I don’t take random assholes on the internet seriously. I’ve been told online by many a fool that they wanted to kill me and some of them were quite creative and graphic. It can be alarming, especially in the age of the dox, but there is nothing like that feeling in your stomach when you know someone is behind you intent on murdering you and the only thing saving your life is that they don’t know for sure you’re the person they’re after.

Because those seconds getting into my truck seemed to last forever. Despite being years ago it is still fresh in my mind and is one of the few things I want revenge for — because I was unprepared, unarmed, unexpecting, and I had to be a coward to get out of it.

“I should have…” is not a fun feeling at all. It sticks with you in an amazingly persistent way.

The point is that there is a huge difference between some temporary internet tough guy and someone who actually wants to and has the means to end you.

Well, and I’m a shameless asshole, but how else would I be a successful writer?

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Rule Breaker

I’ve had an interesting relationship with the “manosphere” (a term I’ve come to loathe) — initially, when I came across it, I was enthralled with the idea. Finally, people who are outraged about the same stuff I am, and aren’t necessarily nutty political hacks. It was refreshing to say the least. My introduction came through the post Welcome to the Manosphere by Aaron Clarey. It was linked by Uncle (I’m not digging that post out). Refreshing, reassuring.

Of course, there are a lot of us motherfuckers out there. Some of them aren’t part of My Tribe(tm). In truth, there are too many whiners and people who come across like they’re playing a role playing game. Everyone has to do as they do or want, or the person is “beta” or “omega.” Whatever — I’m not going to live my life to someone else’s standard. Any time there is a massive grouping at least thirty percent of it will be kooks if you ask me.

Since that post I have whittled down the number of blogs I read to the ones I link here. I followed a ridiculous number of sites and realized I wasn’t even reading most of them and just brushed past their entries in feedly, then decided, well what’s the point?

Even among the guys I do follow, I’m still somewhat of a rule breaker; I’m married, and to an American woman. Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way and feel that I Chose Wisely. (I also married above my pay grade in the looks department, but that’s because I refuse to compromise my standards.) There are other personal differences, but the point is, I’m not following any of the rules. I’m not a pick-up artist, I’m not a men’s rights activist/whiner.

I’m not here to be a part of a group, and you shouldn’t be, either. Find the people you dig, and stick with them. I dig the people I link to even when I disagree with them. So take my links as an endorsement: They’re good writers, entertaining, and will probably offend all the right people. Sometimes they offend me. By linking to that, apparently I’m breaking some sort of rule. Because, nobody should be offended, right?

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A GamerGate Update — The Gaming Media DID Coordinate to Squash it.

I quit reading Ars Technica because of the stink surrounding their coverage of Zoe Quinn’s Depression Quest game, and the way they did it in the midst of the scandal and completely avoided any mention of it. Well, it turns out it was reviewed because of the scandal:

Kyle Orland was part of a group that coordinated to keep down any discussion of GamerGate.

I love being right all the time.

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