Monday, December 31, 2012

Re RE in Resolutions

Usually, I spend a couple of weeks at the end of December making goals and plans for the year to come.  This year, however, I'm going simple with a theme in resolutions of RE:

RElax
REdiscover the joy of writing
REady my family for the changes 2013 will bring

Nothing profound, but the best I can do I think in light of the crazy year ahead.  What are your resolutions?


Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Favor to ask on behalf of wounded vets and zombie lovers



Dear friends,


My fundraiser story, “Shambling in a Winter Wonderland” has raised $178 so far for Operation Homefront, but has stalled again.  Would you give me a belated Christmas present?  If you have friends or fans who enjoy zombies, humor, horror (of the Zombieland variety) or helping charities or wounded vets, would you please copy the message below and share it with your social networks? The last line is 136 characters and can be used as a tweet.

Zombies on skis?  That’s worth a read—and a chance to help a wounded soldier’s family.  My friend, Karina Fabian, is publishing her humorous zombie novella, “Shambling in a Winter Wonderland” at http://skizombies.karinafabian.com  Neeta and Ted are zombie exterminators trying to take a vacation on the slopes of Utah, but when a ski/snowboard team comes back from the dead, they get hired to  put them back under.  There’s excitement, humor, romance, and shredding with the undead!

This is more than a fun story, however;  Karina is using it to raise funds for Operation Homefront, which provides emergency financial aid to wounded members of the armed forces and to their families.   The story is free, but Karina has a donate button on the website.  Enjoy the story and if you would like to help out, donate as little as a dollar.  For every $10 in donations she gets, she’ll post the next episode (or if she gets $500 total, she’ll post it all.)  She is also offering books for bigger donations.  However, EVERYCENT GOES TO OPERATION HOMEFRONT.    


Tweet:  If you enjoy zombies, skiing, funny horror, or helping others, visit http://skizombies.karinafabian.com , check out the story  & donate.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

video
(This is my son's Jr. High band.  He's the soloist.)

Merry Christmas
and
Peace and Joy
in the 
New Year

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Of Slings and Feeling Vexed, a DragonEye Story



In honor of the Mayan calendar ending, I thought I'd share this story of Vern and Quetzalcoatl. BTW, you did hear that they found a bigger calendar?  Apparently only the wall calendar runs out.

Of Slings and Feeling Vexed (And Other Mayan Stuff)

By Karina Fabian
(Originally appeared in 10Flash)

“You want me to do what?”
“You will defeat the Mayan’s false god,” Cortez said.
“And bring these people to the True God,” Father Jose Dominguez added.
The conquistador ignored the little priest who stood next to him, and regarded me with a haughty glare. Although a small man himself, Cortez had presence.
That irked me. I was more the size of one of his dogs than the great dragon I once had been. St. George had spent forty days taking away just about everything that made me dragon, then forced me to serve the Church to get it back. At the time, I thought my world had ended, but it opened up the doors to a pretty interesting new one.
Of course, some days were more “interesting” than others.
“In case you hadn’t noticed,” I replied, with acid in my voice to replace the fire I no longer breathed, “I’m no heavyweight. Even when I was, I didn’t mess with demigods.  What makes you think this will end well?”
He didn’t deign to answer.
“You will be as David against Goliath!” Father Jose said.
I snorted. And me without a slingshot.
#
Quetzalcoatl laughed. “This is your champion? This is the might of the foreign—”
Goliath or not, I did not want to deal with his monologue. I bit his tail. 
Quetzalcoatl yelped and shot into the air, dragging me along. I barely had time to get my bearings before he smashed me against a pyramid.
Oh, it was on!
I caught his eye, stuck out my tongue to show the chunk I’d bitten off his tail, then swallowed it. While he sputtered in outrage, I lunged for his wings.
He twisted, quick as his temper. As I hurtled by, I snagged his tail and spun into a twisting loop. He had to follow.  Even demigods can’t ignore leverage.
Hack and slash. Bite and duck.  First for hours, then for a day. A second day began. The Spanish kept the Mayans from offering sacrifices to rebuild Quetzelcoatl’s strength, but no one fed me, either. Once or twice, I spotted Father Jose fingering his beads, but I knew he chanted, “Thy will be done.”
They will.  Great.  I knew for a fact that God took a longer term view of things than sentients and His will didn’t often match mine.  I ducked to avoid the demigod’s slashing claws and got a kick in the gut for my effort.
The sun had almost set for the third time. Quetzalcoatl and I perched on opposing treetops, hissing and spitting – posturing really – as we caught our breaths. 
I ached beyond all measure. Quetzalcoatl’s poison burned in me. I couldn’t keep this up much longer. You ever read Psalms, chapter twenty-two, verse seventeen? “I can count all my bones. People look and stare upon me.” I figured it would be faster to count the handful that didn’t hurt.
Then something else from King David came to me, something Father Jose had mentioned. I decided to count the hours and the minutes. I plucked and shoved an avocado into my mouth.
“Let’s end this,” Quetzalcoatl panted. “Join with me. Defeat the Spanish and rule at my side.”
“Seriously? And spend eternity like this?” I spoke around my chewing.
Thirty nine hours – and almost one more –
“You prefer to bow to lesser beings? You would have me subservient to the likes of them?”
He spat toward Cortez. 
Fifty-seven minutes. 
I rolled my eyes to show my opinion of his stupidity.  “Not them, to God. That’s your place as much as mine.”
Fifty-eight. 
Quetzalcoatl hissed at me, then reared back, eyes glowing fire, wings unfurled, godlike and larger than life.
Fifty-nine.
I spat the pit at him.  It struck his forehead.
And the demigod crashed to the ground. Forty hours. Another forty for God. He has a thing about that number.
* * *
Cortez and his men celebrated victory. I sat atop a lonely hill, licking my wounds. Poison ate at me, making me nauseous. Still, I couldn’t help but smile as Quetzalcoatl flopped onto the ground next to me.  Nice to see I gave almost as good as I got.
With a grudging glance, he hissed a spell. I felt the poison fade. Got to love kindness from an enemy. “Good fight,” I said. 
“I was outclassed.”
I knew he didn’t mean me. 
In the camp, the conquistadors laughed and toasted God and each other. In the city, the Mayan people mourned.
Quetzalcoatl closed his eyes to a pain that had nothing to do with his wounds. “Their world is ending.”
“I know.”
The Mayans had worshiped Quetzalcoatl for millennia. He’d done well by them. Their empire spread across Mesoamerica, and for centuries, they prospered. Yet in mere days, pasty-faced invaders with a puny dragon changed everything.
“Why aren’t you down there with them?”
“They should not see me this way.”
Sandaled footsteps caught our attention. Father Jose struggled up the hill, carrying an urn.
“Blessed water,” he explained in broken Mayan.
He dipped a rag and reached for Quetzalcoatl’s wing.
The demigod reared back. “What hypocrisy is this?”
“No hypocrisy. Change must come.”
“Must it?” Quetzalcoatl sneered.
“You took from God. Now He welcomes back. Baptism tomorrow. Many souls saved.”
“What about me?” the demigod almost wailed.
“Quetzalcoatl great demigod,” Father Jose said. “Cares for people. But no more human sacrifice. Jesus only sacrifice. No more killing. Now, Communion and life.”
Quetzalcoatl presented his wing. As the priest washed away the dirt and blood, I saw new feathers already budding. Tomorrow, Quetzalcoatl would be back to his full glory. He would oversee the baptism of his people with a benevolent eye, as the Spaniards joined in prayers and celebration with their Mayan brothers.
And thus, a new world begins.

Monday, December 17, 2012

NASA Johnson Style

I have nothing I want to blog about today, so just for fun, here's a video to make you smile.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Author's Christmas Wish List


It's time once again for my annual Author's Christmas Wish List. I'm a little late with it this year, but most of these don't require shopping or wrapping and are good any time of the year.  You can make any author in your life happy with these gifts--some of time, some of talent, and some of treasure.

Authors, feel free to copy and paste this to your own blogs, slip under your spouse's pillow, or e-mail to those who never know what to get you. Friends of authors, imagine your friend wrote this.


Gifts of Time:

* Take my book to a store and ask the owner to stock it, or give a copy to your local library or school
* Review it on Amazon or some other big venue
* Recommend it for an award (and pay the fee)
* Mention to friends or user groups about my books, website, newsletter or blog
* Babysit the kids so I can have a few quiet hours for writing
* If I'm having a book signing in your area, come visit and bring some friends
* Help me set up a book signing at your local bookstore or library (especially appreciated if we live far from each other and I'm coming for a visit)
* Contact your local newspaper or radio station about me and arrange an interview--also a great idea if I happen to be coming for a visit
* Donate a couple of hours to some project I'm working on--like sending letters to bookstores, sending out PR releases, making a database of readers, etc.

Gifts of Talent:

* Create a website for me--or better yet, teach me how
* Make a template I can modify
* Give me ideas on how I can market myself or my books--and help me to put them into practice!
* Design a banner, book "sell sheet" (a one-page flyer about the book), or other marketing materials
* Make a book trailer video for my book and post it on YouTube, etc.
* Make a recording of a chapter of my book to put on my website

Gifts of Treasure:
Just like with clothing or jewelry, some of these items (from domain names to pens) may require you knowing your author's friend's taste. When in doubt, a gift certificate for the item is a good fall-back.
* Take a photo of yourself with my book--post it and e-mail it
* Music to write by
* Amazon gift certificates to get books
* Buy my book--order it from a bookstore
* Buy me a domain name for my website
* Bookmarks with my cover, name and website
* Subscription to Writers Market

* Journals
* Book signing gear--poster with my photo and name on it, a roll-away carrier to put the books and materials, book stands
* Business cards
* Gift certificate to a printer/VistaPrint if they do that
* Reams of paper
* A mug warmer (or a good thermos)
* Pizza coupons for those days when the need to write overcomes the need to cook
* A really good pen!
* Stamps
* Business-sized envelopes

Monday, December 10, 2012

Guest post, Aaron Dennis: Get Ready for a Bug Hunt!

Yay, December--what a great time to think about buglike aliens, right?  Today, I'm touring Aaron Dennis and his Lokians novels.  He's got a little to say and then some excerpts.  Enjoy!



Thanks so much for allowing me this wonderful opportunity.

Aaron Dennis, here. Creator of the Lokians science fiction series and owner of www.dennisauthor.com.

Being an independently published author affords a few benefits but also some very serious obstacles. With Lokians: Book1 Beyond the End of the World, I provided a few concepts not normally in sci-fi, at least not modern sci-fi.

One such concept is real technology. This bestows the brand of Hard Sci-Fi, or sci-fi loosely based on fact. I also included some religious concepts, genetic theory, and some very unique aliens, the likes of which I’ve never seen anywhere. All that coupled with completely diverse characters and a relatable enemy helped bring the story to life.

Now, with Book2 They Lurk Among Us, I delved into some of the more common conspiracy theories like government cover-ups, secret organizations, and obviously aliens ensconced in Earth government.

Furthermore, I challenge those beliefs, and further more, I challenge the existing hits of my genre like Star Trek, Star Wars (which is really a futuristic fantasy adventure and not sci-fi because none of the technology is explained and it involves a guy swinging a sword and casting magical mind spells), plus all these are old concepts and it’s time for something new. That’s why the new Star Trek movie was such a hit. It bridged a generational gap.

With the release of Lokians: Book2 They Lurk Among Us scheduled for November 7th and the completion of Lokians: Book3 For War and Glory coming soon, I’d like to add an excerpt from each. Please keep in mind For War and Glory will not be finished for a little while longer.

Lokians: Book1 Beyond the End of the World


The bug hit the ground. Jun and Adams walked over to it. It looked like a small football, a brown bulbous insect with no eyes or mouth. The four legs were of steel composition. It looked like a scout of sorts, or it would have, if it were pieced back together. The bullet caused the exoskeletal structure to burst. A viscous, rusty colored ooze slowly poured onto the cold ground. A few more came out of different tunnels.
The Captain quickly took control of the situation and yelled to his crew mates.
“Take cover behind the gray mounds.”
As the men and aliens took their position, a familiar sound echoed throughout. O’Hara’s eyes grew wide. A tunneler was coming. All right, where are you. Son of a— a small rock fell onto his helmet from above. He slowly looked up to find the ceiling was shaking softly.
“It’s on top of us,” O’Hara exclaimed.
The crew spread out as more, larger portions of stone fell from above, some large enough to crush the small mounds. White glistening dust erupted from the wreckage. Franklin spotted a small alcove beside a building and stowed his riches.
“Take out the bugs,” Franklin began.
“They’re probably scouts,” Adams finished.
Ton and Sura fired plasma weapons at the bugs. For each one they killed, two more came crawling from the hole-riddled walls. The ceiling suddenly gave way and the tunneler fell through, tentacles extended. In full view, the tunneler was more intimidating than expected. It was a full twelve feet across with several rows of dangerous teeth. The insect was a large tapered roach with two tentacles reaching away from the mechanical mouth. It did not have eyes or proper legs. As it fell, with dust and debris, the crew saw several tiny metallic hooks protruding from its belly. The hooks functioned as anchors slowly inching the beast forward when moving on sloped ground. It hit the mounds with a thundering blow. As it writhed, the crew laid into it.
“Get in there,” O’Hara yelled, firing repeated shots into the enemies flank.
Hun-Tan and Un-It took the forefront and fired plasma rifles.
“Yes,” Hun-Tan yelled.
“More fire power,” Un-It added.
As the beast wriggled upright, for balance, the two Thewls back peddled and took cover behind remnants of a roof. The comm units were wild with grunts and war cries. Soon, the tunneler spun itself by using its tentacles. As it turned, it picked up a great deal of speed. Chunks of bug exoskeleton popped off as it gained momentum. Confused, the crew eased back in apprehension. Suddenly, it erupted acid with a vulgar belch. Toxic bile spilled out in a full circle, but no one was caught outright by the blast. Some splatter hit the closest members with little effect. Though the armor was resistant the acid began corroding the plating. Korit fired a massive burst of plasma into the Lokian’s brown, pulsating flank. A huge hole was the result of the impact. While most of the crew were battling the tunneler, a few of the others were blasting bugs, Franklin and Adams called for back up.


Lokians: Book2 They Lurk Among Us
 

            “Listen, luring them out is better than approaching a Teragon, agreed?” he clarified.
Sasha nodded.
“If we manage to bait them, reason suggests, they’ll appear with a Betagon, and perhaps a detail of fighters. If we wipe out the fighters, we can disable the Betagon. Far as I can figure, there will be no way to ground the enemy vessel, so we’ll have to board it and try to extract one living Gray. The question then is, will there be a Gray at the entrance that we can capture, or will we have to work our way through the Betagon and fight?” Riley explained.
            “Iz good question for sure. I think from reports if ve don’t find vay to secure one small ship, ve vill fight many or fight Betagon. Vith whole crew, how many ve have?” Ivan asked.
            “Let’s see, Korit for sure, John, Swain, Sara, DeReaux. That’s my guess. Last I heard, Fitzpatrick was on her way here to Mars. Also, the Admiral may have sent extra Thewls with Korit. Let’s assume we have a total of ten. A Betagon holds what, like eighty Grays?” Suddenly Riley came to grips with the scenario.
            “Eighty midgets with mind powers. They’ll turn our assholes inside out,” Sasha commented.
            Riley and Ivan could not contain their laughter. While Ivan sank into the couch holding his sides Riley stumbled over to the recliner and fell into it. After a few moments, he regained his composure. Apparently, Sasha had not been laughing.
            “Well?” she asked.
            “Uhh…Yeah, but there’ll be less than that because we’ll disable their ship. A safe estimate, after casualties, maybe a dozen, and they’ll be spread thin throughout the vessel. This will work. I’m all over it,” Riley said with a smile.
            “I vant hear crew’s input. Maybe they have better suggestions,” Ivan remarked.
            “Yeah, won’t be too much longer,” he replied.
Riley and crew spent the remaining time gathering their gear. Afterwards, Riley powered on the Clandestine and checked the readout systems for ships in their vicinity. A few moments passed before signatures spiked. The readout was indicative of the materialization of the Carrier. It appeared to be on the outskirts of Uranus. As Riley kept his eyes on the signature, he saw three vessels appear on the monitor. The Thewls were coming.
            Riley knew that there was no conventional way to pick up on the position of the Clandestine. Moreover, it was grounded on a planet’s surface. So, he put the zero-gravity generator into overdrive, to increase magnetic output. He then disabled the magnetism reducer, to stop from masking said output. Suddenly, the console monitor indicated one vessel was locked onto the Clandestine. Riley smiled to himself and gathered Ivan and Sasha.
            “All right guys, it’s almost time to meet them outside. They should be here shortly,” Riley announced.
            After a few, painstakingy slow, hours moved by, the three met in the airlock where Riley inspected their gear. As always, Ivan was in his veritable tank of a suit and Sasha in her sleek war wear. The red light came on and they stepped out onto Mars’s surface. It was nighttime and the sky overhead was clear. A red dust storm whirled in the distance. The night sky made it look brown.
In his form-fitting, black attire, Riley gazed into the night. The stars were brilliant. Three streaks broke through the planet’s atmosphere with a beautiful red tail created by the heat from atmospheric penetration. The prospect of a reunion, coupled with the promise of a mission, was exhilarating.
            “Here they come,” he announced.
            Sasha and Ivan were both a little nervous. Observing their leader’s composed demeanor allowed them to relax a little. The Type-A’s came in first. Their unique wing structure swirled about the vessels as they manuevered for a landing. A gust of wind emanated from the ships when they stopped in mid-hover, a few feet from the rocky ground. Then the landing pylons emerged and the field generated hatches opened. A moment later, the oblong Scouter arrived. As it touched down, the two Thewl fighter pilots hopped out of their vessels and approached Riley, Sasha, and Ivan. The Humans looked upon their immense stature.
            “I’m Riley, this is Sasha and Ivan,” Riley said as he pointed out his crew.
            “I am Nuf-Pota,” the male Thewl spoke.
            “I am Rota,” the female announced.
            The two Thewls stood at an equal height. Their black armor suggested which of them was male and female. Rota’s breastplate accentuated her feminine structure.
            “Glad to meet you. As soon as Korit and the others step out, we’ll decide where to meet for battle plans,” Riley stated.
            “Agreed,” Nuf-Pota said.
            “Yes,” Rota said.
            Riley noticed their mannerisms. They stood in a similar fashion and their names sounded alike.
            “You wouldn’t be related, would you?” he asked.
            “Yes, we were egg mates,” Rota said.
            “Both in the same egg?” Sasha stepped forward and asked.
            “That is correct,” Nuf-Pota said.
            “They’re twins?” Sasha asked.


I’d like to thank you again for allowing me to show the world what I’ve got and I want to thank Eternal Press for providing me the opportunity to publish these exciting books.