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A Sackful of Wrong

There were some ah… interesting comments on the post two days ago. That’s counting the ones that were approved. The ones that weren’t approved weren’t not because I thought we couldn’t debate them, but because they showed either such a bizarre misunderstanding of this community or of history or (for the win) both that they were either trolls or people I didn’t want to get in under the radar next time.

One of the for the win ones was the one who said that Salazar was recently voted as one of the best Portuguese of all time, and seemed to believe I’d been an enthusiastic supporter of the revolution and/or that the fact that people vote someone now dead almost sixty years as “one of the greatest” a big accolade. To clarify, Salazar was better than sliding into communism. That’s it. But when I say we were “poor as Job” that’s on whose head to lay it. He wasn’t a fascist, which is how American history books describe him. No, wait. He wasn’t a fascist in the sense of hating the Jews and standing with Hitler. He was a fascist like FDR in the sense of controlling every facet of the economy, starting the welfare state (national health care AND social security), crony capitalism, and a misguided and backward mercantilism.

Overthrowing the regime would have been a good thing, (only it wasn’t his regime anymore but that of his chosen successor under whom I suspect Portugal would have been a kinder, gentler version of China today and possibly very prosperous, if still soft-fascist) if the Junta that overthrew him hadn’t contained at least communist under orders from Moscow. As it was, Portugal swung the other way so fast that it gave me a good understanding of how socialism is the soft slide to communism; communism corrupts a country to get in; and I want nothing to do with either. It made me a determined anti-communist, which has cost me something, not the least in terms of career here, where “communism” is hip. Oh, and that swing destroyed the Portuguese colonies in Africa which were handed on a platter to Russian front groups. For that alone, the revolution as it happened and when it happened was a very bad thing. Talk to Peter Grant for details. It doesn’t mean that the previous regime was wonderful. What you get there is the equivalent of Russians pining for the tzar because what followed as so unimaginably worse. But it doesn’t mean the tzar was wonderful. (And in Portugal what followed was paradoxically better in material terms. Which, btw, if nothing else is an indictment of the ancient regime, because if euro-socialists can manage your country finances better than you can, whoa, dude.)

I didn’t approve that one because Portuguese history has been discussed here before and it profits nothing except when I see we’re making the same mistake. Portugal has now been more or less absorbed wholesale into euro madness which means what worked about it has ceased to work, and what never worked in Europe has filled it with wrong. That is their problem, not mine. It is the problem of Europe too. My prediction, enshrined in a future history I use as a yardstick for the space operas and which is now 20 years old, is that it will end in blood. Civilization isn’t created or controlled by laws but by culture, and though some generations of Europeans have been raised in subjection to a bunch of arbitrary international socialist rules, that is not what Europe IS.

Americans who go there and actually hang out with natives on equal terms are often shocked at the startlingly racist, sexist, xenophobic things Europeans say and aren’t ashamed to display in public.

That is European culture. I’m not judging here. I’ll just say it wasn’t for me, and so I left. The European union is a veneer applied on something much older and more powerful. Despite fast transportation, etc, the Europeans of today remember their parents and grandparents talking about beating up the guy from over the ridge who came to court “their girls.”

I found myself the unwitting cause of one of these disputes while taking a walk with a friend in the village, on a summer afternoon when my parents weren’t at home.

Note I walked in the village all the time, often in short-shorts and that this time I was wearing a dress, and that this was the only time this confrontation happened: village cohesion was already weakening at that time.

We must have been about fourteen which means that while Mr. Hormone had come calling and I had at least one seriously platonic crush that had led me into writing rhymed and metered sonnets, neither of us were thinking of boyfriends yet. This is because we were on the university-track and getting married before 22 wasn’t happening.

Also in my generation there were maybe two or three boys in the village who might have reached-up to my social level (and my friend’s) but they weren’t considered close enough to our class for our parents (yes, in Europe that matters. Sorry, but it’s another of those things that it’s hard to explain to Americans. I suspect it still maters, though now I’m too far away to be sure.) It’s not that such matches didn’t happen, but I knew if I were interested in one of them I’d have to fight my parents (and my friend’s parents would probably just stare in frozen horror.) and I didn’t like any of them enough for even a pretend-dating that would bring that on my head.

Anyway, we went for a walk. The details are fuzzy, but I think she was staying with me for the weekend while my parents were out, and we’d got bored or cabin-fevered and went for a walk.

A bunch of guys on motorcycles started calling things out to us. We treated them as we’d been taught, and as I still treat importune strangers – you let your face go impassive, and you pretend they’re not there. – In the village that would have made the guy slink away in shame, but these unspanked babies decided to follow us on our walk, back home. This was, mind you, a matter of maybe a mile at that point. We went into my parents’ home, closed the door and didn’t go near the windows. We were both a little unsettled the same way I still am (though I’ve been hardening myself) by rudeness, because it hadn’t come in our way before.

The idiots stayed outside screaming things and revving up their motorcycles. (I’m going to assume, right now that either wherever they came from had no women or that they’d heard something about all the women of the village being sluts, and believed it – which showed a level of stupidity rarely found anywhere.)

Note here that my aunt next door, a woman who had an unerring ability to take a situation by the wrong end, later told my mother that my friend and I had “encouraged” these boys, because otherwise why would they stay outside “for upward of an hour.”

Anyway, the idiots stayed outside… until word got around the village, when a bunch of village boys gathered in front of the house and started a fight, at which point the interlopers, motorcycles less than shiny, skiddaddled out of the village.

My mom in the round of gossip the next day told me why the boys intervened.

I was grateful, in either case, but they weren’t defending us because we were innocent (we were. I don’t think we even looked at these guys until they started up) girls being harassed by louts. Oh, no.

They got in a fight and sent these guys packing because they were “strangers” by which I mean they were probably from ten miles away, and “we can’t have strangers come courting our select girls.”

No one had taught that to that generation of boys. They might have heard a story or two from their parents, but the bonds between village youths were no longer what they had been in my father’s day when I suspect they’d have been classed as a gang (or the army of a city state. Whichever.)

But it was still there.

I could be completely wrong. There have been large population movements around and things are even looser. On the other hand, I hear the same spirit in the comments of shop keepers.

I suspect Europe will convulse and throw out both out of the continent immigrants and anyone perceived as a stranger, which will vary from place to place.

This doesn’t mean it will go back to some form of pure race. Pure “nationality” in Europe is a myth. It exists only in the sense that people believe it exists. In reality there have been periods like this all along where people from outside the area flooded the area. It was usually caused by or ended in tears.

I think it will end in tears and blood and that at the end of it Europe will still be Europe, although there’s a generation there who will need to be very fertile if some places are to stay viable.

I think Russia’s chest pounding is the beginning of the ball, and though they’re as importune as those boys who followed us on the motorcycles and though in the end what they will spark is a convulsion that will tear Europe into the pieces it was before the euro-delusions and/or into new and different pieces (because Europe is at its heart clannish and clan and nation don’t always coincide.)

But that’s part of my future history (where they then try to grow people in vats, to make up the difference in population, but that’s the sf bit.)

Will it come through that way? I suspect so. Things tend to happen in the world stage according to very deeply-laid patterns of culture and behavior. This is something we Americans – people of the paper and the rules – tend to not fully get.

I suspect Europeans will go back to their foundational principles, and so will we. Those are very different from each other and very different from where we’ve got, and a lot of blood will be spilled along the way, as the top-down regimes encouraged by mass industry fracture in the age of distributed producing.

That’s part of what we’re seeing. These transitions are always unpleasant. The blood is always part of these transitions, too, as is the words and the philosophy lagging the actual change.

Slavery wasn’t abolished until it had been superseded by industry (as someone pointed out here, slavery is not economically practical. But it is psychologically practical in that when there’s work no sane man will want to do for money, slavery or serfdom exists.) The “liberation” of women didn’t happen until infant mortality was so low that we could afford to have women have only one or two kids, instead of the ten or so you used to need to raise one or two.

Explanation lags change, always. Which is why communism is still around and still vocal: a philosophy created at the dawn of the age of big machines.

It is a dead philosophy walking, but to make it fall over will take blood. Because it always does, to kill zombies.

(Btw, to the extent history has a direction it is a direction imposed on it by technological development. Some forms of interaction and government are more appropriate to the level/type of technology. Hence, in the day of vast factories and concentration of the means of communication the conflicting philosophies were all to an extent top-down. As were the dystopias extrapolated. To make this clear, to understand the errors of thought in 1984, imagine a Heinlein character dropped into it. The progressives never got that. They froze mentally in the early 20th century, thus believing the arrow of history is a thing and it always points to them.)

Having touched on relations between men and women – a great part of the “wrong” in the comments was men who thought men were worthless (!) and men who thought men should “control” women, for an ideal state, both of which are somewhat bordering on the insane – I was going to go on to explain how civilization to be successful consists of both genders and all humans controlling THEMSELVES.

But that will wait till tomorrow, as I have a book to write. This is the new policy, btw. Wrong in the comments of commenters that were pre-approved before, or that seem substantial enough for you guys to enjoy chewing, will be left for the Huns to play with. If I feel I must answer I’ll do so in a post.

I’ll still answer comments, but I can’t be drawn into arguments of any length, if the books are to get written.

 

The Years The Locust Ate

On this blog, a few days ago, when I said a day was wasted, someone said Jerry Pournelle calls those the days the locust ate.

Well… the weekend sort of turned into that. Not really, but sort of, as I ended up having to put up various “fires” around the house/family. So I’m hoping to settle down and finish Through Fire this week, which means I’ll run one of the posts y’all have sent me tomorrow, probably.

But here’s the thing, I was thinking of that of “the years the locust ate.”

It’s really easy to lose track of time, particularly when you work from home and have more than one job, (between housekeeping, writing, publishing, doing covers for the family and close friends, and “expect the unexpected” moments, I think I’m up to around five or so.)

Because you’re doing this and doing that and picking up on the other, it’s really easy to come to the end of the day and have done nothing.

It’s also really easy to tell yourself “It’s been really stressful. I’ll take the week and—”

It’s not that it’s not been stressful. It’s that the more time you take, the less the habit of just writing is there to fall back on.

So, have I done any of those things? I’ve done all of those things, except take time off. The take time off thing usually happens ONLY when I’m so sick I can’t focus. Then I’ll drag off to bed and accept the week is off. But even that will break the habit. And habit is hard to establish.

Because I’m breaking in a new planning system, I thought I’d write down my observations on time management and being a writer.

They go something like this

  • Writing is mostly an habit.
  • Any day you don’t write increases the chances you won’t write the next day.
  • Any type of entertainment/habit of thought that takes you away from reading/thinking about writing is a detriment.
  • If you become totally immersed in anything, be it daydreaming or watching movies or audiobooks even, writing becomes more difficult.
  • Separating the places you do activities helps. If you do them all from home, then try to edit at one desk/in one are; write at another; and do internet work at another.
  • In the end, the only thing that counts is writing. You don’t have to be perfect, you have to get it done.

 

You can’t get back – and I can’t get back – the years the locust ate. And I’m sort of trying to accept that it takes time to recover fully after you go through a period of constant illness. I’m not good at accepting that, but it’s always been true.

But I am getting back. Becoming more myself again. And I can’t recover the time lost. What I can do is be more efficient about what I do in the future.

This is true about almost any human endeavor, I find. Turns out in the “you can do anything” past, no one pointed out to some of us that some activities have a time and after that can’t happen.

I was one of the fortunate ones who found my husband early, but even I didn’t realize how quickly the window of our fertility would close. If I had I’d have been more aggressive/gone for infertility right after second son. We didn’t. That’s a regret, but it’s also something I can do nothing about. Instead I can love the kids I have now.

In the same way, I wish I’d finished a lot of the books I started and dropped because no one would buy. That can’t be done, but if I manage my time, maybe I can finish some of them and put them up now.

I’m caught between admitting that I’m not precisely made of iron, that there will be days of just staring blankly at nothing much, and not giving myself too much of an excuse to sit on my butt.

Which I suppose means I’m human.

The years the locust ate can’t be recovered. And Atlas will always have to learn to juggle. Shrugging was always a fantasy.

Hate Thy Neighbor – Dave Pascoe

Hate Thy Neighbor – Dave Pascoe

I’ve had it. I’m done with this cunning façade. I was here to gather information on you Enemies of History, but I’ve spent so much time among you people that I’m even starting to think like you. I saw some People of Melanin Blessedness (please, PoC is so last election cycle) at Meijers last night, and was pleased that they appeared to have Made Something of Themselves, instead of feeling Compassion for their Downtrodden Existence and wondering how I could help them organize against the oppressive might of Institutionalized Racism in this so-called United States.

The evil I’ve heard uttered (so to speak; I mean, I haven’t actually heard most of you, you, you individuals speak. I mean, not in person, but I’m sure you’re full of hatey hateness, you haters) in this place, well, it’s just so, so, so very evil! You all probably beat your spouses and children and kick puppies and boil kittens. Worse, you write heroic F&SF and believe wymyn and male humans have biological differences. Differences, besides … um, well, you know. AND! You have human win! Haven’t you read any of the recent Hugo winners? Now those are some Suitably Progressive, Forward Thinking real writers: artists who know their place is to guide the next generation of Thought Leaders.

As I said: I Can’t Take it Any More, and I’m Done With You.

Forever.

***

***

Not really, but that’s exactly the kind of pabulum we’ve come to expect from the usual suspects, is it not?

The issue here is one of instruction- well, sort of. Kinda. There’s a lot of what is often called “education” going on, but the most significant – and most well-learned – lessons are about hating. Specifically, hating anybody one is directed to hate. This is Vileprogism 101, in which the young are inculcated to respond to authority figures without thought or reflection. (To be a bit more even-keeled, you can usually indoctrinate the young in any philosophy you like, provided you get them early enough.) This method is most effective when the authority figures in a child’s life all agree. Parents and grandparents who – consciously or because they were brought up the same way – eagerly look forward to the workers’ paradise to come, tovarisch, combined with the earnest pedagogy of those trained in expert teaching methods, imparting expertly-designed curricula designed by experts. EXPERTS, I say, you haters.

When these forces combine – aided and abetted by moneyed interests and powerful institutions – the skulls full of mushah, I mean, young minds eager for Truth and Beauty become Compassionate with a capital K. Which, in our current age, seems to mean they blame those who came before them for the evils they’ve been told they’ve taken in with their mother’s milk. Or formula, for those who swing that way (it should have been milk, which is Sustainable and Green and Good for the Earth and the Environment, not that you’d care, you backward clingers. I bet you’re personally responsible for Global WarmingClimate Change the Coming Ice Age, aren’t you!) Logic tends to be absent, as that would get in the way of hating people, instead of hating ideas. Classism, sexism, and racism are taught in oblique and sidelong ways, reducing individuals with agency to simple cogs in the great human machine. Women are interchangeable, men are interchangeable, one white person with another, one black person with another, and everyone exists for the furtherance of the quest for power. After which, when differences are finally abolished by imperial fiatdeclaration of the people, guided by the benevolent hand of the Great ManWomanPerson, that power can be given up and we can all have a big picnic, join hands and sing an appropriately non-discriminatory, non-patriarchal, non-white kumbaya.

The means for the Guiding Hand (or appendage of your preference) to acquire this power is through hate. Simple, ugly hate. Hate the White Men who kept black people in slavery, who conquered and raped and pillaged and took to enrich themselves. Hate the white men today who didn’t commit those atrocities, since they benefitted from them (any benefit you derived is both just and far too little compared to what you deserve). Hate the white women, who also benefited (but not too much, since they’re women and therefore oppressed throughout the world) and the cultures that enabled them to do all these horrible things.

And of course, the key is to do it under a cloak of inclusiveness and diversity. Mandatory diversity. It doesn’t matter who is actually best for the job, so long as you get you checklist all checked.

Look, I don’t hate leftists. On the contrary, I have many friends who lean in that direction (and the “I can’t be racist: I have plenty of [COLOR] friends” defense and how that somehow proves racism needs its own post at some point) and we often have good times discussing – if not political philosophies – then shared interests. Shows they can’t be too far to the left, as those who consider Lenin to be a bit too conservative embody the “everything is political” mentality.

No, I don’t hate the people; I detest the philosophy into which most of them have bought. The idea I lampooned above, in which those who disagree are accorded a moral status somewhere between child rapists and parasitic insects. In which people are not people, but widgets. It’s pernicious, that notion. And it’s infected the far right, as well. Just read the comments. Not here, as we have far higher standards of taste. Or at least, of grammar. No, the comments on more mainstream conservative publications. They attitudes are often the same as you’ll find on any from the Daily Kos, Slate or the Huffington Post. Lots of ad hominem attacks, lots of unreasoning anger, lots of advocacy of violence.

It’s not helpful, and playing by the Left’s book is akin to getting into a battle of wits with a fool. I, for one, don’t want to be dragged down to their level and beaten with experience. Or even with a board with a nail in.

Working against us are out deep suspicion of institutions and our consequent tendency to not organize sufficiently. This was pointed out in the comments – two days ago? – where it was observed that while we think of people as individuals with personal agency, our enemies move in lockstep with locked minds and hobbled feet.

And there’s an advantage. They’re big, but they aren’t nimble. Far from it. Look at how Larry’s Sad Puppies 2 campaign got the entirety of literary (as in those who read books and involve themselves in the process, not lit-er-a-choor) scifi fandom in an uproar. He predicted their actions and reactions, and they did exactly as he said they would. He had genuine flexibility of thought on his side, and all they could do was react as their programming dictated. We’re seeing this in national and global politics, where the champions of the left institute policies, and when those fail, they flail about. They attempt to rewrite history. Not “100 years ago” history, but “last year” history. Living memory is mutable (ask Speaker, or ping the elder Hoyt Spawn) but it’s hard to change recordings of the Placeholder in Chief saying “yes” one year, and “no” the next on the very same subject.

What does this have to do with hating, or rather, not hating our neighbors? We – and here that’s the greater we of all those the left would re-educate given half an opportunity – need to not resort to the tactics of our enemies. Not wholesale, at least. There’s a high road, and we should be on it. At least when it comes to motivation, and somewhat in our actions. I think we do fairly well, here. Honestly, our biggest dustups have been family affairs where we’ve disagreed with each other on relatively minor points. But in the greater community of Odds (and of Targets of the Left, and don’t think the categories don’t have a parity approaching one) we need to be, if not voices of compromise, then voices of reason. Ambassadors of good will, though never quislings to our principles.

Basically, we don’t hate the people. These are our neighbors, our family, and our friends. They’ve made choices with which we cannot agree, and that certainly creates friction. Heated words will be said; names called. That’s inevitable, especially when dealing with humans. But. Don’t stoop to hate. Not of the people. Don’t hold them in contempt. Shun them if you must, consider them wastes of flesh and air, but be careful you do not erase their humanity in your displeasure. If for no other reason than that we are not them. We do not do as they do. Don’t hate thy neighbor.

How We Got So Far So Fast

Yesterday, due to something other than raging allergies (I’m almost sure it’s not a cold, but if I don’t hit the antihistamines, I will have an ear infection again) I got really depressed.  So depressed I gave up on writing and went to see elephants.

I got really depressed because I called mom, (to see if she’s gone to the doctor yet. No, of course she’s hasn’t. She’s calling HER doctor next week when he comes back from vacation because the other doctors have cooties, and her follow-up can wait till then. Why does she have to be so stubborn?) and caught up on a lot of old classmates/relatives/acquaintances.

No, it wasn’t the usual “and then they died screaming” though when I go over I always find some number of my contemporaries, and even some of my old students have.

No, this was in a way worse.

Look, indulge me, will you? I’ll explain why this isn’t just “Hey kids get off my lawn” afterwards.

It just seems that every woman my age has been divorced three times, or is shacked up with some guy half her age who is eating out her savings. Every younger woman is having kids out of wedlock starting well before seventeen. And I keep thinking: Oh, h*ll. When did everyone who grew up with me become… low class?”

Look, the village was poor as Job, and financially we were probably the wretched of the Earth. Things I remember from my childhood could fit in a documentary on “growing up in the third world.” Stuff like getting clothes stolen from the line, because there were people who genuinely couldn’t afford clothes for their kids; stuff like eating day old peasant bed fried in lard for a meal, to stretch out the grocery money of the household; things like getting the toes of my shoes cut off when I outgrew them, so I had ersatz sandals for spring. Other things, like playing with empty containers, or thinking the days the crops were irrigated (not with water!) ideal for cork boat races (disposable, thank heavens, but…)

We weren’t rich, and my family was relatively well off.

But dear Lord, we were middle class, no matter what our actually available money was.

Middle class consisted of this, in the end: if she was pregnant, you married her; if the marriage wasn’t unbearable, you stayed married; if there was an oopsie, there might be gossip about it, but neither the husband nor the wife admitted to anything, and save for the older women everyone pretended the kid was legitimate. (And the older women just LOOKED;) men had jobs (they might not be very good at them, but they had jobs,) and most women had jobs (working in the factories was declasse, unless you were a young woman saving for a trousseau, but cleaning houses, or having your own craft business of some sort, or even “buying and selling” were normal,) kids went to school and stayed in school till 4th grade, (that is something that’s way better now) and then were encouraged to get jobs; kids behaved well in public (and when they didn’t, there were a hundred grannies to punish or report to the proper punishment authority).

If you’re thinking that sounds like a lot of hypocrisy. Yeah, a lot of it was, but not quite hypocrisy. People had an image of themselves as decent people, and if they failed they tried to fail in private and show the proper image in public.

Look, I have absolutely no clue whether Heinlein was right, and whether most marriages are rife with adultery. How would I know? Mine isn’t. My friends don’t seem to be. Maybe it’s a function of his having lived in a bohemian class for a time. For all I knew everyone in the village was beating mattresses with everyone else’s wife. The old women sort of assumed so, which was why if your distant cousin they’d never seen called on you and you were alone in the house, you had to talk on the front stoop or risk everyone thinking you were an abandoned woman. And why I was ipso facto an abandoned woman because I thought all of my brother’s friends, who’d known me from birth were as brothers to me. Being left alone with them just meant they lent me comic books. But the old women in the village knew better. (Insert the knowing ah! Here.)

And I’m not going to lie and say that all things that went on and the established mode was the best one. It very well wasn’t. For one, it was a genuinely patriarchal society in the sense that women had almost no power. And before you think this is good, think domestic violence; think someone married to someone who is a genuine head case; think child mortality that might or might not be infanticide (that was normally women, but); think having to get a letter from your husband before you find a paying job (you could start your business without any of that, though,) think being judged on whether your stoop and your curtains were QUITE clean, even though you might be starving; think having your head shaved because your dad caught you smoking; think being grounded because you let a guy walk you home from school at 10. Think too that the only case of genuine immorality in which the woman didn’t get blamed, regardless of the age difference/circumstances was the farmer’s mentally disabled daughter to whom a passing stranger “did a favor” (read, raped, since she was at best around age 4 mentally.)

And the men didn’t have it all their own way. A known adulterer might (probably would) be ambushed by the married women of the village late one night and beaten (the caveat there is that if he was looking after his wife and children they turned a blind eye to his having another arrangement on the side. But neglect or leaving the wife and children destitute wasn’t tolerated) and if a man was genuinely horrible with money, the men in the village would try to have a talk with him. And if the parents had issues, somehow their kids would always be invited to play at someone else’s house all afternoon and stay for dinner. You had to be really far gone/aggressive/scary to be left on your own. Some people managed it. (More on that later.)

It wasn’t ideal. It wasn’t in any circumstances ideal. But it was “decent.”

As I said, regardless of the fact we were all very poor, even those of us who thought (by comparison) we were well off, we were decent folk. We looked after ourselves and we looked after our own. And our clothes were clean, and so were our kids, and if a kid was sent home with lice, his mother couldn’t raise her head for a year.

To quote from Pratchett, there might be nothing to put on the table, but at least the table was well scrubbed. (And in the village most people made their own soap.)

There were people who were unhappy, of course. And there were people who managed to fall through the cracks. Women who lived in shacks and had a dozen kids by different men, and who spent their entire day drunk. Men who were horrible people and drunkards and whom the rest of the village had learned to leave alone. Maybe ten people or one per thousand.

But those were the people we looked down on “low class” people; people “without standards.” People like us, who were properly raised, even those whose parents were separated (or later divorced) or who were very, very poor, were never going to be like that. We had standards. We were middle class.

So –

Look, I’m open to a lot of alternate societies. I grew up reading Heinlein. I confess I don’t like the idea of polygamy because someone always ends up with the wrong end of the stick. (And even Heinlein saw the potential for that to happen. Think Friday.) BUT—

But even in Heinlein’s type of group marriage, there were laws and there were protections. I didn’t know how they could work, exactly, but I kept an open mind that a way could be found to make them work.

Except…

That’s not where the future went. All my old classmates, all my old acquaintances – or a significant number of them – are living in arrangements that are more similar to those of the “low class” people, the “people without standards.”

The standards of the middle class, narrow and blinkered and often unjust as they were had one thing in common: they protected women. Given a state much less willing to pay for illegitimate babies, it did its best to encourage the father to marry the mother (or SOMEONE to marry the mother) and to form a family and to at least PRETEND to be decent people, while they raised the kid in habits of social politeness, thrift and diligence.

Kids aren’t being raised that way now and my kids’ generation (I had children late) are loitering around their parents’ (mostly their mother’s) house, with no job, no degree, no future. Part of it is the economy, which sucks, of course, but the economy also sucked back when I was little and it sucked, yay, mightily in the late seventies, as my generation started selling handicrafts and tutoring and doing other minor work so as not to be a burden on anyone. Because we were raised to be decent.

And young women are being taken advantage of, because being promiscuous is hip, and guys can have kids with them and promise marriage eventually in a future that never comes. And women my age will fall for young men who just want them to support the young men in idleness and to eat out these women’s savings. (Can I say it disturbs me that a number of these are immigrants from Islamic countries? Before you call me racist – and some glittery person will – remember that Islam is not a religion. It is, however, a culture, and by and large a misogynistic culture and one hostile to protecting women – yes, whatever they say. I’d rather be homeless on the streets of New York than a princess in a palace in Dubai.)

The “middle class” standards weren’t there because people were perfect, or because people wanted to look down on those who failed to keep them. At least in my experience we were not puritans, and no one got branded with a scarlet letter. Yes, the people in the village (particularly the old women) glared at anyone they thought was doing anything wrong, but give it enough time and a slip up would be forgiven, if you went ahead and kept the standards in everything else.

The standards were there, evolved over time, because they protected women and children. A man who left his wife for the new new thing was as looked down upon (and possibly smacked) as a woman who slept with married men and lured them away from their wives. That meant when you were older, and you gained a little weight (who am I kidding? Mediterranean. We explode outward and grow a mustache!) your husband was encouraged to stay with you anyway, and your kids had their parents together to look up to, and you had someone to look after you in your old age. That meant if a man did you “an injury” and it could at all be managed, he married you and supported the kid. And if (we weren’t Jane Austen either) it was clearly statutory rape or any other form of rape, very often someone else who hadn’t dared approach would step up to keep up appearances or the child would be found a family, and you took a visit to the country and came back, miraculously still a virgin. It meant that young men who loitered idly living off a woman’s income, be she mother, mistress or wife, got the glare and hints to shape up, and fell at least for a while out of the “decent folk” category.

Restrictive? Of course they were. The standards were supposed to be restrictive. They were a rail that kept you from losing track and living out in the wilderness, with no protection.

Most of the standards were to protect women, though I suppose the ones relating to honesty in your dealings also protected men – at least in business. And the ones about respecting your elders meant that one school mistress could hold 30 unruly teenagers under her spell.

But mostly it was there to protect women and children, to provide them with face-saving stories, with ways to go on living “decent middle class lives.” Even if those were a lie, the encouragement to look after yourself and your kids and stay solvent would – I’m guessing – keep many people from living as horribly as they’d otherwise have done.

Look, human beings aren’t saints. Whatever the romantics believed, man in state of nature isn’t an angel. Man in a state of nature is in fact a savage. Man who doesn’t need to work for a living is at best a wastrel, and at worst wasted. Some exceptions who work when they don’t have to to maintain more than a minimal level of living (Hi guys) are clearly the head cases. Evolutionarily, saving your strength is what pays off.

So if the community doesn’t set standards – of clean clothes, of decently looked-after kids, of being out of bed early morning, of not spending all your money on wine, of not sleeping with every guy who comes around – who does? And why keep them?

If there are no standards, who looks after the girls and the older women? Who looks after the children had in hope of luring some guy to marriage?

The state? Ah, that’s a laugh. Who will do that when (as there as it seems) the majority of people are living without standards, and not looking after themselves or theirs.  And besides bureaucracies mostly serve themselves.

Yes, part of it is enabled by greater wealth. If someone had let things slip like that back when we were all poor, they’d have died of starvation.

But does the wealth stay once the habits that brought wealth and decent living fall? Do the walls collapse and the roof stay miraculously up?

And what about all the foreign men of a machistic (totally a word) religion who are coming over and preying on women when the local men no longer have standards and no longer look after their women? Are they becoming women of the veil? (I’d bet you a few are.)

Are people, in fact, after losing their standards taking up the standards of a civilization that produces nothing, creates nothing, and which hates modernity and its wealth and blessings?  They will you know, because multi-culti and no one wants to be “racist” so they swallow ridiculous standards and tolerate child rape and elder women exploitation and cruelty to everything from women to animals to other men.

Again, I ask you – can the roof stay up when the walls fall? Will we turn in the “middle class” standards so many found so oppressive for medieval standards that bring poverty and misery? For places where women and children are only safe while a man is willing to defend them; where the bad men aren’t looked down on by other men?

Is this what we want?

And how is it possible we came so far so fast? How did we tumble to this?

I’m not saying the village was a bucolic land that time forgot. But it was that compared to most of the US. And how did it tumble further than most places in the US?

Socialism; statism; constant propaganda about liberation from standards and how freeing that was, and also the injustices of middle-class judging; just enough wealth to be stupid, and not minding what the kids are/were learning; vast waves of immigration (both intranational and international) with no time to acculturate and no encouragement to; multiculturalism; you’re all right, I’m all right.

I’d have been all right if we had evolved a different type of standards — if we’d evolved some legal way to make polygamy work; if we had some kind of arrangement to raise the kids to be decent people; if it were understood that you looked after yourselves and your own, even if it were quite different from what I grew up with.  What I grew up with wasn’t great and it wasn’t paradise.  It just… did the job.

Don’t get off my lawn. Stay right here and answer. Are we now all Rotherham? And is that what we wanted to be?

If it isn’t remember – it’s no longer fun to make fun of the “squares.” “Squares” might be our only hope of surviving this without devolving to medieval (or worse) life standards and having to claw our way back up again for a thousand years or so.

Rogue Magic, Free Novel, Chapter 57

*I will post Elf Blood over at MGC too, but it’ll be about two hours.  I’m helping older son with something.  Then I’ll make a post here this afternoon about something that’s troubling me in terms of the world and state thereof.  It might just be “get off my lawn” but I don’t think so*

Rogue Magic, the second Magical Empires book.

Rogue Magic, the second Magical Empires book.

The prequel to this — Witchfinder — is now up on Amazon.

This novel will get posted here a chapter every Friday or Saturday, or occasionally Sunday.  If you contribute $6 you shall be subscribed for the earc and first clean version in electronic format.  I think it will probably take another three months to finish.  Less, if I can have a weekend to run through and get ahead of the game.  It hasn’t happened yet.

NOTICE: For those unsure about copyright law and because there was a particularly weird case, just because I’m making the pre-first draft of my novel available to blog readers, it doesn’t mean that this isn’t copyrighted to me.  Rogue Magic as all the contents of this blog is © Sarah A. Hoyt 2013.  Do not copy, alter, distribute or resell without permission.  Exceptions made for ATTRIBUTED quotes as critique or linking to this blog. Credit for the cover image is © Ateliersommerland | Dreamstime.com

Seraphim Ainsling, Duke of Darkwater, Prince Consort and Royal Witchfinder:

There was a sound. It wasn’t a sound I’d ever heard. It was like a vibration in the air, like the sound a thread twisting would make, if several times amplified.

Gabriel said softly, “Oh, damn” something that I was fairly sure the elf king was not supposed to say, since the words in fairyland could twist reality. He looked… more solid. He turned towards the curved glass. He sighed.

He turned again towards me, “Seraphim, do you know what they’re doing? Or why my fracturing was not an accident?” He made a face like he used to make when he was forced to take medicine he detested. “I enjoyed it, too, in a way, you know, because …. Because being the king of fairyland is being all the kings of fairyland, in a way. They all live at the back of your head, like ghosts, and frankly I have trouble enough being myself alone. But also, it was the only way I could think of to avoid seeing my kingdom devoured.”

“Devoured?” I said. I backed up to sit on a chair, which I’d swear wasn’t there until I glimpsed it out of the corner of my eye and collapsed into it. “If fairyland is devoured…”

“All the universes will be. Or at least the ones most closely connected to fairyland, but even over the other worlds, the old myths will reign in terror and rapacious theft, Seraphim. I think – though I can’t exactly explain it – that’s how it was at one time. They are the ur-world, now consumed and old, and they must feed off our thoughts and dreams to survive. Fairyland, first, since it’s the place where dreams and magic live.”

“But why now?” I asked. “Why—”

“We called their attention somehow,” he said. “Perhaps my fight with my uncle, or perhaps my divided nature. You see, I don’t hide. I know I have culpability in it. This is why I didn’t want this crown.” He removed the crown, which had appeared atop of his head, looking incongruous with his respectable black suit. He set it on the table. “I know what I am, Seraphim, neither human nor elf, neither nobleman nor commoner. I was afraid the cracks would show.” He turned again to look at the confusing landscapes outside the window. “Perhaps that was what attracted them, and perhaps it was our family and those who interact with us.

“One thing is certain Seraphim, as much as they wish to devour fairyland, as much as they’ve tried to, throughout the ages, they need a burst of a certain type of magical energy, the type that will allow them to tear asunder what shields there are here. Our shields are weakened. Already walking this land are people forbidden by curse, like our misguided would be brother in law, Akakios. And Marlon. Yes, I know of that. I sensed it now, when another portion of my divided consciousness joined me. And so is our sister here, and Michael, and probably our father, though him I can never be sure of. And this is bad, Seraphim, very bad.

Because the moment they get enough of the right kind of people – people who sit uncomfortably in their role, as it could be argued our whole family does, as do the two Blythes in this land, also caught in the net, then they can sacrifice you first, until they have enough energy to get to me. And when they get to me, there goes fairyland.”

As he was speaking a sound grew louder. It was a sound of confused words, a mumbling in a tone I knew all too well, “Helicoidally.”

“No, rather the other way. The spin–”

I knew both the voices. Gabriel sighed. “Michael being ensnared surprised me a little. He seemed so… Absent all interior struggle.”

I sighed in turn. “He’s in love with Albinia Blackley daughter of Marcelus Lion.”

“Lion? Wasn’t he proscribed for—“

“Exactly.”

“Oh.”

The discussion came closer. Words like “Counterpensant” and “Semblance magic” came closer too. From the sound of it, my younger brother had found the one person who could understand his magical theory.

They ambled into the hall of the king of fairyland, talking to each other, as though the conversation were the important thing and the location something casual.

“Marlon,” Gabriel said. He didn’t sound upset, so much as appalled and very tired. “You at least I’d expect to know better.”

Marlon looked at Gabriel with a sort of unfocused confusion. It was a look I knew well, having seen it on Michael a hundred times when you asked him something like, “But what is that formula supposed to do?” or even “When was the last time you slept.”

But the red-headed magician seemed to recognize my half-brother, because he smiled a little and said, “Surely, my dear, you didn’t expect me to let you be in trouble without coming to help you, did you? When I found the barriers were down–”

“You fool,” Gabriel said. “If you know the barriers are down, you know what they’re doing. Why would you offer yourself, a willing sacrifice to help destroy me?”

Marlon shook his head. He looked non-plused. “Gabriel. I wish you’d not dropped out of practical magics when you left the university ah… in a hurry.”

Since the hurry was related to their relationship becoming suddenly public, that was some gall, but Gabriel didn’t say it, he just frowned at Marlon.

“Have you ever heard of the poisoned pill? It’s the only thing that can save you from this kind of attack.”

“Wasn’t that what Merlin was trying when he became imprisoned between worlds?”

“Oh, him,” Marlon said, his hand waving again the greatest magician in history. “That is because he did it wrong.”

Yesterday was a lost day

as far as work.  I woke up completely stuffed up, and had slept very badly.  So we cut out to go see elephants, which actually worked.  I slept well last night and there will be chapters in both blogs and then a post.  It might just be a little late.

No Oyster Promo Post

Our free range oyster had a death in the family — if you’re praying people, please pray for them.  So, he didn’t collate the promo post this week (and I don’t blame him.)

Because I woke up all stuffed up, I just stole Amanda Green’s compilation of the GREAT LABOR DAY SALE.  (Chapter later.  I’m going to go stand under a hot shower.)

A number of authors, including yours truly, have gotten together to offer some of their work for $2.99 or less over the Labor Day Weekend. You’ll find everything from science fiction to fantasy, mystery to romantic suspense, historical fiction to Musketeers Mysteries to even some non-fiction. Please take a few minutes to check out the titles and, if you see something of interest, support the author by buying a copy. Thanks!

Please note that the sale starts this Friday, although some of these titles are already listed at $2.99 or under.

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Science Fiction/Fantasy

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beyond the skyCraig Allen
Beyond the Sky

Aura only wishes to live in peace, but there’s little hope of that. The gift she possesses makes her life as tumultuous as the everlasting storms that make up the sky. Now, accused of murdering the highest ranking sorcerer in the sorcerers’ guild, Aura has no choice but to flee with those that were with her that night: an outcast sorcerer who is a hero to all, a regulator with a violent streak, an exotic elf with mysterious intentions, and a sorcerer who holds the queen’s ear.

But Aura’s problems are just beginning. The leader of a cult that wishes to end the use of sorcery forever has stolen a relic of unimaginable power. Such a relic could do more than eliminate sorcery. It could alter the world forever, even end it.

Journeying across the open countryside where no weathering rods exist to keep the storms at bay, where evil creatures haunt tainted lands, Aura and her new comrades have little choice. Find the relic, or allow fanatics to gain the power to end creation itself.

It’s bad enough her comrades won’t stop bickering. It’s worse when she finds she is falling in love with one of them.

Beyond the Sky is a full-length epic fantasy adventure novel about sorcery, guns, love, and courage.

Note: This book contains violence and adult situations.

 

Kalis childrenKali’s Children

Crash landing on an uncharted world is bad enough. Losing most of the crew as the ship sinks to the bottom of an alien ocean is even worse. And that’s just the beginning.

Ragged and terrified, the last few survivors—-a fireteam of battle-hardened marines and an inexperienced civilian adviser—-search for a way to contact the nearest inhabited system for rescue. But as they encounter the denizens of this world, they learn something remarkable. From the red reeds that cover the land to the ferocious predators that fear nothing, every living thing on this world is highly intelligent… and utterly hostile. Violence is a normal part of life. Murder and war are nothing more than a means to acquire food. Kindness is unimaginably alien.

For the survivors, escape is not enough. They must also keep their technology out of the hands of the barbaric monsters around them. For the planet’s natives have learned that it is possible to leave their world, and out there among the stars is the most prolific source of food they have ever known: humans.

Kali’s Children is a full length action adventure science fiction novel.

This book contains violence and adult language.

 

season of blissSeason of Bliss

When Jester came to Sasha’s world, their lives changed forever.

Jester belongs to one of the many colonies of humanity that spread across the galaxy eons ago. His people merely wish to reach out to Sasha’s people in friendship as fellow descendants of humanity.

But Jester has arrived on Sasha’s world on the eve of the Bliss, a madness that is both overwhelming and necessary for the survival of her people. The changes she experiences, changes they experience every two years, draw her to Jester in ways that both excite and terrify her. For Jester is ignorant of not only the Bliss, but also to the meaning of the one word that binds Sasha’s people together, a word they always thought was a part of humanity wherever they may be.

As Sasha shows Jester how the descendants of humanity live on her world, she feels a gnawing in her soul. If she can teach him the meaning of the word, she’ll know a happiness she has not felt in years. If not, it could mean the end of her life.

Season of Bliss is a science fiction romance short novel.

 

without youWithout You

Anna sings like an angel, and it moves Eric in ways he can’t describe. Watching her die is an agony he cannot bear. So he goes back and prevents her death.

It isn’t be the first time he changed history to save her, and it won’t be the last. Eric continually goes back through time to alter whatever may harm her, but it’s a full time job. No matter how many times he goes back through time to prevent her death, some new tragedy arises to end her life. Whether a lighting rig that falls on her during a concert or a train that crushes her—it’s as if fate wants her dead.

But fate has nothing to do with it. The tyrannical government of Eric’s timeline knows this talented young singer’s very existence is a threat to their power. Something she does changes the awful future that is Eric’s present, and only with her death can their “perfect” society prevail. With access to Eric’s machine, they’ll stop at nothing to end her life for good.

Ironically, Eric is running out of time. His machine is breaking down. Soon he won’t be able to undo the damage done by the leaders of his world. His choices narrow, and he knows even if he can save her she may never remember he existed.

Eric has to try, for a world without her is unthinkable.

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phulTom Ashwell
Phul of Surprises

Here they go again…Harvey, Linda, Pymander and the rest are all off racing around the Galaxy, at light speed, in their next exciting saga. This continuing series by Thomas Ashwell has them facing many new and exciting challenges that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and turning pages to get to the next part of the adventure. In this episode, they are all back in their star ship and figuring out how to fix “EVERYTHING”! This is all in a effort to save Earth and its inhabitants in its hour of need. You’ll be glad to have Harvey on your side, because he is sure to save us all before this exciting series comes to an end….or will he?? Harvey holds the fate of the various planets and life forms he encounters in his hands; as he is known for always making the right decision. He fixes things on planets that seem irretrievably broken, yet still doesn’t hesitate to annihilate a planet and all the different races on it if it is necessary to better the Galaxy; yet you can never tell which is which until its all over. Mr. Ashwell has written a truly unique series that is full of surprises that always keep you guessing; plus it contains enormous amounts of unique information and references you will never find anywhere else woven so intricately into any other novel. There is everything from scientific facts and theories, to ancient mythological references, plus unique characters, weapons, and environments and so much more that one can’t even allude to it all here. So many things are wrapped up and buried in this story that it seems impossible for any one reader to “get” all the amazing references. You will find this writing skilled and intellectual, interesting and fun. It will challenge, educate and entertain readers of all ages and reading preferences. It is filled with anything you could ever want in a novel: excitement, adventure, romance, danger, and intrigue, in a format that is suitable for anyone. You will find this truly enjoyable and just plain fun! So, just get comfortable and set aside plenty of time to enjoy it once you get started; because you will find it impossible to set aside…then, as soon as you are finished you will be looking for the next episode! – Karen Konzak

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perchance to dreamCynthia Bagley
Perchance to Dream

Kat Igardson is a visionary, a psychic, and a protector, but doesn’t gain her hereditary powers until the death of her Grandma. Daisy Amulda, a black witch, is stripped of her power by her father. These two unlikely women become allies to fight an evil that corrupts and taints Earth and its innocents.
Will they survive?

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elizabeth of vinAlma Boykin
Elizabeth of Vindobona: Book Three of the Colplatschki Chronicles

The fate of the Empire rests with Elizabeth von Sarmas.
In the ten years since she fled to the Eastern Empire, Countess Colonel Elizabeth von Sarmas has risen to be one of Emperor Rudolph’s most skilled commanders. Ably assisted by Lady Ann Starland and Lazlo Destefani, she’s fended off the amorous attentions of Archduke Lewis, thus far. But after losing a political battle, Elizabeth and her men find themselves at the wrong end of the Empire when disaster strikes. Court intrigue and surprise proposals fade into nothing when the Turkowi launch a do-or-die assault on the Empire.

And King Laurence has one last dagger in his sleeve, one that may accomplish what ten years of warfare could not.

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plaguestationDavid Burkhead
Plague Station

 

Doctor Susan O’Bannon on Space Colony 42 attempts to find a cure for a new disease that’s putting people into comas. But when people wake from the comas driven by rage and hunger, can she survive the onslaught, let alone find a cure?

 

kinmarThe Kinmar

Kreg and Kaila, knights of Aerioch, interrupt their mission to chase down the raiders that destroyed a village. Much to their surprise, the raiders turn out to be Kinmar, the half-man/half-animal remnants of the magical Changeling War. Outnumbered and surrounded, wounded, with only the strange magic of the Knightbond on their side, can they survive, much less ensure that no one ravages the people of Aerioch with impunity?

 

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aprilMackey Chandler
April

This current book is a heavily edited second edition. I simply could not afford a professional editing when it first came out. It is edited now in anticipation of paper editions. I was aware and was told of the need by many readers. I think all of you who found the story worthy in spite of the typos and errors. This new edition should make you happy.

April is an exceptional young lady and something of a snoop. After a chance encounter with a spy, she finds herself involved with political intrigues that stretch her abilities. There is a terrible danger she, and her friends and family, will lose the only home she has ever known, and be forced to live on the slum ball Earth below. It’s more than an almost fourteen year old should have to deal with. Fortunately she has a lot of smart friends and allies. It’s a good things because things get very rough and dicey. They challenge the political status quo, and with a small population the only advantage they have in war is a thin technological edge.

common groundCommon Ground

A collection of seven Science Fiction short stories by Mackey Chandler.

The lead story, Common Ground is big enough to be a novella. It was published in Jim Baen’s Universe e-zine. Sadly that has gone out of business. They had a goal of paying professional rates which made it more difficult. I’m somewhat spoiled because this was the first short story I ever attempted and it sold.
I won’t ruin your read with detailed spoilers – sufficient to say the seven shorts contain an alien with a very human foible, a joker Joyboy banished to selling shoes on the moon, a crotchety old man holding aliens at bay with a leaf blower, the ultimate Windoze -FAIL-, a self made billionaire who never lost his touch, a sword wielding Earth diplomat who was either very very good or incredibly lucky, and a future Mama’s boy dealing with family in an era of extended life times.

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scent of metalSabrina Chase
The Scent of Metal

The expedition ship Kepler races to Pluto, intent on uncovering the secrets of the alien structure recently discovered under the ice. Computer scientist Lea Santorin can’t wait to figure out the alien technology. Instead, she wakes it up … and it continues its long-interrupted journey across the galaxy, taking Lea and Kepler with it.
And something strange also wakes in Lea. She hears voices no one else can, and sees things the mission command prefers hidden. Why bring so many soldiers along with the scientists? Who concealed the structure, and when?

Who waits at the final destination…and will they survive the meeting?

*     *     *

 

murder worldJason Cordova
Kaiju Apocalypse

The oceans rose and from their depths the Kaiju came. Mankind survives in fortified, domed cities, fighting what seems an eternal war with the giant monsters and the smaller creatures they use as foot-soldiers. Now that war is coming to an end as one by one the city states of humanity fall to the Kaiju. Kaiju Apocalypse is the tale of the human race’s desperate, final stand.

 

 

kaiju apoc 2Kaiju Apocalypse II

The oceans rose, flooding the world of man, and from their depths emerged the Kaiju, armies of giant monsters and their bestial foot soldiers intent upon the destruction of the humanity. A desperate plan for the survival of human race was put into action during the early days of the war. A massive colony ship, the Argo, was constructed in orbit and launched for the Alpha Centuri system in hopes of finding a new home among the stars. The Argo’s mission failed. Now, years later, the Argo is returning to Earth. Will its crew be ready for the horrors that await them? Have the island city states of man held their own against the Kaiju armies or has the Earth become nothing more than a wasteland dominated by giant monsters? The all out action of the Kaiju Apocalypse series continues here as the battle for Earth rages on.

 

Kaiju apoca 3Kaiju Apocalypse III

 

Though scattered, ragtag groups of humans still continue to fight back, the war with the Kaiju was lost. Humanity teeters on the brink of extinction and the world has become a wasteland of dead cities and scorched Earth. One scientist has a plan to end the Kaiju once and for all but will it come at too high a cost?

 

 

murder worldMurder World: Kaiju Dawn

Captain Vincente Huerta and the crew of the Fancy have been hired to retrieve a valuable item from a downed research vessel at the edge of the enemy’s space.

It was going to be an easy payday.
But what Captain Huerta and the men, women and alien under his command didn’t know was that they were being sent to the most dangerous planet in the galaxy.
Something large, ancient and most assuredly evil resides on the planet of Gorgon IV. Something so terrifying that man could barely fathom it with his puny mind. Captain Huerta must use every trick in the book, and possibly write an entirely new one, if he wants to escape Murder World.

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a throne of bonesVox Day
A Throne of Bones

In Selenoth, the race of Man is on the ascendant. The ancient dragons sleep. The ghastly Witchkings are no more; their evil power destroyed by the courage of Men and the fearsome magic of the Elves. The Dwarves have retreated to the kingdoms of the Underdeep, the trolls hide in their mountains, and even the savage orc tribes have learned to dread the iron discipline of Amorr’s mighty legions. But after four hundred years of mutual suspicion, the rivalry between two of the Houses Martial that rule the Amorran Senate threatens to turn violent, and unrest sparks rebellion throughout the imperial provinces. In the north, the barbarian reavers who have long plagued the coasts of the White Sea beg for the royal protection of the King of Savondir, as they flee a vicious race of wolf-demons. In the east, the war drums echo throughout the mountains as orcs and goblins gather in great numbers, summoned by their bestial gods.
And when the Most Holy and Sanctified Father is found dead in his bed, leaving the Ivory Throne of the Apostles unclaimed, the temptation to seize the Sacred College and wield Holy Mother Church as a weapon is more than some fallen souls can resist. A THRONE OF BONES is Book I in the ARTS OF DARK AND LIGHT epic fantasy series. DRM-free.

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quantum mortisVox Day and Steve Rzasa
QUANTUM MORTIS A Man Disrupted

The independent planet of Rhysalan provides Sanctuary to 1,462 governments-in-exile. It is the responsibility of the Xenocriminology and Alien Relations department of the Military Crimes Investigation Division to keep a firm leash on the hundreds of thousands of xenos residing on-planet. Assassinations, revolutions, civil wars, and attempted planetary genocides are all in a day’s work for Chief Warrant Officer Graven Tower, MCID-XAR.
In addition to a missile-armed aerovar, his trusty Sphinx CPB-18, and MCID’s extremely liberal policies concerning collateral damage and civilian casualties, Chief Tower is assisted by his extreme xenophobia as well as a military-grade augmented machine intelligence that believes it has found God. So when the disintegrated remnants of the heir apparent of an alien royal house are discovered on the streets of Trans Paradis, the question is not so much whether the killers will eventually be found, but if it is the criminals or the crime investigators who will contribute more to the final body count. DRM-free.

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rebel withinLance Erlick
The Rebel Within (Rebels Book 1)

Action-packed first book in the series.

Rebellious, Annabelle (16) lives in a world where men are exiled, quarantined or forced to fight to the death to train the military elite. The first boy Annabelle has ever met just escaped prison. As a cop intern, she’s expected to capture him. Instead, she risks everything to help the boy, even while she’s forced into the elite military that took her parents, in order to avoid exile.

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spring that never cameD. Jason Fleming
The Spring That Never Came

Tammy Kirsch has had her shot at fame. She came to Hollywood with stars in her eyes and lint in her pockets and looks that would open any door in town just to try to get her onto the casting couch. After several guest roles in TV shows, one starring role in a movie that nobody saw, inadvertantly dodging the mid-70s porno chic moment and keeping her dignity and reputation intact, her career sputtered to a halt.

Then she lost her daughter in a custody case, and what was left of her world came crashing down around her ears. When the crazy homeless man tried to talk to her incoherently as she was leaving the court building, that only seemed to be the cherry on top of the layered dessert of her misery. In fact, it was just the first step on her path, a path that would end with her defending the entire world from an invasion of other-dimensional eldritch horrors.

*     *     *

mankind witchDave Freer
A Mankind Witch

To the North of the Holy Roman Empire are the pagan Norse-lands. It is here that Prince Manfred of Brittany, and Erik, his Icelandic bodyguard, must venture in the dead of winter to a mountainous land of trolls and ice to find a stolen pagan relic, the arm-ring of Odin, something so magical that it should not be possible to move it beyond its wards, let alone take it away. It is gone, and unless it is recovered before Yuletide and the re-affirmation of truce-oaths, a new Viking age will be born. King Vorenbras will lead his berserkers in an orgy of killing, rapine, looting and destruction, across the Empire’s unguarded North-Western flank.

Princess Signy is the King’s older stepsister, and everyone believes her to be the thief, a witch and a murderess. Everyone, that is, but Cair, her stable-thrall, a man plucked from the ocean, with a hidden past. Cair doesn’t believe in witches or magic, let alone that Signy could steal and murder. If he has to drag the foremost knight of the age, and his deadly bodyguard kicking and screaming though the entire Norse nine worlds to prove it and free her, he’d do it. No Kobold, dwarf, or troll is going to stop him, or his scepticism. Not the wild hunt. Not even a Grendel. He doesn’t believe in this superstitious rubbish. He’s a man of science and learning, and he’s used that to fake his way into being feared as a magic worker. But for Signy, he’ll be all of mankind’s witches.
He’ll have to be, because that’s what it’ll take to defeat the dark magical forces which are marshalled against them.

*     *     *

irregular scoutJohn Holmes
Irregular Scout Team One: The Complete Zombie Killer series (Zombie Killers)

Two years after a parasitic infection has wiped out most of civilization, a small team of military and civilian scouts, working for Joint Special Operations Command, spearheads the Army’s drive to take back the United States.

This book contains all four Zombie Killer books: Even Zombie Killers Get The Blues, Even Zombie Killers Need A Break, Even Zombie Killers Can Die, and Zombie Killers, Ice & Fire.

The stories have been placed in chronological order.

*     *     *

cat's pawRobert A. Hoyt
Cat’s Paw

Many humans know there is a mountain at the end of the universe to which a bird flies every thousand years to sharpen its beak, until the end of the mountain comes, and thus the end of eternity. What few of them know is that of the mountain only a few small grains of sand remain. And the bird that is to end eternity is alive and ready to fly. At half past noon at the end of the universe, the last great hopes of everything that exists, ever existed or has yet to exist, rests with a stray cat with alcohol issues, a Siamese cat with gender issues, and a Persian cat with pregnancy issues. Things are just about to get fun.

 

ratskillerRatskiller

… Long before the bird reared its ugly beak, there was beer. And lots of it.

In the humble world of alley cats, Tom has everything he needs: interesting enemies, a long list of girl cats who’d like to scratch his eyes out, and enough beer to make sure his repressed memories and his mysterious destiny stay repressed.
Until Wild Rat microbrewery shuts down.
To restore his favorite beer to its former glory, Tom will have to fight prissy bureaucrats, streetwise alley cats, and Broxton’s most barbaric rats. And behind it all, an evil so great that even Broxton’s most hardened rodents dare not squeak of it.

*     *     *

Ill met by moonlightSarah A. Hoyt
Ill Met by Moonlight (Magical Shakespeare Book 1)

Young Will Shakespeare is a humble school master who arrives home to find his wife and infant daughter, Susannah are missing, kidnapped by the fairies of Arden Woods, the children of Titania and Oberon. His attempts at rescue are interrupted and complicated by a feud over throne of fairyland, between Sylvanus, king regnant, and his younger brother Quicksilver who is both more and less than he seems. Amid treachery, murder, duel and seduction, Shakespeare discovers the enchantment of fairyland, which will always remain with him, for good and ill. (This book was originally published by Ace/Berkley 10/2001)

“Filled with quotations and references to the Works of Shakespeare, this debut novel will interest the playwright’s fans of any age” VOYA

“Sarah Hoyt has taken tremendous chances: She has told a tale of how Shakespeare became Shakespeare, weaving the language of the plays deftly through the narrative. Reading the book feels like discovering the origins of the quotes we know so well, rather than something derivative.” San Jose Mercury News.

 

all night awakeAll Night Awake (Magical Shakespeare Book 2)

Touched by the magic of fairyland, unable to forget Lady Silver, Shakespeare goes to London to seek his fortune. But there, the elf will follow, on the trail of a creature so deadly that, unless Shakespeare and the king of Elves stop it, it might very well consume London and all of England.

 

(This book was originally published by Ace/Berkley 10/2002)

 

any man so darinAny Man So Daring (Magical Shakespeare Book 3)

William Shakespeare, successful playwright, receives word that his only son has died. Reality is far more complex. The young Hamnet is a hostage in fairyland, where a war rages, and where a young princess waits a Prince Charming who might never come.

Can an all too human playwright stop the magical war that threatens both worlds?
(This book was originally published by Ace/Berkley 10/2003)

 

*     *     *

american galactic foreign legionWalter Knight
America’s Galactic Foreign Legion – Book 2: Reenlistment

The sweeping, satirical military space saga continues…

Decorated war hero, or war criminal guilty of atrocities? It depends on who’s passing judgment on ex-legionnaire Joey Czerinski.

The story of this lucky gambler turned soldier turned casino boss picks up as he and his business partner, Manny Lopez, find themselves broke and devastated after their business holdings are completely destroyed by continuing spider insurgent activity. Hidden deep underground, beneath the rubble of their once profitable casino, is a big, big secret that could solve their sudden financial problems, but neither Czerinski nor Lopez can figure out how to drum up the manpower and funding to unearth it.

Forced to find a quick source of money for a loan, Czerinski and Lopez are lured back to the Legion by their old friend, the slick-talking legionnaire-recruiting ATM. And then the real trouble begins…
Follow Czerinski and his pals through their ups and downs and continual serendipitous surprises in the next installment of this ongoing satirical, politically incorrect, sweeping military space opera.

*     *     *


erawanLaura Montgomery
Erawan

Short story. In the second half of the 21st century, Charlotte Fisher’s father moves the family to Thailand so he can take care of a tourist habitat orbiting Earth. Charlotte makes a new friend, learns about spirit houses, and goes to school. Everything is fine until the day the habitat faces a deadly danger.

Author’s note: this short story first appeared in Manx Prize as a flashback. If you have read Manx Prize, you have read this short story.

 

manx prizeManx Prize

In the second half of the twenty-first century, when Charlotte Fisher was just thirteen, orbital debris took its first large-scale human casualties from an orbiting tourist habitat. Haunted by visions of destruction and her father’s anguish, as a young engineer Charlotte follows in his footsteps and determines to win a prize offered by a consortium of satellite and orbitat operators for the first successful de-orbiting of space junk. Her employer backs these efforts until the reentry of a piece of debris kills two people, and she and her team are spun off to shield the parent company from liability. With limited resources, a finite budget and the unwanted gift of a lawyer who, regardless of his appeal, she doesn’t need, she must face a competitor who cheats, a collusive regulator, and the temptations dangled by the strange and alluring friends of a powerful seastead.

*     *     *

the fetishStephanie Osborn
The Fetish (Burnout Book 2)

When Dr. Mike Anders purchases a Zuni spaceman fetish from an elderly Zuni in a trading post in Burnout: The mystery of Space Shuttle STS-281, there’s a story behind that fetish. What is it, and how did the little lapis lazuli spaceman carving come to be?

 

 

the more things changeThe More Things Change

Griblich and his family are happily ensconced in the Village, a settlement of The People, who are offshoots of The Founders. Their lives are peaceful and pastoral as they hunt and gather and play beneath their lovely red sun and green skies, and love and sleep by the light of their moons. But as Griblich is fond of saying, “Wait awhile, and everything will change.”

And it always does…

*     *     *

conventKate Paulk
ConVent

A vampire, a werewolf, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. Whoever picked this team to save the world wasn’t thinking of sending the very best. But then, since this particular threat to the universe and everything good is being staged in science fiction conventions, amid people in costume, misfits and creative geniuses, any convetional hero would have stood out. Now Jim, the vampire, and his unlikely sidekicks have to beat the clock to find out who’s sacrificing con goers before all hell breaks loose — literally.

ConVent is proof that Kate Paulk’s brain works in wonderfully mysterious ways. A sarcastic vampire, his werewolf best buddy, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. The “Save the world” department really messed it up this time.

 

ConSensualConSensual

There are vampires in the lobby, succubi in the beds, and bodies in the bathroom. It’s ConSensual, where the editors are demons, the writers are crazy and the vampires and werewolves might be the most stable people in the room.

If that isn’t enough, Dracula is staying at the hotel on a business trip for his wood-based hardware chain, Kit Marlowe is one of the authors, and there’s an out of control baby vampire to deal with. Once again, the “Save the World” department is caught with its pants down.

*     *     *

PixieCedar Sanderson
Pixie Noir (Pixie for Hire Book 1)

You can’t keep a tough Pixie down…

Lom is a bounty hunter, paid to bring magical creatures of all descriptions back Underhill, to prevent war with humans should they discover the strangers amongst them. Bella is about to find out she’s a real life fairy princess, but all she wants to do is live peacefully in Alaska, where the biggest problems are hungry grizzly bears. He has to bring her in. It’s nothing personal, it’s his job…

“They had almost had me, that once. I’d been young and foolish, trying to do something heroic, of course. I wouldn’t do that again anytime soon. Now, I work for duty, but nothing more than is necessary to fulfill the family debt. I get paid, which makes me a bounty hunter, but she’s about to teach me about honor. Like all lessons, this one was going to hurt. Fortunately, I have a good gun to fill my hand, and if I have to go, she has been good to look at.”

 

tricksterTrickster Noir (Pixie for Hire Book 2)

After the battle of Tower Baelfire ended, Lom lay dying. Bella was tasked with not only the job she never wanted, but the one she did. Could she keep Lom alive long enough for him to come to the rescue when their kingdom needed them? And what did Raven, mysterious trickster spirit and honorary uncle to Bella, want with them? If the threat was big enough to have the trickster worried, Bella knew she needed to have Lom at her side. Underhill might look like a soap-bubble kingdom, but Bella and Lom knew there was a gritty underside. Why else would fairyland need a dark man willing to carry a big gun and be the Pixie for Hire?

 

the eternity symbioteThe Eternity Symbiote

Earth sits at the center of a galactic power struggle humanity knows nothing about. Then an alien delegation suffers a fatal accident and hidden plans unravel around the wreckage in the Alaskan wilderness. Infectious disease expert Gabrielle McGregor discovers the hidden machinations and what they’ll mean for her and her family.

 

 

*     *     *

VfASam Schall
Vengeance from Ashes

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long.

But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.

*     *     *

look to the starsKal Spriggs
Look to the Stars

Mason McGann is a smuggler, a liar, and a cheat. With his ship impounded by customs, he figures he has no choice left but to auction off information about the lost Dreyfus Fleet. But things are never what they seem when you hold information that can change the course of history.

Look to the Stars is a short story in the Shadow Space Universe.

 

renegades deseters redemptionRenegades: Deserter’s Redemption: Book I of The Renegades

Mike doesn’t want to be anyone’s friend. He doesn’t want to be a leader. He sure doesn’t want to be a hero. He’s tried all of that before; it didn’t work out then and he knows it wouldn’t work out now.

He doesn’t have a choice.

Caught by an invading alien race and shipped off to a prison station as (expendable) labor, Mike will have to become all of those things in order to escape. More, he’ll have to turn a band of misfits into a group that can not only survive… but escape from a place where survival is measured in hours. In the doing, he may have to do the one thing he knows will get him killed: learn how to trust.

Deserter’s Redemption is the first novella of the Renegades series and is continued by Renegades: The Gentle One.

 

renegades the gentle oneRenegades: The Gentle One: Book II of The Renegades

Ariadne has built her life around being a good person. She thinks positive, she tries to help people, and she never gets angry. The last is especially important, because Ariadne is a psychic, and bad things can happen if a psychic loses control of her emotions.

The problem is, Ariadne and her friends are on the run from an expansionist alien race. As an escapee from a prison station, she’s been marked for death, and the only way out of the star system is to hijack a ship. With limited supplies, powerful enemies, and companions whose trustworthiness is questionable, her enemies seem almost assured of victory. Ariadne is going to have to do the one thing she’s sworn never to do again…

She’s got to get angry.

Renegades: The Gentle One is the second novella in the Renegades series.

 

renegades declarationRenegades: Declaration: Book III of The Renegades

Pixel is an engineer on the run from his own past. He doesn’t understand people and he’s focused on the things he can understand: machinery, mathematics, and design. Now he’s on the run from the alien Chxor, after he and his new friends escaped from a prison station, hijacked a ship, and managed to sabotage a lot of Chxor orbital infrastructure in the process. They’re far beyond safe human space and they’ve had to work together to survive.

Pixel has come to trust the mismatched group of humans and aliens that have become his friends. The thing is, they want to select a leader, a Captain for their crew. Pixel knows it is a bad idea… and worse, it looks like blood is about to be spilled over who might become the Captain.

It shouldn’t be Pixel’s job to solve it. He fixes problems with machines… not those of friendship, trust and leadership. But he knows if he doesn’t do something, this election might well turn into a bloodbath. Worse yet, as it calls up echoes of his past, Pixel wonders not only if he can intervene, but if he can do so in a way that will not make things worse.

Renegades: Declaration is the third novella of the Renegades series.

 

renegades ghostRenegades: Ghost Story: Book IV of The Renegades

Eric Striker is a man on the run with a past that haunts him, which has led him to his current rag-tag companions. They’ve escaped from the xenocidal alien Chxor, hijacked a ship, are headed for human space, and they’ve even selected a captain for their motley crew. Yet on the edge of human space, the margin of survival is as thin as the blade of a razor.

When they encounter a ghost ship, the crew awakens a threat. Something awaits them, something that preys upon ships and crews as they ply the void. It will test the fragile alliances of the crew to the breaking point and beyond. Eric will have to bury the ghosts of his past to face that danger… or his past will bury him.

Renegades: Ghost Story is the fourth novella of the Renegades series.

 

renegades a murderRenegades: A Murder of Crowes: Book V of The Renegades

Among the rag-tag crew of outlaws and escapees, Simon has a unique background: he’s a cop. So when one of the crew winds up dead, naturally the others turn to him to find out the identity of the killer. It should be a quick investigation aboard the tiny ship with a small crew…. Except that in this case, everyone is a suspect. Simon has to wonder, not who is guilty, but who, on this ship, is really innocent.

Renegades: A Murder of Crowes is the fifth novella in the Renegades series.

*     *     *

outcasts and godsPam Uphoff
Outcasts and Gods (Wine of the Gods Book 1)

*First book* of the Wine of the Gods

Wolfgang was a nice kid–until they decided he wasn’t even human.

Genetic engineering.
First they cured the genetic diseases.
Then they selected for the best natural traits.
Then they made completely artificial genes.
As the test children reached puberty, abilities that had always been lost in the random background noise were suddenly obvious. Telepathy, telekinesis.
At first their creators sought to strengthen these traits. Then they began to fear them.
They called them gods, and made them slaves.

Wolfgang Oldham was sixteen when the company laid claim to him.
He escaped, and stayed free for three years.
When he was arrested, identified and returned to the company, they trained him to be useful.
They didn’t realize that they were training him to be dangerous.

*     *     *

awake in the night landJohn C. Wright
Awake in the Night Land

AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND is an epic collection of four of John C. Wright’s brilliant forays into the dark fantasy world of William Hope Hodgson’s 1912 novel, The Night Land. Part novel, part anthology, the book consists of four related novellas, “Awake in the Night”, “The Cry of the Night-Hound”, “Silence of the Night”, and “The Last of All Suns”, which collectively tell the haunting tale of the Last Redoubt of Man and the end of the human race. Widely considered to be the finest tribute to Hodgson ever written, the first novella, “Awake in the Night”, was previously published in 2004 in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-First Annual Collection. AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND marks the first time all four novellas have been gathered into a single volume. DRM-free.

*     *     *

eyes of osirisAnita Young
Eyes of Osiris: A Kayara Ingham Novel (Architects of Lore Series Book 1)

Thanks to the curse of foresight, Dr. Kayara Ingham has had a vision of her husband’s death. While she desperately tries to avert the grim future, she meets a mysterious Osiris Corporation man who gives her an impossible ultimatum. When Kay is forced to choose, she learns that Osiris Corporation is not what it seems. The company is made up of a people that call themselves the Architects of Lore and, like many powerful organisations, their reach is extensive—one might say inescapable.

 

Finrir rebornFenrir Reborn: A Sindri Modulf Novella (Architects of Lore Book 2)

Sindri Modulf has been tested many times throughout his long life, but for every feat he has faced, he has artfully dodged countless more with easy humour and a deadly axe. Those well-honed abilities will prove useless when he is faced with one of the greatest challenges of his life; he must bring back a grief-stricken Seer from the edge of catatonia. Unwilling to let the mind of the most powerful woman in 1000 years be ravaged by Empaths and Telepaths, Sindri does something he hasn’t done for centuries: bare his soul.

 

*     *     *

An unproven concept James L. Young
An Unproven Concept: The Unfortunate Starwreck of the Spaceliner Titanic (The Vergassy Chronicles Book 2)

The Confederation of Man has overseen humanity’s prosperous expansion for almost eight centuries, with the Confederation Fleet its bulwark against all enemies both internal and external. Despite its numerous successes, the Fleet is a shield that is becoming warped by the schism between its Carrier and Line factions. In the year 3050, Fleet Admiral Malinverni has overseen the design and commissioning of a vessel intended to merge the best of both factions: the battlecruiser Constitution. Intended as a harbinger of a better future, the Constitution is considered a flawed concept by all except her crew. If either Fleet faction has its way, neither the Constitution nor her captain, Mackenzie Bolan, will ever get a chance to prove their naysayers incorrect.

The starliner Titanic is considered to be the epitome of her type. With a handpicked crew, the Titanic is expected to see to passengers’ every need and whim, be it a rare artifact of opulence to stringent, discreet security. Unfortunately Captain Abraham Herrod, her master, is confronted with the growing likelihood that his vessel may soon be rendered obsolete by the ever pressing march of technology. Pushed by his superiors, Captain Herrod must decide just how far he’s willing to go in an attempt to prolong the “Golden Age of Starliners.”

At the convergence of these two ships’ path lies carnage unimaginable to either of their crews. Packed full of action, mecha, and mayhem, An Unproven Concept is a chilling tale of First Contact gone terribly awry.

 

across four realmsJames Young & Anita C. Young
Across Four Realms: A Short Story Omnibus

Across Four Realms is a collection of short stories that introduces the reader to four disparate universes, with the sole constant that chaos knows no boundaries…and pain is a companion to all.
*** “Ride of the Late Rain” (Vergassy Chronicles #1) ***

“Ride of the Late Rain is a great read with well-crafted dialogue and outstanding, realistic battle scenes…”–Pop Cults

“A captain’s first duty is to the Confederation..”–Confederation Fleet General Order #1

In “Ride of the Late Rain,” Commander Leslie Hawkins is the master of the destroyer Shigure, the oldest vessel in the Confederation Fleet. Equipped with a powerful, new device, the “Late Rain” is chosen for a special, dangerous project. With a young crew and modifications that make her vessel not what she seems, Commander Leslie Hawkins presses into unknown space to examine structures detected by a Confederation Fleet survey vessel…and discovers that Mankind is not alone.

*** “Pandora’s Memories” (Usurper’s War #1) ***

“[I]f you like military fiction, you might want to give [“Pandora’s Memories”] a try. Recommended…”—Right Fans: Sci-Fi from the Other Side

“Pandora’s Memories” takes place in a very different World War II than the history books remember. Adolf Hitler is dead. Queen Elizabeth II reigns on the Commonwealth throne while a usurper sympathetic to the Nazis inhabits Buckingham Palace. Having turned aside the Soviet Union’s initial assault into the Greater Reich, the Wehrmacht is now stymied at the gates of Moscow. With the Red Air Force bloodied, the Kremlin under steady blows from the Luftwaffe, and Joseph Stalin comatose, the desperate Soviet Triumvirate turns to the United States in a plea for aid against the mutual Nazi foe. Indifferently equipped, the young men of the American Air Expeditionary Force (AAEF) are thrown into action in order to keep the Soviet Union in the war.

*** “After the Scythe” (Scythefall #1) ***

“The end of the world was just the beginning…”

The people of Newton’s Village thought they’d witnessed the worst in humanity on the night the president announced the imminent impact of the asteroid Scythe. Four weeks later, after Scythefall killed almost a third of the nation, they are about to find out just how wrong they were. After the Scythe is the story of everyday people’s sacrifice and resolve in a struggle against desperation, violence and lawlessness.

*** “Fenrir Reborn” (Architects of Lore)

There’s really only one place it can start. Margareta.

Sindri Modulf has been tested many times throughout his life. No test has been greater than the one confronting him now: To bring back a once-in-a-millennium Seer from the precipice of grief-induced madness. Unwilling to let Empaths and Telepaths rip apart his friend’s mind to retrieve the visions within, Sindri does something he has never done before: bare his soul.

***
Crossing the genres of alternate history, post-apocalyptic dystopia, military science fiction, and urban fantasy, Across Four Realms provides almost three hundred pages of action, suspense, and character development.

 

Anthologies:

Time Yarns 1Cassandra’s Time Yarns (Time Yarn Anthologies, Vol. 1)
Edited by Erin Lale

Time Yarns is a different kind of shared world. Rather than the same characters or settings, what the stories in the Time Yarns universe have in common is the way that physics and magic work. Time Yarns is a universe of alternate time continua.

Contents:

The End of History by Gordon Yaswen
Choice by Ralph Ewig
Noble Northern Spirit by Erin Lale
Testing Time by Tony Thorne MBE
The Artist Formerly Known as G-d by Erin Lale
The Beginning by J.L. Toscano

Art Contents:

Paradise Lost by Maria Arango
Mandalas by Lisa Yount

Time Yarns 2Anarchy Zone Time Yarns (Time Yarns Anthologies Book 2)
Edited by Erin Lale

Contents:

Streamliners by Gordon Yaswen
The Anarchy Zone by Erin Lale
1400 Hours by Ian Miller
An Etonean Dilemma by Humberto Sachs
Host by Giampietro Stocco

Art Contents:

Hope by Alex Storer
At All Goes Away by Lisa Yount

time yarns 3Cat’s Cradle Time Yarns (Time Yarns Anthologies Book 3)
Edited by Erin Lale

Contents:

Night Prowlers by Tony Thorne MBE
Locard’s Tale by Candy Korman
Tomcat’s True Story by Lara Biyuts
The Sleepy Cat’s Treasure Hunt by Donnie Nelson
Punky by Monica Brinkman
The 13th Time by Carol Sumilas Boshears
Long Time I Hunt by Erin Lale

*     *     *

Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance

*     *     *

(Yes, I know. These two are different. But they also seem to overlap in the way the different outlets list them, so I’ve decided to list them together.)

High TMark Philip Alger
The High T Shebang (Book 1 of the Baby Troll Chronicles)

Dolly was reborn into a new body just last week. Right out of the birthing chamber, she was tumbled into a conflict that goes back to the stone age. Her creator, the Greek Goddess, Aphrodite, has disappeared, and the God in charge of her institution — the Babylonian Marduk — has called for her death. Her lover and Geppetto, Mitchell Drummond, is threading his way through political minefields to keep Dolly safe.
New in love, they soon find they can’t keep their hands off each other. Their sexual fever comes to worry them. They suspect there’s more to the situation than mere new love.

Meanwhile, they have a job to do. Keeping up the pretense that all’s well and nothing’s going on is wearing thin. But in Upothesa, you’re not allowed to talk about secrets. Dolly is a secret. Trying to keep it together, Dolly and Drummond go on a mission to New Zealand to protect the Dolly’s secret and the life of a major TV drama star.

The High T Shebang is Book One of The Baby Troll Chronicles, the second book of which, The Origin Conjecture, is due out in 2014.

*     *     *

HuntedEllie Ferguson
Hunted (Book One of Hunter’s Moon)

When Meg Finley’s parents died, the authorities classified it as a double suicide. Alone, hurting and suddenly the object of the clan’s alpha’s desire, her life was a nightmare. He didn’t care that she was grieving any more than he cared that she was only fifteen. So she’d run and she’d been running ever since. But now, years later, her luck’s run out. The alpha’s trackers have found her and they’re under orders to bring her back, no matter what. Without warning, Meg finds herself in a game of cat and mouse with the trackers in a downtown Dallas parking garage. She’s learned a lot over the years but, without help, it might not be enough to escape a fate she knows will be worse than death. What she didn’t expect was that help would come from the local clan leader. But would he turn out to be her savior or something else, something much more dangerous?

(This is a new edition of Hunted and includes new back material.)

Hunters DutyHunter’s Duty (Book Two of Hunter’s Moon)

Maggie Thrasher is looking for a man, not to love but to kill. Duty to her pride and loyalty to her family demands it. Joshua Volk has betrayed pride, pack and clan. All he cares about is destroying the old ways and killing anyone, normal or shape-changer, who gets in his way. Jim Kincade is dedicated to two things: upholding the law and protecting the pride from discovery. When Jim is called to the scene of a possible murder, the last thing he expects is to discover the alleged killer is a tracker from another pride. Now he’s faced with a woman who is most definitely more than she appears. Complicating matters even more, there’s something about her that calls to him and his leopard is determined to claim her for his own. Joshua Volk is looking for revenge. Maggie killed one of his own. His vengeance will bring Maggie’s worst nightmares to life. Is the passion between Maggie and Jim enough to defeat Volk’s plans or will Maggie’s determination to fulfill her duty to her pride be the death of them both?

(This is the second edition of Hunter’s Duty and includes new back material.)

*     *     * 

Nocturnal lives boxedAmanda S. Green
Nocturnal Lives (Boxed Set – includes Nocturnal Origins, Nocturnal Serenade, Nocturnal Interlude)

Special price of $2.99 though September 5th.

This “box set” includes the first three novels in the Nocturnal Lives series.

Nocturnal Origins 
Some things can never be forgotten, no matter how hard you try.

Detective Sergeant Mackenzie Santos knows that bitter lesson all too well. The day she died changed her life and her perception of the world forever.It doesn’t matter that everyone, even her doctors, believe a miracle occurred when she awoke in the hospital morgue. Mac knows better. It hadn’t been a miracle, at least not a holy one. As far as she’s concerned, that’s the day the dogs of Hell came for her.

Investigating one of the most horrendous murders in recent Dallas history, Mac also has to break in a new partner and deal with nosy reporters who follow her every move and who publish confidential details of the investigation without a qualm.

Complicating matters even more, Mac learns the truth about her family and herself, a truth that forces her to deal with the monster within, as well as those on the outside.But none of this matters as much as discovering the identity of the murderer before he can kill again.

Nocturnal Serenade 
Lt. Mackenzie Santos of the Dallas Police Department learns there are worst things than finding out you come from a long line of shapeshifters. At least that’s what she keeps telling herself. It’s not that she resents suddenly discovering she can turn into a jaguar. Nor is it really the fact that no one warned her what might happen to her one day. Although, come to think of it, her mother does have a lot of explaining to do when – and if – Mac ever talks to her again. No, the real problem is how to keep the existence of shapeshifters hidden from the normals, especially when just one piece of forensic evidence in the hands of the wrong technician could lead to their discovery.

Add in blackmail, a long overdue talk with her grandmother about their heritage and an attack on her mother and Mac’s life is about to get a lot more complicated. What she wouldn’t give for a run-of-the-mill murder to investigate. THAT would be a nice change of pace.

Nocturnal Interlude
Lt. Mackenzie Santos swears she will never take another vacation again as long as she lives. The moment she returns home, two federal agents are there to take her into custody. Then she finds out her partner, Sgt. Patricia Collins, as well as several others are missing. Several of the missing have connections to law enforcement. All are connected to Mac through one important and very secret fact — they are all shapechangers. Has someone finally discovered that the myths and bad Hollywood movies are actually based on fact or is there something else, something more insidious at work?

Mac finds herself in a race against time not only to save her partner and the others but to discover who was behind their disappearances. As she does, she finds herself dealing with Internal Affairs, dirty cops, the Feds and a possible conspiracy within the shapeshifter community that could not only bring their existence to light but cause a civil war between shifters.

Nocturnal OriginsNocturnal Origins

Some things can never be forgotten, no matter how hard you try.

Detective Sergeant Mackenzie Santos knows that bitter lesson all too well. The day she died changed her life and her perception of the world forever.It doesn’t matter that everyone, even her doctors, believe a miracle occurred when she awoke in the hospital morgue. Mac knows better. It hadn’t been a miracle, at least not a holy one. As far as she’s concerned, that’s the day the dogs of Hell came for her.

Investigating one of the most horrendous murders in recent Dallas history, Mac also has to break in a new partner and deal with nosy reporters who follow her every move and who publish confidential details of the investigation without a qualm.

Complicating matters even more, Mac learns the truth about her family and herself, a truth that forces her to deal with the monster within, as well as those on the outside.But none of this matters as much as discovering the identity of the murderer before he can kill again.

Nocturnal InterludeNocturnal Serenade

Lt. Mackenzie Santos of the Dallas Police Department learns there are worst things than finding out you come from a long line of shapeshifters. At least that’s what she keeps telling herself. It’s not that she resents suddenly discovering she can turn into a jaguar. Nor is it really the fact that no one warned her what might happen to her one day. Although, come to think of it, her mother does have a lot of explaining to do when – and if – Mac ever talks to her again. No, the real problem is how to keep the existence of shapeshifters hidden from the normals, especially when just one piece of forensic evidence in the hands of the wrong technician could lead to their discovery.

Add in blackmail, a long overdue talk with her grandmother about their heritage and an attack on her mother and Mac’s life is about to get a lot more complicated. What she wouldn’t give for a run-of-the-mill murder to investigate. THAT would be a nice change of pace.

Nocturnal Interlude2Nocturnal Interlude

Lt. Mackenzie Santos swears she will never take another vacation again as long as she lives. The moment she returns home, two federal agents are there to take her into custody. Then she finds out her partner, Sgt. Patricia Collins, as well as several others are missing. Several of the missing have connections to law enforcement. All are connected to Mac through one important and very secret fact — they are all shapechangers. Has someone finally discovered that the myths and bad Hollywood movies are actually based on fact or is there something else, something more insidious at work?

Mac finds herself in a race against time not only to save her partner and the others but to discover who was behind their disappearances. As she does, she finds herself dealing with Internal Affairs, dirty cops, the Feds and a possible conspiracy within the shapeshifter community that could not only bring their existence to light but cause a civil war between shifters.

*     *     *

ATONSarah A. Hoyt and Sofie Skapski
A Touch of Night

When Netherfield is let at last, Mrs. Bennet is very much afraid that the new neighbors will be shape shifters. The English countryside is much plagued with the creatures and the Royal Were Hunters have their hands full. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Bennet tries to hide a deadly secret, one that could destroy the whole family. In a world where being a dragon is a crime can a dragon ever find love?

The novel is set in the world of Sarah A. Hoyt’s Magical British Empire.

*     *     *

harvest of evil2William Lehman
Harvest of Evil

John Fisher, retired Seal and were-cougar, was having just another day at the office. He is a Park Police officer. His office is a Dodge Durango. The dark legends and creatures have always been around, and after the civil rights movement they’re legal. But when someone uses magic or anything else illegally on Federal land, it ‘s John’s job to bring them in. He will use all his skill, luck and connections inside the Supernatural world to get his man, or were, or vampire, or…

*     *     *

Horror

*     *     *

goodby sunshineCraig Allen
Goodbye Sunshine

Vampires. Blood. Coffee.

There’s no way a woman as gorgeous as Clara would give a guy like James the time of day, much less lead him off the train to a secluded locale. Now his life and memory evaporate like water in the desert.

Bit by bit, James loses what makes him human. His phone number, his address, his career–even his father’s name are soon forgotten, and it won’t stop there. As his memory and life fade, they are replaced by an evil that has long since filled Clara and her brood to the core.

After dark, away from the light that would destroy them, James wanders the city with Clara, watching as she takes the lives of innocents so she may survive. As his mind drains away, as his humanity is slowly replaced by an ancient monster, he knows there is more to lose than just his memory.

For when the evil finally consumes him, when there is nothing left but a monster among monsters, there will be no one to stop Clara’s plan to go back to the times of old, back when her kind ruled cities of human cattle. A city will be enslaved, and the creature that was once James will help her.

Goodbye Sunshine is a horror story set in modern day.

A short novel of 22,000 words. Note: This book contains graphic language and situations.

el vengadorStephanie Osborn
El Vengador

Deputy Sheriff Michael Kirtchner gets an “unknown disturbance” dispatch call to a remote house trailer in the swamp. There, he discovers an old woman and a dog, terrorized by a mysterious beast, which he takes to be a bear. But when he contacts Game Warden Jeff Stuart to come trap the animal, Stuart tells him to get out if he values his life – this is no ordinary animal. Is Kirtchner up against a Swamp Ape – a Florida version of Bigfoot – or something more…sinister?

*     *     *

Mystery/Historical Mystery/Suspense

*     *     *

 

crown of creationRobert Arias
Crown of Creation: 2046 – Two Nations, One Murder

It is 2046, 20 years after the Second Civil War. A skier is killed in Telluride, Colorado, now part of the Republic of Franklin. Adam Henry, a Denver detective investigates. His quest for the killer brings him back East where he encounters the elusive terrorist organization, the Crown of Creation. Who killed the skier, and why? And how has America changed?
The novel opens with a prologue set in 2026. Many Western and Southern states have seceded from the United States, forming the Republic of Franklin. Until now, peace has remained between the two countries. In the SAC Control Center, a US officer detects a missile fired at the US and launches a missile toward Franklin. War has begun.

It is now 2046 and the two countries are at peace, having evolved into different cultures. Much of the action pivots between the two countries, giving the reader the opportunity to compare and contrast the prosperous liberty-loving West and the downtrodden, corrupt and collectivist East.

This detective novel should appeal to readers of fiction set in the near future. The novel is also relevant to Americans concerned about the increasing polarization of the country into two distinct economic and political cultures, and the beginnings of secession thoughts in the West.

*     *     *

doamSarah D’Almeida
Death of a Musketeer (Musketeers Mysteries Book 1)

April in Paris 1625. D’Artagnan, and his new friends who hide their true identities under the assumed names of Athos, Porthos and Aramis, discover the corpse of a beautiful woman who looks like the Queen of France. Suspecting an intrigue of Cardinal Richelieu’s and fearing the murder will go unpunished they start investigating. But the enterprise will be fraught with danger, traps from the Cardinal, duels with guards and plotting from the king himself.

 

Musketeers SeamstressThe Musketeer’s Seamstress (Musketeers Mysteries Book 2)

Aramis emerges from the water closet to find his lover, a duchess, murdered on her bed. The room is locked, and Aramis is the only one who could have entered it. He’s sure he didn’t do it, but no one else believes him. Even Monsieur de Treville, Captain of Musketeers, doubts Aramis’s word. Aramis must leave Paris and go on the run, entrusting the solving of the murder, and the defense of his honor, his freedom and his very life to Athos, Porthos and D’Artagnan. Can “one for all” carry the day when every powerful person in France believes Aramis a murderer and when powerful interests would gladly frame Aramis for it?

 

Musketeers apprenticeThe Musketeer’s Apprentice (Musketeers Mysteries Book 3)

It’s August in Paris 1625 and Porthos, once a dancing and fencing master, has taken as apprentice a young nobleman, whom he’s teaching to fence and ride. When the young man dies, poisoned, the stories of his ancestry and domicile unravel into layer after layer of deception and blackmail, involving Porthos’s relatives and his own past.

Can Porthos, Athos, Aramis and D’Artagnan dodge the Cardinal’s guards while finding the real murderer? Who was Guillaume Jaucourt, and who could have killed him? And why?

It’s one for all and all for one with the swashbuckling sleuths, in a race against time and their own misgivings.

 

Musketeers InheritanceThe Musketeer’s Inheritance (Musketeers Mysteries Book 4)

THIS BOOK WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY BERKLEY PRIME CRIME UNDER THE TITLE “A DEATH IN GASCONY.”

A letter from Gascony calls D’Artagnan home. His father is dead and D’Artagnan must come and take charge of the estate. His friends, of course, accompany him. But what Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D’Artagnan don’t know is that the older D’Artagnan was murdered and that they must find the killer, if they want to keep the younger D’Artagnan alive.

By award winning author Sarah A. Hoyt writing as Sarah D’Almeida

*     *     *

C. S. Laurel
B. Quick

It was a night of triumphal activity for the Society For The Elimination of Good Looking Blonds. By sheer chance, middle-aged literature professor Bill Yates interrupts a murderer in the act of dumping an unconscious young man into the local river. Bill surprises himself by rescuing the young man and unwittingly plunges into a maelstrom of murder, psychoanalysis and Shakespeare. Falling in love with the young man he rescued is either fitting punishment or just reward for his trouble, and it will be a long time before Bill knows which.

*     *     *

Romance/Contemporary/Regency

*     *     *

 

shot through the heartJulia Blaine
Shot through the Heart

Since Galatea Fuller’s birth, she has been betrothed to Lord Harte Whatley. Without fail, he dutifully visits her every Tuesday and Friday. But only on Tuesday and Friday. Surely her up-coming, magical London Season will kindle love between them, overcoming obligation. Then Harte replaces his fickle younger brother, Pierce, in a duel – with fatal results. A third shooter is hidden in the shrubbery. Who was the intended victim? Believing both shooters are dead, Galatea and Pierce are thrown together. Despite meddling aunts and a mischievous monkey, they attempt to solve the mystery. How can Galatea — or any woman — know who she really loves.

*     *     *

water signs 2Daria DiGiovanni
Water Signs: A Story of Love and Renewal

South Jersey Shore, 1992

Madeline Rose is a sweet, sheltered and eternally youthful young woman of 25—the youngest child of a prominent Philadelphia neurosurgeon. Despite the unending support of a loving, close family, she battles formidable insecurities, thanks to a recent, bitter break-up with her first real boyfriend and a turbulent adolescence characterized by a few extra pounds. Unsure of her future, she struggles to live up to her potential as well as her highly educated pedigree, given her fortunate placement in an impressive ancestral heritage.

Still adjusting to civilian life after four years in the United States Navy, handsome, affable and ambitious Ken Lockheart has two goals: to rise above his blue-collar, Shore town roots and to marry his true love. Though the epitome of the classic, all-American male with his boyish good looks, six-foot frame and broad, muscular body, he retains a basic humility borne of a relentless work ethic and an inner drive to succeed.

When a chance encounter in a Somers Point nightclub initiates an unexpected relationship, neither one of them is prepared for the ensuing odyssey of heartbreak, personal growth and spiritual development that fuels their individual life lessons and leads them full-circle to a Divinely guided conclusion.

*     *     *

WBBEllie Ferguson
Wedding Bell Blues

Weddings always bring out the worst in people. Or at least that’s the way it seems to Jessica Jones as her younger sister’s wedding day approaches. It’s bad enough Jessie has to wear a bridesmaid dress that looks like it was designed by a color blind Harlequin. Then there’s the best man who is all hands and no manners. Now add in a murder and Jessie’s former lover — former because she caught him doing the horizontal tango on their kitchen table with her also-former best friend. It really is almost more than a girl should be expected to handle. . . .

*     *     *

Historical Fiction

by the hands of menRoy M. Griffis
By the Hands of Men, Book One:  The Old World

“With elements reminiscent of Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, in the midst of World War I, a relationship develops between an English lieutenant and a young Russian nurse—a surprising tenderness against the backdrop of war…with likable characters, spending more time in the Old World is an appealing prospect.” – Kirkus Reviews

Lieutenant Robert Fitzgerald has managed to retain his sanity, his humanity, and his honor during the hell of WWI’s trench warfare. Charlotte Braninov fled the shifting storm of the impending Russian Revolution for the less-threatening world of field camp medicine, serving as a nurse in the most hopeless of fronts. Their friendship creates a sanctuary both could cling to in the most desperate of times. Historical fiction about life, loss, and love, By the Hands of Men explores the power that lies within each of us to harm – or to heal – all those we touch.

*     *     *

Middle Grade/Teen/YA

*     *      *

 

strange fallKyle Andrews
Strange Fall

Winnie McKeller is lost in her own home, alone in the town that she has lived in since the day she was born. Her world has been shaken. Tragedy has been haunting her family for the past year and on one unusual night, each member of her family will be forced to confront their pain and find a way to put the pieces of their lives back together.
Winnie’s journey will lead her down a twisted path through the back roads of her quiet town. She will find herself trekking through the shadowy woods, cut off from everything she knows, in pursuit of a mysterious stranger with a Y-shaped incision on his chest.

A mother’s search will bring her to the doorstep of insanity. A father will seek out a seer, in an attempt to understand what lies beyond the veil that separates this life from the next. And a friend will be hunted by darkness, only to be drawn toward the light.

Autumn has always had a special sort of feeling to it. Outside, the leaves are changing and the air is crisp. It’s the time of year when weird things happen… And this is going to be a Strange Fall.

*     *     *

barton streetZoey Ivers
The Barton Street Gym (Doors into the Dimensions Book 1)

In a future where no one needs to sleep, homes are unnecessary. A simple dimensional cubby in a hi-rise gymnasium is all anyone needs.
Perhaps the designers ought to have considered the possibility of unintended effects from thousands of multi-dimensional bubbles in close proximity to each other. But they weren’t physicists . . .

Joe is independent, his divorced father a bit absent minded. Joe and his “bio-model” friend were exploring the pedestrian tunnels under the Barton Street Gym when they found themselves trapping in a strange landscape with a hungry dinosaur.

Alice Brown is used to getting in trouble; her parents are quite strict. But being attacked by a Tyrannosaurus Rex in a strange dimension just a step across a malfunctioning D-door is not her usual sort of trouble.

*     *     *

vulcans kittensCedar Sanderson
Vulcan’s Kitten (Children of Myth Book 1)

12-year-old Linnea Vulkane is looking forward to a long, lazy summer on Grandpa Heph’s farm, watching newborn kittens grow up and helping out with chores. That all goes out the window the night Mars, god of war, demands her grandfather abandon her and return to Olympus for the brewing war.
Now Old Vulcan is racing around the world and across higher planes with Sehkmet to gather allies, leaving Linn and an old immortal friend to protect the farm and the very special litter. But even the best wards won’t last forever, and when the farm goes up in flames, she is on the run with a daypack, a strange horse, a sword, and an armful of kittens. Linn needs to grow up fast and master her powers, before the war finds the unlikely refugees…

 

*     *     *

Humor/Satire

*     *      *

 

starletteKyle Andrews
Starlette

On the night of one of Hollywood’s biggest award shows, a mysterious villain and his minions carry out a series of attacks which completely annihilate the entertainment industry. Around the world, industry professionals are slaughtered, leaving our society without one of its greatest influences.
From the ashes of these attacks, a rebellion takes shape. The few remaining Hollywood professionals band together, forming The Studio, vowing to take down the evil madman and reclaim their rightful place as the leaders of modern culture.

Amongst these brave and talented few is Starlette. Leading the highest rated cast in The Studio, she will stand above all others as the breakout star who will pull Hollywood from the rubble and exact vengeance on the man who destroyed their world.

*     *     *

Religion/Spirituality

*     *     *

 

spirit of christmasKyle Andrews
Spirit of Christmas

Eight year old Aidan Shores has been pulled from the only home he’s ever known. Now living in unfamiliar surroundings during the happiest season of all, young Aidan begins to notice a growing fear within his parents. The closer it gets to Christmas, the more their worry builds. The more questions he asks, the more secretive they become.
Aidan’s concern for his family will lead him to a dark and unsettling discovery… The true nature Santa Claus.

This holiday tale is not intended for children.

*     *     *

tears of paradoxDaniella Bova
Tears Of Paradox (Storms Of Transformation Series Book 1)

In the not so distant future, Michelle hides in the shadowy cornfields of rural Pennsylvania, waiting for her unborn child, targeted by the untouchables who have assumed absolute power . Michelle’s husband, Jason, remains in their hometown, struggling against overwhelming odds to keep his wife and child from being found.
The blue-collar Catholic couple have already endured numerous losses, including that of a baby son, born under mysterious circumstances. This pair of childhood sweethearts and their family and friends have always stuck together, but the storms of transformation turn everything upside down. Friendships disintegrate, fathers and sons become enemies, and trust is a thing of the past. The ways of traditional America have gradually become what those in power term evil. What used to be evil is now the law, strictly enforced by the bureaucracy, and for ordinary people there is no middle ground; you either play or pay.

Deviation from government policy will land you in jail… or worse. Media figures who aren’t part of the power structure begin slowly disappearing, and Jason must depend solely on God to help him save his wife and baby.

Tears of Paradox is a story full of suspense, romance, sadness, humor, and nostalgia; a must read for Americans in these rapidly changing times.

 

*     *     *

Non-Fiction

*     *     *

 

sherlock sheilasStephanie Osborn
Sherlock, Sheilas, and the Seven-Percent Solution

Sherlock Holmes, the world’s first consulting detective, the most popular fictional character in history – and admitted drug abuser. Have you ever wondered why? Surely such a brilliant mind wasn’t in it for the “high” alone – was he? What about the side effects? Was there a benefit to its use that Watson couldn’t tell us because of the mores of his day? Sherlock, Sheilas and the Seven-Percent Solution explores, and perhaps answers, all these questions, and more.

 

the weather out there is frightfulThe Weather Out There Is Frightful

Our Sun is an active star. It may even be a variable star. Sunspots, flares, coronal mass ejections, all are signs of its activity. What kind of effect does it have on Earth? Other than the occasional sunburn, could it be dangerous? Has it been dangerous in the past? What can we expect in the near future?

 

 

*     *     *

a different viewC. Blake Powers
A Different View: Travels to Al Qa’im and Beyond

An exploration of day-to-day life of our troops, along with a reminder that beauty can be found in many places even in the most interesting of times.

This book covers my time with the 1st Battalion of the 4th Marines at Al Qa’im, Iraq at the Syrian border; and, a bit about Landstuhl Hospital in Germany and something very special that takes place there above and beyond the excellent care given.

This is not a book about combat, rather it focuses on the everyday sights that reflect the majority of the time at war that is routine. It is an attempt to share that not seen on the news, and provide a glimpse into a world few have seen and of which even fewer understand.

My hope is that the reader will pause to think even as I try to make them laugh and cry.

 

different view 2A Different View: Travels with Team Easy, Iraq 2007

A Different View Of Life At The Front

Rather than combat, this book is about the day-to-day life with troops in Iraq. The focus is on the 90-99 percent of the time that is tedium or boredom, rather than the one percent that is the focus of most photographs seen on the news.

Foreword by Matthew Currier Burden, author of “The Blogs of War” “You can see that in his excellent work here. And I sincerely believe that you will experience something new through his “arch” into a very untraveled world…”

Introduction by JD Johannes, author and filmmaker, “Outside The Wire” “Blake’s photography shows the preferred normative, but because it is not news, rarely seen.”

Stories in your Head

There’s only one thing writers do – this weaving of words, this thinking of characters, this reaching for stuff that might surprise you are incidentals — What we do is make sense out of nonsense. We weave reality into a sequence where there’s a beginning, middle and end, where actions have consequences and where, at least if we’re human wave, the good are rewarded and the bad are punished at some level. Even if the level is that the good die heroically and the bad have to live with themselves.

And even though it’s a limited format, quickly ended, we get a satisfactory reward from the story, and we hold onto it.

We know it’s not true, but we also know parts of it are.

It is my belief that the reason Indo-European civilization (it appears not to have been a race so much as a culture that co-opted other cultures) beat the pants (and there’s another way to spread your culture) all their neighbors and has survived through the ages and spread like wild fire is that, at least according to some linguists, they really liked their sagas.

These sagas, often told at banquets to display wealth, also incidentally hammered in the values of Indo-European culture. It is believed that the Iliad and the Odyssey are much like these sagas and probably fairly watered down/mishmashed versions. Which means that the sagas propagated values of courage, standing up before the gods and screwing everything that moved and some things that might have been standing still. But as weird as they seem to us, clearly these values were an improvement on most of their neighbors who wanted to imitate them.

Or perhaps there was the fact that they were sagas – coherent stories that could be memorized and had satisfactory logic (for the time.) Not all cultures developed that, and clearly the culture that did had an upper hand.

Because we like stories, we do. The world is a confusing mishmash of inputs and often not satisfactory at all, so we like having a place where it is satisfactory and makes sense.

This is a good thing in terms of teaching things like delayed gratification and kindness to others, things that are good long term civilization wise, but aren’t really very good short term, for the individual – or at least are not immediately, obviously good.

It is also, at least if it’s decently written fiction, good for building empathy. We can’t be anyone else. We can’t experience anyone else’s life, and we live only in our own time, but I tell you I’ve stood guard at the palais royale with Athos, I’ve flown through space with Lazarus Long, and I have most assuredly gone into hell with a werewolf and his witch wife in search of our child.

All these are good things. But stories like all potent medicine have side effects.

Which means that stories get in your head, and it’s all too easy – if you don’t take care to also study history and, you know, have a life – to forget that things that work in stories don’t work in real life. This is, I think, particularly true when you realize that most story people consume these days – particularly incurious people like our politicians and other poseurs – are told on TV, which is a very limited and simplified format. (Yes, they SAY they read all the literary stories. Sure I believe them, don’t you?)

This is a problem because not only doesn’t real life work like stories, but because in real life things that work in stories can be downright stupid. Or, of course, horrible.

I got in an argument recently in a closed Facebook group I belong to with a man who thought we shouldn’t write any women at all except those like Jane Austen’s characters or Shakespeare’s heroines. Besides displaying a stunning lack of understanding of the conditions of that world or the fact that those characters were in rebellion against it, he went on to state that women are, NATURALLY not prone to violence, so not only shouldn’t they be in an army (something that can be debated ad nauseum. I note Israel has women in the army) but that they shouldn’t fight at all. Women’s proper role is working in the home, and being excellent housekeepers and mothers.

We’ll leave aside what would IDEALLY be the role of women, shall we? I mean, ideally, come paradise, yes, woman as an archetype, not an individual, is supposed to be a wife and a mother. Or at least, evolutionarily we are sorta kinda designed for that. Or at the very least, and despite the semantic contortions of our language, it would be impossible for a biological male to give birth and absent bio-wombs someone has to do it.

Where this man’s vision turns horrible is when it runs right up against the fact that humans are not ideal – they’re not a model, stamped from a factory – but real, breathing individuals.

What Jane Austen was capturing, and why her books are far more than the fluffy romances those who don’t read them think they are, was the very real danger women stood in if they didn’t find anyone SUITABLE whom they wanted to marry and who wanted to marry them. Then there were women not allowed to marry, women in awful marriages, women who were sterile…

The list goes on and on. The IDEAL of woman might be to be a wife and mother, but the way that works out goes wrong in a myriad ways. And because this is not a story in that man’s head, but the real world, and there’s ways for things to go wrong that would never fit in a story, if someone tried to enforce his system, we’d end up in a horrible dystopia where women were forcibly married off and by necessity we ended up with something like sharia law. I’m sure that’s not what he wants. (Well, at least I hope not, though I’ve wondered if he’s a false flag operation.) But in his head, since feminism is wrong, we just reverse everything they say, and confine women to their role as housekeepers and mothers and voila, everything is fine and dandy.

He’s read too many stories.

Then there’s our president. I read this article by Michael Ledeen, which unfortunately might very well be a good analysis of the truth. He thinks the president is trying to establish détente with Isis before joining in the fray as an ally of Iran.

From things I’ve heard, this is already going on to an extent, behind the scenes. But here is where it all goes wrong. I don’t think that’s what Iran wants. Or could take even if offered. And I don’t think when it’s out in the open, it will be accepted by the US either.

I think the president suckled a narrative with his mother’s milk that told him that everything America did was wrong and in particular everything Reagan did was wrong. (To be fair, it was from the perspective of a red diaper baby.) So, as he announced, he intends to reverse everything that Reagan did and everything America does abroad. Because if that was wrong, then this will bring peace everlasting, right?

To make it worse, being a man of my generation (groan) I think he’s imbibed too much of what I call the style of plotting of “Kirk’s trick.” You know, faced with a centuries long problem, Captain Kirk finds the one facile trick that fixes everything.

It’s a beautiful story, but that’s not how real life works.

I think it was this bizarre idea of Kirk’s trick that led him to traipse into Fast and Furious, because finding that our guns were killing Mexicans we’d give up our guns – of course! – and that of course would make it easier for the government to fundamentally transform us.

I don’t know what he thinks he can do to make us think an alliance with Iran is acceptable, or if he just hopes to somehow subdue us into compliance.

What I do know is that the story in his head is very seductive (to him) but the real world has a hundred different ways to balk it. And then he gets upset, because stories tell him this should work.

It goes without saying that having a man who thinks in stories in power is a problem. But it is important too to strive to write “realer” stories. I say that as someone whose son yelled at her recently that what’s wrong with her current novel is that she forgot the world outside the seacity existed. (I’m fixing it, I’m fixing it – grumble.)

But more important, we must remember that there are stories and there is reality. When the all pervasive stories of the left are wrong it’s important to remember that doesn’t mean the opposite is right. It’s entirely possible for just as solid a narrative to be wrong. In fact too solid a narrative will be wrong. Real life is composed of millions of individual stories and therefore unpredictable.

And it’s important to remember that, as we head into interesting times.

UPDATE: I’ve changed To The Dragons so that it snow feels “Tuned” right.  I spent the entire friggen night dreaming of the care and feeding of dragons, so I hope it’s right.  It’s up in the subscriber space. It will have to fit around the other stuff, but I’ll try to update semi-regularly.

It’s A Labor Day Sale

Yes, there will be a real post and also stuff for the subscribers in a couple of hours.  yesterday turned out… interesting… but for today, if  you’re contemplating a Staycation for Labor Day you should know that there is a Labor Day sale, so you can go somewhere in your mind at a price you can afford.

 

I’ve also got all my Musketeer Mysteries on sale.  The first is 99c, the others are 2.99 and I have all five out again — I need to finish the sixth.

 

 

A Touch of Night is also on sale, as are the books of several frequent fliers at ATH: Kate Paulk, Amanda Green, Cedar Sanderson Alma Boykin, Cyn Bagley, S. J. Chase  and others, including my son Robert A. Hoyt.  For the full sweets counter sale listing, go to: THE GREAT LABOR DAY SALE!

Ungovernable — a blast from the past post from December 2012

*I have been reading a lot about how we’re ungovernable again, so I thought it might be a good idea to run this again.  I confess I’m not up to thinking logically, though in a few hours there will be some fodder for subscribers in the subscriber area.  Also, I’m afraid I jump-started the Labor day sale.  I did it because being me, I forgot what day it was.  (Yes, this happens a lot.)  All the Musketeer books (except the first which will be 99c tomorrow on countdown sale)  This is a link to The musketeer’s Seamstress. and the Shakespeare trilogy are on sale. This is the link to Ill Met by Moonlight.*

 

I’ve said before that I became an American by reading Heinlein books.  This is true at least to an extent, though I’d be at a loss to explain the process to you.  I mean, if you knew how to do that, book by book, chipping away, so someone starts out wondering what’s wrong with all those Americans who don’t like taxes (don’t they know taxes are civilization?  And have always existed) and ends up thinking getting a Don’t Tread On Me tattoo is a brilliant idea, even while immersed in a socialist, communitarian system, we’d have no problems.  We’d just use “the process.”

Mind, you, it is likely that the er… Heinleinizing (totally a word.  Don’t worry your pretty head) of my opinions came from watching socialism up close and personal.  Heinlein had help.  But all the same, and even so, by the time I came to the States as an exchange student I had been, so to put it, primed to react to the US as “home.”

Even so, things about the US surprised me – things that Americans thought were completely logical.  For instance, the fact that classes are – objectively – a zoo.  No, we’re not talking about a war-zone type school.  Stow High School had good teachers, by and large, enthusiastic about teaching and their subjects.

I’m just talking about classroom behavior.  People just TALKED.  In Portugal, once the teacher entered, absolute silence reigned, unless he asked a question.  More conducive to learning?  Sure.  Maybe.  But in the US it just didn’t happen.  There wasn’t that built in respect for the “master” who got up front and spoke, and therefore all must fall silent.

There were other things – a distinct lack of respect based solely on someone’s age and position (respect for real accomplishments was granted, of course.) – a wicked sense of humor that showed up in signs on hallways and doors of classes, the fact that people could talk back or joke with teachers.

But possibly the most surprising thing in the US was … how people interacted.  You could have ornaments and decorated trees in your front yard and no one stole them.  This made my jaw drop, particularly since my host family’s house didn’t even have a nominal fence.  (This  might be gone in certain areas.  At least someone stole both a cement giraffe and – months later – a cheap composite fountain from our front yard.)

And when something went wrong, say a massive snowfall, people grabbed shovels and went to the street, to shovel not just their driveway, but as much of the sidewalk as they could, and to make their area as functional as possible, before official rescue/help arrived.

This would be unheard of most other places in the world.

This image/these ideas gelled for me as I read P.J. O’Rourke’s comment about a restaurant somewhere – the Soviet Union – “An American would grab a bottle of windex and solve most of the problem.”  Or something like that.

Every time I go back to Portugal, now, I find myself thinking about that type of thing or wanting to do that type of thing about ten times a day.  Most of the time I don’t, because there’s a crab bucket thing over there, you know, the crabs pull the others down, i.e. if I – say – grabbed a bottle of cleaner to save a sanitation problem, I’d get asked “Who do you think you are?”   And my parents live there.  (If they didn’t, and didn’t have to live with the consequences of my actions, I’d probably do it anyway.)

Yeah, Americans talk back, and make classrooms noisy, and can sometimes be counterproductive.  On the other hand, Americans, faced with a gadawful mess don’t look around and wait for “the proper person” to fix it.  They roll up their sleeves and each of them goes “Well, I’ll do this.”

It’s hard to explain how different that makes us.  To most Americans it seems logical behavior (it is) and I only get the difference because I remember being brand new here and how ALIEN it was.  And I remember living in Portugal without the constant “oh, for heavens’ sake, just do it” moments I have when I go back now.  (I should possibly point out that most Europeans find most middle aged American women bossy, interfering and a bit terrifying.)

Yes, I know some of you are going to tell me that spirit is now lost.

It’s not.  It is, of course, in certain areas – but certain areas always had issues – and for certain people.  And it is more muted than it used to be.

Part of the thing with Europe is the worship of the “experts.”  “We’ll take it to the expert” or “We’ll have the expert do it.”  There is now some do it yourself (and my mom was always one of nature’s do-it-yourselvers.  I think given time to acculture, and if she’d come here early enough mom would have made a great American) but it’s nothing like in the US and it would never have started without the US.

They’ve – by which I mean the cultural establishment – tried to bring the same here.  I’ve railed here before about how cozies were – in effect – blacklisted by the publishing establishment because “amateurs can’t be better than the professionals.”  And how my books couldn’t have funny policemen because “Policemen are professionals and must be respected.”  And I’ve talked about how shocked I was when a bunch of high school kids came to beat me on my blog because I’d criticized their teacher (I actually hadn’t.  I’d criticized the curriculum which is is not teacher set, but they lacked the semantic ability to distinguish these) and how dare I?  She’s a TEACHER.  I’m supposed to respect her.  (She also was considerably less educated than I, much younger and I have reason to believe she sent the kids over to harass me – the harassment stopped when I threatened to scan in some of her (outrageous) grading handiwork and post it. – which leaves me in doubt of her moral character.)

While these things annoy me and shock me, as does anyone preventing my questioning him by saying “I’m the expert” – it is still new here.

The people on top are trying to do it, but I wonder how much of it will stick.

No, listen.  We’re still… Us.  Still likely to roll up our sleeves and do it.

Look at blogs.  Sure, there are blogs abroad.  I hear Portugal is one of the most connected countries in the world.  But are there newsblogs?  Big enough to rival, say instapundit?  Drudge? (There might be something like DU or the others – because, well, they’re funded and organized by organizations.  But, you know, I have problems enough without tampering with my blood pressure.)

Oh, please.  News have to be reported by experts.  It’s not the individual’s job.  And besides, why undertake that mass of work if no one will pay you?

There are tons of interesting recipe blogs, etc, but I have yet to find something with the scope that Americans cheerfully undertake.

The same could be said for ebooks and indie publishing.  They have access to the same facilities we do (though more regulations in the way) but do you see a flood of books in foreign languages appearing?  Some, sure (there are displaced and unaware Americans everywhere, in the sense that being American is to an extent a place in the heart) there are some.  But nothing like you’d expect.

This is to an extent why  – to quote Bill Whittle – the future comes from America.  We are willing to go ahead and try it, and see how it plays.

The spirit is still there.  Diminished, perhaps, but still much stronger than in the rest of the world.

And this is why I say we also don’t know what the result of what the people on the top – publishing, politics, news, etc – are doing to us.  We know how it works in other countries, but I don’t think they realize how different we are.

When people’s lives are made impossible, they find ways to live.  This was true, even in Portugal in the seventies, with a  flourishing black market and most regulations ignored.  How much more true will it be here, at the first signs of true pinching?

And then there’s the fact that in the rest of the world, if things get unbearable, you can always go to America.  But we don’t have an America to go to.  Which will only make us more determined to “ignore the order, buck the directive, roll up our sleeves and do for ourselves.”

This is why statists of any stripe so often throw their hands up and call us ungovernable.  Not that this gives them the idea they shouldn’t try.  No.  Instead, they try to devise more cunning ways of governing us.  You have them to give credit for dreaming the impossible dream.  It’s the one proof we have that the sons of beetles are Americans.

So…  after sixty years of creeping statism, they’ve now “captured the flag” – they have actually got all of the important systems sewn up: news, entertainment, education, government.

They think – can you blame them? – that they won.

I won’t say they can’t hurt us.  They can.  The mechanisms they’ve seized hold of are important and they are – natch – misusing them.

I’m not saying that this will be easy.  It won’t.  Our economy is likely to be an incredible shambles, and I’ve said before I think we’ll lose at least one city.

But, listen, the problem with these sons of… Babel is that they might be American, but they’re not American ENOUGH.  If they were, they’d understand “ungovernable” and this willingness for each of us to go it alone (often for common benefit, but on own recognizance, nonetheless) is not a bug.  It’s a feature.  And that it’s baked in the cake of a people who came here to escape the top-down spirit of other places.  Some of the black sheep (or as one friend of mine calls it, the plaid sheep) attitude is genetic, hereditary, inborn.  And enough of us have it.

Push harder and we escape harder, through crevices they don’t even know are there.  Forbid us from making a living, and we’ll find a way to go around you.  Make it impossible to defend ourselves, and I shudder to think what some of my friends and neighbors will come up with.  Make the economy impossible, and we’ll create another one you can’t reach.  Make regulations too binding and we’ll either ignore them or – more likely – creatively subvert them.

They captured the flag, and they think they captured the nation.  It’s the type of mistake that the bureaucratic mind makes.

Poor rats.  Try not to laugh at them too hard, as you go about the business of undermining them.

We have them surrounded.