Category Archives: Uncategorized

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

 

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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.

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Middle Grade/Teen/YA

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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.

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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.

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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…

 

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Humor/Satire

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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.

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Religion/Spirituality

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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.

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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.

 

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Non-Fiction

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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?

 

 

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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.

I’ll post in a little while

I just had news that Rocky, my remote-auxiliary-backup dog died this morning.

I have always wanted a dog since we’ve been married but between frequent moves, the fact we tend to buy houses I rebuild from the wall in, and my getting sick far too often, oh, and the 4 to 6 cons a year we used to do, that’s simply not been possible.

Through years of living without a dog, I became somewhat fearful of them. (The dogs who jumped the fence at me often when we lived in Manitou didn’t help.  Though one of them was a sheepdog who just wanted to bask in younger son’s presence.)

So when I visited Amanda while teaching a workshop, I was shocked to find that Rocky and I were like…. we’d always known each other.  The best part of my arrival in Texas was Rocky doing his train impression.  No matter where I was or whether he was in the back yard when I arrived, as soon as the door opened, he’d come charging through the house like a freight train to do the dance of doggy join and get petted.  And when I stayed there, he slept on my feet when I wrote. He was in fact “my” dog, even if we only saw each other once a year.  (He was also Amanda’s and her family’s, yes, but he treated me like one of them.)

I’m not going to TX this year because of both Amanda’s and my schedule and I told her just two days ago that I could write much better with a dog on my feet.

It’s not going to happen.  Rocky went to the rainbow bridge unexpectedly this morning.

He was a good and loyal dog, and I hope to see him again when the time comes.

I will write a post but right now I need to have a good cry.

It’s Just A Flesh Wound

Pull down those walls.  I’m sure the roof will remain standing.  Do let’s continue the nostalgia for baby boomers challenging their parents, when baby boomers are now grandparents: June Whitfield interview: ‘Middle class is still a dirty word in TV’.

Fortunately those middle class values are just things that kill joys came up with to prevent the perfect non-patriarchal society from happening.   It’s not like It’s not just boys who need male role models.

And it’s not like teaching the kids to despise their own homeland will have a bad effect, so, let’s double down on that, because there are kind and sensitive “others” and their perfect cultures which will be better than our flawed land, the one that gave most people the most prosperous and freest lifestyle in history.

After all they should be fighting for the ideals of believers in far-away religions, ideals that are so much more likely to bring about paradise than our capitalist, middle class society.

And above all never mind if the evidence is on your side, don’t call a reporter a left wing liberal.  (Dirty and smelly is a personal opinion and I wasn’t there.)

Because they have no sense of humor, whatsoever.  You have a sense that there’s something good and decent and worth saving before you have a sense of humor, I guess.

Fortunately we have a sense of humor.  And a good idea of what works too. We’re not demanding paradise on Earth or happy forever more.  We’re just working towards a world where most people can live okay lives.  Because we know humans are fallible, we exempt no race or creed from decent human behavior.

It’s Wednesday morning in the last week of August 2014.  We have things to learn and a society to rebuild.  The wall-pullers have been at it a long time, and what can’t go on forever, won’t.

Learn, work, hold yourself responsible, and teach your children well.

Up and at ‘em.

 

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers and thank you to Glenn Reynolds for the link.

The power of crazy

Have you ever been followed on the street by a crazy person shouting things at you? In a big city with crowded sidewalks?

It happened to my son – fortunately – when he was thirteen. He didn’t look thirteen, but he also didn’t look old enough to drive. Say fifteen or so. This was the fortunate part. Our family went for a walk downtown. A normal looking man (until you looked at his eyes) middle aged, in a suit, took a look at Robert and started following us shouting “You ran over my little girl, you bastard. How dare you walk around free? Are you going to run over more people?” etc, etc, ad nauseum.

It was obvious he was yelling at Robert, because if we shifted formation, he would change to be within about two feet of Robert and looking at him.

It was also obvious to anyone watching he was crazy. At least I hope so, since my kid didn’t even look old enough to drive.

BUT our entire family was cringing and Robert looked like he wanted to hide. ALL eight blocks back to where we’d parked. Then he stood there and shook his fist at us while we took off.

That wasn’t precisely a new experience for me. It says something about the texture of life in the Portugal I grew up in (that caveat is needed, as I know nothing or next to about Portugal now) that a romantic song promised to protect the girl “when a madman follows you on the street shouting things.” This happened fairly routinely when I was going to college and taking a train to downtown Porto and then a bus to my campus. Madmen would follow calling me a whore, (because someone in a black skirt suit and a black medieval cloak is self evidently selling her wares?) or saying I stole something, or sometimes just shouting the equivalent of “millennium hand in shrimp.”

It’s so common that passersby would grin at my embarrassed face. BUT there’s the point. No matter how common, no matter how unjustified, you always feel like SOMEHOW you did SOMETHING to bring this episode on.

I was reminded of this yesterday – yes, on Facebook. You know… — when I posted a somewhat tasteless, but not overly so meme on the Titanic. I might not have posted it, not being interested in either of the topics, but my son made it and it was cutish. It was the titanic, sinking and it said “The Ice Bucket Challenge/On expert mode.” Okay, I have nothing against the ice-bucket challenge, but it’s been all over and the Titanic sank because of striking ice, so, you know, it was kind of sort of chuckle worthy. And it took you unawares while drinking tea (me) spray worthy, because of the juxtaposition of ideas.

My first comment was from someone who has written a book about the Titanic “Just.not.funny.” Well, okay. I know what it’s like to be close to your subject. I’ve been known to put a cutting remark when an Oxfordian posts something about not having enough evidence of Shakespeare’s life. But that’s usually on serious memes. I think I pass on raining on someone’s parade in politics or history at least once a day.

Why? Because it’s a facebook meme. People are having fun. Do you really want to stand at the edge of the crowd screaming “Not funny.”

But fine, he was close to it, knew the details of the tragedy, etc, so I put in “Well, maybe you’re too close to it, but it’s been used as a joke in Ghost Busters, so this is not even the real titanic, it’s the “meme Titanic”” – and also the drawing showed the ship, not the people.

What I expected was the he’d absent himself from the rest of the thread.

Oh, boy, was I wrong. Next, he posted pictures of the remains in the Titanic, and what looked like someone’s leg bone. We tried to explain to him that, er, no, we weren’t making fun of the death of people, it was just the weird idea of a ship deciding to take the challenge.

AND THEN he decided that he would make “funny memes” of Nazi cold water immersion torture and post them, because, you know, no one told him not to.

Now you guys have known me long enough, so when I said, “No one told you not to dance in traffic, either, does that mean you feel compelled to” you know exactly how far I’d been pushed. I don’t think I’ve lost my cool to that point here, except with overt trolls.

BUT he kept coming back, and defending his outrage, and saying we were making fun of the horrible death of hundreds (which I hope it’s understood in the meme was not part of it) and on and on, until he called Kate Paulk (!) two swear words. And then I blocked him and banned him.

I went to bed still confused about this. You see, it’s the first time I blocked anyone on Facebook.

And he’s been my friend for a while, and what’s more, he wrote a book I enjoyed on the Titanic. So I thought “he can’t be that crazy. What did I do wrong? It can’t be just the meme. Consider that there are titanic tea infusers for sale, and titanic inflatable lawn toys, and…” I mean, the Titanic, 102 years after its sinking is, yes, a horrible disaster. (We went through the Titanic exhibit at the museum, and while not as powerful as the one on Pompeii (no, trust me) it was heart-rending) but from the disaster enough gallows humor has emerged to make it a meme for “sinking ship” – not the real Titanic but sort of a cultural cartoon. Or even a meme for “engineering failure.” I mean, if you’re talking about someone designing a spaceship with obvious flaws, saying “remember the titanic” doesn’t mean “remember everyone who died. It means “remember the massive engineering failure.”

But anyway I went to bed torturing myself over his rather public implosion – a friend said it sounds like a manic episode – and wondering if I should have defused it earlier.

And this morning I realized that half of my flist seems to have blocked him BEFORE that incident, so I feel a little better.

But at the same time the incident and its aftermath, like the incident with people following us on the street showed me the power of crazy and how the left has deployed it in elections.

Look, if you’re A LITTLE crazy, people wonder what is wrong with you. Say the person on my thread had kept insisting that it wasn’t funny, in a mournful tone. I’d have gone “Dude, what’s wrong with you?”

But once he started posting Nazi memes, I was going “Dude, what have I done wrong?”

Now compare it to the things Romney was accused of in the election: not paying taxes for 10 years; causing someone’s wife to get cancer…

He was probably ready for “when have you stopped beating your wife?” but he wasn’t prepared for “When did you stop eating babies?” Craziness on that level leaves you bereft and open-jawed and wondering what YOU could have done wrong to bring it on.

In the same way tea partiers were prepared (probably) to be accused of wanting to starve the poor – but who is prepared to be accused of being racist, when half of your gatherings have more people of color than white ones? (The one in town had a whole tribe who took a bus from a reservation, in full regalia.) Or a white supremacist? Or Nazis?

And it goes on and on at all levels. It’s like the left reaches into the bucket of crazy and flings the crazier non-sequiturs they can find at people’s heads. This is for instance why I have been accused of being fascist (because I want to take over the world and leave you ruthlessly alone!) or a white (!) Supremacist. It’s a bucket of crazy, and how do you defend yourself from that, and what have you done to bring it on?

And when our side tries similar crazy things (not even as crazy) – say the birth question or whether Mr. Obama might just perhaps be hiding a gay side (notthatthereisanythingwrongwiththat, but it would be a blatant lie to pretend otherwise) — our own side starts mumbling “Don’t say that. That’s just wrong.”

The other side, otoh, the party of people whose representative is afraid Guam will tip over, has no qualms.  But we do.

 

Look, take it from someone who’s been followed by crazies on the street. Sometimes turning around and saying in the most dramatic tone you can conjure “It was you Mr. Wiggins. It was you who stole the turtle. Millenium hand in shrimp. I’ll have three brown ones.” In fact, I’ve found it’s the only thing that DOES work. It gets this weird look to come to their eyes, and then they slink off.

But that is not something our candidates can do, of course. However, WE can. And we need to stop slamming down on people who do.

Beyond that, our candidates – and ourselves – need to be prepared for those questions and ready to laugh and point and make duck noises, instead of cringing and looking embarrassed at their insanity. “When did I stop eating babies? What kind of crazy asks that question? Or do you mean eggs? I had eggs just this morning. Do you, Mr. Wiggins, also devour the unborn?”

Because the low information voters see the cringe, and being liv’s think “No smoke without fire.”

Toss the crazy ball right at them. Use GIFs if needed. Stop feeling guilty because they’re crazy. Their problem is not your problem. And you shouldn’t feel sorry for them. They are, at this point, doing it deliberately.

Laugh, point, and be ready to make fun, just like medieval people did when confronted with madmen.

Sometimes, it’s the only sane answer.

 

 

The Autism Question — Cedar Sanderson

The Autism Question — Cedar Sanderson

The recent discovery of what may cause autism was first brought to my attention by Peter Grant’s blog. I’ve since seen it several times since then, posted by gleeful optimists, but my first reaction wasn’t sheer joy. You see, I have a little sister who is autistic. However, as Peter points out, many creative type folks – including many people I know, and perhaps even myself, also show signs of autism.

 

The problem is, what was once a nebulous diagnosis limited to those who were almost completely withdrawn from the world is now applied to anyone who displays social awkwardness. I’m not going to get into the subtle workings of the brain, in any depth, as I’m not the person to talk to about thingies in the brainies (although perhaps one of those worthies will drop by in comments).

 

I’ll start with the International Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders. “Autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) are characterized by impaired social interactions and communication, as well as restricted and repetitive behaviors and interests. Impairment in each of these dimensions can vary in severity, and symptomatologies among individuals with ASDs are often quite diverse. Over the past 20 years, there has been a marked increase in the diagnosis of individuals with ASDs. In 1966, Lotter undertook the first epidemiological study of autism, estimating the prevalence of autism disorder to be 4.5/10,000. Two decades later, the estimate rose to 10.1/10,000. Currently, the community prevalence of ASDs is estimated to be at least 36.4/10,000, with some estimates as high as 67/10,000. It has been suggested that this increase in the number of cases of ASDs is due, at least in part, to more inclusionary definitions of disorders within the autism spectrum. While more in-depth discussion of this increase in ASD prevalence can be found elsewhere, there is at least some suggestion that changes in prevalence may be due to changes in, and broadening of, the diagnostic conceptualization of ASD. “

 

However, while at one end of the diagnostic criteria lies my sister, who is a lovely person, mentally about four, physically around thirty, on the other is me. You all know me, some have met me in person. I’ve never been tested for autism, I refused to even consider it when it was suggested not too long ago. I’m a functional adult, and I don’t need that label hung on me. Because the ‘high functioning’ end of autism, which was recently (and still, I think) called Aspergers, is more a psychological diagnosis than a physical one.

 

While doing research for this essay, I came across an article that was published in the New York Times, entitled “I had Asperger Syndrome. Briefly.” which succinctly lays out my concerns with the over-diagnosis of people with autism. “I exhibited a “qualified impairment in social interaction,” specifically “failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level” (I had few friends) and a “lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people” (I spent a lot of time by myself in my room reading novels and listening to music, and when I did hang out with other kids I often tried to speak like an E. M. Forster narrator, annoying them). I exhibited an “encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus” (I memorized poems and spent a lot of time playing the guitar and writing terrible poems and novels).” Nugent goes on to explain that as he got older, and developed, his mother, who had diagnosed him and applied the label to him, realized that he was not on the autism spectrum.

 

While the Federal Education code lays out a much stricter criteria for diagnosis, we have already seen that parents and doctors adhere to no such standards. Which brings me back to the article and study published in the Daily Mail.

 

If, and it is a very big if, they have truly discovered the cause of autism and Aspergers, what do they propose to do with that? While perhaps such treatment could reveal my sister, as we glimpse her now through a veil, an engaging person with an impish sense of humor, a temper, and a distinct personality. Then the veil falls again and she is out of reach. I would go far for a treatment that would lift the veil forever. But what if it doesn’t work? And how will we know? Will they decide to use people like my sister, deeming them not contributors to society, as guinea pigs. Yes, I know that would be unethical and illegal with today’s laws… If a fetus capable of drawing breath for their first cry can be deemed a non-person, what protects my sister?

And that same treatment, the neural pruning, if applied to an adult, what would happen? Would we creatives lose our social awkwardness, that need to flee a crowd because it’s all just too much, the shying away from direct contact that overwhelms us? Or would we also lose our weirdness, that which makes us Odd and able to create? No-one knows. We simply don’t know what the brain does, internally, well enough to plunge into declaration of a ‘cure” much less implementing it.

 

I’m never one to seize on a ‘new discovery’ and this one has me taking a step back and hesi – no, I’ll admit, the first words out of my mouth on reading it were unladylike. I immediately saw where it could go, and folks, it ain’t pretty.

 

I’ll finish up with this: the history of eugenics and mental retardation. “ In this country, attempts to eradicate the population of individuals with mental retardation can be traced back to the emergence of eugenics in the latter half of the 19th century. Francis Galton’s theory of eugenics was aimed at improving the “inborn qualities of a race.” One of the objectives of proponents of this “science” was to colonize and sterilize all undesirable subgroups in the United States. Half of the states adopted laws that forbade marriage for individuals who had mental or emotional impairments. In the 20th century, sterilization was used as a means of controlled breeding. In 1911, the American Breeders Association was established to study the reduction of the mentally retarded population. By 1926, sterilization laws had been passed in 23 states that made sterilization mandatory for “mentally deficient” individuals when recommended by the courts (Rubin & Rosseler, 1994). These laws ultimately resulted in the involuntary sterilization of over 60,000 individuals with mental retardation and mental illness by the year 1960 (Reilly, 1991).” Later in that same article, “There are no national or even regional statistics reported in any publication on the incidence of elective abortion that follows a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. The only information available is from those individual diagnostic or treatment facilities that maintain such records and permit disclosure. Although current statistics were not available, between 1984 and 1987, 88% of the women at Washington University Medical Center who were informed that they were carrying a fetus with Down syndrome elected to abort the fetus (H. Beaver, personal communication, February 24, 1993). Similarly, P. DaVee of Indianapolis University Hospital reported that of the 1,125 clients tested in 1993, 29 (2.6%) indicated abnormal fetuses (personal communication, December 13, 1993). Although statistics were not available, she reported that most of the abnormalities were Down syndrome. DaVee concurred that, based upon her experience, nearly all of the fetuses carrying Down syndrome were aborted. These findings appear to indicate that genetic testing as a logical extension of eugenics is indeed being used as a means to screen for and then prevent the birth of persons with Down syndrome.” (Ethical and legal issues regarding selective abortion of fetuses with Down syndrome By: Glover NM, Glover SJ, Mental Retardation, 00476765, Aug, 1996, Vol. 34, Issue 4)

 

I had a personal brush with this. While pregnant with my son, I had an ultrasound. That evening, we got a rather concerned-sounding voice mail from the doctor, telling us that the fetus had a marker for Down’s, and we needed to come in for an appointment to discuss options. My immediate reaction was again explosive, unladylike, unprintable, and boiled down to “he’s 27 weeks old. There is only one option, and that is we will love him.” For those wondering, short legs run in the family on his paternal side, and he inherited short femurs… but nothing else. He’s a bright, energetic, engaging young man now, at nine years of age.

 

Before we start looking at cures, we must look at the consequences. What happens without those neurons? If you treat very early in life, then the person will never miss them. But we might also miss out on what would have been. Do we risk the people we already have, to see a cure for those who are coming now? How much of the autism spectrum is real, and how much a convenient excuse for people with an agenda? And when will pregnant mothers start making decisions about their children based on some genetic test which might or might not be a reality?

 

I can’t begin to answer all the questions. Nor can the scientists who did the original study. Perhaps in time, we can be more certain. But not yet, and I wouldn’t be willing to risk my precious sister to it.

The Grandchildren of Imagine

The other day here, someone brought up “Imagine” under if everything we think we know is wrong, then…

Imagine is one of the songs which gets me talking to the supermarket loudspeakers, and not in a good way. If I’m alone in a section I might go so far as to give the speakers the double middle finger. (The others are mostly Phil Collins.)

The problem with Imagine is not that it’s lousy, kitchy, superficial art (it is) or that I tend to like songs that have a bubbly meaning on top and more layered meanings underneath (“I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell. I know, right now you can’t tell, but stick around and soon enough you’ll see another part of me.”) I also like plenty of songs that are objectively tempests of sound and percussion signifying nothing.

No. What really gets me going about Imagine is that its pretty, shiny bobbles of concepts are infantile, wrong AND pernicious. And also that it is largely the same concepts I was raised with (not by my parents, but my brother, his friends, the schools, the popular entertainment, etc.)

Take for instance that “Imagine there’s no religion…. Nothing to live or die for, a brotherhood of man.”

Oy.

Where to start?

 

Imagine there is no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Imagine all the people
Living for today

He is of course, fluffy and confused, and then the next verse is about nations and we have:

Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

That sort of refers to nations, but bringing religion in, gets us the idea people kill for religion.

Most people start on the Evangelical Christians get boiled out of shape by that verse – which was probably Lennon’s intent – but let’s, do, examine why eliminating religion is such a good thing “Nothing to kill or die for”. Uh…. Really?

Yeah, okay, we had “Wars of religion” that lasted for centuries. But to be fair, most of the wars of religion only got that way because the cause was co-opted by various princes, kings and countries. And I’m not even going to go into the Crusades as war of retaliation, or the West learning that the only way to stop a religion that promotes itself by cutting off heads is to have a religion that cuts off heads, which made the reformation a kettle of fun as the state seized control of the whole thing as a means to enrich itself.

Let’s go instead into the post-religious world. Whether they dressed it in religious shibboleths or not, WWI was not religious. WWII was not religious. The cold war’s “little” flareups, the millions of people who died in the camps, etc, none of it was in the name of G-d, but in the name of the state.

So for someone in the seventies (?) to be crooning about the brotherhood of man that would ensue once no one had religion is not just appallingly shallow, bordering on stupid, it’s also a crazy denial of facts that were already in evidence.

Turns out, humans being tribal, what ensues if you remove religion is not a brotherhood of man, but tribalism for other reasons. And once the higher objectives of religion and the idea that we’re all created by the same G-d and therefore brothers and sisters are removed, what ensues is not a great family, but – as in those countries for whom atheism was a state religion –humans as utilitarian work machines, humans as fertilizer, and humans as food (during the engineered famines. Look up Holodomor. It dare you.)

So, you say, no nations.

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

 

We’ll leave aside the fact that it can or cannot be achieved. It’s not something that has been achieved in… ever. Yes, I know some fluffy libertarians think that the nomadic tribes that roamed around without established location were “equalitarian” and had no kings and no concept of nation. This only ignores the evidence of all grave goods and the experience of anyone who’s lived in a large family.

Never mind. Let’s establish that there were no Nation States. Is this by any chance a sign there was peace? Well, no. See again under “humans are tribal.” The graves we discover from that time do not speak of peace. No matter what you heard about the nomadic past of the US, the Amerindians weren’t children of nature, living in peace. In fact, anyone who has raised kids knows better. Humans not only are tribal. Humans have a will to power, a will to either be admired or admire, to either control or be controlled. Humans seek it. We’re Odds and goats and a little different, but still. You can’t even say that in their vision humans would have to be sheep, because sheep fight intruders, too.

That impulse can be controlled but not eliminated.

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

Do I have to dissect this piece of crap? It’s not even wishful thinking, it’s irrational babbling. You’d think a grown man, no matter how many interesting substances he was snorting, injecting and smoking, would have realized possessions are not the only thing people strive for. For a lot of people, power over others seems to be the driving motive.

But let’s leave that aside. HOW do you enforce the “no possessions?” Humans like things, and humans will take and hold things they like – pretty baubles, interesting stones. Humans will make things too and those they are even more attached to. “You didn’t build that” is the cry of someone who has never built anything and is jealous. Oh, yeah, jealousy. Another thing that precludes “universal peace.”

To have your state with no possessions you need to have someone making sure no one else has possessions, and that person, of course, will have possessions, because human (and we’ve seen this pattern over and over in human history.)

But beyond that, who is going to enforce “no possessions” if there are no nations.

Don’t answer. I know the nightmare answer to this. I once read a document from the Weather Underground on how they’d organize the US after taking over. It was all “soviets.” You’d belong to a soviet for each of your characteristics. Take me, for instance, I’d be in a soviet as wife, one as mother, one as Latin, one as woman, one as writer, one as…

These soviets would have representation, but not the individuals, who were supposed to help the soviet come to positions through “struggle sessions.” Those of you who have read about the Cultural Revolution are shuddering right now, and if you haven’t, do. I suggest the first hand accounts of people who escaped it.

So, none of these concepts or their children-concepts (“No patriarchy” and “PIV is rape” and a million other insane ideas that proceed from believing that religion – something that has been with man since we didn’t quite have language – is just a plot of “priests” and can easily be discarded; that nations and nation states can be abolished without just as pernicious entities appearing in their stead; that possessions are things you can just say you’re done with, and also that these three things are the only cause of violence) are so stupid that a blind child can see their asinine idiocy.

BUT and here’s the important thing, they were embraced and promulgated by the intelligentsia: those controlling your entertainment, your communications, your education. (We won’t point out their semblance to soviet propaganda probably caused that.)

It is assumed in most things that these three principles and everything that comes from them is “right” and that we deviate from them at the risk of “sin” (Not sin, sin, since we’re not supposed to believe in religion, but a secular sin that leads everyone to point and call us stupid.)

These ideas amount to a wholesale discarding of western civilization and of everything that’s been believed and written about how to integrate human nature with civilization without destroying either.

And we are up to three generations raised since these became not just fringe (they have been there since there’s been humans writing, and yep, mostly they’ve been fringe) but the core and center of our education in civics.

We’re now up to the grandchildren of Imagine, people so far gone that the precepts of their grandfathers are these nonsense assumptions; assumptions not only unproven, but proven wrong and impossible at least in this world we live in.

John C. Wright wrote a brilliant (natch) essay on the uglification of art. He approaches it from a … ah… theocentric perspective. (One of the reasons I admire John is that he doesn’t shy away from explaining how his belief works, even when this belief is obviously based on religion. He won’t be shamed by Imagine.) I’m a little different. While I am, as I’ve said, a woman of belief, the way I was raised requires I explain my beliefs and ground them without resort to my faith.

So, here’s my explanation for the uglyfication of all artistic pursuit. These are the children of Imagine. I’m not going to say that the SONG is to blame, understand (I must explain this for the wandering SJWs who read this) but rather the philosophy behind the song, a kitchy, irrational faith prevalent in progressive circles.

The belief in that nonsense and in the nonsense that derives from it makes people’s lives NATURALLY meaningless and horrible.

Look, if you’re going around believing you must eradicate possessions and religion and nations ALL the time, when these things are patently impossible, you’re going to be miserable. If you attribute every setback you suffer to “the patriarchy” or “the oligarchy” or whatever you’re blaming it on these days; if you attribute your dissatisfaction and hunger to the fact other people have more – that is the recipe for ending up in a private hell of envy and resentment.

And this explains the tone, the purges, the sheer anger you encounter in progressive cycles. They can’t enjoy their lives or build anything until oh, possessions are eliminated, and there’s “a brotherhood of man” and every step taken towards that seems to have the opposite result.

Take, for instance “I’ll try everything once.” Or “I will not obey my husband” both precepts promulgated by this sort of hatred for the past of Western civilization. If you live by them, you’re going to end up broken and miserable. (Translation for the SJWs who read this blog: No, dears, I don’t mean that you should always obey your husband. He’s human too. (Well, yours. Mine is a living god. Yes, I AM joking.) I mean that sometimes there are reasons to take his opinion over those of your best friend, your hairdresser or the cashier at the grocery store. More reason probably. After all, you married him. But the women liberated across to your “prescription” refuse to take the opinion or advice of any man, because patriarchy. Which is why they end up miserable.)

Most of the SJWs I know are miserable. At best they hold on to the trappings of “normalcy” by pretending REALLY hard. But they feel either guilty or failures or ineffective, because they’re not living up to their ideals.

Hence their stories, where everyone is miserable, and all of life is pointless, and their works of “art” where every shred of beauty must be eliminated.

They think they’re holding up a mirror to the world and showing that everyone is really, really broken and those evil people who pretend to be happy are really the worst (this is why “hypocrite” is the worst insult in the SJW vocabulary.)

They don’t realize in the end they are just holding the mirror to their own lives, and that those of us who are, in fact, happy and fulfilled, and who are in fact in the majority, just ignore them more and more, until their screams of rage occur only in their own little echo chamber.

Now, is that work complete? Not yet. They still have the education, and other bully pulpits and they’re still twisting the young into non-functionality.

Which is why we have a lot of work to do. Three generations of stupid pap are enough.

Teach your children well. Read, write. Enjoy. Rebuild the foundations of society that they’ve been chipping at for generations.

Living well and living on are the best revenge.

 

 

Rogue Magic, Free Novel, Chater 56

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

The Enchanted Cottage

 

It is my firm belief that men are very daft. Women too, mind you, but not in the same way. The peculiar way in which men are daft is this consistent belief that not only should every woman everywhere be protected, but that every woman everywhere wants to be.

Even Jonathan subscribed to this credo. I knew – I have ears – that Jonathan was a rogue, what people considered in general a bad lot, and what my uncle had once stigmatized as a loose fish, something I’d never fully understood, since I could see no resemblances between my dapper brother and a fish. Nor could I figure out what a loose one would be.

Yet, even when he was very drunk, he would say things like “that is not fit for your ears,” and “I will not sully your mind with these events.”

Oh, a sister develops her ways of knowing. I’d worked around and found some things that Jonathan surely would not have wanted me to know. I can’t say they shocked me overmuch. His letters from and to his friends, the parts I could understand, seemed to be a lot of tomfoolery, with drinking till you were blind and then… and then consorting with the sort of women that didn’t seem to be much fun. But there it was. He thought that would shock me, doubtless.

The disappointing thing was finding out that such a grand personage as the king of fairyland who, by all accounts, didn’t have the same sort of interest in women that other men did – though I wasn’t sure of that, since, after all, that was also something my ears shouldn’t be sullied with – also though I needed to be kept safe.

No. worse than that. He thought I wanted to be kept safe.

He sort of pushed at me as he vanished, and I felt myself pushed through an envelope of sorts, and then—

I was in a fairytale cottage. Not the ominous looking one, where you’re sure the grandmother has been eaten by a wolf. Nor the one made of candy, because anyone would know that was a trap. Not even a realistic cottage like the ones in the home village next to what papa had called our principal seat.

No.

I was standing in the garden of a cottage so unreal, so perfect, so beautiful that it could not have existed anywhere but in fairyland. For one, the garden was all wrong – trust a man not to know when things bloomed or what needed sun or shade. This garden was a riot of colors, with everything blooming at the same time, a sweet buzz of bees in the air – I bet none of these bees stung, either – and a path of shiny, polished pebbles leading to the white-stone cottage with the arched doorway, the window boxes full of flowers and the chimney set on at an adorably crooked angle.

I started up the path, and of course, a beautiful baby bunny loped across it, pausing only to look at me with eyes that were too big and too innocent.

At the door, I pushed it open.

It was exactly as I expected. There was an entrance area, with a fireplace which was burning brightly even though it put out no warmth and no warmth was needed.

Around the fire place were two chairs and a lot of books. And yep, the books were just exactly the sort I read, about pirates and grand adventures.

Past that was a kitchen, with everything scrubbed and bright and the table set for tea, with scones and jam and a pot that – I touched it – was just the right temperature under a cheerful red cozy.

And then a blue bird perched on the flower box outside the open window and started to sing.

I believe I could have endured it, otherwise. Doubtless behind the kitchen there was the perfect bedroom with a comfortable bed, and I was in fact very tired.

But the bird was too much.

If I’d believed that this was one of those traps set by fairyland, I could have endured it, too, and tried to defeat it from inside.

The problem is that I thought it wasn’t a trap at all.

When I was very little, nurse had a sort of fence she carried along and would set around me, so I could play outside and still be safe in its confines.

This was a fence like that, a safe box where the king of fairyland thought he’d keep me away from anything unpleasant and dangerous.

I don’t like unpleasant or dangerous things. Would you?

But I was also not blind to my own failings. I might be a wretch as mama says, or ungrateful, as papa used to say, or the most trying creature alive, as Jonathan has been known to say – though with a twinkle – and normal moral lectures might bounce off me like a cat off water. But I do realize when I’ve brought about a great deal of ruin and trouble. And that was now.

I had, in fact, got lost in this world, caused Mr. Merritt to come after me. I might have got him killed, since we were in fairyland, where he had, I gathered, rather old business. And by now, Jonathan might have come after me too. Other people wouldn’t, but he might.

And I had a strange feeling I was also responsible for whatever was happening to the king of fairy.

Which meant I couldn’t just be here and safe and let them fight this battle alone. For one what if they lost? Would I go on living forever in this cozy place with the obviously false bluebirds? I thought not.

It took me a second to figure out what to do. In every fairytale, the heroine is cautioned not to leave the safe spot and not to go into the woods.

The king hadn’t warned me of this, probably because he hadn’t had time.

But as I opened the kitchen door, I saw, past a strip of garden with more flowers, butterflies and blue birds, a fence. And past the fence – woods. Dark, ominous, unruly wood.

“I thank you for my share of the favor,” I told the warm air of the cottage and the singing bird. “But I’ll have none of it. We Blythes might be many things but cowards we aren’t.”

I ran down the path to the fence climbed on it and leapt off it into the dark woods.

The world tore like a piece of paper.