Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ian Douglas WARSTRIDER in ebook!

 
 
Now out from War Planet Press!
 
In the 26th century, humanity is at war with the Xenophobes, and the planet Loki is the next battleground. Dev Cameron joined the military to fly a starship, but is rated unsuitable and grudgingly accepts an assignment with the ground forces piloting a massive walking tank- a warstrider. But Cameron may yet get a chance at glory when he makes a discovery about their alien foes that could change the course of the war.

The first book in Ian Douglas's classic Warstrider military sci-fi series, originally published in 1993 under the name William Keith. The six-book Warstrider series is being re-issued by War Planet Press.



Saturday, June 28, 2014

SOONERCON 23!



I've been going to this convention for years.  I know many of the people there and always have a good time.  But June is also when I have a lot going on writing-wise.  *sigh*

Still, I managed a few hours of panels and seeing friends.

This year is BIGGER than ever!!  Soonercon is growing again, and it couldn't happen to a nicer con!



I couldn't resist talking to the Silence from Dr. Who.




Friday, June 27, 2014

CONSTANTINE television show

 
I'm really enjoying the early views of this one as well.
 

GOTHAM Television show

 
I gotta say, the trailer looks fantastic.  This is gonna be one of the biggest shows of the season.  I'm looking forward to it.
 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Garden Redux

 
The tomato plants have been loving the cool weather and rain we've had.  They're putting on tomatoes like crazy.
 
 
We've been having to stake them up nearly every day.
 
 
I'm not too happy with my grape tomatoes, though.  They're not as heavy as I thought they would be.  Last year the grape tomato plants put out more fruit than we could eat.
 
 
The cucumber plants on the other hand are doing really well.  We've already gotten a few off.
 
 
I'm growing the cantaloupe plants vertically this year too, so making hammocks for them will be challenging soon.  I put the trellis in the ground with concrete, so it should support the weight.  They're almost spread out enough to start tying up.
 
 
Here's a side view of all three trellises.  We're trying to grow a couple watermelon plants in the old wheelbarrow, so we'll see how that works out.
 
 
We're waiting on the BIG tomatoes to ripen.
 
 
But the thing I'm most excited about at the moment are the Indigo Rose tomatoes.  They're deep purple/black on the outside and red on the inside.  This is the first year they've been out there, so I'm looking forward to seeing how they taste.
 
 
We've got lots of bell peppers coming on!  BTW, the two liter bottle in the ground is for deep watering.  Perforate a plastic bottle, bury it in the ground, and you can put water to the roots instead of just soaking the top of the garden.
 
 
The squash plants are doing great!  I've never been lucky with them in the garden, but this year they're prolific.
 
 
These are the first two we've taken out.
 
 
They, and the first bell pepper, made a terrific stir-fry.  There's nothing like homegrown vegetables!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

New Gate

 
In the very back, you can see the old wire mesh gate we had that led into the back yard.  It was falling apart and I wanted something to go with the new garden bed I put in.
 
So I came up with this from a DIY link.
 
 
The whole thing is made from 5/4 decking and each piece was cut.  The pales (the "pickets") also had to be ripped by circular saw, so I ended up learning some stuff.  Pretty much everything had to be painted before it was put together, so I spent time waiting on stuff to dry.
 
It didn't turn out as easy as I thought.  The first mistake I made was in making the fence the exact size to fit between the gate posts.  I had to go back and rip a half-inch off each side, which was nerve-wracking.  Otherwise I would have had to take it completely apart because of the way it's made.
 
Finally put the final coat of paint on it today.  The DIY site said it was a "weekend" project.  Took me six days and fifty percent more budget.
 
But I LOVE the new gate!!
 
 
 

Recommended

 
I've enjoyed this series so far, but I'm a few books behind, and this new released today makes me one more behind.  *sigh*  Never enough time for everything.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

THE FLASH -- coming this fall!

 
Watch the trailer.  Looks like they're gonna do this one right!
 
 

Caught My Eye

 
Love the cover design and the plot premise sounds promising.
 
 
In 1981, three fourteen-year-old boys witness a horrific murder in the Oregon woods near their homes. Sucked into becoming accomplices to the subsequent cover-up, they swear never to talk about what happened.

 Thirty years later, Tommy Devereaux has become a bestselling author, using writing as his therapy. Finally, he is ready to tell the world what happened, even if he disguises the killing as fiction. But his life is set to unravel when he is approached by a woman who asks for his autograph, leaving behind a note which reads: 'You didn't even change my name.' Tommy's worst nightmare has come true. A figure from his past has returned, threatening to divulge his darkest secret unless he agrees to do everything she asks of him. Thus begins a deadly cat-and-mouse game that can only end with one or both of their destructions.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

C. Dean Andersson's Bloodsong Trilogy!

 
For the first time, C. Dean Andersson’s three epic fantasy Bloodsong novels are gathered together in a digital omnibus!

BLOODSONG! — HEL X 3 (Omnibus Edition)
Warrior Witch of Hel
Death Riders of Hel
Werebeasts of Hel


RIDE INTO ADVENTURE!

Join in the Bloodsong saga, a grand tale set faithfully in the mystical world of Scandinavian mythology—a world of gods light and dark, of monsters and heroes, of flashing blades and a mortal warrior’s desperate determination set against the uncanny forces wielded by her immortal enemies.

Bloodsong and Freedom!

"Bow not your head!" Odin ordered.
Bloodsong quickly raised her head.
His expression softened. "You are free, Bloodsong, you and all your people, free by your own deeds. I have heard the war cry they scream in their thoughts. ‘Bloodsong and freedom,’ is it not? And so it should be, for if not for your leadership and your rebellion, you would this day still be Hel’s slaves, fighting against me and my allies instead of by my side to break Hel’s power and banish Her beneath the Earth.
"The Orlog of your bloodline will be a hard one, Bloodsong, and often your warrior descendants shall curse my name for the pain and suffering I shall set in their paths. But without battles and challenges, warriors grow soft and weak, and those who follow me must ever be strong, and free, as are you and your people."
Odin raised his spear toward Bloodsong and her assembled army of Corpse Beasts. "Bloodsong and freedom!" Odin shouted in his thoughts.
Bloodsong raised her chin high and held Odin’s gaze. "Odin and Asgard!" she shouted back with her thoughts.
"Odin and Asgard!" thought first one Corpse Beast, and then another, following Bloodsong’s lead, until soon her people were all repeating the battle cry over and over again.
“Freya and Folkvang!” screamed the Valkyries as Freya raised Her spear. Other battle cries arose from within the ranks of Odin’s forces, cries to Thor and Sif, to Frey, to Skadi, to Heimdall, to Frigga, on and on, while from behind Hel’s lines came only the silence of the grave.
And then the battle began.

Caught My Eye

 
In prohibition-era Southern California, real life detectives Charles D. Siringo and Dashiell Hammett must solve a mystery involving a ruthless politician—Joseph P. Kennedy. With sharp dialogue and rich historical background, Ragtime Cowboys is an exciting, suspenseful tale in which the Old West and Hollywood collide.
 
Los Angeles, 1921: Ex-Pinkerton Charlie Siringo is living in quiet retirement when Wyatt Earp knocks on his door and asks him to track down his missing horse. What begins as horse thievery turns into a deeper mystery as Siringo and another ex-Pinkerton, the young Dashiell Hammett, follow clues that take them from the streets of Los Angeles to Jack London's farm, until they discover a conspiracy masterminded by the notorious and powerful Joseph P. Kennedy.

From the first page to the closing chapter, these ragtime cowboys chase the truth in Loren D. Estleman's compelling tale of the Old West and early Hollywood.

The Amazing Wind-Rifle

 
I just finished reading THE ROAD TO RECKONING by Robert Lautner, a Western/historical (I don't know what else to call it because it takes place east of the Mississippi but in frontier areas).  The book was great, chockfull of historical details and a coming-of-age story to boot.
 
One of the characters in the book carries a Girandoni "Wind" rifle, a weapon I'd never heard of, and after I dug into the history of the rifle, I'm surprised I hadn't.  One of them made the trip across the Louisiana Purchase with Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery, and was very probably what saved their lives.
 
 
 
The rifle shot a huge .46 caliber ball that was accurate up to 150 yards away, and it could be fired several times on one tank of air.  Refilling the rifle's air tank (in the weapon's butt) took 1500 strokes of what was essentially a bicycle pump to build to 800 psi, so it took about an hour to reload.  The weapon could be fired up to 70 times, but only the first forty or fifty rounds were lethal.  The rate of fire was around 30 rounds a minute.
 
 
 
Originally built back in 1779 by Italian inventor Bartholomaus Girandoni, the weapon was used by the Austrian army and spread to several different countries, including the United States.  Napoleon was said to have made owning one of the rifles a crime punishable by death.
 
There is no powder residue on these weapons, nothing a man needed to carry with him other than shot, and care was simple.  It was also relatively silent, came with an accurate, rifled barrel, and didn't give away a shooter's position with expelled gunsmoke.  The drawback were that the weapon was fragile and the compressed air tanks exploded like bombs when damaged.
 
Replicas are evidently made today, and refilling the air reservoir is simple with pumps.  I'm extremely curious about these weapons and would love to see one in action.
 
Here's a video for those of you who would like to know a little more.
 

Monday, May 26, 2014

My, How My Garden Grows!

 
With all the trees in my back yard, it's been years since I've been able to grow a garden.  In fact, the last really good garden I had was in 1997, the year Chandler was born.
 
I'd tried a few times over the years since, but between heat, work, and all the tree shade in my back yard, they just didn't produce.
 
Two years ago, the power line people cut all the trees in the back yard along the fence, so last year I put in one 4x4 raised bed to see what would happen.  That was in May, the same month both tornadoes hit Moore.  Needless to say, not much gardening got done with all the repairs that were necessary to the house and yard.
 
The new fence at the side of the house is one of those additions.
 
But that little 4x4 raised bed produced a lot of tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.  I overloaded it and it still put out a crop of veggies.
 
So this year, I put in another five raised beds and they're all doing well.  The grass, however, leaves much to be desired, but since it was all torn up last year to put in the new gas line, I'm not surprised.
 
 
 
Sherry also wanted a grape arbor put in.  Our gate is wider than anything I could find a kit for, so I had to design one for us.  I looked at a lot of them, showed them to Sherry, and figured out what we liked best (it had to have places to hang lanterns for me!).  Then I put my ninth grade drafting skills to work and laid out a blueprint, figured out the necessary board feet, and we went to Lowe's.
 
While Sherry cut the boards (I don't necessarily cut the same length twice, but she does), I dug in the garden and put in the trellises above.  They're anchored with six inches of concrete with six inches of soil on top of that so plants can grow more easily and the trellises won't just blow over -- or away.
 
We put the arbor together and Sherry painted it (another skillset she has that is much better than mine), and I found lanterns I liked.  I think the end result turned out pretty spectacular.
 
 
 
Since we've added the arbor, I now see I've gotta replace that back yard fence.  I've got plans and I hope to get it done this summer.  It'll be a white picket fence that should look pretty nifty.
 
The arbor is buried a foot deep and also has six inches of concrete to anchor it.  The lanterns look great at night, but I haven't gotten any good pictures of them yet.
 
Those pictures were taken in April and it's now the end of May.  Here are some more current pictures of the plants so you can see how much they've grown.
 
 
These are cucumbers that I'll train to climb the trellis for easy harvesting.  I'm also growing three varieties of grape tomatoes and cantaloupes on the other trellises.  The cantaloupes are trickier because you have to train them AND make hammocks or use mesh bags for the fruit when growing them vertically.
 
 
Ah, gardening AND engineering!  I love a challenge.  And I've done this before with some success.
 
The peppers are already putting on as well, and I know I should probably pinch them off to let the plant grow bigger, but I'm hopeful.
 
 
The grape tomatoes are producing as well.
 
 
And the other tomatoes (a half-dozen kinds because that's the way I roll) are growing a lot too.
 
 
Usually Sherry ends up having to take care of everything after I finish digging in the dirt, but I find that going to the back yard and watering the plants, then doing some weeding (got the weed-eater out last night and straightened the lines around the raised beds) actually relaxes me.
 
I used to go to the used book shop to poke around to relax during the day, then come back to the writing.  These days I just hate the traffic everywhere, so I make the most out of the back yard.  As you can see, a bench was also put in the back yard.
 
Now if the summer heat doesn't kill everything, I'll be happy!