Because Twitter doesn’t have enough space sometimes

December 13, 2016 § Leave a comment

I wanted to write a bit about why, if you haven’t bought my novels Nameless and Heartless yet, you really should. Yes, it’s a sales pitch, but it’s at least a sales pitch with a little substance to it while still not dragging it out too much.

First up, you can now buy them in either kindle epub format or in paperback, so if you’ve been holdingĀ  out because you don’t like ebooks, there you go.

The first reason to read the story contained in the two novels is because it’s good. Of course I would say that – I wrote them, after all. So instead I’ll point you to Nameless’ Amazon reviews, where it averages out to a 4.7 star review with 45 reviews, 80% of which are five star reviews. Even on Goodreads, where the reviews were harsher, it tends to clock out at a 4 star review.I think this review by Jeff Raymond really gets the book, so I often point to it over reviews that rated the book better. I definitely wanted Nameless to tell a story, but in the process I also wanted to write a love letter to all the stuff I loved as a kid growing up – holiday myths, TV shows, comic books, horror novels and short stories, the works.

If you like plots where absolutely anything can and does happen and you won’t see the end coming, both Nameless and Heartless deliver this. I’m not just kidding here. Go ahead and read those reviews.

Heartless, for it’s part, has only been out for a month so it has less in way of reviews, but it’s still at a 4.67 on Goodreads and five stars on Amazon. Nameless is the beginning of a love story, but Heartless is much more about the idea that love stories never end – it’s just as interesting to see how people in love live their lives as it is to see it all start off.

That’s another thing about the series – I tried really hard to be inclusive to what I see in life that I often don’t see in fiction. I grew up not knowing what bisexuality was outside of a faint terror on the part of my parents (mostly my dad) that I was ‘queer’. Now that I’m an adult, I realize that yes, I am queer. The series realizes that being queer isn’t something that keeps you from having all the same sorts of problems as everyone else, that you still can fall in love, still can struggle with it, and if there are monsters in the world you still have to fight them. That’s kind of the reason I decided to write love stories, I wanted to see the kind of love I’d experienced and witnessed reflected in fiction.

Finally, you should read the books for Bry Williams. I don’t want to ruin Nameless for you by talking too much about Bry’s journey. But she’s an integral part of both books and so far everyone who’s read them has loved her. I think you might too.

Okay. That’s 500 words or so of me trying my best at a sales pitch. Hopefully at least a few of you will give the books a shot this Christmas.

Yes, The Empire in Star Wars is racist

December 9, 2016 § Leave a comment

They’re specifically Human Supremacists, if you want to get technical about it.

The Jedi Order was diverse. It had many aliens in it, as we see watching the Prequels in particular. The Clone Army we see in Episode II is cloned from a human and there’s no diversity at all – the Clone Troopers from which the Clone Wars takes its name are, in fact, all clones of one human man, the bounty hunter Jango Fett. (Even Jango’s ‘son’, Boba Fett, is a clone of Jango, just not aged to adulthood as the other Clone Troopers are.) When Order 66 comes down, the Clone Troopers execute their pre-programmed orders and kill the Jedi, thus nearly wiping out the Jedi Order and allowing Palpatine to claim supreme dictatorial power unopposed.

It’s repeatedly stated and shown that the Empire is indeed racist. No, they don’t care about the superficial differences between human races (although they are all most British because, well, Americans cast English people as villains a lot) but they deliberately allow the Wookies to be sold into slavery, and the pre-Empire scenes of Coruscant with aliens in a wide variety of roles are absent from the Empire’s day to day life. In the first of his Star Wars novels, Timothy Zahn even notes that Grand Admiral Thrawn is a rare exception to the Empire’s anti-alien bias (and since Thrawn is canon again, one assumes his origins are as well).

In short, the Empire isn’t White Supremacist only because in the far away galaxy of Star Wars, humans have actual alien beings to be racist at. Yes, the Empire is racist, as well as fascist. If you root for them, you’re rooting for racism and fascism. If you’re boycotting a movie because it deliberately portrays them as what they’ve always been (racist, fascist, evil) and you’re offended that the villains of a movie are shown as racist and fascist, maybe examine why that bothers you.

A Day That Will Live In Infamy

December 7, 2016 § 2 Comments

I was born on December 7th, 1971.

I was very premature – I was not expected to survive. I somehow managed to, not that I can take credit for it. I was a baby, babies don’t really have much of a say in these things. Doctors and nurses and my parents managed the trick, somehow. But there I was, a squalling little thing.

Both of my grandfathers fought in World War II. I imagine this is the case for a lot of people of my generation. They’re both dead now, and frankly, we’re getting to the point where there are not many survivors of the 1930’s and 40’s left. Someone born in 1931 would be 85 tomorrow, after all.

So maybe the recent surge in hate across the American political landscape has something to do with that – as the 1930’s recede fewer and fewer of us are left who remember the rise of hate groups in the run-up to World War II. And not everyone has read William L. Shirer. So maybe it’s understandable that people can’t or won’t connect demagoguery, hate speech, empty promises of a return to greatness and outright goddamn racism to something truly dangerous in our society.

But my grandfather taught me better.

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2016 and writing

December 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

theaandthomasI haven’t used this site all that much. Partially that’s because I hope to migrate to a new site soon (if I ever get it done) and partially because, well, stuff happened. Among the highlights of 2016 include my developing full-blown Diabetic Retinopathy (costing me the sight in my right eye) necessitating monthly eye injections and at least one bout of laser surgery to prevent the condition from progressing. So yeah, it’s been a year.

But I have gotten quite a bit of writing done this year. The image at the top of this post is of Thomas Willrew and Thea Mendel, the main characters/protagonists of Nameless, the first of two novels I wrote this year. It’s also available in paperback as a test of Amazon’s print on demand service. Buying the ebook is better for me financially, but if you prefer paper, now the book is accessible to you. I also wrote a sequel, Heartless, and if print on demand works out I’ll make sure to put a copy of Heartless on the service as well. Depending on if things change – I’m still hunting for a mainstream publisher and if I get one, I’d definitely go that route. I am not good at promotion.

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Where Am I?

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