Ascension: Book One of The Allaince Chronicles 2nd Edition

Purchase now on or Kindle. Coming soon to other retailers.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hop: A Criticism

My sister-in-law had been planning to take the kids to go see the movie "Hop", about the (I'm assuming) a way ward Easter Bunny who can poop jelly beans.  As a Christian Dad, I could think of several better ways to spend money on my kids rather than to take them to a movie that would further distort the meaning of Easter.  It's bad enough that we have people calling it "Zombie Jesus Day" complete within internet memes and t-shirts.  Numerous were the commercials these Easter season encouraging women to make sure they have the right shoes on when they plan the perfect day out with the kids and grandpa hunting for Easter Eggs.  Afterall, you have to look good in front of your lady friends or better yet, the potential competition.
Is this what it has come down to?  A competition between the Lord and the internet, fighting for the truth?  A competition between the Lord and movies, fighting for the truth?  Or does the Lord really want us to think that having the right shoes will help us walk the path to salvation?  Well, actually yes, having the right shoes will help us walk that path, but you won't find them in department stores.  You will find them at your local Christian store, your church, and among your family as you teach them what the real meaning of Easter is. 

He Is Risen!

Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.  She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, "They have taken the Lord's body out of the tomb, and I don't know where they have put him!"   Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see. The other disciple outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen cloth lying there, but he didn't go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus' head was folded up and lying to the side. Then the other disciple also went in, and he saw and believed – for until then they hadn't realized that the Scriptures said he would rise from the dead. Then they went home.  Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels sitting at the head and foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. 

"Why are you crying?" the angels asked her.

"Because they have taken away my Lord," she replied, "and I don't know where they have put him."   She glanced over her shoulder and saw someone standing behind her. It was Jesus, but she didn't recognize him. 

"Why are you crying?" Jesus asked her. "Who are you looking for?"

She thought he was the gardener.  "Sir," she said, "if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him." 

"Mary!" Jesus said.

She turned toward him and exclaimed, "Teacher!"

"Don't cling to me," Jesus said, "for I haven't yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, my God and your God."

Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, "I have seen the Lord!" Then she gave them his message.  That evening, on the first day of the week, the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! "Peace be with you," he said..  As he spoke, he held out his hands for them to see, and he showed them his side. They were filled with joy when they saw their Lord!  

He spoke to them again and said, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Then he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone's sins, they are forgiven. If you refuse to forgive them, they are unforgiven."

One of the disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, "We have seen the Lord!"

But he replied, "I won't believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side."

Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. He said, "Peace be with you."  Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don't be faithless any longer. Believe!"

"My Lord and my God!" Thomas exclaimed.

Then Jesus told him, "You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven't seen me and believe anyway."

Jesus' disciples saw him do many other miraculous signs besides the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life. (John 20, NLT)

Friday, April 22, 2011

No Cons For Me This Year.

It's a bummer because we had the money right up until the wife's van needed breaks, the cats got sick and when my son started having unpredictable reactions to his medications.  I just canceled the reservations for both hotels (was planning overnight stays for both Cyphan and WWCCC).

Maybe next year.

Random Thought

Gorns are lizards, so I assume that a female Gorn would lay eggs, right?  Would that make a female Gorn in fact a Gornish Hen?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Obama: Homegrown?

Palin and Trump have both pushed the matter of Obama's citizenship, Hillary Clinton demanded Obama prove his citizenship, and a 2004 AP article opened by addressing then Sentorial candidate Barak Obama as 'Kenyen born'.  A man who has nothing to hide would come clean, right?  Obama, both as presidential candidate and as a sitting president has blocked (with lawyers) all attempts to have any light shed on truth, no matter what the truth is.
Now, what this blog entry is not is an attempt to jump on the birther bandwagon.  It is more of an appeal to worry about other issues.  I firmly believe that we will not know the truth until after Obama is out of office and this birther controversy is something that I see as having the potential to last decades, as has been the case with the conspiracy theories surrounding the JFK assassination.
So basically, my appeal to my fellow Americans is this:  The birther controversy is really going nowhere.  What we need to focus is on the issues:  high gas prices, unemployment, national debt, taxes.  These are only a few of the many things that trouble this country.  We need a person who can lead, who can guide us out of the mess we're in and who is willing to put aside party politics and agendas in order to get the job done.  Obama has neither shown the ability or willingness to do this so far, and I hold little hopes that he will do so in the remaining months of his first term in office.  He's already hit the campaign trail and any politician that spend so much time campaigning is a politician who is not spending enough time doing the job that the politician was elected to do.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Huckabee in 2012?

Originally, I thought Trump might have been able to beat Obama in '12, but now I'm not so sure. After reading G.W. Bush's "Decision Points", I've gained a better appreciation of what it takes to be POTUS, and I don't think that Trump has got what it takes to lead. He can command from the board room, but can he do it from the Oval Office? Can we trust Trump to make the right decisions when it comes to the defense of this country, or when it comes to diplomatic relations with foreign entities? We need legitimate experience in the Oval Office. Obama has failed to show the experience needed with running this country, he's failed to unify this country and he's failed to provide us with the leadership we need to get out of the economic crisis we're in.
We need a president who is willing to lead us and not run off on lavish vacations in the midst of a national or global crisis. There are several candidates who seem to be willing to take on the responsibilities of POTUS. Thus far, Gov. Huckabee has my vote. I hope that he can, should he choose to run for POTUS, convince me to continue to support him. I chose to vote for Gov. Huckabee in the 2008 primaries, and would vote for him again should he decide to run. This country needs a leader, not a pretender and certainly not a 'community organizer'.

Mass Effect: Review

I started playing Bioware’s Mass Effect 2 a couple weeks ago and quickly realized I was missing quite a bit of back story on the game which led me to purchase Mass Effect.  The first thing that I’ll say is this is not a game for kids.  Do not play this game around children due to the graphic nature of some parts of this game.  While to this point the most sexual content I’ve encountered has been to venture in to a ‘gentlemen’s club’ in search of intergalactic scum, there could be other content that could be encountered as you progress in the game.
This game focuses on the main character, Commander Shepard (who you can designate to be male or female), an Alliance Officer who is tasked with hunting down a rouge Alliance operative who is bent on destroying the Alliance.  For the purposes of this review, I will be referring to Shepard as male.  I don’t want to give away too many specifics about the game in the review as I went in to the game without knowing the background of the game.  I will say that as you progress through the game, which is a combination RPG and second (or third) person shooter that you will assemble an ‘A-Team’ of aliens who are full of personality and make this game much more interesting.
To date, this is the best science fiction RPG I’ve played.  Previously, my favorite RPG has been Final Fantasy X which had some scifi elements in it even though it was primarily a fantasy RPG.  Mass Effect is similar in gameplay to Bioware’s Star Wars:  Knights of The Old Republic, which was a very robust video game in itself.  It features a galactic map where key locations can be visited based on need and desire, and large open maps used during game play.  While exploring the maps, many of the non-player characters can be interacted with.  During interactions, you are given options on how to respond during conversations which can shape relationships, unlock additional side mission and can result in gained XP.  This format of game play gives the game a ‘choose your own adventure’ style of game play which I really like, and a nearly non-linear way to play the game.  Granted there are linear elements to the game but you are allowed to determine the direction you take to progress through the story.
Graphics in the game are top notch.  The game looks excellent on an HDTV and there is little discernable difference between cut-scenes and gameplay.  The voice acting is excellent, and in reviewing the game credits, I noticed several familiar actors and voice actors such as Marina Sirtis, Seth Green, Grey Delisle and Armin Shimerman.  I swore at times I even heard Jonathan Frakes as a voice at the beginning of the game.
The only criticism I’m going to make of this game is vocal interactions between teammates during casual situations in the game.  When selecting a teamed character to talk to, or when they converse in elevators, its near impossible to hear them without turning the volume on the TV way up, which can be very annoying.  I’m doing my best to overlook this.
I can’t think of anything else I want to say about the game to this point, however I will provide a review of Mass Effect 2 as I work my way through that game.  From what I’ve seen so far, it’s already excellent.
I highly recommend Mass Effect!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Who's the most underrated musician?

I don't really know. I don't follow many musicians.

Ask me anything

one more question for you..if a wood chuck could chuck wood?


Ask me anything

Would you rather vacation at the beach or in the mountains?

Mountains. I grew up at the base of the Olympic Mountains. I love the region and would love to vacation in the Pacific Northwest, just to go back to where I grew up.

Ask me anything

What's the most unselfish thing you've ever done?

I do unselfish things all the time. I once gave a friend a couple hundred dollars so she could register her kids for school and get them some supplies.

Ask me anything

If you had to cook dinner for someone tonight, what would you make?

Baked Zitti

Ask me anything

If you could change one thing that happened last year what would it be?

I would have had a decent paying job.

Ask me anything

1) how did I not one you had formsring...and 2) If you could be any form of food what would it be and why.

1), heck if I know, assuming that you're asking me how you didn't know I was on Formspring. 2) Damned if I know. Whatever food that can really be enjoyed and makes you want to come back for more. Not Chinese, though. I love Chinese food, but I'm always hungry again not long after.

Ask me anything

Besides Formspring, what websites do you check the most often?

Well let's see. I got to Facebook, Questionable Content, and Drudge Report most often, followed by Gotham's Finest and a few others.

Ask me anything

Busy Day Today, Tomorrow Looks The Same

Over the last few days, I've been working with Kelly IT services on a potential job working with Joomla out in Oswego, IL.  I'm not sure what the job entails, but they've asked me to come in to the recruiter's office tomorrow for a face-to-face screening prior to putting may name and quals in front of the client.  The job could pay up to $25 and hour.  The only downside to this is that Oswego is quite a haul at an hour's drive.
Also, Ashley Ellis, another IT staffing firm, called today to arrange for a phone screening tomorrow afternoon.  I had applied last night for a position which the recruiter said had closed, however they have other positions that I could be a fit for so they want to learn more about me.
Today was supposed to be a relatively relaxing day.  Amy took the kids to her mom's, as her mom offered to give me a day off.  I had originally planned to spend the day working on Avenging Angel, but it started with trading emails with Kelly IT including a phone call to make arrangements.  After that, I spent some time on the phone with fellow author and my good friend Lakisha Spletzer.  We went over some ideas on how to tie in The Alliance Chronicles to some of her books.  It looks like we may set up a collaboration of some kind for "The Sword of Draesoneth" as I'm considering including werewolves in the story.
After talking with her, I chatted with Joe from Gotham's Finest.  There were some concerns about the organization and structure of the group which needed to be discussed.  By the time all of that was said and done, it was past lunch time.  Over lunch, I relaxed and read more of President George W. Bush's book "Decision Points", which has been a wonderful read so far.  While I've read biographies in the past (namely John Madden's "Hey Wait A Minute, I Wrote A Book, Maj. Greg Boyington' biography and another book called "Chicken Hawk" which was about a chopper pilot's experiences in Vietnam"), Pres. Bush's book is the first presidential memoir I've read and really gives some great insights on his time in office and what led up to his run for president.
I squeezed in some time playing Mass Effect, and before leaving to pick up the kids, I recieved the call from Ashely Ellis.  So yes, it's been a very busy day.  I can say that my clothes are at least ready for tomorrow.  I just need to pick out a decent tie to wear.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What qualities do you look for when you're dating someone?

I'm married, so it's not something I worry about. If I had to answer in conjecture, I'd say intelligence. I like smart women.

Ask me anything

if you could legally change ur name, wat would you change it to?

MY name has been legally changed once, so it is not something I've really considered doing again aside from brief consideration of taking my wife's last name when we got married, or hyphenating the name. Beyond that, I guess I'm fine with the name I have.

Ask me anything

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Kindle Sales of Ascension Are Impressive, At Least To Me.

Ascension:  Book One of The Alliance Chronicles has been on Kindle for only a couple of weeks now and has earned 6 sales (or downloads, if you want to look at it that way) which may not be too impressive to too many people, but to a self published author, 6 sales means that 6 people were impressed enough by the book to want to purchase it.
As of this writing, Ascension ranks at #36,439 on Kindle's rating system.  Pretty decent.  Not the Top 100 of all books for Kindle, but still decent.  I'm not sure where it falls in the top 10k of science fiction on Kindle, but I'm certain with a few more sales of the edition that the numbers will improve?
So why am I worried about the numbers?  It gives me a glimpse in to the popularity of the book, if the book is selling and overall it makes me feel decent as an author. It lets me know that the chances of people seeing this book and being interested in it are improving.  Granted I try to market the heck out of the book on Facebook and Twitter, its still nice to see the results
So next up is Avenging Angel:  Book Two of The Alliance Chronicles, where I will be picking up from where I left off with Ascension.  Can I describe the book in a few words?  Sure.  Decent In To Hell comes to mind, complete with evil deities and evil zombie cyborgs.  I don't want to give away too much of the book as it will be coming out sooner rather than later, but I will say that you will get to learn more about several of the characters, and maybe even a glimpse in to Migichinan history.
 So, if you have not had a chance to get it, now is the time to go get a copy of Ascension on Kindle or in print and get ready for Avenging Angel, coming soon!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"Ascension" Autographed Copy Fetches $60.00 In Charity Auction

In a charity auction at (a massive knitting community of 1.3 million members), an autographed 2nd Edtion copy of "Ascension:  Book One of The Alliance Chronicles" went for $60.00 along with a nice feathered fountain pen.  The charity auction's goal was to raise a combined $4,000 for Red Cross, Search Dog Foundation & Doctors Without Borders.  As of this post, the amount exceeded the goal by over $400.00

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ascension: 2nd Edition and Kindle Format

It's hard to believe its been over 7 years since the 1st edition of Ascension was published.  7 years of really just letting the book languish under contract to PublishAmerica.  That contract came to an end recently, allowing me the freedom to bring the book back in 2nd Edition format as well as Kindle edition.  Of course, PA started offering Kindle formats, but Lord knows what royalties they'd offer.  I could have gone Kindle format, but to do that, I would have had to by books.  I got tired of their crap after a while, asked to be taken off their spamming list and allowed my contract to expire.  I had the option to buy out my contract, but $99 seemed a little like extortion.  I chose patience.

I didn't really start writing tonight to bitch about my former publisher.  I wanted to plug Ascension.  It's not out in 2nd Edition and Kindle formats and I got the proof for the print copy today!  I was totally amazed by Amazon's CreateSpace service.  The book looks fabulous, the cover art (though I created it) was spot-on, and it looks like a BOOK and not some wimpy little... book that PA put out.  Sorry, bitching again.

Oh... the Kindle Edition looks great too!  I was concerned (at first) about how it would look, would it be readable and so on, but after my wife showed me the copy she put on her Droid X, my fears were eased and I am really a happy camper.

Up next is Avenging Angel.  The book is in fact written, I just need to re-read it, make some edits and changes and then go for it.  I'd say look for it to be released in the next three months or so.

Stay Frosty!!!