More Superheroines for Less

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For fans of superhero fiction, there’s an exciting superheroine series out there by Trish Heinrich that begins with Serpent’s Sacrifice. If you’d like to see more diversity in your spandex-clad butt-kicking, this is the way to go.

And book one is only 99-cents right now! Definitely worth checking out. Click here to follow a universal link — meaning you can go from it to whatever retailer you prefer (doesn’t have to be Amazon–I mean, why should you have to pay for the divorce, right?) 

And, by the way, if saving on supers is your thing right now, my book Hungry Gods is also just 99-cents for a limited time. This is in honor of the sequel, Deus Ex Machina, which lands in just 10 days! 

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Sound familiar…?

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We’re getting hit by a blizzard here today that’ll lock me and the family inside together for a few a days while I try to get some writing done. Sound familiar…?

Last Day for the Wonder Woman Prize Pack Giveaway

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I could have sworn today was the end of the countdown. But if you go to the Giveaway site, the clock still has another day on it. So tomorrow is technically the last day.

But tomorrow is also Monday, when we have to stop thinking about pleasant things and go back to work and/or school, so… Let’s just say today is the last day. Therefore…

Time is running out! Register now! 

If you’re a die hard Wonder Woman fan, this is for you! Click here to see what you can win!

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The Ultimate Wonder Woman Prize Pack!

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For a limited time only (the countdown is on!), you can sign up for an amazing array of Wonder Woman goodies! Movie, TV show boxed set, 75th anniversary graphic novel set, toys, sword, and a magic lasso that actually forces your spouse to tell the truth!

Okay, that last one I made up. But the rest is real, a value of $210, all for free!

The catch? You’re also signing up for the mailing lists for a pack of indie authors. Which is a bonus in itself! But if you don’t want to hear from them all, you can simply unsubscribe from the ones you don’t dig. (But you could be passing up more goodies by doing so…)

Either way, one lucky winner will score this awesome Amazonian prize pack. And you thought Christmas was over!

Click here NOW to sign up to win! 

Siren Song

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I slipped in one last minute publication before the end of 2018.

The Siren of Songwind Wood is a free short story. You can get it about anywhere at no cost to download. Just click here for links to your fave e-shop.

To be honest, Siren is a story that I lifted from a previous work of mine. I kind figured that offering this sample story for free might draw some attention to my fantasy novel Tarnish. The background of Tarnish is told by the characters as exaggerated adventure stories. Siren is one such tall tale.

Check it out risk-free and maybe you’ll be curious about the 430-page novel it sprang from, fully formed like Athena from Zeus’s head. (Or something like that.)

A New Years Resolution You Can Use!

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On New Years Eve night, as the clock on TV was counting down the last 10 seconds, along with everyone in the room, I had a terrible thought.

“This is all crap. Nature and the universe don’t give a damn about this arbitrary clock and random date we’ve picked. It means nothing. It’s the same as the midnight before and the midnight after. Why is everyone so excited?”

What a party pooper.

I didn’t voice that to my wife or guests, of course.

But then—much like the Grinch whose heart suddenly grew three sizes more—I had a revelation. I saw the spirit of it, the function, the purpose. Sure, the night sky and the seasons and the universe don’t notice what day we pick to celebrate our calendars turning over, but we can.

The benefit of the New Year is as much a renewal for us as the spring is to the world around us. (And spring is less predictable these days than it used to be. At least we know when to restart on the calendar!)

It really is our chance—and our choice—to start new. To drop all that weight and stressful burden we’ve been carrying and dragging around for the past year, let it crash to the floor, take two more steps away, and then turn and ponder. Get a good look. Say to ourselves, “Wow, no wonder I’ve been tired and my back’s been hurting! Look at all that shit I’ve piled up on myself!”

Pretty much all indie writers expect too much of themselves. And get frustrated when they don’t somehow manage to pull it all off.

But it’s not just writers. Everyone can think this way.

So we toss out last year’s calendar and hang a new one. A blank slate. A chance to reassess and set a new plan. Great!

Thus, the New Year’s Resolution.

And in having my epiphany, I went a little further: What is the main problem with the New Year’s Resolution?

The problem is, we don’t keep them, right? The gym fills up in January and is empty again by February.

But why?

I think one major factor is the scale.

Not the one you stand on and groan. It’s the proportion of your goals. They’re too big. We try planning for a year. A whole year! Who does that? And who can keep it up for that long?

Almost no one.

So my solution…

THE RULE OF 3

The solution is, you scale is back. You don’t set these big, lofty goals. You don’t load that big, heavy pack of shit back onto your shoulders and go right back to trudging up the mountain. Didn’t work last year, right? Why do it again?

Instead, you set smaller goals. Smaller time frames. And no more than three of them at a time.

For example, if you have today off and you make your list of things to do, how long does that list get? If you’re like me, there’s 8 to 12 items on there. And I know I’m not getting them all done. No way. But right after I say that out loud, I say, “Oh yeah, and fix the garage door. Add that on there, too.”

Not gonna happen.

As I look at my ever-increasing slate of writing activities and plans, I realize that I can’t swallow it all. There are so many items I’m putting on my plate, I’d choke.

How many pills can you take at a time? How many will get caught in your throat?

Rule of 3.

(Intentionally “3” not “three.” I know it should be spelled out. But seeing the digit tells me 3, no ands, ifs or buts.)

Put no more than three things on your list. If you find that you have to add more, then you need to scale back your time frame.

For example, I made my writing expectations list for the month of January. It had 3 items on it. Then 4. Then, oh yeah, number 5, gotta do that too.

Do I really need all five?

Well, over the course of the month, yeah, I kinda do. All those things really should get done. But five items on my list is a bit overwhelming and violates the Rule of 3.

Okay, then, what about the next 2 weeks? Half the month. Scale it back.

Hmmm… Yes, I can set goals for the next 2 weeks and keep it to just 3 items.

Great! So my goals are for two weeks only.

I’m not stressing myself out by thinking too far ahead. Nor by thinking too far back to all that heavy junk I was carrying last year and never quite finished. If I start throwing too much on my plate, I won’t be able to chew it all. I won’t even be able to wrap my mind around it all, I’ll get stressed out, and then give up. And, therefore, get none of it done.

The solution: Scale it back. Chunk it up into bite-sized hunks. Rule of 3.

So my plate, my slate, my timeframe is 2 weeks. Here is my very doable 3 things to get done and I have 14 days to do it. That I can handle. And when I do, then I’ll move on to the next set of tasks.

Bite-sized chunks.

Here’s another example we’re all thinking about:

You want to lose weight?

We all do! Seems impossible, though, right?

Let’s say you want to be 25 pounds lighter. That’s 2 pounds a month over the course of 2019. That should be doable. (Even if you want to lose more, start small. Accomplish the small steps before trying to tackle the big step. You can’t do the big one if you can’t do the small one, right?)

So I’d like to average a loss of two pounds per month. How do I do that?

Break that goal down further: What 3 things are you going to do to accomplish that. Measurable, simple, mark-off-your-checklist kind of things?

Well, first let’s scale it down to a manageable size. A week. What 3 things can I do this week to progress toward my goal?

I’m going to exercise in some form—be it walking, biking, yoga in the morning, or somehow actually dragging myself to the gym—three times a week.

For me, since I’ve already proven to myself that paying for a gym membership is just donating money to some corporate folks in better shape than I am, I’m not going to bother with that in 2019. Let’s face it: I’m not going to the damn gym! So I need to do something at home. At least until I establish a good habit that might then be translated to the gym or YMCA pool. If I can’t make myself workout for free, I’m not going to drive somewhere and pay for it every day.

In my house, we’re also bad about eating out, which almost always makes us fatter. So I’m going to make sure we actively cook supper 3 times a week. With leftovers, that should forcibly reduce the eating out.

And I’m going to set a drinking limit: I’m only allowed to have water, tea, and milk. Nothing else, except for special occasions, say once a week. (Not too hard for me, I don’t drink much beyond that anyway.)

And I’m going to plan on eating one protein and two vegetable servings every meal. And reduce my processed food and carbs to near nothing.

Oops, wait a minute. That’s four items.

  • Any form of exercise is better than none, 3 times a week.
  • Cook 3 times a week .
  • A 3-item drinking menu.
  • A 3-item eating menu.

(Notice I’ve really taken the “rule of 3” thing to the extreme on these threes!)

But that’s four items. Perhaps more than I will realistically do for myself. I should only tackle only 3 things at a time. So, even though they’re all good ideas, I’m going to cut the drinking thing. I pretty much do that anyway, no need to add it to a list.

Or, I could cut both of the last two bullets and say, “I’m going to drink 3 liters of good old-fashioned water every day.” (A nice, measurable goal.)

Notice I didn’t say “I’m going to weigh myself.” Actual weight loss has a lot of factors to it and that can fluctuate from day to day, no matter what habits I start. Your actual weight is not totally in your control. And weighing yourself too often can deal an unnecessary blow to your confidence. I suggest no more than once a month, or every two weeks if you just can’t stand it. But once a month is best.

Again, the number on that scale is not always accurate or controllable. It doesn’t always reflect all the positive changes I’m making, or as quickly as I’d like. But coming up with 3 items that I’m going to make sure I do within a defined time frame—that I can control.

And once I make those 3 items habit, routine, then the weight will start to come off. But not right away. In the beginning, I’m still bouncing back to my bad habits here and there. I shouldn’t expect big changes during that time.

In fact, maybe I should weigh myself now, and then not again until March! I’m giving myself a year anyway, right?

And reducing stress helps lose weight too. By having a simple, executable plan that you can realistically stick to, you’ll reduce your stress. And thereby, your weight.

Rule of 3. Whether you’re writing a novel or losing 10 pounds. Simple, doable, bite-sized chunks, and no more than 3 of them makes it easy to keep track.

I just thought I would share this one, true, obtainable New Year’s Resolution with you. I hope it does you as much good as it does me!

Aquaman: Prince of Atlantis

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We went as a family to see Aquaman tonight. It wasn’t actually on my “must-see” list. I’m a big superhero fan (obviously) and I’d love to see the traditionally lame hero make a cool comeback and prove himself worthy of a crown. Of any kind. (There was a revival a few years back, a new Aquaman storyline that I wanted to check out for just that reason but never did. Maybe I’ll revisit that…)

But my wife was kind of into it, her friend had told her it was good, and my son–while not generally able to sit for 2 hours at a time, especially for a live-action movie–is a big sea creature buff, so we figured he’d be at least partially into it. Plus, we play Injustice 2 and both dig Black Manta.

Long intro short: It was pretty darn good! We enjoyed it!

Was there cheese? Heck yes, there was definitely some cheesiness. But it’s a DC movie, so that is expected. Both because DC is just more “colorful” and less “gritty” than Marvel, and especially so in their recent cinematic universes.

The bit that I still smiled about but definitely thought less of as the big fight scene with Black Manta. It literally looked like a scene out of Power Rangers. Really! From the angles to the costumes, it was so Power Rangers!

And while I am a male of the species, I have to say: some of those outfits were even embarrassingly tight for my tastes! Was that outfit painted on? (Kinda awkward for a movie targeting a younger audience.)

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Despite these not-so-great factors, it was way fun, had some awesome visuals, and nice Game of Thrones stuff going on. And it was one of the best of the new DC movies. (Which maybe isn’t saying much, but really, it was good!)

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Some of it reminded me of the Warhammer Age of Sigmar fish elves. (They aren’t called that, but at least that term is pronounceable.) If I had the time and money to build a AoS army, that’s the one I’d build!

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The whole Prince of Atlantis schtick, by the way, is also one of the comic book staples that I take advantage of in my own superhero universe. Part of the fun of writing (and reading) my Identity Crisis Universe is taking the bread and butter stereotypes and spinning them my own way.

In this case, the “Lost Prince of Atlantis” is named Proteus. He first appears in Hungry Gods and his true (and surprising) origin story is featured in Secret Identities: Secret Origins Book Two. (Click here to find it at your favorite ebook store!)

(Okay, it’s 1am and I’m too tired to revise for errors. Apologies for any oopsies in here. Night-night.)