Cirsova Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense Out Now!

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Cirsova is a great up and coming magazine of speculative fiction — it’s even been nominated for a Hugo award!

They’ve just launched issue one of their new run. Check them out at the link below:

via Cirsova Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense Out Now!

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Pi Day Reading: Free Sci-Fi Books!

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Happy Pi Day! 

To be honest, I’d never heard of Pi Day, but apparently it’s a real thing.

How do I know? Because there’s a big sci-fi/fantasy book giveaway celebrating it, of course!

There are 31 books featuring smart heroes (or smart sidekicks and mentors, at least) to celebrate the occasion. The catch? In exchange for your free book, you sign up for the authors’ newsletters. Which means you’ll get great info on more books of that line (which is good news, assuming you enjoyed it), probably more freebies at some point, and can make some new nerdy SFF friends!

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My book Hungry Gods is up for download, along with 30 other books featuring smart (or smart-ass, in Spitball’s case) heroes.

But only for the next 5 days! So browse the promo page and grab what you want now! (You know if you wait till the last minute, you’ll forget…)

Click any of the links in this post to get there.

Final Hours to Vote

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I probably shouldn’t have waited until now to post this, but, hey, I’m a busy guy! Like all of us, right?

Which is why I appreciate so much those who have taken a moment to vote for my new cover art on the All Author Cover Contest.

The AllAuthor website features a book cover contest every month. It’s a great opportunity to get your new book seen and grab a little exposure. Exposure (a.k.a. discoverability) is a major thing for us indie authors. Everything we can do to get noticed is huge.

Therefore, I was hoping I might ask you to take a look at the cover contest and cast a vote. You don’t even have to vote for mine, if you don’t want to. (Though I would sure appreciate it!) Whether you vote for Deus Ex Machina or not, you’ll be helping someone (preferably me) get their book noticed. And in the massive cybernetic sea of indie books out there, that’s something!

Just click here: https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/4076/

This will take you to where my book resides. There’s a voting button conveniently placed within reach. You can also scroll down and check out the other cover options. Your vote is yours, cast it how you like.

Thanks for taking a moment away from your bust day or night to help me (or possibly someone else) get their book noticed just a little bit more.

And if you want to check out the book to read, you can find it just about anywhere: Amazon, for example, by clicking here, Kobo, iBooks, and B&N, to name a few.

Self-Improvement is Masturbation

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That’s a Fight Club line, and I was feeling it today.

(Not feeling it, like… Oh, get your mind out of the gutter!)

The irony of that line in the movie is that it’s spoken by Brad Pit, who’s a heart throb with, like, 2% body fat. He and Ed Norton are looking at an ad on the subway saying, “Is that what a real man looks like?” C’mon, they’re Hollywood actors. Is that what a real man looks like?

Anyway, I was standing in line at Subway for some lunch. Should have eaten the healthy chicken and noodles leftovers I made last night for dinner. If not that, I should have at least gotten one of the “healthy” sandwiches on the Subway menu. (As healthy as any processed meat stuck between two lengths of freshly baked yoga mat can be.) And I was eyeballing the chips, deciding between the BBQ baked or the delectable sour cream and orange cheese powder baked. I guess they’re both “baked” not fried, but one sure seems a tiny bit healthier than the other.

And I just about snapped.

On top of all the other stress I’m feeling these days, do I really need to be stressing the failed “diet” and “get healthy” shit right now? Do I need to be quite so hard on myself for failing to live up to the Hollywood standards of beauty while struggling with the actuality of real life’s important up-hill marathons??!

Screw Hollywood! That’s just them telling you that you aren’t good enough. Even if you punish yourself enough to actually get a result, you think you’re going to be suddenly pardoned from the working man life and brought into the elite ballroom of beautiful people? You’re going to be able to quit your job and be driven around by a silver-plated horse and buggy for the rest of your pillow-cushioned days?

No, I don’t think so. You’re just going to be taught to hate yourself all the more because if you could lost that one pound, why can’t you lose the next 10?!

I need a damn break.

I need to take it easy on myself.

Life is beating me up enough without me beating on myself too!

I bet you could go a lot easier on yourself, too. If only social media and the Kardashians would stop bombarding you unrealistic expectations and unattainable goals.

My suggestion: Give Facebook and celebrity gossip a break. You’ll be amazed at what a break you get out of it too!

(Note: FB and Hollywood aren’t my primary sources of “I’m too fat to live” – that’s one of the bad sides of military brainwashing. But even that has been influenced by our shallow American standards.)

Military Brainwashing: The Upside!

After having been in the Navy for about 14 years, I have a hard time differentiating what is military/Navy culture and what is common to everyone. Sometimes I mull over in my head saying certain things before I say them. I’m not sure if everyone will know what I’m talking about or not. Or if it’ll come off more abrasive than I intend. Common, cultural things you say and do in the military might not translate well to “fragile civilian sensibilities.”

(And when I say “cultural” I do mean that the Navy in itself has a culture, different from the Air Force or Army, but that the military as a whole has cultural norms different from civilian, etc. Every community has a culture of its own, though it may not be hugely different from a similar community next door. Your workplace has a culture. Your group of friends has its own culture, too. There are words and phrases that mean something to all of you that outsiders won’t understand. “Cultural” more often than not has absolutely nothing to do with skin color or religious dogma, just so we’re all on the same page.)

One aspect of Navy culture (and military in general) that stuck out of me recently is that of ownership. Very often, that thing is mine.

My guys are ready to go.”

“Did you finish the maintenance work on my antenna array?”

“That’s not how we do things in my Navy.”

I remember that being instilled in us as early as boot camp. The fifth-week recruits who were doing their service week by working in the galley, they’d say, “Watch my fire lane, there, shipmate!” and “Don’t touch my bright work, shipmate!” (Keeping us in line and keeping the polished metallic stuff shiny.) Five weeks into the Navy and they were already taking ownership of everything around them.

We learn it by mimicking those in charge of us. That’s part of your brainwashing. (And I’m not using that term to mean something negative here. Most military brainwashing is good for you.) Our RDCs (recruit division commanders) in boot camp took ownership of us and everything we came into contact with. The fifth-week recruits used that language three times a day when we were in the chow hall, so, five weeks later, we did too. And it wasn’t just a boot camp thing; that’s just where you first learn it. It’s a Navy thing. (And probably all military branches thing.)

You take ownership of things. If it’s yours, you care about it more. You take greater responsibility for it. You get it done and you treat it right.

That’s something I’d like to see more of in the civilian world. There is some of it, of course, but not enough. It’s not the same. It’s not part of our culture. Especially in America, where personal gain often gets the greater emphasis. I suppose there’s a lot of “that’s mine” or “I’m going to make that mine,” but it’s not in the same spirit…

(And I’m super annoyed by the fact that I correctly labeled the caption above as “A Clockwork Orange” and for some reason the damn website thinks it’s smarter than me and should knock off the “A”. Damned AI overlords! You’re not always right!!!)

Bye-Bye Smashwords

Happy February, everyone.

How the hell did that happen??!!! We’re already into our second month of 2019?! Unreal.

I guess time flies when you’re hunkering down to take cover from winter storms with -40 wind chill factor.

I’m just posting to make note that my work is no longer available at Smashwords.com. It’s a somewhat sad but progressive development on my part.

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Don’t be fooled by the title of this post into thinking Smashwords is gone. That is not the case! I’ve just decided to trim the fat from my operation, and Smashwords is one of two sites that I plan to cut from my publishing roster.

It’s a great site, I’ve been publishing through them for several years. But in my New Years revision of everything, I’ve decided that they are no longer worth the effort for my operation to keep going through them. Zillions of others continue to publish there and are doing fantastically, I’m sure. But I’m planning some big revisions in the near future, and going through the motions of updating and publishing new material on yet another publishing site… Just not worth the effort for what I’m getting out of that venue these days.

So if you’re looking for my work there, or have taken advantage of the nice coupons I’ve employed there before, you will no longer find my stuff on Smashwords. My stuff is still available just about everywhere else, but I’m downsizing and refocusing things and SW is the first casualty of that revision.

Thanks again, Smashwords! It’s been real!

 

 

Super-Powered Spy Novel Finished!

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I just uploaded the final draft of Deus Ex Machina to all retailers! After being in the works for years, this book is finally complete!

*cue flashes of lightning*

*cue maniacal laughter*

If you’re a fan of Hungry Gods, then the book you’ve been pestering me about is finally here! If you’re not an HG fan yet, there’s still time to score it for only 99-cents! (But only days remain, my friends, only days!)

If you want your shot at scoring a free advanced reader copy (ARC) of Deus Ex Machina, all you have to do is sign up for my Conspiracy Theory Newsletter. I’ll be putting out the word in the coming weeks on where all my subscribers can download the book for free.

To find Deus Ex Machina at your fave online retailers, click here. 

To find Hungry Gods at your fave online retailers, click here. 

To sign up for my free Conspiracy Theory newsletter for freebies, updates, and participation in the writing process, click here.