April 11, 2017, 8:08 am
Robby the R-Word will be out in about a month. Publisher's Weekly, a trade magazine that booksellers read when deciding whether to stock certain books, did a review of Robby this week, and I'm pretty happy about it. Here it is:
Wright’s (Minister of Justice) police procedural has a lot going for it: a complicated plot featuring a string of strangely related attacks; Robby Turner, a brilliant man who has been completely paralyzed for decades; a captivating, if scatological, beginning; and Detective Bain, who has enough politics to deal with and sufficient amounts of the underdog about her to put the reader in her corner. More importantly, the plot has enough twists, turns, and unearthing of unexpected connections between the characters to keep readers guessing who’s responsible for beating Robby’s father and other similar attacks. Unfortunately, the author has marred what is otherwise a really fine story by dropping in a graphic sex scene between Bain and Jessica Vann, a woman whom she meets in the course of the investigation. Jessica only briefly reappears in the novel to be ogled by Bain’s male partner Officer Russell, which makes the whole affair seem like a gratuitous performance piece written as a male fantasy. The book could otherwise be a satisfying read for a wider audience, albeit one that is prepared for coarse language and graphic violence throughout. (May)
I know what you might be thinking: Hey, that middle part there isn't so good. But I don't agree with the you I've made up in my head to say that. Here's why, and I'll take it bit by bit:
Unfortunately, the author has marred what is otherwise a really fine story by dropping in a graphic sex scene between Bain and Jessica Vann
So reviewers almost always have to find something to pick at. This would be that. Because the sex scene, while there, is not at all graphic. In fact, if you've read my other novels, this may be the least graphic sex scene I've ever written. The publisher said when the editor, Amy, pitched this book to him, she told all the book's plot points and twists, and then, as a parting shot, said "oh, and a splash of girl-on-girl sex," which apparently became a catch-phrase at their office. And it really is a splash, not anything more than that.
Jessica only briefly reappears in the novel to be ogled by Bain’s male partner Officer Russell, which makes the whole affair seem like a gratuitous performance piece written as a male fantasy.
This part is actually actively untrue. The character they're talking about, Jessica Vann, is actually an important witness in the case and appears in multiple chapters. True, Russell ogles her in a later chapter (when he first meets her), but that's also very brief, and if it's a "male fantasy," then male fantasies must include being brutally shot down. But again, as I said above, they have to say something negative.
The ultimate truth is, I don't think those lines are negative, because who doesn't like a good sex scene? What reader is going to see that review and go, "Well, I was going to buy the book, but if it has a graphic girl-on-girl sex scene, forget it!" The publisher, who said it was a "four star" review, believes that part of the review may actually expand the audience for this book.
Either way, most Publisher's Weekly reviews I've seen are mostly negative, so with this one being positive, it stands out, and it makes me happy.
So go buy the book already! If you do it before May 23, you get entered into a drawing to win a free, signed copy of one of my other books!
April 6, 2017, 10:22 pm
Let me declare my bias before I say anything: I don't think the United States should have attacked Iraq, and I think once the Taliban fell, we should have gotten the hell out of Afghanistan.
I'm not an isolationist, I just think there needs to be a compelling national interest for the United States before we jack some motherfuckers up.
Realistically, since the debacle in Vietnam, the American military has been beefed up to the point that there isn't a country on earth that can beat us, so that's not a concern. I mean, there is zero chance Syria is going to come kick our asses. But how and when we use that power is important. Was the chemical weapon attack in Syria important enough to us that we needed to intervene? Certainly, it sucked for the people who got attacked by the chemicals and whatnot, but lots of people are killed by crooked regimes all over the world all the time and we don't intervene.
I dunno. Congress seems to be supporting the strike, Hillary Clinton has come out in favor of it, and on and on, but still. We are not the world's police force, and our military is not the world's paddle.
And I think Western attacks and wars in the middle east never seem to end well for us. All they seem to do is create new terrorist groups who are upset that we're fucking with them.
I'm going to withhold judgment. Maybe this was a righteous strike. I certainly hope so.
But my gut tells me this might have been a horrible idea. I hope I'm wrong.
April 6, 2017, 8:08 am
Two of my favorite shows came back this week, and I was worried about both of them, because it's apparently tough to keep quality going for multiple seasons in a TV show.
My favorite current show, iZombie, came back for its third season this week. To be honest, this is the one I was most worried about, because it has been cleverly written, yet just campy enough for two seasons, and that's a big accomplishment. So naturally I worried that season three would let me down. First, let me synopsize (which, according to autocorrect, apparently is a word) the plot: Liv, a medical doctor, went to a party where she didn't know a local drug dealer was infected by a tainted energy drink that turned him into a zombie. He scratches her (and kills a lot of other people) and she turns into a zombie who hasn't fully converted to the Romero shambling, mindless things. As long as she can find brains to eat, she'll stay mostly human, part zombie. So she quits medicine on live people and starts working at the medical examiner's office, where she has ready access to brains. One side-effect: she gains some of the memories and attributes of the brains she eats, so turns out she's good at solving murders using those memories.
I know. It sounds like a stupid premise. But it is like chocolate cake wrapped up in another chocolate cake, melted down and fried in chocolate cake batter. The characters she gets involved with (the medical examiner, who quickly discovers her zombie-ism and works to help her, the roommate who works at the DA's office, the cop she ends up helping solve murders, the boyfriend who becomes a zombie himself, the drug dealer who turns zombie entrepreneur by opening a funeral home, scratching new people and then extorting them in exchange for brains) and the writing are exquisite. So naturally, when, at the end of season two, she discovers an entire zombie army that's going to set itself up in Seattle as the zombie home base, I worried.
But I had nothing to worry about. The writers are still excellent, and the show still entertained, with Liv and Clive (the cop) trying to work out what to do with the knowledge that zombies are setting up base in their town, Blaine (the former villain who is now an amnesiac) trying to piece together who he used to be—with the help of the assistant DA, who happens to be Ravi (the medical examiner)'s ex-girlfriend. It makes for a multilayered, fun, still-campy ride as they struggle to deal with the invasion and still come up with a cure that doesn't leave everyone completely memory-less.
Ah, iZombie, thank you for coming back strong.
Agents of Shield
Agents of Shield, Marvel's mostly-human government agency charged with protecting humans from the super-powered, is only coming back from its mid-season break, but it was a pretty big one. A former ally has turned on the agency and trapped most of its top people inside a Matrix-like dream state called The Framework so he can ... well, I'm not really sure of his motivations. Doesn't matter.
In any case, I was worried, because the Framework is an alternate reality where the greatest pain of their lives has been removed, so their lives are completely different and satisfying. Agent Coulson, the director of Shield, never joined the agency inside the Framework, so he's a high school teacher. Agent May never shot a little girl, who later went on to kill hundreds of people, so she's an agent at Hydra now, trying to make up for letting that girl go. It goes on and on, but you get the picture. The truth is, I was worried that this was a post-jumped the shark plot ploy to give the writers something else to do.
But I was wrong.
The Framework feels eerily real, like the way America could easily become after a massive terrorist attack where one person with supernatural powers killed a bunch of people and there was nothing anyone could do to stop her. It feels very much like post 9/11 America if there had been a second shoe drop. It's totalitarian, and citizens are brainwashed into valuing the state above the individual, to turning in neighbors who they believe to be "subversive."
If you could imagine Scientology as a government, this second-half of the Shield season feels very much like that, and it's thrilling.
So I'm glad Shield didn't fumble either.
Go watch both these shows. Do it. I'll wait. ... ... ... See? I was right!
March 29, 2017, 1:01 am
Aaron Kaufman is the mechanical genius behind Gas Monkey Garage's massive success. And after this season of Fast and Loud, he's leaving. If you've been paying attention, you know this is one of my favorite shows, and initially, I was concerned.
But the truth is, Fast and Loud doesn't depend on the prowess of its mechanics to be a good show. It's really a show about the relationships that create a growing business, and as such, it won't suffer from the departure of Kaufman.
He wanted to do more in-depth builds than the tight TV schedule would afford him, and I totally understand that. Richard Rawlings, the owner of the garage, wants to keep doing the stuff they've been doing that has made them successful for 12 seasons. I understand that, too.
In the first season, he was fretting over ten thousand dollars. This latest season, he's dropping a million on cars, half a million on real estate, another half a million on an Indy racer and half a million more on other marketing. The show and his business ethics have made him a massive success, and that's what keeps me watching the show—the relationships he forges while building an empire.
So, though I love the artistry of Aaron Kaufman (Kaufmann? I'm too lazy to check), I will keep watching the show, because I think it's bigger than him. Also, if he does a show with in-depth builds, like he's talked about doing, I'll watch that, too.
March 23, 2017, 5:17 pm
OK. A state representative in my town was on the floor of the state House and another representative asked him "do you believe rape is the will of God?"
The representative from my hometown said "there are instances in the Bible of that happening." Then the other rep asked him if incest was the will of God. My representative replied, "Same answer."
So I reported on it. Headline was "State Rep: Rape and incest are the will of God." Because that's what he said. Not in a direct quote, obviously, but he answered questions about whether rape and incest are the will of God with affirmative answers.
People lost their minds on Facebook, calling my site "fake news" and saying I was posting clickbait and twisting his words around. Mind you, I'm friendly with this representative, even though I don't share his views. So I texted him, during which he confirmed that what I wrote is EXACTLY what he said:
But people persisted in telling me what a piece of shit and liar I am. One even told me I was a fool and clearly a "non believer."
What pissed me off more is the two people in the image at the top of this post are friends of the family. Hell, I even got the woman's husband a job.
They were mad at ME for reporting what the dude said, and even though the dude confirmed to me that it was EXACTLY what he said, they insisted on supporting him by saying he didn't say that, and if he confirmed that he said that, it surely wasn't what he meant, and how dare I report on it!
And this, dear Whoever Reads This, is why we now have these two words to think about: "President Trump."
If facts are no longer facts simply because they disagree with your worldview, then facts no longer matter; only worldview matters.
That is a world where made-up stories about one candidate murdering people can actually influence an election, where one candidate can be investigated for hosting emails on a private server and that investigation become top news all over the world — while the other candidate is under investigation for, oh, I dunno, ENLISTING THE AID OF A FOREIGN POWER TO RIG THE ELECTION, but that investigation doesn't become public knowledge until four months after the election.
So our world has come to this: If I don't agree with it, it's "fake news", and if I agree with it, it's the truth, no matter what facts exist to say it's not.
March 21, 2017, 11:23 pm
So, if you've read the entry below, you'll know I blew through two vehicles this week. After today, you can probably increase that number to three.
See, when Geico asked if I needed a rental car when they started working on my Mercedes, I said, and I quote, "Nah, I have plenty of vehicles."
And the universe laughed.
As the entry below chronicles, I trashed my truck while driving down the highway.
So today, as I'm driving my wife's Jeep Wrangler, smoke starts pouring out the sides and the temperature gauge starts heading toward the right.
Blown radiator or a busted hose, I figured, so I headed to a radiator shop. Sure enough, my radiator was blown, as the guy from whom I've bought like five radiators in the last two years told me.
And this is funny. The radiator shop had put its last Jeep radiator on a Jeep Wrangler not 10 minutes before I showed up. Can't get one until tomorrow, he said. It would cost 125 dollars, plus another 200 for installation. But in the meantime, I'd be stranded. Because my last mode of transportation, my motorcycle, was at home, 30 miles to the south. And the MGB in my garage needs a water pump.
So I called around. O'Reilly Auto Parts had a radiator, for 230 bucks. That left me with a radiator, but no tools to install it. So I called one of my advertisers, and they agreed to install it if I would cancel their bill for this month (and buy the radiator).
A total of about 550 dollars later, the Jeep is running again, and my Mercedes is supposed to be done tomorrow.
But the point is, I've had three disabled vehicles in the last month.
The moral of this story: never get cocky about how many vehicles you have.
March 17, 2017, 6:18 pm
I have a lot of vehicles. I have a Mercedes Benz, a Jeep Wrangler, a Ram 2500 MegaCab, an MGB and a Kawasaki motorcycle.
I said all that to say this: Never feel like you're safe from breakdowns.
My tragedy starts last month, when I was returning from Oklahoma City with my wife after the funeral of my cousin's grandson. A bit of debris from a semi slammed into my Mercedes, shattering the windshield, breaking the bumper, ripping up pieces of the air conditioner and other bits inside the car and generally costing Geico a lot of money.
So my car is in the shop getting all that junk fixed. No problem, I have a pickup truck. An enormous, gas-guzzling pickup. And I've been driving that for a couple of weeks now. Last week, my driver's side front tire exploded on the highway and ripped out the fender well, also ripping out my head light and denting up my fender. Sorry, Geico. So I decide to keep the truck out of the shop until my car is done, because the MGB is old and needs a water pump, and the weather isn't quite consistent enough for me to ride my motorcycle yet. And the Jeep is my wife's transportation.
Today, I pull in to Walmart to get a few things, and when I get back, the truck won't start. It'll crank just fine, but it won't fire up, even though it tries a few times. So now I'm thinking maybe the blown up tire has done something to a fuel line that I wasn't anticipating.
Whatever. I have the truck towed home and I can't figure out what's wrong with it, so now, vehicle-rich me is down to stealing my wife's Jeep until I can get my car out of the shop so I can take my truck to the shop to figure out what's wrong with it and get it fixed.
Everything just cascades. You think you're safe with a deep bench of vehicles, but you're really not.
I blame the Obama White House for wiretapping me.
March 16, 2017, 9:21 pm
Just when I really start to get weary of my business (journalism), A day like today happens.
I went to court for a hearing for one of our local molesters, and surprisingly, the judge said to him, "I have a problem with you, and I just can't be fair in this case, so I'm recusing myself."
For Sean Spicer: "recusing" means backing out.
So the case went to another judge, and when the molester and his attorney left that judge's chambers, I asked the attorney, who I've known a long time, what happened. Before he could respond, the molester spun on his heels and yelled at me:
THAT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!
Of course, it is my business, since I Am the Media© and it is a public court case. But I didn't have time to say that before his lawyer told him to shut up.
Things like that really rejuvenate me. I love getting yelled at by the right people. For instance, if you're a perverted piece of shit who gets his jollies by coercing underage boys to have sex with you and then brags about how you'll never go to prison for it, I'm perfectly fine with you hating my guts for reporting on it.
March 15, 2017, 10:10 am
You might notice the banner at the top of the page, unless you're reading this after May 23, 2017. The gist of it is this: If you pre-order Robby the R-Word before its May 23 release, you'll be entered into a contest where three readers will receive a signed copy of one of my other books, Minister of Justice or Deadly Vows.
And honestly, if you live close enough to me, I'll probably sign your copy of Robby, too.
It's the first salvo in the marketing for Robby the R-Word, which, as I think I mentioned, is due out May 23.
Robby will be out in paperback, hardcover and e-book, but it's only the paperback that qualifies for the contest.
Have fun! I look forward to signing a book for you!
Extra incentive: There is a lot of fun stuff in Robby the R-Word, including serial killers, methamphetamine, wheelchairs, Catholic priests, lesbian sex, lot lizards, gentrification, Weeble Wobbles and even a tire thumper or two!
March 9, 2017, 11:23 pm
I haven't even gotten halfway through sending out query letters to agents for Father of Malice. Not only that, but Robby the R-Word is coming out in two months.
I should be working on getting those query letters out. I should be working on doing my part to market Robby. Instead, I have a new idea, and I'm writing on a new book, Slipstream Echo. It's ridiculous. The plot isn't complete in my mind, but it's pretty well developed.
Not going to share details here yet, because they may change, but it's combining two ideas I've had for a very long time, and I think it will end up being a really good book. Which is crazy. Working on a second book before my next one even comes out.
I honestly don't know what's gotten into me. It may be the availability of my WriteEverywhere platform, which means I don't have to be restricted to writing while I'm isolated in my office.
That reminds me, I just watched the most recent episode of Girls on HBO. I have to tell you, other than seeing Lena Dunham naked WAY TOO MUCH, Girls is an excellent series. But this final season feels like they're phoning it in. The characters have become two-dimensional, the plots not at all interesting. But they did have a fun tidbit where two female writers were talking about how male writers need complete quiet and calm to write, which is the exact opposite of me.
I write in the midst of the chaos of a five-year-old and a three-year-old running amok in a house full of dogs, cats, spiders, chickens, a fox, several horses, cows and probably a bunch of stuff I've forgotten. Chaos helps me focus.
And I think I'm writing a book even better than Father of Malice, which I believe is my best book since Robby the R-Word, which I believe is better than Minister of Justice, which I believe is better than Deadly Vows, which I believe is better than most of the crap I've read out there. But I'm humble, you see. Humble, I tell you.
I knew an old lady, who swallowed a fly. I don't know why she swallowed the fly.
March 8, 2017, 8:20 pm
I was barely 18 the first time someone threatened to kill me for something I wrote.
I was "stringing" for a local newspaper (stringing is a word used for those who write articles but are not employees of the paper) in my spare time. So I wrote a crime story about a guy who had smacked his wife around in public.
So the next day, when the story came out in the paper, dude calls me up at the paper and tells me how many different kinds of shit I am and how he's going to find out where I live and take my candy ass apart, piece by piece, until I'm a quivering blob of goo on my front porch.
I've got enough of my dad in me that I took that as a challenge, told him my address and said I'd be waiting for him.
He never showed up.
From that time to this, I can't count the amount of people who have threatened to kill me, smash my face against curbs, burn down my house, do horrible things to my wife, slaughter my family, kick my dogs, it goes on and on. I have a family now, so I don't dish out my address anymore, but it doesn't matter, because no one ever showed up to actually do anything.
I'll be 48 years old in June, which means I've endured 30 solid years of people threatening to murder me.
That doesn't include all the crazy names they've called me, all the unethical shit they've accused me of doing, all the things they've said about every possible aspect of my life. After awhile, it wears thin. My dad in me wants to buck up, track them all down and beat the living shit out of every one of them.
Yesterday, I reported the story of a young lady in a neighboring town who protested the government's treatment of Native Americans and women by sitting out the pledge of allegiance. Well, you would have thought I had kicked Jesus straight in the balls.
I won't get into the details, but I banned a lot of people from my business's Facebook page for threatening the teenage girl with horrible things. And they went on the attack against me. So now they've been calling me names again, threatening me, blah blah blah. I'm tired of it.
But like always, I behave professionally, because that's what I do. It's what I've always done. It's what I'll continue to do. Truth is always the answer for lies. Sigh.