The Duel

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Ready to read?  Ready to come down from your legal (I’m sure) celebration of 4-20 with a pair of intriguing, enrapturing, fascinating, chilling, and/or compelling short stories?  Ready to weigh their merits and choose the better of two rapidly-created masterpieces?

Ready to participate in The Duel?

Then get your butts over to The Writer’s Arena battle thread and ENSURE YOUR CHOICE IS HEARD!  Are you a Sad Puppy?  Are you an Anti Puppy?  Do you not care or have no idea what I’m talking about?  Either way:  GO – READ – ENJOY – ASSESS – COMMENT – and VOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTE!!!!!!!!!

Put Up Yer Dukes!

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Sometimes, you just gotta fight for what you believe in. Like if you believe you’re a good writer. Or if you believe you’re good enough to go toe to toe in a writer’s arena against a clever, quippy pop-culture savant who eats “authors” like you for breakfast week in and week out, against a writer who seemingly has no idea just how good he really is (I mean, c’mon Brophy where’s your book?).

If you believe as I do, then you’re going to want to check out some literal literary gladiatorial warfare on The Writer’s Arena this next week. If you’re not sure what that is, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? It’s an online short story contest in which two writers get the same general prompt and have one week to write a 4000 word short story, which then go head to head before two judges and the public. This will be my second time in the Arena after winning last year with “The Gaslight Consultant.”

This time’s been a bit different because I challenged Arena vet Daniel Brophy, and our lead-up to the fight has been . . . entertainingly contentious. We’ve been publicly trash talking one another via Twitter for weeks now, to the delight of many. We also put up a side challenge in which each could give the other one thing they had to include in their story, no matter the final prompt. His for me was a dead body which may or may not be me.

I told him he had to include a humpback whale in a tutu.

😉

I know that’s not entirely fair, so I upped my own difficulty level by including both my own dead body and a dancing cetacean. And the fun doesn’t stop there! We also did a pro-boxer style press conference which is pretty much guaranteed to make you bust a gut laughing:

http://thewritersarena.com/twa-press-conference-brophy-vs-mays  And “No”, that’s not my real voice.

The challenge thread goes live Monday, and the two stories vying for the win go live on Tuesday for comments and votes, with the judges’ decision coming down on Friday.

What can you do? Between Tuesday and Friday, read both stories and VOTE/COMMENT for your favorite!!!

Bows Grow Taut, Battle Approaches . . . .

(Read in the voice of a stereotypical New York Jewish grandmother) “Oi, Morty!  Whateva happened to that nice Tommy Mays boy?  Ya know, the writer fella, with all o’ dem science fictional stories and books and what not?  Ya neva heah from him no more.”

“Who?” (Hard of hearing stereotypical New York Jewish granddad)

“Tommy Mays, autha of A Sword Inta Dahkness, RAYMO, Da Rememberists, Strategic Deploymen, Dreams f’Sale (Oh my, a sale!), an’ otha fine works of science fiction and wonda!”

“Who?!”

“He was woikin’ on a sequel, and a new book o’ Christian science fiction (oh, dem gentiles, gettin’ to their shenanigans), and a couple o’ short stories?  Tommy Mays!?”

“Who!?  Where’s my sandwich?”

Aaaaaaand, SCENE!  Hi, y’all.  Just wanted to drop a line before making a pre-emptive donation to the Anti-Defamation League.  I’ve been off the blog for a while, but wanted to let you know of some things going on.

First, I AM WRITING, but I’m probably not writing on the things you want me to write on.  No progress on the sequel to ASID and only marginal growth on either Echomancer, or Demigod, my two young-adult urban fantasy projects.  I’ve had a lot of short story stuff (as well as a lot of life) interfere.

First, of course, I didn’t make it with the Baen Fantasy Award and my story “The Commuter”, but it is working its way through the magazine rejection files now, as is “Bumped”.  Should they not make it, I might do a final polish and offer them through Amazon Singles (which is not a dating site.  I stand corrected).

My first new short story product is a definite WIN and I’m VERY excited about it.  This is a quasi-sequel to an anthology of science fact and fiction regarding future warfare produced back in the 70’s and 80’s.  I forget the title of that one, but Castalia House is publishing an unofficial follow-up called Riding the Red Horse, an obvious allusion to the Red Horse of War.  Headed by Tom Kratman and edited by Vox Day, the new anthology will include essays on the future of warfare, science articles, and a BUNCH of great new short stories by some of my favorite authors, including Tom Kratman and Vox Day, Chris Kennedy, Christopher Nuttall, and little old me.  My story, “Within This Horizon” is under editing now, but I can’t wait for the book to launch and for you all to see it.

The second bit of news requires YOUR PARTICIPATION!  I have just submitted a story for The Writer’s Arena, sort of a short story Thunderdome (Two Stories Enter!  Only ONE STORY LEAVES!!).  They hold weekly fiction contests where each writer has a week to submit a story about the same particular topic.  That topic may be AI gone awry, a carnival from Hell, or ghosts – madness or reality?  Once both writers have submitted their tales, both stories get posted on the website and readers vote on the winner.  These are short tales, usually under 4000 words each, and they are a lot of fun.  This week the topic is AI gone awry, so do please go check it out and vote.  Next week is my week, which deals with “fake” hauntings:  either you have to describe someone who is a victim of a made-up haunting, or you have to describe a real haunting that won’t allow itself to be disproved.  My story, “The Gaslight Consultant” will be appearing there in mid-October.  I absolutely need your help and your judgment, with your vote going to the best of the two stories.  And if you like it, consider supporting the site with a small donation, like what you would pay for a show or an issue of a magazine.

So, that’s where I’ve been, Jewish Grandma.  Now excuse me while I go prepare for next week’s battle!

 

The Last Ship, Season One – Review and Contest

So, have you felt it yet?  Do you feel it right now?  The sense that something is missing from your weekly routine, a little bit of awesome, apocalyptic, well-acted, largely accurate and respectful naval porn?

Well, I’ve been feeling it.  After a season that was either exactly as long as it needed to be (without all the fluff or pointless episodes that British series avoid with their shorter seasons, but which are endemic to American 22-24 episode seasons) or way, way too short (c’mon, you know you wanted more, as long as its the right kind of more), The Last Ship has left us.  How was the inaugural season?  Where did it soar and where did it fail?  And what’s in it for you if you care either way?

Read on!

Characters:  The Goods:  I gotta hand it to the two primary stars, Eric Dane and Rhona Mitra.  Cap’n Crunches and our Doctor Va-va-va-voom-virology were very well played, carrying considerable gravitas as well as being very easy on the eyes.  I was totally unfamiliar with Eric Dane prior to this (not a big Gray’s Anatomy watcher), but I had seen Ms. Mitra in a number of films prior to this, and was already a fan.  I think she rather classed up the whole affair.  Eric Dane played Captain Chandler as a man I’d want to follow, making him decisive, strong, and still caring for his crew.  Between the writers and his performance, we got ourselves a high quality CO.  And he did righteous anger very well. That being said, the Tom Chandler role could have been slightly more nuanced.  We did have scenes of vulnerability and doubt, but he seemed a little too good to be true sometimes, all lantern-jawed hero and never the bereft father and husband, or the CO far out of his depth having a moment of frustrated weakness where he explodes on a subordinate that simply didn’t deserve it.  But that’s a minor point.  As for Rhona, she played Dr. Rachel Scott as strong, fierce, intelligent, (a little haughty perhaps), and with both a sense of pride warring with frustration at having been doubted by her community.  I really, really appreciated that she never struck me as Denise Richards playing Dr. Christmas Jones in that excreble James Bond flick.  I believed and appreciated Rhona Mitra in her role (and she can still be my Doc anytime).

In regards to highpoints among our supporting cast, both in terms of writing and performance, my favorite was Tex (John Pyper-Ferguson), followed closely by everyone’s favorite XO, CDR Mike Slattery (Adam Baldwin).  Tex was just a joy to watch, providing some much needed comic relief while also being a badass.  Plus he had some moments of depth, vulnerability, and sorrow, especially as he began to realize his love would remain unrequited.  As for Jayne/Casey/XO Slattery, the great Adam Baldwin, I love that dude.  He played this role with much less humor and a great deal more doubt and uncertainty than I’m used to seeing from him in roles, but that was definitely the right tone to take here.  In fact, I could have done well with a lot more conflict and friction between him and Chandler.  There were moments, but they were always fleeting.  I also wish, like with Chandler, that they would have seemed more affected by the apocalypse going on around them.  Still, whether he was shooting terrorists with a 5 inch gun, or overriding his CO and continuing to look for him against orders, you knew that Slattery (the ex Chicago detective????) was the guy you wanted in your corner.

Lastly, I have to give props to our villains, Alfre Woodard, Ravil Isyanov, and Jose Zuniga.  They were all played well, with the only unfortunate point being that there was no over-arching villain as a Big Bad for the season, and they never had enough screen time.

The Less Goods:  First of all, there were no bad performances here.  That’s why this is “Less Good” than “Bad”.  But there were some roles that — whether due to their writing or the way they were played — they just bugged me and did not contribute as much as I might hope in a perfect show.  First of these is the CMC, Master Chief Jeter, played by the very good Charles Parnell.  The CMC just seemed to be too much of a saint, but instead of Jesus, he put his faith in Tom Chandler.  That’s just a bit over the top, and unlike any CMC I’ve ever met.  It got a little old, and frankly I thought it was building to a good death for him during the episode where he volunteered to have the vaccine tested upon him.  Then there is Quincy (Sam Spruell), who was just a whiney, badly manipulative, weak weasel.  As a villain he was lame.  As a protagonist, he was creepy.  Maybe that’s exactly what they wanted from him, but I just didn’t see Rachel Scott putting her faith in him.  And then we have our main points of ire:  our Two Sexy Lieutenants Being All Sexy Together.  Danny Green (Travis Van Winkle) and Kara Foster (Marissa Neitling) got better as the series went on, mostly because they were separated from one another, but every “relationship” moment was like nails on a chalkboard.  Were these characters designed to mark off some screenwriting checklist block requiring a romance?  When they were doing their jobs, they were perfectly acceptable.  When they interacted or fought or made-up, though, it was full of suck.  Sorry, guys.

Lastly, I’ll repeat a plea I made several times before:  Where are all the goddamn enlisted roles.  The USS NATHAN JAMES is an officer-fest, and that’s not good.  They make up only about 10% of the crew, but they make up 99% of your speaking roles.  There are stories to be told there, stories that will echo with your audience, and not just the one or two shoehorned in weak roles you did have for them.  I fully expected to have a strong antagonist among the crew for Captain Chandler, someone who realizes with the demise of the US and the Navy, they didn’t have to follow Chandler’s orders any more.  Is a mutiny story aboard a ship a trite cliche?  It can be, but it was still a chance to bring conflict and realism and more enlisted participation into the story.  We had weak officer counseling!  So where were the 10% of the crew that end up taking up 90% of your time?  Where were the fistfights and/or suicides among a crew under the stress of the end of the world?  Why was there never a fragging incident or a CO’s Mast that busted down an undisciplined crewman?  And not to be negative entirely, where were the scenes of a crewman showing up an officer, of an enlisted person being selfless, or inventive, amazing Chandler and earning his respect and gratitude?  Because that stuff, good and bad, is what happens aboard ship every single day.  But all we got was a chess-playing cook and a gunner’s mate that wanted to time out of service during an emergency.  Kinda weak sauce, writers. 

Wow, looking back at a lot of that last paragraph, there’s also a lot of points which apply equally to plot so . . . .

Plot:  The Goods and Less Goods:  The Last Ship deviates significantly from the novel of the same name, and that is to its benefit, as that source novel is quite dated and involved the hopeless situation of a nuclear war vice the threat of a viral apocalypse which allows for the crew to positively affect things.  We have all the big stakes here:  global apocalypse, a small crew on one ship against the world, pandemic, lost loved ones, a last desperate chance at a hopeful conclusion, external attacks, action, explosions, and conflict, conflict, conflict!  If the story had ever paused, or had an episode to spare, I’d suggest they could have added a decompression episode, a Sunday at sea or a Crossing the Line ceremony to show the crew letting loose a little and having some nice character moments, but maybe next season.  Like I said before, the episodes and the season were very tightly written with no extraneous eps (except for one . . . ).  The setup in the pilot was PERFECT, the conclusion was DAMN GOOD, and they kept the tension well-ratcheted for the most part, resulting in some middle-of-the-season eps that were equally amazing.  I had my favorites, as I’m sure you do, which is the gist of the contest I mentioned earlier, and more on that later. 

Were there things I would have changed?  Of course!  Continuing with what I mentioned in Character above, the show could have benefitted from a Big Bad to carry through the season instead of episodes where sometimes the only antagonist was bad fortune and there situation.  Now, many of these episodes were necessary, but if we could have had a hint of an overarching Antagonist as well, I’d have done it.  Maybe introduce Alfre Woodard earlier, make her their cheerleader at home, so when she turns out to be L’il Miss Hitler, it’s even more jarring.  Maybe give Roskov a scene or two in more episodes, even if the Russians were nowhere near the main action.  I’d also have had more incidents of desperation or interactions with other vessels, where the crew as a whole was forced to confront the deadly realities of the disease, though the episodes where that did occur were much appreciated.

Only one episode actively pissed me off, and I think you’ll know it if you’ve been reading these.  That one ep exemplified all my fears of a Navy TV show, mostly because that was the one time the writers and consultants truly failed in terms of Naval Realism.

Naval Realism:  The Goods:  They actually filmed about 85% of the series on actual US Navy destroyers, and that setting shined through.  The tech jargon was spot on for the most part.  All the pieces and parts were there and they were properly used, properly manned, and properly referred to.  This was a very respectfully crafted show, and almost reaches the high point of Naval Porn (which I consider a term of endearment).  This show (I hope) will be a good recruiting tool for the Surface Navy (which is my Navy).  I usually had a happy smile on my face while watching this show. so Thank You for almost getting everything right.

The Less Goods:  A lot of the plot tropes they used had Captain Chandler (and the XO and CMC) in the center of the action, which is ludicrous.  The Skipper doesn’t get to go on many, if any tactical away missions.  They also gave the NATHAN JAMES superpowers, allowing her to shrug off missiles, rockets, and bullets without damage, to operate over the span of entire oceans without fueling or provisioning, to hack into satellites and facilities with impunity, and to stash her helicopter in a third hangar that simply doesn’t exist.  But all of that is allowable when compared to the season’s only true stinker episode, Episode 4:  “We’ll Get There” (But you’ll probably give yourself a lobotomy before you do, so you can stand all the STUPID).  I won’t rehash it here, but I AM TOTALLY FINE IF THEY COMPLETELY RETCON HOW THE SHIP WORKS during the next engineering-centric episode, or, alternatively, if THEY NEVER AGAIN HAVE AN ENGINEERING-CENTRIC EPISODE.

A reminder, cast, crew, producers, and writers:  I’m available as a consultant, and I work CHEAP.

Contest:  So, that’s it.  I LOVED the first season of The Last Ship and can’t wait to see how the plot develops and the characters grow next season.  I can only hope they keep with the show’s central conceipt and STAY ON THE DAMN SHIP, instead of becoming a knock-off of Jericho or The Walking Dead, fighting the apocalypse upon land, with only passing references to the NATHAN JAMES.  And I want to thank you all for sticking it out and reading my reviews.  I’ve never enjoyed such high traffic on my blog before.

As a way of thanking you, since I don’t have any Last Ship  swag, I do have some sci-fi navy fun to offer.  Here’s how it goes:  Out of the season’s ten episodes, which were the best?  Give me your top 5, in order, on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, in the comments below, or via e-mail.  The first person(s) to match my list (or get closest) will win a free copy of my military sci-fi novel A Sword Into Darkness, in either e-book, trade paperbook, or audiobook (your choice)!

So, what are your top 5 episodes and why!?  Enter early and play often!  And THANK YOU ALL AGAIN.

Behold: GISHWHES Glory!

As threatened promised last week, a fan of my Daily Science Fiction short story “The Rememberists” asked me to participate in the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen 2014 as a published science fiction author, writing a 140 word story featuring actor Misha Collins, the Queen of England, and an Elopus.  By doing so, I put myself into a circle of awesomeness including Misha Collins, Orlando Jones, William Shatner, David Brin, et cetera, et cetera, etc.

Pretty cool.  And here it is (fo’ freeeeeeeeeeee!):

 

TIES OF GLORY

By: Thomas A. Mays

 

“Collins!  The beast’s looped!  Set the anchor before it ‘ports away!!”

Misha Collins, actor and out-of-his-depth adventurer, swung the sledgehammer and set the piton deep into bedrock.  He turned to Laksim.  “Why are we staking down this elephant?”

Laksim circled the bellowing Indian bull.  “You wanted a supernatural adventure, like your show?  Behold!  Not an elephant . . . a mythic elopus:  the truth behind Ganesh and the source of all conspiracies!”

Misha shook his head.  “Looks like a tired old animal.”

“You see with three dimensions only.” Laksim struck it with a cattle-prod and four legs became eight tentacles, connected to Tom Cruise, Justin Bieber, Queen Elizabeth, Dick Cheney, and three other worthies.

Laksim frowned.  “Couldn’t have done it without you.”

Misha looked down to see the last tentacle writhing within his own body.

 

Now, go share it with your entire social network, cuz it’s just dat cool.

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Good Things Come In Threes

Don’t have a whole lotta time to post, but wanted to get this out while interest was high:

First GOOD thing, got a GREAT review from Carol Kean over at the fantastic sci-fi web-zine Perihelion Science Fiction. She’s been chatting with me on Twitter for months (and is part of the oppressive Hashtagocracy, along with me), introducing me to fabulous new indie authors and Twitterati.  Plus she expressed an intense interest in ASID.  That finally culminated with this month’s issue of Perihelion, and, I gotta say, I owe her one.  It is a really good review, critical yet effusive, and even though she admits that military sci-fi is not her thing (she tends to skim the hard science and tactics passages), she is definitely in the fan column.  I’ll take a 4 out of 5 stars from Carol any day!  So check it out, and also their new fiction and the other reviews of Edge of Tomorrow and Will McIntosh’s latest book from Orbit.

Second GOOD thing, Will Perez and kick-ass narrator Liam from Sci-Fi Publishing have completed the audiofiles for the ASID audiobook!  Just a few things to put away and tidy up and then you can LISTEN to awesome hard science, military sci-fi, space opera, technothriller goodness at home, during your workout, or on the commute to and from work!  On sale soon, but here’s a little taste:

Tee-hee!!!

Third GOOD thing, I have been eliminated from the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2014!  Hmmm.  Why is that good news, you ask?  Well, it is and it isn’t.  I would have LOVED to have been a semi-finalist, and — of course — I’d have loved to have won one of the $15,000 advances or the $50,000 grand prize, but I never really expected too.  ASID is, at best, a good pulp adventure.  When people take off marks for its limited character development, I gotta shrug and say, “Well, yeah.”  It is not an introspective tale.  There is very little deep catharsis.  Besides Nathan getting past the sinking incident and learning to lead again, and besides Kris’s strained relationship with the father that abandoned her, my characters are pretty middle of the road.  They evolve and express themselves in relation to the plot.  No one is going to make a Lifetime movie out of ASID, but it would make the best SyFy Channel movie EVER, not to mention a pretty damn good blockbuster at the multiplex.  The Fault In Our Stars, it ain’t.  So, I’m out, but I’m still proud of my book, and now I can move on to other opportunities.  Besides, all the REALLY cool people I’ve met in relation to ABNA 2014 got kicked out too, so I’m among friends.

Following this is ABNA:  Full Disclosure, with my two Amazon Vine reviews of my excerpt, and the Publisher’s Weekly Review of the whole book.  I gots nothing to hide!

And, REMEMBER, only a couple of days left on the ASID and REMO 99¢ sales!

Toodles!

ABNA Expert Reviewer

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

Generally, the excerpt is well-structured and flows well. The writing is characterized by some excellent descriptions: “You’re an idle-rich tech wizard with an over-funded amateur astronomy bug, so some eccentricity has to be expected, I guess. In the dusking skies of evening above USS Rivero , the sharp boundary of the eastern horizon had already merged with the night, while to the west a wash of orange and red still set the water afire. These descriptions are not only well-written, they enable the reader to visualize the scene or setting more clearly. Another strength of the excerpt is the pacing. The story flows well and smoothly at a steady pace. I expect the story to be action-packed based on these preliminary chapters, which should make for an engaging read.

What aspect needs the most work?

More careful editing is needed. Avoid cliched descriptions, for example: Everyone heard the familiar dissonance of screeching brakes, squealing tires, blaring horns, and one final movement of crunching metal. The first two chapters appear to be cluttered with technical descriptions. Some of these descriptions are obviously integral to the plot and in driving the narrative forward, but at times, the technical aspects engulf and overwhelm the story, making me feel like I was reading some sort of technical manual and losing sight of the story itself. This might be an area you wish to focus on and improve. I’d like to see the main characters developed more over the course of the narrative. Characterization should not be sacrificed at the narrative’s expense, and I’d like to see how both Gordon Lee and Nathan Kelley are developed.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

For the most part, the excerpt is well-organized and flows well. The protagonist Gordon Lee appears to be a rather eccentric character but one chapter alone does not make for compelling characterization. I would hope that the main characters get developed as the narrative moves forward, including the Navy man, Nathan Kelley. The premise sounds interesting and although sci-fi thrillers are not my cup of tea, I admit my curiosity has been piqued by this engaging excerpt.

ABNA Expert Reviewer

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

The science of this fiction was well done even though some of the terms I read I had no idea if they were real or not. The frustration of Gordon was well written as well as his interaction with Lydia. How it ties in to chapter 2 would keep me reading into chapter 3, although chapter 2 was a bit weaker than the first.

What aspect needs the most work?

Chapter two on the boat gave no reference on why we were firing into North Korea, maybe explained later. The banter for firing nukes was unrealistic as I would think anyone given instructions for firing a weapon that could kill hundreds of thousands could be so cavalier makes no sense, however based on the pitch and the submarine the smugness is probably short lived.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

I thought the pitch of the book was interesting and the author writing does lend an authoritative tone to what I read which is important in a sci-fi book. Would def read on because of the premise and what I have read so far. Send me a copy!

ABNA Publishers Weekly Reviewer

Visionary Gordon Lee sees something that no one else, not even NASA, sees, or at least is willing to see. What initially appears as a rogue comet turns out to be something much more. It’s an alien craft of some sort, on a long haul to Earth from a star twenty light years away. With no way to ascertain the aliens’ motives, Lee resolves to prepare for a worst case scenario: hostile invasion. To that end, he recruits ex-Navy sailor Nathan Kelley, and turns the full force of his fortune and private tech company, Windward Technologies, to developing means to combat the presumed threat. With few allies in government, Lee and Kelley are left to prepare as best they can, recruiting a motley crew, including the brilliant and erratic engineer Kristene Munoz, to lead the civilian defense of Earth. Fortunately, the laws of physics ensure that the ship will take several years to arrive. This manuscript is fairly standard military science fiction. The strongest area is the conceptual technology, which starts out very firmly rooted in present day scientific reality. Unfortunately, this, combined with the drive toward confronting the alien force, leaves little room for character development. The action is well paced, and the reasoning behind both the aliens and their motivations is very well thought out, making this a solid read.

MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY!! *

Emergency, Loyal Readers!  A Sword Into Darkness has escaped the confines of the Amazon Kindle and has been seen getting some Nook-ie over at Barnes and Noble, but no one over there knows ASID like you or I do.  To them, ASID is just this mysterious stranger, perhaps there to increase the quality of their catalog, perhaps there to punch out the literary fiction bestseller, have its way with the romance blockbuster, and steal the children’s books’ lunch money.  They just don’t know how awesome and deserving a time ASID is, and I need your help to tell them!

So, if you’ve been waiting to get A Sword Into Darkness when it became available on epub, or you’re a die-hard Barnes and Noble supporter, or you love the Nook devices or apps, NOW is the time to buy and read and enjoy some hard SF, military sci-fi, space opera, technothriller adventure goodness!  (And then leave a review to let all the more timid readers know.)

Or if you’ve already read ASID when it was exclusive to Kindle (there’s about 15,000 of you, tee-hee!), and you want to share your experience with the purveyors of that Other Big Book-seller, then by all means, log into Barnes and Noble and leave a new review, Or, for those 171 reviewers who have given me an average 4.5 stars on Amazon, if you are an uber-fan, you can re-review me all over again for the competition (a forlorn hope, I realize).  Honest reviews are appreciated, effusive praise is adored.

ASID is also available on Smashwords now as well, but the file transfer and formatting over there is just NASTY.  I don’t recommend that one yet.  The use a file converter they call the Meatgrinder to turn your manuscript into an ebook, and it is notoriously un-user friendly.  I would pull it completely, but they offer dire warnings against doing that.  I’m trying to get the file fixed and replaced, but work/life has intervened, so I’ll get to it when able.  Soon, though.  I promise.

In other news, REMO has enjoyed modest sales over on Amazon Kindle Direct.  It’s been up for about a week, sold about a 100 copies, and until late last night, had not gotten any reviews.  Mr. Tom Walsh so loved “Dogcatcher Blues” that he left a little 5-star care package for me on that story alone!  Thank you, sir.  I’m so glad you enjoyed it.  But I do need more reviews there.  It is harder, I think, to sell people on an unknown author’s short story collection or anthology than it is to just sell ’em a full novel.  So:  buy REMO, read REMO, review REMO.  Purty please.

Aaaand, lastly, Baen Books has announced a new Fantasy Adventure Short Story contest to coincide with GENCON, so I’m a-gonna enter!  This will be my first try at fantasy in YEARS, but I think I have a good and unique story idea.  We’ll see if they agree!

Until later, Happy Reading, y’all.

* Yes, I am fully aware that this is posting on May 2, and not on May Day as originally intended.  Life — in the form of a 16 hour work day and a signing appointment at the car dealership THAT WOULD NOT END — conspired to upset my plans.  I am, however, committed to the bit, so please, just roll with it.