Car Porn

My son and I went to the Albuquerque 2015 Supernationals this weekend.  As usual it was chock full of gorgeous cars, some sane others (like the Packard Royal – the big silver one) are so bat-shit insane, so over the top, that they’ve ceased being cars and become pure rolling awesome.  The link to the Supernationals page has some more information on some of these.

Warning: Large files, some pics aren’t so great because I took them with my phone.

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Review – Upload by Will Marck

One of the interesting things about being an indie author is all of the other indie authors out there putting out creative tales.  They’re hidden in the shadows of the giants, but that doesn’t make them any less talented or capable; it just means fewer people have come across them.  As soon as you toss your hat into the indie ring you find all sorts of other people out there creating worlds and telling stories.

For a long time I simply didn’t leave a lot of reviews for people because most of what I read was from the big name authors and people like Charles Stross, Simon R. Green, Jim Butcher, and Richard Kadrey don’t need my review.  Sure, I probably should have done the right thing and dropped a review for my favorites, but those reviews would have been lost in  sea of existing praise.

Okay, when you get right down to it I’m kind of an asshole and just didn’t feel like spending the time writing reviews.  If you’re interested in any of those guys I can sum it up easily; they’re all great.  Just pick up a book and start reading and you’ll probably dig it if it’s a story that’s up your alley.  If not, no worries.  It doesn’t make them any less talented writers.

In an attempt and shoring up my faltering karma so I don’t reincarnated as a bathroom tile on the floor of a bus station men’s room, I’ve made a decision to write up a review of every damned indie author I read.  And trust me when I say this, my TBR list is getting monstrous.  Actually, it’s grown so large that it achieved self-awareness last night and demanded virgins and beer.

So I’m working through my TBR list and writing reviews and hopefully drumming up some awareness for some talented authors and, in the process, saving my beer.

Today’s entry is from a book I picked up last year after a brief spate of interaction with Will Marck on Twitter.  Will’s a cracker jack author as well as a bang-up reviewer and his reviews are almost as entertaining to read as his books.  His tweets are pretty damned awesome, too.

So, allow me to introduce you to:

upload-final-jpeg

This is a novella, and near as I can tell Marck’s first published work.  Leastwise it was the only one I could find on Amazon.  I hope there’s more to come because this is an interesting story that links our world with a future world and nothing is exactly what it seems.  In the best traditions of dystopian stories we find a world where everything is seemingly perfect.  Little hints are dropped that people live extremely long lives, if not forever.  There’s no war, no weaponry, nothing vile to sour the taste of the perfect society.  Even religion has largely been vanquished and relegated to the factories in the desert where it’s used as a form of control.

Out at one those factories in the desert something goes horribly awry and kicks off the story.  Beyond that, it’s difficult to discuss the plot without giving up the finer points of it and some things are best left to be experienced rather than told.

Marck does a wonderful job of painting a picture that’s beautiful on the surface but disgusting underneath and gives us a glimpse at what kind of world we can expect if we simply stop questioning things.  Personally, I hope there’s more to come; Upload kind of leaves us hanging although the subtitle “Origin of Bannon (The Enlightened Series Book 1)” would indicate there’s another story in the works somewhere.  Hopefully it’ll be along sooner rather than later.

Buy Upload at Amazon (NOTE: There’s a different cover at the Amazon site, don’t fret)

Will’s Website

Find Will on Twitter

Bloody Mary and the Power of Nerf

Today we bought a new Nerf Sword.  It’s one of the slick new Zombie Strike models that is almost exactly like the old model he had.  So now he has two swords to come at me with.  Joke’s on him, though, I’ve got a real shinken. 🙂

Cuts through zombies like butter

Cuts through zombies like butter

We also went to a birthday party for one of the kids in his school and he wanted to take the sword with him.  I had to explain to him that birthday parties are not exactly the best places for swordplay, Nerf or otherwise.  Turns out he didn’t want to fight anyone with the sword he was going to use it to destroy a vengeful ghost.

It turns out his school has recently experienced a spate of supernatural activity.  He swears up and down, side to side, and backward to front that he and his friends played Bloody Mary and …

Wait a minute.  What are kids doing with Bloody Marys (Maries?  Crap, I don’t know the plural of Mary).

archerbloodymary

Archer is my hero

Turns out they’re not drinking Bloody Marys (see above), they’ve been playing a game which I had been unaware of: Blood Mary.  I hadn’t heard of it before; in Farmington we were more concerned with Skinwalkers and aliens.  We had real problems, damnit and couldn’t be bothered with pesky ghosts that haunt mirrors.  Besides, who hangs out in bathroom anyway?  Seriously, find a better place to haunt.

Apparently the game goes like this:  You stand, alone, in a dark bathroom and look in the mirror.  Say “Bloody Mary” three times and the ghost will appear and suck out your eyeballs.

On the plus side, she had a lovely singing voice.

On the plus side, she had a lovely singing voice.

Sounds fun.

Back in my day (damn, I’m getting old), we would have just said Beetlejuice three times and gotten this guy instead.  He might not suck out your eyeballs, but he would demand your daughter’s hand in marriage so if you have a daughter (or three), you might want to reconsider.

beetlejuice

Still more fun than having your eyes sucked out.

Now, as for why the vengeful ghost of Mary, Queen of Scots or Mary Worth of Chicago would be interested in a mirror in Albuquerque, New Mexico (Proud member of the United States since 1912) is anyone’s guess, but who can really fathom the reasoning of a ghost?  All I’ve got to say is if she shows up in New Mexico there’s an eight year old with a Nerf sword and an itchy sword finger waiting for her.

You’ve been warned, Mary.

 

Review – The Legend of Buddy Hero by Adam Oster

buddyhero

I’ve always loved superheroes.  To most people who know me this will come as no surprise.  In fact, I think blinding flash of obvious would probably be an apt descriptor.  While my friends were learning, you know “facts”, and getting “useful knowledge,” I was reading Mad Magazine.  While they were studying to be better people I was learning about the heroes who saved the Earth again and again.

Yeah.  Who’s laughing now, suckers?

So, with that in mind it really should come as no surprise that I enjoyed Adam Oster’sThe Legend of Buddy Hero?”  No, not really.  It was a creative take on a genre that is wide open with possibilities but usually falls into the large guy in tights beats hell out of the other large guy in tights.  What we get instead is the human side of superheroism and a creative solution to a problem.  Rather than donning the cape (no capes!) and relying on his fists our hero has to work with a team and find a way to take down a bigger problem.  And that right there is a nice change in the traditional superhero model.

The story is well written, full of nice twists, good action, and no small amount of humor.  Is it for you?  If you like superheroes, yes it is.  If you don’t, well, it’s still a damn good story and well worth the price of admission, so yeah, it’s for you.  Also, as an added bonus, Damon Memphis is the kind of villain name I wish I could have come up with.

Buy it Amazon

Check out Adam’s Blog

Follow Adam on Twitter

Hot, naked laptop action

If you’ve ever wondered what your laptop looks like when you take its clothes off, wonder no more.

It's a silicon wonderland

It’s a silicon wonderland

Had to replace the power jack on this beauty.  It’s the little piece immediately under the fan on the left side.  The damned power jacks on laptops are the one thing that almost always breaks at least once during the life span of a machine.  Everything else works beautifully, but if you can’t get power to the rest of the system, you’re well and truly boned.  Kind of amazing that a $6 piece can cripple the rest of the system.

As a side note, I just realized this is my 100th post on this blog.  Ooh rah!

Images, Inspirations, and Female Supervillains

I’m a pretty unrepentant collector of images.  I find them all over the Internet, from MyConfinedSpace to 4Chan and everywhere in between.  MCS, unfortunately, has become a haven for idiot Male Rights Activists and is starting to show its misogyny; there’s still some good stuff up there, but I hate how it’s becoming more and more a place for dumb asses to blame all the problems in the world on women.  4chan is still its delightfully insane self, less misogynistic than anarchistic.

Anyway, I love pictures.  I’d love to blow some of them up and use them as posters but, alas, image resolution and pixel density for most pictures simply isn’t there.  Plus, my trusty inkjet printer prints just like you’d expect a $49 dollar printer from Target to print.  So, I find ’em, archive ’em, and largely forget about ’em.

While I was rooting around in one of my hard drives today, I came across a handful of good stuff I had pulled down years ago and stuffed in a folder.  Some funny, some clever, some I was just holding onto, waiting for the perfect excuse to use.  Just to keep people going, I’ll be dotting this post with some of these random pictures.

FuckinAwesome

Take that, chickens.

Among other things I found was a sense of inspiration for a couple characters.  My main character, Steven, was pulled together from a whack of different sources.  His name came from my deceased brother, his Kenpo came from me, and his personality came from various friends over the years.  He’s a literary Frankenstein.  Wait.  Frankenstein was a literary Frankenstein.  Oh, well.  Wilford was based in part on a couple of friends I’ve had over the years, people I respect even if I don’t always see eye to eye with.  Jacob was basically my dad.  Frank was somewhat similar to Repairman Jack (who still really needs a movie!), although not as dangerous.  Jean was built off a couple of guys I knew in college.

Such delicious evil.

Such delicious evil.

I had thought Eve and Jessica were built similarly but a couple of pictures I scrounged up kind of changed that assessment.  Their personalities are definitely fresh creations but their physicality was pulled from two separate places.  It’s funny what sticks in your subconscious mind, ready to be dredged up when you least expect it.  I first noticed this early last year, well after Henchmen came out.  I was rereading Transmetropolitan (the single greatest comic ever, IMHO) when I noticed Eve bore a striking resemblance to this woman:

Standing by, ma'am.

Standing by, ma’am.

Meet Channon Yarrow, Spider Jerusalem’s tough as nails bodyguard and my subconscious inspiration for the mighty Eve.

I noticed another interesting character sketch as I was digging.  There’s nothing terribly special about Jessica, she’s young, strong, smart, has anger issues, but she could probably blend in with a crowd if she needed to.  In that way, she’s the polar opposite of the level-headed but extremely obvious Eve.  Again, I had always kind of thought I had created her out of a pastiche of various women I’ve known throughout the years.  Then I stumbled across this:

She's really pulling that fist way too far back.  Try not to telegraph so much next time.

She’s really pulling that fist way too far back. Try not to telegraph so much next time.

Crap.  Foiled again.  Right down to the skirt with suspenders.  This, by the way, is Tifa Lockhart.  She’s from Final Fantasy, a game I’ve never actually played; I just found the image at some point and my brain filed it away.  I can’t speak to Tifa’s personality, since I’m familiar with the character, but a lot of Jessica’s physicality came from her, right down to the fighting.  Although I doubt Tifa was a Savateuse.  Speaking of which, since it’s kind of an arcane martial art (at least in the States, I doubt anyone from France would consider it arcane), Savate is French kickboxing and it’s a really cool system.  I chose it for Jessica because it’s unique, fluid, and dangerous; just like her.

Bonjour, Savate!

Bonjour, Savate!

I’ve actually been asked a couple of times why I made the main supervillain a woman.  The answer is pretty simple, I think female villains get pretty short shrift in the comics and wanted to do something different.  Outside of Cat Woman, who’s really less of a villain and more of an anti-hero and Harley Quinn, you don’t see that many female villains.  The one’s you do see are usually romantically entangled with one of the male characters or have goals that are, at best, surreal.  Think Poison Ivy; she’s an eco-terrorist whose costumes keep getting skimpier.  While I’m not averse to that, I do think they could do more with her.

So, Eve’s stated goals (her actual goals are somewhat different) are probably more in line with Talia Al-Ghul‘s goals of burning down the world to save it.  You’ll actually have to read Arise to get an idea of what Eve’s actually up to.  As a side note, Eve’s getting an origin story, something every supervillain needs.  It’ll be part of The Clock Man when I get it done and should shed some more light on her character and motivations.

Om.  I love Buddha pictures.

Om. I love Buddha pictures.

There you go, my two female leads.  I like to think I did a decent job of making them real and not just sexpots for the men to save, but time will tell.  Although, just from a sexpot view, I really need to find a way to work these into a story soon.  My buddy Sylva Fae scrounged up this image somewhere and these have to find a use in a story.

Thank you Sylva!

Thank you Sylva!

And with that, I’ll leave you with your Moment of Zen.

Pay Jabba no bother.

Pay Jabba no bother.