Word counts and what’s on the menu?

“The Clock Man” is a story I started thinking about a while back.  I quickly realized it wasn’t quite long enough to be a full-length novel, but was far too long to be a simple short story.  It’s currently sitting at about 20k words with an estimated 5-10k more to go.  That puts it full-on into novella length but unless you’re Joseph Conrad it’s hard to sell a single novella these days.  Even if you are Joseph Conrad it’s hard to sell a novella these days because people still flee in terror when they see a ghost, even if that ghost is trying to get a story published.  In the erotica world novellas sell like hot cakes, but in the science fiction/urban fantasy world they don’t work so well.  Not that I’m some awesome writer, but when I put up Henchmen: Arise for $0.99 I got a whopping one sale.  That story is being rewritten and repurposed for inclusion in “The Clock Man” so that’s why it’s a bit harder to find these days. The other problem I wound up with is I had all these smaller stories that I had come up with when I was writing Arise that didn’t fit the main narrative but were interesting little tidbits.  For instance: ever wonder what was going through Wilford’s head when he decided to start hunting down Coco?  For that matter, where did Coco itself come from?  The one regular note I get about Henchmen is “what’s up with Eve?”  What’s her back story?  I had originally intended to leave her somewhat nebulous; a force of nature if you will, but she’s an interesting enough character that she needs some further explanation that couldn’t be handled elegantly in either Henchmen or Arise; it would require far too much exposition to make it fit.  Part of her story is here somewhere on this blog, but her story will be expanded and included in “The Clock Man.” As I sat down to work on some of these stories I realized there were little threads that existed between each of them.  The stories all stand on their own but it seemed like there was a link back to something in a previous story or in either Henchmen or Arise.  That got me thinking that maybe the events of Henchmen and Arise were really a part of a larger story.  I guess that’s what happens when you start throwing gods into the mix. Interestingly enough, the very first story I actually sat down and wrote explicitly for inclusion in this collection was based on a dream I had about ghosts in my hallway.  It’s arguably my first true horror story but it has a twist and a half.  Other stories sort of spun up from other ideas I’d had.  Without further ado, here’s a tentative list of what will be in “The Clock Man” when it comes out sometime this summer.

  • The Protectors: Ghosts appear and disappear in a house but that may not be a bad thing.
  • The Hunt: The first adventure of Wilford Saxton and his talking gun.
  • Awaken: Retitled and edited version of the original Henchmen: Awaken.
  • The Clock Man: On Aluna magic is very real and the Clock Man manages the distribution of magic.  But something’s gone wrong and the current Clock Man’s daughter wants Felix Crow to kill her father.
  • Eve: How did a Valkyrie wind up trying to spark the end of the world?
  • Exceeds Expectations: Katherine designs monsters and her skills have attracted some attention.
  • Zona Peligrosa: In a house at the end of the endless highway is something only the innocent can touch.

And there may be one more.  The entire collection will come out to around 90k words, give or take 5k or so.

Clock Man cover design rev 6.  ©2015, Eric Lahti.  Background image © Skypixel

Clock Man cover design rev 6. ©2015, Eric Lahti. Background image © Skypixel

Punch Out!

There are a lot of different ways to punch someone: strong arm in front, strong arm in back, jabs, punching along a straight line, hooking punches, uppercuts, vertical fist, horizontal fist, half fist, and so on.  If it’s a fist, someone has figured out how to hit with it and people tend to get themselves wrapped around the axle about which way is best.  Most sytems, especially the hard-style systems, tend to throw the power strike from the rear hand.

The hand that's furthest away from your opponent is your rear hand

The hand that’s furthest away from your opponent is your rear hand

Science!

Science!

The reason for putting the strong punch in the back hand is due to the way you can use your hips and legs to help generate punching power.  Simply put, when you engage your whole body starting with the legs, moving through the hips and up into the shoulders to throw a punch, you can put a lot of power behind it.  Boxers use this kind of punch, as do most karateka, kickboxers, Krav Maga, and Tae Kwon Do practitioners.  It’s relatively easy to learn (if somewhat hard to master), and highly effective.  It does, however, have one drawback: since your fist is further away from your opponent so it has further to travel before it hits.

Enter some other styles, including Wing Chun and the style put together by this guy

He just hit you.  You'll feel it tomorrow.  Maybe.

He just hit you. You’ll feel it tomorrow. Maybe.

That system is, of course, Jeet Kune Do, also known as the Way of the Intercepting Fist.  Jeet Kune Do emphasizes putting your strong hand forward and stroking quickly.  It makes for a different kind of generating power and is a tad harder to master, but works quite nicely when you want a fast strike.  So, your straight punch works like this:

Note the twist of the hips to generate the power.

Note the twist of the hips to generate the power.

But a strong forward punch can work just as well.

One inch punch.  Note which hand he's using.

One inch punch. Note which hand he’s using.

Lee could knock a guy down with a one inch punch from the front hand.

Both styles of punching contain a lot of power, you just have to generate it a bit differently.  The twist of the hips doesn’t work the same way with your strong hand forward.  You’ll still engage your hips but there’s also more of a push off from the back leg.  I’m sure someone has done some actual studies on this and found using the rear had for the power strike will generate more power, but there’s more to strike than just the power.

Kenpo is one of those systems that empasizes the power strike coming from the rear hand.  We tend to use our front hand to jab and parry.  Unfortunately, fighting is a fluid situation and you don’t always have time to set up that perfect position for a strike so over the past couple kids’ classes I’ve been trying to introduce them to punching from unconventional positions.  Last night we worked on using the front hand as the power hand.  I stole a lesson from Jeet Kune Do that I picked up somewhere or another and introduced them to the water hose analogy.  This is similar to the whipping philosophy for circular strikes in that it requires a relaxed arm but rather than working from arcing position the water hose analogy works on explosively moving forward.

To try it out yourself, get a solid stance that will let you push forward with your rear leg.  Keep your arms relaxed.  I started the class with their hands on their thighs, but you can really do it from anywhere.  Now, imagine what happens to a water hose when water suddenly flows into it.  It goes from soft and dangly to rigid very quickly, right?  Keep that image firmly in your mind and just raise your hand from your thigh into a punch.  You’ll get a kind of upward then forward movement in your fist.  Imagine it almost as your fist is attached to your shoulder with rope and you’re throwing your fist forward.  Practice, practice, practice and you’ll soon find you can whip that arm forward from any position and drive it forward with your rear leg.  If you’re relaxed you’ll get an explosively fast punch with almost no telegraphing.

Bam!

Bam!

It may not be as powerful as standard rear hand punch, but it’s wicked quick and it doesn’t matter how powerful a punch is if it doesn’t hit anything.

One thing to keep in mind is punching is like anything else: the more you do it the better you’ll get at it.  Find a heavy bag and start hitting it regularly.  Practice slowly at first and work your way up to experimenting with different strikes.  Make sure to use some kind of hand protection (I use cotton wraps) or your hand might wind up looking like this.

Broken arm

 

Now, if you’re so inclined, here’s the science behind Bruce Lee’s one inch punch.

Bruce Lee’s One Inch Punch

Go train hard and train safe.

Book Review: Addiction by B.L. Pride

Addiction is a difficult book to review, and not because it’s bad.  It has a pretty damned cool twist that I can’t talk about lest I give away the mystery and I’m not so much of a jerk that I’d do that to you.  There are some books that keep you guessing, where you just want to dig up the Wikipedia entry, read the synopsis and say, “Ah ha!  It was the butler in the library with the candlestick.  I never would have seen that coming.”

But there is no Wiki entry for Addiction.  You have to read it and you won’t see it coming.

The title refers to Mila’s (our heroine, also addictive) addiction to Adam, a mysterious and extremely hot sad guy who Mila falls deeply in love with.

Because Thor.  Wait, that's my Addiction

Because Thor. Wait, that’s my Addiction

It’s Adam’s chemistry and touch that Mila becomes addicted to and she finds herself falling further and further for a guy she frankly doesn’t know that much about.  He’s convinced she’ll ditch him when she learns more about him and she’s convinced she’ll never leave him.

Ah, yes, that's the right one.

Ah, yes, that’s the right one.

At its heart Addiction is a romance, but to keep things interesting it also has some great elements of mystery and acts as the set up for a series which should explain even more.  Normally I’m not given to enjoying romantic stories unless they’re of the “boy meets girl and they both fall in love under a full moon that turns out to be a space station” variety, but Addiction kept my interest until the end and now I find myself wondering where Mila, Adam, and that total jerkface Alex are going to wind up.

There’s plenty of introspection on Mila’s part, so you really get to know her as a person.  There’s also plenty of sex, intrigue, sex, wonder, sex, romance, and sex in the story.  Just kidding; there are some sex scenes, but they’re very tastefully handled which, in my opinion, keeps this firmly on the fiction side of the fence.  With sex scenes it’s easy to tip over into the erotica side of things (which isn’t bad, I know plenty of great authors writing erotica), but B. and L. keep things well in hand (read their author bio for that tidbit).

Overall, though, it’s the story that compels and keeps you coming back for more.  So, B.L. Pride, you’ve got book one of the Beyond Life series out; we’re wondering what will happen in book two.

Buy Addiction on Amazon

Follow B.L. Pride on Twitter

Check out B.L. Pride’s blog and website