If It Was Easy…

My son will be testing for his Jr. 1st Black Belt in Kenpo in a couple of months. Part of the test – actually, a large part of the test – is just physically surviving the damned thing. I’ve been through it twice and it nearly wrecked me back when I was in my 30s. At some point, I’ll be doing it again for 3rd black and, let me tell you, I’m not looking forward to it.

At any rate, part of the prep for the test involves three-hour-long Saturday classes where we run through the techniques and katas in the system, spar, do hands-on work with partners – more on that in a little bit, I’ve got a cool story – and run and do push-ups and run some more and then do some sit-ups and then more running and yada, yada, yada. Someone did some estimating based on Fitbit calculations and a normal one hour class can burn up to 1100 calories, so you can imagine what we’re burning off in three hours. Actually, there’s probably not much need to imagine, it’s simple math: in three short hours we’re burning off more calories than one of those Baskin Robbins Oreo shakes.

2500+ delicious calories in one small package.

So, “tired at the end” barely covers it. It’s a rough workout and the final test will run over the space of a few days. In the end, you feel like you’ve earned that damned belt. Which is a good feeling. My kiddo will probably be wasted after the test, but he’ll have his first black belt and that’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Sure, there are plenty more to go – including testing for the adult versions – but earning that first black belt will only ever happen once.

Getting to that point has been a multi-year process. I started teaching him Kenpo was he was about three or four and dragged him kicking and screaming into the school when he was five. That was six years and two schools ago (our old teacher retired) and he’s now on the cusp of finishing the first step into a much larger world.

It’s a long process to get to that point and I have to applaud his determination. Even though there were several times he wanted to quit, he kept going. That was partially me telling him he couldn’t quit, but it was also him working through the system and struggling to get better at it even when he really didn’t want to be there because the siren song of video games was too loud in his head.

Just like writing that book, or finishing that degree, or any of the myriad other  long-running things people do, getting to the first black belt takes determination. It’s hard work. But, let’s face it, if it was easy everyone would be doing it and getting handed a reward for doing something easy is a total waste of everyone’s time. Hooray! You managed to make it to work on time! Here’s your trophy. While I could wax philosophical for days about just how stupid it is to hand out meaningless trophies for trivial things, I’ll save that for another post. For the end of this one, I’ll just say two things: a) I’m really proud of my son right now and b) whatever it is you’re working on that seems like it’s taking freaking forever to get done, keep going until it is done. You’ll thank yourself for it at the end.

Need a little motivation to keep going? Drop a comment. I’m usually fairly good at yelling at people to keep going. 🙂

Now, as for that cool story I was going to tell. If you’ve never hear of Walter Jon Williams, he’s a sci-fi writer here in Albuquerque. He’s also a long-time Kenpo student (let me just say, he’s got a lot of stripes on his belt). Mr. Williams has been coming to our black belt prep Saturdays and I’ve had the opportunity to work out with him over the past couple. Let me tell, it’s not often you get to meet a writer you like, but also get to kick him. He’s a nice guy with a wicked elbow strike and potent punch. If you’d like to see more about his writing, go check out his website/blog. I suppose I should also tell him Google thinks he’s been dead since the 30s.

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#WATWB – Your Monthly Shot of News That Doesn’t Suck

To truly grasp the spectacular awesomeness of this story, you first have to understand a few things. If you’re an American reader, most of this will be old hat and you can happily skip down a bit, but you’ll miss some snark and a few cheap shots at Alabama. If you’re international (or a ferriner, as we like to call y’all), you might want to stick around a bit.

Alabama has a reputation in the U.S. as being that special person you don’t like to have around when company comes over. It’s not that every person in the state is gun-toting, semi-literate degenerate, but they have quite a few of them. Remember, this is the state where the leading candidate in the recent special election was accused – multiple times – of liking his girls young. Like early teens young. And, amazingly, he still nearly won the election. Thankfully, enough people came to their senses and decided that an accused child molester might not be what they wanted to represent them and Roy Moore – who showed up to vote on horseback – had to ride his horse home in defeat.

In Alabama, men are rated by how much horsepower their trucks have.

It’s a state that sticks to its traditions, even when those traditions are insane and should be left by the wayside.

Speaking of traditions that should probably take a long walk off a short pier, we also have our annual Miss America competition where young women display their value to society based on how well they look in bikinis and evening wear. Again, it’s a traditional thing that probably needs to go away. I may be getting on my soapbox here, but I like to think there’s more to women than beachwear, and Miss America doesn’t exactly hand out awards based on smarts, eloquence, or capabilities. Look good, smile, and wave, and you can win even if you don’t have much going on upstairs. To all the Miss America contestants reading this (I have a huge supermodel following, too), I’m not talking about you, I’m talking about the other girls.

Congratulations, you’re pretty! You might have some other qualities, but the important thing is how you look in bikini.

So, if you combine Alabama (home of the not-so-bright traditionalists) and the Miss America competition (congrats, toots, you’ve got a great pair of knockers even if you aren’t too bright), what do you get?

Oddly enough, you get Deidre Downs Gunn, winner of Miss America back in 2005. She represented Alabama and won the diamond tiara or whatever it is they give out there.

But that’s where the story breaks the mold. Deidre Downs Gunn went on to become a practicing medical doctor and recently married her girlfriend in a traditional Southern wedding complete with mini chicken and waffles and probably some other stuff, too. Honestly, anything after mini chicken and waffles is superfluous.

So, why is this a big deal and good news? Well, in addition to breaking the molds of both Alabama and Miss America by being smart enough and dedicated enough to become a doctor, Deidre went onto break another much beloved tradition and marry her girlfriend rather than pretending to be straight. A few years ago, that wouldn’t have even been legal. A few years before that and she would have been lynched.

Equality is a big deal and marrying whoever you want is an important part of that. I guess the whole story just made me happy because it goes to show not all stereotypes are true – even the ones about Alabama and Miss America contestants.

Plus, I found out that mini chicken and waffles are a thing.

Read the story here.

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.

Our co-hosts for the month are the lovely and talented:
Dan Antion, Mary Giese, Michelle Wallace, Simon Falk and Shilpa Garg

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.

5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

This is a Blog Hop!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now, your moment of Zen.

So, You’re a Writer, eh?

One of my great fears is trying to explain the plot to whatever book I’m working on. The latest – Roadside Attractions – was built off the Satanic paranoia of the 80s and 90s and tosses together a renegade devil, the hitwoman sent from Hell to stop him, a ghost, and a pair of ghost hunters who find themselves stuck in the middle of a power-struggle straight out of Hell. It’s not the easiest thing to explain.

Actually, come to think of it, that’s not a bad description. Needs work, but doesn’t totally suck.

DeadSexyTwitterLilith
Note: not the actual cover.

I’m currently actively working on the 4th Henchmen book and that gets even more difficult to sum up succinctly because it’s the 4th (and final) book in that series and it’s still too early to tell exactly where the plot will take me.

I’m not a good plotter. Other writers have sketches and timelines and plot-points all neatly laid on beer-soaked cocktail napkins or Chinese Excel knock-offs. I just keep all that in my head. The closest I’ve ever come to successfully plotting out a book was Greetings From Sunny Aluna and even that ended quite a bit differently than I’d planned. Originally, Huizhong was going to kill Kevin and then kill herself. It didn’t turn out that way and now I’m stuck figuring out where to take the next book.

Anyway, back to the original task at hand: What’s the book about? I’ve done a bunch of posts on blurbs and even took a shot at loglines (Sean Carlin’s post on loglines is still the gold standard), but I’m still extremely weak at the punchy descriptors. Usually when someone asks me what the book is about, I change the subject and then pretend I don’t speak English.

smoke_bomb_archer

That’s not an adult way to handle things, especially when it comes to something I’d really like to do for a living. If I can’t talk about what I’m writing, there’s no way anyone’s going to be interested in reading it. Saying, “Trust me, it’s really, really good” doesn’t cut the mustard. In fact, it cuts the cheese.

I think it all stems from that deep-down insecurity everyone has. There’s that nagging sensation that someone you work with will say, “I read your book. It sucks.” Then you’re stuck at work with everyone knowing you’re the guy who writes shitty books. And that can’t be good for the ol’ ego.

I’ve met plenty of other people over the years who have zero problems talking about their books. I’ve even met people who will happily tell you they’re taking a year off work to write the next great American novel and it would be really great if you could give them some money to do that. To those people – the ones that want help funding their yearlong vacation in South France – I say, “Just write the fucking thing. You can do it in your living room and you don’t even have to take off your pajamas”.

I’m good at the “just write the fucking thing” part. Over the years, I’ve gotten disciplined to where I write something every night, usually 500-1000 words or so. Now I need to get better at getting people to “just read the fucking thing”.

If you have any tips on that, leave me a comment, I’d love to hear what’s worked for you and what was a waste of time and money.

ghostintheshelltyping
Now if I could only get my hands to do this.

On a somewhat related note, I’ve always been curious about my typing speed. I code all day and write at night, so I’m used to a keyboard. I can type reasonably well with my eyes closed. In fact, I’ve even fallen asleep and kept typing (that generated some…interesting text), but I’ve never tested my typing speed. According to Live Chat’s free online typing test, I type about 64 words/minute with 100% accuracy. Crunching the numbers, that means 3840 words an hour. Theoretically, if I didn’t need luxuries like food and sleep, I could write a ninety thousand word book in under 24 hours. That’s way faster than my usual six to nine months.

All Your Data Are Belong To Us

My dad, before he died, was a market analyst in the semiconductor industry. His job, as he put it, was to “take information from companies, analyze it, and sell it back to them in a different format”. He was really good at his job because he had a solid understanding that data had value and that, like polishing a diamond, knowing how to polish that data could make it more valuable.

Here’s a quick factoid for you: Facebook’s worth – at least of October 2017 – was around $500 billion. That’s half a trillion dollars. Not bad for a company that gives its services away, right?

Well, that’s the rub, now isn’t it? Recent events, like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, should show us that Facebook isn’t exactly giving its services away to its user base. Not that they ever claimed to doing that. I find it amusing that now, in the midst of that scandal, that people are losing their shit over Facebook not protecting their personal data. The real problem is Facebook has never protected personal data. They’re in the business of collecting and selling data on a massive scale. In return for a platform for sharing cat pictures and political screeds, Facebook collects as much information about you as possible and sells it to whoever wants it. Ever posted something about your dishwasher dying only to see ads for dishwashers the next time you log in? Post a picture of your dream car and suddenly you’re getting ads for Mercedes Benz? Or Yugo. You know, whatever floats your goat.

Not your dad’s Yugo.

Like most social media sites, Facebook is nothing more than a fancy data collector and redistributor. Normally, companies have to fight tooth and nail to get information about what floats your goat. That kind of data is priceless, especially if you’ve got a platform you can use to deliver targeted advertising at the right time. Everyone on Facebook (yes, me included) gives that information away freely in exchange for more time with cat pictures and political screeds.

Is it an equitable exchange? Depends on what you’re doing. I don’t tend to post much personal information on there, so free access to cat pictures, friends, and the occasional political screed – er, heated political discussion – is worth it to me.

Still angry? Kill another bunny slipper, pal.

So, how does all this happen? Is Facebook actively giving your information to anyone that asks for it? Yes and no. They’ve something like over 2 billion users, so it’s not like Tide is going to ask for all the people who are likely to eat colored pods and Facebook is going to run a query and hand it over for few bucks. Facebook, like Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and all the rest, are services, not websites. Wait! How can that be? You use a web browser to access it, right? So it must be a website.

Back up, Sparky. Yes, most people access Facebook with a web browser, but that doesn’t mean it’s a website. It acts like a website, but you can also access Facebook with an app on your phone, a program on your desktop, or any other number of ways. Most of those programs render out the whole site for you because that’s what people want to see. Never mind the fact that Facebook is nothing more than a tarted-up group from back in the Usenet days, it’s the pictures and cool stuff that we really want to interact with. As users, we don’t care about the data. Unless you’re stalking someone, you probably don’t care that they live in Schenectady, love Nissans, and work for an advertising firm. You just want to see what people are posting. If you are stalking someone, stop it. That’s not cool.

Advertisers, on the other hand, don’t care about the cat pictures, but the political screeds and personal information are a goldmine to them. In addition to the random things we all post each and every day, the very metadata about you as a person is invaluable. Let’s say I run VHS to DVD shop in Clovis, NM and want to figure out how many people in the surrounding area could use my services. I could use your metadata about where you live and a scrape of your posts to target advertising to the right people (both of them) that might use my business. From there, I can decide to buy targeted ads on Facebook that promote my service to the right people.

So far, there’s nothing too terrible to see there. You share information, Facebook sells it, advertisers use it, you get your copy of Night of the Comet copied to a DVD. Everyone winds up happy.

Except Zuck. He doesn’t look too happy, but two days in front of Congress will do that to you.

The downside happens when unscrupulous groups use less-than-savory custom-built apps that exploit holes in Facebook’s API security to push misinformation or flat-out lies to people for the purposes of nudging us in a direction. That was the whole goal of various Russian data centers during the last election (and probably continuing to this day). And make no mistake, a nudge in certain direction is far more effective than a shove when it comes to getting people to do what you want them to. Now imagine doing that on a massive scale, say in the billions of users. Imagine what you could do with that kind of power.

That’s the why. The how is surprisingly simple. Remember, Facebook is really nothing more than a service. That means it can be accessed from a variety of different clients. That’s where the malicious apps come into play. Beyond creating a data scraper that exploits Facebook’s API, you could also make a Facebook app that looks like a regular game, but asks for certain kinds of information. If the game looks good enough, people will happily tell the game their names, birthdates, places of residence, political leanings, religious leanings, and everything else a data aggregator could possibly want. Just like with legitimate advertisers, someone who wants to nudge you in a direction can take that information and build on it, pushing you stories that reinforce a belief they want you to have. The next thing you know, something that was “meh” last week is the most important thing in the world to you.

And all it takes is enough people analyzing data you freely handed out and enough people pushing the message to make it a thing.

So, rather than getting pissed at Facebook for selling your data – they’ve never been opaque about that – think about what you’re sharing before you share it. Information is power. It’s a bullet, and if you aim it correctly you can blow the kneecaps off the world.

Definitely have fun with Facebook, that’s what it’s there for. But be wary of what you share because all the information is out there and available for a price. The same goes for any social media site (or, you know, blog site). We’re long past the industrial revolution and the computer revolution. The new model of currency is data and it’s very big business. If you don’t want your data polished and sold back to you, don’t give it out.

The Timelessness Of Spaceballs

We were watching Spaceballs last night and explaining some of the jokes to my son when something hit me. While the movie is pretty damned funny, it’s got some jokes that are forever stuck in the late 1980s. For example:

The Rocky tapes are a nice touch. Also, apparently Mr. Coffee has expanded their lineup.

Not only did I have to explain what VHS tapes were, we had to explain the significance of the scene in terms of movie making. Back in 1987, being able to watch a movie at home was a novel idea – and something that the movie studios were wary of. Remember, this was the time when replacing a video tape could cost you upwards of $100 and the cantankerous players could fetch nearly a grand. But all that price paled in comparison to what movie studios thought they were losing. If you could pay for a movie once and watch it over and over, that was a bad thing.

The movie theaters were less than enthralled at the idea as well. Why would someone come to a theater to watch a movie when they could watch it from the comfort of their own home?

Flash forward thirty years and not only are DVDs (and their ilk) cheaper, but you can pick up a player for next to nothing. Amazingly, movie theaters are still in business and Hollywood is still cranking out movies. They’ve just embraced the model of releasing a movie, waiting a bit, and then selling it to you.

But, at the time, plenty of people were nervous about the idea of video cassettes and that lead to a classic scene that bears explanation to younger viewers who are used to pushing a few buttons on Netflix and watching whatever they feel like. So the whole idea of video tapes and the associated commentary in the movie were a little lost on my kiddo.

The jokes about Dark Helmet using the Schwartz to crush people’s balls were right up his alley, though. To be fair, dick jokes never go out of style.

Admit it, you just laughed.

Anyway, the whole thing got me thinking about the idea of timelessness in a story. I’ve never really tried to set a story in a particular era. It would be fun to write something set in the 80s, but unless you lived through that time it would be difficult to explain things like “gag me with a Fraggle”, why anyone thought 7-Up Gold was a good idea, or the general appeal of The Cure. And, as the brief discussion of the Mr. Rental joke in Spaceballs shows up, if you have to explain a joke, it’s already not funny. Or, at least, not funny anymore because the world has changed.

The funny thing about Spaceballs, though, is just how timeless a lot of it has become. For what amounted to a throwaway send-up of Star Wars, it’s held up remarkably well and has spawned its own line of jokes. For instance, did you know the Tesla Model S has a Ludicrous Speed setting that will push that beast from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds? Ludicrous Speed, itself a joke about speed overkill in sci-fi movies, is straight out of Spaceballs.

Madness!

The second part of that joke, “They’ve gone to plaid”, has become a regular phrase to describe something that’s going way too fast. That one even has an Urban Dictionary entry.

In that way, Spaceballs created its own jokes and parlance. I regularly use the line “Oh, sure, I could carry two or three of these”.

That, I guess, is the genius of Mel Brooks. For a movie that only holds a 57% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Spaceballs has become its own timeless thing. Which just goes to show, when people are still talking about your work 30 years after it was released, it doesn’t matter what the critics say, that’s a piece of timeless art.

How do you go about telling that timeless story? Will people 30 years from now remember what you’ve written? That’s the rub. I seriously doubt back when he was writing Spaceballs Mel Brooks ever thought the joke about Ludicrous Speed would ever be resurrected in an electric car or “they’ve gone to plaid” would be a thing. At the time, it’s likely that he was just as concerned about the VHS revolution as everyone else who depended on movie goers to put food on their tables.

The things that become timeless – “I’ll be back”, for instance – are inherently unpredictable. You can’t set out to make that kind of thing happen. All you can do is make the best of whatever it is you’re making and keep your fingers crossed.

And have some really kick-ass marketing.

spaceballswallpaper

#WATWB – Your Monthly Shot Of News That Doesn’t Suck

Back in the day, when I was a wee lad in school, I caught a lot of shit from jocks because of my weight. While it only came to blows a few times (including an epic arm twist by yours truly), it was a constant problem. What jackass is going to pull my pants down today or try to beat me up so his buddies will think he’s cool? On and on and on. To this day, if I ever ran across one of my tormentors, I’d have to struggle with myself to not smash his smirking face in.

And therein lies the real danger with bullying. The physical injuries usually heal up pretty quickly, but the mental injuries stick around for a very long time. Forever in some cases.

My son’s school – and apparently most of the schools in the country – have taken a zero-tolerance approach to bullying. Bully someone and you’re done. Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. Get your things and get the hell out.

This is a good thing. Also, it’s a good thing that seems to be working. According to the Harvard Medical School, fewer teens (ages 12-18) are reporting being bullied. In fact, the number is down by a full third. So, either the bullies have become so successful that no one wants to rat them out or bullying has become so intolerable that fewer people are engaging in it. I guess it’s also possible that kids who were once bullied are fighting back.

The very last time I took a bully to task was after he jumped me from behind. I flipped him over my shoulder and told him in no uncertain terms that if he ever messed with me again I would kill him. Understand, this was a heat of the moment kind of thing when I was just a kid, so I wouldn’t have actually killed him, but bullies are dumb and weak and he believed me. For the rest of the year, every time that kid saw me, he took off in the opposite direction.

For those of you less inclined to resort to violence and threats, the world at least seems to be changing for the better. It shouldn’t hurt to be a kid and you definitely shouldn’t have to put up with dumbass jocks shaking your down for your lunch money.

Read Harvard Medical School’s post here and feel a little better.

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.

Our co-hosts for the month are the lovely and talented:
Sylvia McGrath, Sylvia Stein, Shilpa Garg, Eric Lahti and Belinda Witzenhausen

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.

5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

This is a Blog Hop!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now, your moment of Zen.

Book Review – Lightning Blade by D.N. Erikson

Way back in ’93 Groundhog Day dropped Bill Murray’s single-handed show-stopping mania into American moviegoers’ laps. About eleven years later a Japanese author named Hiroshi Sakurazaka dropped a book called All You Need Is Kill. All You Need Is Kill was appropriated by Hollywood and turned into Edge Of Tomorrow which was a good – if underappreciated movie – that was saddled with a really unfortunate name. Not that All You Need Is Kill is a spectacular title, especially compared to the simple punch of Groundhog Day.

So, what do Bill Murray, groundhogs, Japanese novels, and American sci-fi have in common? They all center around the idea of a time loop. Bill Murray relives the same Groundhog Day 38 times, although the director says he lived the same day over and over for ten years. All You Need Is Kill‘s protagonist loops through the same set of days over and over again, dozens or hundreds of times. The prime difference between the two is Bill Murray wakes up each morning to Sonny and Cher and All You Need Is Kill‘s Keiji Kiriya restarts each time he dies.

D.N. Erikson’s Lightning Blade follows a similar pattern. Not that Lightning Blade is necessarily derivative of either Groundhog Day or All You Need Is Kill, it just makes use of a time loop, which is a pretty clever thing to do in an urban fantasy story. At least, I’ve never seen it done before.

Here’s the thing about time loops: They can get boring if they’re not handled well. Groundhog Day could have been the least interesting movie on the planet – right up there with Ishtar – if it wasn’t handled well. Ditto with All You Need Is Kill. If you’ve got the same character going through the same thing over and over, it can get ridiculously tedious. In other words, writing a time loop story isn’t for the faint of heart.

Fortunately, Erikson handles the time loop with a good deal of flair. Lightning Blade is told from the point of view of Ruby Callaway, a less-than-savory bounty hunter living out her days in a Tuscon penitentiary where she’s been imprisoned for a variety of crimes including having and using essence – the world’s version of magic. Ruby gets caught up in hunting down a necromancer who’s become a terrorist. Unbeknownst to Ruby and her FBI partner, the necromancer has dropped them both into a time loop where he’s been hiding out and getting stronger. Every time Ruby dies, the loop resets and she has to start all over again.

Each time Ruby gets re-looped, she remembers even though the rest of the characters are reset back to zero. Since she knows what’s coming, Ruby has to try new things to get her story back on track. Each of the loops gets us closer and closer to the endgame, which is just as much a surprise as everything else that comes before it. That’s what makes a good time-loop book.

For fans of Kate Daniels and The Dresden Files comes a new breed of urban fantasy heroine.
One who might not survive an endless day.

When the FBI releases supernatural bounty hunter Ruby Callaway after 20 years, the terms are simple: put down the necromancer killing public officials in return for amnesty. But then the necromancer plunges a blade through her heart, and Ruby reawakens at midnight, back in jail. Alive. 

Which means one thing: the necromancer has thrust the world into an endless time loop that only he and Ruby can see. And Ruby is the only one capable of stopping him before the world burns. But as she unravels the necromancer’s sinister plan, two questions repeat in Ruby’s mind: Just how dangerous is a vengeful serial killer with nothing but time? 

And what if the necromancer isn’t the worst thing lurking in the shadows of this brave new world?

Lightning Blade is the first book in the Ruby Callaway Trilogy, mixing dark, gritty urban fantasy with a sprinkling of futuristic sci-fi & cyberpunk. Not your typical bounty hunter. Not your typical urban fantasy.

All in all, Lightning Blade is a fun read with well-handled time loop that takes its time to explain the nuances of the world Ruby lives in. As a bonus, it’s available for less than a buck now.

Get it on Amazon

Check out Erikson’s website