Saturday, February 25, 2012


Since I have officially signed my first contract to have Armies of the Silver Mage published and am riding a wave of euphoria I would like to begin presenting bits of another story to entice you all. I would like to thank each of you for taking the time to follow my rantings and I encourage feedback from you. It is the only way I can get any better.

Here is the opening to a story I call: AN HOUR OF WOLVES

3160 A.G. (After Gods)
Boots. Heavy footsteps marching down the marbled hall echoed from the walls. Men and women slipped aside. A petrified glare froze on his face. He bumped into a clerk, carelessly knocking a stack of documents into the air. Papers fell in his wake, but he had no time for niceties. The worst possible scenario he could imagine had just happened. He had to tell the Inquisitor General.
Armed guards blocked the ornately carved metal doors to the Inquisitor General’s private office of state.  Black uniforms immaculate in the halogen lights, the guards tensed, but did not move. They viewed the aide impassively despite his hurried appearance.
“Let me pass, I must speak with the Inquisitor General,” he demanded. His breath came in ragged gasps.
The guard on the right looked down on the smaller man, disdain in his eyes. “The Inquisitor General is occupied. He does not wish to be disturbed, clerk.”
“He will once he learns what news I have to tell.”
The aide’s cheeks flashed crimson. The burning ran down his neck.
“I said no,” the guard reemphasized.
Undaunted, the aide said quietly, “this is about the Three.”
The guards passed a worried glance to each other and slowly opened the door. Each member of the Inquisition knew the standing order regarding news of the Three. The aide passed an angered glare and slipped past. He found the outer office of the ranking member of the Inquisition austere. Spartan furnishings hardly interrupted the solid steel grey of the walls. A singular round wooden table from the first Inquisition held a vase with a single rose. The petals were blood red and tinged with blue. Blood to remember the dark times. Blue for the promise of the future. Incense filled the air, a thin cloud clinging to the cathedral ceilings. The polished white marble floor was streaked through with gold. The aide bowed as the Inquisitor General entered the antechamber.
Farius Graeme was an older man of more than one hundred. He had close cropped silver hair and a pencil thin moustache accenting his drawn cheeks and pinched nose. A gaunt man, Farius wore the white robes of office. He was tall, much taller than most in the order. Hardly noticeable wrinkles edged his striking blue eyes.  He looked up from his morning reports, surprised to find his adjutant.
“Good morning, Alain. What brings you into my office so early?” he asked. His voice was gentle yet stern.
Alain stood and met his commander’s piercing eyes. “My apologies for interrupting you, Lord Inquisitor, but we have a problem.”
“There are always problems, Alain. This is a complicated universe,” Farius replied with in a mirthless tone.
Alain swallowed hard. “My lord, it concerns the Three.”
Silence assaulted the room. The Inquisitor General felt as if his stomach had been wrenched out. The Three was the most volatile and hushed secret in the known universe. For generations the Inquisition had kept knowledge of their existence from the general population. They became faceless whispers of a far more brutal time, lost to the ages and struck from history. Only the few in the Inquisition knew their dark secrets. Farius Graeme had dedicated his life to maintaining order in an otherwise unruly age. The sudden reemergence of the Three threatened to shred his life’s work.
He struggled to find strength in his voice. “Which one?”
The Inquisitor General stumbled back a step before recovering. He used the diversion to clasp his hands behind his back as he moved to the massive bank of bay windows. The dawn was brighter than usual today. Sunlight glistened from the tops of the rain soaked buildings of Krenz, principle city of both the Inquisition and the Holy Orders that ruled the galaxy. The combination of rain and sun made the spiraling columns and rounded rooftops appear almost majestic in the early morning.
“Amongeratix hasn’t made a move in over five hundred years. What has he done?”
“Preliminary reports say that he was recently spotted on planet Plom.”
Farius cast a stern gaze back over his shoulder. “You didn’t answer my question, Alain.”
Alain felt the blood leave his face. “My lord, he was seen murdering over one hundred people, to include the local Inquisitor.”
 So this is how it begins. Farius Graeme remained silent for a time. Part of him refused to acknowledge the statement. Five hundred years of peace wiped out in the blink of an eye. Amongeratix was the worst of the Three. The Order had failed. Inspired dread choked him, paralyzed him.
“I never thought in all of my days to bear witness to this,” he whispered. “Do you know why the Inquisition exists, Alain?”
“To maintain the status. We are protectors of the universe. It is our charge to ensure that none of the gods are awakened before the rest,” he dutifully rattled off. Every inductee to the Order went through a rigorous training period before earning the badge of the rose.
“A fanciful dream, but nothing more. No, the Inquisition exists because if one of the Three manages to remember who they are the universe will burn. I have dreaded this moment from the instant I took the oath of office. Where is he now?”
Alain rechecked his data pad. “The murders were on planet Keltoo and he was last spotted boarding a spacecraft on Plom. We have had no word since then.”
“We must move quickly. Amongeratix is the very worst in men. He alone has the ability to destroy what we know,” Farius ground out. “I want a team of Inquisitors assembled before noon. We must stop him now or there is no point.”
“Inquisitor Breed has just returned from Tharnis,” Alain offered.
Farius considered the name. Breed was an anomaly amongst his peers. Young, barely thirty years old, Tolde Breed represented what Inquisitors of lore used to be. He refused to rely on technology, preferring to use his wit and ancient tools that modern society frowned upon. Tolde Breed was the perfect man for the job. Amongeratix represented the very worst in men; millennia of pain and suffering waiting patiently in the dark places of life for the right moment. Farius prayed that Tolde had the strength to stand up to the night.
“See to it. Ensure he has everything he needs. There can be no failure, Alain,” he said in a stark, measured tone.
“At once, my Lord. Shall I have him report to you?”
“No. I must go inform the Cardinal Seniorus. The Conclave must be told.”
Alain bowed sharply and backed away. His eyes stared at the single rose on the way out and he wondered what would become of them all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fact versus Fiction

Why do I write fantasy and sci-fi? Easy, there isn't that much that I need to research in order to make a compelling story. No one can say that a certain alien doesn't look like that or a world can't be like this. Oh sure, there are scientists and people who spend too many hours in the basement of a forgotten building wasting their lives theorizing what aliens might look like or what another planet might be like, but guess what...they're just guessing too.

Here's the reason for my rant. I picked up a book at Barnes and Noble a week ago or so. It looked good. It's called the Sword of the Templars by Paul Christopher. He writes a more tame version of Robert Ludlum or Dan Brown. It's not the best, certainly not the most engaging, but its entertaining I guess. My problem is that within the first 20 pages I found 3 significant errors, no make that 4, that should have been researched better.

The first was he claims that the 3 Infantry Division captured Hitler's home in the Alps, Berchesgarten. Ummm nope. Anyone who doesn't know history and actually watched Band of Brothers should know this one. The 101st Airborne did the deed. 3 ID was nowhere near there.

The next 3 revovle around everyday life at West Point (I know right? Just when I think I break free of that place it sucks me back in.) He has the cadets wearing blue shirts, TAPS is at 10 PM and when the professor steps out of Bartlet Hall he is immediately facing the bleachers on the Plain.

This is why I stick to fantasy. This guy, who the cover claims is a NY Times bestselling author, did not do his research and made too many mistakes. I suppose the common person reading it won't know any better but for those of us who it is a major turn off. If you can't get the facts right, what makes me want to read more??????

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Have you ever been excited to see a movie, read a book or watch a new show coming on and been left feeling utterly disappointed? I went and watched Red Tails tonight. Absolutely wonderful true story of men who dared to stand up in the face of multiple adversities and win the respect of their fellow soldiers. The only problem was George Lucas made the movie. The plot was thin and the acting was atrocious.

If you are chronicling the history of a group of pioneer men and the mark they left on society, civilian and military, you owe it to make the best possible product you can. Don't try and dazzle us with bright lights and oohs and ahhs (like the last 3 Star Wars movies- again, good story, great special effects but can anyone really say that Anakin Skywalker and Padme had any chemistry whatsoever???? And they were supposed to be in love? Ha!)

Terrence Howard was the only man that consistently performed to his capabilities. Even Cuba Gooding was less than stellar. And then, in the middle of a war they dumb it down with a love story? I was insulted. I can't recall seeing any love stories in Saving Private Ryan or Black hawk Down. So why waste our time ruining the testament of the Tuskeegee Airmen?

I am insulted.......but the special effects were AWESOME.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Old becomes new

I recently watched the AMC show Hell on Wheels. Just when I thought the Western was dead as a genre AMC brings it back with an in your face, no punches pulled action-drama. All of the characters are flawed and believable. The scenery is authentic and it makes me so glad that I had nothing to do with building the transcontinental railroad. Life is hard enough with so many amenities as it is.

A few months ago I did some thinking and decided to put my wartime experiences into words. I began undertaking what I had envisioned as a simple endeavor. Things quickly got out of control and I find myself mired in too many details and a lack of direction. The outline is comprehensive but my thoughts aren't.

Now I know why I stick to fiction. Making things up is so much easier than trying to figure out what is still classified or not. Wish me luck.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Once again

So it is time again. The Walking Dead returns tonight and I am stoked. I don't normally go for the whole zombie thing. I mean really, how many different ways can zombies be made and what new can they do? Ummm, not that many and again, not that much. George Romero has made a fortune on undead people eating brains but it is time for a change of pace. The Walking Dead appeals to me because it is not about the zombies. We didn't spend half of the first season watching how the zombie thing happened. It is about the characters, from the reluctant hero to the best friend who left another to die so that he could live.

The Walking Dead appeals because the characters have flaws. That is a rare thing to find in movies and television these days. Humphrey Bogart was a cutthroat PI in the Maltese Falcon and the Big Chill and he had plenty of flaws. Unfortuntely Hollywood expects the leading men and women to be super heroes that everyone likes and always do the right thing. So what would happen if we were all faced with an apocalyptic event like zombies? Would any of us be the people we think we are????

Friday, February 10, 2012

Wasted Time

What is wrong with television today? How many doctors and lwayers shows can we possibly stomach before it becomes humdrum lame-o? Oh wait, we are already there. I don't care how many cities CSI has, there are only so many ways to kill someone and to find the evidence. Yawn.

The River was a refreshing change to the norm. While not original, entirely, it provided a believable cast who each have motives for their actions and a terrifying sett. The Amazon is a great place to get lost in and find the true face of fear. I delighted in watching the supernatural unfold over those two hours, pausing to give several "oh sh*!" comments along the way.

Shows like that give me hope to be better, more creative, to explore new worlds and the nightmares and hopes within. I can take a sense of pleasure in being able to find solace and inspiration in such a simple terror as the River.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Turn of the worm

There is a saying, the worm has turned for you. I guess I can feel it now. In a matter of two weeks, after years (ok decades) of frustration I find myself with a signed contract for my first book- Aimee please ensure I do not forget to mention you in the acknowledgements since you helped with some of the ideas all those years ago in Afghanistan- and another publisher interested in my children's book. Making matters even better, I have been introduced to Bob Ostrum, a great illustrator of children's books who just so happens to live in the next town over.

You could say the worm has turned and I am soaking it up. Naturally this does not mean I can sit back and rest on the meager accomplishments I have made thus far. It only means more word, more effort and (fingers crossed) more results. Life is good sometimes, even when my seven year old son asks me "why are so many people who play basketball brown?'

and cut...........