Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie Plague – A Review

Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie PlagueScouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie Plague by Michell Plested
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Zombie here, Zombies there, zombies everywhere, and not a scout in sight. Having read this book, that I think would be the scariest thing I could think of.

This part, high adventure, the part campfire story, part traditional zombie story kept turning pages long into the night, and looking over my shoulder the whole time. I kept promising myself I would put it down at the end of “this” only to find myself reading on and on.

Follow Scouter Mike and his troop of scouts and they return from their practice survival training only to find themselves in a world gone mad where their training might be the only thing that keeps them alive.

Though this book is a tradition zombie tale with all that that entails, it is still BSA / venture scout age appropriate. It is definitely something that will be sharing with my scouting age kids.

While I am not normally a fan of zombie / scary stories, Mr. Plested’s easy narrative style won me over and helped me along until I was so hooked I could not put it down.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with any scouting experience, as well as any one who loves a good scary campfire story.

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Dimensional Abscesses Giveaway Contest

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If you have been living under a rock, like have for the last month, you might have missed that Michell Plested and I have released a new book. Dimensional Abscesses is a collection of short stories about places you don’t want to go. The stories range from time travel, to other planets, to hell and back, and of course down on the farm.

I am very excited about this book. Not only is it really a great book, but Michell and I have worked very hard on it, and it is the first book that we are releasing in our new imprint, Evil Alter Ego Press. For these reasons and many more, I want to get it into as many people’s hands as possible. So without further delay…

I am giving away 5 Ebook copies of Dimensional Abscesses: Portals to Places You Don’t Want To Go.

What do you have to win?

Simple. Leave a comment below before June 5th, with a place (real or fictional) you would not want to go and I will pick my 5 favorites.

And of course sharing the contest with your friends will make it more fun. So please, Tweet, Post and Plus it to your heart’s desire.

UPDATE (We are so close)

I just wanted to give you all an update on the anthology and Michell Plested and I have been working on.

UPDATE (We are so close).

Dimensional Abscesses

I am very excited to share the cover of our new anthology.

This has turned out pretty darn well.

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Thank you to Jeff Minkevics for the wonderful cover.

Anthology Title and other things – A long overdue Update

Anthology Title and other things – A long overdue Update.

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Great Britain at War – A Review

11150498[1]If you have been reading this blog for some time you know I am a real sucker for history. I really get into it, when I start learning about a time period I find myself sucking up as much knowledge from as many sources as I can. So when I finished Dan Carlin’s latest episode on World War I I was itching to get more.

I found my self at podiobooks.com and stumbled on Great Britain at War. This is a straight read of this book, which in itself is a collection of articles written by Jeffery Farnol. The narrator did a great job getting into the feeling of the articles, and the articles themselves are incredibly powerful and eye opening as the cover the time leading up to the war to nearly at the end. This would be a great resource for first hand material for teaching about this very difficult time in history.

I recommend this book, which you can get here for free on kindle or the podacast version of it which you can get here for free from podiobooks.com

I never really thought of podiobooks as a place to look for history, books and they don’t have a huge selection, but what they do have, I will certainly be checking out in the future.

In support of good story – AXANAR

My Children will be the first to tell you that I am a full on Trekie. I watch it, I read about it, I know it’s history. I have read things about how the scripts were made and know things about the production of different episodes. I breed it into my kids. All of them know, for example, the proper response to, “Live Long and Prosper.” Most of them can even do the famous Vulcan hand sign by the time they are two or three.

With that in mind, you might understand why it is that I got upset about the most recent Star Trek Movie. I am not going to go into all of that here, if you want to read about it, you can see it here. STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS – A REVIEW and IT IS NOT THAT I HATE REBOOTS, I JUST WANT A NEW STORY However, the long and the short of it is that the Star Trek Universe is so huge, that there is no excuse for retelling an old story for one of the movies.

And before you get all up in arms and point to Trouble with Tribbles and Trials and Tribulations, that was a very special case where they were celebrating and anniversary, and it was a single episode in a series that ran for seven seasons.

But enough about that. What I really want to talk about is the future of the Star Trek Universe. I know there are rumors about giving Worf (Michael Dorn) his own series and I am excited to see where that goes. However right now there are a number of fan based projects going.

This one AXANAR is one of the most promising. Axanar_Logo_ret-small

The great part of this is that it takes a story that was only hinted at in the original series, and fills in the gaps, instead of retelling a story that is already out there. This story fills in the gaps, and that expands the Star Trek Universe making it a far richer place.

What Follows is the Prelude to Axanar. Think of it as a 21 minute episode that gives you the background so you understand what is happening in the feature length movie that is coming out at the end of this year. (2015)

This is a fan based film. This is a “for the love” production. They can’t ever make any money on this. That means that they do need your support to make this happen. Before you role your eyes and say, “Oh a fan film,” They have hired professional actors, set designers, CGI production and script writers. This thing is top notch and could easily stand next to any of the official regular episodes. So please consider donating to this so that they can make this film and hopefully more after it. I think after you watch it, you will agree with me that it is completely worth your time and maybe a little of your money.

So Grab your phaser and your tricorder and prepare for a little old school Trek, with some incredible story telling.

Now that you have watched it, again please consider giving in some way. If you can’t afford anything right now, just share it with other people who you know will like it, so that they can see and maybe donate. This is what Star Trek should be. http://www.startrekaxanar.com/

Evil Alter Ego Press – Putting the Evil back in The Presses

As some of you may know, Michell Plested and I are working on our second anthology together. A little over a year ago we release our first one, A Method to The Madness: A Guide To the Super Evil http://www.amazon.com/Method-Madness-Guide-Super-Evil-ebook/dp/B00CEKVWVK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397162611&sr=8-1&keywords=a+method+to+the+madness+a+guide+to+the+super+evil It did pretty well, and while we were still celebrating its success we decided that we would like to try to do another one.
We tested the market for another super villain book but decided that it might be better to try something totally different.
As often happens with these things, an off handed twitter comment about the fact that I was doing some home repairs started our second Anthology now called, Dimensional Abscesses Due out spring 2015. But more on that later.

While the news about a new anthology is very cool, there is more going on that I want to let you in on. Our last book was published by 5 Rivers Press, and we were very happy with the way that it came out. But when we decided to do our second anthology we decided that we wanted to try to go it on our own. Thus Evil Alter Ego Press was born.
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At this point Michell and I are still working out all the bugs of getting a new press up and running, including getting a website set up, but we hope that in the very near future we will have more news about the press and our future plans.

So for the time being you should just bask in the glory of our logo, and be afraid, very afraid.

Shooting Stars: A Teenage Vampire Love Story from a Boy’s Perspective – A Review

Shooting Stars: A Teenage Vampire Love Story from a Boy's PerspectiveShooting Stars: A Teenage Vampire Love Story from a Boy’s Perspective by Philip Carroll
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Philip Carroll Does it again. In Shooting Stars he takes a genre that I don’t normally like or even read, and made me really enjoy this story. And now on with the review.

Being a teenager is hard, really hard. Add to that, moving to a new school, and joining a sports team. Jocks and Cliques that you don’t have a chance of understanding unless you have lived in a place all your life. And don’t get me started on the girls. Chuck has all of these problems and more when he moves to his new school from Washington State. He discovers that not only does he have to deal with all the normal problems of moving to a new school but he has accidentally stepped into the middle of a battle ground on a higher plain.

When his new girl friend Kelsey, turns out to be more than he excepted he finds him self in the middle of a battle that nothing he has ever experienced can prepare him for. He will need everything he has and more if he hopes to get out of this one live.

Part of me wonders if I like this book so much because I was Chuck growing up. I moved to a new school in high school, joined the Cross Country team, did well, and met the girl of my dreams only to have her turn out to be so much more than I thought she was. My girl friend (and now wife) didn’t end up having magical powers or anything but still she was special. But I think that it is more that Chuck’s story is one that a lot of teen aged guys can relate to.

In Shooting Stars : A Teenage Vampire Love Story from a Boy’s Perspective Mr. Carroll gives us an engaging story. More than that, he gives us real characters who you can relate to. They have hopes and dreams, and he drags you down, some times kicking and screaming, into their lives. At one point I found myself yelling at the book, “Oh no Chuck that is such a bad idea!” I really cared about these people, and when the book ended I was really sad that I could not continue to be friends with them.

Mr Carroll does not glorify the demonic forces that are vampires but instead exposes their true ugly nature, and the forces required to do battle with them. This to me was a huge deal, and for a teen aged romance involving vampires it was a breath of fresh air.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have known Philip Carroll for some time, I follow him on social media and I consider him a friend. I was given a Beta copy of an early version of this book and an advanced readers copy (ARC) of the book and enjoyed both immensely. While I probably would not have picked up this book normally because as I said I don’t normally read this genre, Philip has opened my eyes. If you have any doubt, I am going to buy copies for each of my teen aged boys so that they can read it.

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The Hazards of Backyard Hens

Updated

You probably already know that my family and I have been experimenting with some small scale farming. You can even read about some of our adventures here

Lately I have been looking at changing our life. Much, if not all of this is still up in the air, but there will have to be some changes. Since I still don’t know what those changes are going to be, I really can’t talk about them here, but here is what I did want to talk about.

Today my lovely wife sent me a link for a DIY HEPA filter. Our newest son is having some breathing issues so we are experimenting with things that might help him out a bit. The HEPA filter is just one of those things. I would send you the link but really it is just a box fan and a decent HEPA filter from the hardware store. It looks like a great idea and we are going to give it a try.
This DIY video lead to other DIY projects, Solar heaters and alternate heating systems and then eventually to this one entitled Off-grid, handcrafted life on Oregon farm & workshop I am not going to embed that video but I did want to share the link for those of you that are interested.

Shortly after we started this whole farming business, we found the video below which is really rather funny. And it is meant to be. About half way in at about the 1 minute 20 second mark she started talking about how chickens are a gateway livestock. Watching the above video today reminded me of how far from that gateway livestock we have come, and things that I would have thought nuts a few years ago but don’t think are that far out there now. It is that last line that gets me. Before you know it…

here is the update
Today, I looked at plots of land in the midwest. Seriously looked. With no current job prospects in the area, I seriously looked.

Anyway, enjoy the video. It really is very funny.