What I drink when I drink in the winter

What I drink when I drink in the winter Glühwein http://ow.ly/Tv6Tn

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Mik Murdock: The Power Within – A Review

Mik Murdoch The Power WithinMik Murdoch The Power Within by Michell Plested
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The in interest of full disclosure Michell Plested is a good friend of mine and a co-edit on a couple of projects we have worked on together, and I was given my Advanced Readers Copy in return for a fair and honest review. Though I would have gladly paid full price for the book having read the first one.

Warning there are mild spoilers of both book one and book two but nothing you can get over.
In this second book in the series Mik Murdoch Boy Super Hero continues in his efforts to protect his fair town of Cranberry Flats, but with his Super Hero Librarian Friend moved to the city and him left with only the hope of a super power to come, what is a boy to do? Well he could eat the berry given to him by the guardian, but who knows what will come of that. When troubles at school, his friends leaving town, and something weird going on with his health, his parents decide that a summer at the lake might just be the right thing for them all. When he bumps into his idol and gets a chance of a life time, the summer just gets more and more complicated.

If you read the first, book or even if you didn’t you will enjoy this book. While I loved the first book, this one is head and shoulders above it, Michell Plested has really grown as a writer and a story teller. Even though he is a year older now, Mik still relies on his parents and turns to them in times of trouble, far from the norm of most absent or brainless parents found in most YA novels.

While his super powers and what he discovers at the lake are a bit out there Mik himself is truly down to Earth. He has every day concerns, his Dog Krypto, his dad who has to keep going back into town for work, and his mom who is a bit lonely out at the lake, not to mention some pesky creatures who keep messing with them, and girl near his own age in the cabin down the beach.

This book is a quick read, but just long enough to make it truly enjoyable, and just short enough to leave you wanting more.

I am still reading it to my kids (one chapter a night) and they are always asking for more.

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No One Told Me About This

0706141318-00 This last week my wife and I have been alternately lamenting and rejoicing in the fact that our oldest three children are gone for a week. They are off camping with their boy scout troop. Oddly enough the oldest one was gone the week before to special camp to help him get his Eagle. In Short we have been short at least one of the kids for almost two weeks now.

Don’t get me wrong, we love having our older kids around. In fact, that is kind of the point here. The title comes from something that was said a couple days before or right after my wife and I got married. One of her younger brother’s friends said something about missing your kids when they move out. My Father-in-law replied, “That is what happens, kids grow up, get married and move out of the house.”

100_4923That statement has been in the back of my head since that day. But I will be honest, it is one of those things that sneaks up on you. I remember only oldest being a tiny baby and holding him my arms. While, it does not exactly feel like yesterday, it does not feel that long ago. This year he is starting his senior year in high school. Our kids are about every two years after that, and sometimes I look at my oldest son, and I can suddenly see the parade of children who will be growing up, getting married or religious life, and moving out of the house.

I do look forward seeing them grow up and seeing the people that they will become. They are all incredible kids. And I am so proud of the people they are becoming. But I am not in a hurry for them to get there.100_2961

Interview With Jeff Hite (Three Questions)

Scott Roche asked be some questions a few weeks ago, and I finally got around to answering them. Who knew (well I did) that he was going to share them with the world. Thanks Scott for the chance to share my thoughts with folks.

Scott Roche

Jhite (This is part  “Three Questions With Xxxx”. If you’re interested in taking part click here and fill out the form.)

Jeff and I have been friends for years. He was part of the staff at Flying Island Press and his love of the short story form is nigh legendary.

1) You’ve written a lot of short fiction and have been an editor in the short fiction market. That makes you something of an expert in my book. What is it that you love so much about the format?

Short fiction gives you just a glimpse, just a taste of a world, but when it is done right, it gives you the whole story, in a format that you can easily digest in one sitting. I really enjoy that part of it. I think some of it comes from having a busy life, some of it comes from my short attention span…

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American Gods – A review

AmericanGods_Cover

Four and a half out of Five stars

I am putting the summary of this book up front, because I think not having read a summary somewhat lessened my enjoyment of the story.

Summary:
Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.

Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.

Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, AMERICAN GODS takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You’ll be surprised by what and who it finds there…

American Gods (American Gods, #1)American Gods by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

***Warning I don’t think this review spoils anything but there are some minor hints and what might be considered VERY minor spoilers about this book***

Before I begin, I want to make it clear that I did really enjoy this story. And even though I enjoyed this story, my feelings about it are incredibly complex, but at the end of the day I have given it 4.5 stars.

But why only 4.5 stars when there are 5 to give? Well, like I said, my feelings about this story are incredibly complex. Let me see if I can explain why.

I have read a number of other stories by Neil Gaiman, and really enjoyed them. I knew that this book, if not really the same story, was at least related to Anansi Boys and at least had some of the same characters. And as I said I have read other books by Neil and I really enjoyed them.

It was not until tonight, when I read the summary of this book, and saw that it was supposed to be unsettling that it really hit me. That was at least partly what startled me about this book. Not entirely mind you, but partly. I will get to the rest of what bothered me shortly. I kind of wish I had known this before I read the book. Maybe then my feelings about this book would be less complex.

The book is powerful in a way that nothing else I have read by Mr. Gaiman has ever been. It was powerful in ways that made you ache for the injustice that a great number people have been made to suffer, at the hands of others. It powerfully illustrates the loss of the old ways, in seeing the old world really pass away, to be replaced by something that is in my opinion less worthy. While not romanticizing those ways. It lets you clearly see that the good old days were really not that good, not that what we have is all that much better, maybe just better at hiding it.

Now, I am a lover of “old world” mythology. I have read and studied, mythology from the middle east, and west. (Private admission here, I have read and tried to study “far East” mythology and I just don’t get it, but that is not the point.) The reality is that these myths are very often dark. They can be disturbing. They can be and are racy at times. Zeus, for example was so lustful that kings locked up their wives and daughters to keep him away from them. And yet he always found ways around them, often forcing himself on them when he did. There are parts of mythology, and history in general that are disturbing, and scary and sexy and violent, with combinations of each of those attributes in every possibly conceivable way. Ten thousand slaves crucified for an uprising that they may or may not have had a part in during the early parts of the Roman empire, or the book of Esther to give two examples.

So it is not that this book was any of those things that really struck a cord with me. Yes, I felt for the people in the book, and I felt real anger at some of the injustice, and sadness at my inability to do more in the world, and even regret at the loss of the “Old gods.” The problem is that, while I was reading this book, the word that came to mind more than once was raunchy. The book talks about sex, openly and graphically. There is no hiding behind euphemisms here. That really shocked me. It was not only the sex of the gods, but the sex of the humans around them, described in often raw detail. But it was also the sex of the gods, violent, destructive, and in many ways what we would normal call inappropriate.

Make no mistake, this is a dark, brooding book. This is not the book you take to the pool over the summer as a little light reading. It is also not the book you leave lying around where impressionable young children (and some adults) may stumble on it. But it is a incredible, thought provoking, emotionally powerful book. It tells an incredible story, and Neil Gaiman once again proves that he has earned his title as the most popular author in science fiction.

I recommend this book to anyone over the age of 18 who is not squeamish about graphically described sex, and even those who are, but because despite those parts of it, this book really tells an incredible story.

I got the 10th anniversary edition of the book from audible, the one that Neil Gaiman describes as his preferred version of the book. It also includes some outtakes and notes from the author at the beginning and the end of the book. The audio quality and performance by the voice actors was top notch.

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There is a Portal Under My Sink: And Oth

There is a Portal Under My Sink: And Other Stories of Places You Don’t Want to Go. A new Anthology From @mplested and @jahite There is a Portal Under My Sink: And other Stories of Portals to Places You don’t Want to Go. A new anthology Taking submissions http://portalundermysink.wordpress.com/

USELESS CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE?

Some times It feels like you are fighting an up hill battle. Some times it just feels like no matter what you do you are making no difference. Think about Moses Mother. Think about how she must have felt when she put her son in the basket. What had the time that she obeyed pharaoh gotten her? She still had to put her son into the river. And yet, her actions lead to a great man who lead a nation from slavery.
I will try to remember this when I feel like what I am doing is not having any effect. I will try to remember that live is bigger than me and I might not always get to see the effects of what I am doing, and that It is not always about me.

Christ Lives! In Him I Trust!

“Now a certain man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, who conceived and bore a son. Seeing that he was a goodly child, she hid him for three months.” —Exodus 2:1-2
Moses’ mother disobeyed the law. She refused to throw her baby boy into the river to be drowned, as prescribed by Pharaoh’s decree (Ex 1:22). This act of civil disobedience seemed totally useless. She hid the baby for three months and then put him in a basket to float on the water rather than directly throw him into the water (Ex 2:2-3). The baby Moses was miraculously saved. Eighty years later, the Lord used Moses to set the entire Israelite nation free from slavery. The Lord used the seemingly useless civil disobedience of Moses’ mother, which was actually divine obedience, in an amazing way.
The Lord is calling you to do something that seems useless. If…

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Balticon and other things

b47_banner_1So this year I am going to Balticon. I am very excited as this will be my very first Sci/Fi convention ever. Oh I know technically it is not a sci/Fi convention but really it is.

I have said it before and I will say it again, I am both very excited and very nervous about this.

The nervous part first. At heart I am an introvert. Sure get me In room with people I know and I will talk their ears of if you give me a chance, but put me in a large situation where I don’t know many people and I am unsure about my surroundings and I revert to the awkward teenager I was.

“Hite, table for one. Sir we have no table how about some standing room only for wall flower space next to this potted plant.”

“Yes, yes that would be fine.”

Really the story of my life. The other reason I am nervous is because I will have my oldest two sons with me. I want them to see their dad, in a better light that than that. They are 16 and 14 so they have lived with me long enough that they know my issues, but I want them to come and have a good time, and not be weighed down by me. One of my sons is a lot like me in the fear of crowds and new situations and the other one, well he fears nothing. So it should be interesting.

I am excited because there are a lot of people going to this, that I have talked to and worked with online and never met in person, and I am pretty excited to meet them (Also terrified for the same reasons.) (You know, the what if they don’t like me in person, kind of thing.)

This year, unless I get drafted onto something else, I am only going to be on one panel that is “Galley Table Live” at 1PM on Sunday. You really don’t want to miss it, Scott Sigler (the dark overlord himself) is going to be there. (And thus begins the jokes about the dark lord and the dark overlord meeting for the first time.) Also Chris Morse who is a fellow writer of Evil Mad Scientist type fiction. Of course it would not be a Galley table without Laura Nicole and our Stowaway Doc Coleman. We are either going to talk about endings or I am going to do a last minute pirate take over, I don’t know which yet. And yes I am in charge of the panel so it should be interesting. I will make sure that I go to enough panels ahead of time that I know what I am doing.

from amazon
from amazon
As you might have guessed, Michell Plested and I will be there to promote our new book A Method To The Madness: A Guide To the Super Evil. I am incredible excited about this. This is my first book in print, and so far it really seems to be doing well. So I am very happy about that. Another thing that makes me happy is that I get a new piece of technology. I bought myself a Square H8332_AV2 (1) This will allow me to sell the books I have with me at the con or other book signing opportunities without having to A carry change with me, and not having to worry about cash. Technically it is supposed to be for iPod touch gen 4 and up, but I have tested it on my gen 3 and as long as I have wifi it seems to work just fine. I hope to have a review of it when I get back.

426px-Argyle_(PSF)Last, I am working on a new story. More about my writing in another post, but for now let’s just say that I am writing again. As I said I am working on a new story. I misread a tweet the other day and I thought it said something about Supernatural Socks. I have no idea any more what it was actually about, but that is what I thought it said. This story is all about Supernatural Socks, with any luck, I will be able to have it done and ready to go before Balticon. I would love to have a new work for people to see. I will likely give it away for free, but It feel pretty darn good just to write again.

That is it. Those are my hopes and dreams and fears for Balticon. If you are going I look forward to seeing you, if not then I hope to see you in years to come.

I have started a new weekly writing challenge. It is mostly for myself, but you are welcome to play along. I will post a Prompt on Monday’s and a story or at least the start of a story based on that prompt on Friday.

World Builders Unlimited

As Promised here is this weeks writing prompt. The prompt is very specific because I am cheating a little and I started this already this morning, but please feel free to change the names and so forth to fit your needs if you want to play along with me.

Isabella is discovering that she has inner demons, and that some of those inner demons are not quite so inner.

Just as a side note: While I was writing this morning I was listening to Stand in the Rain by Super Chick so I suspect the story will be highly influenced by that.

See you on Friday

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Egg Salad

I am not a huge egg salad fan.

I can remember on long car trips my father used to love egg salad sandwiches. As soon as he opened the cooler the whole car would fill with that smell. It was not a bad smell, just one that you knew what it was and it was rather strong. As I said I don’t hate egg salad, I will eat it, and once in a while I even get a craving for it probably connected to childhood memories, but it is not something that I would write a post about.

A year or so ago I found a recipe that changed all that. This is not my father’s egg salad. In fact, when I made this the first time it took my wife saying, “I don’t like egg salad,” for me to even think of it as egg salad. But oh my goodness, it is good. I mean eat it out of the bowl with a spoon good, be careful you might not have enough to make all the muffins kind of good.

Long and short of it, if you are looking for something to do with all those hard boiled eggs, Here is your solution.

Special thanks to The Pioneer Woman at ThePioneerWoman.com for sharing such a wonderful recipe. The image used for this is right from The Pioneer Woman’s site. I don’t think I could have taken a better one, so thank you for that.