Thursday, March 3, 2022

Stand with Ukraine

We continue to live in extraordinary times, and none more heartbreaking than the current war in Ukraine. I won't waste time recapping what we all already know, and the obviousness of such naked aggression against the men, women, and children of Ukraine by Putin and his armed forces. None of us want to see anyone die, neither Ukrainian nor Russian. Just as we see incredible heroics by the Ukrainians themselves, there are also strong voices of protest from within Russia as well. President Zelensky has truly shown himself to be a modern day Churchill in his courage and determination to continue to remain in and defend Kyiv.

So what can we, the rest of the world do? We certainly cannot sit idly by while a literal warmonger invades one sovereign nation today when he might easily do the same to any of us tomorrow. The threat of nuclear conflict hangs over every decision, further complicating an already complex situation. But as the saying goes, all that is required for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing. That is a luxury none of us can afford.

So please stand with Ukraine today, any way that you can. They need money, logistical and material support. Refugees in neighboring countries need supplies and funding too. The disinformation war is real, and even humble blogs (like this one) or other social media that state the truth and solidarity of the free world present one more obstacle to the forces of oppression. 

Donate what you can. Show what support you can. Speak the truth whenever you can. Pray. Love. Help. 

And stand with Ukraine.


Tuesday, February 15, 2022

New Manuscript!!

Well, finally I've managed to produce something good in my writing since this entire pandemic began. I'll admit it has not been easy to write these past couple of years, but I'm glad I persevered, because now I have a new manuscript to share!

It's entitled Skullduggery, and is a piece of historical fiction set in the 17th century Caribbean during the "golden" era of piracy.

I've started putting out my manuscript with several trusted CPs, but I'm always open to new crit partners (and always willing to gladly reciprocate). If any of you are interested in reading my latest and greatest novel-to-be, check out the blub below and drop me a line in the comments. I'm always happy to share, whether someone wants to read just a few chapters or the entire book. This one definitely feels special. I hope you enjoy your day, as I know I will:) 



1686. The Caribbean. Dante is a young, idealistic conquistador when he falls for the beautiful Isabella, mistress of the powerful, ruthless Hidalgo of the Yucatan. The jealous Hidalgo sends Dante on a suicide mission against local pirates, but the pirates capture Dante instead and force him to join their crew. The buccaneers take Dante to the pirate port of Petit Goave, full of adventurous cutthroats and alluring courtesans, but he never forgets his love for Isabella nor his hatred for the Hidalgo. When Dante purloins a map of the Hidalgo's treasure fortress of Las Marinas, the Hidalgo learns that Dante is still alive and puts a price on his head. Dante convinces the pirates to raid the Hidalgo's fortress using a secret entrance revealed on the stolen map. The race is on to reach Las Marinas, get the treasure, and rescue Isabella before the Hidalgo and his soldiers try to kill Dante and his newfound pirate friends first.   

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Book of Boba Fett

Ever a Star Wars fan, I've really been enjoying the storytelling in the newest series called "The Book of Boba Fett." I enjoyed other Star Wars series online, such as the Mandalorian, but I was surprised that some fans weren't as crazy about Book of Boba Fett. And I have a theory why.

The Book of Boba Fett feels more like an actual book, rather than a typical TV show. It follows the bounty hunter Boba Fett and his unexpected rise as a local warlord with his own sort of ethics of right and wrong in a world where nothing is what it first seems. The characters are gray, not black and white, and you really get to follow side stories of intriguing secondary characters as well. Like I said, it feels more like a book than a TV show, and that's what I like about it. Temuera Morrison's acting is really good too as the title character.

Anyhow, check it out if you like a good SciFi story with a twist of a western feel to it. New episodes come out every Wednesday on Disney+. Tiny spoiler, if you liked "Baby Yoda," he's in this series too. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Reverence for Life

Albert Schweitzer

It's been ages, but with all the ups and downs of the past months, I'm trying to get back in the blogging habit. One book I really wanted to share that's really inspired me in these troubled times is an oldie, but a goodie: Reverence for Life, by Albert Schweitzer.

A preacher, missionary, doctor, and author in the early 20th century, I found his words to be impressive and invigorating because his book stills holds up with an ever-changing world and rings with goodness and truth. Although he writes as a Christian author, I don't think one has to be Christian to get something out of his works. I found each chapter to be not only beautifully written, but intensely practical in how each of us can live our everyday lives in fulfillment and harmony with the universe around us. I was particularly struck by certain concepts that at first seemed mysterious, but made more sense as I read further. Ideas like a reverence for life is a way of life, and how even in the midst of suffering we are blessed, and many other nuggets of wisdom.

I strongly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a light at the end of the tunnel in these dark days, but also for anyone who wants to really embrace the tranquility that comes from helping others and feeding our souls by living life as it was intended. I sincerely hope you enjoy reading it.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Helping Graduating English Majors

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the past couple of years haven't been easy for anyone, but especially so for graduating college students. Fortunately, there are ways to give back and help out. Several years ago, I was tapped to join my Alma mater's English Advisory Board, and I was just down in San Luis Obispo this weekend as we brainstormed new ideas and programs to help newly graduated English Majors navigate the working world. 

As both a Technical Writer by day and a published fiction author by night, I really love helping Literature students find their way after graduation and discover how they can use their degree in order to make a life for themselves. Whether it's technical writing, marketing, teaching, fiction writing, politics, publishing, etc., there's something there for everyone. I especially enjoy giving confidence to students who perhaps though their English degree wasn't as useful as some other pursuits, such as engineering or business. I've certainly found my degrees to be both valuable and valued in the years since I graduated from university.

In these uncertain times, as we emerge optimistically into a post-pandemic world, I really think that's when people sometimes need help and encouragement the most. I'm proud to be a continuing member of the advisory board at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, and I encourage others to get involved with their former Alma maters any way that they can. After all, the most rewarding activities I've found in life are usually those in which we help others. Hope your summer is going well and that sunny days lie ahead for all of us! 


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Gereon Rath Mystery Series

I just finished reading the fifth, and latest, novel in the Gereon Rath mystery series. If you haven't had a chance to check out this historical mystery series written by Volker Kutscher, I strongly suggest it. It's also known as Babylon Berlin, after the title of the first book and the TV version available on Netflix. Although the TV version has its good points, it deviates from the books, which I consider to be much better just as they are.

The gist of it is, Gereon Rath is a police detective in Berlin in the waning days of the Weimar Republic. Communists, rising Nazis, and a host of other social issues constantly get in the way of him simply doing his job of catching thieves and murderers. Charly, a progressive young woman in the department, often teams up with him as they solve cases that powers in authority often want to see ignored. 

What really makes this series especially engaging, is that it has fantastic noir elements, but its background social commentary on Germany in the 20s and 30s really resonates in the world today. It shows how things don't rapidly change overnight for the worse, but that a frog can be boiled slowly instead, if that reference makes sense. I find it both alarming and comforting to read a mystery set in this historical time period. Mainly, because I see how the rise of fascist elements today echo certain aspects of that time almost a century ago, but I also see where we have deviated for the better, and are (hopefully) not going down the same path that a democracy like the Weimar Republic once experienced. Anyhow, check it out for yourself, I guarantee you won't be disappointed. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Renewed Optimism

I never thought I would go almost an entire year without blogging, but of course the last 12 months have been extraordinary in the extreme. It's one thing to read about history, but it's another entirely to live through it. Between a pandemic, politics, remote work, remote learning for our kids, and a whole other host of things we've all lived through over the past year, I don't need to tell you what a surreal ride it's been.

But I come to you today with a renewed sense of optimism. Most of the problems the world has confronted are still with us today, but things are changing, and for the better. I know more and more people who are getting the vaccine as literally millions around the globe continue to be vaccinated every single day. Like I said, all our problems haven't been solved, but the necessary conditions required for things to get better have come about, and that gives me a renewed sense of hope and faith.

As far as writing goes, it seems almost unthinkable to discuss literature and creative writing when people are literally dying around us or struggling to get food for their next meal. But I think it's actually necessary to continue to create and share art in the days ahead, because we don't exist simply to exist. Art is as necessary as breathing for any soul under heaven, and I hope to share more in the days ahead and to read more from all of you. 

Stay safe and keep spreading the love.