Sunday, September 29, 2019

First this: The best baseball movie ever made is--and there can be no argument about this as the film is very nearly a religious experience; the angels don't quite sing but they do play instruments (and I'm not talking about the Willie Nelson number that seemed particularly appropriate)--

The Rookie, staring Dennis Quaid. Every man should watch it at least every five years as a reminder to chase those dreams. Of course, women might enjoy it too. Quaid is perfect in the role of Jim Morris.

A reader this week said about reading Power to Hurt, "I finally understand those one things, but I don't know what they are." -- High praise indeed. She was referring to the gryphons. Apparently she had confounded the gryphons and their riders, not realizing that they were two separate species. Speaking of Power to Hurt (which I know I do often, perhaps too often) my author copies arrove arrived this week. They are, of course, beautiful. The fire-orange color reminded me of how I described the voice of one of the women in Smoke, another of my books. I read some of the latter work while making a few corrections pointed out by the gentleman I mentioned a couple weeks ago. I easily slip back into that book after reading only a small bit and have difficulty prying myself away to to take care of the tasks to which I must attend. It's certainly an enjoyable journey which beckons me with soft, sweet whispers and subtly flirtatious glances whenever I skim the pages.

I finished one book and started another this week--that's reading, not writing. This is the book I started:
I'm only to chapter 7 -- the 20% mark -- and I'm enjoying it immensely. I've never before read anything by Will Wight and I'm pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing and of the story. The writing doesn't call attention to itself (which I think is a good thing) and tells an intriguing story so far. Last month or the month before, Will Wight made a significant number of his kindle books available for free and I availed myself of the opportunity to get every one of them at that price. I hope they all prove to be as enjoyable as this one is so far. I should post a review when I finish.

I finished this book:

I also got this book for free. I found it a refreshing bit of space opera, a genre I've not touched in a few years. I like the author's style. He knows how to tell a good story. I would fault the book for the cliche of a woman in every port and the infrequent vulgar word. Otherwise, I thought it was good, better than most. While the characters didn't stand out as new and original (if that's even possible anymore), the author crafted them in a believable and fun manner that invited me to continue reading. That is something that many of the books I've picked up recently no longer do. The writer is a Vietnam war vet and this book, published in the 90's, emits the not-so-faint fragrance of Vietnam. I would give it a solid 4 stars out of 5.

Finally, what I have been writing are rules to my own skirmish game. I haven't named them yet but I believe they work for anything in the age of muskets and I'm confident they'll work for more modern weapons as well. I plan to use them with some Barsoom adventures. I first tested them with the rescue from the hangman's noose scenario that I had made for some rules which I had purchased. After playing that scenario with my new rules, I had made a few adjustments and played a scenario I'm calling "Encounter at the Docks" (that's the watery rather than the medical for those of you not tipped off by the spelling). I played it a couple times over the week and found it to be terrific--simple yet with more interesting possibilities than I found in most other skirmish rules. I should have done an AAR, but didn't take any pictures. I will another time. Note: I did not paint that figure pictured above. It is from the Redoubt Miniatures website. I, of course, did not need to note that fact as the the figure is in fact quite well painted--unlike my own slipshod workmanship.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

                                     An Interview with David J. West 
                                    AKA James Alderdice Author of:

                                                      The Brutal Saga
                                                The Dark Trails Saga
                                                In My Time of Dying
                                                   And Many More

Please tell me a little about your current work in progress.

I usually have at least three or four things I am working on at any given time. I’m currently working on a follow up to my Gaslamp fantasy MEMENTO MORI, the sixth book in my Brutal Saga- WRATH, a sequel in another fantasy series THE SERPENT CITY and playing around with a weird paranormal thriller WINE DARK SEA. I’d probably get farther if I focused better, but it’s hard to do.

Where do you get your inspiration for these books?

I’ve always been a fan of sword and sorcery, and I like the hero who fights the monster/wizard and gets the girl. With Serpent City it’s fun to play around with expectations and just who the monster is.

Do you write in more than one genre?

Always. I can’t stick to one thing.

Tell me about something that you believe makes your writing unique or worthy of attention.

I think the only way we are unique is because it is all coming through our own filter, my life and experiences, along with my influences etc. We could all read the exact same books and listen to the same music, but our life experiences make it unique. SO I accept that I work with standard tropes, but the way I tell the story is unique to me and hopefully the reader can be entertained by my own take.

But remember we are never gonna please everyone, that just not possible, so please yourself.

Is there anything about your personal history or personality that manifests strongly in your writing?

I’d like to think I have lived a full life and drawing on all the adventures I did in my teens and twenties comes in handy for characters who are now doing wild and crazy things in the books. I have camped in every kind of weather, so that comes in real handy writing weird westerns. I have traveled a lot so again that comes into play for getting the smell/feel/nuance of a place right and adding in some small piece of authenticity that you might not be able to garner from just a Wikipedia perusal. Fistfights and martial arts are also a good plus for someone who writes about fights as much as I have. I know what getting kicked in the face feels like.

What else would be helpful for readers to know about you?

I love my characters and my stories. I get excited going on the journey with them and sometimes I’m surprised at what happens to them as I’m writing. I hope that surprise is transferred and shared with the reader.

Excluding your own work, what underrated author or book would you recommend that more people read? Why?

I’m a huge fan of Robert E. Howard –(Conan the Barbarian etc) but I wish more people were aware of Karl Edward Wagner and his stories of Kane. It is savage and mystic, but the language is so lush and visceral, I can’t recommend it enough, IF you like the kind of things I write about = swords and sorcery, cursed cities and creeping dooms.

Which of your books do you most highly recommend? Why?

That’s a tough one, but for now I suppose I would say BRUTAL, because it is the most successful.

Which break, event, decision, or fortuitous circumstance has helped you or your writing career the most?

That’s hard to nail down too, but I suppose I would say, the first time I won a writing contest back in 2009. I won first prize for best first chapter in general fiction for Dance the Ghost With Me and that moment when I got feedback from 4 out of five judges on how much they loved it and wanted more gave me a lot of confidence to keep going. It also gave me the taste of one judge who absolutely hated it and thought everything I did was derivative and a rip off.  (I called the character's horse Hoss – in a western - and they thought I was ripping off Bonanza???)
It gave me balance to that success and the hard lesson that not everyone will like what you do and that’s fine. Life goes on.

What question do you wish you would get asked more often?

Where can I buy a signed copy?

Do you have a catch-phrase or quote that you like? What is it? And why do you choose it?

I don’t think I do, but I like to be funny on social media and engage with people there and only then after I have made them laugh a few times, then I share a book link. So be likeable, but be you.

  1. You use more than one pen name, don't you? What is the purpose behind that? Are you trying to associate JA with Grimdark and DW with other genres? 
I only have the one at the moment though I have plans for more with different genre’s. I like to read a little bit of everything, BUT most people read their favorite and stick with it, so when I David J. West write historical’s, horror, fantasy, science fiction and anything else I choose too, Amazon skews their algorithms and readers toward the person that buys all of those (that’s a small pool) so to coax the algorithms in my favor, I manipulate it by starting over. I came to this conclusion when I decided that I wanted to be read more than just known for name – yes it was an ego thing. So now, I’m having David West stick mostly to weird westerns – though there are still a few things out there beyond that with my name attached. I have been slowly but surely moving all my fantasy to James Alderdice (my dad’s name and maternal grandmothers name).

  1. Why do you think Brutal has done so well?

I think t did well, because I had already built up a fan base with my own name and told everyone that JA was me – but I was also able to take all I had learned of marketing and start fresh with the pen name. The pen name outsells my name by a mile. Because of starting over as it were but also its just a bigger genre that weird western.

  1. Has writing become your full-time gig or do you still hold down a day job?
 I’ve still got a day job, but am hoping to make the shift to writing only in the relatively near future.

  1. I understand that you go to many Cons. What keeps you going back? Does the financial return match the enjoyment rating?
I go because most of friends that hang with regularly are other writers and it  just a fun gathering to be with them. I also get to sign books and interact with fans and that always brightens your day. You never know when you will meet someone that your work will just resonate with. I sold a book of my short stories at this last con to a guy who started reading the first one and while he was still there, he came back and bought two more novels after that. That made my day. The financial return never matches the enjoyment rating. I would not recommend cons for the sake of making money, its just a nice byproduct of doing something you enjoy.

  1. Do you have an author web page or even an Amazon Author page address you would like to share?
I have my blog and a webpage but the most useful thing I can think to direct people too are the author pages themselves

  1. Is there anything you would tell your younger self, from say 10 or 20 years ago, if you could send that message now?
I sincerely wish I had started doing what I love sooner, instead of thinking I’ll do it when I’m older. I should have started in earnest sooner and then I would be farther along than I am now. So now I try to talk to my kids and get them focused on what matters to them earlier. And so my son Mathias (who is 14) is finally doing art for me as his breakin to the industry. He did the chapter heading illustrations for the print copies of IN MY TIME OF DYING.

There's another interview with a world famous author completed. If you are, or know someone who is, or who would like to be a world famous author with time to answer a few questions, send them my way. Literally dozens of people frequent this blog so it's really the kind of publicity that you just can't buy -- at least no has offered to buy it so far.

If you like swords and sorcery, and have not yet read Brutal, pick it up. I enjoyed it.

If you would like to read something a little less grimdark, a completely different kind of fantasy, but beyond faeries and elves, with fierce dragons and mysterious powers set in the re-imagined new world, check out my own Tomahawks and Dragon Fire series. Go to the top of the page and click on the top two books to find them on Amazon where you can read a sample.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

A gentleman this week did me a favor. Actually, I don't mean that he's only a gentleman this week; he's probably always a gentleman. It was this week that he did me the favor. I encountered him upon another site which I frequent and suggested that he read my slightly silly noir detective novel, Smoke. I made the ebook available for free on special for two days so he could get his copy. The gentleman purchased the paperback instead; he sent me some thoughts and noted a number of minor typographical errors that could use correction. (It seems that I left out several question marks and a couple words--I will correct those errors and republish both the ebook and the paperback before the end of the month). I wasn't able to rescind the special free book deal. I did no advertising of the sale and gave away over 500 books in that 2 day period. That's a new record for me. Now if only those good people who were interested enough to get the book for free will read it and post a nice review--and buy my other books.

Speaking of my other books...I did get Power to Hurt up in paperback this week. Here's the link:


It does have one review from someone who has also read the first book. The review summary: They like it. The embellished version: They will live a tormented half-life until they can get their new fantasy fix with the next book in the series. Of course, I'm reading between the lines a little.

I'm considering an audio book of the first book in the series. I need to look into the matter further before I can make a decision. Who would get the audio book?

On a completely different note, instead of mocking something I found on the internet this week, let me present something I found back in 2016 when I was looking for motorcycle gloves. Don't ask me why a motorcycle needs gloves. I don't think I got the pair described in this screenshot:

I hoped the quantity referred to 1 pair as opposed to a single glove. Although I was impressed by the "taking into account aesthetics and security" language, I was concerned that the "attached hand is not easy sliding." I wasn't sure whose hand was attached. If it wasn't easy sliding, it could obstruct my grip and I'm not sure that the "hand-dimension drop resistance protective hard shell" would be that useful in the resulting crash. Too many not easy sliding hands on the throttle are a recipe for road burn in my opinion. 

The rest of the description left me  confused. However, the poetry at the end very nearly pushed me to make the purchase: "Fingers type version with a rare song refers to the design, so that gloves fit perfectly with his hands more, feel manipulated hundred percent."

Who doesn't like to feel manipulated hundred percent? If only I knew what the rare song was, I might have been a buyer. "Flirting with Disaster" would concern me. "Easy Rider" or "Born to Be Wild" would interest me. The fact that the song was rare led me to believe it would be something that I had't heard before. Such a tune could refer to riding clouds or eating asphalt. I couldn't take the chance on the latter--or the gloves.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

I saw a boy today. I saw a boy eating bread. Today I saw a boy eating bread like I've never before seen anyone eat bread. He ascended to an entirely separate plane of existence as he consumed the bread with a passionate fervor usually reserved for far more complex fare. It was an intimate moment between lovers.

The eight-year-old boy began by opening the transparent zip-lock bag, placing his nose inside the bag and inhaling deeply, savoring the smell captured within the sleeve of plastic. The promise of flour-fueled ecstasy flooded his mind. He removed one of the two white slices and held it to his nose, again inhaling the fragrance of baked nirvana. Taking the slice in both hands, he tore three-fourths of the crust away and shoved it into his mouth. While he chewed that tasty crust, he tore the final remnant of the light brown cover from the bread segment and sent it to join its kin amid the marching grind of his dental mill.

Before the last of the crust had been swallowed, he tore the tender, pallid flesh of the portion that remained. He stuffed the torn bit of loaf into his mouth, boosting the transcendental rise with each champ of his teeth into the impotent comestible. He rent a small piece from the diminished slice and popped it quickly into his mouth. He ripped away another morsel and tucked it to his mouth before bringing the last of the slice to his lips and over the pink threshold. Nothing existed beyond the bread and the pleasure of its consumption.

He removed the second slice from the baggie. Raising it to his nose, he drew in the hearty perfume, letting it swirl among the olfactory sensors to bump the supernal experience even higher. Space and time fell away. As he once again ripped away three-fourths of the crust and plunged it into his mouth, the union of bread and boy in the expanse of existence began. The remnant of the crust followed quickly. Tearing, biting, and chewing the soft, roasted dough without relent or remorse sent him soaring beyond his own existence to the highest dimension where nothing but bread, its odor, texture and taste--the ultimate ambrosia--could be conceived or believed.

When the last pliant fragment had passed from his mouth and been sent to repose with the earlier-consumed chunks in a well-filled belly, he raised the transparent plastic sleeve to his face. He took a final, deep drag, pulling the very memory of the bread's lingering scent from the bag to become a part of his own essence. It had been good bread. It had been inestimably good bread, and he was glad.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Some days the writing flows smoothly like yarn passing through deft knitting needles; other days the experience is more akin to stapling down strips of cloth; and at other times it's like throwing globs of cooked spaghetti noodles at a sheet of paper stapled to a cat chasing a ball of rolling yarn. Each of those days are worthwhile, but some are more productive than others.

As you can see from this link here, my newest book is live at the big river site. And the first book in the series is FREE.

Here's the link to the FREE BOOK. -- for only 4 more days.

Here's the link to the SUPER LOW-PRICED SEQUEL -- only $0.99.

I really like this book. I enjoyed writing the sequel even more than writing the first book in the series. The final five chapters are worth the rest of the book (which is pretty exciting anyway). I would rather read this book than use baby chicks in place golf balls on the driving range. If that's not compassion for animals and a fine show of humanitarianism, I don't know what is. I like the cover even better than the cover of the first book--probably because the flames look a little bit like a dragon, which is entirely apropos.

As with the first book, Threading the Rude Eye, the title to Power to Hurt comes from something Shakespeare wrote. The reference is in the Author's Foreword. The first book shows today ranked at #15 in the alternate history category. Magic, Flintlocks, Dragons -- What's not to like?


Speaking of things that I may or may not like, there's this:

These have creamy peanut butter centers with the sweet succulent deliciousness of diced unicorn heart. As for the granola coating, it gets a firm "meh" from me as I like the rolled oats but something else in he mix gives it the texture and taste of gravel shards in syrup. Maybe I can make my own using just peanut butter and oats.

Instead of contemplating the taste of unicorn hearts and feeling disgusted that anyone would consider putting baby chicks to such an ill use, go read the sample pages from the two books above. You'll kick yourself if you miss this opportunity.