Wednesday, July 15, 2015

All of my books in one place

In an attempt to step up advertising for the works I have for sale, here's a list of all of them. I'll be re-posting this frequently for anyone who happens to find my stuff here as a convenient way to find the rest of it.

First novel in a post-cyberpunk series set a few decades from now in a city built from the ground up by a group of mega-corporations. It follows the adventures of a young man with cybernetic eyes, his bioengineered girlfriend, and their roommate, as they stumble onto a data-smuggling plot that could cost them their lives before they can find a way out. Meanwhile, their daughter and son arrive from the future on a mission to avert a disaster that destroyed the city and killed millions of people.

A novella taking a humorous look at three newly-recruited government agents in a love triangle in their off-duty hours. Set between the novels, Load and Fifteen Minutes"
Jack, Corona, and Taura are ordered to lay low for a few days while waiting for the dust to settle after the events of Load. This story offers a glimpse into their off-duty lives--how they deal with their temporary home (a safe house that might be best described as a "fixer-upper"), what they do to pass the time, and the growing love triangle between the three of them.

Fifteen Minutes
In the sequel to Load, Jack, Corona, and Taura begin their first job for a dodgy government agency which not only opens a can of worms that they may not survive, but also lands them in the weirdest situation they've ever faced--an audience watching their every move. At the same time, their future-daughter tracks a fugitive wanted for a crime he didn't commit, and finds herself facing down an assassin who can't be killed.

An ongoing serialized story: A space station's maintenance crew and part of its security team are zapped through a space/time rift and stranded somewhere across the stars.
All volumes available on Kindle, beginning with Vol. 1:

Game Over
Dylan Engstrom awakens in a strange place and finds himself surrounded by aliens. Before he can begin to understand what happened, he and a few others are forced to fight in a series of combat scenarios. They form a strong bond during their traumatic experiences, but still must figure out what's happening and escape before they're all killed ... again ... and again ... and again .…
Available from the following:

GI Joe: Omega Section, Vol. 1 – Reactivated
Several decades from now, the terrorist organization known as Cobra is long gone and GI Joe disbanded. But suddenly, from out of nowhere, former members of GI Joe are targeted for assassination all over the world. The survivors must regroup, prevent assassinations that haven't already gone down, figure out what's happening, and fight back. 
Living legends join with new heroes to rebuild the GI Joe unit, merging into it a new organization called Omega Section and adding its personnel and equipment to the team. Together, they find themselves fighting an old enemy suddenly reborn -- Cobra is rising again, and GI Joe has been reactivated.
Available from Kindle Worlds:

Mission to Bellatrix
Kolya Mason, a young adventurer with a badly scarred face, has been hitchhiking on starships for several years. Now, she boards a ship leaving Terran-controlled space for the first time, joining a science team investigating the reappearance of a long-lost spacecraft. She's accompanied by a gorgeous young man who insists on tagging along ... but what's he up to? Is he genuinely attracted to her, or does he have some other agenda?
Wrong Place, Right Time
One hot summer night in the spaceport city of Gos Duronan on the planet Tevsa, populated by the alien mulathi and a handful of other species, Trent Lockwood began a typical night of exploring the city his family had moved into a few months previously. Tonight, however, he had no idea what was in store. Wandering into the wrong part of town at the exact right moment, he found himself presented with an opportunity that he'd be a fool to pass up. So began the adventures of an alien gigolo .…

And if I may make a request of those who have already read any of the above books, if you'd post a review on its purchase page, I'd very much appreciate it. Might help boost sales. Thank you in advance. ^_^ 

Monday, July 13, 2015


Naturally, the first broadcast I tried just to see if I could get the software to work ... had some problems. Tried keeping the video quality high, but my connection couldn't handle it, so I had to reduce the quality. That lasted for a while, but finally it crapped out, too. Luckily, I was able to wrap it up just before it fizzled out.

And luckily, the video was successfully archived here. I'm planning to edit out the bits where not much is happening, and keep the highlights. There's an especially hilarious moment at around 24 minutes in, if I remember correctly. XD

New CPU cooler and new video

After several years of my computer's processor overheating and shutting down, I finally couldn't stand it anymore, and installed a closed-loop liquid cooling system. A little under a week ago, it did the overheat/shutdown thing and then wouldn't reboot. I had to run a startup repair to get it working, and that freaked me out a little. I figured I should get it over with while I actually had enough money. Cleaned out my savings account to do it (grand total of $59, which is sad in itself). Still kind of feel like I shouldn't have spent the money, but the overheating problem seems to have been solved now, so a little peace of mind is worth the expense.

Now I can start catching up on a few things I haven't been able to do recently for fear of having the computer shut down right in the middle of something. Like this:

More to come soon.

Also, I'm thinking about trying to broadcast on Twitch again, if I can get the software to work. Last time I tried it, I could never get it to work. Going to try different broadcast software this time and see what happens.

For future reference, the link to my stream:

Friday, July 3, 2015

Some thoughts on bullying

This'll be a bit more off-topic than I usually get here, but I just saw something on YouTube that kind of hit close to home.

I was bullied almost every day in elementary and junior high, just because I wore glasses, was physically weaker than almost everyone else, and didn't care about sports ... and as a result I was never able to fit in no matter how hard I tried. I was much more interested in reading and writing and sci-fi movies and TV shows, so that made me a "nerd" and a target of relentless bullying. It was only occasionally physical, most of the time it was just constant verbal harassment and threats and insults. And when you're only six or seven or eight years old, that hits as hard as any punch. Add to that the fact of the bullies being physically stronger than you, and that leads to constant fear of being pounded into the floor if you try to fight back.

For a while I did what I was always told to do: tell the teacher when someone wouldn't leave me alone. Most of the time, that made no difference at all. The teachers would just shrug and say, "I have to catch them in the act before I can do anything." The problem was, they almost never caught the bullies in the act. Those little fuckers were masters of avoiding being caught. They had that shit down to an art. So they almost never got caught, and my grades suffered because I was too busy being distracted by kids hurling insults at me, or threatening to beat me up or stab me in the back with a pencil, or throwing things at me. All because I wasn't exactly like them. That made me a target, and once they found out that they could get under my skin, they never let up. It would sometimes get to the point where the sheer frustration and rage would make me start crying, and then those evil bastards would zero in on that and step the bullying up a few more notches.

So, telling the teachers what was going on didn't work most of the time. And a few times, the teacher actually accused me of lying. When I tried to follow the rules and do the right thing, one teacher actually said, "Stop telling me things that aren't true." Another time, a girl was picking on me without letup. Nothing I said convinced her to stop, and I'd always been taught that it was wrong to hit a girl. So I walked over to the teacher, told him what was going on, and asked him to make her leave me alone. What did he do? He yelled across the entire classroom at her and told her to stop picking on me. As you can probably guess, this resulted in every other kid in the class pointing at me and laughing their asses off. All it did was make me an even bigger target.

Eventually I realized there was no point in trying to get teachers to stop what was happening. They would either just not believe me, or their actions would make things even worse. After that, I tried to do another thing I was told all the time -- "just ignore them." Which didn't work at all, either. The more I tried to ignore them, the more determined they became to break me.

Another thing I was told fairly often was to just fight back. If some kid won't leave you alone, just knock him onto his ass. In fact, when my family was packing up to move out of that town, one of the reasons we left being the constant bullying I had to endure, one of my parents' neighbors asked me why we were leaving. I started to explain that one of the reasons was most of the school picking on me. He interrupted and told me that was a bunch of bullshit and I should just kick their asses.

Well, on the very rare occasions when I finally snapped and tried to fight back, that was the moment the teachers would finally turn around and look at the kids and see what was happening. They'd see me retaliating against a bully, without seeing the bully's actions that prompted it, and punish me for instigating something or "responding inappropriately." Which would not only show the bullies that they could get away with their constant abuse, but that their victim would be punished for defending himself.

Leaving that aside for a moment, there was a whole other problem. It was usually me against a dozen or more bigger, stronger kids in the class. I knew even when I was a little kid that the only way fighting back against them could've ended was with me being beaten within a quarter-inch of my life. So ... telling the teachers only made it worse. Trying to ignore it only made it worse. And fighting back only made it worse.

I pretty much had a complete breakdown near the end of eighth grade. I shudder to think what might've happened if I'd had access to a gun when I was that age. I certainly spent enough time thinking up extremely violent revenge fantasies. But guess what? Acting on those impulses would've only made things worse. So I was screwed no matter what.

And it never ended until my family moved to a different town, a town which turned out to be a pisshole in its own right, but it was still a step up from the one I grew up in, and I didn't have to put up with bullying from the other kids anymore. There, the bullying came from certain members of the school's staff, so it was kind of like ... I was in a different toilet, but it was still the same old shit.

And it continues into adulthood. Since the pisshole town I lived in is populated mostly by the meanest, most abusive excuses for human beings you could have the misfortune to encounter (they're not all bad; a small handful of the people in that town are very close friends, and there's probably a few dozen out of the whole population who are decent people ... but the rest, I learned over the next twenty years after landing my first job, if they were on fire I wouldn't even piss on 'em to put the fire out), the bullying just took on different forms from different sources. For the most part, it was the customers I had to deal with every day -- rude, condescending, snappy, entitlement-whores who would flip out over the slightest thing no matter how friendly and polite I was, and I didn't dare say anything in my own defense out of fear of losing my job. As much as I hated working in those places, I had to pay my rent and put food on the table. Those bastards knew that -- they knew none of us could push back too much -- and they took advantage of it every chance they got.

There were also a few managers in my previous job who were bullies. A couple of them had a habit of yelling at their employees on the sales floor, right in front of other employees and customers. One of them did that to several employees and they all turned her in to the store management. Nothing was ever done about it. The reason she was eventually fired was someone caught her smoking pot in her truck in the employee parking lot. At least they finally gave her the ol' heave-ho ... but it still angers me that she was tossed because someone caught her sparkin' up a doob, and not because she was a raging asshole who thought it was okay to scream at and berate the people under her where everyone else could see it.

So, once again ... different toilet, same old shit.

I finally got so sick of all the crap barraging me day after day after day there that I snapped and walked out in the middle of a shift. After thinking long and hard about it, I decided to get far, far away from that cesspool of a town, and moved 1,300 miles away to a city where the climate is much dryer and hotter and not severely depression-inducing. This place is the exact opposite in both climate and in population, at least as far as I've experienced so far. The people I've met have mostly been friendly and easygoing, and the rudeness I've encountered has been the exception, not the rule.

After moving, and applying for jobs for eight months, I finally got hired for a job that only pays $5/hour and is destroying my car. Spent two years applying for better jobs, and have never even landed another interview. Still, it's barely paying the rent so far. But I learned recently that one of the company's local higher-ups likes to yell and berate employees right in front of everyone else. And y'know what? If he ever does that to me, I'm out of there, and damn the consequences. After putting up with that shit for almost my entire life, I've had enough. There are some things I simply won't tolerate anymore.

So. Maybe ignoring it works for some people. Maybe fighting back works for some people. I don't know. In my case, nothing worked, and my family had to move to another town to get me away from the kid bullies. And then I finally had to move to a different state to get away from the adult bullies. This many miles away from them, in all likelihood I'll never have to see any of those fucking scumbags ever again. I've finally escaped them. But that doesn't change what I had to endure as I was growing up and, later, trying to make a living. It doesn't change the toll all of that bullying took. It doesn't take away the pain that's still with me to this very day. As much as I manage to "forget" about it, every now and then something comes along and reminds me, and all the misery and frustration and rage comes back full force.

As stated in the video above, bullying has a lasting effect. In some cases, like mine, a permanent effect. Some things you can't just "get over," even when it's something that happened decades ago. Obviously I was never pushed to the point where I decided to take my own life ... but there were moments when (the bullying combined with other things in my life that made me absolutely miserable) it crossed my mind, and sometimes I shudder to think what might've happened if one of those kids had pushed me that one step too far.

The bullying happened over thirty years ago. And then I see a video like the one above, and see that nothing has really changed. Little kids can be so vicious, so ... predatory. And when the adults who are in a position to stop it just shrug it off or punish the victim, it can lead to disaster. And when it does, they say things like, "How could this happen?"

The victims know goddamned well how it happens. And it will continue until those who are in a position to do something about it stop turning a blind eye and actually step in.