Sunday, January 20, 2019

Angel's Haven

Many years ago when I was a young lad my fellow siblings and I were nearly fanatical readers of comics. Not only comic books that esteemed North of 50 and I collect, but my brothers Anonymous and Gray Beard as well as Baby Sis read through the 'new' Doonesbury' comic strips. We had all the books and followed the strips daily when newspapers were still a big thing. 

From that, my early talents and desires led me to develop my own comic strip; Angel's Haven. I think I will post a few here over the weeks. When I developed the strip in was the 1980's so some of the material will most likely seem dated in today's world. I still think it is humerus and I look back fondly on those days. 

This is a strip of 'Angel and Elly', two of the main characters. The strip is an ensemble of characters that you will meet along the way. As with my writing, I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Captain's Personal Log

Captain Stuart Joseph, Starship Parras - Third Fleet

Captain’s Personal Journal: Theta 11- 6
I am by all intents and purposes a free man, at least according to the Court Admiralty. Yet I find myself questioning that designation. I am back in command of the Parras and the fleet, a combined fleet that would otherwise not be under my command. Would the Dainsleif not be nearly a crippled ship then my state would not be so dire.”
“My world has been made whole yet for the first time I feel I am a prisoner, a prisoner in my own world, a world of my making. I am captive to this ship, this command that I aspired to, that which has become the only thing that encompasses my life. Perhaps I have always been a prisoner of my own making. This opportunity to command a starship, a fleet, was a chance to bring this war to a conclusion, at least in my mind. But in my mind I now realize I have become a prisoner to it and the ghost that I have chased my entire career.”
“My entire career. I look back now and wonder why I have dragged this ghost with me. Secrets are meant to stay in the shadows, in the past, yet I have worked at every instance to shine a light into the fine cracks I have uncovered. I have shackled myself to my own unfulfilled quest but now, it seems my quest has come to light, to light at a time when I can ill afford to follow it. Perhaps it is a time of destiny, that all I have worked for should come together at a single point in time. Is this war the fulfillment of my destiny or a fallacy for my own demise? I have unwittingly written the disparate notes of this symphony. Could it be at long last, time to let it play itself out?”

“Close journal.”

From the upcoming novel Battle Wagon, book three of the Home World series.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Twas ...

... possibly one of the most recognizable words this time of year, standing on its own or in conjunction with that verse it is best known for.

This is likely my favorite posting of each year, my favorite day of the year, this day that is Christmas Eve. It has become a tradition of sorts. This is a season of hustle and bustle piled on top of the trials and tribulations of the everyday world we live in. In my profession the Christmas season the world is a hectic place. For nearly four decades I have lived and worked through this busy cycle. Perhaps that is why Christmas Eve is so special to me. All the chaos is finished.

What awaits me this eve is the beauty of a fully trimmed tree that stretches to the sky. This year My Beloved and I have six red stockings hanging from the wooden mantle that runs the length of the fireplace. It is a cozy world though we dare not let the warmth of a fire make its way from the painted bricks, it might melt the secret chocolate that hides deep within the toe of a stocking.

It is a peaceful evening we spend this night together, our house quiet with the absence of a mischievous child. That will change quickly in the morning as Christmas Day explodes in a torrent of wrappings and squeals as presents litter the floor. Some traditions linger for years while others are short-lived. Those are often replaced by new traditions as we age and our families entwine with others. One of my favorite reminiscences from the days of my youth is the wrapping paper photo with my siblings. After all the presents were given out the paper would be piled in the middle of the floor and we would all dive beneath the pile. Our heads would be sticking out and our beloved Aunt Esther would take a picture of us all.

But tonight is the night I relish, the quiet, the scenery of Christmas, the wreaths, the lights and pine garland hanging gently above the red stockings. This is a night it all comes together and I am at peace. Would that it were snowing...

Christmas is a day that is for families, yet we must remember it was begun by a certain family two thousand years ago. They are the real reason for this season, the reason we celebrate family. My decorated tree is a relic of pagan customs, but those customs are blended with the traditions we now hold true and dear. It is a merging of a different kind of family, but a family none the less. We are here for one reason.

I wish all those tonight a very Merry Christmas. My your Christmas Eve be cheerful and filled with love and family.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Living in the past

Retail Boy (okay, that's me) did the unthinkable today and went to a store on a holiday. It is quite frankly something I am loathe to do. In this day and age the economic advantage drives the world. It is something I have understood and known for many years. Nearly everything we do as a society, a culture or the world for that matter is driven by some economic force.

This morning I ventured into a Kroger store to buy a newspaper. Although I will be at work tomorrow morning for the dreaded Black Friday, a holiday that seems to be revered more than Thanksgiving in this country, My Beloved wanted a newspaper to see all the ads. In the past, would that have been a tragedy? Hardly. Now to be fair, she's not much of a Day After shopper but due to my work she is often alone on this weekend. While I was there I picked up some cinnamon rolls for her as they are her favorite. It's the least I can do for someone who will be doing the bulk of the cooking today, even though I will do most of the cleaning up. In the past anything we missed would have been put off to the next day.

To that end many of the traditions we have known over the years, those that in my lifetime I have grown up with have fallen to the economic axe. As I walked around the grocery store it didn't look to me like any other random Thursday morning at a Kroger. There were some smiles from the staff and others who were simply busy going about their job, unfortunately a day where they should be home to sit back from the bustle of the everyday world. Thanksgiving to so many is just another day, nothing special at all. While those who aren't part of the critical workforce such as police, fire, hospitals are sitting at home doing what they choose, too many are at work in retail and restaurants who really shouldn't have to be there.

It all started with the advent of the BankAmericard. You know, the commercially first credit card to hit the mainstream. For the first decade or so it was a benefit that likely added to the holiday traditions and festivities. Now however we have all become slaves to the spending and complications that have come with it all. Now I know everyone didn't have the traditions I grew up with, a Thanksgiving meal with family, a traditional Christmas growing up with Mass at church and Christmas carols put on the record player without being shoved down our ears beginning November 1st. But what we have lost in this chaos is not just traditions of the past but we are on the verge of losing those traditions for the future, the family we foster and love.

Traditions once lost may never be rekindled and that is the sadness in this seasons holidays which are quickly becoming just another day.

May your Thanksgiving Day be relaxing and calm and my your turkey be moist and your potatoes be fluffy. And if you've never heard of frozen salad, look it up.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Tag it

There isn't much in life that genuinely irritates me, you know, the small things. I don't care where the dishes are stored in the cabinets, well, at least if I can find them when I have to put them away. I don't care how the furniture is arranged in the room. I don't care how many pillows are on the bed, or on the couch, or on a chair. I don't care where we decide to put rugs on the floor, or even if we need them or not.

Okay, so what's the point of this ramble you ask? I hate tags. Yup, tags. Tags that are still attached to pillows, tags that are still attached to blankets. Tags that are still attached to the rugs that are scattered about the house. Tags that are attached to just about anything.

What's the point of them? Okay, they're required by law so the stuffing inside isn't dead rat hair. I get it. But, do you still have a tag sticking out of a pillow that's on your bed? Let me guess; you bought that pillow over five years ago. Have you washed it? Did you read the instructions on the tag before you tossed it in the washer? Maybe once, but if you actually have washed it more than once you didn't read the tag the second time or any time after that.

All that tag now does is stick out the side of the pillow, or the rug, or the towel and ruin the picture perfect image you have crafted for your abode. All the pretty stacked pillows on the bed, all the patterned rugs that tie your decor choices together are ruined by a stupid, overly-long white tag with verbiage that sticks out and looks completely out of place. You know what else it does? It hits you in the neck when you lean against it; it flops across your cheek and just generally irritates the hell out of me. At every turn I just want to rip them off.

It's time we had a revolution in this it it off. You won't read the washing instructions on it anyway.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Admiral Duley Connor

I don't post many excerpts from my books here but every now and then, what the hell ...

From Ghost Fleet: book 2 of the sci-fi Home World Series

     The darkness was offset by the two glistening moons as they paraded across the night sky, their light casting a shimmering cloak over the starlight behind them. Below, the charcoal colored buildings of Fleet Main absorbed the reflected light from the rare, twin full moons. Fleet Main was planted on the outskirts of Galway, the most populace city of New Caledonia. With its placement negotiated in the formative years of the Home World alliance it had become the central core for the defense of the alliance.
     Admiral Duley Connor was doing his best to clean up his desk before he retired for the night, and things weren’t going well. He was the command lead for three of the nine Home World fleets, and his were the most successful. They often had the lead for the heaviest Lorilon engagements and his Third Fleet was currently in the midst of the fight. He hadn’t received transmissions from Stuart Joseph in over three days. He leaned back and tossed his pen on the desk.
     “Damn him.” Duley Connor had a distinguished career running breakneck up the ranks. He flew by officers who had more experience, more connections. But they weren’t always the right connections. On his way up he learned to work the system but along the way, he’d changed. He looked out the wall of dark windows into the night, his office overlooking the central pools of the ringed courtyard. He could see his reflection framed in the windows against the dark sky. He pushed his fingers through his thinning silver hair. Those heady days of running up the ladder were gone. Somewhere along the line with the glad-handing and deal making he became more of a politician in a uniform than a leader of men.
     He pushed himself away from his desk letting his tired gaze fall on the orange moon of Mourne, her rocky reflection in sharp contrast to her pale sister Gullion’s soft light. Joseph was stalling. He was sure of it.
     “What the hell is he waiting for?” Connor asked himself aloud. “Because he ignored my direct order.” A sharp knock on his partially opened door grabbed his attention, pulling his thoughts back into the room.
     “What is it Mairead?” Duley turned his chair slightly, angling it toward his assistant. “I thought I told you to go home hours ago. It’s almost tomorrow.”
     “I just needed to get some of my own work caught up too. Sir, a communique from Third Fleet, eyes only.”
     “Really!” Duley’s eyes shot up in surprise. “About damn time!” He pushed himself away from his desk and stared at the huge com panel on the wall. The bottom of the glass screen was nearly pristine in its blackness except for the single red dot that pulsed twice in three second intervals. He was standing in front of the panel moments later. He placed his hand over the bio-sensor and the unit responded immediately.
     “Connor, Duley. Authorization accepted.”
     “Computer, open eyes only communication. Authentication alpha 3 zeta.”
      Connor listened to the brief message in its entirety, his head down, his arms crossed. His longtime friend was hard to read even in person. A long distance communique made it even more difficult. As Joseph’s words fell away Duley reached out touching the now-black panel shutting it down. He turned and walked to the dark windows and looked up again to the celestial chariots racing across the night sky. Joseph was possibly the best fleet commander in the Alliance, and his friend, but now, he had no choice.

I hope you enjoyed this passage. All my books can be purchased from any of the major ebook sites including iTunes, Amazon, Kobo and Barnes and Noble.

If you enjoyed any of my books I encourage you to leave a positive review on the site where you purchased it. It's one way writers are able to help market their work.

Thank you.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Generational battles

We all belong to one generational label or another. I suppose it is natural as we age; we become parents and somewhere along the line give birth to the next wave. With that, we love them, hold their hands while they grow up and somehow educate them along the way until we turn them loose into the world.

Then a funny thing happens; we criticize their generation. And before anyone gets on their high horse, it's not just my generation that does this. virtually each generation becomes critical of the next. They think they are stupid, lazy, no work ethic, essentially none of the traits their own generation had. The older generation is sure the next will ruin the world, or, at least their part of it.

You know what is really odd about this is there is nothing that one generation can point to to lay the blame on the next (or the one after that)...until now!

I had a revelation today about why the upcoming generations don't measure up ... I blame it on Friends! Yes, Friends, the television show!!

Look at it this way. What was this show about other than a group of friends hanging out in an apartment or a coffee shop? These characters basically did nothing all day long and still had all the perks of daily life. Other than Ross who held a permanent day job, none of them seemed to actually work and have a steady job. Joey was a struggling actor, Chandler had an office job of sorts but never actually seemed to be there, and the women just seemed to bounce from one dead end job to another, yet they seemed to have every convenience imaginable. Even their apartments were well furnished and spacious, and for a city the size of New York, there's no way they could have afforded to live in them.

The Millennial generation grew up watching this show. It molded their habits and their behaviors. They became ingrained. They believed they could sit around doing nothing and still have all the modern perks and comforts everyone expects to have in this modern world. The older generations currently listen to younger ones complaining about everything imaginable. They feel they are entitled to _________(fill in the blanks). Everything should just be given to them because they deserve it. Mind you, they often haven't earned it, but, that's just beside the point.

There are many who work hard and take nothing from others they didn't earn, they go out and do it themselves to forge their way in the world, but the percentage of that group to the whole is shrinking quickly.

Thanks Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey and Ross.