My latest short story "The Night the Lights Came On"

Friday, January 29, 2016

6 Goals Podcast - Episode 33

On another website I run a little podcast that's kind of for me. I don't even publish it to iTunes, but you can subscribe to it in your iTunes app. It's called 6 Goals and I just share how I've been doing on 6 Goals I set up for myself. Those 6 goals are:

  1. Six miles run
  2. Six short work outs
  3. Six thousand words written
  4. Six chapters of the bible read
  5. Six water bottles consumed a day
  6. Six sketches drawn in my sketch book
Below I've reposted the latest episode's blog post if you're curious have a listen. Thanks to Kevin MacLeod's music it's very calm and relaxing to listen to. Thanks for stopping by!

Download the .mp3

I went on a few runs. Two I've posted below, the one before that is in the last post. I recorded a podcast too! Wow has it been a long time since I've done that! I tried adding some more chill music instead of the hard rock in the background. I like it a lot more. Kind of new age and weird but I like it. Makes for an interesting sound.

Here's the stats:
2.0 miles in 20:11 minutes - 1/29/16 
2.0 miles in 24 minutes - 1/22/16

Music by Kevin MacLeod at

Cover to Sword and Urn I mentioned:

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Overpopulation, Poverty, and Energy: How Soylent Green is Still Relevant Today | Guest Post by Maria Jane

When Soylent Green first premiered in 1973, it received mixed reviews from the critics and was beaten at the box office by Charlotte's Web. However, despite this unimpressive debut, it has become a cult classic and is as relevant today as it was during its original release. Though on the surface it appears to be a straightforward science fiction movie, complete with beautiful women and fast moving action scenes, it is the underlying environmental and moral message that has led to its staying power.

The film opens with a photo montage that demonstrates wordlessly the increasingly crowded nature of our living conditions. The early photos are of small groups of people in idyllic natural settings, while by the end all that is shown is a crowded city landscape with nary a blade of grass or tree in sight. This powerful visual sets the tone for the rest of the movie, while also broadcasting a real-life warning to those watching.

The rest of the film continues this juxtaposition between reality and fiction. In this Richard Fleischer directed film, the lack of natural resources has led to extreme income inequality and most residents need government rations to even survive. Women are bought and sold like pieces of furniture and the government protects the wealthy rather than the vulnerable. Though fictional, the portrait this world paints is one that has been found throughout human history when income inequality becomes severe.

The central conflict in the film begins when a wealthy resident is killed and Detective Frank Thorn, played expertly by Charlton Heston, is assigned to the case. In the course of tracking down the man's killer, the audience is shown how degraded this alternate world's society has become. While most people barely escape starvation, the murder victim had every possible luxury at his disposal, including a young concubine named Shirl, played by Leigh Taylor-Young who is seen as just another beautiful object.

Nor does the corruption end there. The real horror uncovered by Thorn is that the rations being handed out by the government, and the only thing keeping poorer citizens from starving, are actually made out of processed human flesh. Though this product, called “Soylent Green,” was originally produced with seaweed, the plant-based ingredient has run out. While the wealthy hoard resources, the poor are being tricked into cannibalism.
At the same time that Thorn and his roommate Roth, played by Edward G. Robinson, are uncovering this horrific conspiracy, starving people are rioting at Soylent Green factories and demanding more food. Roth is so horrified by the information they've uncovered that he commits suicide, a particularly hard scene to watch as the actor himself died only days later. Thorn's final battle is to try to let the population know what is happening while avoiding assassins determined to silence him.

While certainly set in an alternate universe, the film reflected real fears about what could happen if population growth continued unchecked. At the time the film was being made, Americans were becoming increasingly aware of environmental concerns. The Clean Air Act was passed in the beginning of the 1970's and the Water Pollution Control Act was completely updated a couple years later. In fact, a laundry list of environmental laws were passed during this time, many of which are still around today. The Environment Protection Agency also came into being during this decade. One reason the film still resonates so strongly is that despite these laws environmental damage and climate change are still hugely relevant issues. According to Ohio Gas, 25 percent of greenhouse gases are emitted by the United States alone, demonstrating that despite our heightened awareness, we have not changed our behavior.

Films like Soylent Green succeed because they are able to present real issues as entertainment. Global warming has brought the dangers of fossil fuels and overpopulation back into the forefront of both political conversation and everyday concern. Though seemingly impossible now, a society like that shown in the film is in fact not so farfetched. Water shortages, food riots, and extreme income inequality are already real problems. While government sanctioned cannibalism has thus far been avoided, it may not be out of the question in a future where people have overwhelmed the planet.

This awesome article was written by Maria Jane. Click on the label Maria Jane below to find more articles on this website written by her. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sword & Urn | Cover Reveal

This year I am going to publish this novella. Other than an 11,000 word novelette it will be the first time I've published something longer than a short story and I'm really excited about it. I finished with the edits from one editor and her work really improved my book. I'm currently going through the notes from a second editor.

A couple years ago I revised this novella twice and then gave the third draft to a couple of editors. I was so excited to publish the thing. Then I got notes back from those editors. One of them had a lot of notes that lead me to believe that this book had so many things to fix that it needed a rewrite. So I kind of gave up on working more on it. I was still really proud of the story though so I published it for free on Last year I got a couple of comments on the last chapter of the book.
Thank you for sharing your tale. I enjoyed it!
quite enjoyed this yarn. 
These two comments though they may be small were all the inspiration and encouragement I needed to dive back into this novella and get it ready for publication. Just for fun, here's the original cover I created for the free Wattpad version. I think it's been much improved on. If these two guys read the entire book and liked it enough to leave these comments on the last chapter then that says to me that I have a good story here. I'm in the process of formatting it as a paperback and eBook right now. Once I get the last edits and paperback formatting done I'm going to order a proof copy and pass that around to a couple of people as an advanced reader copy. Then I'll take their feedback and make any changes that come from that - and PUBLISH THE THING! Once it's for sale as a paperback and eBook I'll be able to also turn it into an audiobook. That will be another very fun project.

Anyways thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 A Year of Reading in Review

This year I set out to read 50 books. I managed to read 56 books. Next year I'm going to shoot for 60. What were the best books I read this year? I started off by reading the first Harry Potter book in January and then read all 7 of them all the way through in a row for the first time. Every one of those books was amazing. I loved each and every one. I was very impressed with J.K. Rowling's storytelling abilities and of course absolutely loved the characters in her books. Plus they were very fun. Brilliant books. Other great books were The Martian by Andy Weir, The Giver, Storm Front by Jim Butcher (1st Dresden Files Book) and a creepy Supernatural Thriller/Crime Novel called Nocturnal by Scott Sigler. Oh also Looking for Alaska by John Green - literary fiction. Ooh and Jurassic Park. My first time reading that one. Lastly I just finished Lost Stars, the YA STAR WARS book yesterday and it was amazing! I loved it. 

So, scroll down from here and check out the covers for the books I read in 2015. It was quite a ride. This is the most books I've ever read in a year. Last year I set out to read 35 and read 42 books. You can read the blog post for those books and see their covers in the post called My Year in Reading. Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the scroll down. A big thanks to for generating these great images and for creating the Reading Challenge. I would not have read this many books had it not been for the reading challenge. I love seeing if I'm ahead or behind and seeing my meter fill up! Now to catch up on some podcasts while I wait for 2016 to start reading more books!

That's it! Hopefully there will be even more next year! Thanks for stopping by! Have a happy New Year and Happy Reading!