Every author knows cover reveals are exciting. This is the fourth book design I’ve purchased through Pro Book Covers. They just keep getting better.I remember how excited I was to see Dragon Badge. The first time is always special. When I saw Enemy of Man, it took my breath away because it fit the story perfectly. Sometimes in life, you actually get more than you hope for!Now I am looking at Son of Orlan with fresh inspiration. Soon my editor will return her comments. Facing the final revision strikes terror in the boldest author, but I can’t wait. The release date has been set for August 1st, but I should be done before then. (It’s always good to pad the schedule a little when it comes to polishing 85,000 words.)I hope you like this cover as much as I do and will consider reading the Chronicles of Kin Roland series.
Cover Real set for May 30th, 2014
The second book in the Chronicles of Kin Roland series has been a long time coming. The first draft flowed through the keyboard like a gift from the imagination. However, I’ve dedicated myself to writing the best I possibly can. The Son of Orlan has been edited and revised more than anything I’ve published. The release date has yet to be set. I’m waiting on a final round of editor’s comments and beta reader feedback before finalizing the manuscript. (Samantha LaFantasie edited Enemy of Man, and has graciously agreed to do the same for book two.)The new cover by probookcovers.com looks great and I can’t wait to share it. This Friday, the intensely visual artwork will be on display for Enemy of Man fans to drool over.SON OF ORLANKin Roland survived the Battle of Crater Town. He managed to keep his friends alive, though most remained at his side on Crashdown when the safe course would have been to evacuate with Earth Fleet. Kin even found the girl of his dreams.Surviving Earth Fleet justice and a Reaper vendetta was only the beginning. Now Kin has real trouble. With the Grand Army of the Mazz Empire descending on the planet to destroy ancient enemies and Reapers sweeping across the landscape leaving terror and death in their wake, Kin learns the truth of his supposedly invincible enemies. The largest military expedition in history isn’t that of of a conquering force. The Mazz are on the run–fleeing extinction and Kin knows desperate enemies are dangerous.Kin will find himself in a position no one expected. He’ll define humanity with his next choice, or doom them eternally.If you are new to the series, please check out book one: Enemy of Man
Book Reviews from the Moon: A World on Fire
A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War revealed aspects of the historical period I hadn’t been exposed to in other books. The author, Amanda Foreman, describes key events I have read in other books on the Civil War, but also shows the surprising effect on England and other parts of the world.I vaguely remember some of the stranger attempts at holding the Union together, but this book made my eyes pop open. Secretary of State William Henry Seward attempted a novel tactic at the beginning of the war, namely, he raised the specter of a potential foreign war in the belief the Confederate States would rejoin the Union out of a sense of nationalism. The potential disaster of this course of action can barely be imagined.A World on Fire also recounts the tale of the CSS Alabama and how much of the world seemed fascinated by the ship and crew’s exploits. The book explained how many people in England supported the Confederacy despite their hatred of slavery.I had also never read about Confederate operations from Canada, nor seen a detailed account of the conscription of English citizens on both sides of the war.A World on Fire follows the lives of colorful characters, some noble, some not so much.The audiobook version is narrated by Dean Robertson, who does a good job and is easy to listen to.This is definitely a book to read. Civil War history has always interested me, and I plan to re-read previous books and search for new discussions of the topic.
The People You Meet
I’ve met some great people since my entrance into the world of social media; readers, novelists, and bloggers from all walks of life. One of the excellent sites I follow is Consuming Worlds. Several of her blog posts have mentioned an author named Steven Montano. She refers to him as one of her favorite authors, and I keep adding his books to my wish list. Like most readers with two jobs and a single income family of six, my to-be-read pile is long and new entries are serious business.Today I pulled the trigger and picked up a Kindle copy of Blood Skies, which to my delight, was free. I have no idea if this is a perma-free book to introduce the series or if I just got lucky. I have no affiliation with Mr. Montano other than Danielle’s persistent recommendations of his writing. Please check back for my review and be patient. I’m a slow reader. When I spend time in the pages, I daydream my way through the story. That’s why I have a high standard for what I read. If you follow my blog (or followed my previous blog Scott Moon Blog) then you know I listen to a lot of audio books, because I need stories and driving is a big part of my life.Anyhow, I will be participating in the cover reveal of Vampire Down: Book 7 in the Blood Skies series. My review of the first book should be done by the beginning of July. With luck, I might score a guest post from Steven Montano during his blog tour.If you would like to participate in the cover reveal for Vampire Down, please visit Danielle’s site here.Thanks for stopping by.
Two Great Tools for Writers
Perhaps there are writers craving competition with the intensity of a mixed martial arts superstar. And maybe pigs will fly to the moon and eat cheese. The sad reality is that more books are published now than any time in history, but there is good news. Tools exist to help authors stand out from the crowd.Nothing exists to replaced imagination or a skilled editor. The editing tools I am about to describe require time, effort, and don’t replaced professional eyes and the red pen that follows. Serenity Software: Editor and Pro Writing Aid can help deliver a superior product to a paid editor that should spend less time on the manuscript and thus reduce the overall fee.With luck, a writer can pull ahead of the crowd by concentrating on craft and evocative storytelling. Marketing can sell anything, but readers won’t purchase a second mediocre book.First impressions count.
Why I like Serenity Software: EditorThis program is great for finding usage errors and cleaning up diction. It is especially helpful for locating compound words and those that need to be compound words. Serenity brings consistency and can be used in Word.The price is reasonable, and is a one time expense, unlike Grammarly. Which I haven’t tried yet, and thus can’t review. The monthly fee is a bit daunting.
Grammarly has a free option that includes contextual spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Sentence structure, style, vocabulary use, and the palgerism check cost extra.
Why I like Pro Writing AidThis tool works online. It highlights targeted writing issues and offers suggestions. The writing style check will show adverbs in bright colors making it easy to spot problem areas in a manuscript. The cliches and redundancies check is nice. There is a passive word index and repeated word program just to name a few features.Pro Writing Aid also has an affiliate marketing program, which I have elected not to pursue. Some authors advocate affiliate marketing as a way to bolster total income, but my brief experiment with it seemed a waste of time that could have been spent writing.Smartphone TipI discovered a neat trick that allows me to review documents on my smart phone.Simply run Pro Writing Aid on a PC in Google Docs, then pull the file up on a smartphone when you can’t be at your computer. The highlighted words will remain visible for consideration. For my current work-in-progress, the Son of Orlan (book two in the Chronicles of Kin Roland) I’ve used both Serenity and Pro Writing Aid. Soon it will be ready for the eyes of Samantha LaFantasie, the editor of Enemy of Man.In future blogs I will discuss these tools in greater detail. Please share your experiences with these and other productivity tools in the comments section. I know I can use all the help I can get.Let’s write great stories and represent the growing ranks of professional indie authors.
Pro Writing AidRepeated Words Check
Pro Writing AidMenu
Enemy of Man(Science Fiction)Link
Patrick Rothfuss, best selling author and cool guy
Patrick Rothfuss spoke at the 2013 Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc. conference and gave a presentation on world building. Truly a fun guy; he treated everyone with respect and was open about how he writes and develops his stories. His story should be familiar to most writers. A lifelong fan of fantasy, he read extensively. At some point, he began writing and refused to quit, spending years honing his craft before being published. I read his first novel, The Name of the Wind, about a year ago. My TBR list is a mile deep, but I am moving book two, The Wise Man’s Fear, to the top. I think I will read The Name of the Wind again though, since it has been awhile.
I Am Shutting Up and Reading
(re-posted from Goodreads)Blue Hearts of Mars is the first book I have signed to read in the Shut Up and Read Group. This is the first YA Science Fiction novel I have read and I am enjoying it so far, which should not be surprising, since it has made it to the quarter finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest.I am a slow reader, or more accurately, a distracted reader. (I currently have three fiction books going and one book on writing. And I am, of course, working on my latest WIP, working, and raising a famly. Not in that order.)The deadline for this book, by the Shut Up and Read group rules, is May 2. So I guess I better stop blogging and start reading.
A Short Motorcycle Video
I rode to the book store on the Road King, testing the camera, which had too much wind in the audio recording. I added some music from the samples that came with the computer.
Life, the Feedburner-verse, and Everything
Two weeks ago I started using one Google document to keep track of blog ideas. Yes, I began journaling, though my Google doc journal looks more like a pile of notes than anything readable. There are half-formed revelations, idea snippets typed in with my phone, and cut-and-paste URL sites that I found useful.I know balance is important, but so is completing projects and meeting goals. Work, family, and various bucket list hobbies have a way of skewing everything out of whack, meaning I neglected all of these things to finish edits on a book I have been polishing six months past my self-imposed deadline. In my defense, I took a break to complete book two in the Dragon Badge series and outline a few projects for later.I hate the term “bucket list” by the way. My life has always been one big bucket list. My motto: Live in the Bucket.Try this experiment. Learn to play the guitar. Count how many times people say to you, “I wish I could learn how to play the guitar.” When you reach 1,000 you can stop counting. Maybe it is just a polite thing people say to artists / writers / musicians. “I would like to write a novel / play an instrument / paint a children’s book, but I’m responsible and you’re crazy.”“Forget all about that macho **** and learn how to play a guitar.” (John Mellencamp)Next week, I will be more organized. (This is not a personal affirmation; this is what I am going to actually do.) Next week’s Google doc is prepared by subject and I will divide my time accordingly. Work and family get the most, whether they like it or not. Writing takes the vast majority of the rest, but the April 12th Crossfire gig must be addressed—more guitar practice please.Most of all, I am going to spend more quality time with my family.WritingThis week I pushed hard to complete revisions of Enemy of Man. It has been a long journey, starting with the first (and only) screenplay I wrote and then novelized. Backwards? Of Course! The original novel was 55,000 words and a lot of fun. I published on Lulu, the most recent edition being in 2006. Years later, I pulled it from Lulu and started again. Many people, friends and family enjoyed it, but I thought it need more.I edited and revised, but after learning from the many books on writing I have studied since then, I decided on a complete re-write. I focused the plot, strengthened the characters, and wrote this book like it owed me money (in a fun way).Now I am putting the final touches on EOM before sending it to my editor. I feel I have come a long way on this self publishing journey. Every step is fascinating and I am fairly sure the road ahead winds through magical realms (or science fiction in the case of EOM).On a side note, my computer auto updated as I sat typing, having risen early before the family’s regular spring break reveille to complete chapter 36. Let me just click over to my thumb drive and make sure everything saved. YES! Everything saved.I think I will now work backward from chapter 36 so that editing fatigue does not leave the first part of the book more polished than the end. Serenity Editor: go!NutritionI drink too much Diet Coke. My philosophy has been that if drinking diet soda is really that bad for a person, I would be dead by now. A case of Diet Coke a day is not uncommon for me; less than six 12 oz cans gives me a headache and lethargy (big time). Many sources suggest that diet soda causes sweet cravings by skewing a person’s sense of what is and what is not sweet.A few weeks ago I radically cut my diet soda intake for two days. When I returned to drinking diet soda, I realized that I was always craving chocolate and other sugary snacks. There may be something to this argument about diet soda and the sweet tooth. In the past, I recognized the plausibility of such arguments, but dismissed them as mildly annoying. Today I start drinking more water and less soda.For my next trick, I will stop eating all the free snacks that magically show up at work. I tore up some rice crispy, chocolate, marshmallow things someone brought in.FitnessI began this week determined to work on joint mobility and flexibility, because patrolling in a squad car for hours and going home to sit at a computer for hours does bad things to your back, knees, feet, and basically everything that bends or holds weight.The first four days went well. After that I stared at a computer screen, reading, editing, running the Serenity Editor, and reading again. This week should be different, I have a plan and fresh determination to find balance.INSANITYST 3-16-13 Cardio Recovery 33 min (Bare feet/ mat)SN 3-17-13 Pure Cardio 38 min (Bare feet/ mat)M 3-18-13 Plyometric Cardio Circuit 42 min (Bare feet/ mat)T 3-19-13 Rest RestNOTE: I really feel like I have accomplished something at the end of each workout. #Increased #confidenceBrazilian Jiu JitsuBrazilian Jiu Jitsu took a back seat to writing again this week, but I made time to study instructional videos (Roy Dean Blue Belt Requirements) and watched some MMA on television.Why is earning a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu such a big deal?The standards are high in most BJJ schools. A practitioner must actually be able to make the techniques work to advance in rank. Competition is part of the evaluation process, but a good instructor makes day to day assessments of students and guides them toward solutions. Winning a match, even a big match, is not the only way to earn the next belt up, but it helps.Time on the mat counts. Most schools I have visited suggest that a blue belt takes one hour of class time, three times a week, for a year to earn a blue belt. That is roughly 150 hours of hands on practice. Many other martial arts will give you a black belt and allow you to start your own school in the same amount of time.BJJ is also an excellent self defense tool, the advantage being the ability to restrain an individual without hurting them more than is reasonable necessary. Striking and weapons are martial arts skills needed in a life and death fight, and you must always be ready to mix it up, but many confrontations can be handled on a lower level, i.e. holding an aggressive individual down until authorities arrive.
Since I am currently unable to make it to the gym, I have unpacked my copy of Jiu-Jitsu University bySaulo Ribeiro. I have several of Ribeiro’s videos also.This week: more drills, videos, and books. TechnicalMany people have told me they could not sign up to follow my blog at www.Scottmoonwriter.com even though I have an RSS feed widget in the blog. One of my newest tweeps, @KL_Toth , did some research and found a Weebly email subscription help link for my problem. We had been discussing the issue on Twitter and I decided to explore Blogger or Wordpress for my blog(s) and use Weebly more for my web site landing page. Then, without my having to ask, she found the Weebly help link I had searched for but never located. You can meet some great people on Twitter. I started following her Creative Expressions blog.The Weebly link led me to Feedburner, which I have never really understood or appreciated until now. I first tried it on my Wordpress blog, Scott Moon’s Blue Belt Blog and was rewarded with a pop up follow by email option. So cool! I am still working on the widget for Scott Moon’s Blue Belt Blog. My Wordpress site is a work in progress; I’m am still learning the platform.I am also working on my Scott Moon Blogspot. This is the Google / Blogger platform and I have made slightly more progress with the template system. Right now, you can only follow by email (no RSS feed). The gadget will not load and the RSS feed does not seem to function properly in Chrome (though it looks okay in Explorer). The Google gadget application may not be installing correctly because I took Java off my computer. So now I will need to research the safety of Java and decide if Java code is worth the hassle. Now, all of this started with my desire to make my blog at www.Scottmoonwriter.com easier to follow. The Feedburner instructions worked fine for www.DragonBadgeBooks.com so I am not sure what the problem is. When I send emails to the help section, they say they cannot replicate my problem. (I resisted the urge to reply that I wanted it fixed, not replicated, but they can’t help me if I can’t explain it.)Future blogs will contain a straight forward list of solutions I have found to various internet problems. I never set out to be a web expert. All I want to do is write, workout, play music, and have adventures. But there is something satisfying about fixing a technical problem.
Guitar Solos, Editors, and Sweat
MusicCrossfire will be playing at the Guns and Hoses charity event on April 12, 2013 to benefit Crime Stoppers. Last year the Beech Activity Center sold out, so now might be the time to start practicing (every day). As usual, I have about a thousand goals and self imposed deadlines; now it is time to move guitar solos to the top of the list. WritingI finished what I hope is the final draft of Dragon Attack, the sequel to Dragon Badge. I think readers will enjoy this book; it goes places the first book only hinted at. I have finished Dragon Attack many times over the years. A lot of people, including reviewers, have demanded a second book and I can’t wait to share the continued adventures of Michael Prim and his companions. I also believe in taking the time to do things right. The number one business maxim for self published authors is (or should be) “Write the best book you can.”I also believe in rotating projects to get a fresh perspective, so I moved back to Enemy of Man, found an editor, and received a sample edit of the first chapter. Samantha Lafantasie, the author of Heart Song is a board member of the Kansas Writer’s Association. Samantha’s detailed sample edit of Enemy of Man gave me a lot to think about. During a painful moment of self reflection, I admitted that I loved most of Enemy of Man, but needed to address a few plot issues that would have distracted the reader. I actually enjoy fixing these types of issues, because editing is really just another type of writing–and I love to write. The reason this was painful is that I set three major goals for this spring, one of which is Enemy of Man. I thought it was almost ready to go and now realize it needs more work than I had hoped after finishing the most recent daft. (I do a lot of drafts.)I began thinking, at 2 a.m. when it was slow at work and the city was asleep, that my readers will lose faith because I am taking too long with books I have promised. I finally consoled myself that this is a serious concern, but writing the best book possible (and waiting until I can afford to have them edited) is priority number one. The Good news: I pushed through my emotional doldrum (likely caused by sleep deprivation), read more from Enemy of Man, and encountered awesome writing. My favorite moment is looking at a story and saying to myself, with pride and astonishment, I wrote that.FitnessHealth and fitness has always been important to me. It benefits writing in many ways. Exercise puts me in a good mood, and contrary to the tortured artist stereotype, I write better when I am happy and full of energy. Go figure. A challenging workout can also provide distance; it can clear your head so that the swirling plot lines encountered during revision and editing seem less daunting. This week started great. I am determined to finish the Insanity DVD program day by day, rather than pick and chose the workouts I like. But, alas, I did allow other priorities to interfere a couple of days. INSANITY (Fresh Start)Month One Week 1 ST 3-9-13 Fit Test 25 min (Bare feet/ mat) SN 3-10-13 Plyometric Cardio Circuit 42 min (Bare feet/ mat) M 3-11-13 Cardio Power & Resistance 39 min (Bare feet/ mat) T 3-12-13 no workout, altered work schedule W 3-13-13 no workout, trying to catch up writing time TH 3-14-13 no workout, trying to catch up writing time F 3-15-13 no workout, caught in blog technical problems
Temperatures reached 85 degrees today in South Central Kansas. Motorcycles rumbled at every intersection I approached. Helmeted, unhelmeted, blue jeans, khakis, or leather; everyone was out today. Mostly I ride on long trips to Colorado or Texas, so tooling around back roads and side streets without a destination was different. Now that I have my own bike and no longer have to beg and borrow, I look forward to exploring the local byways.Today I learned that I am a little rusty on greetings. In my youth, when I rode a lot, greeting another motorcyclist was a big deal. It had to be done just right. Today I tried holding up one fist (hey that is what we did in the 1980s). Hopefully I did not start a gang war. Fist to the sky did not get warm responses. I ignored the next few riders–watched them in my peripheral vision, but made not social effort at all. While this engendered a feeling of badass, lonewolf, rebelliousness, it was unsatisfying–a little too cool, perhaps. The next rider threw me a bone, he calmly lowered his left hand and held it out, not quite a left turn hand signal. I returned the greeting. It was like Goldilocks and the Three Bears when the porridge was just right. The next guy gave the same greeting, or was slipping a boot knife free. (I wasn’t worried because knives are way too short for jousting or mounted attacks in general.)When it comes down to it, I really don’t care about protocol and tradition. Maybe that is what riding is about, but I am just trying to get down the road on my Harley, something I have dreamed of since I sold the Sportster in 1999. I’ll learn that stuff at my own pace. (I did google the motorcycle hand greetings when I got home.)Freedom of the road is the main thing, which means freedom to be yourself. This reminds me of one of my favorite Twitter profiles: @SarahLBlair “I’m just a girl. Standing here with a manuscript. Asking an agent to love it.”Well, I’m just Scott. I write, ride, and rock and roll. I love my Road King. Screw it, let’s ride! (click to tweet) Scottmoonwriter.com
The King Needs Juice
One of the first things my dad and I discussed when we took the King off the truck, was the need to winterize it and attach a battery maintainer. I rode the bike a few times, despite the cold, and figured the battery was fine (and it is; I started it up today). Attaching the battery charger / maintainer is easy. All you need do is remove the seat, choose gator clips or bolt clips, and hook everything up. Even I have the skill and tools to complete this DIY project.
Battery charger Power cord and batter clips Remove the seat. Attach the clips. Replace the seat and plug it in.
I selected the bolt rings, because this option allows for the seat to be replaced with the charging connection left on the bike. All I need to do to charge it now is plug it into the wall. Some people do not like the cord hanging from under the seat, but it is short and has caps to protect the connections from the weather. Now all I need is some warm weather so I can ride.Ride safe, ride free, ride into adventure! www.ScottMoonWriter.com (Click to tweet this message)
The Craft of Writing: 7 Magnificent Books
Dragon notebook with a hard cover, heavy duty spiral rings, and quality paper (important, since I am using sharpies). I like bold contrasting colors to break the monotony. I have a large and ever growing collection of books on writing. Today I purchased three books: Self Editing for Fiction Writers (Rennie Browne and Dave King), Write Great Fiction – Revision And Self-Editing (James Scott Bell), and Writing the Blockbuster Novel (Albert Zuckerman). I’m in the mood for a writing boot camp.I absolutely love cool notebooks, and tend to acquire them without having a reason. Blank pages call to me. The notebook you see here has been begging for attention. So being a pleaser, I decided to fill it with notes from seven books on writing. Self Editing for Fiction Writers (Rennie Browne and Dave King)Write Great Fiction – Revision And Self-Editing (James Scott Bell)Writing the Blockbuster Novel (Albert Zuckerman)Plot and Structure (James Scott Bell)Writing the Breakout Novel (Donald Maass)Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (Quick & Dirty Tips) (Mignon Fogarty)Grammar Girl’s Punctuation 911: Your Guide to Writing it Right (Mignon Fogarty)I also tried to purchase The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great (Donald Maass) but the Kindle version was unavailable on Amazon due to reformatting issues.
Some of these books I have read multiple times. They have been highlighted, dog eared, and generally abused. However, despite the intense, emotional relationship I have with these books, they understand others will share the shelves. We don’t have an exclusive relationship. I am constantly searching for another book on writing that informs and inspires. Please post your suggestions.And always remember – write strong, write free, write like you mean it. www.scottmoonwriter.com Click to Tweet!
Insanity: The End of Week 2
The greatest thing is confidence…
I have followed the program for two weeks, never missing a workout. I quit lifting weights, for now, and have focused on completing the 60 day program. From a scheduling and distraction aspect, the hardest week will be week four, because we are taking a family vacation. I figure that if I can stick to it then, the sky is the limit.Fitness has always been important to me, but I have allowed many other responsibilities to completely push fitness and health to the back burner. I am very self motivated, but have a program to follow increases accountability.
Insanity Workout Schedule (Month One) Week 1 1-20-13 Fit Test 25 min 1-21-13 Plyometric Cardio Circuit 42 min 1-22-13 Cardio Power & Resistance 39 min 1-23-13 Cardio Recovery 33 min 1-24-13 Pure Cardio 38 min 1-25-13 Plyometric Cardio Circuit 42 min 1-26-13 Rest Rest Week 2 1-27-13 Cardio Power & Resistance 39 min 1-28-13 Pure Cardio 38 min 1-29-13 Plyometric Cardio Circuit 42 min 1-30-13 Cardio Recovery 33 min 1-31-13 Cardio Power & Resistance 39 min 2-01-13 Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs 55 min 2-02-13 Rest Rest
A few overuse injuries have bothered me, but stretching and careful attention to how hard I push have enabled me to continue. I definitely recommend following a doctor’s advice if you have any problems or concerns. The key is knowing what is an excuse and what needs to be addressed. I have promised myself that I will stop and heal if I hurt myself. I made the mistake of pushing through an injury once before and it cost me two years. But I have also learned there is a fine line between stupid exercising (ignoring injury) and smart exercising (pushing through non-injurious pain).Oh, yeah, the spell checker hates the words Plyometric and Cardio. (There are squiggly red lines under the words as I type this blog.)NOTE: I am not an affiliate of the Insanity or any Beach Body product at this time (though I have been considering their affiliate program)
Use of Force Myths in Movies and Books
Bulletproof Vests How many times have you seen a hero’s sidekick (we’ll call him Bad Luck Bob) get shot and die, only to learn that he was wearing a bulletproof vest? In a dramatic scene, after the villain is vanquished, the hero goes to his fallen friend. Bob regains consciousness and unzips his FBI windbreaker to reveal body armor with several neat bullet slugs in the fabric. Getting shot while wearing a bulletproof vest is like being hit by a baseball bat, really hard, or so I’ve been told. Body blows don’t render people unconscious. More likely there would be a lot of screaming and writhing in pain, with a possible 300 cc bladder release thrown in to augment the indignity.Tasers Tasers don’t knock people out, unless they fall and bump their head. A Taser works one of two ways. If probes are shot out and strike with sufficient distance between each other, an electric current (volts, not amps) travel between the contact points. All the muscle in this area suffers involuntary lock-up. No amount of moral fortitude can prevent this. It does not matter how many sit-ups you do or what your pain tolerance is. The muscles lock until the Taser ride stops. (Note: amps are what kill you, not volts.) Having been Tased with probes, one in the upper back and one in the buttocks, I can attest to the irresistible force of this less lethal control method. The sensation is not so much pain, but a desperate, all consuming need for it to stop. I suppose it is painful, but it is hard to describe. Afterward, I felt good, as though I had done a really good stretch of my hamstring and back muscles. I don’t recommend trying this, however, because results may vary. Also, I did not feel the probes being pulled out of my flesh. My mind was on other things, such as not being Tased again. The other method of Tasing is called the Drive Stun. This is when a Taser is pressed (driven) against a muscle causing pain compliance. This does not cause muscle lock-up except for the muscle being contacted. A person can still fight. Some will yield to avoid a second Drive Stun. Others will get mad. Neither method causes a person to collapse neatly to the ground allowing the modern day super ninja to finish infiltrating the enemy bunker complex.Punching It is really difficult to punch someone out. If it were this easy to knock someone cold, MMA fights would not last multiple five minute rounds. Sure, it can happen, but don’t count on it. The same thing goes for clubbing a person on the head. Rendering a person unconscious by blunt force trauma to the head is a violent, potential deadly act. There will be blood.Headshots I love the Walking Dead Series, but every person in the show who picks up a gun makes headshots from impossible distances, from moving vehicles, and while sprinting clear of the advancing zombie herd. No. This is ridiculous. (I let it go while watching the series because the tension and dramatic elements were so compelling, a bit like I never question the possibility of light-sabers.) The maximum combat effectiveness for a handgun is twenty-five yards, and if you are going to attempt a head shot while moving, you had better be a Navy Seal, and even then you had better be lucky.Knife Fights Anyone involved in a knife fight is going to be cut to ribbons, even if they win. Edged weapons are too fast and too sharp. Knife fighting is not sword fighting. If you are close enough to use a short blade and your opponent has a similar weapon, expect to be cut—badly. (I would not recommend sword fighting either, especially with light-sabers.)Explosions An explosion kills with over pressure long before the fire strikes. The blast pushes a shock wave of compressed air that can damage a variety of internal organs. Oh yeah, flying debris is bad news as well. Most people injured in tornados are injured by flying debris. Virtually every action hero who has dived from an explosion should have been killed (fictionally, of course), even if they ducked the visually dramatic ball of flame. However, being inside of a door that is breached with explosives is not very dangerous. The force of the breaching charge (explosion) presses extremely rapidly against the door (or wall) causing it to break, bend, or fall inward. The deadly over pressure is reflected back at the breaching team. Explosive breaching is more dangerous for the breachers than for the suspects inside.Charlie’s Angels This pistol pose has fallen out of style in modern movies. Holding a pistol near your face is dumb for so many reasons. I believe it is used in movies because it allows a nice face shot of the hero or heroine with the gun. Trained military and law enforcement professionals keep their weapons pointed in a safe direction until the need arises to aim at a target. They are carrying deadly weapons, not teddy bears.Fire Going into a burning building, especially modern buildings full of plastic and synthetic materials, without a self-contained breathing apparatus and protective clothing is suicide. Ask your local fireman. Fire quickly renders the air un-breathable and temperatures rise high enough to melt the change in your pocket in less than a minute. And every door or window you open feeds the fire oxygen. When a character in a book or movie rushes into a fire, it is best for the audience to suspend disbelief, because amateur firefighting is about as realistic as the Modern Warfare video avatar that can run for six hours in full gear without slowing down.
Fix My Harley – A Brilliant Idea
The final days of January are normally freezing cold in Kansas, but today the temperature reached 71 degrees–about 50 or 60 degrees warmer than usual. It will probably snow tomorrow. Welcome the land of OZ. I took advantage of the warm weather to soak my yard (all dirt) so that it will settle and the builder can bring the promised fill dirt before I attempt to plant a yard. Yes, I know, this is very exciting. But the other event, is motorcycle weather. I jumped on “the King” and went for a ride, topping off the gas tank and cleaning underneath the engine so that I can find the source of a leak I noticed. Okay, I just wiped off the the engine grime I was able to reach, which might not qualify as “cleaning”. As I enjoyed the ride, a brilliant idea came to me. I have been listening to the audiobook, Attention! This Book Will Make You Money, and reached the part where the author, Jim Kukral, talks about utilizing you tube. I decided, as I rounded one curve after another, that I would make a You Tube video titled”Fix My Harley”. Moments later I decided I would purchase a domain name and start an great new blog about a novice motorcycle mechanic, and I mean N-O-V-I-C-E, learning to maintain his dream bike. The first episode would be about the mysterious leak. I would show pictures, videos, and ask questions. The sky seemed the limit. I did a search and found there is already a site http://www.fixmyhog.com that appears professional and informative. So I will incorporate my brilliant idea into the Moon Blog for now.
This video does not show any problems, I just cannot resist the sound of a Harley Davidson engine. Below are some pictures I took, moving in closer, and including the cardboard I expect it to leak on. When I wiped off the underside, it almost seemed like the oil, or other fluid, was coming from the kickstand retaining spring, which was recently replaced. Hopefully, there was just some excess oil that needed to work its way out.
I will check back after the bike sits for awhile. The last time I saw the leak, it happened after I had allowed the engine to idle for fifteen minutes in the garage (with the door open) because I have not winterized it and wanted to charge the battery. Thanks for reading this motorcycle blog post. Ride safe, ride free, ride into adventure! www.ScottMoonWriter.com (Click to tweet this message)
I will check back after the bike sits for awhile. The last time I saw the leak, it happened after I had allowed the engine to idle for fifteen minutes in the garage (with the door open) because I have not winterized it and wanted to charge the battery. Thanks for reading this motorcycle blog post. Ride safe, ride free, ride into adventure! www.ScottMoonWriter.com (Click to tweet this message)
Insanity Workout DVD – Day 8
Good luck with your workouts!
Insanity Workout Schedule (Month One) Week 1 Sunday, 1-20-13 Fit Test (25 minutes) Monday, 1-21-13 Plyometric Cardio Circuit (42 minutes) Tuesday, 1-22-13 Cardio Power & Resistance (39 minutes) Wednesday, 1-23-13 Cardio Recovery (33 minutes) Thursday, 1-24-13 Pure Cario (39 minutes) Friday, 1-25-13 Plyometric Cardio Circuit (42 minutes) Saturday, 1-26-13 Rest Week 2 Sunday, 1-27-13 Cardio Power & Resistance (39 minutes)
Learning About Video
This video is mercifully short. I did in fact upload it to You Tube, but was not able to link that version to this web site. If you have thirty seconds to spare, enjoy this video. Thanks.
A Really Useful Tool
Starting a new project is the best feeling in the world. Many writers will agree that tearing through the pages, writing never before imagined scenes, full of great new characters, is the fun part of writing a novel. Revision and editing are often painful and slow, by comparison. Yet, it must be done and done well. I use Microsoft Word or Google Docs to write. I write with Spell Check turned on, though the squiggly red lines beneath fictional names can be annoying until I add them to the document’s dictionary. After completing the first draft, I read it once or twice doing minor revision and editing and taking notes. Then I take a break, as described in my Project Rotation blog. I return and edit once on paper, once using the Track Changes in Word, and another time after accepting or rejecting the changes. Then, sometimes after a few days to clear my head, I use Serenity Editor, an advanced editing program that goes beyond what the grammar and spell-check available in word processors. Serenity Software: Editor (I just call it Serenity Editor) helps with spelling, grammar, and style recommendations. I found it particularly useful for warning me of homonyms (are / our, their / there).
Serenity Editor has a free trial, which I took advantage of. The full version costs extra, but is worth it for the ability to work in a Word document. The trial and standard version require you to either print the output or flip from screen to screen. I did not mind the trial version, despite the paper I wasted, but really enjoyed the full version once I had it (for an extra $20 approximately).
This is probably a good time to mention that I am not an affiliate of the company. I like it, so I thought I would share my view. The program does not replace a good proofreader, critique groups, or a writer’s diligence, but it adds another layer of quality and makes a writer think. The primary reason I have embraced the program, is to create manuscripts that are as clean as possible, so when I pay an editor by the hour, it will take less time and save me money.
I used some screen shots to show a crude preview, using a pitch for my first novel, Dragon Badge. With such a short expert the editor did not find much to complain about, but I assure you when you begin a word with the word “it” the program suggests revision of the sentence. It really gets on my nerves, but I sometimes listen to advice. (Serenity Editor warned me that starting with “it” was vague and that I used a “cliché or dead metaphor.)
I recommend this program because professional editors can be expensive and this is a good step to take prior to paying for services. In today’s publishing industry, a well-edited book is needed to stand out among the crowd. NOTE: I recently learned the trial version has the ability to edit in Word, which is a nice feature.
When I finish writing a book, I set it aside and move to a new project. That way I am always fresh for revision and editing. I have completed first drafts in as little as forty days or as long as eighteen months. Either way, by the time the final scene flows across the page, I am excited, but drained. Stephen King suggested in his book, On Writing, to take a break at this stage and I have followed his advice. I worked on several projects after publishing Dragon Badge, but spent a lot of time learning about the self-publishing industry, marketing and promoting, and social media. I already had a draft of the second book in the series. After reading what I had a couple of times, I decided to start from scratch, salvaging a few scenes I liked, but planning the second book to answer questions from the first and further develop the fantasy elements. At the same time, I was eager to publish a second book, so once I finished the rewrite of what was called Machine Gun Knight and later The Darklord’s Boys, I put it away and edited a science-fiction book I wrote years ago called Wormbright and shared it with critique readers. In the end, I decided I liked Wormbright, but it did not blow me away. What can a writer do with such a revelation? The answer, as painful as it seems, is to start completely over. So I wrote an outline from scratch, changed the title and some names my critique readers did not care for, and went to work. The result became Enemy of Man: Book One in the Chronicles of Kin Roland. Now I return to the sequel of Dragon Badge. Why am I changing the title? Feedback on the book title(s) was decidedly negative. I decided it was time to put my ego and preferences aside. So what is the name of the second Dragon Badge book? I am still working on it, but it will be revealed in the Dragon Badge Newsletter.