Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Author: Amanda (Page 1 of 71)

Update and a few thoughts

It’s done and with many thanks to Sarah A. Hoyt for the cover design. Now that I have it in hand, I’ll finish up the edits and get Rebellion up for pre-order Monday or Tuesday of next week. Pre-order will be for a shorter period than I usually do and those who pre-order will get a discount on pricing. I’ll announce when I set it up.

I love this book. It was harder to write in a number of ways than the other books. Not because it basically ends the current story arc, although that was part of it, but because of what I put some of the characters through. No one gets through this book unscathed in one way or another. But let’s be honest, you can’t go through life without taking a few knocks or stumbling some here and there.

I also started the real work of pulling together the special edition of Vengeance from Ashes yesterday. The storyline for the book and the series remains the same. The special editions will simply add material — a scene or chapter here and there. Think of it as the director’s cut of a movie. It’s fun not only because I’ve learned a great deal as I’ve written these books but because I get to go back in and add some material that will bring more depth not only to the characters but to the overall plot.

I’m also starting the real work of turning the very rough draft of Victory from Ashes (still not sure about that title) into something publishable. I have the cover for that book, sans tagline, in hand but I want to talk with Sarah about tweaking a part of it before the book comes out. As with Rebellion, Victory will wrap up at least a major part of the current story arc for the Honor and Duty Series. Also like Rebellion, it won’t mean the end of the series or characters, at least not all the characters. You never know who will die in a war and that is what Ashlyn and company face now. In order to keep the series interesting to me and to you, it is time to move on to the next phase of the story and see what happens next.

Now I’m off to find more coffee and hopefully wake up enough to get to work. Remember that Nocturnal Origins, the first book in the Nocturnal Lives series is currently on sale for $0.99.

Some things can never be forgotten, no matter how hard you try.

Detective Sergeant Mackenzie Santos knows that bitter lesson all too well. The day she died changed her life and her perception of the world forever.It doesn’t matter that everyone, even her doctors, believe a miracle occurred when she awoke in the hospital morgue. Mac knows better. It hadn’t been a miracle, at least not a holy one. As far as she’s concerned, that’s the day the dogs of Hell came for her.

Investigating one of the most horrendous murders in recent Dallas history, Mac also has to break in a new partner and deal with nosy reporters who follow her every move and who publish confidential details of the investigation without a qualm.

Complicating matters even more, Mac learns the truth about her family and herself, a truth that forces her to deal with the monster within, as well as those on the outside.But none of this matters as much as discovering the identity of the murderer before he can kill again.

 

I’m still here

And still working. Nocturnal Rebellion is rapidly moving toward release. Hopefully, I will be able to reveal the cover this afternoon. I have also started on  the “Special Edition” version of Vengeance from Ashes. I’ll admit that project really excites me. More on that in the upcoming weeks.

There are several topics I want to blog on but I need to do a bit more research before I do. In the meantime, I have a post up at Mad Genius Club this morning. Check it out.

Now I’m off to fix breakfast for the family. I’ll be back later with a more substantive post.

Until then, have a great day!

 

Daddy

Today is Father’s Day, the day when we laugh about the gifts of bad ties and ugly sweaters. For many of us, it is a day when we remember days gone by, days when our own fathers were still alive. My own father, Jerry, has been dead for many years but the pain of his loss is still there. Overriding it, however, is the love I had for him and the love he had for me, a love he never let me forget.

My dad grew up in Oklahoma. He was a child during the Depression. One of six full blood siblings and two half-brothers, he was the quiet child, the one who didn’t quite fit in. As an adult, he was a quiet man who loved having a good time. He had one problem, however, he internalized everything. Maybe it was because of his upbringing — I loved my grandmother but I didn’t like how she raised her kids, especially not my father and one of my aunts. Perhaps because they were the middle children, perhaps because they were the studious ones, whatever the reason, my grandmother left them with the attitude that they couldn’t show their anger or frustration with what anyone did to them — but he developed some medical problems in my late teens.

Basically, Daddy didn’t get his anger and frustration out. He loved good food, the greasier and fatter the better. He was never overweight — or even close to it — but the damage was done. Two weeks into my first semester at college, he started having chest pain while driving back to Dallas from dropping me off at Baylor in Waco. Three days later, I was called home. He’d had a heart attack and was in the hospital.

Now, Daddy being Daddy, he didn’t do things the way most people did. Oh no. He’d ignored the chest pains for three days, putting them down to his gall bladder or some such problem. Then, on September 22nd (my parents’ anniversary), he left the office at lunch to go to a nearby mall to buy Mom’s gift. (Dad never did anything a moment sooner than necessary.) He had started walking across the parking lot toward his car when he finally realized there might be something more wrong with him than a gall bladder or ulcer attack. So he turned around and went back upstairs to his office. There he asked his boss’ secretary to come into his office. He told her to call Mom and tell her that she, the secretary, was driving Daddy to Baylor Hospital (Mom worked there). Oh, and she was to tell Mom he thought he was having a heart attack.

Now, my mom’s a pretty calm customer. It takes a lot to rattle her. But waiting in the drive outside of the ER and seeing my dad get out of Jean’s car, cigarette in hand, strolling down the drive to the ER entrance wasn’t meant for calm. She called for help and then lit into Daddy. Not because he hadn’t called an ambulance but because he was smoking.

Anyway, we were lucky. Not only did he get to the hospital without incident but he was there when, less than a week later, he suffered a myocardial infarction. We came damn close to losing him and would have if he hadn’t already been in the hospital. They had, in fact, just moved him out of the cardiac unit and he was on telemetry. So they saw the moment it started.

We were lucky again because he had a thoracic surgeon who wasn’t afraid to try something knew. At that point, the inner-aortic balloon had been in use for some time but only for post-op patients. Daddy’s surgeon used the balloon on Dad before he did bypass surgery on him. That wouldn’t happen for more than six months. But by using the balloon when he did, the surgeon saved Dad’s life. The balloon helped his heart pump even as it healed from the damage caused by the initial heart attack and then by the major MI he suffered.

We were lucky in another way. That action gave us my dad for 8 more years, years we probably shouldn’t have had him. Yes, there were bad times when he was back in the hospital — some of them because of Daddy’s own stubborn ways, some because the damage had been done. I’d not trade anything for those years. My dad got to know me as an adult, see me graduate from not only college but law school as well. My only regret is he didn’t live long enough to hold his grandson. But I know he is with us even now. As long as we remember him, he is a part of us and Mom and I have done our best to pass his love  on to my son.

Through it all, through the frustrations when we knew he had just gone outside to sneak a smoke or when he refused to eat properly, we loved him and knew he loved us. I may have been a Daddy’s girl but he also taught me to go after my dreams. He was the first to tell me not to let anyone tell me I couldn’t do something I was qualified to do.

As I sit here on Father’s Day morning, I have so many good memories and a few sad ones. But, strangely enough, it is his funeral I remember most. Even then, my father had to have the last word. From our very Cajun neighbor proclaiming in what I’m sure she thought was her “inside” voice during the middle of the funeral mass that our Episcopal church was more Catholic than the Catholic church they attended to another neighbor looking heavenward and raising a fist to shake it (she later said she was cursing my dad who had promised he would find a way to get her back in church and that was a hell of a way for him to do it), the service was everything Daddy wanted. At the graveside service, the heavens opened up with rain and hail — not that we realized it at first. Our only warning was the look of panic on Father Crary’s face as he recited the prayers, speaking faster and faster with each passing moment. Then, with the final “Amen”, there was a single clap of thunder and just like that, the sun was out and it was as if it had never rained. Daddy had never liked long, drawn out graveside services and he was making sure his didn’t turn into one.

You see, my daddy loved having the last word. So I’ll give it to him now by asking you to do something he loved the most. Go spend time with your own families — be they blood families or the family you chose — today. Tell those you care for how you feel. Never let a day pass without knowing how lucky you are to have someone in your life who means something to you.

Daddy, I miss you. I love you. I thank you for helping make me into the woman I am today.

People are crazy

Earlier today, I looked at posts on a neighborhood group I belong to and one of them caught my eye. One of the members found themselves with a change of circumstance that would require them to be away from home for days at a time. Because of that, the OP decided the best thing to do was try to rehome their beloved dog. You could tell from what the OP posted that this was not an easy decision nor was it one made in haste. In fact, the only reason they came to the mailing group was because the new home that had been found for the dog had fallen through.

Imagine if you will how difficult it must have been then for the OP to suddenly be barraged with a series of messages telling them what a horrible person they were for “getting rid of” their dog. The OP was condemned for not treating the dog as one would a child in the same situation. It isn’t as if the OP was turning the dog into the local shelter or pound. Instead, the OP was trying to find a loving home for the dog.

But that wasn’t good enough for these rabid folks who wouldn’t hear any of his very reasonable explanations. They mocked him when he tried discussing how difficult the decision had been to make and how he made it only with the best interest of the dog in mind. These people who didn’t know him or his circumstance decided it was their place to condemn him for doing what I hope most of us would do — consider what was best for the dog.

This wasn’t a case where he grew tired of the animal or the responsibilities of being a dog owner. He knew he wouldn’t be there to care for the dog, to give it the love he needed. He is a supporter of different animal charities. He worried about where this dog he had cared for for so long would go and if his new owners would love him as he had.

He wasn’t going to turn him into a kill shelter.

Now, I’m an animal lover. I grew up with animals and have always had at least one animal and usually more than that at any time. Right now, I have a dog and two cats and, when my old lady cat dies, I will get another animal, if not two more. But I also hope that I have the integrity this gentleman had to look at what is best for the animals and not what will make me feel best should there come a time when I have a change in circumstances.

What I wanted to do was ask these idiots who attacked the dog owner what they thought about how I came into possession of my dog. He, along with one other dog, had been in a retiree’s home. Their owner could no longer live on his own and had to give up both dogs when he moved to a care facility. The dogs finally found their way to a rescue group that brought them to the Metroplex from Oklahoma. I would have adopted both of them but one was adopted not five minutes before I arrived at the adoption fair. But they were given up and it quickly became clear the dogs were companion dogs. Even now, more than a year after we adopted Bentley, he has to be with one of us whenever he is awake. He is happiest when he is touching someone.

His owner could have just turned him in to a kill shelter instead of placing him with a group that would get them with another rescue group that would not only foster the dogs but keep them until a new home could be found. Still, under the approach of the rabid idiots on the mailing list, Bentley’s original owner shouldn’t have taken action to move to a care facility that wouldn’t let him keep the dogs. No reason was good enough in their eyes to justify giving up a pet.

Sorry, but if your circumstances change where you can’t care for an animal the way you should, the only responsible thing to do is find them a new, loving home. I applaud the fellow who made the very difficult decision not to let his dag stay home alone for days on end, or to be boarded for days on end. I feel for him and am glad he has found a new home for his dog.

As for those who attacked him, I hope they never find themselves having to make similar decisions. Or, if they do, I hope they remember every word of condemnation they threw out so easily and seek out this gentleman and offer him their abject apologies. Not that they will. Those who are so sure of themselves rarely admit they might have been in error.

Now I think I’ll play with Bentley Dog and make sure to give the cats, Thena and BratCat, a scritch or three.

Saturday Morning Reading Recommendations

I’m going to start off with a bit of self-promo. Nocturnal Origins, the first book in the Nocturnal Lives series, is on sale for $0.99. I’ve dropped the price in anticipation of the upcoming release of Nocturnal Challenge.

Some things can never be forgotten, no matter how hard you try.

Detective Sergeant Mackenzie Santos knows that bitter lesson all too well. The day she died changed her life and her perception of the world forever.It doesn’t matter that everyone, even her doctors, believe a miracle occurred when she awoke in the hospital morgue. Mac knows better. It hadn’t been a miracle, at least not a holy one. As far as she’s concerned, that’s the day the dogs of Hell came for her.

Investigating one of the most horrendous murders in recent Dallas history, Mac also has to break in a new partner and deal with nosy reporters who follow her every move and who publish confidential details of the investigation without a qualm.

Complicating matters even more, Mac learns the truth about her family and herself, a truth that forces her to deal with the monster within, as well as those on the outside.But none of this matters as much as discovering the identity of the murderer before he can kill again.

The Chaplain’s War

by Brad Torgersen

The mantis cyborgs: insectlike, cruel, and determined to wipe humanity from the face of the galaxy.

The Fleet is humanity’s last chance: a multi-world, multi-national task force assembled to hold the line against the aliens’ overwhelming technology and firepower. Enter Harrison Barlow, who like so many young men of wars past, simply wants to serve his people and partake of the grand adventure of military life. Only, Harrison is not a hot pilot, nor a crack shot with a rifle. What good is a Chaplain’s Assistant in the interstellar battles which will decide the fate of all?

More than he thinks. Because while the mantis insectoids are determined to eliminate the human threat to mantis supremacy, they remember the errors of their past. Is there the slightest chance that humans might have value? Especially since humans seem to have the one thing the mantes explicitly do not: an innate ability to believe in what cannot be proven nor seen God. Captured and stranded behind enemy lines, Barlow must come to grips with the fact that he is not only bargaining for his own life, but the lives of everyone he knows and loves. And so he embarks upon an improbable gambit, determined to alter the course of the entire war.

April

by Mackey Chandler

April is an exceptional young lady and something of a snoop. After a chance encounter with a spy, she finds herself involved with political intrigues that stretch her abilities. There is a terrible danger she, and her friends and family, will lose the only home she has ever known, and be forced to live on the slum ball Earth below. It’s more than an almost fourteen year old should have to deal with. Fortunately she has a lot of smart friends and allies. It’s a good things because things get very rough and dicey. They challenge the political status quo, and with a small population the only advantage they have in war is a thin technological edge.

A few Friday thoughts

I’m busy trying to finalize the edits on Nocturnal Rebellion. This book has been interesting, often in the proverbial way, during its creation. Between the hot water heater deciding to go out, the house flooding after too much rain and the storm door exploding — and we still haven’t figured out what caused that to happen, nor have we replaced the door yet — the editing process has taken longer than usual. However, I’m hoping that the light I see is the one at the end of the tunnel and not a light marking a cross-tunnel.

In preparation for Rebellion’s release, I have discounted Nocturnal Origins, the first book in the series to $0.99. This is a limited time discount and it will go back to full price after Rebellion hits the shelves. Hopefully, it won’t take Amazon too long to show the sale price.

Edit: I just checked Amazon and the price has now been dropped.

I have loved writing this series. When I started it, I never thought it would turn into a series but the characters demanded it. Even though Rebellion ties up one major plot line, there is more out there and I’m looking forward to seeing where Mackenzie and company go from here.

I’m taking the weekend off from serious blogging — unless something happens that I feel needs to be addressed. I’d like to get as much of Rebellion’s edits finished as possible. Tomorrow, I’ll continue the reading recommendations. I’ve really enjoyed taking weekends this past month or so and just reading. I can almost see the bottom of at least one of my many TBR lists.

I will make one recommendation today. This book is one that was recommended to me by my mother’s pastor. I will admit, any book on theology that starts by saying there are only three topics worth discussing — sex, politics and religion — is going to pique my curiosity. I haven’t read much yet, but so far it is interesting and certainly not what I expected. (Here’s a hint: I was raised Episcopal in a “high” church. Mom is Presbyterian. Biiiiiig difference in a lot of ways and not so much in others, as I’m learning.) Anyway, here’s the book:

Christian Doctrine – Revised Edition

by Shirley C. Guthrie, Jr.

Christian Doctrine has introduced thousands of laity, students, and theologians to the tenets of the Christian faith. This edition reflects changes in the church and society since the publication of the first edition and takes into account new works in Reformed theology, gender references in the Bible, racism, pluralism, ecological developments, and liberation theologies.

Now I’m off to find more coffee. I probably ought to drag the trash out for pick up. Then it’s another day of edits.

Until Later!

 

Consequences, Part Whatever

Yesterday, another soft target was attacked on American soil. This time, it was a group of Republican congressmen and their aides and family members who were out for an early morning baseball practice session. One man decided for whatever reason to stalk and then open fire on them. Fortunately, two members of the Capitol police were present and their heroic actions prevented the attack from being much worse than it was.

Those are the facts. There is a great deal of speculation about the gunman’s motivation and mental state at the time of the attack. I’ll hold off on passing judgment on him until we learn more. Yes, it does appear that his social media accounts were filled with anti-Trump rhetoric and more and we can probably draw some conclusions from that but I’ll wait. After all, look at how quickly things changed yesterday from what was being initially reported to what came out later in the day.

Besides, that’s not the purpose of today’s post. Today, I’m pointing the finger directly at those who have said that while they don’t agree with what the shooter did, those he targeted brought it on themselves. My only response to that is to say, “What the fuck?”

Many of those who I’ve seen saying Congressman Scalise deserved to be shot because of his support of the President are the same ones who decried the attack on Gabrielle Giffords at the top of their lungs. They claim the Republicans brought this on themselves because they are trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act or because they are homophobic or any number of other accusations.

One person said they understood why the shooter acted as he did because they — the poster — lived in fear of what Trump would do to them because they’re gay. They are still waiting for the camps to be built and people to be rounded up.

Another said this is what happens when you don’t condemn a president who has so clearly committed treason. Now, when asked to provide evidence of said treason, none can be cited. Rumors and innuendo, all based in the fact that their preferred candidate didn’t win.

Others immediately turned what happened into another instance where they can flog their pet political agenda of taking guns away from the average citizen. At one point, the media characterized the handgun carried by the shooter as a semi-automatic that kept firing on its own. Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of weaponry would know that isn’t possible. But it sounded good in the media and the idiots ran with it.

What amazes me is that those who claim the shooter had reason to open fire on a soft target don’t see how their own rhetoric, and the rhetoric of so many others on their side of the political aisle, quite possibly helped the shooter form the mindset to do what he did. They don’t see anything wrong in saying that it’s all right to “hit a Nazi” or to spout the antiFA slogans. They don’t understand why they should be the ones standing up and condemning the property damage that has happened in the so-called protests or how they are the ones stifling free speech when they try to force universities and other organizations not to allow certain speakers to appear in public events.

When you are out there calling for the President to be killed, or for those who support him to face “the consequences”, you can’t then step back and accept no blame for what happened. It is time for each of us to look at how we “discuss” the issues and to realize discussion has been the last thing a number of us — on both sides — want.

Does this mean it is time to shut up? Hell no. But it is the time to listen and to note who is willing to discuss and who simply spouts rhetoric and calls for violence. It is time to hold those who do the latter responsible for their actions. It is against the law in many places to stand up in a crowded theater and shout “Fire!”, especially if people are injured as a result. There are certainly civil consequences for such action. Perhaps it is time that the same consequences be applied to hate speech, be it political hate speech or other.

For those of you who are saying Trump should be killed — or even that he should be tried for treason — ask yourselves this. How did you feel when people said that about Obama? Why did you feel that way? Now ask yourself this: what makes your objections to criticisms about Obama any more right than the objections to your criticisms about Trump?

Like the President or not, there is no justification for opening fire on a group of men and women out playing ball. There is no justification for opening fire on a group of people in the middle of an urban setting when those men and women are not combatants and you are not at war. There is absolutely no justification for opening fire on a group of people in a non-war situation when there are children present.

If you find yourself saying “but I understand why he did it,” then I suggest you need to re-examine your own values.

No blog this morning

Like so many others, I am trying to take in the news. The high-rise fire in London, with its deaths and injuries, is bad enough. Now we have a gunman opening fire on a group of Republican politicians playing baseball in Alexandria, VA. I’ll be back later with thoughts on both but not now. Now I am offering my thoughts and prayers to all those involved or impacted by these terrible events. I offer my thanks to the first responders. And, as I do, I wonder where the outrage is from certain sectors of our society, not that I’m surprised by its absence.

Morning — ugh

Just a quick post this morning. I’ll be back later with another post, promise.

I’m butt down, fingers on keyboard today after doing more than 6k words yesterday. That’s a good thing. The bad thing is it means my brain is in fiction mode and not blogging mode. There’s a blog in there, somewhere. It’s just that Myrtle the Evil Muse isn’t letting it out. So, I’ll write enough to either satisfy or exhaust dear Myrtle and then be back with a blog post.

In the meantime, wander over to Mad Genius Club. I posted a promo post over there with links to some of the work not only I have done but also my fellow mad geniuses.

In the meantime, here is the image I’m using as inspiration for the next book in the Honor & Duty universe. It is entitled sci-fi scenery 3d illustration and is by olimanist.

Until later!

Goose, meet Gander

I’m not going to do a long post this morning, too much real work to do. In fact, I’d considered not blogging today — I know, I know. I need to blog. But something caught my eye earlier that I wanted to address. In one way, it’s nothing new. In another, the double-standard involved is getting to the point that it’s beginning to get under my skin. Okay, it got under my skin a long time ago. Anyway . . . .

Late last week, I heard second-hand about the New York’s Public Theater’s production of Julius Caesar. To say the production has been “updated” is probably putting it mildly. Let’s just say that, from what I heard, they’d left no doubt the production was a commentary on the current political scene in our country.

Now, as I said, this sort of thing isn’t new. One of our local theaters is doing a modernized setting and casting of “To Inherit the Wind”. It’s an excellent production — even if I had to suspend disbelief to have a female playing one of the historically male roles. And, no, it wasn’t because they recast the play’s character. It’s because I know the historical trial on which it’s based and I had to divorce my brain from the enjoyment of the play.

However, what got my ire up this morning is seeing all the comments not only condemning Delta and Bank of America for withdrawing their financial support of the Julius Caesar production but also condemning those who have issues with the production on a personal level. These are the same folks who got so bent out of shape by the rodeo clown wearing the Obama mask or who protested at the top of their lungs any time a conservative said or did anything to detract from Obama.

They are also the ones applauding Kathy Griffin for her beheading of Trump and claiming it is all part of “art” and “art” has always been political.

Yes, there has always been an element of politics in some art. My problem with them condemning those who have a problem with the Julius Caesar production is they would be doing the same thing were it switched around and instead of Caesar being Trump, he was Obama. If you’re going to take a stance, you need to be prepared for that stance to be used by both sides of the political aisle and you can’t cry foul when such representations are being made of your political hero.

So I guess it all comes down to this: if you’re going to toss stones, you’d better make sure you aren’t living in a glass house.

It also comes down to something else. Double-standards almost always come back to bite you in the ass. Think about that before you start condemning others. Me, I’ll poke fun at both sides, pray that whoever is in office isn’t a complete and utter failure ready to sell out country down the drain and prepare for whatever might happen.

Shrug.

Until later!

 

 

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