Nocturnal Lives

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

Author: Amanda (Page 2 of 72)

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!

 

 

Weekend Reading

It’s the weekend and time to relax — okay, relax might be too big of a stretch. If you’re like me, there are plenty of things you need to do around the house. Yard, cleaning, replacing the door. But it is also when I set aside time to just chill and read for pleasure. During the week, most of my reading is research for whatever the current project happens to be. So I really enjoy when I can kick back and read just for the pleasure of it.

Here are a few of the books I’m reading this weekend.

Silence Fallen

by Patricia Briggs

This is the 10th installment in the Mercy Thompson series. I’ll admit, this is one of those series that occasionally suffers from the Moonlighting syndrome. (For those of you not old enough to remember the Bruce Willis series, once the male and female leads got together, a lot of the tension in the series went out the window.) However, Briggs usually manages to deliver a fun book and I’ve been assured by a friend that this is one of the better ones. Here’s the synopsis:

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes—only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…

Another book I’ll probably read this weekend is from the author Kathleen Brooks. Brooks is one of my guilty pleasures. She writes fun romantic suspense books and I recommend them, especially if you like series that center on a town or family or — as in this case — both.

Bluegrass Undercover

by Kathleen Brooks

This is the first of the Bluegrass Brothers series but actually the fourth book set in the same town and sharing the same characters.

When danger and passions flare it’s best to find cover…

Cade Davies is a former Special Forces soldier who is now a high school teacher and football coach. And something is trying to kill his players. He’s been too busy trying to keep his players alive, while also avoiding the Davies Brothers marriage trap set by half the town, to pay attention and to the fiery redhead who has swept into his small town.

DEA Agent Annie Blake was undercover to bust a drug ring that preys on high school athletes in the adorable, small town of Keeneston. She had thought to keep her head down and listen to the local gossip to find the maker of this deadly drug. What Annie didn’t count on was becoming the local gossip. With marriage bets being placed and an entire town aiming to win the pot, Annie looks to Cade for help in bringing down the drug ring before another kid is killed. What she didn’t intend on was becoming the next target.

Also by Ms. Brooks, comes the next book in the TBR pile.

Forever Secret

This is the fifth book in the Forever Bluegrass series, stories about the next generation of Davies family members and their friends and loved ones.

Sophie Davies has a secret . . . in fact, she has quite a few secrets.

Sophie Davies is the head of weapon development for a private firm contracted with the Department of Defense. Because of her knowledge and high security clearances, she has kept her job a secret for fear of kidnapping and sabotage. She always knew some groups would kill to learn what she knows, and now someone is trying to do just that.

Nash Dagher trained to become an elite weapon for the Rahmi Royal Family while he served at their horse farm in Keeneston. But for the past two years, Nash has been running an operation for the King—an operation once completed would result in his promotion to the head of security for the entire royal family in Rahmi. But when Nash discovers a threat against Sophie, he must decide what is more important: the job of his dreams or the life of the woman he loves. But will Sophie allow him back in her life?

These books are light, easy reads and are fun. Which is exactly what I want in weekend reading.

The last book on my tbr stack for today is a bit heavier.

The Miracle of Dunkirk: The True Story of Operation Dynamo

by Walter Lord

In May of 1940, the remnants of the French and British armies, broken by Hitler’s blitzkrieg, retreated to Dunkirk. Hemmed in by overwhelming Nazi strength, the 338,000 men who gathered on that beach were all that stood between Hitler and Western Europe. Crush them, and the path to Paris and London was clear. And so, unable to retreat any farther, the Allied soldiers set up defense positions and prayed for deliverance.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered an evacuation on May 26th, expecting to save no more than a handful of his men. But Britain would not let its soldiers down. Hundreds of fishing boats, pleasure yachts, and commercial vessels streamed into the Channel to back up the Royal Navy, and in a week nearly the entire army was ferried safely back to England. Assembled from interviews with hundreds of survivors who witnessed the evacuation, The Miracle of Dunkirk is a striking history of a week when the fate of Britain hung in the balance.

A few thoughts

It would be very easy to join the varied voices opining about Comey’s testimony yesterday. Like most of those commenting, I’ve heard the soundbites. I’ve seen the pundits spinning the comments this way and that. However, unlike those folks, I want to actually listen to all three hours of Comey’s testimony before commenting in-depth about what he said — or didn’t say.

I’ll even admit to playing musical channels with the news this morning. Hey, if I have to watch it with my morning coffee because my mother likes it on as she reads the paper, I can at least turn it off when the talking heads get too annoying. As a result, I haven’t had to sit through George and Matt and whoever on CBS as they tell us how wonderful Comey is and how awful Trump is. Hell, Yahoo even has a headline to the effect that Hillary was right.

Two things, if the soundbites are right, have struck me and I want to see them in context. The first is that Comey admits to being the one to leak his prepared testimony ahead of time. Well, to be honest, he asked a friend to give it to a reporter. That tells me he was trying to manipulate the atmosphere going into the hearing, especially since he knew, or should have, that his testimony would be streamed live and everything in his prepared statement would be there for the public to see.

The second thing — and again, I haven’t seen it in context, so I’m withholding judgment — is that he supposedly said he had not seen any direct evidence that the Russians had tried to hack the election. He, and the rest of the FBI, supposedly relied on information given them by other agencies. If this is true, then how can he then turn around and say he is convinced the Russians tried to hack the election? (Mind you, I’m not saying they didn’t but for an intelligence head to make sure a blanket statement without seeing proof does rub me wrong).

And that is all I’m going to say on yesterday’s events on the Hill until I’ve seen the testimony in full.

On a more personal note, I learned yesterday that I hate most home repair stores, services, etc. Late morning, I heard something hit our stormdoor. When Mom opened the front door a few minutes later, the stormdoor literally exploded into a zillion pieces. Luckily, it pebbled instead of shattering into sharp edges, etc. But it did so with enough force we had glass at least three feet into the house and embedded into the nooks and crannies of the front door.

I have a guess about what happened. The yard was being mowed and about the same time I heard the “pop!” at the door, one of the guys was using the weedeater nearby. But I couldn’t say so for certain. Anyway, I spent the bulk of the afternoon trying to get someone to install a new door for us.

Well, the local handymen can do it — in two to three weeks. They’re booked out until then.

Home Deport won’t install, even if you buy the door from them, unless you pay them to come out and measure the door first. Then you go in and order the door you want. Then you wait another week or two before it can be installed. Unless, of course, you pay extra to expedite the process.

I called one of the local companies that advertises doing stormdoors. Riiight. Only if you agree to let them, at “a very big discount”, install new windows or insulation. Nope. Don’t need that.

Another no longer does residential work, only corporate work.

Oh, and back to Home Depot, even with me standing in front of the sign showing how much installation would be, I was quoted a price $60 higher. So nope, not dealing with them — or at least not that particular customer rep.

I have calls in to a couple of other folks. In the meantime, I’m cursing the fact that I’ve got a bum shoulder that prevents me from installing the door myself. I’m at the point now that if I can’t get it fixed in the next few days, I’ll wait until my son comes home on leave in 10 days and have him help me install it. Yeah, I’m that pissed with the situation.

I guess that means I have to get my butt in gear and get back to work. Doors of any sort aren’t cheap and this year has been one hit in the pocketbook after another.

Until later!

Of leaks and oaths and voter lists

So we have yet another government contractor accused of leaking top secret documents to the media or other persons. In this case, Reality Winner now finds herself arrested and charged. According to media reports, the government narrowed it down to Winner being one of only six who printed out the documents in question and the only one in e-mail contact with the journalist in question. More, the media reports that she has admitted to being the leak. Even so, her attorney says she will plead not guilty and looks forward to her day in court.

Now, tell me this, am I the only one hearing Charlie Sheen in the back of my mind yelling, “Winner!”?

This revelation, if you can call it that, comes on the heels of a discussion I had with someone not long ago about what it means to make and oath and who will actually feel the moral need to stick to said oath.

Every member of the military, every person holding a top secret clearance pledges to uphold their oaths to the United States. The oaths may be different in verbiage but they all come down to one simple premise: the person taking them pledges to act in a certain way. In Winner’s case, she pledged not to violate the trust placed in her by her employer and by the United States not to reveal top secret information without prior authorization. If the media reports are accurate, she not only violated those oaths but she did so willingly and knowingly and has admitted to doing so.

So what is it she is alleged to have leaked?

From what I can tell, she supposedly leaked information that the NSA (or one of the other alphabet agencies) had proof the Russians attempted to hack voter registration rolls shortly before the election. Two things struck me when I heard that. First, that the Russians attempted to hack to rolls. Second, that the information they were after is, at least in Texas, available to any candidate. How do you think you get those targeted phone calls and mailings each election cycle? The candidates can ask for a list of those who voted in the previous election or primary. That gives the candidate not only the voters’ names but much more, including their voting history (limited but yes).

Something else to consider. If the Russians really wanted to influence the election, they would have been doing this much earlier and would have been doing more than “attempting” to hack. After all, early voting now comprises in many states the majority of votes cast. I know that here in Texas, you no longer have to present one of a limited number of statutorily recognized reasons to be allowed to cast an early ballot. Instead, polls are open for approximately 2 weeks prior to the election to allow anyone who wants to avoid the lines on election day the chance to vote.

Now, if the Russians were trying to hack in to see how the vote was going, that’s a different thing. But none of the reports I’ve seen or heard have said that. Even if they were trying to see how the vote was going, it was a too little too late. Unless, of course, they are playing a long game — something that wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

Still, are we ready to admit the Russians understood better what was happening in our country than the Democratic Party’s candidate and long-time politico Hillary Clinton? I don’t know about you but it worries me that a supposed ally, a country we have been at loggerheads with more often than not, might understand our country and our voters more than a woman who was First Lady, senator, Secretary of State and presidential nominee for a major party.

If that was the case, it should be a wake-up call not only to both the Democratic and Republican Parties but to all of us.

But getting back to Reality Winner.

If the evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that she did violate her oaths, she should not only be prosecuted but she should feel the full force of the law coming down on her head. Her own political beliefs matter not. Nor does her concern about any particular issue. She pledged to do a certain job and, as part of the job, not to reveal national secrets and she violated that oath. She can’t claim she didn’t know what she was doing. She served six years in the military and held a top secret clearance there. In the private contractors sector she held a similar clearance. She would have been told exactly what that meant and she willingly agreed to uphold the oath.

If she violated it, and it appears she did, she should now pay the consequences.

Of course, this being the day and age where a certain segment of our populace seems to believe themselves above consequences, you can expect to hear them coming to her defense because Trump! or Bush! or whatever.

The time has come to tighten security and to make sure those who violate it and break their oaths learn there are consequences and they will rain down on them and there is no umbrella, figurative or literal, capable of protecting them.

Thoughts on this D-Day Anniversary

D-Day, the 6th of June.

Those few words invoke images of war unlike any we have seen in decades. GIs landing in rough seas and braving German fire as they waded through the water from their landing craft along a 60-mile stretch of beach. Omaha, Juno, Sword, Gold and Utah. Those beaches will forever be remembered in history as places where brave men fought and died.

As I think about those men, and their families waiting back home for word of whether their loved ones lived or died, I can’t help also thinking about the current state of affairs in today’s world. Someone on social media asked what happened to the Britain of that time. A Great Britain that stood defiantly against Hitler as the Nazis bombed it night after night. A Great Britain that spat in the eye of those who wanted nothing more than to bring it to its knees.

I’m not sure I have the answer. Oh, I see various factors that feed into it. The belief that war should be civilized, that we shouldn’t strike if there is the chance of collateral damage. This idea that the West deserves what is happening because of events in the past. The idea that if we simply keep turning our cheek the enemy will stop attacking. There’s more but you get the idea.

But that’s not the reason for this morning’s post. Today, I honor those men who risked so much that day. I remember the civilians who risked their homes and their lives to assist them. I urge everyone to do the same and to consider the truth of the adage that those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.

I’m terribly afraid we are seeing that in action right now thanks to our education system and the need not to offend anyone’s sensibilities, no matter how unreasonable those sensibilities might be.

 

Get real, folks

My heart bleeds again for Great Britain. Twice in two weeks, it has been the target of terrorist attacks. Innocents in soft targets were injured and killed. That, by itself, is bad enough and should bring the condemnation of the world down on the heads of those responsible — and not just the individuals who drove the van into the crowd or those who stabbed and slashed the victims. Those who either “inspired” them or who gave them their orders need to be sought out and punished as well.

What is truly terrible, however, is the rhetoric coming from those who still refuse to accept the election results. According to them, what happened in Great Britain is all Trump’s fault. Or, if not his, it is the fault of those who want to increase security at border crossings. Or those who believe we have the right to bear arms. Or the fault of the white, male, Christian patriarchy because of whatever.

Sorry, grow the fuck up. The fault lies with zealots who kill in the name of religion simply because those they are “fighting” won’t adhere to their rules and so-called mores.

Yesterday, I saw someone on Facebook trying to equate what is happening now with ISIL and other organizations like it to the IRA. Sure, the IRA for years fought the British government. It, as well as more militant Irish “freedom fighters” used terror tactics to gain Irish Independence. But see, that’s the difference. The IRA and organizations like it were fighting for freedom of their country.

The last I looked, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and all the other countries in the Middle Easter were free. Great Britain doesn’t hold them as territories or provinces, nor does the U.S., Germany, France or any of the other countries where they have launched terrorist attacks.

Why have they targeted these countries? Because the countries have not stood in the shadows and let them terrorize their own populace. They have not let them roll over our borders to terrorize our citizenry. But they also do it because they know, or they at least believe, we are too weak to actually finally draw that line in the sand and, once it’s crossed, wipe them off the face of the earth.

I have no doubt we will see attacks here on our soil, attacks similar to what France and Great Britain have seen. Why haven’t we seen them before now? Quite possibly because the U.S. still has an armed citizenry — not to mention police force. That makes our targets a little harder to attack.

Don’t believe me, look at what happened in Great Britain over the weekend. The terrorists attacked using a van they drove into the crowds and then they attacked with knives. For the last several years, there has been an active campaign in Britain to “Surrender your knife, save a life”. There’s a website by that name and certain knives have been banned. There was even a push — not sure how successful it eventually was — to ban certain kitchen knives because some chefs said there was no real need for them. All this in an attempt to lower crime in a country that already made the ownership of handguns next to impossible.

The thought behind the campaign is similar to that we see in the anti-gun campaigns. If you make a weapon illegal, it will lower crime. No, all it does is take a means of self-defense out of the hands of potential victims. The bad guys don’t care if a weapon is illegal or not. In fact, it’s better if it is because then the likelihood of their next target having one as a means of defending himself is lower.

But that’s not what this post is about. The simple truth of the matter is we have to wake up and realize that the terrorists who attack in “the name of Allah” don’t really care about Islam. They care about their perverted form of it and everyone who does not bow down to it is an enemy to be destroyed. We can’t play be the rules of civilized warfare because they most certainly won’t and don’t.

Can you imagine the uproar had our side attacked a concert or local entertainment district?

It is time to understand war isn’t won by rules and playing nice. War is won by taking the fight to the enemy and pounding away until they surrender or are dead. It won’t be bloodless and it won’t be without innocents being injured or killed. I don’t like and none of us should. But when the enemy hides in the middle of innocents because they know we won’t attack, what choice do we have?

No, I am no advocating the wholesale slaughter of everyone who believes in Islam. The majority of those who do are are angry and upset about what has been happening in the name of “Allah” as we are. But every belief — be it political or religious — has zealots. Some go further over the line than others. ISIL and the like have gone over the line and into the next playing arena. It is time we stopped waiting for the next shoe to drop. It is time for us to band together and take the fight to them.

We have to get out of the mindset that we will send in a few thousand troops, push them back a bit and then withdraw. That’s now how you win the war. That’s a skirmish, possibly a battle but not the war. Or do we have to wait until the U.S. suffers a horrible attack on mainland soil to shake us out of our complacency?

 

State of Saturday

Soggy.

Very soggy.

Fans are set up drying out baseboards and drywall. Carpet is pulled back and fans are on it. The sun is out for a bit but more rain is coming in. The estimated rainfall for my neighborhood is nearing 4″ in less than 18 hours with more on the way.

But, with everything on hold right now, I’ve started the final read-through of Nocturnal Rebellion. I really love this book and hope you guys do too. Now to find more caffeine and get back to work.

Later!

Hypocrisy in action

We’ve all seen the images of Kathy Griffin, the so-called comic, posing with the mock severed head of Donald Trump. It was graphic and it was over the line. Way over the line. Voices from both sides of the political divide stood up and condemned Griffin for what she did. Approximately 24 hours later, she issued an apology — of sorts.

Of course, that apology does little to negate the fact that, during the filming of her “stunt” she made a comment to that showed she knew she was crossing the line. She joked about how this was going to get her in trouble.

Now, poor widdle Kathy has hired Gloria Allred’s daughter and is claiming that Trump, his children and wife are trying to ruin her. She cried in a press conference today and is playing the victim card. And why? Because she went well over the line and got caught.

But she doesn’t want to suffer the consequences. After all, according to her, she doesn’t deserve this. She has helped people. That’s right. She’s a nice person and the evil Donald is out to get her.

The truth is she started believing her own PR and thought she could get away with an “act”, for lack of a better word, that went beyond being horrible. If a conservative comic had done something similar with Obama or Clinton, they would have been pilloried and Griffin would have been one of the first to condemn them. But now that the shoe is on the other foot, she doesn’t want to play.

“A sitting president of the United States, and his grown children, and the first lady, are personally – I feel – personally trying to ruin my life forever.” That’s one of the allegations made by Griffin in her press conference today. Gee, you’d think she can’t understand why the Trumps would be upset about what she did. Or that she didn’t consider the fact that Trump’s 12-year-old son might see her “joke”.

Here’s the thing. Griffin didn’t think the tide would turn against her. She didn’t think there would be any backlash and she sure as hell didn’t think CNN would fire her. CNN, the bastion of liberal think, wasted no time letting her go. They were right to do so. She tarnished their brand with her attempt at humor — except I’m not convinced she was trying for humor. She was, in my opinion, trying to score point on shock value alone. Well, the points were scored and their were not on her side of the tally sheet.

“As much as we might dislike an elected official, this is not a joke. If Kathy Griffin had been in our room at CIA seeing this type of horrifying murder take place, I doubt she would have made the mistake she did. I also think she should have known this without even having to see an actual event take place. I think the description we tried to invoke is clear.” This is from an op-ed piece by Lisa Chambers, a former CIA public affairs officer who does stand-up comedy after finishing her day job.

Griffin is a self-serving liberal who clearly thought she was above public outrage. She did something she would have screamed to high heaven if we had done it to one of her political idols. Why? Because she could and because, like so many of her ilk, she thinks she is above the rest of us. Her apology, which began with something along the line of “after I got up this morning and saw the feedback”, was not something she would have done had there not been pushback.

Sorry, Ms. Griffin, but you are not the victim here. You started this by what you chose to do. No one held a gun to your head and forced you to stand there and have your picture taken with the mock head, replete with blood. You made that choice. Now you can live with the consequences.

She can yell and scream that the Trumps are out to get her but I’ll tell you this. If someone had done that to me when my son was 12, my one mission from that moment on would be to make that person’s life miserable. There are just some things you don’t do and purposely taking action that can traumatize a child is one of them. So, screw you, Kathy Griffin. You made your bed, now lie down and wallow in it.

Here’s the thing. I have no doubt Griffin wants to use this to try to smear the Trumps as much as she can. But it is also a smoke screen. How long until we see that she and CNN have either come to some sort of “understanding” or she files suit against them for wrongful termination? Is there anyone else thinking this has all been a move to make sure she doesn’t lose any bookings or endorsements or other income opportunities because she fucked up?

Quit playing the victim, Griffin. You knew what you were doing. Now you need to pay the consequences.

Friday thoughts and reading recommendations

Just a quick post today. I’m doing my best to stay away from politics — my blood pressure thanks me as does the mush of what calls itself my brain. Why is it that the first few days after finishing a book are lost when it comes to accomplishing much more than getting out of bed and vegging for the rest of the day?

Monday, I start the final review of Nocturnal Challenge and then it is off to the beta readers. Yay! Of course, Myrtle the Muse is already hitting me with more stories, including more detail about what the next Nocturnal Lives book will be. I’m going to try to make a few notes today so I don’t lose the thread. That’s important since this next book will tie up the final threads of the current story arc. Myrtle, being the evil muse that she is, has also given me the threads for the next arc for the series.

I’ve spent the last two days doing things that needed to be done — cleaning my office. It’s amazing how much stuff I accumulate while writing a book. Everything from slips of paper with notes on them to research materials to who knows what. I’ve also been reading. That’s always my reward for finishing one novel. Before moving on to the next, I get to hit my very large TBR stack. I’ll post some reviews over the next few days.

In the meantime, Next up are a short story (possibly a novella) in the Eerie Side of the Creek universe as well as the next Honor and Duty novel. It looks like I will be working on them at the same time — we’ll see how that works. But both are being very loud right now.

In the meantime, here are a few good books to try if you haven’t already. Oh, there may be one or two of mine in the list as well.  😉

Dipped, Stripped & Dead

by Elise Hyatt

A Dyce Dare Mystery

When she was six, Dyce Dare wanted to be a ballerina, but she couldn’t stop tripping over her own feet. Then she wanted to be a lion tamer, but Fluffy, the cat, would not obey her. Which is why at the age of twenty nine she’s dumpster diving, kind of. She’s looking for furniture to keep her refinishing business going, because she would someday like to feed herself and her young son something better than pancakes.

Unfortunately, as has come to be her expectation, things go disastrously wrong. She finds a half melted corpse in a dumpster. This will force her to do what she never wanted to do: solve a crime.

Life is just about to get crazy… er… crazier. But at least at the end of the tunnel there might be a relationship with a very nice Police Officer.

Tom

by Dave Freer

Tom is a cat in trouble. The worst possible kind of trouble: he’s been turned into a human. Transformed by an irascible old magician in need of a famulus — a servant and an assistant, Tom is as good at being a servant as a cat ever is. The assistant part is more to Tom’s taste: he rather fancies impressing the girl cats and terrorizing the other toms by transforming himself into a tiger. But the world of magic, a vanished and cursed princess, and a haunted skull, and a demon in the chamber-pot, to say nothing of conspiring wizards and the wickedest witch in the west, all seem to be out to kill Tom. He is a cat coming to terms with being a boy, dealing with all this.

He has a raven and a cheese as… sort of allies.

And of course there is the princess.

If you were looking for ‘War and Peace’ this is the wrong book for you. It’s a light-hearted and gently satirical fantasy, full of terrible puns and… cats.

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.

Nocturnal Origins

by Amanda S. Green

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.

Vengeance from Ashes

by Sam Schall

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long.

But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.

It’s done

I have to leave shortly for an appointment, so this will be a quick post. I finished the final draft of Nocturnal Rebellion last night. I really like this book. It’s been a challenge to write because there are a number of story arc threads that had to be pulled together and tied off. It was a challenge in other ways as well, most notably because it is the end of the current story arc. I’ll admit to having some mixed feelings because of that.

Last night, talking to a friend about finishing the book, I commented that I was torn. I’ve spent four books building to this one. Mac’s journey has not been an easy one. Coming off this last book, part of me wondered if, by wrapping up the story arc, I had wrapped up Mac’s story. Then I realized that is up to me and to you, the readers. There are any number of other stories out there for Mac, including a new overall story arc I can explore. The only questions are if I want to write them — a resounding YES! Mac, as a character, is one of my favorites — and if you want to read them. I’m hoping you love her and her cohorts as much as I do.

Anyway, I’m putting the book aside for a few days. Then I’ll do a final read-through before sending it off to my beta readers. Assuming they don’t find any glaring errors and I get my cover art done, the book will come out next month according to schedule.

Oh, I give fair warning, there’s talk of sparkly vampires in this book. VBEG

Now I’m off to my appointment. I’ll be back later!

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