Goal Post: Nailed the Goalie in the Nards!

Think I might be the goalie in this scenario.  At least this week went smoother than previous ones.  Work was busy, but not as stressful.  Still some kinks to iron out of a couple systems.  Noticed last week that nobody really cares about this stuff since I can’t go into details. So . . . moving on.

My son comes back tonight and he’s been having a rough time with middle school.  For those that need a refresher, he’s high-functioning autistic and has trouble with transitions.  That means, he needs to get used to a new school, new classmates, new expectations, and being mainstreamed because he’s smart enough to do it.  Add Covid-induced changes to schedules and him bouncing between my place and his mom’s to make things extra difficult.  I keep wishing things will go back to some level of normal because it feels really unfair that he has extra challenges on top of what he would usually go through when it comes to middle school.  My goal for this week is to try and get him into a better emotional position and hope it sticks.  I have some ideas that will help him remain calm throughout the day, so fingers crossed.

That’s really the thing that wore me down the most.  I feel helpless that he’s going through this and I’m not by his side.  Not only at school, but when this happens and he’s with his mom.  I get brought in after the fact and have absolutely no bearing on the situation since decisions have been made.  For years, I was with him through it all even when I was working and now I’m practically sidelined.  This isn’t a situation where I should cast him into the deep end like others have suggested.  Autistic kids don’t always do well because they might not realize what is going on.  They know something is different and weird and uncomfortable. Anxiety is a major problem for people on the spectrum.  To add to that is plain wrong.

In other news, there has been an addition to the family.  Not by me.  This happened a few weeks ago and I never asked if I could talk about it.  Still haven’t, so I’m keeping it vague even though I really want to mention it.

Writing did happen like I’d hoped.  I probably had more progress than I realized, but I forgot about a few other things going on.  I did manage to get 3 chapters done of War of Nytefall: Eulogy and I might use today to get through most of 4. It’s a difficult decision because I’m at the climax of the entire series.  To stop one section away from the end of an amazing chapter would drive me nuts until I could finish it on Friday night.  Then, I’ll only have 2 chapters to go, which are the final battle and the wrap up.  I would finish it all on November 1st. Not the end of October, but close enough.  Gives me the rest of the year to work on other projects.

To be honest, War of Nytefall: Eulogy has been giving me trouble.  I thought it was because of the high body count or that I was retiring another cast of characters.  The reality is that this book runs differently than anything else I’ve written, including the rest of the series.  There’s still action and humor, but not as much as I thought.  This is actually turning into a mystery that I’ve been grooming for the entire series.  Puzzle pieces have been dropped in place and things are drawn out in a way that Clyde can’t rampage his way to victory.  This means I have more talking/non-action scenes.  It’s a slower pace than I planned and depending more on emotion.  Makes me nervous too because I don’t think I’ve tried a mystery before.  It isn’t a true one and I didn’t mean to do it, but that’s how it seems to be coming out.

Watched Season 1 of ‘The Boys’ again to move into the second season.  I forgot how great the characters are.  I don’t mean good, but just well acted.  Billy Butcher and Homelander manage to steal every scene that they’re in for me.  To be fair, I’ve always been a big fan of Karl Urban and keep hoping he’ll get a ‘Judge Dredd’ series or sequel.  Antony Starr is just amazing as Homelander.  I have to stop whatever I’m doing when he gets going because the character comes off strong, weak, and unstable all in the same scene.  Heard things are better in Season 2, which I’m starting tonight.  Not sure what I’ll jump into after that though.  Probably another anime.

With my son back next week, I’m going to focusing entirely on work and parenting.  I will probably finish the January posts, except for the 2020 Top 5.  Everything will depend on how he does with school and behavior.  If I have to drop all of the other non-work stuff to focus all I have on him then I’ll do it in a heartbeat.  Looks like I’m going back to that, so I’ll cut it off now.  If I do any writing, it’ll be outlining ‘Ruins of the Zodiac Gods’ during breaks at school.  This is a big thorn in my side and has been for years, so it’s daunting to tackle it for good.  Last time I posted about it, I didn’t really walk away with a clearer head, so we’ll see what happens.

Goals of the week:

  1. Fatherhood!
  2. School!
  3. January blog posts.
  4. ‘Ruins of the Zodiac Gods’ outline.
  5. Try the new Chicken and Burger place.
  6. Carve out one night to write the final section of War of Nytefall: Eulogy chapter 14.
  7. Watch ‘The Boys’ Season 2.
  8. Start a new puzzle.
  9. Sleep when I can.
  10. Avoid political fights on Facebook.
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#BookReviews! @JacqBiggar @howellwave @marciameara

Originally posted on Writing and Music: It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to post some book reviews, so I want to share these three recent …

#BookReviews! @JacqBiggar @howellwave @marciameara
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Return of the Shadow of Monster Maker Fun: Creatures Donated by Victoria Zigler #October #Monsters

Frankenstein’s Lab

Welcome back again.  Today, we have 3 creatures donated by Victoria Zigler.  Let’s get right to the creation.  Just have to pull the switch and we’re good to go.

Nifoxchu

This adorable beast is found in the Untaluk region, which has thick forest and lush grasslands.  It has been domesticated by the locals to help with hunting because all of the local fauna are experts at hiding.  The Nifoxchu depends on senses other than sight to locate prey, which it happily shares with its family.  Its sense of smell is very acute and its nose extends half a foot from its tapered head.  They can catch the scent of a target from two miles away and continue tracking it as it closes in.  Even more powerful, its large, cupped ears can hear noises from five miles away.  To protect its eardrums, the Nifoxchu will split its long, furry tail and bend it forward to act as earplugs, which simply muffle the sounds.  Delicate pads on their wide feet help with picking up on tracks of other animals, which they will follow if they have no other choice. All of this makes them excellent hunters, except that their teeth are very small and they have blunted claws.  This is why they domesticated themselves to humans.  While the Nifoxchu can track prey down, it is difficult for it to make the kill, so it depends on its adopted family for that part of the hunt.

Occooneebbeze

It is believed that this river monster spends most of its time submerged because nobody has found it underwater.  The only time it has been spotted is when it rises above the surface, which is very rare.  It resembles a giant toad that is a mottled brown and has hardened warts that are similar to slick rocks.  Towering over the trees, it has very small eyes that are nearly hidden by the wrinkly brows.  Whenever the Occooneebbeze appears, its feet remain in the water, so nobody knows what that body part looks like. This also causes the river to be split and dammed until the creature submerges once more.  Nobody how something so large fits into the river or why it rises since it has never been recorded eating or mating.  In fact, the stories say that there is only one Occooneebbeze, so some believe it rises to take a yearly breath before going under again.  Those who have investigated the water after the creature disappears have said that there is no sign of it, but there is too much churning debris for them to see clearly.  A current theory is that it is really the riverbed since it has been pointed out that the plants growing out of its back are the same seen above the surface.

Torogllapet

Living in the deep ocean, this is a large eel that has eight long fins around its cylindrical body.  It is dark green to help it blend into the ocean and its white eyes act as lures for prey when it is hiding in its lair.  Instead of it’s body tapering into a thin tail, it stays thick and ends with a slight bump. Within this part is a natural spring that launches the Torogllapet’s upper half out like a telescope to snatch prey that is coming by.  Its head is protected by being kept within the fleshy folds of its neck, but it comes out when it is about to strike. It does not have any teeth, so it sucks in its prey to swallow whole and crushes it when it compresses once more.  This fish isn’t the brightest, so it has been known to attack larger animals that happen to have a part of themselves pass too close.  Because of this, they are commonly caught by local fishermen.  They are popular in sushi because their bones dissolve when brought out of the water and most of their body can be cut into discs that are entirely edible aside from the skin.

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Immortal Wars: The Summoning Part 40 #fiction #throwback

(Previously on Immortal Wars.)

(Again, we shall revel in my teenage originality.  Everyone groan in unison.)

Disclaimer: Immortal Wars was the book I came up with and wrote in high school.  I hadn’t even hit college by the time I wrote the first two books.  That means I hadn’t developed my style yet, wasn’t good at self-editing, and the story was fairly basic. So, you’ve been warned that this is the ultimate author throwback segment for my blog and will show my author origins.  FYI-  I put the first book (The Summoning) through a Print-on-Demand publisher and the second one (Light, Blood, & Tears) never saw the light of day.  Enjoy!

While Infinity was being dragged to the pit, Fate had managed to find Draveon. The ultimate killer was alone in the warship’s star room when Fate had silently tracked him down.  The smaller fighter had tried to take the villain by complete surprise, but Draveon had seen him in an unused monitor.  The violent fight was quick and its ending was the same as before.  The young guardian was brutally pulverized in a matter of seconds and left lying broken and bloody on the star room’s floor.  Fate still tries to get up even though there is barely any feeling within his body.

“Even with a broken spine you try to get up and continue this fight, Fate.  You are surprisingly courageous for a novice.  If you were anyone else, you would have run away instead of attempting to defeat me.  You are probably the bravest person I have ever wanted to kill.  Still, you must be in unimaginable agony with all of those injuries,” says Draveon, who is standing over Fate.  The sickening feeling of blood slowly oozing out of his mouth and nose as he tries to get onto his feet nearly causes the guardian to throw up.

“Don’t worry.  It’ll heal.  Now, hand over the sword of light,” threatens Fate while coughing up crimson liquid.

“That is so funny.  Although, you are beginning to cross that fine line between bravery and stupidity, guardian.  I have beaten you twice in one day.  Both times I used your annoying luck powers against you and I simply ripped you apart.  Face it, little immortal, you can’t possibly win a third round against the ultimate genetic weapon.”  Draveon flexes his rippling muscles and punches a hall in the steel hull just to get his point across.

“You know how that old saying goes.  Of course you do because you were around when it started.  Anyway, practice makes perfect.  I’m not dead yet, Draveon.”

“The key word in that last sentence is yet.  Since you have probably healed the more crippling wounds I gave you, it is time to finish this skirmish.  Are you prepared for the final round, little immortal?”  The mountain of muscle makes a sloppy lunge for Fate, but only obtains a strong double-kick to his groin instead.

“Please tell me that hurt,” begs Fate, whose back and legs are the only things that have fully healed.  His arms still have large gashes and are numb.  Draveon throws a straight punch at Fate and knocks the young immortal hard into the center console.  A loud, wet snap tells Fate that another rib has been broken.

“Damn it.  I just healed that one,” mutters the guardian as he holds his side.

“Your meager attack didn’t hurt a bit.  What do you think of that?”

“The term eunuch comes to my mind.”  Fate’s eyes turn the usual bright yellow whenever he begins to use his luck powers and a cunning smirk crosses his face.

Draveon’s face goes bright red with rage and he starts to foam at the mouth.  He charges at Fate and tries to cut out his foe’s heart with the sword of light.  With his eyes glowing much brighter than before, Fate effortlessly back-flips over the center console.  Draveon was going so fast that he is unable to stop and the magic sword goes very deep into the powerful computer console.  Hundreds of volts of electricity shoot through the sword and into Draveon until the villain collapses to the ground in a heap.  Smoke rises off his blackened body and uses the last of his energy to push the sword away from him.

“Looks like you’re not as powerful and unbeatable as you thought,” Fate remarks.  He picks up his planet’s weapon and starts to leave.  A shuffling sound causes him to stop and turn at the open door.  Draveon is unsuccessfully trying to get to his feet and can only slowly move his limbs.

“How could you have defeated me so quickly?  I am the ultimate killer.  I have not lost a battle in over five hundred years.  How could a mere amateur like you beat me?”

“Simple.  Since your power automatically turns any power used on you against your opponent, I came up with the best, and only, way to stop you.  Instead of bestowing bad luck on you, I gave you good luck.  Just like I thought your power unintentionally gave that good luck to me instead of you.  It’s confusing, but effective.  Of course, I really wish I had thought of it before our first two fights.  Better luck next time, Draveon.  And there will definitely be a next time that we get to fight,” explains Fate.  He looks over at Draveon, who is groaning on the floor, before escaping into the dark hallway.

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Monsters of Nytefall: Lost’s Bunny

Monty Python

This is probably the most high-profile animal of War of Nytefall and people tend to enjoy when it shows up in excerpts.  Lost’s bunny is always around here even if it doesn’t have a purpose.  One person compared it to Fizzle from Legends of Windemere, which works in a mascot sense.  Beyond that, the two are very different because there’s a lot of mystery to the bunny.

First, it’s clear that it doesn’t act like a bunny.  It flies around Lost like a pet bird and she routinely pulls things out of it like a purse.  One of the strangest things is that it appears to hold objects that are bigger than its stomach.  This actually began as me not paying attention and simply having fun with the silliness.  Now, I do it because the bunny has become such an oddity.  I imagine that Lost got it enchanted long ago, but doesn’t remember doing it.  Probably had one of her Utukku, mortals enslaved by a child Dawn Fang for protection, do it.  Since it’s not something that will ever get revealed in the book, I don’t have to think too hard about it.  We all know that Lost doesn’t always remember what she’s done or may have made a weird request that was translated into what you see now.  In the end, it makes the bunny a more obvious oddity.

We do know the origin of her pet, but even that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  Lost said that it found her when she was a baby.  She must have just been awakened by Chastity’s blood, but her mother had left.  The rabbit investigated the noise and felt threatened, so it bit the Dawn Fang baby.  Lost’s response was to snap its neck and then claim it as her pet, which is fairly impressive for an hour old child.  Truthfully, she was probably older when this encounter happened, but she has the early years mixed up due to the abandonment.  Now, you might be thinking that this makes it clear that the bunny is dead.  As if books, gemstones, and unharmed tomatoes being pulled out of its body wasn’t clear enough.  Yet, we really can’t be 100% sure of this.

The bunny clearly functions off thoughts that are separate from Lost.  It has gone in search of help when she’s in trouble and scouted while she hung back.  If it was dead, there would be no senses for it to work with.  Lost herself would need to be controlling it and have an awareness of things that are miles away.  A psionic with her power could do it subconsciously, but that takes a lot of energy.  She never seems to tire from the actions that the bunny takes.  It’s strength is really strange as well because we can see that it can fly with her as a passenger.  This could be clear evidence of her using telekinesis to move it around . . . Although, it seems to be incredibly durable and rockets into people as if it’s made of metal.  I guess that could be telekinesis too.

I really do enjoy writing the bunny into scenes.  It acts as a comic relief and weapon, which is a strange combo.  At the start, I was sure it was a dead rabbit that Lost manipulates without realizing it.  Now, I’m not really confident in that idea.  It might be something that readers decide for themselves.

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COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Viral Blues,” BY AUTHOR, C. S. Boyack, @virgilante

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read! About this Book Someone knows about the hat. The creature from another dimension that helps Lizzie fight against …

COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Viral Blues,” BY AUTHOR, C. S. Boyack, @virgilante
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Sue Coletta’s #NewRelease PRETTY EVIL NEW ENGLAND #nonfiction #serialkillers

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici! If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know I kind of have a thing about serial killers. My WIP has a totally twisted one, and I used to have a feature about them right on this site (but I don’t have the time to do that anymore). If you came here today hoping to get your “serial killer fix” — and isn’t that just a bit disturbing? let’s not dwell on that — you won’t go away disappointed. I’ve got the perfect post for you.

Today, I’m SO HAPPY to welcome Sue Coletta back to talk about her upcoming nonfiction release, Pretty Evil New England. I’ve long considered myself among her biggest fiction fans. (Have you read her Mayhem and/or Grafton County series? If not, you really should. ) Now I’m a fan of her true crime writing, too.

Before I get…

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Questions 3: Splitting Up Sounds Like a Great Idea

It wouldn’t be October without horror movies in the theaters and all over television. Some gleefully spend every night indulging in this genre.  Others may avoid them because they don’t like being scared or find the overall concept rather ridiculous.  It always seems like characters are idiots in horror movies because they make mistakes all the time.  I get into this debate with a friend all the time.  He texts me when he watches a horror movie and gets annoyed with the characters.  I can’t say I blame him . . . or them.

Before I get to the questions, I’m going to point something out.  We laugh or yell at horror movie victims because they do stupid things.  Splitting up, checking out the dark basement, avoiding the most obvious escape route, etc.  Yet, we tend to forget one important fact.  The audience is able to comfortably take in the scenario with the knowledge that it is a horror movie.  The characters don’t enter the story knowing that they are in a horror movie.  Legends are shrugged off because that’s what we would do in real life.  So, imagine you are in a horror movie without being told beforehand.

  1. What is the big ‘mistake’ that you know you would make in a horror movie?
  2. Do you really think you would survive?  Why?
  3. What is the one horror movie villain that you hate to meet the most?
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Welcome Staci Troilo as D.L.Cross and The Astral Conspiracy Series.

I am so pleased to have Staci Troilo on Fiction Favorites today. Stacie has a five-book launch going right now and I’m proud to have her with me …

Welcome Staci Troilo as D.L.Cross and The Astral Conspiracy Series.
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Songs of Nytefall: Lost

Cover Art by Alison Hunt

War of Nytefall: Lost is a book that keeps pulling my mind in a specific direction in terms of music.  Weird and a little silly.  This is entirely because of Lost and how she is a rather chaotic character.  The story is about how she appears and is searching for her father, but also leaving accidental messes in her wake.  The Princess General of Nytefall has gotten her act together in later books, but not entirely.  Of course, this one requires we all have some fun.

As I said, these songs are here because they are kind of odd, especially when you add the music video.  I caught this one on the radio and didn’t think much of it for the first week that I was hearing it.  Not sure what finally had me put my full attention on it, but it was rather catchy and made me think it would be on Lost’s playlist.  Only way it could be 100% for her is if it was ‘Dance Bunny’.

As I said, a song about a rabbit is totally Lost.  Being about ‘Alice in Wonderland’, it touches on her mentality as well.  Not insane or crazy, but there is a level of child-like randomness to her actions.  Wonderland makes sense to their denizens and Lost’s thoughts and ideas make sense to her.  Doesn’t matter that other people are left scratching their heads.

Keeping up with the quirkiness, but this one actually turned up on Pandora a lot of time as I wrote the book.  I can imagine Lost trying to act out everything she is listening to in this song too.  It’s oddly soothing even though it has some odd imagery, which has an innocent feel to it instead of going dark crazy.

Enjoy the fun and adventure in
War of Nytefall: Lost
On Amazon!

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