Wednesday Wanderings: Archaeological Looting, Special Hugo presenter, LEGO Gummies (!), and a Book that Can Purify Water

LEGO-Gummies-1

Looting of important archaeological sites is a global problem. A team of scientists in Scotland are targeting the issue:

Saving Artifacts

Even with all the brouhaha over this year’s Hugo awards, the show did go on. With one special presenter:

Hugo Presentation

LEGO Gummy Candies? Yes, please!:

LEGO Gummies

A book that can purify water:

Water Book

(Photo from TheKingofRandom.com)

==================================================

Available now:

 

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final envinronmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

Storytime: Five and Daemon, Part Six

pencil

Five and Daemon, Part One

Five and Daemon, Part Two

Five and Daemon, Part Three

Five and Deamon, Part Four

Five and Daemon, Part Five

Five and Daemon

by

M.A.. Kropp

Part Six

They slammed through the door, Johnny in the lead. Leaping down the steps, they ran to the car and jerked open the doors. Cerise almost pushed Fran face first into the back so she could jump into the front seat. Johnny had his keys out and was shoving them into the ignition before he was completely in the car. He turned the key. The car sputtered to life and Johnny slammed it into reverse, the tires spinning and throwing a cloud of dust and gravel across the parking lot.

Fran scrambled upright on the back seat as the car roared down the dirt road. She squinted through the dust cloud the car churned up.
“I don’t think they are following us,” she said, turning around. Cerise nodded.

“Probably not,” she answered. “The demons are too tied to their vessels by now. They can’t get too far away or they’ll lose their connection to this world.” She turned back to the front and glanced at Johnny. He was gripping the steering wheel so hard, his knuckles were white. His face was pinched in a scowl.

“What’s up with you?” Cerise asked. “We got away with our skins, didn’t we?” Johnny was silent for a long moment.

“He fried my yo-yo,” he said. Cerise rolled her big green eyes. “What? You know I depend on that thing. It helps me concentrate.” Cerise held out a hand.

“I know, but it’s not like that was the only yo-yo in the entire world. We can get you another one.” Johnny shook his head.

“Yeah, but it’s got to be the right one, and then it will have to be empowered. Plus, this is a big assignment, and I’m not sure a new talisman is going to be up to the work.” Fran leaned over the seat back.

“Are you saying you aren’t going to be able to get rid of her- uh, him- them?” the waitress asked. Johnny shook his head.

“I’ll get rid of them, don’t worry. It’s just going to be a bit more complicated, that’s all.” They drove in silence for a while, headed back to the center of Carroll Fork.

“Can’t just be any old yo-yo,” Johnny muttered, breaking the silence. “That one was the only one like it in that store.” He sighed loudly and stared out at the road ahead.

“You know,” Fran said from the back. “Earline Johnson- she was in the diner this morning. The older woman with the colorful necklace that you- well, whatever you did to whatever was in it.”

“You mean that atrocious piece of junk she had around her neck?” Cerise shuddered.

“Yes, well, Earline has a toy store in town,” Fran continued. “Lots of specialty stuff you don’t find in the discount stores. And a lot of classic toys, too. I bet she’d have a yo-yo for you.” Johnny glanced at her in the rearview mirror.

“Now that is a good idea,” he said. “I’ll have to check that store out.”
“Johnny? Can I ask you something?” Johnny glanced in the rearview mirror again. Fran was sitting forward on the rear seat, and her hands gripped the front seat backs. Johnny nodded.

“What is Satan doing in Carroll Fork?” Johnny half-smiled.

“First, that is Lucifer, not Satan,” he said. “They are two different, well, entities, I guess you’d have to call them. Lucifer was the Morning Star, one of the brightest of the high orders. He also led the rebellion that became what you know as the battle between good and evil. He lost…”

“And was cast out of Heaven and banished to Hell. Yes, I know that. I went to Sunday school, you know.” Johnny snorted.

“Yeah, sort of. Anyway, Satan is more like the personification of all the bad things in the world. Luc is just- I don’t know. Can’t really call him evil, because he’s not. He’s more misguided and thinks his way is right.”
“And bored right now, apparently.” Cerise cut in.

“Yeah, and that is never a good thing.” Johnny could see Fran frowning in the back seat.

“You sound like you are defending him. RevRob would be appalled, and say you have become a tool of the devil, you know.” Johnny laughed.

“Oh, he’s way out of line here. I know that. And I intend to stop him. Defending him? Not in cases like this. Interfering for amusement is just not allowed. But, in general, he’s not a bad guy. Snappy dresser, knows a thing or two about good food and wine.”

“Don’t forget his devilish good looks,” Cerise said. Johnny barked a laugh.

“If I did, he’d be sure to remind me.” He furrowed his brow, staring ahead again. “Speaking of your RevRob, I think I may want to talk to him, too.” Fran shrugged.

“Sure. He’ll be at the church or his house,” she answered. “We can go there when we get back to town, if you want.” Johnny nodded and nudged the accelerator. The car shook and rattled, and shot forward on the road back to Carroll Fork.

They drove along Main Street, passing Essie’s, a bank, a pet salon, hairdresser, two barber shops complete with red and white striped poles, and a laundromat.

“Small town America,” Johnny remarked as they drove.

“Hick town America, you mean,” Cerise grumbled. She was looking out the window, frowning at the quiet street.

“Hey!” Fran said, slapping the back of Cerise’s seat. “You’re talking about my home, you know. Carroll Fork may not be big, or busy, but it’s a nice town. Well, it was until it got possessed or whatever happened when Miss Lucy came here. And why here. of all places? We’re not famous or anything. I bet most folks in the state don’t even know where we are.” Johnny shrugged.

“Hard to tell. Maybe we can get some answers from your reverend. Or his sweater, at least.”

“There!” Fran pointed to a small, white building up ahead. “That’s the church.” Johnny pulled up to the curb and parked. They climbed out and walked up the path to the church. It was small and square, with stained glass windows along the sides. Two more flanked the front door. A bell tower rose above the roof of the church, its peaked roof topped with a large cross. Neatly trimmed shrubs were planted across the front of the building and the lawn was green and closely mowed. A sign stood to one side of the small porch. It’s three lines read “Carroll Fork
Interdenominational, Church Reverend Rob Patterson, Pastor All Welcome Always.” A sidebar listed the time for both Sunday school and services. They walked up the four steps to the door and Fran pulled it open. They stepped into the vestibule. It was quiet and cool, with light wood walls and floor. A long runner rug ran from the door into the church proper. They walked through the arched doorway and down the aisle between the pews. The altar at the front was a simple raised table, covered with a short white cloth. A wooden stand to one side held a closed bible. To the left of the altar was a plain wooden podium with a microphone curving up from its surface. Beyond the lectern were benches and kneelers for the choir, as well as a small organ and piano. As they walked forward, a slight man with gray hair turned from the candle stand on the far side of the altar. Cerise looked up at Johnny as they both recognized the blue-gray sweater he was wearing.

Past Seven coming in September

===================================================
Available now:

 

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final envinronmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

Friday Review: Spellbound (Spellwright #2) by Blake Charlton

Spellwright

Spellbound (Spellwright, #2)Spellbound by Blake Charlton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Spellbound it the second book in Blake Charlton’s trilogy, following Spellwright. It continues the story of cacographic wizard Nicodemus Weal as he struggles to defeat the demon that has taken a part of Nico and stored it in an emerald. The demon plans to use the emerald to help construct dragons and start the long-prophesied War of Dysjunction and allow demons to take over the world. That’s a simplified version of the plot, but it is complex and difficult to summarize without spoilers. I enjoyed Spellwright quite a bit. The idea of magic having defined spelling and syntax, and being composed in sentences is intriguing and different. And what do you do when you are a cacograher like Nico? When, every time you touch a spell, it misspells and eventually dissolves?

I wanted to enjoy this one as much as the first, but I found it a bit difficult and slow reading. I thought I had a decent grasp on the magic system, but the long passages detailing the construction and use of the spell sentences were first, far too frequent, and second, confusing. We are also introduced to some other magic weilders: a physician who is a wizard but isn’t, because she’s a healer, and although the magic is constructed and used much the same way, she isn’t really a wizard? I think. And the wind mages who control cloth, turning it into windsails and airships, but can only use their magic on cloth and construct it in their hearts. Other wizards construct their sentences in every muscle of their bodies. I was a bit confused.

I also had hopes for Nico himself. At the end of the first book, he seemed to have gotten a bit of sense, but here, he’s back to the self-centered, moody boy he was in the beginning. And Francesca, the physician, was just a tad too much. I love a strong, snarky woman character, but Fran was a little over the top and came across, to me, more annoying than fun.

And, now, I have made this sound like a terrible book, and it wasn’t. The magic system is different and intriguing, quite unlike anything I’ve read before. The plot is interesting, there is intrigue and danger and action throughout. The world is well-made. It just got a bit bogged down in explanations and that slowed things in places. I will read the third book. I do want to see how it all turns out.

View all my reviews

================================================

Available now:

 

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final envinronmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

Wednesday Wanderings: Pretty Pictures, More Fillion and Muppets, Cumberbatch Does Smaug, and Halloween Craftiness

TapeGhost

Some beautiful photos from The Guardian. The first one is stunning:

Guardian Photos

Remember the video I posted last week of Miss Piggy getting a bit distracted by Nathan Fillion? There are two more, and it seems that little flirtation got a bit escalated:

Kermit

Oh, Nathan!

We know that Benedict Cumberbach is awesome. No, wait, that wasn’t what I was going to say. Ahem. We know that he voiced the dragon Smaug in the Hobbit movie, but this video shows that his was no simple voice-over. Even without the CGI dragon, he’s plenty scary:

Smaug

With Halloween coming up in a few months, here’s something for the crafty among us:

Tape Ghost

(Picture from craftygeeks.wordpress.com)

============================================

Available now:

 

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final envinronmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

Monday Musings: Life? What Life?

Writer

Well, I have been sitting here for a few minutes, trying to figure out something to say. Now, that’s a comment on my life, isn’t it? These Monday posts are supposed to be general updates, stuff that’s happening, and random ramblings on the world and life in general. And I can’t come up with anything. The Land of Excitement, that’s where I live. Okay, maybe not so much.

Circle Unbroken went live last Tuesday. It had been on pre-sale for two weeks prior to that, and I got some pre-orders, which was nice. I truly appreciate everyone who spent money on my book. I know there are a lot of choices out there, and we all have to choose what we decide to spend our money on. If you decided I was one of those things, my thanks. If not- what are you waiting for? (Kidding, I’m kidding.) If you somehow missed it, the link to the book’s page with all the gory details is at the end of this post.

We are away again this weekend. Up in Wells, Maine for the Maine State Chili Cook Off. This is always a fun event. Not only is Wells a lovely little tourist town right on the coast, but the event itself is always well-run and well-attended. In addition to the competing cooks, the Wells Chamber of Commerce (the sponsoring organization) will be there with their chili, and there are craft vendors, as well. For the cooks, we have been having a potluck supper after the cook off on Saturday for the last few years. It’s a chance to unwind after a long day, enjoy the pool and hot tub at the hotel, eat (well, it wouldn’t be supper without eating, right?), and spend time with our chili friends. We don’t get to do that as much now that we are running the judging area at most events. I always look forward to Maine.

And that really is about all that’s new from here. Have a good week. Behave. If you can’t behave, call me, okay? :)

==============================================

Available now:

 

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final envinronmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

Wednesday Wanderings: Monolith Found Underwater, Time Lapse Earth Video, Miss Piggy Gets Distracted, and Dr. Who Season 9 Trailer

earth_at_night

A stone monolith, which may be 10,000 years old, has been discovered underwater in the Sicillian Channel:

Monolith

Dmitry Pisanko took publicly available footage from the ISS and made this rather lovely time lapse video of the Earth from space:

Earth Video

We were all devastated by the announced break-up of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, but it looks like she, at least, is wasting no time pining for her frog:

Miss Piggy

And, ICYMI, here is the trailer for season 9 of Doctor Who, starting up again in September:

Doctor Who Trailer

(Picture from techeblog.com (originally from NASA))
=================================================

Available now:

 

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final envinronmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

Monday Musings: Why Is Everyone So Cranky Lately?

CrankyToyStory

There seems to be a rash of irritableness running through the whole internet lately. I’m seeing it everywhere I participate: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and so on. It seems every day, there are more cranky postings. Is it the weather? Something in the water? Alien overlords messing with our emotional state? I don’t know.

I see it in groups I am part of, whatever the focus is.

“Why are there so many off-topic posts?”

“I hate all these silly pictures people post here!”

“I’m gettting tired of so many ‘can you identify this [animal, vegetable, mineral]’ posts here.”

And my very favorite:

“If we can’t keep this group to [this one specific topic], I will just have to leave!”

‘K, then, try not to let the virtual door hit you in the virtual fanny on the way out.

Here’s the thing: We are all human. We all have multiple interests and aspects to our lives. We are rarely completely and solely focused on one thing and one thing only our entire lives. And, while I can be cranky and irritated with the best of them (and often am), I look on these groups and boards and other internet interactions as communities. Places where people gather to share stuff. Yes, some of them are more focused than others. I am a member of several writing-related groups, chicken groups, chili groups, etc. The main focus of those is whatever the group was formed for. But- these groups are also made up of people. And people tend to wander off topic, sometimes far off and at many points. It doesn’t bother me all that much. I like being in groups where we can have a little fun, tell a joke, post a picture of an emu because Jane Doe will get all excited when she sees it, or meander off on side discussions at times. Do you sit at work all day long and never talk to anyone about anything other than the job? If so, I’m glad I don’t work with you! And it is pretty easy to ignore that stuff if you don’t want to get involved. Just scroll by. Don’t stop. Don’t read. And, please, don’t bitch and moan. If you really can’t deal with some sidetracking, well, it’t not a prison. You weren’t locked in. There are plenty of groups for whatever your interest is, and I am sure there are some out there that will suit you. I like a little fun with my serious questions and discussions. I like a good emu picture or meme or interesting article, even if it isn’t technically related to Whatever-This-Group-Is-About.

I don’t always come to a group for a serious question about the topic. Sometimes, I just want to take a break from work and see what my friends are up to today. The silliness is good right about then. Other times, I do have a question or can help answer someone else’s. Or add to an on-topic discussion. It’s all good.

So, hey, here’s thought. Let’s all just lighten up for a moment, and let a little fun slip by without getting all high-horsey about it. I promise you, not only will everyone enjoy their time online much more, but you will feel better without letting all that stuff stress you. Deep breaths. Scroll on by. Dial down the cranky. “Don’t worry- Be happy!”

(Oh, and here’s an emu for you, Jane! :-) )

24/06/2010 NEWS: Alice Springs and beyond 2010. Emu.

24/06/2010 NEWS: Alice Springs and beyond 2010. Emu.

========================================

Available now:

 
Today is the Last Day for the Pre-Sale!
tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

On pre-sale now through August 17, with release date of August 18. The price is discounted for the pre-sale and there is a free book offer. After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final envinronmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

Atlanta Burns

AtlantaBurns-700px

If you have not read Atlanta Burns by Chuck Wendig, you should.

Atlanta Burns.

Friday Review: Slingers, Volume 1 by Matt Wallace

SlingersSlingers by Matt Wallace

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a quick reading short introduction to the Slingers series. It introduces the world of to-the-death “games” that have become a cult-like obsession on this rather desolate Earth and the city that orbits above.

With a book as short as this (about 54 pages), there is not a lot of room for world-building, but Wallace manages to convey the dark, almost desparate atmosphere in a compact manner that leaves a real sense of place and time. Characters are sharp and rounded, and they are the driving force in the story. Even in this short piece, you come away wanting to know more about the people, as well as the world they live in. Pacing is fast and sharp, and the action scenes are detailed and sometimes graphic. Wallace has a somewhat unique sense of humor, and it comes across well here. The only disappointment was that this story was far too short. I look forward to seeing how the things hinted at here play out in the rest of the series.

View all my reviews

=======================================

Available now:

 

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

On pre-sale now through August 17, with release date of August 18. The price is discounted for the pre-sale and there is a free book offer. After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final envinronmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

Wednesday Wanderings: If the US Declared War on Itself, Loki Argues with Kids, Avengers in Their Spare Time, and EM Drive Possible?

Mars

This is kind of long, and detailed, but I thought it was fascinating, especially for a writer. If you want to write an apocalyptic final days set in the US, this might come in handy:

If the US Declared War on Itself

Even Loki should know better:

Loki Argues with Kids

Some are better than others, as usual, but here are 48 things the Avengers do in their spare time:

Avengers Spare Time

So, that “impossible” EM drive? It may not be all that impossible after all. (Mars, here we come?):

EM Drive

(Picture: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), J. Bell (Cornell University), and M. Wolff (Space Science Institute, Boulder))

====================================================

Available now:

 

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

On pre-sale now through August 17, with release date of August 18. The price is discounted for the pre-sale and there is a free book offer. After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final envinronmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 154 other followers