Monday Musings: Uh, Mother Nature? WTF?

C0_Img

We got hammered with snow at the end of the week, as did many. The overnight stuff was heavy and wet, and then turned somewhat drier as Friday went on. And, of course, we had some business that HAD to be taken care of on Friday. So, out we went into the teeth of it. It was not pretty. Flashing blue lights in more than one place. Tow trucks everywhere, either at the scene of an accident or on the way to another one. Roads were slippery and visibility was crappy. In other words, it was a day to stay indoors and hunker down. But, no, we had to (and, really, we DID have to) get this done. So, of course, the weather decides to take a nose dive. And it apparently isn’t over. The forecasters are predicting even MORE snow for next week. What the heck? We get nothing more than an inch or so all winter long, and now, when I am anticipating the arrival of nicer weather, SLAM. Bleah.

Eh, whatever. I’ll get over it. Probably. I know I’ll survive it. Have done so for many year. Doesn’t mean I have to like it. So, yeah, Mother Nature? Take it easy, okay? Pretty please?

Not much has been happening here lately. Just busy with stuff that needs to get done over the next couple weeks. More on that as things move along.

Writing has been slow. Some of it due to the other stuff that I’ve been concetrating on, and some due to just hitting some walls. The edits on “Two’s Company” are crawling along. I think I am going to need other eyes on it soon, as I am backing up against some walls I’m not sure how to get around.

And the free ebook? Not sure exactly when that one will be available. Soon. -ish. Sorry about that one.

On a better note, I have been playing with a second story with the characters from “Five and Daemon”, and I did hit on what should work as the main plot. So that one should start rolling along better now.

Superbowl tomorrow night! Yeah! As many know, I am not a fan of the Broncos or of Peyton Manning, but I acknowledge that he is a very good quarterback. And, as this may well be his last season, I would like to see him go out on a high, and get this win. Besides, I think Cam Newton could stand to have his ego ramped down a few notches. So, while I don’t have a personal horse in this race, I do kind of hope the Broncos defense can hold Cam down, and that Peyton has a good game to go with it.

That was my week. Now, we move into another one. I hope it’s a good one for all of us!

(The picture is from a few years ago, but it looks a lot like that out there now.)

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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: Imbolc, the Feast of St. Brigid (or I Am Ready For Spring)!

MI+St+Brigid

Today (or tomorrow in some traditions) is the Celtic Feast of St. Brigid, the feast honoring not only the saint herself, but the returning of the Light and the early signs of Spring.  It is one of the four main fire festivals in pagan tradition.

Imbolc

It seems she has sent us a lovely reminder of the days to come, as we have quite warm (for February) weather today, even if it is a bit gray and cloudy.

I, for one, am more than ready for Spring to get here. It’s been a long winter for many reasons, and the new beginning aspect to the anticipation of the arrival of Spring is so very appropriate in many ways right now. Looking forward, brighter futures, seeing more Light all around- All good things to bring into one’s life.

A blessed Imbolc to everyone! May your Spring be a time of hope, joy, and light!

(Photo by: Wikicommons)

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

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: No Aliens to Contact?, New Fairytales, Our Ninth Planet (Maybe), and Studying the Mid-Atlantic Ridge Volcanos

Midoceanridges

Is this the reason we haven’t been able to contact any alien races?

Aliens

500 new fairytales have been found in Germany:

Fairy Tales

Oceanographers are set to study part of the 40,000 mile long mid-ocean ridges:

Mid-Ocean Ridges

Is there a ninth planet in our solar system? Astronomers think there may be:

Ninth Planet

(Image: Turtle Pits on the mid-Atlantic ridge, from Center for Marine Environmental Research/University of Bremen, Germany on nytimes.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 Storytime: Five and Daemon, Part Eleven

IMG_0731

Part One (If you haven’t been reading along, you can start here)

Five and Daemon

by

M.A. Kropp

“Replaced your toy, have you? It didn’t do much good the last time.”

“I’ve learned a few tricks since then.”

The brimfire hurtled toward Johnny, who quickly spun the yo-yo in an elaborate Around-The-World pattern. The brimfire seemed to hit a wall in front of Johnny, and fell to the ground where it faded out. Lucifer growled deep in his throat. Johnny didn’t wait for a repeat performance. He turned and ran out through the back door of the house.

Fran and Cerise were waiting off the back porch near the woods bordering the small yard.

“Is he gone?” Fran was gripping Cerise’s shoulder with a white-knuckled hand. Johnny shook his head.

“Not yet. I needed to get him out here. And, here he comes!” The screen door on the house banged open. Lucifer strode out.

“Dear God!” Fran backed away from what appeared on the rear porch. No longer the suave, well-dressed host he’d been, Lucifer was now taller and broader, with long, pale hair that swung around his shoulders as he looked for them. When he stepped off the porch, a pair of coal black wings unfurled from his shoulders. His eyes glowed red and the color intensified as he found the three. He raised his arms and shrieked.

“Veniat ad me!” The sky darkened and thunder rolled across the yard.

“Johnny!” Cerise pointed to the top of the house. Scrambling over the roof and sides was the army of demons. But now, instead of small, benign-looking creatures, they also changed. Sharp fangs clicked against each other. Scythe-like claws scratched and tore at the roof and siding. Hisses and growls rose from thousands of throats.

“Stay behind me.” Johnny took a step forward. Fran and Cerise ducked back toward the trees. Johnny stood where he was, tossing the yo-yo out and catching it back in his hand. Lucifer took a few steps toward him and stopped.

“You cannot win, mortal.” His voice boomed over the yard like the thunder still rolling in the sky.  Johnny simply grinned and stopped the yo-yo, holding it in his hand again. He let it drop, and pulled the string up into the Rock-the-Baby trick. Lucifer laughed. It shook both buildings and caused the leaves to dance wildly on the trees.

“Uh, Johnny, not trying to tell you what to do, but this might be a good time to get that help you were talking about.” Cerise kept her eyes on Lucifer. Johnny nodded, and set the yo-yo wildly swinging in its triangular cradle.

“Time to come out and play.” Johnny threw the yo-yo out on its string. A flash of blinding lightning sparked from the toy into the sky, and a long, silvery sword with orange-red flames dancing along its length stuck in the ground in front of Lucifer. The demon staggered back a step, putting both hands in front of his face, as if the light was hurting his eyes.

“No!”

“Sorry, but yes. Johnny’s eyes dropped to the sword. “Time to take him away.” The flames grew to a long, spiraling column that twisted faster and faster. It stopped suddenly. Standing with hands on the sword’s cross guard was a dark-haired figure, dressed in white with a gold sash and belt. Pure white wings unfurled above his shoulders. He pulled the sword out of the ground, oblivious to the flames still running along the length. He pointed the sword at Lucifer, who was backing up toward the house.

“Redite!” The newcomer’s  voice was quiet, but it rang with authority. Lucifer threw out his hands, unleashing a stream of brimfire. The new angel lifted the sword to meet it. The brimfire dissolved as it met the fiery blade. He advanced on Lucifer, who lifted his wings, attempting to escape. One stroke of the white wings brought the newcomer to Lucifer’s side. He touched the sword to Lucifer’s throat.

“Redite!” In a swirl of black smoke, Lucifer disappeared, leaving a rotten egg smell behind. The newcomer turned and simply stared at Johnny. Johnny held his gaze for a second, and gave a small nod of his head.  The newcomer smiled, very slightly. He shot upward in a flash of reverse lightning, accompanied by a sharp crack of thunder. Johnny looked up at the demons perched on the house. He waved his hands at them, and they began to back away, disappearing in small pops of light. Johnny turned back to Cerise and Fran. Fran was simply staring at the spot where the white-winged angel had been standing.

“Was that…?” Fran took a deep breath. “Was that Michael, the Archangel?”

Johnny grinned. “Well, he goes by different names, depending, but that’s how you would know him.” Fran’s mouth dropped open. Cerise looked up at her.

“How do you feel?”

“I- I don’t know. But I remember now. This place has been deserted for years.” They looked around. The house and shop were dilapidated, paint peeling, shutters falling off, the screen door hanging at an angle. “He really did all that? And made us think he was Lucy, and had been here for years? I can hardly believe it.”

“Believe it.” Cerise said. “He’s good. Which is what makes him so bad.” Fran opened her mouth to say something else, when a cry from Johnny made them both look. He was standing near where he’d confronted Lucifer, staring at the ground.

“What’s wrong?” Cerise asked.

“He just had to bust out like that, didn’t he?” Johnny pointed at the ground. Cerise and Fran looked where he was pointing. The yo-yo lay in pieces on the ground at his feet. Cerise looked at Fran, and they started laughing.

The End

(Copyright 2015 M.A. Kropp)

There it is- the final part of the story. Have you enjoyed reading along this past year? If so, I’d love to hear from you. And, if you know anyone who might enjoy it as well, please feel free to recommend it. And, don’t forget, next month it will be out in its entirety as a free e-book. So, if you are not one to read in bits and pieces, you will be able to get it then. Thank you for reading along. It’s been fun!

If you enjoyed “Five and Daemon,” you might want to check out some of my other books, listed below.

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

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: Fool Moon (Dresden Files #2) by Jim Butcher

Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, #2)Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Fool Moon, Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, Chicago’s only practicing wizard/private detective is back. Unfortunately for Harry, his last dealings with Karin Murphy, head of Chicago PD’s Special Investigations Unit, left her not trusting him very much, and that has resulted in Harry’s main source of income- consultation gigs with SIU- pretty much dried up. Until the werewolves show up. At least, that’s what it looks like- people are dying in a messy, bloody manner. There are dog-like prints around the bodies, and the murders happen right around the full moon. So, Murphy has little choice but to call in Harry once again. But, as with all things magical and otherworldly, little here turns out to be what it seems, and Harry is once again off and running in a desperate attempt to find the real killers, save the innocent, and not get himself killed in the bargain. Add in a rather special FBI team, and Harry has his hands more than full with this one.

I listened to the audiobook for this one, and enjoyed it. This is the second book in the Dresden Files series, and it builds nicely on the first. We see a bit more of Harry’s world, both magical and mundane. And delve deeper into the character himself, who is not only tasked with almost single-handedly keeping the otherworld in Chicago at bay, but is haunted by a few demons of his own making, as well. The plot revolves around werewolves, and there are bits of the lore here that give a fresh approach to the werewolf mythos, while staying true to what werewolves are. There are some interesting twists that keep the reader (or listener) guessing. Harry’s wit is intact, and the touches of humor lighten the sometimes grim atmosphere. James Marsters does an admirable job as narrator, and gives Harry a believable voice. This is a good book for anyone who enjoys a good detective story with believable fantasy elements, as well as touches of humor that make the characters that much more real.

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: World’s Largest Cave, Ancient Pompeii Opens, ST VII Concept Art, and Planetary Exploration Timeline

BigCave

This is the largest cave in the world, and has its own mini-climate:

Son Doong Cave

Italy has opened six villas preserved in ancient Pompeii:

Pompeii

Here’s some really neat concept art that Lucasfilm has released from The Force Awakens:

Star Wars Art

This is a rather neat look at planetary exploration timelines from 2003 projected out to 2018:

Planetary Exploration

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

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: Chili and Football

Football chili

We were away for the weekend in Somers, CT for the Chili For Life cook off. It benefitted an assistant fire chief, and a five-year-old girl, both of whom are battling cancer. As a survivor myself, I was very happy to serve as scorekeeper for this event. And it was fun. A good group of cooks and judges, and the crowd looked pretty good whenever I went out to the cooks’ area. The organizers of this one are old hands at this, and they always run a good show, and make sure our job is easy.

One of the best things this year was that it was not as frigidly cold as last year’s event. We were in a real cold snap then, and we are set up for the judging in what is the garage where the golf course stores the tractors and other equipment they need. So it is not really heated well (only enough to keep the engines from freezing), and it is a big, open space with a concrete floor. It was much better in there this year. I did bring a space heater, and that helped, also. I don’t like to be cold!

After the cook off on Saturday, we went back to our hotel. We debated what to do for dinner. There is a Longhorn right next to the hotel, but we were there on Friday with a group of cooks. We looked at a few other places, but nothing jumped out. In the end, the BaldMan went to Five Guys and brought back burgers. It was nice to just relax after a long day.

And then, there was football. Holy heck, that Packers game was something. Not happy with the final result, but it was a great game to watch. Two Hail Mary passes- the first worked, the second set up the tying score in the last seconds of regulation play. On to overtime, where the first coin toss resulted in the coin going up and falling straight down without flipping. Toss it over, and this time it did flip. And just so many other things throughout the game. I gotta agree with Cris Collinsworth who, at the end of the game said: “Now I’ve seen it all!” Sheesh.

I do wish the Packers had won, but to be honest, they missed some good opportunities and failed to convert too many times. I don’t like the overtime rules, though. And I don’t say that just because my team lost. I have thought that for a few years now. I think the team that wins the coin toss has a big advantage. Sure, they have to get the ball downfield and score, but that’s what these teams do all the time. Yes, it doesn’t always result in a score, but I just think it’s skewed that way. Both teams should get at least one possession, regardless of scoring. Or they should play out the fifteen minute overtime, like in basketball. If it’s still tied after that, then sudden death.

Oh, well. It is what it is. I have no big stake in the Superbowl this year, but will enjoy the game. Can’t wait for this year’s commercials!

(Image from recipehubs.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.

Friday Review: Wards of Faerie (Dark Legacy of Shannara, #1) by Terry Brooks

wards-of-faerie-shannara-terry-brooks-491x750

Wards of Faerie (The Dark Legacy of Shannara, #1)Wards of Faerie by Terry Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First thing I have to say is that I “read” the audiobook of this novel. And the second thing is that I jumped ahead a couple books when I saw my library had the audiobook.

I liked this book. Of course, I am a big Terry Brooks fan, and I have liked (not necessarily loved) all of his work. In this, the first of the Dark Legacy trilogy, the Four Lands are at something of a crossroads. Magic is falling into disfavor, with the Druids being druids and guarding their magic and its secrets quite closely, and the newly resurrected scienctific factions rising. An Elven druid, Aphenglow, has been researching the elven archives at Aborlon, looking for clues to lost magics. She finds a diary, apparently written by an Elven girl who fell in love with a Darkling boy. The diary suggests that the multi-colored elfstones of legend do exist and hints at where they might be found. And that sets us off on this story’s quest.

Yes, it is another quest story, as are all of the Shannara books. It does borrow much of the formula from past books, but there are intriguing bits as well. There is more political maneuvering going on here, with the humans and their new Prime Minister an active part. We see the return of the Ohmsfords, the Leah, and the Elessedil families, tied together and all necessary to the resolution of the quest. The defense of Paranor, the Druid stronghold, is quite nicely done. And there is loss, heartbreak, danger, monsters, and, most of all, the struggle to fit the various inhabitants of the Four Lands together in a newly developing world.

The book is narrated by Rosalyn Landor, an English actress. She does a good job of voicing most of the characters, although some of the males tend to sound a lot alike. I think she can be forgiven for that. All in all, it is easy to listen to.

Is it a great book? No, it isn’t. Is it a good story? Yes, most definitely. If you are a fan of Brooks and Shannara, you will most likely enjoy this one, too.

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.

Thursday Thoughts: Bowie and Rickman

BowieRickman

The news of David Bowie’s death after a battle with cancer was  blow enough. And then, we hear today that Alan Rickman lost his battle with this disease this week, also.

It has been said many times in the last few days, and many more times before that, but I will say it again:

F*ck cancer.

Bowie was something of a strange phenomenon to me. Never quite knew how to take him when I first came across him. But, boy, did I love his voice! As time went on, I think I learned to appreciate the way he always did whatever he wanted to, however he wanted to, and didn’t really seem to care if people “got it” or not. And, certainly, there are things I like better than others, but one can’t deny the talent and the imagination. And, of course, Labyrinth. Always Labyrinth. Go, claim your kingdom, Jarath. We are proud to have shared some time with you here.

And what to say about Alan Rickman? Die Hard, Love Actually, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (he was the only redeeming thing about that movie), Galaxy Quest, Sense and Sensibility, Harry Potter… As well as others, and theater, and more. That instantly recognizable voice. The delicious way he played the bad guy. The way he could break your heart with one word. (“Always.” Harry Potter fans, are you tearing up? I am.) Comedy. Drama. Action. He could do it all, and do it like few others. You will live on, Mr. Rickman, every time Harry arrives at Hogwarts, every time Bruce Willis yippie-ki-yays, every time we have the pleasure of watching one of your roles. It’s too bad you didn’t have time to do more.

(Image from youtube)

 

Wednesday Wanderings: 3D Art, Scary Bridge, Time Traveling Particles, and Auto Mechanics and Art

Crevasse3D

We have all seen those three dimensional street art pictures. Some of these are really neat because you can be part of the picture (Video by Edgar Mueller, 3D artist):

3D Sidewalk Art

Would you walk across this bridge. I would not! :

Scary, Scary Bridge

Time travel, anyone?:

Time Travel

Who said auto mechanics don’t like art?:

Auto Mechanics as Paintings

(Image from https://www.facebook.com/Edgar.Mueller.Official/)
==================================================

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.

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