Thursday, June 21, 2012

A month?

Has it really been a month since posting?
Wow. Time flies, lets see, since Mother's day? Another trip to Georgia, a Piano concerto and a boys choir, a trip to Dmanisi (the archeological dig in Georgia where the oldest Europeans can be found),  and crazy lots of work. In fact I would classify work as 'Bat-shit' crazy. Should go through mid August, and then I have my 2 weeks of Army duty for the Reserves.
I did manage to break way and spend much of the day with the fam, and my sister and niece at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA. So not all work and no play, honest.
Outside the Wire seems to be doing well on Amazon (usually top 100 in free short story ebooks). If you read it post a review, this bumps up the buzz, and increases 'sales' (okay it's free, so maybe I should say 'downloads').

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's day to the two mother's in my life;
The mother of my children, and the mother of me!

Thanks for all you've done.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Last Month's trip

I've been a bit busy and remiss in posting. My new schedule has me going back and forth to Georgia (the country), regularly, and I realized on VE day that I hadn't published anything since before my last trip.

So, last month, in addition to working, and going to a Handel Opera, Radamisto (I've never done Baroque Opera before- so it was something different) I did a day trip with two friends to a the Davit Gareji Monastery Complex, also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The place is hewn from the rock, starting sometime in the sixth century. It sits out on a lonely escarpment right on the border with Azerbaijan. When you walk the back side of the mountain to see the old caves you actually cross the border once or twice. Anyway out there in the middle of no where, in a cave, is a great place to contemplate your relationship with God, but it also sits on the path from the Mideast and Central Asia toward Europe.

The Mongols, Tamerlane, the Persians and the Bolsheviks all did their best to put the smack-down on the site, but still it's there. Experiencing a bit of a resurgence as well. When we there a bus full of German retirees were volksmarching their way through the complex.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

VE Day!

Victory in Europe, sixty-seven years ago today, or yesterday (7 May) if you were a Commonwealth country or tomorrow (9 May) if you are part of the former Soviet Union (FSU). The 7th was the act of surrender in France, while it was ratfied on the 8th. Not sure why the Soviets thought it was the 9th...I think it has something to do with time zones though (or maybe it was the kickoff of the cold war?).

Anyway, happy VE day, the end of tyranny and facism in Europe! Seems funny while looking at the International news. Putin 'elected' as president (with Medyedev back as PM), Hollande is President -elect in France with a decidely nationalist agenda (with Merkel of Germany warning the new President not to try to renogotiate the austerity deals), oh and a facist group springing up in Greece gets a seat in their parliment... good times.

Oh, and all this during a economic slwodown... anything sound familiar about this?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Double Dip of Easter

Easter. To much of the world it's chocolate bunnies and jelly-bean filled baskets. But to the roughly 2.2 Billion Christians this is the day that makes them Christian. (The belief in a crucified dead and buried Christ who descended into hell and and on the third day -Easter- rose again to subsequently ascend into heaven to sitteth on the right hand of God the Father- were you sleeping in Sunday School?)

So this year I was with family and friends on the 8th of April and I had my fill of chocolate bunnies and fellowship. I also made the trek to Georgia on Easter Sunday evening where I will get a second helping of Easter! This year Eastern Easter is on the 15th. I know, people always say, really? Why is theirs late?

Well, that's history. Seriously.

The gentlemen at the Council of Nicaea (c.325) agreed that Easter would be on the first Sunday after the full moon that came after the vernal equinox. On the Gregorian calendar the equinox falls on 21 March. Well, the Eastern Christian Churches use the Julian calendar, so their 21 March is our 3 April. Last year both east and west celebrated Easter on the same Sunday, but often they are off a bit (22 March to 25 April in the west and 4 April to 8 May in the east). Why a week? I have no idea. But it means I will be bloated with hard boiled eggs!

I really enjoy the traditions and opportunity for reflection Easter provides. In Georgia (an Orthodox Christian nation) they have a whole set of comparable Christian traditions- the palms on Sunday, the eggs, feasts with family and friends, the works. The same but different, and I have not seen a single chocolate bunny (except for the ones I brought).

Oh, and music festivals. More on those later.

Monday, April 9, 2012

GOB is the grittiest and most satisfying werewolf novel, ever read

By Clayton Bye, the writer, reviewer and web guru. Don't just take my word for it, read it here at the Deepening[HERE].

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Spring in Virginia means garden planting! In 2010 I had put in a raised bed garden, but had neglected to fill the beds with soil. Hard to grow veggies, melons and corn with no soil. Impossible to do the last year I was in Georgia (country not state, come on). So on my return I ambitiously tackled my honey-do list, and finished what I had started 2 years ago. (Sometimes projects are like that, aren't they? Great start...but..). Tomatoes, eggplant, squash, cucumbers, and strawberries, with plenty of room in the garden left for anyone else in the family to plant...hint hint..

I also finished the draft, edited and mailed off my long Short Story (8K words)- Fistful of Dead. I submitted it to 'Dark Trails' anthology being put together by Michael Knost. I liked the story and had originally seen it as a novella, not a full-on novel, but the arc was pretty complete at 8K words, as was, so I submitted for the anthology. My other 2 novels started as short stories, I let them ferment in the back part of my brain as they were, for a year or so, and then had the juice to expand them into novels. We'll see...

But the best part of getting the weird western out of my system is that I can now turn back to my real WIP, well after I finish the garden, and then I have another trip to Georgia (the country- come on,we talked about this...), and the sheep need to be sheared, and...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Free on AMAZON- Outside the Wire

Outside the Wire, my collection of short stories is now free on Amazon! (Here).

Only 2 months after I put it up at the Kindle store with a list price of free (they charge a minimum of .99, and are reticent to drop it much lower). So go, what are you waiting for!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gladiator, the yeast unleashed, and a 'Fistful of Dead'

The final step in the brewing of my first batch of beer: bottling. Overall, the beer came out pretty good. Gladiator IPA. Now, I don't think it's going to win a gold medal for beer of the year or anything, had good balance between the malt body and the Hops (only Magnum and Centennial hops so it was a nice bitter IPA style, but not a complicated hop composition) while the rye malt gave a spiciness I enjoyed.

The picture is taken in front of the kitchen window, and you can see my barn in the background. (Shout out to Chemi kargi megobari, Dato Garciashvilli, zalian didi madloba, batono).

On the writing front; I have finished the first draft of the weird western that I was working on. Came out under 10K words, so more of a novellette than a Novella. I will devote a future post to describing what I think are the differences- promise.

In the town of Restitution, Wyoming, 1869, legendary gun-hand and Town Marshal, Ephraim Stone, keeps the chaos of an out-of-control range war from breaching the borders of this desolate, windswept cluster of shacks. Until he's back-shot and the violence floods past his cold-dead corpse, lying there in the rutted main street. The town's people have no talent for gun-play, but they do have the corpse of a man that did. Now if only they can wrest his soul from the darkness and raise the dead, they just might get even odds at life for them and theirs.

A Fistful of Dead, coming summer 2012.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Back Again

So I mentioned that I left my expatriate assignment in Georgia a month ago (Feb 16). But I haven't really left Georgia (the country). After brewing my beer and setting it up in the basement to dry-hop, getting an unbelievable number of honey-do's completed, and almost getting my biological clock reset over 2 weeks, I was back to Georgia for the past 2 weeks.

(One of my coworkers was kind enough to point out that he can't ever miss me if I don't actually leave...)

While there, I worked (obviously), attended a supra, slammed drinks till after midnight with some former US senators, attended a Tbilisi State Conservatory graduation piano recital, and worked on that Weird Western Novella (mostly on the long ride back across continents). It's coming along nicely and rejuvenating my dejuvenated juices; after a year and half and only 69K words to show for my Military Scifi book I was starting to sag.

My wife was able to join me for a week of the two in Tbilisi (best part). She had a Turkish Air flight, while I was on Lufthansa/United. I left 20 minutes before and made it to Dulles about hour and half ahead. It was all in the layover, honest.