Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Harry Irons Trilogy Available Online

Consisting of three complete novels in one edition, The Harry Irons Trilogy by Thomas C. Stone is now available online. To purchase or obtain a reading sample, go here.

Have a Merry Science Fiction Christmas!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

To the Stars Discount

To The Stars, first book of the Harry Irons Trilogy, is reduced in price through Jan. 7, 2011. Purchase this month for $1.50. Coupon Code for To The Stars is TD75L (not case sensitive). Enter the code prior to completing checkout. Download and enjoy. Thanks for reading! Go here for purchase and download.

Be sure to check out other books by Thomas C. Stone.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Review of MINERVA'S SOUL

MINERVA'S SOUL is the long-awaited sequel to STOLEN WORLDS and TO THE STARS, comprising the Harry Irons Trilogy. Thomas Stone's final book in the ground-breaking science fiction trilogy is a tour de force as well as a thrilling and thought-provoking conclusion to an action-packed space opera. It's not often a science fiction writer completes a trilogy with such a strong story. MINERVA'S SOUL not only rounds out the Harry Irons Trilogy in Stone's typically engaging fashion but also offers readers alternative views of cosmic evolution that are assured to fascinate and entertain.

Stone has bridged the gap between hard sci-fi and space opera by offering a tale full of passionate, believable characters coming to grips with a startling new vision of quantum manipulation.

The story has a number of intertwining sub plots, but the chief motivating plot concerns the return of Harry Irons and his companions to the planet Mirabel for the purpose of curing Harry of a deadly infection. Harry's companions believe the key to Harry's cure is within the genetic code of a substance secreted by a mysterious alien creature, the kitzloc. The kitzloc is a strange breed that keeps to the sands of the Great Wahabi desert. Many have attempted to hunt the kitzloc but have always met with tragedy. The search for the creature rapidly deteriorates into a struggle for survival as Harry and his team confront the elements of a dangerous environment that includes rebellious colonists, a military force sent to arrest the team, and an alien contingent equally interested in solving the mystery of the kitzloc.

MINERVA'S SOUL twists and turns like a carnival ride, leading the reader to a thrilling conclusion only the imaginative mind of author Stone could invent. This book, and for that matter, the entire Harry Irons Trilogy, will satisfy sci-fi fans who've been waiting for a sci-fi tale that not only stretches the imagination but also delivers a fast-paced, human adventure.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New Releases by Thomas Stone

Cooper's Press, a New Zealand publisher of speculative fiction, is pleased to announce the release of two new science fiction novels by Thomas C. Stone on Oct. 2, 2010. The first, entitled MINERVA'S SOUL, is the last book in a science fiction trilogy referred to as the Harry Irons Trilogy. Here's the blurb:

Harry Irons has been infected by the kitzloc, an enigmatic alien species. As a result, he's losing his mind. It's a race against time as Harry and his team seek a cure in the sands of the Great Wahabi, a desert on the newly colonized world of Mirabel. A difficult task becomes impossible as they encounter disgruntled colonists, a security force from Earth, off-world aliens, and the mind-bending powers of the kitzloc.

MINERVA’S SOUL takes readers on a roller-coaster ride while offering a thought-provoking adventure which speculates on the nature of advanced species and the possibility of quantum manipulation.

The second release is also a science fiction novel, entitled SMOLIF. SMOLIF traces the fortunes of Contra Marlo, a retired, alcoholic, security specialist. Contra was the best before he dropped out and became a full-time drunk. When a company rep offers him a job, Marlo must deal with sobriety, inexperienced team members, and a lack of information -- as well as the dangers of an alien world and the man who would be king of that world.

Pre-release reviews for SMOLIF and MINERVA'S  SOUL have been outstanding. Both books are only offered in ebook formats at this time via a number of digital sources, but the following links are supplied for your convenience.

MINERVA'S SOUL can be found here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/25778
SMOLIF can be found here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/25783

Good reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


BAD BLOOD is one of author Pat Whitaker's first efforts in the fiction realm. It is an outstanding mystery story in that it artfully weaves diverse characters and sub-plots into a cohesive whole that delivers an altogether entertaining reading experience. Additionally, BAD BLOOD is about vampires -- and who doesn't love a good vampire story? Especially when it offers an alternative view of what being a vampire is all about.

The story kicks off with a series of murders in Manchester, England, where victims are found drained of blood with those two tell-tale marks upon the side of their necks. The chief investigator is a bloke named Detective Inspector Paul Stringer who, by the way, shows up in some of Whitaker's other stories, making him (at least for me) sort of a Carl Kolchak character. For the uninformed, that's Kolchak from the old Night Stalker television series, circa 1974. While Stringer is not as hard-boiled as Kolchak, he is definitely more personable and professional. Stringer's female counterpart in the story is played by Doctor Katherine Platte, a psychologist called into the investigation to help profile the killer, or, as we soon learn, killers. But don't be misled here, Platte and Stringer are not destined for romance. Stringer is far too professional, at least in this particular tale, and the good Dr. Platte becomes involved with another, far more mysterious character by the name of Hugh Montecrief. Hugh has connections to the murders and secrets that, well, are best kept secret.

Without giving too much away, I can say BAD BLOOD follows the investigation of a suspected serial killer that branches into a search for motives among diverse suspects while speculating on the possibility that real-life vampires just may be out here among us.

Whitaker draws his characters in delightful fashion with honesty and good humor. Stringer is the kind of cop you hope will be around to help should trouble arise. Dr. Platte is a well-educated professional with a woman's sensibilities. The bad guys are troubled souls who have their reasons for who and what they do, but it doesn't make them any less evil.

BAD BLOOD, like Whitaker's other books, is a short read, intended for one or two long sittings. The story is engaging enough to accomplish exactly that. Five Stars and a bloody good time.

BAD BLOOD can be found in either print or ebook versions at Amazon, Smashwords, or Cooper's Press.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

THE GENDER WARS Free Download

I am offering free downloads of my speculative fiction book, THE GENDER WARS, through the month of September. Go here to download. A word of caution: THE GENDER WARS is rated PG-13. Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Power of Thought

I read a lot of science fiction. Since I was a kid, I've read science fiction so I have a pretty fair background. Also, I've studied literature. English and world literature, so I'm acquainted with most genres and plots and so on. Also wasted time studying philosophy, got a minor in Philosophy, as a matter of fact. Now, there are still plenty of people who are better read than I and more studious, as well as far smarter I'm sure, but I imagine I notice the same things they notice in the bulk of science fiction writing.

Over the years, there have been some great writers and some really intelligent people penning all those fantastic stories. After reading hundreds of books and stories, I can't help but notice common threads and themes, like shared visions these great writers seem to have. Writing about the future and the technologies mankind develops can be fun. It's certainly fun reading these well-crafted stories. Asimov, Heinlein, Bradbury, Clarke, and so many more whose names escape me, are all visionaries and most write about the same thing which is, what's going to happen to the human race? It’s a fair question to ask, especially in troubling times. As fantastic as these stories are, most science fiction writers still develop a traditional story form with a protagonist working against a particular menace that threatens our world, or by extension, our universe. Of course, the odds are against the hero, but the story plays out in an entertaining way and the hero eventually overcomes all the problems in his/her quest and saves all of humanity. This scenario is satisfying for readers because it assures us of a continuation of the race, in a sense a shot at immortality, and most of us naturally pull for the good guy.

Now, these great writers recognize that the key to survival is the ability to adapt and change. That's what all writers have their characters do and sometimes it's what they have humanity do as a whole. One predominant change that I see over and over again entails a unique change in mental state. I don't mean having a character simply adopt a new attitude. Our hero doesn't just set his jaw and proceed with a steely-eyed stare to vanquish his foes. It's much more than that. These visionary writers often describe a distant future where mankind has developed, in order to survive, an ability to expand their awareness. In short, characters evolve to become mentalists. They read minds. They are telepaths. They influence others via the power of psionics. The evolved telepathic powers take different forms but all go beyond what current science deems possible.

Personally, I’ve never witnessed a case of clairvoyance or mind-reading beyond what could be called a lucky guess. I have run into egoists from time to time who claimed they could tell what I was thinking, especially over-bearing bosses, but I’ve never run into somebody who could consistently make correct guesses as to the outcome of specific future events, or move objects with mind control, or make people do things they didn’t want to do.

It’s generally agreed that these abilities are beyond what people can do.

My question is, why do so many of these extremely intelligent science fiction writers use telepathic ability as a vehicle for change and adaptation? Are they telling us they believe such mental evolution is possible? Or, is it just a fancy of imagination? Bear in mind that the task of a science fiction author is to project his imagination in a believable way in order to explain the fantastic -- to portray today’s magic as tomorrow’s science.

One thing futurists have in common is the idea that the evolution of homo sapiens no longer centers on our physical nature, but rather on our mental abilities. The perception is that the next level of evolution for humans is of the mind, not the body. This flies in the face of what we generally agree is possible. But still we persist in believing that the next evolution of the species is for the mind to be able to do things beyond the limitations of the body.

In the last few years, we’ve made much progress in understanding the nature of reality via breakthroughs in particle physics and the general unified field theory. Essentially, advanced physics tells us that everything in existence is not separate, that everything is influenced by something else and that, additionally, these influences range from the gross to the subtle. For example, matched, identical sub-atomic particles can be separated from one another over vast distances and then changes can be made to one that will be reflected in the other. Pretty fantastic, eh? It’s not science fiction either.

There are rising popular notions that a person’s focused intentions will influence that person’s future. Meditate or pray for success and it is more likely one will achieve that success without doing anything else. Well, the popular belief has always been that having a positive attitude works wonders. Some physicists go so far as to insist that the popular notion is, in fact, based on the theory of attraction.

Is that where our science fiction writers get the idea that people will eventually harness the ability to mentally influence reality? As they say, everything starts with an idea. Will we eventually be able to wish our desires into existence? Or, are we already doing it?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

UNDER THE DOME by Stephen King


It has been some time since I read anything by Stephen King but I always enjoyed his writing style and his ability to come up with compelling stories. So, when I ran across UNDER THE DOME, the storyline sounded intriguing and I was in the mood to settle in for a long read -- at 1,074 pages, UNDER THE DOME is a long read. I surfed over to Amazon, found a soft cover edition for $9.99, put in my order and waited. The book arrived in a week and I jumped into it. It was like returning to familiar territory. Stephen King is easy to read, surely one of the prime ingredients of his commercial success. His prose is straightforward, with stories told in an easy-going manner that pulls the reader in. We can identify his characters as regular people from all walks of Americana, including the good, the bad, and the ugly. As I read, I was happy with the thought that this was the same old King, a writer I can always rely on to entertain me with both dark and light elements. And he did just that.

UNDER THE DOME is about a small town in Maine, Chester's Mill, that wakes up one morning in October to find itself surrounded by an invisible barrier and subsequently is cut off from the rest of society. Faced with such a startlingly impossible occurrence, the inhabitants of Chester's Mill react in differing ways but it is only a short time before their mounting fear manifests itself in murder, suicide, and a blind dependence on the one character who steps to the fore of leadership. That would be Big Jim Rennie who happens to be a corrupt local politician and car salesman. Big Jim is driven by a lust for power, a control freak who cloaks himself in pithy religious quotes often explaining to others that what he does, he does for the good of the community. Although Big Jim's character is pitted against Dale "Barbie" Barbara -- who represents the good, reasonable side of humanity -- Big Jim steals the show. Big Jim is hypocritical to the core and it is fascinating to watch how King plays with his main character's self-absorbed self-righteousness.

If any of this sounds familiar, it should. Stephen King wants us to think about how people are easily hoodwinked by politicians and the lure of easy money as well as the creeping corruption we witness at all levels of our lives. By creating the segregated community of Chester's Mill, King has offered us a microcosm of American society complete with people from the various social stratums. Some are honest, hard-working citizens, some are shiftless but harmless denizens of the lower class and some are just downright hypocritical figures who don't give a thought to the welfare of others.

Of course, King displays his own biases while unfolding his story. If he didn't, it would not be much of a story and, realistically, what writer cannot remove bias from a fictional account that by its very nature is charged by emotional responses elicited from the actions and attitudes of his characters? While I do not wholly agree with King's apparent political/social/religious positions, I do not wholly disagree either. There is corruption around us, along with all the accompanying motivating factors of greed, runaway desire, and an underlying sense of entitlement. While some of the attitudes expressed in UNDER THE DOME may offend some readers, others will surely clap their hands in approval. Such is the nature of opinion.

My chief complaint against Stephen King's stories (and this does not include all by any means) is the sometimes inability to give me a satisfying, believable ending. The resolution of UNDER THE DOME works for me, even though there are elements of the fantastic. But hey, what do you expect? It's Stephen King! King ties up all the loose ends, a significant act of writing in itself considering the cast of sixty-three characters he has put together.

I thoroughly enjoyed UNDER THE DOME. The author worked hard on this one and it shows. As I said from the outset, reading King again was like a reunion with an old friend. Thanks for another entertaining read, Mr. King.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Today's Quote

"Do as little harm to others as you can; make any sacrifice for your true friends; be responsible for yourself and ask nothing of others; and grab all the fun you can. Don't give much thought to yesterday, don't worry about tomorrow, live in the moment, and trust that your existence has meaning even when the world seems to be all blind chance and chaos. When life lands a hammer blow in your face, do your best to respond to the hammer as if it had been a cream pie."
Dean Koontz

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Review of REMAINS by Mark W. Tiedemann

Mark Tiedemann's book, REMAINS, is a science fiction mystery set in the early twenty-second century at a time when mankind has established itself on outposts throughout the solar system. The colonies consist of corporate-sponsored settlements on Earth's moon, Mars, several small to large space stations, and a distant foothold on Ganymede. The bulk of the story transpires on the fictional space station, Aea, a space community large enough (twenty kilometers by seven) to house and employ a managed population of roughly a hundred thousand inhabitants.

Tiedemann's protagonist is one Macefield Preston, a high-tech security man whose wife turns up missing, presumably dead, in a catastrophic incident at a construction site on Mars. Mace inserts himself into the investigation amid nagging suspicions of industrial espionage and thereby becomes entangled in corporate intrigue and the politics of competing space communities.

To this humble editor, the story seems to turn on two futuristic themes: the handling of information and the management of closed societies within high-risk environments. Tiedemann approaches both of these themes with thoughtful imagination and meticulous detail. As we so often hear, information is the key to power. How information is passed and secured is central to story development. Since REMAINS' main character is a security expert well-versed in data management, we are taken on an inside tour of how off-planet communities would deal with the realities of shared, and unshared, knowledge. As a key component of this scenario, Tiedemann inserts the concept of cyberlinks, people who can accept and store digital input via artificially enhanced brains. This is certainly not a new concept to the science fiction genre, but Tiedemann's portrayal of a cyberlink's persona (Nemily Dollard, Mace's romantic interest) is accomplished with a humanistic style that adds much depth and sympathy to the character. As the tour progresses, we are reminded that the orderly progression of technological societies is apparently accompanied by restrictions to freedom, as we currently understand the term. This is illustrated via the use of constant public surveillance and by the often heavy-handed tactics of the corporate authorities. Although Tiedemann does not discuss it at length, readers cannot help but consider what it would be like to live in an environment where an individual mistake, or worse, an overt act of espionage, could wipe out an entire community in a matter of minutes.

Tiedemann has a beautiful writing style that showcases his intelligence as well as his knowledge of story-building. His characters are drawn with fine detail; their passions and motives fully exposed for the reader's consideration. Such characterization truly adds depth to Tiedemann's work and is part of why Tiedemann stands out among his contemporaries.

Mark W. Tiedemann is an American science fiction and detective fiction author. He has written novels based on Isaac Asimov's Robot universe as well as within his own original universe, tagged as the Secantis Sequence. REMAINS was published in 2005 by BenBella Publishing and was shortlisted for the prestigious James Tiptree Jr. Award in 2006. More can be learned about author Tiedemann and his other works at his web site: http://www.marktiedemann.com.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Support US Territories!

Hafa Adai... means hello!

Guam (Chamorro: Guåhan) is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands in the western Pacific Ocean and is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government.

Although Guam has a long history of European colonialism, the Chamorros, Guam's indigenous people, first populated the island approximately 4,000 years ago. Discovered by Europeans on March 6, 1521, by Ferdinand Magellan, the first colony was established in 1668 by Spain with the arrival of settlers including Padre San Vitores, a Catholic missionary -- significant because Catholicism remains the dominant religion among Guam's indigenous people. The island was controlled by Spain until 1898, when it was surrendered to the United States as part of the Treaty of Paris following the Spanish-American War.

As the largest island in Micronesia and the only US-held island in the region before World War II, Guam was captured by the Japanese on December 8, 1941, hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and was occupied for two and a half years.

During the occupation, the people of Guam suffered terrible atrocities including torture, beheadings, and rape, and were forced to adopt the Japanese culture. The Japanese occupation also imposed a new name, Ō-miya Jima or Great Shrine Island, on the island.

Guam's Japanese occupation lasted for approximately thirty-one months. During this period, the indigenous people of Guam were subjected to forced labor, family separation, incarceration, execution, concentration camps and forced prostitution. Approximately one thousand people died during the occupation, according to Congressional Testimony in 2004. Mariana Island historians estimate that 10% of Guam's population were killed by violence, most by the Imperial Army and Navy.

When the United States' military returned on July 21, 1944, more than 18,000 Japanese were killed in the battle to recapture the island from Japanese military occupation. On the American side, 1,747 US Marines and Army personnel were killed and 6,053 wounded. To this day, Guam remains the only U.S. soil with a sizable population to have been occupied by a foreign military power, since the War of 1812. The United States also captured and occupied the Northern Marianas.

Today, Guam's economy is supported by its principal industry, tourism, which is primarily composed of visitors from Japan. Guam's second-largest source of income is the United States military.

After the war, the Guam Organic Act of 1950, established Guam as an unincorporated organized territory of the United States, provided for the structure of the island's civilian government, and granted the people U.S. citizenship. However, to this day, U.S. citizens residing on Guam are not allowed to vote for president and their congressional representative is a non-voting member.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Rolling Thunder July

In appreciation to my readers for their support, I am offering free downloads of my book, ROLLING THUNDER, through the month of July. Download and enjoy!

ROLLING THUNDER can be downloaded here.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Drake Equation

Although recently criticized, the Drake equation offers a jumping-off point for discussions concerning possibilities for life in the universe. It goes like this:

Out of all the stars in the galaxy (n), only a fraction will have planets (fp). Only some out of those planets will be habitable (H). Out of the habitable planets, a fraction will develop life (fl). From those, another percent will develop intelligent life (fi). Then, out of those, only a fraction will develop technology (ft) sufficient for space travel. (N) becomes the estimate for the number of technological civilizations in the galaxy (N) that are capable of being our little green men. Here is the equation:

N = n × fp × H × fl × fi × ft

There are about 100 billion stars in the Milky Way so use that for (n). We can only guess what fraction of stars have planets, but it can be a qualified guess. If we are optimistic, then we choose a fraction near one, essentially saying all stars have planets. Then we must estimate the number of planets per star that would be habitable. Such planets must be located at a distance from their star that is neither too hot nor too cold (in our current understanding of what constitutes life). In our solar system there are three candidates: Venus, Mars, and the Earth. But we can say some stars would support fewer, or no, habitable planets. So, we can say, on average, only one in 10 stars with planets has one planet that could support life. Plug in the values and we have the following:

N = 100,000,000,000 × 1 × 0.1 × fl × fi × ft

Next, if life can develop, does it develop? Opinions differ on this point. This is where the recent Life on Mars issue has some application. If this development holds up, then life developed on both Mars and the Earth and it becomes much more problematic to say that life is incredibly difficult to get started on any given planet. If you believe life is inevitable, given habitable conditions, then fl =1.

Now, if life forms, does it become intelligent? If we can agree that life has been on Earth for billions of years and modern humans came on the scene only in the last 100,000 years, then take the ratio of 100,000 years of humans to 1 billion years of life. That gives us 1 in 10,000 planets with life that develop intelligence.

Finally, we must consider whether intelligent life inevitably develops technology? Rather than debating the point, let's cut to the chase and assume that intelligence leads to technology (based on our history of development, it's a fair assumption). Ergo, ft = 1. The upgraded equation becomes:

N = 100,000,000,000 × 1 × 0.1 × 1 × 0.0001 × 1

With the plugged-in numbers, N = 1,000,000. That's one million planets with technologies sufficient for space travel.

OK, we slanted the equation by choosing optimistic numbers. If you like, plug in your own numbers. Keep in mind that even if you consider that Earth is the only life-bearing planet in the galaxy, there are still more galaxies in the visible universe than there are stars in our galaxy. So, statistically speaking, if there were only one life bearing planet in each galaxy there would still be trillions of life-bearing planets.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Problem With Teachers

So what is really wrong with public schools in the good 'ole USA? Listen to the media and you're led to believe it's lousy teachers, or not enough funding, or racism, or any of a half dozen other red herrings.  If you don't know what's going on, read this article. If you want to help your child with his/her education, get involved.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Readers!


Great site for readers of any genre to keep track of books you've read, find books, explore & meet other readers, and swap books. Check it out. www.goodreads.com

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Review of Time Out by Pat Whitaker

Pat Whitaker's writing form of choice is the novella, a story of length and scope somewhere between a short story and a full length novel. The length of Pat's stories make for a reading experience of two or three hours, perfect for a rainy afternoon or a lazy day at the beach. Among his diverse works is a little piece entitled Time Out, an exploration into the phenomena of alien abductions.

The story is artfully crafted, combining seemingly unrelated incidents into a cohesive whole while exploring possible explanations for a popular urban myth. Whether the reader is sympathetic to the idea of the existence of little green men, or in this case, little grey men, or not, Whitaker gives us something to think about. Indeed, that seems to be the author's goal and, once again, Whitaker hits his mark dead center.

The setting for Time Out is primarily in and around Manchester, England, a locale Whitaker has previously used to good effect in Bad Blood and obviously a place with which New Zealander Whitaker is familiar.

Time Out is not just another science fiction tale drawing conclusions from fantastic premises. It is essentially a mystery and a crime drama with believable characters drawn from Whitaker's fertile imagination. The dialogue is realistic and does much to either gain pathos for the good guys or antipathos for the bad guys. As a North American, I found Whitaker's use of colloquial language charming and easy to grasp. Additionally, the style reveals protagonists to be caring, moral persons, examples of how people should treat one another. With that said, the opposite goes for Whitaker's treatment of his antagonists -- they are depraved criminals who ultimately get what they deserve. Very satisfying for this humble reader.

Time Out can be found through Cooper's Press, or through Whitaker's author site, or via Smashwords.com. Both hard copy and online versions are available.

Time Out
ISBN 978-1-877479-75-5
284 pages

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lift the Load Lightly

Because I'm feeling thoughtful this morning, I decided to post some rules for getting by that I have carried with me since 1986. They are stuck on my refrigerator door so I am forced to look at them every morning and evening. I am ashamed to admit some of them are just now sinking in.
  • No one gets out of here alive. Thus, resolve to seek reasonable values for yourself.
  • Be cheerful & helpful daily because your actions and attitude come back to you.
  • Avoid angry, abrasive people. They are generally vengeful.
  • Avoid zealots. They are generally humorless.
  • Listen more, talk less. No one ever learns anything by talking.
  • Be cautious of giving advice. Wise men don't need it & fools won't heed it.
  • Be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving & tolerant of the weak & the wrong. Sometime in life you will have been all of these.
  • Do not equate money with success. There are many successful money-makers who are miserable failures as human beings. The important thing about success is how a person achieves it.
Lloyd Shearer, 1986

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pat Whitaker Nominated for Prestigious Sir Julius Vogel Award

New Zealand author Pat Whitaker is one of 5 finalists for the Sir Julius Vogel Award, a prize given to the top science fiction novel of the year. Whitaker was nominated for his novel, RETURNING, an imaginative tale of an alien exiled to Earth, surviving in an unfamiliar world, and trying to find a way to return to his own kind.

Award selections will be held in August. For more info on Pat Whitaker, go here.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Smashwords for eBooks

Smashwords ebooks are available for sale in the Smashwords.com bookstore, and are also distributed via multiple online channels, including major online retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo (formerly Shortcovers), and soon, Apple and Amazon. Our books are also distributed into the native catalogs of top mobile e-reading apps such as Stanza on the iPhone (used by 2.5 million+ people); eReader on the iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile Smartphone, Palm Treo and Centro, Symbian Mobile Phones; and Aldiko and Word-Player on Android phones. Smashwords books are also promoted via a growing network of Smashwords affiliates.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New Books By Thomas C. Stone

Cooper's Press has released four ebooks by Thomas C. Stone. SONG OF THE ELOWAI, THE GENDER WARS, TO THE STARS, and STOLEN WORLDS are available through various sources but can be found and purchased online at a very modest price through Smashwords.com.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ranting Teachers

Everybody loves a good rant especially when it's relevant to something. It's no secret the state of public education in the United States is not so good. Lots of folks have solutions that involve placing responsibility, establishing guidelines for accountability, and throwing good money (after bad) at the problem. However, it appears the problem is culturally induced (in my humble opinion). Now, for the rant, go here.

Spring Snow in North Texas


Ah, after an especially cold and wet winter, the first day of spring arrived bringing guess what? A winter cold front and snow. Highly unusual for this climate. Don't put away those sweaters just yet.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The John Cusak Movie Experience

I put off watching the movie 2012 because the video ads evoked images that truly frightened me. End of the world stuff. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. So, when I finally drummed up the courage to view it, it was with some trepidation. I knew what to expect. I had read the reviews and watched the trailers. 2012 is an epic disaster story. After I watched it, it occurred to me maybe it was THE epic disaster story. The movie delivered the thrills I expected, bored me where I expected, and wrapped it up with a happy ending. Now, how does one go about making a film that portrays the end of civilization and the deaths of everyone on the planet save a few thousand, and then end the monstrosity by making you feel good? That’s Hollywood for you.

Like many movies of this genre, 2012 has multiple sub-plots, but the main plot concerns a typical, post-modern splintered family, primarily John Cusak's character, the ex-husband, a nice enough guy, a sensitive, caring sort who is an unsuccessful writer supporting himself by driving a limo. At this point, any movie afficionado would recognize we have entered the realm of the John Cusak movie experience. We are going to be sensitive about what happens at the end of the world. We are not going to drop our humanity as everybody else folds into full panic.

I got a little lost in scenes where Cusak's character was reconnecting with his children and ex-wife. We've seen Cusak go through the pantomime before and, although it's become a bit maudlin, he's good at it. All that heartfelt talk in such simple terms even a caveman could understand, the eye contact, it's like watching the same scene over and over again. So I didn't feel bad about going to the kitchen for a snack.

The thing that made me a little uncomfortable was that the new husband was along for the ride throughout the greater part of the film and he was always watching as Cusak mended fences with his estranged family, at least until the surrogate husband is conveniently written out of the script by being crushed to death by oversized mechanical gears within a gigantic ark. Yes, I said ark, as in Noah and the flood. Days later, we see Cusak with his arms around ex-wife, who looks at him and asks, "Where have you been all my life?" Whoa there you two, you didn't make it the first time around, remember? Maybe the subliminal message is that the girl always gets the survivor.

So, the family angle was a little weak. Who cares? The special effects were great and, even though I knew Cusack and his little family would somehow endure, I was on the edge of my seat. Like I said, that end of the world stuff really frightens me.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Global Warming

After suffering through the coldest Texas winter I can recall, I feel prompted to comment about global warming or at least, my perceived lack of global warming. For the record, this winter season is setting records for low temperatures and snowfall not just in Texas but across the North American continent. My apartment is cold, my heating bill is high, and I've been sick with winter-type illnesses for the past month. The climate change pundits haven't issued any statements lately except to say maybe they were wrong. Maybe? I don't need a PhD in meteorology to tell which way the wind is blowing.

Now, why have we been told otherwise? Are there plans afoot to create yet another worldwide emergency and to subsequently re-structure our lives for the good of the planet?

Mmm-maybe.

Well, the powers that be must be a little embarrassed about all the cold. It was supposed to be hot. The oceans were supposed to rise. Glaciers were supposed to melt. We were told these things were already happening. But they can't happen and I'll tell you why: because it's too cold, that's why.

Could it be we've been lied to? I don't know. Let me check the temperature one more time...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Digs

In an effort to streamline my erratic lifestyle, I have moved my command center from its bucolic setting to an urban setting where I can easily plug into the energy of city life. All was accomplished between winter storms in the dead of night. The good news is that operations are up and running again. For more information or a schedule of new site tours, please contact me.