Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Monday words of wisdom

Monday, February 20th, 2017

The United States is the only major nation in the industrialized world that does not guarantee health care as a right for its people.—Bernie Sanders

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It’s Presidents’ Day—let’s remember some big-league presidents who made this country great, but let’s not forget that the position is far more important than any position-holder, especially those who embarrass us by not respecting it and not doing their job well.

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Did you know the complete “Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series” is now available on Smashwords in all ebook formats, and at all its affiliated retailers (Apple, B&N, Kobo, and so forth) and lenders (Overdrive, for example). The first book in the series is on sale at Smashwords until March 1. Of course, the entire series is also available on Amazon in .mobi (Kindle) format.

In libris libertas.

Monday, February 13th, 2017

People who, like us, live in a dying civilization have three choices. We can attempt to avert the decline as a child builds a sand-castle on the edge of the advancing tide. We can ignore the death of beauty, of scholarship, of art, of intellectual integrity, finding solace in our own consolations. Thirdly, we can join the barbarians and take our share of the spoils.—mystery author P. D. James

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Gaia and the Goliaths. An environmental activist is murdered on a street in Manhattan after a protest. NYPD homicide Detectives Chen and Castilblanco get the case. While pursuing the clues to find those responsible, they discover the activist’s boyfriend is in danger because he has key information that will expose an international conspiracy involving Europe, Russia, and the U.S. As the tangled web unravels, an old nemesis of the detectives makes his appearance. #7 in the detectives’ series. Available on Amazon in .mobi (Kindle) format and on Smashwords in all ebook formats, and all the latter’s affiliated retailers (Apple, B&N, Kobo, etc) and lenders (Overdrive, etc). #1, The Midas Bomb, is on sale on Smashwords until March 1: use coupon code PV57D. The whole series is now available on Amazon and Smashwords.

In libris libertas!

Monday words of wisdom…

Monday, February 6th, 2017

We will not close our minds. We will open our hearts.—Canadian PM Trudeau

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The Midas Bomb (2nd ed). If you are waiting to get started on the “Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series,” this first book in the series about the crime-fighting duo’s first case is on sale at Smashwords until March 1 for $0.99, a 67% discount from the original price—in all ebook formats, including .mobi (Kindle): use the Smashwords coupon code PV57D. Of course, it’s also available on Amazon as a .mobi ebook or print book (the ebook isn’t for sale there, though). All books in this series are complete and independent stories, and you can read them in any order. #7, Gaia and the Goliaths, will be out soon.

In libris libertas!

Monday words of wisdom…

Monday, January 30th, 2017

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free…and I’ll detain them, persecute them, and send them back to die.”–Lady Liberty’s new slogan.

 

Monday words of wisdom…

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Vladimir Putin is a strong leader in the same way arsenic is a strong drink.—Gary Kasparov

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Coming soon! Gaia and the Goliaths. Climate control and environmental issues are on everyone’s mind right now. They’re on Chen and Castilblanco’s minds too when they’re called in to solve the murder of an environmental activist. A Big Apple case soon becomes national and international, though, with Russia and an old nemesis of the detectives become involved in a multi-country hunt for the activist’s boyfriend. This is #7 in the “Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series.” It will be available in all ebook formats, as are the first six books in the series. Don’t miss it.

In libris libertas!

Monday words of wisdom…

Monday, January 16th, 2017

Let’s all work for a colorblind America and its extensions–racial, religious, health, and other rights must not take steps backward in these troubled times.  On a lighter note:

I think that novels that leave out technology misrepresent life as badly as Victorians misrepresented life by leaving out sex.—Kurt Vonnegut

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Silicon Slummin’…and Just Gettin’ By.  The Silicon Valley hasn’t seen anyone like Mary Jo Melendez, ex-USN Master-at-Arms, and she’s not sure she wants to stay there either. Readers met the MECHs (Mechanically Enhanced Cybernetic Humans) in Muddlin’ Through. Russia and the U.S. still want them and think Mary Jo knows where they are. But they have to compete with Mary Jo’s stalker. Unlike the first book in the series, this one doesn’t travel around the world, but the dangers for her might be worse. This mystery/suspense/thriller novel is available in all ebook formats.

In libris libertas!

Monday words of wisdom…

Monday, January 9th, 2017

…if you actually are an educated, thinking person, you will not be welcome in Washington, D.C. I know a couple of bright seventh graders who would not be welcome in Washington, D.C.—Kurt Vonnegut

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Muddlin’ Through. Mary Jo Melendez is an ex-USN Master-at-Arms who is ready to start her new civilian life as a security guard. She is framed for her sister and brother-in-law’s murders. This mystery/suspense/thriller novel describes how she works to clear her name and pay back the group that framed her. In the process, she discovers the MECHs, Mechanically Enhanced Cybernetic Humans, and an intense romance as she runs around the U.S., South America, and Europe. Available in all ebook formats through Amazon and Smashwords and its retailers.

In libris libertas!

The persistence of memory…

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

No, I’m not channeling Salvador Dali. I’m referring to what I remember about a book I’ve read. I’m familiar with my own, of course, but it’s interesting how I remember others. Or don’t.

Have you ever started reading a book only to remember you’ve already read it? Sometimes I get fifty pages or more into a book when some part of it stimulates that realization. Other times it hits me in just a few pages. When that book is a used one I just happened to buy off a bargain cart, I don’t feel so bad compared to a hardbound someone paid good money for (not me these days—I’m way past $100 textbooks and even ebooks more than $5).

This persistence of memory is tricky. I remember books I disliked as well as ones I liked, maybe even more so. I remember negatives just as well as positives (Harry Potter was entertaining but Rowling is verbose; The Martian was clever but the details about potato farming dull and boring; and so forth). I remember antagonists as well as protagonists (Voldemort in Harry Potter; the mission manager in The Martian). I remember venues and situations (Harry Potter underwater; an impossible windstorm on Mars). And, of course, I remember clever plots and terrible ones.

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Venus v. Mars…

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

The battles in our culture wars often mystify me.  The testosterone v. estrogen title Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, besides being non-chivalrous by putting men first, sums up one culture war where battles are often fought. What mystifies me is that I think there’s nothing to fight about.  I’m a unisex kind of guy—I open doors for anyone, although I’m getting to the age where anyone under fifty should open the door for me. That age also means that people should offer me a seat on the train or bus, but I’ll often go the other way just to be nice. Mom called it being a gentleman.

While race has little to do with the feminine and masculine mystique, Rodney King’s question echoes here too: “Why can’t we just get along?” Respect for fellow human beings should be a habit, independent of race or ethnicity, religious preferences (or lack thereof), sexual orientation, most political beliefs (where guns and knives aren’t used to proselytize), and gender. That’s the creed my parents practiced, and I have never considered changing it.

So, let’s talk about some of my other related personal beliefs. I believe women are better grounded in reality for the most part, quick-reacting but less emotional about most issues, not afraid of showing their emotions when it’s appropriate, and often more intelligent and often better at using their smarts than men. I’m also the first to admit that I benefitted from men being in control in my old day-job, but I commiserated with female scientists, programmers, and technicians as they struggled to rise in that testosterone-rich environment, and I have always enjoyed working with women of all ages.

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Monday words of wisdom…

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.—Jonathan Swift

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Rogue Planet. Hidden away from near-Earth planets in remote spiral arms of the Galaxy are Human worlds that have lost contact with more progressive worlds and reverted to strange and primitive customs and traditions, their leaders using religion, superstition, and imported technologies to rule in tyranny.  Survey ships explored and catalogued these planets as suitable for future colonization centuries earlier, but groups with a special interest in ensuring a homogeneous and often despotic society didn’t bother applying for permission to colonize.

Following the ITUIP (Interstellar Trade Union of Independent Planets) Protocol, ships are restricted to observe and maintain a hands-off policy for these rogue planets, even when there is great temptation to intervene.  Eden, where a theocracy rules with an iron fist, is such a planet.  A group of rebels struggles to end the oppressive regime to forge a new future.

Available in all ebook formats and print. Read for free by writing an honest review (query through my contact page).

In libris libertas!