On Twitter, you can find me at twitter.com/webwiseass. I have over 1500 followers (and they’re not all marketing spammers and porn bots).
While working for a San Diego broker/dealer I researched and wrote a procedure manual documenting insurance licensing requirements for all 50 states.
Sleuths of Sorcery (dark fantasy), written with Bart A. Marchand
Print version, $16.95
TEACHER and HUNTER
Terjal Rakmir, Headmaster of Cloudreach, is content to spend his days schooling pupils in the Conjurer’s art. However, when a direspawn (a creature brought over from another plane) wreaks havoc, gruesome death and destruction upon the lands, Terjal is immediately pressed into service by Cloudreach’s patron, Lord Vaukmond, Duke of Windemere and Protector of the Realm of Ryndorhn. Lord Vaukmond, the Warrior Duke, distrusts magic yet has no conventional means of destroying the direspawn.
With his former pupil, Aiya Lindsmund (now Adjutant to Lord Vaukmond), and his three Blades, Terjal sets out on a journey which begins at Quitonne, Ryndorhn’s center of power and corruption, to a climactic battle in a deadly swamp guarded by creatures of nightmare.
At Quitonne, they find allies and adversaries. Ally: a disgraced aquamancer who restores his honor by healing the wounded. Adversary: an enigmatic necromancer whose name inspires fear and who controls a legion of undead servants.
At the end of their sojourn, Terjal and Aiya will uncover more than just the identity of the direspawn’s creator. Before the quest is ended, Terjal and Aiya will face forces greater than they could ever have imagined: forces fueled by a bitter, exiled sorcerer and his vengeful protégé.
You can download two of my short stories for free in several e-book formats here:
It’s mid-19th century England. A young man, bored with his mundane life, meets an ancient man in a seaside pub who offers a gift of endless life…and lives. But is it truly a gift for a restless man, or a burden for tired one?
Eva was a failed science fiction writer. Instead of gathering Hugo Awards, she had an ever-growing pile of rejection slips on her desk. Convinced that she’d never make it as a successful writer, and contemplating a unique suicide, she met a little green man who made her realize her assumptions were quite wrong.
Testicle canapé, anyone?
When Japanese artist Mao Sugiyama announced that he’d served up his severed and sauteed ‘nads to paying diners, the second shocker was that there are no laws against cannibalism in Japan. And, apparently, there are few, if any, laws against cannibalism…well…anywhere. There apparently are no formal laws in the United States regarding cannibalism, but if you killed your neighbor and threw him on the barbeque, you’d at least be arrested for murder and desecration of a corpse. Similarly in Canada and most other countries; however, the British outlawed cannibalism in the early 19th century.
World’s wealthiest woman thinks you’re having too much fun to get rich
Gina Rinehart, the world’s richest woman, dispensed the following pearls of wisdom on how to become rich:
“If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself — spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working. Become one of those people who work hard, invest and build, and at the same time create employment and opportunities for others. There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire.”
Pretty sage advice, wouldn’t you say? Rinehart’s ‘advice’ would have had more meaning had the Australian woman accumulated her billions all by herself. Yep, she’s not a self-made billionaire — she was fast-tracked to her vast wealth thanks to her daddy, Lang Hancock, who presumably spent less time drinking, smoking, and socializing than his less ambitious peers. Her company, Hancock Prospecting, is worth a whopping $30.1 billion. Yes, that’s BILLION. I’m certain with such HUGE coffers, Rinehart can spend all the time she likes drinking, smoking, and socializing since the work of accumulating a ginormous fortune has already been done for her.
Dr. T and the Women ( October, 2000)
You need to have a quick eye — and quick ears — to watch a Robert Altman film. So many important and tiny elements are embedded into each scene like pixels on a Web page. I saw Dr. T and the Women yesterday – and there were indeed many quirky details to track.
The story centers around Dr. Sullivan (“Sully”) Travis (Richard Gere), an uber-popular Dallas-based OB-GYN (“The lucky kind [of doctor]” a character remarks) — surrounded by women: petulant fur-trimmed, Manolo Blahnik-stamping, demanding patients; a pathetically loony wife; a recently divorced, champagne-drinking alcoholic sister-in-law (brilliantly drawn by Laura Dern) and two sexually-confused daughters.
Dallas is the perfect setting in which to exhibit the most extreme caricatures of girly-girlish femininity: the big hair, lavish jewelry, fur and more fur, elaborate use of cosmetics. The women (gals?) are a pouting, flouncing, frowning, cuckolding bunch. They seem so in need of male attention that they gladly ease their pedicured heels into mink-lined stirrups for pap smears. (“Dr. T will use the small speculum if you ask him – he’s just soooo considerate,” coos one simpering patient to another.) They are all so spoiled and so hateful and distrustful of their fellow double XXers — an overly-powdered, feathered hat-wearing elderly woman trips emotionally-needy Dorothy (Janine Turner) with her cane at every turn. One patient insists on smoking during her examinations. Dr. T’s staff, reassuringly normal (except for nurse Shelley Long, who’s almost dementedly perky — I loved it when she reminded Dr. T that the “fillies are gettin’ restless out there,” followed by a horsey snort). They seem just as appalled by the behavior of the patients as they suffer insults from the bratty scions.
The Patriot (July, 2000)
Mel Gibson stars as “Benjamin Martin,” a fictitious farmer-turned-patriot-freedom fighter, in The Patriot. While loaded with the usual adventure-flick clichés, it was also great fun. The battle scenes were appropriately bloody (almost as intense as Saving Private Ryan‘s first 30 minutes). There’s even a soldier-eye-view of a cannonball (which made me flinch for a second) — before said cannonball quickly beheads a Continental soldier standing in ranks. Many (intentionally) stirring, lump-in-throat moments: especially the recurring scenes where Martin’s eldest son, Gabriel (Heath Ledger) takes up an abandoned, tattered American flag from the mud and proceeds to patch it up throughout the film. That simple act said more than any pompous patriotic soliloquy could.
A few nitpicks however… As with many period films, modern filmmakers simply cannot resist editing historical facts to make them more appealing to 20th century (or 21st, whichever side of the fence you belong on that issue) audiences. These are things often (and sometimes easily) overlooked by many theatregoers — but to those of us who care, it can be quite annoying. But it does make for interesting conversation fodder afterwards…
What’s happened to Lara Flynn Boyle’s legs? They look kinda like inverted horse’s legs — except that horses have more meat on their bones. And Jack Nicholson is schtupping her? Ghod, I hope she’s on top — otherwise, there would be nothing more than a mashed smear that was once Lara Flynn Boyle. If this woman loses any more weight, she’ll disappear into a single molecule. Yikes. It’s painful to look at her. I’d hate to get jostled by one of her elbows — I’d probably end up in the ER with a stab wound.
TV Show Recaps
From the first season of Survivor (Summer, 2000):
Well, well, well. I guess Rich correctly interpreted the Survivor motto: “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast.” He sure did — I gotta hand it to him. He outplayed his fellow campers by providing them with daily protein, he outwitted them by forming a deviously conceived and executed Alliance™ and, finally, he outlasted them all by winning the million bucks. As much as I’m loathe to admit it, Rich did deserve to win. This was the kind of “competition” wherein the “nicest” person wasn’t going to win. Not when you have to keep voting the people you live with off the island. This was a contest motivated by greed — and greed doesn’t always bring out the best in people. I’m not implying that Rich is, at his core, an evil and greedy person. But he sure knew how the game had to play out. He’d already mapped his strategy as soon as the Tagi raft hit the beach. And didn’t I say early on that Rich would win?