The fastest paced thriller I’ve ever written arrives soon.

Hollywood Jesus

You can read Hollywood Jesus as a standalone thriller beginning October 1, or read the series from the beginning, in the The Divine Assassin’s Playbook, Omnibus Edition.

FYI: The Omnibus will contains the first three books: Bigger Than Jesus, Higher Than Jesus and Hollywood Jesus and will launch at the same time.

The next book in the Hit Man Series is…

The third book in the Hit Man Series, Hollywood Jesus is almost here.

The editorial pipeline is full and humming with hardboiled activity.

Hearing happy things from beta readers. (Much thanks to the Steel Falcon Beta Read Team!) Aiming for launch October 1 for Hollywood Jesus, Rise of the Divine Assassin. It’s fun, funny, violent, poignant and violently funny. (I’d planned on calling it Deader Than Jesus. Then I decided to hurry up with the rebrand of the series.) Here’s what the cover will look like.

Cover blurb supplied by Hit Man fan and horror multitalented author Armand Rosamilia.

HJ COVER FINAL LADY IN REDFind Jesus on Amazon October 1, 2014.

Fun new look for The Little Book of Braingasms

The Little Book of Braingasms is a fun book of short prose poetry to assist trapped commuters in their endeavour not to kill fellow passengers. It doesn’t get enough love, so I changed the cover. Here’s what the new cover looks like:

This should be live on Amazon soon.

This should be live on Amazon soon.

Deader Than Jesus: The Hit Man Movie

I’m working on the last draft of the next instalment of the Hit Man Series, Deader Than Jesus. My luckless Cuban assassin has big plans for tonight. Here’s an excerpt from today’s revisions… 

Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, the character of the clever hit man will be played by Jesus Diaz. The actor’s motivation will be supplied by his lost childhood and tortured fool’s soul.

Take a deep breath. Step closer to the mirror. Look into your eyes and try to find the man behind the scary luchadore mask. What happens tonight shouldn’t be narrated by Morgan Freeman. Tough guy voice over work for tonight’s adventure should be supplied by the cowboy in the Big Lebowksi, Sam Elliot. Or maybe Dennis Leary could put a funny, edgy spin on what’s about to unfold, like he does for those truck commercials.

Somebody really badass should play you. If John Leguizamo isn’t available, can Jason Statham play a short Cuban?

I think the book will be out in a month (or less.) Stay tuned, and be sure to read Bigger Than Jesus and Higher Than Jesus. You can jump in anywhere, but you’ll get the full flavor if you start at the beginning. Enjoy.

Robin Williams and the Angry Internet

As the tributes and mourning pour out for much-loved comedian Robin Williams, I’ve seen some strange, disturbing and angry reactions to his death. The phenomenon adds to my sadness. I loved Robin Williams’ comedy and acting. At 63, he leaves behind an immense legacy of art, but he died too young. 

And then there are the Internet people who seem to breathe Mean. I’m sure they are a minority, but they sure are vocal. Time for some push back.

To the people who are so sure he’s burning in hell for committing suicide: Judge not lest you be judged. If you really want to bring more people to Jesus, do you really think kicking someone so talented and loved is going to sway people to your cause? As a Christian buddy of mine would say, “Y’all need to read your red-letter Jesus talk closer.”

Robin had a good joke about casting the first stone and getting in the heaven club. When angry fundamentalists said he wouldn’t enter the kingdom of heaven, he asked, “Will you be there?”

To the people who associate suicide with cowardice: You don’t understand the problem. I’ve dealt with depression personally. I can tell you, it takes a lot of bravery even to admit you’ve got the problem. Bravery and cowardice, however, are not relevant to treatment. Framing mental illness and addiction that way isn’t helpful to those who suffer the disease.

Perhaps you could feel superior to others in more productive and harmless ways, like getting really kick ass at crochet?

Try looking at depression this way:

If a guy with all of Robin William’s resources couldn’t turn away from suicide, mental illness must be a huge problem. It’s not mere sadness or laziness that makes a person take his life like that.

When people judge others for “taking the easy way out”, not only do they not understand the underlying medical issues involved, they may even contribute to the problem. 

Questions to ponder

What example are you setting if you lack compassion? Are you really so sure you’ll always be healthy and so utterly blameless no one will think to condemn your behavior? If life is so precious, why are you making it more miserable for those who suffer illness? Are you really angry at a celebrity you don’t know or are you projecting, angry at mortality and putting expectations on others? No one can know another’s pain or what’s going on in a stranger’s head. 

I believe there are correct times for suicide. I believe we’ll have fewer occurrences of suicide with more research in the long-term and more compassion now. 

Practice compassion today. Please. Try to see others at their best. If we reduce everyone to the facts of how we die instead of how we live, too many of us will leave this life as failures. Compassion helps save lives. Condemnation can hurry us on to darker options.

Robin Williams was a sensitive, kind and generous person who brought the world laughter. He worked hard at many philanthropic causes to better our world and ease the suffering of others. When he was well and at his best? That is his legacy. That is his example.

What have you done to ease another’s suffering today?

 

Let’s talk about writing and reading books

If you ever wondered about some behind-the-scenes stuff about writing a massive apocalyptic saga, check out my fun interview on Armand Rosamilia’s Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast.

We have a good talk. The interview begins at about 9 minutes. (It’s Episode 2 of the podcast as listed on iTunes.)

Here’s the podcast links page to the interview on iTunes and Stitcher.

Oh, and in case you missed it, here’s the new cover for This Plague of Days, Omnibus Edition. Read all three seasons, back to back to back for one low price. (And if you love it, or merely like it a lot, please don’t forget to review it. Thanks!)

This Plague of Days OMNIBUS (Large)

Please click the image in the sidebar to pick a book.

What’s the big This Plague of Days launch deal? Free ebook, secret videos and love

The ebooks of This Plague of Days are finally available on Amazon. However, there’s more here than meets the eye! You can click quick on the covers below, or go to this link at ThisPlagueOfDays.com and find out about the deals, markdowns, secret video and the free thriller you can get with the purchase of the Omnibus Edition.

TPOD OMNIBUS 3D

This Plague of Days S3 (2)

 

Thanks so much for

your enthusiasm

for This Plague of Days!

Autism and zombies

do mix!

Spoilers Enclosed: A review of the movie Transcendence

As I’ve mentioned on Facebook, it seems whoever’s in charge has decided that it’s okay to spoil Game of Thrones immediately. I’m now hypersensitive to the problem of spoilers so, though I won’t get into great detail on the movie Transcendence, I’m going to tell you up front that I plan to spoil it. Perhaps enjoy this review more like a Slate Spoiler Special (a review of a movie you’ve already seen, not one you plan to see.)

So, straight to the problem with Transcendence:

It’s based on a paranoia that is never supported and the stakes are all wrong.

If the very foundation of the film wasn’t immensely flawed, it wouldn’t have been a bad show. I like Johnny Depp. He’s good in this in that he says his lines and doesn’t walk into furniture. (He hardly does any walking at all since mostly he’s on screen and percolating through the net. They sure didn’t give him much to work with in the script.

Sadly, Morgan Freeman plays the dumbest character he has ever played. Here’s the deal: Download a brilliant, dying scientist’s mind into a computer. The photocopy of his consciousness might not be entirely him, but there’s no evidence it isn’t all him.

We’re supposed to be worried it isn’t all Johnny and it might be PINN, the autonomous computer that MIGHT DESTROY THE HUMAN RACE! Except we barely meet PINN before the scientist gets on PINN’s hard drive and there is no sense of menace. PINN isn’t HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s as innocuous as Microsoft Word’s paperclip character that popped up to ask, “It look like you’re typing a letter. Can I help?” PINN will open the pod bay door and won’t keep you out of the airlock, Dave, so relax.

Anyway, the ghost in the machine (i.e. Johnny’s character of Will Caster) embraces solar power and starts making the blind see, saving lives and doing good everywhere.

Morgan’s character’s answer to all this good news? A note that tells the dead guy’s wife to run away because…um…well…hm. Because paranoia! Because freedom! Because your dead husband is down in the basement curing cancer with nanotechnology that could save us all! What a jerk!

Making the people he cures of terrible diseases into a slave army (part-time) was supposed to alarm us. However, if the doctor said, “I’m curing your blindness for free but I get to run around in your body, as needed, maybe 10- 20% of the time,” I’d say, “Sure! Thanks! Better than being a debt slave for the rest of my life. That’s a fair exchange! Bring on the nano-tech!”

Skip to the death scene

Dying wife looks up at dying husband (again) and says, “It’s you.”

Meaning: You aren’t the monster we feared.

He answers, “Always was.”

Meaning: I was always Jesus. You’ve killed me again and learned nothing in over 2000 years.

She smiles.

She smiles!? No! She should not be smiling. She should be weeping and begging forgiveness, not only from her dead husband/computer program, but from the human race.

Ah. The human race. What did we win in the end?

Pain. Disease. Weakness. Congratulations, humans! You had a shot at long, healthy lives and hope for the future but you weren’t worthy of the gift. You “win”, ya big dopes! That’s what anti-intellectualism and paranoia and fear of new things gets you. I’d call it a life lesson, but your lives are so short and miserable, who cares? Sure, science guy healed the planet a bit in the end, but we still die hooked up to machines. Whee! We win!

Transcendence needed a lesson from Lawn Mower Man. You don’t make a guy a beneficent god and bring him down. You transform him into a mad, evil god and then you bring him down. Bring down monsters or we’re all doofuses.

And that non sequitur little tag of an ending, so full of nonsense and obfuscation?

I wonder if studio suit thought, Add in some hope for the husband and wife at the end, despite the fact that the anti-virus worked everywhere else. Sure. If we confuse the audience with a vague ending, maybe they’ll forgive us the rest.

We won’t forgive. The point of the movie is, we won’t. We aren’t worthy and we don’t cut anybody else any slack, either.

~ FYI: For a satisfying ending, try my funny crime novel about a Cuban hit man trying to escape the mob. It’s called Bigger Than Jesus. It’s pronounced, “HAY-SOOSE.” As I write this, it’s free on Amazon here.

 

The Writing Life: The Numbers Diary

As I poke through two piles of receipts, I’m thinking about the last year. Tax time is a diary of numbers. It’s mostly depressing, first because accounting is a job I don’t want to do. Second, because it’s a job that would have been easier if I’d kept track of everything all along instead of saving it all up for an Easter weekend blitz.

It’s also sad to see the things that didn’t work. Google Adwords and Facebook  Ads (for business #2) was a sinkhole with negative returns. “Negative returns” means it sucked. When the outgo outpaces the income, it starts to make you reevaluate your vocational choices. If I hadn’t been so afraid of public speaking, I could have been a lawyer, I suppose. I cured myself of the public speaking phobia (and probably dodged a bullet by not going into law.) Probably saved myself an ulcer and several clients from life sentences by staying the hell out of that profession.

One of the things I did that showed up in the receipts was donate to Authors Supporting Our Troops. It’s a good cause no matter what political stripe you wear. As for the many little bills that add up to a tower, I’m doing like we all do. I’m a shark. I move forward. I’m making headway and I’m hopeful.

Two of the beta readers for This Plague of Days Season 3 have returned their notes already and the feedback is very positive. Stunningly so. It’s exactly what I hoped it would be. I can’t wait to get through recording my receipts so I can get back to the real business I’m in.

Writing is bigger than the bills. It always will be.