Another month gone…

It’s been another spectacular month -at least for me!- with regard to people either buying or reading, via Kindle Unlimited, my novels.


I’ve been doing some backbreaking work these past few days getting a certain book ready for paperback printing…

Yep, though a digital/Kindle version of this graphic novel is available, I didn’t create a new paperback version since the original 2003 release.

That’s about to change.

In the past few days I’ve been putting together a new PDF file for this graphic novel and, as of yesterday, entered the relevent files to create a TPB which everyone can order.

Unlike the original paperback, the paper and print should be far, far nicer than the original version. Cleaner, brighter paper, and images that aren’t cut off.

A dirty little secret: When the original 2003 version of The Dark Fringe was printed and unbeknownst to me, the files I created of the pages wound up being a little bigger than they should have been. The person who set up the printing told me, after the fact, that he put as much of each page as he could in the trade paperback printing job but… some things were cut off. Minor elements quite literally at the edges, granted, but irritating nonetheless.

Here’s the thing: I fixed this with the digital/Kindle version but there is no actual paperback version of The Dark Fringe out there that looks the way it should.

That will change.

The new version I sent in has all the art elements as they should be and, as stated, the paper quality should be far better than the original.

I’ve already ordered proof copies of the new paperback version of The Dark Fringe and will likely get it early next week.

If all looks good, the book will be available for purchase at US $6.99 each copy. This is actually $3 less than the book was originally sold for back in 2003! Seems printing costs are coming down!

Anyway, more to come…!


Whenever you decide to spend money on some form of entertainment, be it go to the movies, see something on TV, buy a book (digitally nowadays, I imagine!), buy a comic book (ditto), or listen to some music, you invest time and, often, your hard earned cash in the venture.

Your hope is that once you’ve seen/heard/read the material, you’re left at the very least happy and/or satisfied that the time you spent on the work was worth your while.

Of course, there are times things don’t work out that way.

When I was younger, I recalled being blown away by music from certain artists I’d hear on the radio. I would buy their album and come to realize the sole highlight of said album is that song. Likewise, there are countless books, movies, and TV shows I’ve engaged with. Some I realized very quickly weren’t for me and stopped watching/reading them. Others drew me in with their original concept but quickly petered out and, by a few hundred (or so) pages into said novel, I gave up on it.

The worst case scenario, though, has to be reading/watching a movie/TV show/book which really, really draws you in, you savor the material and love what you’re reading/watching… and then the work falls apart at the very end.

I distinctly recall many years ago, 1989 to be precise, breathlessly waiting for James Cameron’s latest sci-fi film, The Abyss, to be released. I was a HUGE fan of James Cameron by that time, loving both The Terminator and Aliens, his previous two films, and felt the man could do no wrong.


Look, The Abyss wasn’t by any stretch a bad film. Not at all! But as one critic whose name is forgotten after all these years stated (and I’m paraphrasing here): The Abyss is like seeing a runner having the run of their life. They’re far ahead of the pack and nearing the finish line. And then, just before reaching it, stumbled and falls.

To me, that summed up The Abyss in a nutshell. A great, great film with an unfortunately murky ending which, even in the eventually released extended version, simply wasn’t all that good.

Which brings me to the Jeff Lemire/Dustin Nguyen comic book series Descender.

Descender Vol. 1 by [Lemire, Jeff]

I’ve become a big fan of Jeff Lemire’s writing of late. He’s a thoughtful writer who has a deft touch in dealing with many characters/situations and presenting a clear, accessible story that draws you in almost immediately. I haven’t read all his work, but what I have read I’ve loved.

And for most of Descender’s run, I’ve loved what I’ve read. The series, originally released in 32 issues, has been collected in Trade Paperbacks or, if you’re like me, Kindle/Digital editions.

I found them on sale and picked the whole bunch up and I was blown away by what I read. Yeah, there was a point toward the middle of the story where Mr. Lemire devoted perhaps a little too much time to filling in backstory, but overall the story arc, involving a robot boy who awakens after a ten year “sleep” to find a very different universe around him, was fascinating, heartbreaking, exciting, and supremely enjoyable.

As a writer, I can only be jealous of how well Mr. Lemire juggled the many plot threads and his use of foreshadowing and laying down hints to events to come much later on. Terrific, terrific stuff.

But that ending…

Actually, non-ending.

We reach this point where all the players finally come together and the stakes couldn’t be higher and we have a resolution of sorts… but are instantly hit with the fact that this is only the first part of a larger work! Worse, the whole thing, at the end, felt rushed, pushed together and then you’re hit with the promise of a second series, called Ascender, which will continue these stories…


Perhaps I’m being unfair here. The story is not done yet so maybe I should hold my fire and wait to see where we go from here.

That doesn’t, however, change the fact that the ending winds up being far more abrupt than you’d like and then, suddenly (SPOILERS!) we’re ten years in the future and we are left hanging as to where almost all the characters -those that survived- are at. In fact, the denouement of the story is essentially a three or four page (sorry, don’t have it handy now) taste of what’s to come and… I just…

32 issues worth of material and while we’re given a sorta/kinda resolution to some of the things involved in the story while many of the secrets remain just that (I don’t want to get into even more spoilers, but we’re still left with no clear understanding of what the machine race that so influenced the story line is about). Further, we’re essentially told “to be continued!”

Again: Maybe I’m being unfair here. I enjoyed so damn much of the book to this point. Perhaps things would have been better if there was more of a sense early on that this would be the first “book” of a “X” numbered book series. Perhaps then the ending wouldn’t have left me so bothered.

Perhaps that’s just me.

Regardless, I’ll be there for Ascender.

grumble grumble

The type of thing that can give you nightmares…

Found this article on and written by Jack Guy:

Woman dies as food poisoning in Michelin-starred restaurant hits 29 diners

The restaurant in question, Riff located in Valencia, Spain, has one Michelin star and, obviously, is considered a prestigious restaurant.

And yet, as the article notes, between February 13 and 16 something was served to patrons which caused them to get very sick. One of the patrons, a woman who leaves behind a husband and 12 year old son who also experienced illness from their meal at the restaurant, passed away early Sunday morning.


This is obviously a very sad and tragic situation, especially for the woman and her family. It also provides a sober reality check. Even if you go to a restaurant with a very high/prestigious reputation, bad things can -and in this case did- happen.

But it goes even beyond that. We buy food at our local grocery and expect the food we pick up is “safe” just as we do whenever we get food at a restaurant, be it prestigious or a “fast food”-type joint.

But as this article shows, things can go wrong. I have absolutely no doubt the staff of Riff had no idea they were serving bad food, just as I’m certain whoever sold them the food didn’t think it was bad, either.

There is no moral here, no point other than bad things can happen. It’s a scary thing to realize.

Sailor in iconic picture passes away…

Yesterday news came that George Mendonsa, the sailor pictured in this iconic World War II (or, more specifically, end of World War II) picture and presented on Life magazine, had passed away at the age of 95…

Image result for life magazine wwii kiss photo

The woman in the picture, Greta Zimmer Friedman, had passed away at 92 in 2016. The two did not know each other and Mr. Mendonsa grabbed and kissed the woman, a dental technician, without her consent.

That’s right, he grabbed a random woman, pulled her up to him, and planted a kiss on her.

I know the image is iconic, I know it has been used to show, in visual form, the ecstasy of the moment in Times Square when WWII was officially over and celebrations over that fact ran throughout the nation.

However, what we have here is a woman, against her will, being grabbed and kissed. Later on and when interviewed, Ms. Friedman stated: “It wasn’t my choice to be kissed”. Just like that, this iconic image feels… I dunno… wrong.

For years and before the story behind this picture was reported, I figured the two knew each other and they both shared in this celebratory kiss. When I discovered otherwise…

Look, I understand Mr. Mendonsa, as most military personnel and civilians, was thrilled war was over and they would not experience battle.

Yet what he did here… it simply wasn’t right. I wouldn’t want to be out on the streets, minding my own business, when someone (male, female… its irrelevant) grabs me and forcibly plants a kiss on my face… or worse.

I suspect not many people would.

It certainly mars what was, at one point, a seemingly delightful picture that came to signify the elation of a nation at the end of a brutal war.

History Repeats Itself…


Read about actor Jussie Smollett? He’s an openly gay actor known for being in the TV show Empire. Here he is:

On January 29th of this year, he reported to the police that two people attacked him while in Chicago. He alleged they hurled homophobic and racial slurs at him, put a rope around his neck, and poured a chemical substance on him.

(For more details and a timeline of events regarding this case, check out this article by Sopan Deb and presented on The New York Times).

Needless to say, the assault and details Mr. Smollett provided were harrowing. Only thing is… it now appears that Mr. Smollett may not have been telling the truth. It appears he may have staged the event himself, something I can’t even begin to understand why.

Ah, but you ask: What’s this whole “history repeats itself” thing you mention at the header?

See, when you get older and if you pay attention to the news and have a pesky habit of remembering things from years to years, you begin to realize that, indeed, history does have a weird habit of repeating itself.

Way back in the 1980’s and before the rise of the Rush Limbaughs, Ann Coulters, and other right wing fanatics, there was this TV personality, now deceased, named Morton Downey Jr. who had a very wild right wing TV show. Here’s Mr. Morton Downey Jr as he appeared on his show:

Image result for morton downey jr

And here’s the very same Morton Downey Jr. photographed in 1989 after he was allegedly attacked -as he claimed- in a public bathroom by youthful hoods that, among other things, drew a swastika on his face:

Image result for morton downey jr

You can read a little more about this alleged attack on this site:

As you can tell by the website’s name, this attack on Mr. Downey Jr. wound up being… well… bogus. There proved to be too many discrepancies in his story and, amusingly, the Swastika was drawn on his face backwards. You know, as if he was looking in the mirror and drew it that way.

As it turned out, Mr. Downey Jr.’s TV show was suffering and was looking like it might be cancelled. It was theorized he set up this bogus attack as a way of getting attention on himself in the hopes of bringing the ratings of his show up and, thus, save it.

Alas, the show was cancelled anyway and Mr. Downey Jr. declared bankruptcy and appeared in other markets before his eventual death in 2001. I distinctly recall watching one of his shows way back when, where he puffed maniacally on his cigarette and blew smoke right at the camera, his provocative way of telling those who would dare try to stop him from smoking to go fuck themselves.

The big irony is that in 1996 Mr. Downey Jr. developed lung cancer and had to have one of his lungs removed. He went from being that very pro-smoker to a staunch anti-smoker but, clearly, by that point the damage was done.

I know there are rumors Mr. Smollett’s actions, if indeed the attack on him does turn out to be bogus, were motivated by perhaps being in danger of being dropped from Empire, just as Mr. Downey Jr. allegedly did what he did for fear his show was on the rocks.

Either way, if indeed Mr. Smollett did stage this attack, it looks like its in the process of being found out.

Greed is good…?

So said the oily Gordon Gecko as played by Michael Douglas in the 1987 Oliver Stone directed film Wall Street.

Apropos of that, I present the following article written by Jason Owens and presented on Yahoo sports (though the link I’m providing is on

Matt Kuchar defends paying caddie $5000 on $1.3 million win: I “don’t lose sleep over this”

I’m completely bewildered and, I must say, enraged by this article.

As is stated (and at the risk of giving away everything in the above article), Matt Kuchar played in a tournament, the Mayakoba Golf Classic, and didn’t have his usual caddy with him. According to Mr. Kuchar, the two verbally agreed to a payment of $5000 for the caddie job.

Mr. Kuchar went on to win that tournament and received a prize of $1.298 million dollars.

He paid his caddie $5000.

The caddie, obviously not happy with the very small fee given to him, asked for more and, truth be told, caddies usually receive bonuses when the person they are “serving” win and win big.

After the story reached the news Kuchar offered the caddie $15,000 (or a little more than 1% of the winnings) but the caddie felt even that was an insult. He asked for $50,000, or a little less than 4% of Kuchar’s winnings.

Kuchar refused and, according to the article, he feels the matter is now closed. From the article:

“It’s done. Listen, I feel like I was fair and good,” he said. “You can’t make everybody happy. You’re not going to buy people’s ability to be OK with you, and this seems to be a social media issue more than anything. I think it shouldn’t be, knowing that there was a complete, agreed-upon deal that not only did I meet but exceeded.

“So I certainly don’t lose sleep over this. This is something that I’m quite happy with, and I was really happy for him to have a great week and make a good sum of money. Making $5,000 is a great week.”

I know there will be those who say: Well, if they had an agreement, the caddy should just shut up and accept what he got. However… notes that $3,000 for a week on a bag for a club caddie like Ortiz would normally be considered a generous offer. But that figure wouldn’t include a payout bonus and win bonus that generally comes with handshake deals.

So, dear friends, while Mr. Kuchar’s offer was indeed generous, it is common for golfers who win to then sweeten the caddie’s pot and give them payout bonuses or win bonuses, something Kuchar didn’t do until this story received airplay. (POSTSCRIPT: I have since learned that it is not uncommon for caddies to receive up to 10% of the winning pot from golfers, though granted this is often offered to “regular” caddies who are long term with their golf pro. That being the case, the “regular” caddie could have been in line for a bonus of up to $130,000)

The story ends with this whopper:

According to, Kuchar is 10th on the PGA career earnings list with more than $46 million.

Holy crap.

A man who has made $46 million in his career (even assuming this past win of $1.3 million was “all” he made up to that point in the year) feels it is appropriate to give a caddie $5000, an admittedly decent amount for a week’s worth with pro golfers, but then feels the man deserves nothing more… even when he wins a very big prize at the end?

As I said before, if he were to accede to the caddie’s demands (which he clearly has no intention of doing) and give the man $50,000 for that week’s worth -a fabulous amount!- that still amounts to less than 4% of Kuchar’s earnings for that week.

And if he felt that was too much, couldn’t he have gotten together with the caddie before this story blew up and worked out some kind of arrangement? If he was willing to go to $15,000, why not come somewhere between that amount and $50,000? Why not take the nicer path before you come off looking like a greedy fool?

Bear in mind, while it was certainly Kuchar’s skills that won him the tournament and he is undoubtedly entitled the winnings, the caddie was right beside him the whole way and it is my understanding caddies do more than just carry around the golfer’s bag. They are known to offer advice, keep track of information regarding the individual holes, and are often a sounding board regarding how to take on a hole.

Whether this was the case here is unknown to me, but I doubt the extent of the caddie’s involvement was limited only to carrying those bags and giving Kuchar club X or Y whenever he said he needed it.

Further, Kuchar’s final quote in the article, of “not losing sleep” over this situation doesn’t do him any favors as well.

If it was his intention to come off as a greedy fool, he certainly accomplished his mission, IMHO.

POSTSCRIPT PART DEUX: Written by Ralph Ellis and presented on CNN:

Matt Kuchar says he’ll apologize to caddie and pay remainder of the $50,000 he requested

So, after a few days of generally very bad news, the headline says it all: Matt Kuchar will do the right thing and give the caddie what he requested.

Mr. Kuchar, to his great credit, issued a press release that seemed very sincere in acknowledging he re-read his comments on this subject and felt it made him look very bad (which it did) and that he isn’t like that guy. So, he’s giving the man what he requested, which I’m assuming is $45,000 which will supplement the $5000 he already gave him.

The picky part in me notes that, as I stated above, it is “usual” for golfers to offer 10% of their winnings to caddies and this would mean the man may have been owed up to $130,000.

However, and as I also stated above, in all fairness this individual was not Kuchar’s usual caddie. He likely did less for Kuchar than the usual caddie would have done, ie offering advice on holes, clubs to use, etc. and likely was more of a club holder/mover.

So while the amount still feels a little light, the reality is that the man was asking for $50,000 for his work and he’s getting what he asked for AND an apology from Mr. Kutchar.

Case is closed.

Yet more signs of the times…

A while back I noted, with great sadness, the closure of my local go-to comic book store, Villains (you can read the post here), which previously was known when owned by different people as Starship Enterprises.

The sadness was related to the fact that in that location a comic book store existed for some 30 plus years, and after my trip to California over the summer I was saddened to find that Villains was gone.

Even worse, and to the best of my knowledge, there are NO comic book shops anywhere around/near me which I can now go to to get books.

And yet…

Since the closure, I’ve found myself getting more and more into digital comics via either or ComiXology (which, it should be noted, is an Amazon company).

I was already into getting digital copies of various favorite books of mine, but since the loss of Villains, my only real choice for getting the latest comic books or graphic novels is via the internet and Amazon/ComiXology.

I have to say, it has turned out to be a pretty good thing.

ComiXology often has sales on books from various companies and, very quickly, I found myself not only finding stuff I loved from the past and wanted to re-acquaint myself with, but increasingly I’m finding newer works that I didn’t even know existed and which, sadly, a small store like Villains simply couldn’t keep up with.

To date I’ve spent entirely waaaaay too much money on these various works, discovering some “new” favorite authors (I particularly like much -though not all- of what I’ve read from Jeff Lemire) and new -as well as some old and recently “printed”- favorite works.

I’ve noted before that I used to love going to the local Borders, before that store chain closed down, and couldn’t imagine not going to a bookstore at least once or twice a week.

Now, I have neither a bookstore or comic book store close to me to visit and… its ok.

If anything, I’ve spent even more time than before finding and reading new and interesting works because so damn many of them are available at my fingertips via Amazon or ComiXology.


I do wonder if the younger souls out there who are not initiated on books or comic books and the love of them will ever get that same kick I get out of reading in general. Is it possible there will come a point in time where younger generations do not get into books or comic books like previous generations did?

Its a worrying thought and ironic given the moment in time we’re in. Never before has there been such easy access to so many wonderful works, be they novels or short story collections or comic books, yet only in the digital environment.

As I said above, perhaps more signs of the times.

At a loss of words here…

Like many, I spotted this over the weekend:

I understand what Disney is up to here. They’re taking popular, well known properties and squeezing even more money out of them by creating “live action” versions of them (see Beauty and the Beast, Jungle Book, and Dumbo for example).

To some degree, its a win-win scenario for them: The properties are already (as mentioned above) well-known so you don’t have to spend oodles of money advertising the “new” movies. You also don’t have to spend all that much money getting a new story/screenplay… you just use what you have and touch it up a little here and there and, voila, there you go.

But this one…

I just… I just don’t know. It looks ok, I suppose, but the trailer’s “punchline”, Will Smith appearing as the Genie is…

Seriously, I’m at a loss of words.

I don’t like it all that much, though I grant you seeing only a few seconds and hearing only a few words shouldn’t be enough to either love or hate a thing, but Aladdin, unlike some of the other features making the transition from animation to live action, featured a manic vocal performance by Robin Williams in the Genie role and he was likely the main reason the film was as successful as it was.

Will Smith doesn’t have nearly the same manic qualities as a Robin Williams, though he clearly has built a terrific career of his screen charisma.

I suspect I won’t see this film when its released, though this may be more related to the fact that I have difficulty finding free time to see films I want to see, much less those that I’m not as interested in seeing.

However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious to hear what people think of Mr. Smith in this role. Will the full film prove he could do something like this? Or will the end result prove to be something far less?

Time will tell.

Corrosive Knights, a 2/7/19 Update

Been a little while since I’ve written about my lil’ ol’ series.

So, what’s new?

First, its been a very good couple of months since the release of Legacy of the Argus, the seventh and concluding chapter in the Corrosive Knights series.

I’ve seen a big increase in people both reading the books (almost all of them are available to be read “free” if you have Kindle Unlimited) and purchasing them (to then, very hopefully, read as well!). I’m also incredibly honored to find the increase in positive reviews of the books in as well. Please, keep it up and bring on more reviews in as well!

In the time since releasing that book, I’ve also been writing a new book set in the Corrosive Knights “universe”, though I have to admit I’m still kicking ideas around and I’m not entirely certain how things will shake up in the end.

Originally, I was intending to release an 8th Corrosive Knights novel which would serve as an “Epilogue” to the CK series. However, since releasing Legacy of the Argus and after giving it some thought, I decided to put that book on hold for now. The reason being is that the story, which is already pretty much done though it is much shorter than any of the books in the series, serves as a good conclusion to the series and I find I’m not willing to end it all quite yet.


I feel I’ve set a very high bar for myself with the CK series. Without sounding incredibly obnoxious, I feel the series is pretty damn great as is and if I’m going to add to it with “new” novels, they better damn well not be lame add-ons but full-fledged great stories in their own right.

So I started writing this new CK book shortly after the New Year and, I’m not going to lie: It has been a bit of a struggle to figure out where I want to go here. I spent a few weeks working on one particular set of story ideas but found my mind moving in other directions and effectively re-started later in the month with another concept.

I’ll keep working at this. I’m nothing if not bullheaded and will eventually crack this nut, but in the meantime, THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH for giving my books a try and for the positive reviews you’ve given.

I truly, truly appreciate it!

SuperBowl snores…

Like many out there, I found yesterday’s SuperBowl, number LIII, a complete bore. In fact, I only watched the first half and when it was done decided there was no point in watching more.

As a Dolphin fan, I’m no fan of the Patriots, but reading up on their win yesterday one can’t help but feel they are and remain a next level team, one that seems to have cracked the code to Football.

So congrats to them for that!

Now then: The game still sucked.

It was dull and, inexplicably, so too were the SuperBowl ads.

Even people who aren’t huge Football fans (like my wife), might watch the SuperBowl to catch the ads. They’re often incredibly creative, funny -sometimes quite hilarious!- and original.

Not so this year.

Few of the ads stick to may mind… there was a Budweiser ad which was really a Game of Thrones ad, or was it a combo Budweiser/Games of Thrones ad? I don’t know, but it wasn’t all that humorous.

There was a Jason Bateman as an elevator operator ad which was for some online car buying company… I think… that did nothing for me.

In fact, the only ad I kinda liked was the one featuring the NFL banquet where a football falls from the cake and the veterans and current players there go to town.

At least that ad had me cracking up.


A Postscript: There were many who also knocked the Maroon 5 half-time show. Not a fan of the band and didn’t bother to see it (again, I was gone when half-time began), but looks like it was par for the course.