Sci Fi

It’s a Free Weekend for Book 1

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Enjoy a free book this weekend (2017 Dec 16-17)!  Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, or whatever floats your boat.

Cheers!

To Amazon.com UK Store  KindleUnlimited friendly!
TO AMAZON BOOK 1

ABOUT DAMN TIME!!! Alien – Covenant Trailer

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How long have we waited?  Too long.  Be careful…I think this trailer has a fair amount of spoilers.  You cannot entirely put together the plot point by point BUT you see some characters expire and the means of their expiration.  Very happy they are going with a hard R rating for this.  Image result for alien covenant Alien: Covenant trailer

I must confess…this is the bloodiest trailer I’ve ever seen outside the buckets of blood stuff from the 80s and 90s with Freddy and Jason etc.

Thanks for the support!

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The second book of the Captive Galaxy Series has been out for a little over a week now and I would like to thank my readers for their support.  One of the neat things about Kindle Direct Publishing is that you can see exactly when people have downloaded a book as a purchase and how many pages have been read if they are a part of Kindle Unlimited.  To see hundreds of pages read a day is pretty cool (thousands would be better though!).  To see people read and enjoy my work helps get me through the day.

I appreciate you all!

Cheers!

J.W.

The Bellerophon Flight
TO AMAZON & BOOK 2
To Amazon.com UK Store  KindleUnlimited friendly!
TO AMAZON BOOK 1

 

 

Book 2 has been released!

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I previously posted that I’d pushed the old “submit” button to send all my words saved as binary 1’s and 0’s to travel through the magical ethereal plane to the Amazon servers to then (hopefully) be summoned by kindles aplenty.  If you have Kindle Unlimited you can borrow it for free (well..you pay a monthly subscription for it so it’s not exactly free) or if you have the $2.99 to spare, it is but a click or two away.

 

The Bellerophon Flight
TAKE ME TO THE BOOK

I hope my readers patiently (perhaps impatiently) waiting for this second installment enjoy the read.  And please know that I am working on further stories to add to the series.  Thanks and tell your friends!

 

Cheers!

J.W.

Yep… I pushed the “submit” button.

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As is becoming my tradition prior to returning to work in our wonderful public school system (sarcasm?) I have uploaded my most recent work (Book 2 The Bellerophon: Flight) to Amazon.  Sure it was done months ago…maybe…but I dragged my feet.  Why?  Because even just one download makes my entire day and gives me something to look forward besides the final bell so I wanted to stall until school was starting back up again.

Hope you like it.  Please give it a review and rating if you have the chance.  If you want to pick up the first book it will be on sale starting on August 25.  I’ll post some updates, cover art, etc. as this all moves forward.

I’m tired…

Cheers!

JW

Nothing big to announce…other than I finished my second book.

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Yeah.  Finally.  After a bunch of things getting in the way (things called “life”) I now have book 2 done.  The Bellerophon: Flight will be available on Amazon.com hopefully by the end of the month.  I’m just waiting for cover artist Kevin Reyonlds to send me a cover and it’ll be uploaded shortly thereafter.  Look for Bellerophon: Flight to be out soon and look for it to also be bundled with my first book Bellerophon: Ambush for a savings if you want to pick up the first two books in what will be a series of 4-6 books (not counting spin-offs).

Thanks so much for your patience and I’ll get back to whatever it is that I do.

Cheers,

J.W.

To Amazon.com US Store  KindleUnlimited friendly!
Amazon US – Kindle Unlimited Friendly!

Episode VII Spoilers…maybe!

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BEWARE SPOILER BELOW!!!!  (Maybe)

Star War VII

About a year ago I posted my thoughts on Star Wars: Episode VII.  I made a prediction that the movie would start with a starship traveling somewhere (that was a hard prediction since every SW movie has started with a ship arriving or traveling somewhere) but at the time the prediction I made had the Millennium Falcon being the traveling starship.  I would like to take that prediction back because…

…the Falcon has been stored on the desert planet that is home to the tough living Rey (Daisy Ridley).  It has been stored there for several reasons that I will get into in a moment.  In the most recent trailer the Falcon is being chased by tie fighters and during the fight the much beloved craft of the original trilogy daringly flies through the wreckage of the crashed star destroyer.  Now, that would seem a crazy maneuver, one that is certainly against all odds (I won’t quote those odds of course) that is, unless the pilot was aware of the layout of the crashed destroyer and knew there was a way out and not just durasteel bulkheads waiting at the end of what would be a short flight.

Now why was the Falcon hidden away and why do I think it was hidden in the first place?  Well, here come my spoiler predictions.  BEWARE!!!

Falcon

Episode VII starts 30 years or so after Return of the Jedi.  Things didn’t go so well for the Rebellion after the death of the Emperor, Vader, and destruction of the latest iteration of the Death Star.  Why?  Because the Empire was…well it was an empire.  A big, big empire with many huge warships and millions and millions of troops.  They weren’t going to surrender and go home so easily now would they?  I why should they?  It wouldn’t make sense.  They still outnumber the rebels tremendously and don’t need to make decisions based on morals and feelings like the good guys do.  In the wake of the loss the emperor the remaining Empire leadership got together and likely said: “probably be a good idea to kill that Luke guy, Sole, and Leia about now, you all agree?”  So assassin squids are sent out.  Bounties are set and no kidding this time.  Bring me Han’s head and you get a planet…because we have a million to spare.  Seems a worthwhile transaction in my estimation.  The Rebellion was still pretty small so they can’t protect all their people all the time.  There were probably some higher ups that got snugged.  Akbar probably didn’t see that it was a trap at least once (by the way it’s not helpful to say “it’s a trap” after its been sprung).

Luke probably saw that by staying close to his friends they would be put in danger so he may keep to his own little solo missions because he’s no general…he does pretty dumb and selfish stuff after all.  SO of course Luke goes off and becomes corrupted by the dark side like Yoda warned.  Which was why we didn’t see him in the last trailer.  If you saw he was a bad guy there would be a missing twist opportunity.

AT-AT Wreckage     Han and Leia on the other hand have a couple kids.  A boy and a girl.  They’re a happy family but they find that there is a bad guy(s) out their hunting them and knocking off the few jedi that have come out of the woodwork with the demise of Vader.  They decide to have older brother fool with the memories of his little sister and pretty much brainwash her into forgetting who she is, her jedi abilities, and who her family is.  She wasn’t a fan of this but she didn’t want her family to be hurt so she went with it.  She is hidden off on a desert planet (somewhat like the planet where her uncle was hidden away on except this one has only one sun) and so she, Rey, lives her lonely life in the desert taking refuge in a home made from a destroyed AT-AT with her time spent tinkering on machinery (like her grandfather Vader), scrounging the battlefield littered with star destroyers and other downed craft, while working for some alien I expect to be Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o).  All the while Rey is having these feelings that something is missing…cases of déjà vu are rampant etc.  She says at some point “I am no one” despite the fact that she is an uber jedi in waiting.

Rey is not the only valuable hidden away on the desert planet…the Falcon is also hidden away on the planet because it’s like a beacon strobe that says “HAN SOLO IS HERE.”  That’s why in one of the short clips Han says “We’re home” and he looks relieved and nostalgic and then how he knows to fly through the downed star destroyer while being chased by a tie fighter.

Okay so what about older brother that mind wiped little sister Rey?  What happened to him you ask?  Well, in being older brother he felt that he would be able to protect himself and fight against those that were hunting him and his family (possible Uncle “dark side” Luke).  It didn’t work out so well.  He turns to the dark side himself and goes all naughty and jedi killy at the behest of his uncle.  The galaxy needs order and only a nice sith working party can do that.  They both, Ren and Luke, work to finish what Vader (grandpa and dad respectively) failed to do which was unite the galaxy and bring order; such a proud family.

Melted Vader Helmet

So Kylo Ren is Han and Leia’s son who mind wiped daughter Rey and is now hunting them all because good is dumb (I heard that once before…long before you were born).  Some of the math adds up at least.  The actor that plays Ren is just over 30 and the movie takes place 30-years after Return of the Jedi.  The actress that plays Rey (Rey and Ren by the way…how many parents use the same letter to start their kids first names…too many if you ask me!) is 23 so when Rey had her mind wiped she would have been like 8 or 9 and her brother would be 15+ which is old enough to be a decent jedi perhaps but surely old enough to be super stubborn and say “no, I’m a grown up jedi now and I can fight off jedi hunter uncle Luke myself.”

Now, just which major character dies?  We need a worthy sacrifice and Jar-Jar won’t work (I think Jar-Jar is biding his time by the way and will make his move in Episode VIII by the way).  Sorry Chewbacca but we’ll miss you.  Our poor Wookie, perhaps the best “person” out of all the SW characters, will sacrifice himself and be slain by…probably Ren though I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it was Captain Phasma because she has to do something badass.  Why else does she wear a shiny storm trooper outfit than to show off how tough she is?

Knights of Ren

Oh, and about the character of Finn played by John Boyega?  Well, he’s a storm trooper that’s becoming more and more upset that he is on the side of the bad guys but, like any gang, you just can’t walk away without being…well, killed.  So, after participating in the opening scene massacre, a massacre led by Kylo Ren (and his Knights of Ren buddies) as they hunt jedi and resistance folks alike, Finn decides he’s done and it’s now time to get out.  He jumps in a tie fighter, which of course all storm troopers can fly (perhaps he is special because he’s a secret jedi and can just do things…the jedi part is also a reason to leave because he’s part of a bunch of fellas hunting jedi and it’s probably not a great idea to stick around).  He blasts his way out of the star destroyer and flies away and it’s all good until it isn’t and he gets shot down and crashes which brings the bad guys to the doorstep of Rey and that brings Han, Chewie, and Leia out of hiding to protect their kid against their other kid.  Chase ensues for an hour and Chewie dies in a cold, dark forest or something like that.

Enjoy the movie!

Don’t let me know if I’m right because I hate spoilers!!!

Cheers!

JW

They have no idea…

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They have no idea…

I was one of the many many’s to watch the latest Star Wars trailer last night during half-time of the Monday Night Football game.  And I weathered the annoying duo of  overrated Mike Tirico and the even more overrated Jon Gruden I might add to do so.  Thankfully the slings and arrows I endured were worth it for the trailer…well it left me and my wife in tears.  Nostalgic.  Inspiring.  A promise of a taste of home cooking!  I was just absolutely enraptured by the sights and sounds.  If the film is even a tenth of quality of the 2+ min trailer then I have to say it will be a difficult film to beat in my eyes as movie of the year.  I simply can’t wait to see if this holds true!

Today I showed my students the trailer during a break in the festivities of learning what needed to be known on the upcoming state test (never mind learning anything useful).  Most had not yet seen the trailer.  And most had only the more recent (m&*#^$FU^%#&g) prequels as a reference point.  Few, a sad, sad few, had ever seen the originals.  Now talk about what is wrong with America!  Throw aside all the criminals that are running for or currently holding office…we need everyone to sit down and watch the originals…oh and then burn the prequels afterwards!

Trailer Episode VII
Trailer Episode VII

After viewing the most recent trailer with my class I then went on to field questions.  One of the questions was regarding the Disney purchase of the brand (a few of my kids pay attention to the news even if just the celebrity and entertainment sections).  I shared that the good thing about the evil empire (Disney) is that they have A LOT OF MONEY.  Mountains of it in fact and like American politicians they are willing to throw tons of it at an issue hoping for a solution.  The solution for Disney with the faltering Star Wars franchise it to make more movies…and more…and more.  I told the kids that they have no idea what is ahead of them.  I then briefed them on just what was in store.  For at least the next 6-years they will have a Christmas or summer Star Wars movie to attend.  Three movies in the series and three films in the anthologies (monsters of the week – so popular in an established series because it focuses on one smaller story normally alluded to in the greater canon and context in the series whole).  They were stunned.  “We get to see something like this…every year for the next six years!?”

Yes.

Originally I was concerned that director J.J. Abrams would bring along his friend from the Lost series Damon Lindelof (ruiner of Prometheus – shame!!!) but when I found Lindelof was not attached to SW oh boy was I excited.  I can only hope I and my student are subjected to what Star Wars could be and not what it has been over the past decade.  I can only hope…you listening Obi –Wan Kenobi?!  You’re my only hope!

P.S.  This movie better begin with the Millennium Falcon flying overhead!!!

http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi3343889177

A Review: The Apocalypse (The Undead World Series Book 1) Kindle Edition

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A Review:  The Apocalypse (The Undead World Series Book 1) Kindle Edition

Author:  Peter Meredith

Pages: 388

My Rating: 3 ½ cups of coffee out of 5

The Apocalypse series Peter Meredith

This summer I’ve taken advantage of the Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-day free trial (this is not a paid advertisement by the way).  I downloaded 10 books, which is the at-a-time maximum allowed for the program, and went to town reading, reading, and yep…reading just a bit more!  Currently there’s something like 800,000 books available on Kindle Unlimited (mine being one of them by the way—just sayin’!) and with so many good reads, deep and developed series, and strong indie authors to choose from it was difficult to really know where to begin.

Now just where did I choose to begin my summer read-fest you ask?  I chose the end of course.

What I meant by that is I chose a book from one of my favorite genres which is the apocalypse.  I know, that sounds a little dark but, as my supervisors have said to me over the years in their most inspiring moving-and-shaking dynamic leadershipping “it is what it is.”  How inspiring is that, right!?  One day soon I hope to shift from sci-fi to the dystopian apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic genre, or perhaps even combine them, but that is a wind that has not yet carried to me.

A series I started this summer is The Apocalypse (The Undead World Series Book 1).  As I noted earlier it is available through Kindle Unlimited but if you want to straight purchase the work feel free to do so.  Being an Indie work it is priced accordingly and lacks the publishers bloated price.  The Apocalypse (Book 1) is pretty much your standard end of the world by means of an evil zombie virus tale which pulls people from near and far together as they journey to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta (ala The Walking Dead and many, many others of the same genre).

Okay, so I made it through the first book.  Good for me, right?  Was it the greatest book I’ve ever read?  No.  Not by a long shot (my favorite books by the way are The Forever War by Joe Haldeman and Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein by the way).  But I found it extremely interesting.  Was it interesting enough to get me to open up Book 2?  Yes.  Yes it was.

Why?

I feel the author does a pretty good job with his characters and the troubles they find themselves in.  The character can be considered lightly clichéd BUT not in a manner that is confounding or make the story boring.  There is the strong male that is lost, the strong male that has concerns about his capabilities, the wild child, the depressed young woman, the evil woman…etc.  They all have their own idiosyncrasies which the author does well to focus on to keep each character discernible from the rest which is a strong departure from what would probably be reality (but thankfully stories like these are a departure from reality) but this is how all these band-together-in-the-apocalypse survival stories are today.

What I love most about these stories is that I want to yell at the characters and the things they do because I believe I could do better.  Could I?  Maybe.  But it’s fun yelling at the screen in a movie theatre when people are walking down the spooky staircase into the dark basement, right?  Well at least in your head it is.  If you’re that person yelling at the screen ruining the movie experience for everyone else then you need to know right not that you suck.  You suck big time.

So the characters were okay and strong enough to get me investing and continue turning the pages, at least initially, but what about the story itself, is it worthy of your time?  Yeah, I believe so especially if you take advantage of it on Kindle Unlimited.  There are chases, zombies are killed, people are killed, scavenging (which is what happening after society falls and it is no longer called “looting”), there is discovery, and there is loss.  Pretty much what you expect to see.  Being an indie work there are also some typos (I’m guilty of this myself) but there is also some pretty sharp story telling.  I recommend it at least through the first book and into the first quarter of book 2 which is where I am thus far.

  (WHAT FOLLOWS IS NOT EXACTLY A SPOILER BUT…IF YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE GENRE THEN YOU’RE COOL TO READ ON)

Something I’d like to see though is an end of the world zombie scenario that doesn’t rely on the CDC for the cure (which we know they won’t have for bureaucratic or McGuffin-device type reasons) and I would like to see a military that doesn’t turn against its own people as warlords rise.  I know those are two staples of the genre but something different would be nice to see in other similar works.  I have great hope for this series that as I continue to read it does not take me the standards such as nice settlement found then destroyed, the apocalypse family goes into diaspora, searching for each other, just missing each other, coming together, being harder after some shocking loss, and then moving on to find the cure to save the world all by themselves.

We’ll see where it goes from here.  I know I’m gonna read on.

Cheers!

J.W.

P.S. Sorry for the long time between posts.  I, like no one else in the world of course, have been rather busy of late.  Much of my time during my two laid-off teacher summer months is spent exploring other projects, taking private contract work, walking the dogs, working out, and…writing.  BUT there’s a lot of time for fun to fill the time idled gaps.  So, for much of this free time, I find myself catching up on all the games, movies, and books I miss out on while working a 12-hour day as a teacher (for those of you who think teachers have it easy…you have no idea and if I could go back in time…that’s a diatribe for another time!).

J.W. Kurtz (writer)…what I’m reading, what I’m watching, what I’m playing, & what I’m writing:

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J.W. Kurtz (writer)…what I’m reading, what I’m watching, what I’m playing, & what I’m writing:

In an attempt to keep my ever busy mind occupied I quench its thirst with a bevy of media entertainments.  Recently I watched Whiplash and wow!  Wow!  Wow!  I haven’t watched such an intense film in I don’t know how long.  It was absolutely fantastic.  I don’t much care for the Academy Awards (Oscars) because they rarely if ever get it right.  Well, J.K. Simmons winning for Best Supporting Actor was certainly warranted.  I’ve always been a Simmons fan and it’s great to see that not only did he get casted in a role absolutely perfect for him to display his range but that he also received the accolades for his work.  “Well done” all way around I must say.  There is one thing that indie films and books tend to get right when compared to the massive corporate blockbuster world of media entertainment and that is story and heart.  Indie’s time and time again get it rigJK Simmons Whiplashht in a more consistent manner than the big fish.  If you haven’t seen Whiplash you owe it to yourself to do so.  Be prepared…it is rather intense and there is more than a little swearing so if you’re offended by such a thing you’ve been warned.  Enjoy!

Currently I’m working my way through viewing The Last Ship.  I’m more than half-way through the first season and I must say…it is not very good but I can’t bring myself to stop.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s the absolute absurdity of the whole thing.  I feel like I am rubber necking while watching this fiasco.  I need to stop but I just can’t!  And no, it is not a guilty pleasure.  It’s more like masochism.

The Last Ship bookWhat got me to watch The Last Ship in the first place?  Well, I attempted to read the book once when I was about 14.  I made it about 50-pages in and quit.  I put it back on the shelf and moved on.  Then about 6-7 years later I tried again.  I loved the idea of it all but it was just very, very hard to get into.  Then I tried about 5-years after that believing that my stronger background in naval history and end-of-the-world scenarios (I studied such fun things in college!) would better prepare me for one more attempt.  Nope.  Still couldn’t go past page 100 or so.  Now here I am having a rough outline of the story (it is very different from the book) delivered to on the TV and I just sit there shaking my head wondering how it became a series.  I’m shaking my head even as I write this.  Obviously the creators of the series never attempted to read the book the show is based on for if they had they would have gone on to instead make a zombie vampire reality show or something.  Oh and there’s a season 2!!!  Crazy!

What am I playing???  Yeah I’m a gamer.  A gamer that goes back to the Commodore 64 and Atari.  Following those up I gamed on the first Nintendo NES and then I moved into the PC world of gaming.  I’ve built…many, many systems over the years.  Too many to count.  I love games of all genres but especially strategy games.  FPS and RPG games are fun but to me they don’t compare to the thrill I get from a classic double pincer move on a battlefield.  Good times.  The other day I found a deal on Steam for a game I’ve heard about for a while but I just haven’t had the time to check it out.FTL-Faster-Than-Light-Receives-an-Overhaul-on-Steam-for-Linux-2  The game is called FTL: Faster Than Light.  It was on one of Steam’s super discount sales.  I think I paid like $2.50 for it.  How could you miss for the cost of less than a cup of coffee, right?  Well, it was a bullseye.  I played that thing for half the night.  I’m looking forward to playing it later today when I get all my chores and projects done for the day.  It’s my reward.  Check it out.  If you like strategy and supporting indie works you will not be disappointed!

Now what am I writing?  I’m happy to have a great deal of time to work on my writing projects this summer.  I hope to have the sequel to my first book, The Bellerophon: Ambush, completed by the end of the season.  What has kept me so behind on this project?  Well, I wrote about 80-90k words in a side project and then shelved it because work was interfering with my process and a whole bunch of other things were

Amazon US - Kindle Unlimited Friendly!
Amazon US – Kindle Unlimited Friendly!

going on.  I don’t see it entirely as wasted time because it will be out at some point but I am really focusing now on Bellerophon Book 2 (just my working title).  I do want to thank, again, all the people that have read and taken the time to review Book 1.  There is nothing more thrilling to me than to see my book has been downloaded and that it was enjoyed enough to earn a review.  Even the critical reviews are appreciated because they push me to do better.  Thanks everyone!

Cheers!

J.W.