Enjoy a free book this weekend (2017 Dec 16-17)! Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, or whatever floats your boat.
I wanted to give a thanks to my supporters for the month of September in the U.K. I really appreciate your interest in my work and I will forever endeavor to write tales that will entertain you. Please spread the word!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
A Review: The Apocalypse (The Undead World Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
Author: Peter Meredith
My Rating: 3 ½ cups of coffee out of 5
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.
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.
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:
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 right 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.
What 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. 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
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!
Yes…it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Sorry! Been busy with work and all that fun stuff that fills my days with responsibility and whatnot. Over the last two weeks I did manage to watch Longmire Season 3 and Vikings Season 3 so stay tuned to reviews on those shows. Vikings Season 3 is haunting me. I’m still trying to put it together in my mind. Also, I’m about a third of the way through my current writing project (Book 2 of The Captive Galaxy series) and making good progress that I would be much more thrilled about if I had an extra day or two per week to work on it but when I get home my brain is absolutely fried and watching Longmire, Vikings, or the Mariners lose is pretty much all I can stand. School is out in less than 3-weeks so I hope to get the rest done, edited, and up on Amazon by the end of the summer. I’ve learned a lot this year, between starting and pausing projects and juggling work with much needed downtime, so I hope next year will be much more productive in regards to my writing.
I did come across this and found it quite interesting:
“Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work nine or ten months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do — babysit!
We can get that for less than minimum wage.
That’s right. Let’s give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and planning — that equals 6-1/2 hours).
So each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day…maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585 a day.
However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.
That’s $585 X 180= $105,300 per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).
What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6-1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.
Wait a minute — there’s something wrong here! There sure is!
The average teacher’s salary (nationwide) is $50,000.
$50,000/180 days = $277.77 per day / 30 students = $9.25 / 6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student — a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!)
WHAT A DEAL!!!!”
Film Review: Godzilla (2014)
My Rating: 1 craft beers on a 6-pack scale
Runtime: 123 mins
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Did I miss something or are there a lot of Godzilla groupies out there? When Godzilla first came out it had pretty good reviews on IMDB. Of course the folks that go to the theaters in that first week or two are the true fanatics and tend to give a blockbuster type movie high-praise even if it is far, far from warranted. The decline is usually a point-and-a-half drop after the first week. Godzilla was absolutely NOT the exception to the rule here. How it ever had an 8+ rating though, even after that first fanatical rush months and months ago (May 2014), is beyond me.
This movie sucked.
I gave up drinking for the month of January for no other reason than to see if I could. I could and it wasn’t that bad. That being said today is February 1st and it is also Super Bowl Sunday so I think I’ll be imbibing once again. The only regret I have for not drinking in January is that Godzilla is one of those movies you need to be inebriated to enjoy unless you are a masochist.
This movie sucked.
I hate writing bad reviews for something I have not and cannot do. I have not made a major motion picture and I very much doubt I ever will as it’s not anywhere near the top of my rather boring bucket list. I feel much better writing critical reviews on books because at least I’ve written one and offered it to the public. Something I believe all critics should keep in mind. First write a book yourself and subject it to the gauntlet of peer review prior to eviscerating the work of others. “Put up or shut-up” is the expression I’m looking for.
Oh…yeah, the review of Godzilla. See how I got off track there? Well, that is an example of just what Godzilla was; an off-track monster. It had such potential (NO SPOILERS – if it appears spoilerish it is taken from a trailer or commercial so they did it first) such as explaining all the atomic tests conducted in the South Pacific during the 50’s and 60’s. The Godzilla bastardized cannon has explained the birth of Godzilla via those atomic and thermonuclear tests. In this iteration the detonations in the Pacific were an attempt to KILL Godzilla not an after effect mutation of an iguana or something that would later grow, and grow, and grow until it decided it would swim all the way around the world to destroy New York or something. I liked the idea very much, that the military attempted to destroy Godzilla after finding him but then you much pay attention to this part of the backstory if you subject yourself to this film. This cool idea becomes a headache of a flaw when the director or studio decide it’s enough backstory and now it’s time to turn on the smoke machine and CGI computers so viewers can enjoy “spooky” fog-filled train rides, explosions in Hawaii, and skydiver heroes trailing cool red flares.
This movie sucked.
I really wanted to like Godzilla. I hope one day a writer will be allowed to tell a compelling story that will not be destroyed by the wanton need of CGI destruction and explosions. This film actually had a cast that would have been able to carry on a pretty good story had there been even a remote hint of one. Watanabe is an absolute favorite of mine (he’s steadily removed Liam Neeson from my heart because…political reasons that I’ll leave alone) but he is wasted here. He can pull off the stunned-scientist-that-pulls-it-all-together-when-given-the-proper-data-that-has-been-there-all-along-face really, really well. Shame that he doesn’t do much more in the movie though. As for Cranston…this was a near crime against humanity. He was beyond wasted. Beyond wasted. I’ll leave it alone at that. David Strathairn (I can never say his name—can you?) is the admiral in control of a naval fleet that seems to be able to travel vast distances in minutes. He too is pretty much wasted by playing the part of the clichéd hard-assed admiral who has to look pissed-off all the time. He could have been better utilized. More backstory or something. And then there is Aaron Taylor-Johnson…or whatever. He was simply there so the camera had some continuity for this trainwreck. He adds absolutely nothing to this movie. He’s kind of a hero of course but only because everyone else seems to be really, really stupid.
This movie sucked.
I could have easily turned this review of Godzilla into an Easter-egg hunt in flaws and goofs. But it’s not much of a hunt if the treasure is so easily found, right? Long story short here—if it comes to you via stream it’s something to have on in the background while you vacuum, fold the laundry, or paint the room. If you have really good genetics and are healthy, think you may live to be 100-years old, then please, waste 2-hours of your life watching this. Because I know I probably won’t see 70, I’m pissed I watched this thing because it’s time I will never get back. Will there be a sequel…let’s hope not. Please, join me in prayer!
I’ve been absent for a little while in my writing of movie reviews. I’ve been REALLY busy working on a couple writing and editing projects. Love writing. HATE editing. That’s all I’ll say on that subject. I look to be writing more reviews in the near future so stay tuned.