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Monday, January 21, 2019

Louisiane!

21JAN2019

Short post today. First off, Happy MLK Day to everyone out there. Amazing man, changed the world. I have some favorite quotes and moments from him, here's one: 



The other item for today is the draft blurb for another story. This one will be long in writing, as it will cover many hundreds of years. Soooo, without further ado, here it is: 


Blurb for Louisiane: Tomás has a problem. Well, two problems really. A dragon who raids from the northwest and vampires in the southern swamps. His father was missing, gone on a desperate trip across the ocean to get aid for the colony. Clouds were forming to the west, a sign the storm dragon would soon be coming to hunt. What was he to do? Would this be the end of the colony in Louisiane?

Yep, it's about an alternate Louisiana! I'm really excited about it. Just need to keep plugging away at it. 

Oh, and one more thing. Pixie Forest Publishing is now accepting submissions from kids (8-18) for an anthology centered around the theme of Growing Up, called Across a Decade. I'm hoping for some young people I know to send in submissions! Good luck to all!  

Here's the link: Across a Decade Anthology

Love to all. 





Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Science!

15 JAN 2019

CNN recently had a news article about Genetic Phenotyping. Now back in the day I used to teach science, so I was instantly excited about this new technology. You see I remembered that phenotype meant what was expressed by genes, meaning what the gene causes you to look like or what it ended up as in your body, influenced by the environment. So that means this phenotyping could tell what a person should look like! Wow! 

So basically this is what genetic phenotyping is: scientists can use DNA to give a guess on what the person looks like! The big thing is that DNA does not show age, so the scientists do their best with age-progression software. But they can tell the police if the suspect is male or female, what color their hair is, eyes, etc... Now the person they interviewed from the company said they do not look at medical conditions, but that is something they could find out rather easily from DNA. For example, genetic phenotyping should allow scientists to tell if someone is lactose intolerant, have sickle-cell anemia, or other genetic-based conditions. 

The company doing this technique is called Parabon. The link below is to the company's website and shows examples of predicted look based on their DNA phenotyping and the actual look of the person:  Parabon

Pretty freaky stuff! 

EDIT: Forgot to mention they can also match unknown DNA to family members who have DNA on file. So if someone in your family does an Ancestry.com kit or something similar and you commit a crime, they will be able to track you down through your relations.

Writing: No real writing updates for today. I have been writing, but all is in work. I've completed nothing recently, just editing and working on tightening up a few different stories. I did edit a short story for a friend, a good little fantasy piece. Had a nice Hunger Games feel to it. Hope she takes my edits to heart and continues on.

Picture for today: Iron Vader. The ultimate mash-up...








Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Fantasy story set in French Colonial Era

26 DEC 2018

As this year comes to a close, I find myself working on a new short story. The impetus came from an anthology call, titled Coffins & Dragons. It got me to thinking about all sorts of possibilities. And then when it came time to set the story somewhere, I decided to set it in an alternative French Colonial setting. Right here in Louisiana! Below is what I have so far. I'm sure it will change so much as to be unrecognizable by the time it gets printed. Enjoy:



Storms 

“What are we to do, Thomas? Father was due back two months ago and the storms are coming.”

“We’ll think of something.” A southern wind blew through the remains of Thomas’ hair.

“How will we defend the colony? We cannot head south. The Robber is there…”

“I’ll think of something…”

Thomas has a problem. Well, two problems really. A dragon who raids from the northwest and vampires to the south. His father had not returned from a trip to get aid for the colony. The storms were forming to the west, and that meant the dragon would soon be coming to hunt. What was he to do? Would this be the end of the colony in Louisiane?

The dragon attacks were nothing new. They had been going on since the very founding of the colony. Some years the dragon did not come, but when he did it was always on the leading edge of the warm summer storms. Last two years had been dragon-free. The dragon had never been absent three years in a row. He would be coming soon with his fiery breath and hunger for livestock. No doubt about that. The colonists used to head downriver and hide in the swampy bayous under the huge cypress trees, but that was not an option anymore because the vampires in the south were growing in strength and numbers.

The greatest threat from the south is known throughout the colony as the Robber of Life, though his real title is René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, late of the first rulers of Louisiane. When he was alive, René was the first explorer of the region, coming down from the north to claim the land for King Louis. He settled at a bend in the mighty Colbert River, now called the Mississippi. For the next several decades his people, the French, ruled the newly-founded Louisiane.

Under French rule, the colony suffered through many trials and tribulations: devastating diseases like Yellow Fever, floods, neglect from their European-based rulers, attacks from the natives, and the occasional raids from the dragon that came from the West with the summer storms. Rene died one year while trying to return to the colony with supplies.

After his death, the colony was taken over by the French brothers Iberville and Bienville. The colony tried to hang on through all the problems, but one self-inflicted issue the early pioneers could not abide was the loss of the few young ladies of the colony. There weren’t many Frenchwomen to begin with, and the ones that were there were not the greatest stock, being women of ill repute forced to come to the colonies. The women started to disappear in greater numbers than expected. The colony might not survive their loss.

The only bright spot during this time was the French brothers were able to stave off the dragon’s attacks. This made the colonists happy and they worked hard to keep the colony alive. But then the source of the brothers’ abilities came out: they were using the blood of the missing women to protect the colony. This was magic of the New World.

The people rose up and overthrew their bloodthirsty rulers.

The Brothers Bienville and Iberville had mastered magical secrets of the new continent and they were able to fly forth from the castle and continue their evil experiments from the comfort of the swamps south of the colony, further down the Mighty Mississippi.

There they strengthened their alliance with the bloodthirsty swamp natives, the cannibalistic Atakapa, and in return their powers were increased further and they were granted the secrets of the re-risen. Their first true test of their new power was the raising of the first explorer, René Robert Cavelier, and his assistant Henri de Tonti, the Iron Hand. Their return marked an increase in French power again in the region. But the colonists were afraid and stayed away from the southern swamps.

From that moment on, the colony was truly on its own. The French King across the sea did not want to waste any more money or people on a rebellious colony with so many problems, especially one where the dead came back to life.

Thomas’ people [Spanish?] took over the colony.

The colony’s largest problem was now they had no defense against the storm dragon. How would they survive his next visit?

When the winds shift and come from the south, the people worry about the vampires coming from the south instead. Basically, the people of Louisiane feared winds from any direction. And when the winds blew from both directions, well, that’s when the worst storms blew and all colonists stayed inside and took shelter from the storms powerful enough to blow houses down.

Picture for today is an old old map of the Gulf coast...

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Vegas!

27 NOV 2018

Took a trip to Las Vegas recently, saw families and friends. Grand Canyon and some other great sights too. No story ideas, though I did get in some good people watching which will make it into character development in some future stories. 

Below are some pictures. Some from the hotel, some from the Helicopter trip to the Grand Canyon, and some from the Vegas Strip itself. I love abstract stuff so my favorite so far is the colorful tile picture. 




 


 


 Elvis has definitely seen better days!
 Hippocampus to finish it out.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Master Class & Old Classics

19 NOV 2018

One of my stories is featured over at Stephanie Ayers' Master Class! 

The Legacy, my short tale of murder among witches, is being used for the writing prompt this week. "She killed me first."

She killed me first? How does that phrase work? Well, with witches you don't always know when they're dead for sure. Magic works in mysterious ways. 

Here's the link to the prompt: Master Class: She Killed Me First

See what you can come up with! Good luck. Oh, I guess I should include the link to my short story: 



Go buy it and see what I did with "She killed me first." 

In other news, the Internet Archive has the Classics Illustrated comic books available to read online! The Archive is a wonderful place on the internet, lots to discover over there. If you've never dropped by there, go check it out. One of their latest additions are the Classics Illustrated comic books. I probably read only a few when I was young, but there are some good tales there in a format for struggling readers. The Illiad is there, Beowulf, and others as well that are not so 'classic'. 

Here's the link: Classics Illustrated comic books

And the picture for today is the Cover for Classics Illustrated version of the Arabian Nights











Sunday, November 18, 2018

Harriet Jacobs - Excerpts from “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl”

18 NOV 2018

I was working on some assignments from school and thought I'd share one piece, an excerpt from Harriet Jacobs
"Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl"


"Women are considered of no value unless they continually increase their owner's stock. They are put on a par with animals. This same master shot a woman through the head, who had run away and been brought back to him. No one called him to account for it. If a slave resisted being whipped, the bloodhounds were unpacked, and set upon him, to tear his flesh from his bones. The master who did these things was highly educated, and styled a perfect gentleman. He also boasted the name and standing of a Christian, though Satan never had a truer follower. . . ."

That last line: He also boasted the name and standing of a Christian, though Satan never had a truer follower." 

Very strong writing. What way to describe someone. It also really makes you wonder why we let slavery go on for so long. 

In other news, doing some edits and some original stuff as well. Woke up this morning with a story titled, "Urine, Texas" running through my head which, if you've ever head a Texan accent, could have a totally different meaning. 

Picture for today: 
Nothing to do with slavery, and everything to do with my love for fantasy and science fiction. Frank Frazetta's work is amazing. This is one he did for a Tarzan story. Love the raw feeling and emotion.



Sunday, November 11, 2018

Happy Veteran's Day!

11 NOV 2018

Happy Veteran's Day to all the vets out there. I've heard from some old mates of mine today, which is always nice. Want to send a special shoutout to any other disabled veterans out there. Make sure you use your state-based benefits that you get for any service-related disabilities. 

In writing news, writing is going okay, still waiting for some potential good news to blossom into actual good news. Not one to dawdle, I've been working on some older pieces and some background pieces in the meantime. One piece in particular, about two different mercenary groups, grew quite a bit, ideas blossomed into details. One group utilizes lightning in their fighting techniques and the other group uses fire and flames. I haven't used them in any writings yet, but it was good to work out their intricacies, so I'm not pantsing when I do eventually use them as adversaries or heroes. In honor of Veteran's Day, I detailed what may have happen to older mercenaries of these two groups.

Pictures for today: Some love for the US Navy, my branch. 24 years I served. Would still be serving if I could. Best and worst times of my life. Wouldn't trade it for the world.