Thursday, December 18, 2014

The darkness within...

               









In "Black Goddess," I explored one emotionally tormented man's obsession with finding  the secret of evil; facing the darkness at the heart of the human soul.  To do that, I featured one of evil's purest and most potent manifestations:  torture.

I had to do a little research, reading accounts written by torture survivors.  Torture was described as something like a dark force or malignancy that spreads from the body to the mind and soul and eventually becomes dominant.  I also read analyses of how therapists reacted to the stories told them by survivors, and how it affected them.  (Some recoiled from the horror of it and discouraged their patients against digging it up, while others reveled in the horror and the pain.)  I also read accounts written by people who'd been trained by regimes that regularly used torture on political prisoners.  Not surprisingly, the trainers would look for a certain personality type; one that wants to inflict pain.  (They would use live subjects, and offer the trainees their choice of weapons.  Choose a knife, you were in.  Choose a gun, they didn't want you as a torturer; no taste for inflicting pain.)

Torture is in many ways the ultimate avatar of evil, because it depends on the complete absence or negation of the most basic human instinct for empathy with a fellow human being.  The average butcher has more compassion for the animal he slaughters than the torturer has for his victim.  When one's very goal, one's very craft, and more one's passion is to inflict pain on another, then what is left to define humanity?  Even in war, respect for the basic human rights of a captured enemy is a basic pillar of civilization.  Yes, there is a side to human nature that gives in to hate and becomes the very object of one's hatred:  pure evil.  But, civilization is based on the side of human nature that empathizes and learns compassion and understanding.  So, which side is the true face of humanity?  The cruel, unforgiving side like Sparta, that considered failure and weakness capital crimes, embracing the soldier above all?  Or, the kinder, more reflective side like Athens, that revered wisdom and beauty?  Both were products of the human soul.  But, what determines which path a people choose, and do they know where it leads?

Which path are we on now?  The CIA's torture report is out:    
Yes, our government tortured people in the name of national security.  The strategic value of statements acquired under torture was at best questionable, at worst useless.  No one has been brought to justice as yet for these acts and probably never will be.  And, officials that were in office at the time openly boast they'd do it again.

So, what does this say about us as a people?  Well, the report is out.  At least we're an open society.  The White House is not hiding the truth from the American people, as the Nazis hid the Final Solution from the German people.  (Bearing in mind, these were acts committed by a previous administration and published by a current administration perhaps desperately trying to make the voting public look with distaste at the opposing party.)  But, perhaps the openness and apparent lack of shame is less a positive than a negative sign of the times.  I suppose the telling test of our society will be how the public ultimately reacts to this information now that it's out in the open.  There will be differences of opinion, of course; demonstrations and counter-demonstrations.  In the end, probably no prosecutions, at least not at the highest levels of government.  Some will maintain it was necessary.  Others will openly revel in the sweet revenge and say in offices or on the Internet that we should have more of it.  Most will just want to forget.

Yes, we can revel in the infliction of pain on those we demonize.  We can look the other way as people are butchered on our own streets, because their skin is a different color.  We can resign ourselves to perpetual war waged from a comfortable distance with mindless machines that kill for us at the touch of a button.  Yes, it's easier to hate and kill than it is to forgive or heal.  But, that complete disconnect from compassion and empathy does have a price, and an insidious one.  We can tell ourselves it's necessary, that we're doing it to save lives and preserve freedom.  We may even believe it.  But, the means always determine the ends.  Turn readily and easily to killing and torture, and that's what you become.  No, it doesn't happen overnight.  It's an evolutionary journey, softened by an endless parade of excuses, rationalizations and euphemisms.  It's not torture; It's enhanced interrogation.  Those aren't dead civilians; They're collateral damage.  No, we're not ready yet to install gas chambers or crematoria at Gitmo.  But, will we be, someday?  And above all, would the mainstream population protest it?

Open your heart to the darkness when an enemy strikes at you, and the darkness creeps little by little into your soul, until that's all there is.  You wake up one morning and realize that's who you are now.  Maybe, that's who you always were, deep down.

In "Black Goddess" the protagonist finds a way back from the darkness through love.  In real life, that may not be enough.  Not for everyone.  Sometimes, there is no way back.  Not for those who hate and kill us, and not for us, once the disease spreads from attacker to attacked.
 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Susan Says...

Susan Gourley is hosting me today on her fine blog:

http://www.susangourley.blogspot.com/

Stop by, check out my views on the writing game, and check out some fine SCIENCE FICTION and Fantasy titles.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Earth: The Return by Joanne Hirase

Latest exciting SCIENCE FICTION release from Joanne Hirase -- The further adventures of the cosmic hero Mac Carter

***
Musa Publishing is proud to announce the release of Earth: The Return, third and final novel in the Mac Carter Chronicles, a science fiction series exploring not just the potential end of the world but also  what impact humans might have on a war that the entire universe is tangled up in.


Curious? Here are some more details about Earth: The Return:

Mac Carter led the Chasramians and their allied planets to victory in the war for universal peace. Now as Chancellor of the Universe, he’s looking forward to a millennium of harmony and tranquility among the hundreds of planets that survived the war.

Unfortunately, an evil ancestor of the gods still remains. Mac must make the journey to Earth and eliminate the threat without reverting to his Earthly ways and putting universal peace at risk. He comes face to face with his past and an evil so strong that his friends must also return to Earth to help. Sol, his son and successor, is captured by the enemy and Mac finds himself fighting not only for Sol’s life, but his own Earthly emotions.

Can Mac win both battles and ensure that the millennium of peace endures?

Excerpt:

The anxiety started in the bottom of his stomach. Mac tried to take a deep breath, but his head started to tingle. He got up and walked around the small spacecraft. He opened every door to see what was inside, trying to take his mind off the fact he was going to kill another person. He didn't find much of interest, so he went back to his table and picked up the letters from his children. Mac decided it would be nice to respond to each one, so he got his paper and pen and began writing letters. That would give him something to do for the rest of the flight to Earth. Mac never was good at writing letters before, but now the words flowed. He had so much he wanted to say, and put his heart into each one.

The speed of the ship changed. It was barely discernible, but Mac was becoming like the pilots; he could feel the navigation, just as Romas told him he would. Mac went to the controls, and looked out the window. He loved this part of the travel, when he could see galaxies, stars, and planets.

The Great Council had ordered the cleanup of the universe, and all planets were clearing out space debris and space junk to make travel safer. The goal was to have only natural items in the sky, as well as functioning satellites, communication ships, and the space travelers. Mac appreciated that because it meant he didn't have to sit at the controls and try to steer around debris. He could let the ship fly itself as it could detect the few obstacles in the galaxy that it needed to avoid.

All the magnificent lights in the sky made him smile. Then it happened. Planet Earth came into view, and a happy sensation coursed through his body. He saw the white swirls against the dark blue and vibrant green. Mac held his breath as the planet got closer and closer. The ship circled Earth and Mac rubbed his hands together. Now that he was here, there were so many places he wanted to go. A slight detour wouldn’t matter, unless the killing didn’t go well. He sighed and shook his head.

The intercom beeped and Mac turned on the screen. “It looks like I’m just about there.”

“Yes, you’ve arrived,” Ingiry said. “Do you feel any different?”

“No, I still feel the same way I felt when I was on Chasra.” Mac bit his lip.

“That is good news. I will let the others know.”

“Are you going to tell me who my mission is?”

Ingiry ignored Mac’s question. “There’s a landing strip cleared for your arrival, although the people at that airstrip don’t know that it’s you who is arriving. All they know is that it’s a ship from Chasra. They won’t pay much attention, as many ships and other aircraft land there.”

“Good," Mac said. “I don't want to be slowed down by anyone or anything, if I can help it.”

“Now, to answer your question.”

“Hold up, Ingiry. I want to take this in.” Mac sat at the window as he began to descend. He remembered what it looked like as they were flying away, and now as the planet got closer, a twinge ran through his body. He wasn't sure what it was and shook it off.

“What a sight,” he said. “I forgot how beautiful my home world is.”

He always made a point to look at other planets as they approached. Many were red, orange, and yellow. Others were marked with purple and green. But Earth, with its majestic blue, was unlike any of the others. The other planets had the resources that they needed, but not near as much water as Earth had.

“Okay, I'm ready to talk.” Mac felt the ship slowing more.

“Here is the most recent photo of the evil ancestor,” Ingiry said.

A photo of a woman with long reddish-brown hair came on the screen. Mac studied her face. She appeared to be in her mid-30s, and Mac shrugged.

“Who is she?”
***************
Curious to find out more about how Mac Carter got off Earth in the first place? Make sure you grab a copy of 2012: The Rising and Chasra: The Homecoming so you can get all the details.


If you already know Mac's story, purchase your copy of Earth: The Return today.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Susan Says...

http://www.susangourley.blogspot.com

Check out Susan Gourley's blog Susan Says for some great SCIENCE FICTION and FANTASY titles with a flare of Romance.    

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dark Holiday





And, here we are again.  As the holidays and the time of thanksgiving draw nigh, we again see flames over the all-American community of Ferguson, Missouri.  Once again, a dead black youth and a police officer with a clear conscience, exhonorated by a system that seems to inevitably preside over this increasingly familiar grim scenario.

The news report had just aired when I stepped out onto a dark street in quiet Cambridge, MA, home of the American Revolution.  A small group (very small) of lily-white Harvard college students were predictably marching down the street chanting "USA, KKK - How many kids did you kill today?"  An echo of a bygone age.  An age when one man had a dream.  Today, a man who sits in the oval office tells us to not loose hope in that dream.  But, the fire and the killing seem to go on.  (I recall a black man looking on with a curious stare at the half-dozen white students apparently trying to make the rest of us a touch less complacent for one moment that night.)

Yes, we've been here before.  We always seem to end up here again.  The question is, how long 'till next time?

Other obvious questions come to mind.  What really happened?  Would the white police officer have reacted differently (even to the degree of angling his weapon a tad lower) had the suspect been white?  If a white boy had died this way (thief or no) would the predominantly white grand jury have decided differently?  Questions to which we'll never have the answers.  The witnesses always seem either to tell contradictory stories or fail to materialize altogether.  Historians will probably do the same.

The real question is, how far have we come, as a nation?  We've come a ways.  But, it's all still there, inside us.  The darkness, the fear, the hate.  Hate and distrust of those unlike us.  We've all heard the hateful slurs, the insults, the obscenities; words that go back all the way to the days of slavery. I grew up hearing those words.  In traffic disputes, in bars...wherever.  As I've grown older, I've wanted to believe it was fading.  But, it never does, does it?  Even as we deny it, scoff at it, insisting it's all behind us.  It's all still here.  It never left.  Will it, ever?

I remember Rodney King.  There, we had a camera as a witness.  The merciless beating of a man as he lay defenseless on the pavement.  A moment later, a voice over a police band...a chuckling voice of a cop delightedly making racial slurs after he'd done the deed.  The jury picking the video apart frame by frame, examining every move under a microscope, trying desperately to avoid seeing the forest for the twigs.  Jurors...white jurors anyway...just don't want to convict in cases like this.  Cops riddle a young black man with bullets as he stands in his own doorway reaching for a comb.  Acquitted cops hugging their kids and making statements to T.V. interviewers without a trace of guilt on their faces.  A video of highway patrolmen or bailiffs roughing up a white woman  makes it to the evening news, and the public is shocked and critical of the police.  A black kid gets shot to death by a white cop, and white America collectively wracks its brains to find a way to acquit the white cop.  His guilt or innocence never seems as important as feeling secure in our moral rectitude.  And, just perhaps...our superiority?

Yes, we have come a ways.  There's no denying that.  But, why do we seem to keep passing the same signposts again and again?

Happy Holidays, America.








Friday, November 7, 2014

Offbeat, Exciting sci-fi: Milo James Fowler's Yakuza Territory


Musa Publishing is proud to announce the release of Milo James Fowler's most recent science fiction novella, Yakuza Territory.

Take a moment to discover what happens when a hard boiled detective story is set in a science fiction world:

A detective with no way out. A telepath with something to prove...

World-weary detective Charlie Madison has seen more than his share of war. When he stops by the 37th precinct late one night to check on his old friend Sergeant Douglass, the place is as quiet as a morgue. The last thing he expects to find: half a dozen Russian gunmen with a score to settle.

What starts out as a vicious Alamo-style battle soon evolves into something more sinister as Madison's past comes into play. Will his ties to a branch of the Japanese mafia be a help or a hindrance? And who is the strange man in holding? Why are the Russians determined to break him out?

Struggling to survive the night, one private eye must rely on his wits to solve a mystery where he's outnumbered, outgunned, and trapped inside a police station with a soulless killing machine.

 

Excerpt:

 

Maybe checking in on Sergeant Douglass late that night hadn’t been the best idea. I should have paid more attention to the warning signs right off; things weren’t exactly business as usual at the precinct. The pencil-necked clerk wasn’t at his post, and an eerie quiet held the foyer as still as a morgue. No cops, uniformed or otherwise, to be seen. In a city that never slept, one expected its law enforcement personnel to share the same god-awful insomnia—graveyard shift or no.

The vacant front desk didn’t sway me from my course, though. Little glitches out of the ordinary seldom did. I’d trained myself over the years to file them away, but not focus on them too much. As a detective, it was easy to get distracted by particulars while going after the big picture. Besides, I was suspicious by nature. I questioned everything as a matter of course. But as far as I knew, everybody on duty was partying in back, throwing Douglass a well-deserved soirĂ©e after his recent ordeal and return to the land of the visible.

I paused at the unlocked door leading into the bullpen—an open-concept area with clusters of desks for everybody ranked lower than lieutenant. Access into the station’s inner workings wasn’t usually so free and easy. As I quietly stepped inside, I knew without a doubt something was amiss.

The whole room lay empty except for five guys standing in the middle with assault weapons slung over their shoulders—AK-12s and SIG MPXs by the looks of them. Not what your average citizens usually carried around concealed on their person.

“Hey.” I saluted the first one to notice me. “Am I late to the party?”

He glared my way, and I couldn’t help feeling like I was back in high school; once again, I’d forgotten the beer. They weren’t in uniform—unless black nubuck jackets and jeans counted, not to mention the scruffy stubble, slick hair, and stocky frames. Come to think of it, that’s pretty much the look of your standard-issue thug for hire these days.

“Charlie—get down!”

I would have recognized that Scottish brogue anywhere. I’d already assembled a good enough picture of the situation to know it was in my best interest to hit the floor a split second before the deafening staccato of weapons fire and a hail of bullets headed my way. The rounds blasted straight through computer monitors and potted plants on desks; sparks flew upward along with shards of clay and clouds of potting soil. Chairs disintegrated as I cringed behind a solid steel desk and drew the snubnosed Smith & Wesson from my shoulder holster.

“Sarge, you all right?” I barely heard myself over the stampede of slugs plowing into the steel that sheltered me. The rounds were making some serious dents, but none had punctured through—yet. It was only a matter of time. I wouldn’t be able to stay put for long.

***

Getting to know the man behind the book:


1. When did you start seriously pursuing writing as a career?


I've been writing since I was a kid, but I started submitting my work for publication in the summer of 2009. I'd always thought I would pursue publication at some point -- probably after I retired from teaching or turned 40. My first story was published in January 2010, and I've had another 96 accepted for publication since then. I won't turn 40 for a couple more years, and I'm still teaching full-time. Doesn't look like I'll be retiring anytime soon!

 

2. How did you create the character Charlie Madison?

 
When I was a kid, I learned to type on an old-school manual typewriter. That's where I learned to write, too. My first novels were messy, full of typos and plot holes. But they were fun. And at age 15, that's what it was all about for me. Private eye Charlie Madison was one of the first characters I created, based on Box 13 and Dixon Hill, and The Double Murder was his big debut. By the end of it, I had over a hundred pages of snappy banter, mob hits, double-crossing dames, car chases, and even some alligators on leashes. It was a horrible parody, and I knew it.

 

Halfway through http://www.write1sub1.com/Write1Sub1 2011, I came up with the first Charlie Madison story I'd written in decades:  Girl of Great Price. It wasn't anything like his original case, but he was the same quick-witted, intrepid detective I'd known before. I transplanted him into a more serious and gritty "future noir" sci-fi setting, and once I'd envisioned that world, I knew I'd be back. Immaterial Evidence soon followed, and Yakuza Territory will be available from Musa Publishing on November 7th.

 
3. Are you working on more Charlie Madison stories?

 
I'm outlining the follow-up to Yakuza Territory, and it's going to be full of assassinations, kidnappings, killer robots, and maybe even a mad scientist. The working title is The Gifted Ones, and it follows the origins of the mysterious suprahumans who have appeared in all three Charlie Madison detective stories so far.

 

 Milo James Fowler is a teacher by day and a speculative fictioneer by night. When he's not grading papers, he's imagining what the world might be like in a dozen alternate realities. He is an active SFWA member, and his work has appeared in more than 90 publications, including AE SciFi, Cosmos, Daily Science Fiction, Nature, Shimmer, and the Wastelands 2 anthology.




for updates about new releases as well as exclusive promotions.

You can also pick up a copy of Yakuza Territory here:

 
 
***
 
 
 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Stephanie O'Hanlon - Author of Intruiging Romance...


Affaire de Coeur

By Stephanie O’Hanlon

 

Blurb:
 Paris, May 1770, in the midst of aristocracy, country girl Madeleine Dumont is privileged to partake in social events while living with her friend Colette du Lorme, daughter of a Marquis. While following in the shadow of her popular and socially verse friend, she finds herself caught up with her infatuation with a man, a Comte. Lucien de Laurent, one of King Louis XV’s favourites and established bachelor, as well as social recluse.

But how does a woman win such a man without playing the game?

Bio:
Stephanie O'Hanlon graduated from the Toronto Film School in 2008 with aspirations of starting a career in film, but found herself drawn to writing. Combining her love for writing and history, her preferred genre is historical romance, as seen in her EP title Affaire de Coeur, though she has also enjoyed the paranormal romance genre, as seen with her EP re-release Out of my Grave.

Now a full time writer, she lives in Ontario, Canada with her dogs Judas & Dante, and beloved cats Nevermore & Willow.


Find Stephanie…

…on Eternal Press:

http://eternalpress.biz/people.php?author=531


…on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/sohanlonauthor

…on her website:

 www.stephanieohanlonauthor.com


Other novels by Stephanie O’Hanlon:

 - Out of My Grave

 - The Beast of Bradley Downs (TBR)

 
Links:

Eternal Press:
http://www.eternalpress.biz/book.php?isbn=9781615728688

Amazon.ca:
 http://www.amazon.ca/Affaire-Coeur-Stephanie-OHanlon/dp/1615728694/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1370979543&sr=8-1

Amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com/Affaire-Coeur-Stephanie-OHanlon/dp/1615728694/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361134344&sr=1-1&keywords=affaire+de+coeur

Kobo eBook:
 http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Affaire-de-Coeur/book-q8H7TNnD4EGwMiRuZ_IeHg/page1.html?utm_source=indigo&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=retailer&ikwid=affaire+de+coeur&ikwsec=Home

Chapters Indigo:
http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/home/books/affaire-de-coeur/9781615728695-item.html?ikwid=Stephanie+O%27Hanlon&ikwsec=Home&gcs_requestid=0CMCKze3eibcCFUgs5wodXDUAAA


Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/affaire-de-coeur-stephanie-ohanlon/1114520224?ean=9781615728695



******************

http://www.stephanieohanlonauthor.com/#!Spotlight-Sunday-Tom-Olbert/c1q8z/C4F219B8-7C1B-463C-B234-DC62BB50CDD5

Friday, October 3, 2014

MUSA PUBLISHING's Colossal Anniversary Celebration...


COLOSSAL ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

 


with Musa Publishing

 




Grand Prize


$15.00 Musa Gift Certificate


6 Paperback Books


Baiting the Hook by Mary Palmer & David Wilton


Brothers in Crime by KM Rockwood


Legends of the Timekeepers by Sharon Ledwith


Indian Shirt Story by Heather Lockman


Pantheon by Josh Strnad

Windy City Heat by Remi Hunter

 


1st Place Winner


$10.00 Musa Gift Certificate

6 Paperback Books


Baiting the Hook by Mary Palmer & David Wilton


Brothers in Crime by KM Rockwood


Legends of the Timekeepers by Sharon Ledwith


Indian Shirt Story by Heather Lockman


Pantheon by Josh Strnad

Windy City Heat by Remi Hunter

 




2nd Place Winner


$5.00 Musa Gift Certificate

5 Paperback Books


Cairo in White by Kelly Ann Jacobson


Chasing Athens by Marissa Tejada


First Frost by Liz DeJesus


Who Wacked Roger Rabbit by Gary K. Wolf

Windy City Heat by Remi Hunter

 




3rd Place Winner


5 Paperback Books


Cairo in White by Kelly Ann Jacobson


Chasing Athens by Marissa Tejada


First Frost by Liz DeJesus


Who Wacked Roger Rabbit by Gary K. Wolf

Windy City Heat by Remi Hunter

 


Plus


Beginning October 1, 2014 we draw 2 winners a day and they will each receive 3 books


 



And


All participants receive a download of Cooking with Musa.


All entrants are eligible for Grand Prize and Other Drawings October 15, 2014


 



Winners announced October 16, 2014


 



Enter daily to win!


 



No particular order to the daily drawings for the books below


 



 

Random Survival by Ray Wenck

TRUE blue by Susan Rae

Chasra: The Homecoming by Joanne Hirase

 

 



 

 

 

Drowning Cactus by Carrie Russell

To Catch A Fish by Mary Pamer & David Wilton

Lies in Wait by Donna Del Oro





 

Question of Time by Mary S. Palmer

Glass Frost by Liz DeJesus

The Andersen Ancestry by Addie J. King

 

 



 

 



 




Contest begins October 1, 2014 and ends midnight CST October 14, 2014. All winners announced October 16, 2014.

 


Winners who reside outside the Continental United States will receive their prize in e-book format.

 


All prizes must be claimed by October 20, 2014 or they are forfeited. Prizes will be shipped October 22, 2014.

 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ancient evil, new promises...

















 

                                                      
Through the release of a video depicting the ugly spectacle of a sports celebrity beating his wife, suddenly our supposedly enlightened (and, woefully self-absorbed) nation is aware of a fact that has afflicted the human condition since the dawn of time:  domestic violence exists.  Gasp.  'Seems we got the memo about five thousand years late.
So, in the wake of this "shocking" revelation, the NFL has promised 30 days of domestic violence training for its management (seriously?) and celebrities are suddenly coming out with long-buried stories of domestic abuse, as though jumping on the bandwagon of some dark new fad.  How long will this outpouring of moral indignation last?  Tic-toc.  Before you know it, we'll be dumping ice water over each other's heads again and will have forgotten the whole ugly subject ever came up.
So, what's going on, anyway?  Were we as a nation truly surprised by the sight of domestic violence?  It's certainly no surprise to anyone who's been paying attention the last few decades at least that a woman is abused in this country every few seconds, or that one in three women is abused by a male companion.  The evening news and daytime talk shows were full of it (at least, back in the days when daytime talk shows dealt with something other than celebrity gossip and fashion tips.)  Those of us old enough to remember Geraldo Rivera's heyday have heard the televised horror stories of abused wives who've had to go into hiding for fear of their lives.  Bloody tales of children murdered by their abusive fathers while battered wives stayed passive.  What, it just slipped our minds?
Or, do we simply prefer to picture our sports celebs as heroic manly men who can do no wrong; certainly who would never commit so cowardly an act as physically abusing a woman?  Hmmm...I'm guessing that ship pretty much sailed with O.J. Simpson, so no.  Especially not with this latest disgusting display coming on the heels of a college football rape scandal.  So, why the supposed shock and weak promises of change?  Are we as a nation trying to reassure ourselves that this was really just a momentary aberration of our national character, and that it won't happen again?
After an abuser beats his wife, he'll often simper and cry and ask for forgiveness, then issue an empty promise that it will never happen again.  And, of course, it does.  So, perhaps, it is with a nation that glorifies violence and equates it with maleness, that vilifies and demonizes female sexuality while simultaneously putting it on display and (if only subliminally) equates violence with sex and yes, even with love, quietly justifying spousal abuse.  Subconsciously, this has been going on since day one, though on the surface of our outwardly frivolous, puff-piece-loving society, we simply ignore it, like Jekyll ignoring Hyde.
Now and again, we find the need to purge our souls when something like this hits our T.V. screens.  Then, after the newness of it wears off, we settle back into our normal routine, blissfully unmindful of the fact that the violence is still going on.  I guess, in a way, we're simply less honest about our deeply entrenched patters of male violence than older cultures in which fathers butcher their daughters for marrying the wrong guy or cut their daughters when they hit puberty so they can never enjoy sex.  In western society, we aspire to be more than we are, perhaps, but we seem less and less willing to acknowledge the violence all around and within us.
As always, we make excuses for rapists by blaming the victim.  We pretend to treasure life (at least in its unborn state) while bombing countless women and children to death.  We seem to need the lie in order to avoid the pain and inconvenience of facing the truth.  Just as the Roman Catholic church hid the ugly, abusive evil hiding in its midst (probably since the middle ages) for as long as it could in order to maintain the mystique on which its patriarchal religion is based, so our still essentially patriarchal society maintains its comforting illusion of enlightened modernity.
Ancient rituals and customs designed to cage the male beast by subjugating woman to man's will no longer apply in the west.  (No doubt the comforting illusion of bygone ages, hiding still more violence than history is willing to reveal.)  So, how are we to confront the ancient demon of male violence in the modern age?  We've acknowledged its forms and patterns. But, are we willing to fundamentally change a culture which seems, at its very core, to embrace and depend on violence?  As long as we revere and enable our modern-day gladiators, the spirit that fuels violence in all its forms will always be with us.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Guest blogging on the Dabbler ...

I'm guest-blogging on Dianna Gunn's fine site "The Dabbler" -

 http://thedabbler.ca/author-spotlight-tom-olbert/



Stop on by and post a comment, if you like.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014

Release Day for Long Haul; Guest Post at Cate Masters

Today is the release date for my science fiction action-adventure novella:

LONG HAUL!!

***
and, in celebration,

Cate Masters, incomparable mistress of Magic, Wonder and Paranormal Romance
is hosting me today at her fine blog:




Cate's blog has a great deal to offer, not the least of which is her intriguing supernatural novel:

Goddess Awakened:


Blurb:
"With a little help from a goddess, battling evil is a piece of cake for Jocelyn Gibson.
A descendant of the goddess Iris, Jocelyn Gibson may have forgotten about the realm of magic, but it hasn’t forgotten her. When Eric Hendricks is targeted by a demon, Joss must step in to battle the evil and save the town’s awkward, but endearing, vet…who also happens to be the man she loves.
Joss’s new inn, a culinary career specializing in cooking with lavender and a new love all make for a fine recipe of disaster. She needs to embrace her inner goddess and harness the powers she never knew she had before it’s too late."
 
Check out an EXCELLENT Goddess Awakened video on Cate's site.
http://catemasters.blogspot.com/p/goddess-connection.html

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Guest post at Eden Royce: The Dark Geisha

Fans of SCIENCE FICTION and the bizarre:

The extremely talented author Eden Royce (a.k.a.The Dark Geisha) is hosting me on her fine blog, to promo my new release from Musa Publishing, Long Haul:

http://darkgeisha.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/guest-blog-post-and-book-release-tom-olbert/

Check it out!




And, while you're there, check out all the other exceptional offers from the incomparable Eden Royce!

And, not to be missed:  "Torched" - Eden's incredible new anthology devoted to that mystic elemental force:  Fire.


















"Torched" is coming your way soon from


Nocturnal Press











 

Friday, July 25, 2014

"Long Haul" by Tom Olbert

Come along on the WILDEST SCIENCE FICTION ACTION RIDE EVER!

Long Haul



This trucker's haul takes him to the end of time and space, and beyond...

 

 

Blurb:

In the near future, physicists have stumbled on a way to open rifts into other universes, making it possible to transport goods and people anywhere in the world in nothing flat.  The unscrupulous corporation that owns the new technology uses it to monopolize shipping worldwide

Thrill-seeking, death-defying truckers like veteran army driver Garth Jenkins and his gun-toting trucking partner Sally Drake earn hazardous duty pay by hauling rigs through perilous alien universes often infested with deadly alien monsters and many other dangers besides.

Garth and Sally accept a shady corporate contract to deliver some unknown cargo to an alien universe, no questions asked.  It looks like an easy way to score big money.  But, things go south fast when their truck is hijacked by the beautiful and mysterious Keira Takahashi, and they find themselves pursued by hideous alien parasites in undead human bodies.

On the run and in danger, Garth and Sally find themselves on a crooked cosmic road leading to bizarre other worlds and exotic time periods.  They have one chance to unravel the company's twisted plot and save themselves.  Whether they succeed or fail may decide the fate of a universe...
***
Garth Jenkins is quite a guy.  A certified screw-up and a train-wreck waiting to happen, but he's the one you want on your side when the chips are down.  During his tour as a driver in the Gulf War, there was no risk he wouldn't take.  Including beating the crap out of an officer who was forcing himself on a local girl.  For that, Garth narrowly avoided a military firing squad.  But no, the experience hasn't made him any more cautious.  Quite the opposite.

A dishonorable discharge, two ex-wives and two kids later, Garth is still risking his life pushing a rig, and in places that make the Persian Gulf look like a walk in the park.  He's a simple kind of guy who likes his gambling high stakes, his liquor strong, his women fast.  And, he doesn't like to be tied down.  But, in his heart, there's more than he's willing to admit.  When push comes to shove, he'll always do the right thing.  Once he figures out what that is.

Some say he has a death wish.  Maybe he does.  He lost his dad when he was a kid, and he's been trying to make sense of life ever since, his foot to the floor board all the way.  Now, the world has changed around him, and the road he follows leads through the whole of the multiverse, to some very strange worlds.

He's looking for truth, and he'll find it if it kills him.  And, it might.

***

Excerpt:

Three suns burned brightly in the sky, the Earth was breaking apart, and giant moths were attacking us. For most guys, that would describe a bad dream after a bender, but when you’re trucking a load on the long haul, that’s business as usual.

A big mama moth was comin’ straight at me, and she looked pretty damn pissed. Wing spread of about fifteen feet, jaws bigger than my head. Yeah, that’s how big they grow in the crazy gravity in this parallel ’verse.

I squeezed the trigger of my flamethrower. A long, twisting stream of fire snaked out and nailed that sucker right between its foot-wide sparklin’ silver eyes. The shrieking noise those mothers make when they burst into flames cuts to the marrow and curdles the blood. Kinda like my ex-wife when I’m late with a payment.

It was still coming straight for me. I felt the fire on my face as it swooped in. Those things go up like freakin’ gas balloons, y’know. As it passed over, I held onto the rearview side mirror, crouched down on the running board, and nudged that big flaming bug with the muzzle of the flamethrower. It passed on over, stinking, singed pieces of it falling onto my hair and coveralls.

“Damn!” I yelled at the top of my lungs as the truck hit the guard rail, sparks flying, metal screeching. My feet slipped off the running board, and the rearview started coming loose in my hand. I looked down. My feet dangled over a damn long drop into a kind of island floating in mid-air, a jungle landscape splitting apart, volcanoes erupting and lava bubbling up.

There was nothing but sky all around, filled with other floating islands, and swarms of those moth things were taking off from them. Behind that, the moon filled half the sky. It looked close enough to touch. I held on for dear life as the rubber screeched over the tar. My trucking partner, Sally Drake, was spinning that wheel blind, trying to keep the damn rig on the highway. A highway that was built in mid-air, stretching out from one floating island to the next. Don’t ask me how. Our road crews just paved over old highways that were already there. Built by aliens from another ’verse, maybe. Or by humans from our future. I just drive. I don’t ask questions.
 
***
When:
Friday, Aug 1, 2014
 
Where: