Blog Shorts…


This is pretty cool technology, but OUCH.

Scientists are questioning the safety of a Star Wars-style riot control ray gun due to be deployed in Iraq next year.
The Active Denial System weapon, classified as “less lethal” by the Pentagon, fires a 95-gigahertz microwave beam at rioters to cause heating and intolerable pain in less than five seconds.

Less lethal? Is that like ‘mostly dead’?

“How do you ensure that the dose doesn’t cross the threshold for permanent damage? Does the weapon cut out to prevent overexposure?,” asked Neil Davison, coordinator of the non-lethal weapons research project at Britain’s Bradford University.

As compared to say a machine gun?  Am I wrong to think that any non-lethal weapon is preferable to a lethal weapon, at least if you are on the receiving end?



More from

Looks like the rest of the world is as lawsuit happy as the U.S.  — Family member dies = PAY DAY

LONDON, England (CNN) — The family of a Brazilian man shot dead by armed police officers at a London subway station say they are considering legal action.

I’m sorry, but if you are being chased by a bunch of police the week after a terrorist attack and they tell you to freeze or they will shoot, I’m thinking that you might want to stand still. I know that running from the police doesn’t make you guilty, but can you really blame them for shooting you if they suspect you are a suicide bomber and you run away from them?

Asked if his family was taking legal action, Menezes’ cousin Alex Alves Pereira said the police had to pay for the mistake. “They have to pay for that in many ways, because if they do not, they are going to kill many people, they are going to kill thousands of people,” Pereira told BBC television.

“they are going to kill thousands of people”?????   Umm…I can’t even think of a response to that.

A Quick Read?

On Saturday around 1:00 pm, I gave a friend a copy of Duck Blood Soup to test read.  He called me at 9:00 pm last night to tell me that he had finished it.  I was shocked that he read it that quickly – its about 400 pages long.  He gave us a short task list of things he had problems with, but overall he thought the book was pretty good.  He especially liked the new races we use instead of the cliche’ elves and orcs that dominate fantasy novels.

So what’s your book about?

When Frank and I tell people that we’ve written a novel, they naturally ask, “So what’s your book about?” Here is the brief synopsis we are thinking of sending with the next round of query letters:

When Eizenfeng’s leading wizards combine science with magic, the world changes dramatically. Technological advancements, coupled with racial and economic tensions propel the country toward war with a long time ally. Jeunelux is oblivious to the building turmoil; scorching days harvesting tomatoes and her annoying older brother are more pressing concerns. Suddenly, strange dreams that haunt her nights become reality. Jeunelux, along with two other untrained and unlicensed teen wizards embark on a quest to save the girl’s father, rescue a giant, and prevent a war. The three friends must quickly hone their magical skills and take on responsibilities beyond their years to save innocent lives.
So does it convey enough to make you want to read the book? Does it sound different than other fantasy novels? Feedback welcome…

For the LOTR Geeks like myself

I was reading the Bad Astronomy blog today and stumbled across this.  I didn’t know where he was going when he said the first picture looked like Gandalf, then I laughed before I even read the rest of the entry as I scrolled down and saw the second picture.  If it doesn’t make sense to you because you aren’t a Lord of the Rings fan, Gandalf is the good wizard who helps the hero’s on their quest, while Sauron represents all that is evil.

Literary Agents

Duck Blood Soup – Update

Frank and I have resumed our search for a Literary Agent.  Out of our original four query letters we received one request to review the first 30 pages.  The average from the agents side is to reject 9 out of every 10 submissions, and out of the ones they don’t immediately reject, they reject 9 out of every 10 that they read the partial manuscript.  That said, one for four in the first round wasn’t bad, and the rejection after the partial manuscript review was not unexpected.

So now it’s back to writing a crafty one page query letter that is professional and attention grabbing.  We’ve tried several versions, but they still aren’t perfect.  The challenge is condensing your book down to one paragraph that still makes it look different than every other book out there.  The agents themselves admit that the best way to get an agent is to know someone (anyone know someone?).