The Veil War

"and then I was like, 'Holy crap, goblins!'"

Category: Uncategorized

Desk Test

Downloaded, for reasons I cannot explain, a new desktop blogging app. It’s called Desk, and so far seems… very nice. The other blogging tools for the Mac look like they were designed in the 90s, so this has that over them.

Ecto and MarsEdit support Drupal blogs, but they seem to be the only ones. And I couldn’t get them to hook up to a Drupal blog. A quick google search revealed almost no mac apps that had anything to do with Drupal at all, which seems strange. In the Mac app store revealed no results at all when I searched on “Drupal”.

That may not seem to big a deal, seeing as this is a WordPress blog. But I’ve moved into Drupal development and am horrified to discover that there are essentially no useful native mac apps that support Drupal.


Tactical Suitcase Raptor

What is it?

Tactical Suitcase Raptors are the latest in Raptor Warfare technology. Think of them like a small scale suitcase nuke that is limited to a single room. We raise Raptors from an egg and when they’ve matured to optimal destruction age we lovingly pack them in a suitcase for you to let loose and destroy your foes in a furry of teeth and claws.

Why use it?

  • It looks like a natural predator attack (really who is going to believe you smuggled a raptor in a suitcase?)
  • They’re re-usable if you can get the raptor back in the suitcase

Proper Deployment of Your Tactical Suitcase Raptor

Point your Suitcase in the direction you want to deploy your raptor in.

Open the suitcase OUTWARD*

*Opening the suitcase facing you will result in imediate devouring of yourself. There are no refunds for an improperly used Tactical Suitcase Raptor.


Originally from here.

Half deck

Chapter 26 is now finally done. My apologies for the delay, but my employer was unreasonably insisting that I do work on their schedule, not mine. Such is life.

Above, the sky was deepest blue, almost purple. There were no clouds, but whenever Lewis laid his hand upon the hilt of his sword, he saw undulating banners of incandescent plasma drift above the heads of the Marines and knights who stood on the hill waiting for the coming assault.

Unlike the aurora he had wondered at a week and half ago, these luminous bands were more defined in structure. The banners twisted in response to invisible winds, they snapped and coiled in response to forces that he couldn’t perceive. It was disturbing to watch.

Whether they were actually there or just a vision provided him by the sword, he had no idea. He understood now that it was a visible sign – to him, at any rate – of the vigorous defense that the crusader sorcerers were mounting on his behalf.

Out on the plain, the enemy had regained focus. Across the plain to the east, six thousand red-armored goblins were gathering for another assault on the Snake River Brigade. Enemy messengers were once more criss-crossing the plain in front of the two American positions.

As always, I encourage, harangue, conjure and compel you to note in the comments any typos, grammatical errors, faulty logic or general screw-ups in the comments. Likewise, if you have anything nice to say, I wouldn’t take offense at that either.

Dramatis Personae

I’ve also added another page, a cast of characters. I can’t guarantee that the information on this page is entirely accurate, because I created my original cast list way back at the beginning and successive edits may have changed things in subtle and hard to remember ways. Hard to remember because I totally failed to keep updating this past about chapter 12.

So, there might be some inaccuracies. Also, there may be some characters you don’t recognize because they appeared in some early drafts of chapters 9-11 and then magically disappeared when I brutally edited those sections. I still have plans for those characters, and I may yet reintroduce some of the text I excised.

(If you’re new to the Veil War and weren’t around for that confusing yet exciting time, you can still see the original versions: chapter nine, chapter ten, chapter eleven.)



Chapter 20 is now up, and impatiently awaiting your attention. Teaser:

Lewis cursed in horror as he saw the goblins had penetrated the perimeter at least five points. Bronze-armored monsters poured into the middle of the brigade defenses. Cavalry troopers ran madly across the sand toward the rear.

By way of a progress report, this last week has been marvelously productive. I have the entire next month’s chapters ready and queued up, which means that I can focus on getting the rest of the story written. Since March was a near total wash thanks to virulent, uh, viruses – I am behind on my self-imposed schedule by about that much. I did a lot more rewriting than I had planned last month but by dint of self-sacrifice, self-abegnation, and other selfy things I still made progress. It is perhaps a vain and ambitious hope, but I nevertheless hope to have a completed draft manuscript of the whole novel by the end of this month. We’ll see how that goes.

As always, please feel free to point out errors and mistakes, infelicities and screw-ups. And thank you, as always, for reading. You are all, each and individually, my favorite people in the whole world.


The old joke about Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms needing to be a a superstore not a Federal Agency was very true for me today. Got 250 rounds of .45 ACP, 100 rounds of 20 ga, six bottles of liquor and a carton of cigarettes.

That, my friends, is a happy shopping day.


Posted this on Facebook the other day, but oddly enough forgot to post it here:

Some random stuff that may be of interest

A couple interesting links from the world of paleohistory/evolutionary biology:

  • New evidence that stone-age Europeans came to the Americas 10,000 years before the Siberians. We got here first, nyah, nyah. Apparently, they found a stone tool in Virginia made of French flint, one that was 20,000 years old. Awesome.
  • Typos – interesting stuff from Greg Cochran: “The mutation rate for any particular locus is low: for a typical gene, something like 10-5. But over the genome as a whole, the total rate is on the order of 1 per generation, or maybe a bit larger than that. Suppose U is 1: then the average person has a fitness that is less than two-thirds that of a mutation-free individual, one with all typos corrected. Some estimates have U as high as 4.2 in humans: in that case, average fitness is only about 1% of a mutation-free individual. This big change occurs because U is up in the exponent.”

And Cat Valente’s last post at Charlie’s place, on the nature of publishing in these interesting times. Also along the publishing line, “How I Wrote 50,000 Words in Three Days (And You Can Too)” The key apparently is to start writing and then not stop. Interesting quote, though:

I know. It seems far-fetched a four-hundred-year-old book [Musashi’s Book of Five Rings] can assist, but this is where you would be wrong. I won’t bore you with every detail, I would suggest you get a copy and apply the ancient battle techniques to your writing, and you will see a drastic improvement. The most important clause I hold to be the truth is:

“Any man who wants to master the essence of my strategy must research diligently, training morning and evening. Thus can he polish his skill, become free from self, and realize extraordinary ability. He will come to possess miraculous power.”

Stratfor’s Glossary of Useful, Baffling and Strange Intelligence Terms. Amusing.

ATF: Alcohol Tobacco and Fire Arms. Rednecks with a license to kill. Never, ever, ever ask for their help on anything.

I know from experience that this is true.

Rather Prescient

Over at Boing Boing, they are doing a week-long tribute to Robert Anton Wilson. Pope Bob had a fairly big influence on me by way of a dog eared copy of Illuminatus! I found in a mildly-creepy used and odd book store north of the OSU campus in Columbus. I was 19 at the time, out of work and dropped out of college. Just the perfect receptacle for the odd flavor of conspiracy, mumbo-jumbo, mind-hacking and fantasy Wilson and his co-author Robert Shea served up.

The other day, Boing Boing posted this quote from Part One of Illuminatus. (Published 1975.)

More stringent security measures. Universal electronic surveillance. No-knock laws. Stop and frisk laws. Government inspection of first-class mail. Automatic fingerprinting, photographing, blood tests, and urinalysis of any person arrested before he is charged with a crime. A law making it unlawful to resist even unlawful arrest. Laws establishing detention camps for potential subversives. Gun control laws. Restrictions on travel. The assassinations, you see, establish the need for such laws in the public mind. Instead of realizing that there is a conspiracy, conducted by a handful of men, the people reason — or are manipulated into reasoning — that the entire population must have its freedom restricted in order to protect the leaders. The people agree that they themselves can’t be trusted.

When Wilson was near death, some of his friends got together to raise money to settle his debt, pay rent and medical bills and generally make his last days free from any financial worries. One of the means was selling tshirts. I still have mine, though it is getting rather worn. This was the logo:

That slogan caused no end of confusion amongst the more straitlaced in my family. Which is to say, most of them. Still, it was the least I could do to help someone who had provided me with a vast amount of good things to read, and much to think about.

And, my lifelong fascination with conspiracy theories.

I still believe, though, that one of the best openings to a book is this, from Schroedinger’s Cat:

Don’t Look Back

The majority of Terrans were six-legged. They had territorial squabbles and politics and wars and a caste system. They also had sufficient intelligence to survive on that barren boondocks planet for several billions of years.

We are not concerned here with the majority of Terrans. We are concerned with a tiny minority-the domesticated primates who built cities and wrote symphonies and invented things like tic-tac-toe and integral calculus. At the time of our story, these primates regarded themselves as the Terrans. The six-legged majority and other life-forms on that planet hardly entered into their thinking at all, most of the time.

The domesticated primates of Terra referred to the six-legged majority by an insulting name. They called them “bugs.”

There was one species on Terra that lived in very close symbiosis with the domesticated primates. This was a variety of domesticated canines called dogs.

The dogs had learned to achieve a rough simulation of guilt and remorse and worry and other domesticated primate characteristics.

The domesticated primates had learned how to achieve simulations of loyalty and dignity and cheerfulness and other canine characteristics.

The primates claimed that they loved the dogs as much as the dogs loved them. Still, the primates kept the best food for themselves. The dogs noticed this, you can be sure, but they loved the primates so much that they forgave them.


The Really Big Idea: Steve Umstead

Steve Umstead has been exceedingly generous in providing helpful advice to me in the short time that I have been above water as an author. So naturally, I asked him to help some more… But at least this time, we have the thin fiction that this is self promotion for him. The Gabriel story is the kind of thing that I always imagined that I would be writing when the time came. Space ships, action, conflict, and intrigue. Science fiction in the classic mode. Sometimes, an image in your mind can be a powerful thing even if you don’t realize its power at the time. The key is that if that picture in your head is true, then what you make of it at least stands a chance of hitting a chord with your readers. Three Gabriel books is perfect proof of that.

Gabriel’s Genesis

When Stephen approached me a few weeks back about participating in this modified version of The Really Big Idea, my first thought was, “I never had a really big idea,” so what could I possibly contribute? As I thought more and more about it, I realized that way back when, I did have a Really Big Idea about what became my debut novel, Gabriel’s Redemption. It’s just that way back when, I had no inkling that little scene floating around in my head would turn out to be an idea that blossomed the way it did.

You see, a little over a year ago, I had no story, nor plans to publish a novel. I had always wanted to write, since a very early age, but had never sat down and written, from start to finish. I had plenty of first chapters I thought were incredible; I edited them to death, and subsequently lost interest as real life moved in to take over my focus. So I never finished.

Flash forward past my 40th birthday (the year at which point I always thought I’d be rich and famous by…not quite) to October of 2010 and my plans to jump into the following month’s National Novel Writing Month challenge. I decided once and for all to sit down and finally finish a story, but I needed that Big Idea. The scene that had been floating in my head for decades (yep, decades…) reared its head, and Gabriel was born.

The scene is quite simple, actually, and at the point when I sat down to write it, I really had no clue what it would become. It’s a short scene: a disgraced Special Forces soldier, haunted by his past, dreaming of a happier day in his childhood with his family, brought out of the dream by people who want to bring him back to his present, with a chance for redemption. From that scene, I created the character and his background, his mission and its challenges, his flaws and his strengths. They all grew from that one tiny little chapter.

Once that book was completed, and published, and started to get good feedback, I looked back at that tiny little scene and realized I could do much more with it. And so a trilogy was born, the characters continued to be developed, the plot arc was extended, and came full circle with the final scene of the final book.

I get the question of, “where did you get the trilogy idea from?” a lot. And my honest answer is I don’t know, at least for that first scene. But as for the complete story, it all came from a guy in a ratty Jamaican hotel room, dreaming of better days. Go figure…

Buy Gabriel’s Redemption: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

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