New Facebook Page for Fans

https://www.facebook.com/wilsbooks or facebook.com/wilsbooks

If you happen to be a fan of my writing, either my fiction or blogging, go ‘LIKE’ the facebook page. There, I’ll keep you informed of my progress on ongoing projects and discuss my published stories. Of course, it’s also a great place to learn when I publish something.

 

New Novel Published

I just published “Blood Huntress”, the second book of the Blooddaughter Trilogy. It’s available at Amazon. com right now.

Shauna, Adjusting to life without the Sun and the need to feed, travels to Europe to track down the notorious vampire hunter, Henry the Inquisitor. She finds the night culture there in upheaval as hunters have decimated the vampire populations of France and the surrounding countries. The royalty she meets are not as friendly as she is accustomed to.
Her companion and best friend, the Blood Countess Elizabeth Bathory, has particular difficulty adjusting to the new powers in Europe. Defending her friend may make enemies among the vampire royalty.
In case Shauna doesn’t have enough to worry about, her twin sister and vampiric progeny, Laura, free of her mortal addictions, may have found a new, deadlier, habit.

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Huntress-The-Blooddaughter-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00GGNSUSY/

I’m working on the third book as my Nanowrimo project. It wont be ready to publish in a  month–give me about six months to have it out there.

Print Version of Blood Huntress will be available soon. If you can’t wait, Amazon’s sub-company Createspace has it now:

https://www.createspace.com/4462036

Ghosts of Halloweens Past

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere I’m terribly busy these days writing my novels and thus all my creativity is going there for the time being. So my blog is suffering. As a lazy excuse for an annual birthday-slash-halloween post I’m collating my halloween posts of earlier years.

The timeless classic:

http://wilogden.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/elmos-candy-begging-day/

http://wilogden.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/top-10-halloween-treats/

http://wilogden.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/what-candy-to-give-out-on-halloween/

http://wilogden.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/halloween-reminder/

http://wilogden.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/halloween/

http://wilogden.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/stealing-candy-from-babies/

http://wilogden.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/top-ten-worst-costume-ideas/

http://wilogden.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/trunk-or-treat/

Who’s really to blame for the government shutdown?

We all know the government shut down because Congress, who has the responsibility to figure out how to both acquire and spend the government’s money, has not passed a budget to allow for the continued funding of the government itself. It is congress’s constitutional responsibility to pay our nation’s bills.

What we are hearing is that the GOP is insisting that the budget cut funding for the Affordable Care Act, which most people know as Obamacare. The GOP is claiming they will negotiate.

The Democrats are not willing to negotiate on the subject of defunding Obamacare.

Should they? That’s the question.

Let’s back up a bit. The Affordable Care Act was passed by congress. In passing such a set of laws, they agreed, by majority vote, to provide the funds necessary to enact the Affordable Care Act.

The Act has survived dozens of attempts to repeal it. At no time could a majority of the elected representatives of the people of the United States agree that Obamacare should be repealed. This pretty much plainly says that it is the will of the people, through chosen representation, to keep Obamacare in place.

So the GOP is playing the politics game, trying to get ‘tit for tat’. They’re saying “We’ll give you what you want, the continued functioning of the government, if you give us what we want, to make Obamacare unfunded, thus non-functioning.” Yes, this is clearly stating that the GOP considers the continued functionality of the United States government is not their priority.

The GOP claims they are trying to impose the will of the people of the country by defunding or repealing or delaying Obamacare. If this really were the will of the people, at least one of their dozens of attempts to do so through the normal process would have succeeded. Representation might not be 100% true to the will of the people, but considering how persistent the GOP has been, and how many attempts they’ve made to repeal Obamacare, if the people really wanted to repeal it, they’d have let their representatives know and it would have been repealed by now. While not everyone likes Obamacare, most people accept it as better than the alternatives.

So the answer to ‘Should the Democrats be willing to negotiate with defunding Obamacare?’ is: No. Congress already approved Obamacare and all the costs that come with it. The proper way to disapprove it is to repeal it, not play politics.

Granted, ‘tit for tat’ is politics as normal. Congressmen add riders all the time to bills that have nothing to do with what they are adding to it. This is usually small, local to one constituency, projects or laws attached to large popular bills where the piddly riders aren’t worth not passing the larger bill.

And granted, compared to the continued functioning of the nation’s government, Obamacare is a smaller, lesser subject. But, it’s not, by any means, piddly.

So, yes, the GOP is doing it wrong. They are trying to play piddly ‘rider’ politics with nationally affecting programs. They can’t repeal Obamacare the normal way so they are willing to hold hostage all of the Americans who are furloughed from their government jobs.

I don’t like Obamacare. I’ve said so repeatedly on my blog. I think it was wrong approach the problem. Instead of ensuring everyone had access to health care, it merely ensures we all have access to health insurance. That’s not even a small difference. Health insurance does not guarantee proper health care. That said, it’s better than the nothing we had before. I’d have rather waited for a better solution, but we have Obamacare now. Rather than repealing it, we should focus on changing it to what it should be, whatever we think that is. However, we should not hold the government’s ability to function as a bargaining chip to impose our will when the people of the country so clearly don’t agree with our will.

To be clear, if the majority of the people of the country wanted to repeal Obamacare, it would be repealed by now. We’ve all had ample opportunity to elect new senators and representatives. We’ve all had the chance to tell our congressmen how we think we should be represented. Still, Obamacare has not been repealed. I’m not saying the GOP should give up on repealing Obamacare. If they want to keep slamming their heads into a brick wall, I say it’s their heads. I’m saying Obamacare is too big an issue to try to play ‘tit for tat’ with, when tat is the well being of our whole nation. They need to just do their job and sign the checks to pay the bills they’ve already agreed to pay.

When the time comes to sign the checks is not the time to decide which checks to write. We’ve already agreed on what needs to be paid for. Pay for it. Then start trying to decide what we should and shouldn’t pay for next time and next time, if they can’t decide by that time to not keep Obamacare, they’re going to have to keep paying for it. Well, they won’t have to. They have the option to keep acting stupid.

Looking for Ideas

I am currently devoting the majority of my creativity to finishing up my vampire novella trilogy. My 19.5 fans out there will be happy to know I am almost done with the second novel and hope for a Halloween release or sooner.

I have a few other projects I am working on as well, such as my demonic roleplaying setting, Demiarpg.wordpress.com, but that requires me to dive deep when I do work on it, so I only touch it once a month or so.

In the meantime, my blog has suffered. I’d like to revive it a bit, but I need help on the creative side. Dedicating that part of my brain to my fiction, I tend to be at a loss as to what to blog about. I need ideas. Got Questions you need answered? These can be philosophical or scientific. I might even answer a personal question or two. Got concepts you need explored? I’ll try anything. Once I have an idea, I can pretty much run with it. My only restriction is no targetted political questions like “Why are Republicans so stupid?”

Send your ideas to me using my contact information on the ‘CONTACT’ page above or leave a comment.

I’d say there are no stupid questions, but honestly, that’s not true. If you think your question is stupid, go ahead and ask anyway. This is the internet and no one will ever find out, right?

New Project

Okay, this is an old project with a new medium.

demiarpg.wordpress.com

It’s a roleplaying setting for Savage Worlds. In simple terms it’s hell and the players play demons, but, don’t assume everything is evil about it.

More things I did last weekend

The title here is misleading. This is about a whole new weekend of activities, some of which are continuations of a prior weekend’s.

Let’s start with a promised picture:
cooprunfort

Not quite finished with the painting, but you can see where it’s going.

What you see are some of our chickens on the bottom level, the run, protected by steel mesh. This stuff is much more expensive than chicken wire, which one would assume would be the proper material for a chicken run. Chicken wire works great for keeping chickens in, but is crappy at keeping raccoons, foxes and such out.

The platforms comprise the Fort portion of this thing. Nothing fancy there, just a place to stand and look down on the world, just what my megalomaniac daughter needs. The lower platform is hinged and has a handle so the whole 4′ x 4′ section lifts to allow access to the run.

What you cannot see is the coop. It’s behind the green wall between the run and the upper platform. Coop access is from the right side here and that whole wall folds down. The chickens can get from the coop to the run via a ramp at the bottom right.

That rope ladder started life as a hundred feet of rope, fifty feet of garden hose some plastic stakes to attack the rope to the ground and some eye hooks to attach it to the fort. It took me about an hour to throw together and attach.

So that’s that.

We also got a new refrigerator on Saturday. The old refrigerator fit snuggly between the floor and the incredibly stupid cabinet attached to the wall above the refrigerator. I call it stupid, not because the wood had a low IQ, but who ever installed it must have. The cabinet was a foot back from the front of the refrigerator, so as soon as we put anything on top of the refrigerator, the cabinet became inaccessible. Not that it was terribly accessible to begin with. It’s 66 inches up and a foot back. No one could reach easily anyway.

Our new refrigerator is 68 inches tall. See the problem? Remember I said the 66-inch-tall fridge was snug.

I gleefully uninstalled the cabinets, spackled and painted the wall where it had been and put the cabinets on a wall in the nook, where they could be reached and used. Win-Win. And, as a bonus, it was a pure gain in storage space since not only does the new fridge also have a top suitable for storing children’s art projects, but it has more space since half of it is not being occupied by a stupid cabinet.

I also had a bit of adventure with powertools when the guy who came to install the ice maker on the new refrigerator complained our pipes weren’t the kind he’s allowed to work on. We live in an old house that’s seen many updates over the years. I’ve mentioned the lead pipes before and the galvanized steel pipes. We do have some copper pipes, which is the only thing modern plumbers will want to work with. However our copper pipes were too small, so he couldn’t do squat.

The most important thing I know about plumbing is to leave it to professionals, which I totally didn’t do.

They make these things called “self tapping” ice maker kits. Supposedly, simply by bolting them to the pipe, they can punch the hole into the copper providing the necessary water to the ice maker. I bought one of these kits. The self-tapping part is over-rated. It seems our copper pipes are stronger than the steel they make the punching pin of the kit.

So, being brave and resourceful, no sarcasm there, really, I drilled a hole in the copper piping of my home. Yes I turned the water off to that pipe first. No, I don’t have a horror story to tell. I know it’d be funnier if I had been doused with spraying, cold water, but it didn’t happen. I had one compression bolt leak a trickle, but that was fixed with a twist or two with a wrench.

I didn’t mention drilling a hole in our stone tile floor to run the copper tubing of the ice maker water line to our basement pipes. It was boring. I measured, I drilled, again everything worked fine.

I know this is a blog and I’m supposed to tell funny stories about how things can go wrong. Maybe I’m just a talented home-improvement god. At this point, people who know me just spat their drinks all over their keyboards to keep from choking to death as they burst in uncontrollable laughter. Perhaps, and this is the more likely scenario, I just don’t have high enough standards to notice when things go wrong.

There are several not terribly level parts of that cooprunfort, the paint does not have perfect lines at the seams. The rope ladder’s rungs are not precisely even in their spacing. The water line to the ice maker does not leak, however, and that’s the only standard that matters there.

And we finished the walls I mentioned the other week. They are nice, sturdy half-walls, as designed. The spackling job is less than perfect, and the paint isn’t hiding it as well as I’d hoped. But they do their job of keeping folks from falling down the steps and giving my cats a place to perch to look down on the world around them, feeding the megalomania that all cat’s innately possess.

New Novella Published.

“Second Blood” is now available on Amazon.com

This is my first foray as into the vampire genre. It’s part one of three and I promise not to die of old age before finishing the trilogy and I won’t expand the trilogy to ninety five books either, or for that matter, four.

For a link, click on “Currently Available Published Works” up at the top of this page.

How I Spent My Weekend

I have a tendency in life to rely very heavily on my massive intelligence rather than careful planning, education or even experience.

I used to be the epitome of masculinity in that when I brought home “some-assembly” required furniture, I would put it together without reading the instructions. They put extra pieces in the box in the event something breaks, right?

I got better and will now glance at the instructions once or twice before throwing them aside and wading into piles of bits of pieces. That one panel that is clearly on backwards or upside down–that was a choice to show my individuality in my work. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Not everything I build comes from a box, however. I have more than one set of shelves in my house constructed entirely from 2x4s. My wife think’s the ones in the kitchen are nifty, so I feel a little encouraged.

I’ve also built a display tower for my wife’s grandfather’s trains, which I blogged about a year or two ago. It’s down there in the days past somewhere with pictures.

My most recent project was turning one of those old cheap sets of self-assembled bookshelves into a drafting desk.

Last weekend I undertook my two largest projects to date and I did so simultaneously.

Actually I am doing three projects but combining two.

The first project was “simple”. The stairs that go to the second floor of our house come up in the middle of the den. They had a guard rail on each side with flimsy wooden newels holding it up. My cats liked to jump across from one rail to the other, shaking both rails wildly and scaring the bejesus out of anyone walking up the stairs under them.

I’ve been promising for years to upgrade the railings with actual walls, or at least, half walls.

I don’t know how to put in a wall. I mean the concept seems simple enough: Build a stud wall, anchor it, hang drywall, mud it up, and then paint. That’s it, right?

Right? I’m really asking.

It’s kind of too late to respond anyway, so don’t feel bad for hesitating. I built two half walls, which, though currently in need of sanding and painting, didn’t come out half-bad. They’re sturdy, which was the primary goal.

Nevermind the fact that I built one of the stud frames 3.5 inches two long and the other 4.5 inches too long. Ignore that both walls should have been the same length and werent. Some hasty power tool work and the walls were cut perfectly to size.

Hanging the drywall was another matter. Sheets of drywall are missing an important part–something to hold them by. Hanging a full sheet of drywall above your head on a flight of stairs is difficult. Let’s put it this way: For that first piece of drywall, I probably went through a cup of joint compound filling in the dents. The next three sheets went much easier.

Jason, my friend who sometimes rues the day he opted to get a pickup truck rather than a car, commented on the one gallon bucket of joint compound I bought “You won’t need that much for just two walls.”

Au Contraire. Two walls means more than two buckets of joint compound. Maybe if they were just part of a bigger wall, it would be less, but eight feet of an exposed top of the wall, means a lot of mud to flatten that gap.

If I’d used planning instead of hubris, I might have thought to pick up corner-bead when I bought the drywall and had Jason’s truck to carry it in. Like it sounds, it’s the metal stuff you line the corners of walls with. Luckily my hybrid sedan had a teensy little hole designed to allow skis to be put into the trunk and through to the passenger compartment. Yes, I put the corner bead on before I started with the mud. I’m not an idiot, usually.

The biggest lesson I learned from building the walls: Don’t randomly place the studs. Put them at carefully measured intervals. Measuring tapes work better than studfinders.

The other two things I needed to build were a bigger chicken coop-slash-run and a treehouse for my daughter.

The chicken coop is because my wife “needed” two more chickens this year, bringing our backyard eggery to five chickens, which don’t all fit in the coop we had.

The treehouse was a long-standing promise for my daughter’s birthday after kindergarten, which is next month.

Our yard has two trees. The one in the front yard, next to the street, is obviously the wrong choice. The eighty foot pin-oak is every child’s dream place to put a tree house, but I’m not a fan of heights and eighty feet is a long way to fall. Putting it lower on the trunk would almost work if the trunk weren’t eight feet around.

So treehouse became “fort” or “playset”. Me, being oh so brilliant, (no sarcasm, really), came up with the idea of building a chicken run/henhouse/playset all in one!

Don’t roll your eyes, it’s a great idea. I even drew a picture before I started cutting the wood.

However, I didn’t keep the picture with me and had to do most of my cutting from quick calculations in my head and careful measuring. When building the stud flooring, I did careful measuring and spacing so I won’t have to rely on a stud finder to screw the surfaces to the frame.

See, I can still learn. Who knew? It surprised the heck out of me.

I should note that I tend to build using minimal cutting on my part. Common dimensions are very derivative of what sizes the wood comes in. So my chicken run/henhouse/fort is 8′x 4′ at the base.

Also important to note: It works just fine to stack three pieces of 8′x 4′ plywood to cut them all into 4′x4′ pieces with one run of the circular saw. However, if you have the wood up on saw horses and cut down the middle, they will collapse into a heap when you complete the cut. Keep your feet clear.

I would say, after two days of work, the walls are 75% done and the cooprunfort is almost half done.

Pictures coming soon.

New Story Published

I’ve added “The Honor of a Knight” to my published stories page. It was published in Bards and Sages Quarterly.

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