Kal’s May 2019 Forecast

Hey everyone, it’s been a bit of a crazy past few months, but I’m getting back into things and I should be on track again soon.  If you hadn’t seen, my father passed away recently and combined with some other family things, some work things, and some Army things, well, life has been a bit more hectic than usual.  I can’t say it’s getting any better in the near future, but I am adjusting and, well, there’s about as much good as (or more than) the bad.

So, anyway, what’s the rest of May hold in store?  Well, I’m hopeful to get Stolen Valor, the 2nd Forsaken Valor book, completed, edited, and published by the end of the month.  It’s a matter of completing it and getting it to my beta readers in time and I think that’s on track.

As I finish that off, I aim to do the same with the second Argonauts book, A Cold Day in Hades, which I need to finish, edit, and again, send to my beta readers.  From there, I’ll do my final edits and send it to Chris Kennedy Publishing.  My goal is to get that sent to them before the end of the month, as well.

What else, you ask?  Well, there’s quite a few projects I want to work, including a new one (gasp, I know, I have a lot of in-progress series).   But the next book I plan to publish is the last of the main-line Shadow Space Chronicles books, The Star Engine.

I know I won’t get it done before the end of the month, but it’s going to be coming in the next few months.  It’s a bit behind when I planned it, but I think it’ll be worth the wait, tying of the SSC storyline and setting things up for future series in that universe.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

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Steven Spriggs

My father passed away on Thursday.

Steven Spriggs passed away on May 2nd, 2019 while recovering from surgery.  He was sixty-eight years old.  Steven served thirty years in the military, as an officer and enlisted, active duty and reserve, in the Army and the Navy.  A father of four, he was preceded in death by his wife, Janis, who passed away in 2010.  He is survived by his four children: Jacob, Paula, Brooke, and Luke and one grandchild, Robert.

Steven was a complicated man.  He served in the military, he taught yoga as a certified yoga instructor, he rode a Harley, and drove a tractor on his farm.  He could give you his heart in one sentence and then dismiss your existence in the next.   He could be kind and generous at one moment and at another, the most miserable bastard in the world.   Steven grew up in an abusive family, dealt with PTSD from deployments, and in his final years he dealt with a chronic, painful condition as a result of injuries that eventually lead to his death.  He retired from the United States Army after thirty years of service, serving two tours in Vietnam, deploying in the Gulf War and again in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He obtained two masters degrees, one in Plant Pathology and the other in National Defense.  He worked construction, taught JROTC, instructed yoga, worked his farm,  made beer and wine, and loved art and music.

A conservationist, Steven loved the outdoors.  He was an avid hiker, camper, snowboarder, fisherman, and hunter.   A Colorado native, he  passed away in the state not long after returning home.  Services will be held at Fort Logan Veterans Cemetery at a date to be determined.

Avengers: Endgame Review (No Spoilers)

I’ll preface this by saying that I tried really hard not to get any spoilers.  Then, on my way into the movie theater, there were a ton of people headed *out* who were discussing every detail.  Talk about spoilers… it was rather frustrating for me, but overall didn’t impact my enjoyment of the movie as much as I feared.

It’s hard to say much about the movie without getting into the heavy spoiler department.  There’s a lot of emotional stuff.  There’s a fair bit of fan-service.  There’s something for just about everyone.  Some of the humor is spot on.  Some of it is so far off base that I’m left scratching my head.  The major emotional stuff hits home and it does so very well and doesn’t pull any punches.

The movie doesn’t stop.  Be fully prepared to be locked in your seat for that three hours.  This is a movie with very real stakes and they make it clear from the beginning that things aren’t going to be all happiness and light.  The acting is great, the actors are fully invested, and the sequences and staging of the story are fantastic.

Sit back and enjoy the ride is my best advice.  Also, maybe wear earplugs while you’re walking in so you don’t have the biggest twists and turns given away by people walking out of the theater.

Kal’s Starfest 2019 Schedule

I’ll be at Starfest this weekend, so if you’re in the area, I’d love to see you there!  I’m on two panels:

Combat in SF and Fantasy (Friday 9 PM)

A discussion of the good, the bad, and the ugly scenes of combat and action in Science Fiction and Fantasy. To include the differences between games, movies, and literature and examples of each.  Also a discussion of the morality and emotional impact both upon the audience and the characters involved

These Aren’t The Drones You’re Looking For  (Saturday 8:30 PM)

A look at modern cyber and drone warfare and delving into the future of where things are headed.  Killer Robots aren’t just in the future, they’re here and now.  We’ll talk about how to use them in writing as well as where it’s going in the future.

April Update

Hey everyone.  I try to post mostly positive stuff here, but the last couple weeks have been pretty rough.   Between my wife’s surgery and stuff happening with my family, I haven’t been able to focus on writing.   So I’m behind on getting Stolen Valor done and edited, which is going to push it back to next month.

On a more positive note, I’ve been invited to a books and beer event next week and I’ll also be participating in Starfest.  Both events will be happening here in Denver.

Halfpenny Brewing Company is having a meet Colorado Authors event on 24 April from 4:30 to 6:30.  I’ll be there and if you’re in the area, come by and see me or some of the other authors (and there’s beer!).  That’s Halfpenny Brewing Company, 5150 E Arapahoe Rd Unit D1-B, Centennial, CO 80122

For Starfest, I don’t have my final schedule yet, but I’ll post that on Monday.  It will be 26-28 April, at the Denver Marriot, DTC.

 

Shazaam! Movie Review (No Spoilers)

DC/Warner Brothers has done a shift towards more light-hearted entertainment and they went to the kid/superhero Shazaam with their latest release.

It’s a pretty big shift, one that began (arguably) with Wonder Woman and continued with Aquaman.  Overall, it’s a shift I appreciate because, well, I’ll admit I detested their grimdark approach from before.

So how does it work?  Well… it’s complicated.  On the one hand, the actors involved do a fantastic job.  Zach Levi totally sells his role as the titular superhero/kid.  The kid actors, too, do fantastic jobs.   Same for everyone else, they play their roles brilliantly and some of the side characters are positively awesome, feeling far more real than anything else and therefore reinforcing the suspension of disbelief.

On the other hand… holy crap is the opening dark.  I was actually getting pretty uncomfortable with it and starting to wonder if I’d been sold a humorous superhero movie cover on another grimdark Zach Snyder flick.  It got better, but given the tone and theme of the rest of the movie, they could have cut that whole section out or done it as a flashback.  The villain, too, is a dark, vengeful type totally at odds with the lighthearted tone of other parts of the movie.  He didn’t really fit, nor did some of the CGI.  I mean, it was cool to see… but it was also pure nightmare fodder for kids.

Which brings me back around to some of the branding.  They marketed it as a family movie, but I won’t be bringing my kid to it (I nearly did and now I’m glad I didn’t).  It’s not just some of the violence & CGI (which are both borderline for what I’d feel appropriate for young kids), but there’s some themes on family that are really, really dark for young kids to take in.

They’re mostly done well.  There’s no promises that are made by the story that aren’t paid off (sometimes in heartbreaking fashion).  The story is tight enough and flows pretty well from scene to scene, with no moments jumping out as not fitting.  There’s a few loose ends and some things you just have to make assumptions on (or just sort of ignore as being sequel material or something they didn’t have time to wrap up).  But those are minor things.

The humor is awesome.  There aren’t any jokes that fall flat and it all works organically.  The kinds of humor that would naturally come from the ridiculous situation.  Once it gets going, the movie is a whole lot of fun.

There’s a bit of awkward wording, some lines just don’t make sense in the context of what’s happening in the rest of the movie.  It’s either the CGI not matching up to the scenes or editing having changed what happened.  They’re small things, though, and easily overlooked with everything else going on.

All in all, though, it’s a fun movie.  It’s not one I’m going to go see again in theaters, but I will be buying a copy.  It’s also, as I said, not one I’ll be showing my son until he’s a bit older.  It passes the fun bar, it’s almost on track to match Marvel’s movie franchise, except for that whole darkness at the beginning.

 

 

Kal’s April 2019 Forecast

Hey everyone, this year is just flying along, isn’t it?

If you missed it, last week I released Valor’s Stand, the fifth and final book of the Children of Valor series.  While the YA series is done, the stories of the characters will continue later this year with the War of Valor series.  If you’ve already read it, please leave me a review.  If you haven’t read it, well, why not?

I’m trying to get Stolen Valor finished and ready for publishing here in April.  Unfortunately there’s a lot going on in my life (seriously, if the powers that be would ease up a little, that would be nice), so I may not make it.  I’m also working on A Cold Day in Hades, the next Argonauts book with the 4HU.  If all goes well, I’ll be sending that to the publisher around the end of the month and depending on their schedule, you should see that soon(ish).

Writing projects on the deck after that is a return to the Eoriel Saga.  It’s been far too long, but I’ve got the next 3 books plotted and I want to get the 4th book finished and released in the next couple of months.  Moving on from there, I plan to close out the 7th book of the Shadow Space Chronicles.

The audiobook of Valor’s Child has been sitting in the review process for a while, so I’m hoping it will be approved soon and released to Audible in the next week or so.  The narrator, Honey Wirth, did an absolutely fantastic job and she’s already started in on Valor’s Calling.

This has been a busy year so far, but I’ve managed two releases in three months.  Here’s looking at turning that into 3 releases in 4 months!

That’s all for now.  Thanks for reading!