Tag Archives: 2019

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.

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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.

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.

 

 

Change of Schedule: Liberty Con

Hey everyone.  If you haven’t heard, Liberty Con has shifted the date of their convention.  I’ll still be there (I hope) but the date is shifted from 30 May-1 June and is now 28 June – 30 June.  They’ll also be at a different hotel there in Chattanooga (Marriott rather than the Read House).  Last year the hotel situation led to some issues with space, the Marriot is adjacent to the convention center, but the convention didn’t have much of the spaces over there and there were weird restrictions on food and drink.  Hopefully they get all that ironed out, despite the short time to do so.

The change of dates makes Liberty Con back to back with Spike Con/Westercon/how-many-other-conventions-can-be-held-in-the-same-place-at-the-same-time-con (like, seriously, there’s at least 2 mini-cons and 3 official conventions, it’s sort of nuts).  My plan is to attend both, but it’s going to be a crazy week (4th of July is in the middle somewhere too…).

The only other convention I have on my radar right now is Starfest, though I haven’t heard anything from them yet about panels.  I hope to be attending, but since my wife is having surgery that month, I’m not sure how big my involvement will be.  I don’t know that I’ll have time for any other conventions this year, mostly because it’s looking to be a very, very busy year for me.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see folks at Liberty Con & Spike Con!

 

Kal’s LTUE 2019 AAR

Hey everyone, here’s my AAR for LTUE 2019!  All in all, I had a great time and had the opportunities to both participate and observe some awesome panels on writing, art, book marketing, and more.   If you’re in the Western US, LTUE has got to be one of the better writing conventions you can attend.

There’s a lot of fantastic authors to meet, and enough information on just about any topic to not only help new authors, but to help experienced authors learn new things.

The people are friendly, the locale is awesome (Provo, Utah has some very scenic mountains), and it’s a great opportunity to network.

Most of my panels for the weekend were in the military science fiction theme, with panels on Rules of Engagement, Drones & Robots in Warfare, Rebellions & Revolutions, and two panels on Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers.

I dragooned James Young into several of those panels, because a couple panelists weren’t able to show.  (Sorry James, there’s consequences for heckling from the crowd when I know who you are).  The ROE panel was fun, especially with Jim Curtis, Lee Modesitt, we got to cover a lot of history of ROE and do some extrapolation of what it might look like in the future.  For the Rebellions & Revolution panel, Jim Curtis and James Young’s knowledge of history meant that there were a lot of people in the audience taking notes to go look things up.

I really enjoyed the Drones & Robots in Warfare panel, with Jim Curtis & Larry Correia.  We ranged a bit further off topic into the areas of cyberwarfare, but that’s easy to understand given the topic.  It was particularly amusing to have people from the audience commenting afterwards about how scary all the potential is… that’s good writing ideas there!

As far as panels I attended, the panels on Surgery in Zero G was fantastic, with a lot of neat medical issues in microgravity being described by the panelists.  Doctor Nik Rao’s panel on Evolutionary Biology was awesome, especially as to how it relates to alien life we may encounter (or at least write about).

There were a few faces I wish I’d been able to see at the convention, people whose schedules didn’t line up or who didn’t get invited this year as panelists.  I really hope they get that latter part straightened out, as I felt there was a bit more emphasis on filling panels with people, rather than getting panelists who both show up and who are qualified.  But all in all, it was a fun convention and I hope to attend next year as well.

 

 

Kal’s LTUE Schedule

Hey everyone.  I’m currently on vacation, enjoying some skiing and trying not to injure myself.  But I’ll be at Life, The Universe, and Everything (LTUE) writing convention in Provo, Utah this weekend.  If you’re in the area, come check it out.  Here’s my schedule:

Thursday, February 14
5pm
Joining the Rebellion!
Birch (Marriott), 5pm – 5:45pm
6pm
Chesney to Heinlein to Weber: The Evolution of Military SF
Canyon (Marriott), 6pm – 6:45pm
Friday, February 15
1pm
Rules of Engagement
Zion (Marriott), 1pm – 1:45pm
3pm
Heinlein and the Battlefield: Starship Troopers’ Influence on the Military
Sycamore (Marriott), 3pm – 3:45pm
Saturday, February 16
4pm
Warfare in the Age of Drones and Robots
Zion (Marriott), 4pm – 4:45pm

Kal’s 2019 Forecast

Happy New Year everyone!

2019 is here.  Boy do I have a full plate.  I’ve got six books that I plan to get published this year, another three or four books I want to get written, and a whole lot of writing to do in general.

Right now I have twenty two books in print (kind of mind-blowing to me when I think about it).  They’re set in five different universes: Eoriel, Shadow Space, Star Portal, Dead Train, and Mark Wandrey’s 4HU.  I have nine different series in print, with an average* of three books per series (and 4 more books written that haven’t yet been published).  This year I plan to finish the Children of Valor series, wrapping it up in book five, while continuing to write the spinoff series, Forsaken Valor.  I also plan to return to my Eoriel Saga, Shadow Space Chronicles, and Renegades series, with more books coming in all of them.  I’m working on the next Argonauts book in the 4HU as well.  My goal is to release a book every two months this year and finish the year at 28 published books.

Conventions are going to be coming fast this year.  I’ll be attending  LTUE in Provo, Utah (February),  Starfest in Denver, CO (April), Liberty Con in Chattanooga, TN (May/June), Spike Con/NASFIC in Layton, UT (July), Dragon Con in Atlanta, GA (August/September).  I may be forgetting something here or there, but that’s what I see for now.  At roughly one convention every two months for the rest of the year, I’m going to be very, very busy.

I’m also trying to coordinate and set up some book signings at local stores here in Colorado, but I’m not sure when that will be happening.  I’ll be sure to post dates here as soon as I know.

On the blog post front, I’m going to be posting some additional writing blog posts as well as movie reviews, book reviews, and whatever else comes up.

Lastly I’m trying to get the audiobook versions of my YA series up soon, ideally over the next few months.  That’s all for now, thanks for reading, and have a happy new year!

*Okay, 2.44, but it almost rounds up!