Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cover Reveal: Vampire Nocturne by Lorelei Bell

Isn't this a striking cover?  It's Lorelei Bell's upcoming novel, the third in her Sabrina Strong series. And maybe I shouldn't be giving anything away, but...Dracula's back!

If you love vampire novels, this one should be on your reading list!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Most Annoying Things in the World, January 2013 Edition

Yep...it's Pet Peeves time again! Some nuisances hold a permanent spot on The List, such as:

Spammers. Who doesn't hate spammers--except maybe other spammers? I currently have one (at least one!) who repeatedly posts here, demonstrating a minimal grasp of the English language and always, ALWAYS including a link to a site selling something. As much as I hate to do it, I guess I'm going to have to go back to moderating comments to keep the SOB out. This brings me to another Perpetual Pet Peeve...

Captchas. I've had to stop following several blogs because of captchas. Having to make several attempts to decipher the stupid things is frustrating and time-consuming, and if one follows several blogs with captchas, well.... (On a related note, I've had to stop following one of my favorite blogs because it's become impossible to read due to a "button bar"--or whatever it's called--on the left side of the screen.)

Public restrooms. If I could avoid them entirely, I would! One has to wonder what kind of unsanitary slobs some people must be at home, considering the messes they leave in public restrooms. I don't dare sit without first making sure the seat isn't wet--but that's only half the battle, so to speak. Checking the floor is also necessary, if I don't want the legs of my jeans to look like I've been wading! How on earth do women make this kind of mess? With men, it's annoying but understandable. But girls, you're supposed to be sitting down--and if this happens because you're hovering, then dammit, clean up the mess afterward! Nobody wants to sit in your waste, either!

Telemarketers. Need I say more? Our phones are all on the Do Not Call list. If they call anyway, you can bet we'll report them!

And then we have the first-time offenders on the 2013 List (or maybe I should say the first appearances of these offenders on The List):

Facebook. Every alleged "improvement" made by Zuckerberg & Company makes a once-uncomplicated social networking site more and more difficult to use.

Blogger. Murphy's Law in action. If it can go wrong here, it will. I'd abandon this blog completely and post only at Wordpress if it weren't for the knowledge that spammers would snatch up the blog title (as "Desi Jumiati" did with one of my former blogs last year) as soon as I dropped it!   

Kids Gone Wild. And the parents who let them--not only my neighbors' kids, but kids who act like barbarians in public, in restaurants, in stores, in movie theaters--anywhere the rest of us would be subjected to the end result of crappy parenting skills. Some of us--most--of us, would like to hear that movie as well as see it (silent films went the way of the dinosaur decades ago). We'd like to enjoy a meal without having our eardrums shattered--and maybe even hear what our dining companion is saying!

Childproof packaging. You have to get a kid to open them! I understand the need for it, but how about giving those of us who have no small children in the house an easy-open alternative? Arthritis can make opening bottles a real pain (literally). Don't make it more difficult than it has to be--please! 

What are your Pet Peeves? Are any of them here? 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The End is Coming...at the Speed of Light!

As many of you probably already know, the asteroid Apophis is doing a flyby tonight--staying a safe 9,000,000 miles away this time around. This led to a discussion William Kendall and I had about a possible new reality show: Survivor: Apophis Asteroid. It would be hosted by that legendary asteroid killer, Harry Stamper (also known as Bruce Willis), and the contestants would consist of past and present reality stars and members of the US Congress. What do you think? Ratings winner or not?

Apophis' appearance in our galactic neighborhood is timely, given that today's post, a bit of motherly bragging rights on my part, features the prologue of my son Collin's upcoming sci-fi novel, E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event).  Take a look--he also designed the poster art--and tell me how great it is! (And yes, he does need to correct the release date on the poster!)


10:25 PM PST

The space station moved slowly south in orbit to its destination over South America. The American astronaut looked through the window at the Earth towards the vicinity of northern Brazil.

I never knew how beautiful the Amazon jungle looks from space, he thought as the Russian astronaut floated through the tube towards him.

“Admiring the view?” the Russian astronaut asked.

“Yeah. When I'm back on terra firma, I'm going to ask my girlfriend to consider Rio for our next vacation,” the American astronaut said.

“Maybe you ought to consider St. Petersberg. It has much history and great romantic atmosphere for any couple.” The pride in the Russian's voice was clear.

“Maddie's an environmentalist—she wants to see the Amazon with her own eyes and feel the ground with her bare feet,” the American chuckled. “She's never experienced Brazilian mud.”

“Or piranhas, I'll bet.”

That made the American laugh aloud. “A buddy of mine from college spent a summer there. He went out into the river—nobody told him about the damn things until he was surrounded by them. His traveling companions were up on the bank, yelling to him to not move. He said he stood there for half an hour thinking, 'Don't gurgle, blood.'”

The Russian laughed, too. “You really should visit St. Petersburg. No flesh-eating fish there.”

The sound of the thrusters stopping interrupted the conversation and prompted the men to look around the compartment. “We must be approaching our destination,” the Russian astronaut concluded.

The Japanese astronaut floated to a series of computers in an adjoining module near the observation module. “We should be rotating the station via inertia from the thrusters to point you to Centaurus,” he said.

“What's happening in Centaurus, anyway?” the American astronaut asked.

A female astronaut floated down to the other astronauts in the lower part of the station. “Dr. Carson has some evidence from a observatory that shows some unusual activity coming from Centaurus.” she said. 

“What kind of unusual activity?” the Russian astronaut asked.

“He didn't say, but that's why he asked us to move the station. Hubble is also being realigned along with Spitzer and Chandra.”

“Sounds like this is something big, to move three telescopes and a space station.”

The Japanese astronaut peered around the computer monitors to speak to the other three astronauts. “I spend more time in front of the computers than I do actually observing the universe.” he said.

A blinding flash of light suddenly erupted from the direction in which they were looking, drenching the area inside the space station near the observation module in a brilliant white light. The American and Russian astronauts covered their eyes to shield them from the light. The flash only lasted only sixteen seconds and illuminated the earth from eastern Australia, Western Africa, the southern United States, and all of Central and South America. The Swedish and Israeli astronauts rushed to the observation module.

“What just happened?” the Israeli astronaut asked.

“I think we've witnessed a supernova,” the Japanese astronaut responded. “Where it originated is what concerns me.”