I don’t know if this is a big deal or not, but it looks like I’m on Simon & Schuster’s highlight list


I have no idea if this means anything, but Simon & Schuster does distribution for Baen (my feeble understanding of the publishing industry says, beats me how it actually works) and I am on their list of highlighted books that they’re trying to sell. This appears to be the international distribution one.

I just found this through random googling. I think that this is some kind of handout for bookstore buyers.  If you scroll down I’m in the end of July/beginning of August section.  So this list is basically Stephen King, Stephen King, Dan Brown, famous author, famous author, major bestseller, movie tie-in, Stephen King, and Larry Correia… wait a second, Larry who?

The only other Baen authors on there are Ringo and Weber. That’s some fine company to find yourself in.

So, does this mean that my book is going to end up in a lot of international stores? Man, I hope so. I’m going to be positively huge in Uzbekistan, Andora, and Yap.

On that same note, if you are a fan, and you know the folks at your local bookseller, do me a favor and ask them next time you are there if they plan on ordering MHI. A little awareness never hurts. Same thing if you are at your local library.

And while I’m thinking about this topic, Baen will be sending out review copies to all the usual sources that review Baen books. I recently e-mailed back and forth with Fangoria, and they’ll be getting a review copy as well. (of course I read Fango, I’m a certified monster movie nerd) If you work for a magazine, newspaper, or big review website, or you are friends with somebody who is a professional reviewer,  and you think MHI might be up their alley, let me know and I’ll be in contact.

We’re getting closer. I’m excited.

In the meantime, read the post below and go order a cookbook. I’m on my way to Paypal now.

Chris and Mel need help – Buy cookbooks!


Here is the deal. Chris and Mel are good folks who are in a bad jam because of ridiculous legal fees.   There was a custody battle that needed to be fought, and though they won, our legal system is designed to suck the life out of you.

In order to get out of the hole, they are selling cookbooks.  They asked me to post this because they know I get a decent number of visitors.

They aren’t asking for charity. They are producing something of value, and using the money to pay down their debts. It actually sounds like a really good cookbook. I’m ordering one.

Let me tell you what I know about Chris, though I think I’m still sworn to secrecy. This is the kind of guy who found out about a friend of mine who was in need. Chris not only went out of his way to help this person, he went far above and beyond the call of duty to help out a soldier. Not because he got anything out of it, but just because he had the chance to make a deployed soldier’s life a little bit nicer. From what I understand, that’s just the kind of thing he does all the time.

What I would ask is that if you were even vaugely thinking about how you might be wanting to even maybe purchase a cookbook sometime in the next decade, to go ahead and get this one, and help out a fellow blogger.  And if you have your own blog, let’s spread the word.

Star Trek & Wolverine

So I finally had some time this last week and managed to go to the movies. I caught Wolverine on Friday and Star Trek last night.

There will be spoilers. You have been warned. But then again, as usual, I’m about the last person to see things in the movies, so you already know all this.

As much as this pains me to say, because I’ve never been a Trekkie, but I’ve been reading Marvel Comics since I could read, Star Trek wins hands down. The critics are right, Star Trek is that good.  Wolverine? I’ll watch it again on DVD for the fight scenes.

Now for both movies, check your brain at the door and enjoy them for what they are. I watched Star Trek with somebody who is basically an industrial scientist. Cut him and he bleeds science. This is the kind of person that on demand can give you a dissertation about sonic wave functions and harmonic stabilization in miliamps or something that my feeble accountant brain can’t comprehend. (basically if I ever attempt to write actual hard sci-fi, Mark is my technical advisor) Even he liked it, and he’s not a Trekkie either, and he did have a few comments about using explosions to drive your way out of a black hole. (“good luck with that!”)

Star Trek had great characters. Having never been in love with original Trek, I’m not a purist, and I’m not offended by changes to cannon. I just want a good story. These characters gave me that. I thought that Syler from Heroes was absolutely perfect as Spock, and not only that, he was like young, kinda angry Spock.

Kirk was not William Shatner. As much as I love William Shatner for his sheer audacity of being William Shatner, New Kirk was much more watchable.

The other characters were immediately recognizable as who they should be. I’m glad to see Karl Urban as McCoy, because I like Karl Urban in everything. What was the best thing about the otherwise boring 2nd Jason Bourne movie? The scary Russian, Karl Urban. He’s been an Indian-Viking and has fought the Rock. That’s a resume. Perfect.

I had some nitpicks on some of the tactics of Starfleet. “Hey, it is our only chance to save the world! Let’s beam in TWO guys with handguns onto the enemy ship!” Even if you don’t have space marines, wouldn’t you beam over every cadet you could until you ran out of phasers, and then equip the remainder with gardening implements and send them over too? 

My friend asked why they didn’t beam over a photon torpedo while they were at it, but that would have blown up the red matter. Ha! I got that one. They should have just had Scotty say some Hand-Wavium about how dylithium levels would only let them beam two people onto the Romulan ship or something, and I would have been happy.

Overall, Star Trek rocked. I will watch this one again, and I’m actually hoping for more movies. My huge Trekkie buddy will probably give me crap now, but it is true. You win, Marcus. It is that awesome.

X-Men: Origins: Wolverine: The Sharpening: was good, but just good. Don’t get me wrong, it was about 1000% better than X-Men III: The Crapening.

My only pet-peeve, and this will show off my nerdish fanboy-ness is that they went non-cannon on Dead Pool. (my gosh, I’m pathetic). DP is my favorite Marvel Comics character. (well, reading the Punisher made me the man I am today, so I guess Frank still wins). How could you not like a disfigured, crazy guy, who is literally in love with Death, can’t die, and is aware that he is a comic book character and actually talks to the audience?  Ryan Reynolds was actually perfect casting, as he’s got great deadpan comic delivery. (I loved Waiting, and that is why I’m always super nice to anybody that prepares my food) When I heard about that casting, I got my hopes up for a future super hero movie that would be way outside the norm.

Then he turns into a mouthless zombie with katana arms and laser eyeballs and Wolverine cuts his head off. The end.

(on a purely technical note, how was he supposed to bend his elbows with the swords shoved up in there? They were probably going to remedy that in Weapon XII.)

Now, I do know how we fanboys can still get our movie. Dead Pool had his head cut off and grows a new one. Lose the katana arms and the laser beam eyes, and you’ve got a movie.  He’s had his head cut off before, no biggie.

If you want to watch something to see why I think a DP movie would be awesome, watch Hulk vs. Wolverine. There are all sorts of lines in there that are laugh out loud funny. “Logan! I think we lost him!” “I thought his last words would have been ‘Oh Sabertooth No!” “Babies creep me out, man.” and so on and so forth.

Yes, it is pathetic how much of a nerd I am. I actually read every issue of Alpha Flight for like four years. Regular super mutants weren’t enough, so I turned to CANADIAN super mutants!  That’s sad.

I don’t know why I didn’t like Origins: Wolverine very much. It hasn’t really gelled as to what the movie was missing. It just wasn’t interesting enough to really keep thinking about, and maybe that’s the issue.

CONduit after action report

I’m back from CONduit, and had a blast. I’m really starting to enjoy local conventions (even though I’ve only been the three, and all have been local). I’ve gotten to know some of the other local writers a lot better, and they really are a great and talented bunch. The number of excellent published authors, and high quality aspiring-to-be-published writers here in Utah is remarkable.


My first panel was on Saturday. It consisted of me, John Brown http://johndbrown.com/, Dave Wolverton http://www.davidfarland.net/, and James Dashner http://jamesdashner.blogspot.com/.  John Brown was recently picked up by Tor, and will be doing a series called Servant of a Dark God. We spoke for quite some time afterward, and I’ll be picking up a copy when it ships in October. It sounds absolutely awesome. Dave Wolverton/Farland has written something like 50 books and has numerous bestsellers in both sci-fi and fantasy. James Dashner writes YA fiction and has done extremely well.


If you were in the audience for that panel, I apologize for being a little dimwitted. I was only running on a few hours of sleep. The LDS church is dedicating a new temple in my neighborhood, and since they have a whole bunch of reception tents outside it for the open house, they needed volunteer night security. So Friday night, I was up until 3 AM wandering around the parking lot in a spiffy orange vest. My kids then thought it would be just awesome to wake me up at 6 AM to see if they could play Xbox.


The most interesting thing during that panel was when James mentioned how he had been able to quit his day job as an accountant a couple of years ago after his books had some success. I looked over and said “I’m an accountant.” High five. Then it turned out that John was also an accountant, and Dave had done that at one point too. So this panel of professional writers was made up of current and former finance people.  You know what they say about ‘creative’ accountants.


The next panel was about what author’s liked to read and some of our favorite books. It consisted of Jessica Day George http://www.jessicadaygeorge.com/, Howard Tayler http://www.schlockmercenary.com/blog/, Paul Genesse http://www.paulgenesse.com/default2.asp, and was moderated by L. E. Modesitt http://www.lemodesittjr.com/.


It was a lot of fun. Writers tend to be extremely well read people, until we become writers, then we read about a quarter of what we used too, because now all of our reading time is taken up with writing our own stuff. Luckily for me I had read stuff from everyone on the panel except for Jessica, who I had just met, so I didn’t look like a complete ignoramus. When asked what my favorite book was, I had to say that it was Dan Simmon’s Hyperion & Fall of Hyperion. I don’t know why, but that book (it was supposed to have been one book) has had more staying power than any other work of fiction I’ve ever read. I still read it about once a year.


An interesting thing for me about favorite books, the stuff that I like to read is pretty much nothing at all like how I like to write. I love to read hard sci-fi and epic sword and sorcery fantasy, but I’ve got no current interest in trying to write it. The writer that I’ve been compared to most is Jim Butcher, and I had never read anything of his, until after people started comparing us. (I count myself as a Dresden Files fan now though). I’ve also been compared to “early Anita Blake without all the sex and angst”. So I checked that out, and I would have to say that we both have monsters, but I don’t have any porn. Bummer.


My last panel was a Q&A for aspiring writers, with many of the same previously linked folks, and Eric James Stone http://www.ericjamesstone.com/blog/home/ (absolutely brilliant short stories), and Julie Wright http://www.juliewright.com/. This was a great one, as everybody who wants to be a writer has basically the same questions at some point.


I was able to tell my odd-ball story about how I was published. I’m the one that didn’t exactly do it by the book, but still made it pay off. I cautioned everyone that could do it the normal way, to do it that way, because I wouldn’t recommend my method to anyone who wasn’t A. bug-nuts crazy and B. possessing ox-like perseverance. I also discovered from the other writers, that I’ve got an internet presence (and # of daily hits) that most writers would absolutely love to have.  


Other than the panels, I was able to speak with tons of very cool people. I like the Cons, because they’re about the only time that I’m not the geekiest person in the room. When I’m amongst my gun-brethren, I’m the nerdy writer one, but when I’m amongst other writers, I’m that gun guy. I also gave my e-mail to any writer who might need technical advice, because I can’t stand reading about a character deactivating the safety of their double barreled Smith & Wesson revolver.


Here is a picture of me at the Con with local writers Pat Tracy and Paul Genesse. (I picked up a copy of Paul’s latest book at the Con and am looking forward to getting to it)


I’m the ruggedly handsome bald one.


I spent way too much money on books this weekend. I picked up a copy of Dan Wells’ I am not a Serial Killer http://www.fearfulsymmetry.net/?page_id=2 . The premise was just too good to pass up. A kid who works at his family’s mortuary is obsessed with death and serial killers, and begins to suspect that it is a monster that is removing the local’s body parts.


I was able to listen in to a few other panels. The Writing Excuses Podcast http://www.writingexcuses.com/ was great, and they had on recent BYU graduate, Aprilynne Pike, who is currently #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list. That is with her debut novel called Wings.  She wrote a book about fairies and managed to crack into that Stephanie Meyers Twilight teen-girl market to make serious major bank. That is dang impressive.


I spoke with Brandon Sanderson after his podcast. He has finished Monster Hunter International, and despite it being nowhere near his normal genre, he really liked it. To have somebody who’s written a giant pile of bestsellers, and who is near the top of the game, actually like your book is a good little ego-booster.


Things are really going well right now. Conduit was great, the book is pre-selling extremely well, and I even love my day job. I can’t ask for more.

CONduit this weekend

CONduit will be at the SLC Radisson Friday, Saturday, & Sunday.

I will be on the following panels:

Sat. 4:00 PM: The Mike Show
Sun. 2:00 PM: My Favorite Books
Sun. 4:00 PM: Aspiring Writer’s Q&A

Drop by and say hi.

On the Favorite books panel, I will be up there with Howard Tayler of Schlock Mercenary. http://www.schlockmercenary.com/blog/index.php/2009/05/21/conduit-schedule-and-scrapyard-release/ I’ve not met Howard before, but I’ve liked his webcomic ever since finding a link to it on THR like five years ago. I look forward to meeting him.

The Aspiring Writers panel should be good. Eric James Stone is on there. Great guy, and writer of some of the best short stories I’ve read. You can find him in Orson Scott Card’s latest compendium.

Paul Genesse is on the same panel. The very first panel I ever did was one of his at MountainCON.  This is a very good read. http://www.amazon.com/Golden-Cord-Science-Fiction-Fantasy/dp/1594146594/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242924183&sr=8-1 and the sequel has just been released. (haven’t read it yet, but will be buying a copy at the CON).  If you haven’t read the Golden Cord yet, I recommend picking it up. It is Paul’s first book, and opens up an interesting world that has a ton of potential.

I’m looking forward to CONduit.

You guys are so awesome.

In the last few days I’ve posted about the seven free sample chapters of MHI on Baen’s webscriptions, and a bunch of you that have your own blogs took up the torch.

So I’m selling some books. As of right now on Amazon:

Amazon.com Sales Rank: #8,746 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)

Popular in these categories: (What’s this?)

#66 in  Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Epic
#89 in  Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Contemporary

That’s not bad for a book that still has 2 months before release.  I don’t know how I ended up in Epic fantasy, as I thought that was Lord Of The Rings, knights in shining armor territory,  but it looks like Jim Butcher is leading in there, so that’s totally cool.

Edited to add, Brandon Sanderson’s wrapping up of Robert Jordan’s epic Wheel of Time is already #2, and it doesn’t come out for quite some time. I know Brandon. He’s a good guy, great author, and I can’t think of a better person to root for his epic success. Mark my words, Brandon is going to go down as one of the greatest fantasy authors of all time. In his own, non-WOT writing, he’s already come up with a bunch of very original worlds and magic systems. Brandon thinks up whole new worlds like most authors think up plot lines.


* Edited because the numbers got even better!

Matt Bracken’s new book out


I have not read this one yet, as it was just released, but I have read the previous entries in the series. Matt is a dang good author.

This may be blasphemous in the gun world, but I like Enemies Foreign and Domestic more than I like Unintended Consequences. Both are good, but I think that Matt tells a better, leaner story, with more interesting characters.

Matt’s also a good guy. When I was first looking into self publishing, he was full of helpful advice. I hope that this new one kicks as much butt as the old ones. I need to get my order in and get some signed copies. I would recommend that you do too.

So long Gov.

So long, John Huntsman, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.


Utah’s own governor has been picked to be the new ambassador to China. Personally I think this is great for Utah and the US. Great for the US, because Huntsman is a little less loopy than your average Obama appointee, and great for Utah, because our lieutenant governor is an actual conservative republican.

Huntsman has been a mediocre governor, whose one saving grace was that he wasn’t Mike Leavitt, our prior, spectacularly sucky governor.  I’ve met Huntsman, and he strikes me as a decent man, but ideologically wimpy. My primary issues with Huntsman are the same things that are brought up as bonus points in the various news articles.

Huntsman is a “moderate”. Which is liberal news-speak for somebody who agrees with them a lot. He’s weak on a bunch of mainline republican values, wishy-washy on others, and just kind of “meh” on the really important stuff. He’s all about global warming, cap & trade, civil unions, and so forth, and this is supposedly the republican governor of one of the reddest of all red states.

I was dreading his second term, because I have on good authority from a friend in the state legislature that he actually said in front of witnesses that he was glad he had gotten reelected, because now he work toward what he really believed in.

This is my favorite thing that has been popping up in the news:

Huntsman is often mentioned as a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2012

On what planet? Okay, Mitt Romney was defeated by the elderly sock puppet, John McCain. Mitt had more personality than John, had a better resume, was smarter, funnier, more charismatic, and had been the governor of one of the bluest of the blue states. Both are mushy moderate Mormons.  Romney was dismantled in the primary, but somehow another Mormon, governor of Utah even, is going to win? Give me a break. Heck, I’m Mormon, and from Utah, and I didn’t vote for Romney!

although some of his advisers think the party’s primary voters will be more prepared to accept his moderate views in 2016 if the party suffers a 1964-like cataclysm at the polls in 2012.


Remember everyone, the media assumption is that the only way republicans can win is to become democrats, which worked so very well for us when we ran that doddering old white-haired democrat last time around.  I’m getting pretty sick and tired of all the national media sources trying to repeat a lie until it becomes truth, but we’re not that stupid, and we’re not falling for it. And yes, stupid media, we do like Rush Limbaugh more than Colin “nominate a moderate, oh wait, you did, okay, vote for the black guy” Powell.

On the plus side, ambassador to China is an important job, and Huntsman will probably do a decent job representing an administration of wusses. Sometime soon, when the dollar utterly collapses because of insane government spending, and we’re living in Weimar Republic II, Huntsman can help facilitate the Yaun becoming the world standard of currency…

Gary Herbert will be governor now. I’m okay with this. As far as I know, Herbert is an actual conservative. I know a little about the man, and so far so good. He’s kind of the John Nance Gardner to Huntsman’s FDR, the token conservative nominated to placate people like me. I’ll have to do some more research, as I do not know Herbert personally, but I’ve heard good things about him from people in the legislature that I trust.  Now we can pass and sign a Montana style “Feds Go To Hell” bill!

Baen has posted the first SEVEN chapters of Monster Hunter International for free!


MHI is now available on Baen’s webscriptions. The first seven chapters are available for free. For something like $15 you can purchase the E version of my book, and FOUR others that are being released at the same time.  That is awesome.

Do me a favor and spread the word. I need to sell me some books!

Hunting Unicorns

This was sent to me this morning because they know of my love of low budget movies and killing mythical creatures.  It is an entry in the Wyoming Short Film Contest.

Ladies & Gentlemen, I give, you Behind the Legend, and holy crap it is fun. If you’ve ever watched a hunting show on OLN, it is a total spoof of that, only played serious, with a unicorn.


If you sign in to the webpage, and click the socialize button below the movie, you can vote for this in the contest.


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