Patch Contest Voting starts tomorrow

Here is a link to all the patches and the rules:

I’ll put up an offical voting post tomorrow here and on the Facebook page.  I don’t get to vote. The winning patch becomes an offical part of the MHI universe, and will be mentioned in Monster Hunter Vendetta.  The timing is good, since I’m currently doing the final pass on MHV, and I’ve got just the spot.

On another note, Atomic Nerds wrote up the backstory for their patch.

Magical and radioactive… Sounds like a good bounty to me.


I’ve got a deadline to reach. I have one month to do my final revision of MHV and submit it.  If everything goes okay, then MHV will release in Fall 2010.

Now I’m off to edit. I love writing. Hate editing. Writing is fun. Editing is work!

I did a podcast interview with Sci-Fi Guys Book Review

I haven’t listened to this yet.  It seemed like it went really well, and the hosts are great guys.  Keep in mind that I’ve got a terrible cold, so I don’t always sound that goofy. :)

Check out their page while you’re there. I think they’ve got a great thing going.

Good news from the Book Deal Front!

I can’t elaborate too much yet, but let’s just say that there will be more of my books coming out from Baen, and probably not just ones set in the MHI universe.

MHI:2 is called Monster Hunter Vendetta. I’m revising the 2nd draft now.  MHV picks up several months after the events of MHI.

In related news, if you are in the SLC area, I’ll be doing a signing at the Jordan Landing B&N on Saturday from 2-4.  Drop by and say hi.

Take a Vet to Lunch

I saw this via Says Uncle. I think it is a great idea.

If you’re against health care “reform” it must be because you are illogical. 

Priceless.  I love articles like this. When you disagree, it must be because there is something wrong with you, not their idea.  The article was written with a thin illusion of impartiality, where the whole thing is all about how one side is inflamed by their emotions, illogical, or being cooerced by peer pressure. Oh, and there’s one line that says it applies to democrats too.  Nice.

Maybe, just maybe, I’m against “reform” because it is a bad idea?  Maybe it is because everything the government has ever screwed with has turned into a giant, wasteful, bureacracy?  Maybe it is because it decreases personal freedom and choice?  Maybe because I don’t like having my taxes go up, or don’t want employeers to get an 8% punishment tax? 

Nope, that’s just illogical.

And on the other side of the aisle, the Sainted Teddy Kennedy died, and the vultures are already trying to morph health care “reform” into some sort of salute to Camelot, and if you don’t support it, then you’re spitting on Ted Kennedy’s precious memories.   No lack of logic there… Not at all.   Sure, he was an alchoholic, rapist protecting dirtbag  guilty of manslaughter (at least) who philandered his way through a senate career on the backs of his dead brothers, but that was yesterday.  Today he is a Saint, so all you blue dogs better get in line and vote for health care reform!  

That’s perfectly logical.

Quick ITRC report

I know many of you wanted a quicker update, but I got back from Wyoming at 3:00 AM Monday morning, and then got up at 6:00 AM to go to work. (very busy day, thank you, Air Force!)  I’m still fighting a cold, so went home, went to bed at 6:00 PM, and got up at 6:00 AM to go back to work. So 12 hours of sleep and I feel a whole lot better.

The ITRC (International Tactical Rifle Championship) is a different kind of match. It is part precision rifle, part 3gun, part hoser, part run your butt off, and you’ve got to be a really really really good shot.

I don’t know how we did, because we had to bail out as soon as we were eliminated from the team v. team to get home in time to go back to work.  We missed the awards ceremony. That said, if we weren’t dead last, I’ll call it a win. The ITRC is the kind of match that people train and prepare for months in advance. Dave and I figured out we were going about a week ago. We scrounged up ammo and Dave borrowed a Sean Hardy’s sniper rifle. Not exactly a recipe for success.

Even then, this was one of the funnest matches I’ve ever shot.


My partner, Dave Seely, and I left Utah at about 7:00 in the morning. Gillette Wyoming is about 10 hours away. Of course, we both had a terrible cold. I was using an old Rock River 20” with Burris XTR 4×12. (the one from my profile picture). Dave was shooting a DPMS SASS, also with a Burris XTR.

Did I mention that Gillette is very far away? We killed 3 birds with the Focus and about half a million grass hoppers.


We started out on stage 2. It may seem weird to shoot only one stage in a day, but keep in mind that the stages are 2 hours long.  This was the easiest stage, but Dave and I still managed to screw it up pretty good. You start at the front gate of the Bliss Ranch, and start walking. The shooting positions are scattered across the ranch. The entire thing is natural terrain.  Carbine guy (me) shoots the red targets from 100-500 yards, precision guy (Dave) shoots the blue targets from 500-1000.

I didn’t realize how hard it would be to actually find the targets. You walk to a marked shooting position, and there in front of you is a hill covered in brush and trees. All you know is that somewhere in there are X number of rifle targets. Find them and shoot them.

As a 3gunner, I’m really good and running up to something, picking out the obvious target and shooting at it. If I miss, I watch the dust impact, adjust with the scope, and then hit it again. So we shoot fast, and we miss fast, but we shoot a lot.  That strategy will not work at the ITRC.  You get 20 points for hitting targets, but you also lose 20 points for each MISS.  So if you need to hit a target once, but it takes you 3 shots to do it, you are now at -40 points. 

Even if you run the whole thing and finish early, each minute finished early is only worth one point.  Dave and I went way too fast, rushed too many shots, and ended up finishing an hour early. So stage 2 was firmly blown.

But then we flew in the chopper! Yay! That was a blast. I’d never flown in a chopper before, let alone shot a gun from one. Our team was in the lead with 6 hits for a little while, but then there was a 7, and by the time the first day was over I think there was a 9.  I don’t know what the final was, but I heard some team got like a 15 or something.  That’s some darn good shooting.

You got 2 passes, hanging out the door or standing on the skid, shooting a carbine with an Aimpoint and a brass catcher on it. It was great.


Stage 3 was also on the ranch, except they haul you on a Mule out to Montana (literally), drop you off and you start walking. I don’t know how long this stage was, but it was uphill, both ways.  I was still sick and sucking wind, but I’m really glad we didn’t do this one the first day, or I would’ve died.

This state was much more mountainous, and there were lots of difficult shots. We slowed down quite a bit and used up all our time. We sucked on long range rifle because of the wind shifting. As I was spotting I don’t know how many times I watched Dave’s impact mere inches from the target, and then the wind would change and the next shot was ten feet away.

I did a lot better on carbine, and I don’t think I missed a shot on anything under 300. 300-500, I did okay, and missed them when the wind picked up. I made a few 350 or so hits across a ravine, but I was holding two and a half Mils to the right and letting the wind carry them in. it was tough.


Stage one was called the Gully, and was at the Surefire training center.  This was the hoser stage, and I’m really glad we did it last, as this was the least sick I’d been the whole time. I borrowed a Sig X5 from my friend Sonny from Montana because he’d brought 37 magazines. That is not a typo. I used all of them and reloaded probably ten of them during the lull in the middle. I used them all.

I was on pistol, Dave was on carbine. (my DSA middy but with Dave’s ACOG/Doktor on it).  This one starts out with a drive by where you sit in a cart, you drive along at 5 miles an hour over a bumpy lane shooting as many shots as you can at steel plates. (no penalty for missing, so we shot a LOT).

Then the first 45 minute part started. You are on foot and have to move through a forested ravine. The terrain is rough, and Dave rolled his ankle in the first 50 feet. Targets are everywhere, but if you move too far forward, you are no longer allowed to engage. So you’ve got to communicate, spot for each other, and still keep moving.

I’ve got to say that our shooting on this portion was awesome. If we saw it, we killed it. I hardly ever missed, and the pistol targets were out to 50 yards, and I was breathing hard the whole time. We did good until we got to Puke Hill. Which is darn near straight up, forever, and we were both gasping and sucking wind at the top. We kept shooting really well, but only made it ¾ of the way through the course. I felt bad about that until we found out that that was about normal. Only a few teams made it all the way through, and most of those missed piles of targets.

The next 45 minute part consisted of Dave engaging like 200 carbine targets from various positions. The gas block on my DSA turned white.  Then we had to head down into a shoot house where I fired something like 400 pistol rounds. I went through two school busses, room after room, out windows, ports, around corners, and the Sig just kept getting hotter.

I didn’t hardly miss anything until the final three plate racks, but it wasn’t because of me shaking, it was because I hadn’t worn gloves and the trigger was actually burning my finger.  Looking back I could have moved faster through the house, but I was trying to pace myself. We finished with plenty of time to spare.

That afternoon we did the man on man shoot off. We lost (shocking), but because both teams timed out trying to hit the long range stop plate. I actually did really good on the carbine part. I had to clear a Texas star at 100, and did really good, but that last plate was swinging too fast, so it took me about 4 shots to pick it up. Then there were 5 tiny targets at 200, and I just nailed them super fast. (except I forgot the 5th one, unloaded and showed clear, had the RO tell me there was one left, had to reload, and still nailed the little bugger in 1).

I really enjoyed the ITRC, and I’d like to try it again next year, only this time I’d like to be better prepared. It was a great match.

Book Signings

I’ll be at Utah State University bookstore in Logan tomorrow from 2:oo-4:00.

I’ll be at the Jordan Landing Barnes & Noble on Saturday the 29th from 2:00-4:00.

I’ll be at the Layton Barnes & Noble on Saturday September 5th from 2:00-4:00.

Come by and say hi.

Autographed copies and patches update

Okay, I didn’t make it to the post office this week.  I got sick and it totally wiped me out. I’m still sick, but I’m leaving for the ITRC tomorrow. 

I got 99% of the orders filled, autographed, addressed, and bagged. My wife will be taking them to the post office while I’m in Wyoming.

I’ve got every single one that came in via Paypal as of today. But I just got a few in the mail. (they were in the pile of unpaid bills)  S.K. in Wyoming, Christina in Las Vegas, and Leverett in TX.  I still need to fill yours but I’m currently out of books and patches. I’ve got more patches on the way and should have some more books next week too. Don’t worry. I’ll try and make it up to you.

EDIT:  If you haven’t ordered yet, but are planning on ordering an autographed copy, could you post a note here so I make sure I get enough books?

Movie review: Order of the Black Eagle

As many of you know I am a connoisseur of bad movies.  Usually I stick with horror/monster movies and if the monster is a dude in a rubber suit, and the whole thing was filmed over one weekend by a bunch of college students, so much the better. Sometimes these movies are actually good, and sometimes they are so bad that they go full circle and become good.

And then there is Order of the Black Eagle, which is perhaps the greatest story ever told, if you prefer stories with farting baboons.  This bad movie didn’t just go full circle back to good, it went full circle through a wormhole through space and time to the Dimension of Awesome.

I’d never even heard of this one. My encyclopedic knowledge of bad movies is limited to monster flicks. This one is technically a James Bond clone, so not my area of expertise. It was on cable the other night and I missed the first half, and even then the 2nd half was so terribly awesome (or awesomely terrible) that it was still great.

The plot? Well, as far as I can tell, Nazis have cryogenically frozen Hitler, and being led by a one-eyed man (that looks suspiciously like Paul Giamatti in a fat suit) plan on using a laser super weapon hidden inside a Mayan temple to take over the world.  Standing in their way is Duncan Jax, who is a balding British secret agent,  a couple of love interests that I’m willing to wager have spent some time hanging from a stripper pole, a band of wacky mercenaries (yes, my nickname corresponds with my special power, GI Joe style), and a baboon sidekick that drives a tank. No really. I’m not making this up.

It is unknown by Monster Hunter Nation what transpired during the first half, but I’m sure the Nazis did evil stuff, and Jax was able to defeat them with rockets. (he seems to have a lot of rockets) I joined the showing when my kids came and got me and said “Dad, you’ve got to see this it! It is soooooo bad!” (apparently the oldest was flipping channels and saw the description about a secret agent with a rude baboon and knew that I had to watch it).

The acting is atrocious. The only convincing bit from Jax was when he was pretending to be an effeminate homosexual… I don’t know why, but that was far more convincing than when he kissed the leading stripper. (excuse me, actress).

Nazis are dispatched with a variety of secret agent devices. Rocket powered bombs. Rocket powered head severing wire traps.  Etc.  And just when you think it can’t get any better, he has a hovercraft (painted bright red, with shark teeth) and it is armed with… wait for it… ROCKETS!

I’m pretty sure that the prop people had exactly two Uzis. Because everyone has an Uzi, and there are never more than two on screen at a time.  The actor with the Uzi during the hovercraft chase was apparently shooting a super magnum Uzi, because every couple of seconds he would raise the muzzle dramatically from all of that brutal 8-pound 9mm recoil.  Jax of course is armed with a Desert Eagle, because nothing says Manly Man like a Deagle. (Thinking of the customers asking to see a “Deagle” almost makes me miss being in the gun business)

But wait… There’s more!  Just when you thought that this movie couldn’t become any greater, there is the final fight scene where the mercenaries fight the Nazis. Luckily the unarmed mercenaries just happen to run into all the unarmed Nazis so that they can body slam and stab each other, while the armed mercenaries happen to run into the armed Nazis so they can shoot each other. (convenient, that)

And if action movies have taught me one thing, there is no greater weapon of war than a crossbow with dynamite on it. Luckily all of the Nazi camp’s tents were filled with propane and there is lots of cheesy exploding goodness. Including stuntmen flying through the air A-Team style, and the best shot is a stuntman flying through the air to land on some barrels. In fact, it was such a good shot that they used it again ten minutes later!  

And what is it with knee-high boots? Holy crap… I think that is the most knee-high boots I’ve ever seen in a movie not involving lesbian vampires. (like I said, I’ve watched A LOT of bad movies)

Just when you think it can’t get any better, the baboon shows up, actually driving a tank.  No, really. He has a special little baboon tank with jaws painted on the front of it, and he kicks lots of Nazi ass. When the baboon tank showed up, every member of my family looked at me, as if to say “SEE! SEE! We told you this was gonna be good!”

I will admit, if I had this on DVD there is one part of the fight I would have played back to watch again. A Nazi is body slammed and then the guy who body slammed him drives a 3 wheeler over his head. That alone was worth the price of admission. That combined with Baboon Tank? Best movie ever.

So Fat Paul Giamatti is stabbed with a Mayan throwing spear. Jax rescues love interest #2. (good thing her big ‘80s hair wasn’t damaged in prison!)  Cryogenic Hitler melts like something from the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.  The super weapon explodes. (twice, I think, but the editing was a little hard to follow).  Everyone lives happily ever after and Jax flies away in a colorful hot air balloon with one of the strippers.  Yay!

Best of all, when I looked this up on IMDB, it turns out that it was a sequel. There was another Duncan Jax adventure called Unmasking the Idol!  I’m giddy with excitement.


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