CZ Group Buy Update

I wrapped up the CZ group buy last week, and turned in the order.  The regional sales rep stopped by the store a couple of days after that to check the new place out. 

As of right now, I’m waiting for the first items to ship.  I don’t know the ETA yet.

CZ does it kind of weird.  All of their stocking dealers need to reapply at the beginning of the year.  So what happens is that all of their major dealers order at the same time.  The rep said they try to keep ahead of this by having a huge number of the more popular guns on hand. 

I’ll post updates as I have more information.  I’m still hoping for the first guns to go out shortly.

Monster Hunter International, reviewed by Don Blyly of Uncle Hugos 

Uncle Hugos is a well respected independant bookstore up in the great frozen wilds of St. Paul.  They’ve posted a review of MHI for February.  Basically, same as everybody else, loved it and couldn’t put it down.  (see, I told you so, and Don Blyly knows books)

A little background after you read that review, in my defense, I didn’t decide to self-publish right off the bat.  I spent almost 2 years getting rejected by EVERYBODY.  Which was really frustrating.  I did the traditional route, contacted agents, publishers, got copies of Books In Print, sent out all the query letters you could think of, shook the tree, the works.  I have a stack of rejection slips. 

Somehow, every regular person who read MHI loved it, while at the same time, every professional I spoke with kept telling me that it wasn’t “marketable” or that it was too long for a first timer, and therefore would take up too much shelf space at retail bookstores.  This disconnect about drove me nuts. 

It was actually that former employee that Don Blyly mentions that put me in contact with a very well respected professional in the literary community, a president of  a well-known publishing house.  She liked MHI, but even then, she had doubts as to MHI’s marketability.   I rewrote the book to her specs (and they really were good points that I will agree improved the final book) but after another half a year of waiting, I just couldn’t take it anymore, and took the plunge into self-publishing.

Believe me, self publishing was not the route I wanted to take, and I only did it when it came down to do it myself, or just say screw it and give up.  Even somebody as stubborn as me can only get kicked in the chops so many times.

But over the last couple of months, I think I’ve pretty well proven that MHI is marketable, and it is selling really well, especially considering that my marketing has consisted of me writing free fiction on THR, preselling my book with free patches, begging the people on the preorder to tell their friends, and this blog.   Reviews across the web have been great, and I’ve got a really good buzz going.  Heck, people are sending me FAN ART!  (some of it is actually really really damn good too).  I’ve got folks who want to start an RPG set in the MHI universe.  How friggin’ cool is that?

Since that time, it looks like I might be getting a real, honest to goodness, publishing deal, though nothing concrete has happened yet.   I’ve spoken with this publisher again, and we’ll see what happens.  Ironically enough, since MHI has gotten out there, I’ve had four other people who are also literary professionals read MHI, and they’ve all contacted me and told me that I need to send it to that same specific publisher that I’m speaking with anyway.  Apparently a bunch of professionals all seem to think that that is where I fit, and believe me, I’ve been reading their stuff since I was a kid, so I’m down with that.

Any good news will get posted here first.  (obviously!) 

Movie Review: Reeker

Alternate Title:  Death is a stinky robot, or something…

A bunch of college kids, at an isolated location, are picked off one by one, by an unseen monster…  Yep, that’s never been done before.

Actually, Reeker does do something rather original.  I can’t say what it is, because that will ruin the ending.  And it has Michael Ironsides!

Overall, this movie was above average as far as acting, as everyone did a pretty good job.  The setting was cool.  The idea had some merit.  I wish that they had sped it up a little bit, as there was a lot of time spent with nothing really happening, except for the relatively uninteresting character’s talking to each other. 

Worth renting for B-movie geeks. 

Movie Review: Soul's Midnight

Alternate title:  Armand Assante owed somebody money.


Every now and then, somehow, a real actor ends up in a B-Movie.  I’m looking at you, F. Murray Abraham in Blood Monkey.  But this time we’ve got Armand Assante slumming it as a vampire/hotel owner/cult leader in Soul’s Midnight  


It was semi-proficient, and some of the acting was decent, but I just couldn’t get excited at all.  It was relatively incoherent, and paced pretty slow.  I have a hard time rooting for a hero, who gets 90% of the way to cheating on his pregnant wife, with a vampire stripper, in a meat locker, and no, that scene isn’t even as interesting as I just made it sound. 


The vampires have to sacrifice a baby descended from St. George to bring back their leader, who I think was supposed to have been the dragon, but is a guy in a big rubber vampire suit, who punks out and dies from a single stab wound.  I’m sorry, if you’re the bad ass 2nd coming of evil incarnate, you really should be a bit tougher than that. 


Overall, eh… rent it if you’re really bored. 

Movie Review: Rambo IV

RAMBO!  Oh yeah.  Check your brain at the door, and have a good time. 


I caught Rambo IV the other night.  Two big thumbs up on this one.  Now obviously, you’ve probably read some reviews by actual film critics that made fun of the plot, the acting, the pace, the violence, or its deeper meaning, or whatever kind of tripe film critics who’ve never actually done anything in their lives come up with to bitch about, and these reviews have been negative. 


That’s because these critics don’t understand the beauty of Rambo!  You don’t watch a Rambo moving looking for things like plot.  You watch Rambo in order to see bad guys get killed.  A lot.  So on that score, I had a great time with this one. 


There was a plot though.  A bunch of Christian missionary peaceniks go into war-torn Burma to try and help the villagers.  A semi-retired Rambo slips them in, where they promptly get kidnapped in a massive villager massacre.  So Rambo and some mercs go back in to rescue them.  See, told you there was a plot.


One note though, why is it that Christian missionaries are always portrayed as total wimps, totally out of touch with how reality works? Heck, I was a missionary for two years.  If Rambo had told me, don’t go there, because the army will rape you to death, I would have listened!   I laughed out loud at the line when Rambo asked them if they were bringing weapons, and they said of course not, and Rambo replied with “Then you’ll change nothing.”  But then again, I’m a missionary turned gun-runner, so I might be biased. 


The violence was actually pretty shocking.  The bad guys burn a village, and they’re doing things like bayoneting children and tossing babies into burning huts.  When people step on a landmine in this flick, they don’t do the stuntman windmill flip over the propane explosion, rather there’s a blast, and a bunch of limbs and a five gallon bucket full of blood fly into the air.  I was down with the massacre though, because as I watched it, I knew that in Rambo movies, there is always a proportional relationship wherein Evil of Bad Guys < Ass Kicking Bad Guys Get At End. 


The mercs were a fun bunch of stereotypes.  They were handy, because Rambo’s in his sixties, he can’t kill the entire Burmese army by himself, maybe 80% of them, tops.  As a gun guy, I was excited to see a Sig 551 and a tricked out FAL (because magazine compatibility is for chumps) but then they promptly lost those guns, and the final fight was just with standard AKs.  I did get a kick out of the 150 pound sniper dude carrying around a Barrett M82 for the whole movie.  I have an M82 in my shop.  Come by and pick it up sometime, and then tell me exactly how this guy was sprinting through the forest with it for hours.   Then when the camera goes to a close up, the sniper is grimacing as he tries to lift it over a branch.  Rubber gun… Real gun… movie magic. 


Then the ass kicking commences, and Rambo just goes hog wild.  I will admit, even though I knew it wasn’t realistic at all, and heck, I teach about wound ballistics, but remember I checked my brain at the door, watching all those Burmese explode really made me want to get myself a .50 BMG. 


At the very end, head Christian missionary guy takes out a soldier with a rock, prompting the question, What Would Jesus Do?  Apparently brain that guy with a rock is what!  I just get tired of the morally conflicted, wussy Christian movie stereotype.  Looking back at world history, Christians don’t seem to have much of a problem when it comes to stepping up to the plate and whacking somebody, going back at least to that whole Crusade thing. 


Overall?  Rambo rocked.