Remember when?

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This is a repost of a piece I wrote way back in Sept of 2011. I thought it fit in pretty good in today’s environment so I decided to put it back up here. Happy Monday, (assuming that’s possible since Monday is Latin or some other dead language for ‘miserable’, right?)

Some of the information here is dated of course, but keep in mind that Seattle passed the $15 minimum wage and immediately started bleeding jobs. Small businesses can’t do it. They just can’t. 

Anyway, do you remember? When we were strong? When we worked? When we made things? I do. And we really were a great nation then I think.

So here ya go. Have a great day of Misery. . .I mean Monday. Monday, yeah. Have a great Monday 🙂

 

Do you remember when we made things?

I mean when we made things. Here in the USA. We made stuff. Built it from scratch. We manufactured things. Factories were all over, providing income to American workers, and goods for American consumers.

What happened to all that?

Both my grandmothers worked in garment factories when I was a boy. One grandfather was a farmer, the other a carpenter. Both had slow times in the winter, obviously. It was the fact that my grandmothers worked in those factories that kept the lights on, health insurance for the family, and gas in the tanks.

Those factories, along with thousands of others, sit empty and idle now. Some have been converted to offices, or other uses, and a few have simply been demolished. But by and large they sit empty. At best they are used for warehouse space to hold goods now made overseas.

I get tired of going to the hardware store, or even to Wal-Mart, and not being able to find American made goods. Speaking of which, what the hell, Wal-Mart? When Sam Walton was still in charge, it was a point of pride that each store had signs up showing how many goods in the store were made in local factories, and how many jobs those goods were creating/sustaining. Now, you don’t bother, because the truth is, most of your crap comes from China. You know, like those lead toys you sold?

Everyone is worried about the economy. We need jobs, all the political people say. Of course they always say that, and promise we’ll get them, but they never come through. I can’t count how many ‘BIG’ projects have started within easy driving distance of my house, only to close quickly. Some even shut down before they were officially open.

It isn’t the job of the government to create jobs. The only real way they have to do that is to increase an already bloated bureaucracy. The job, the J O B, of the government is to provide a stable environment for the creation of jobs in the private sector. Especially small businesses and companies. That’s where the bulk of the jobs are. So what do they do?

Why they make it damn near impossible for these small businesses and companies to stay in business. Take what Seattle recently did.

They have passed a city ordinance that requires all employers with more than five employees to provide a minimum amount of paid sick leave every year. The more employees you have, the more sick time you have to provide. Can anyone else see that this punishes a successful business by adding still more cost to their operations?

How many jobs will be lost as companies trim their staff in order to be in a position to provide as few sick days as possible. When your employee doesn’t come to work, then you don’t get the productivity of that employee. If you have to pay them for not working, that’s an added cost to the bottom line. Period. No matter what kind of math you use, it’s still going to hurt these companies.

In what way does this government action provide a stable environment that leads to the creation of new jobs? It doesn’t. In what way does this government action provide a stable environment that keeps people on the job? It doesn’t. There seems to be not one lick of common sense in the whole damn idea.

How many companies will close, and relocate? How many will just close, eliminating those jobs all together? I hope none. But in this economy, which is not being helped by ineffective and indecisive leadership at all levels of government, the simple fact is that some will shrug, admit defeat, and take their ball and go home.

Who can blame them?

Between over regulation, and ‘off-shoring’ and ‘out-sourcing’, and whatever else they’re calling it now a days, our manufacturing days seem to be behind us.

And that makes me worry about what might lie in front of us.

It should worry all of us.

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When is (???) gonna be done?

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No author I ever heard of has ever gotten offended by readers wanting ‘moar’, and I’m no exception. The explosion of the “Fire From the Sky” series left me stunned, though in a happy way, and readers clamoring for more is what every author dreams of. Again, I am no exception.

Let me pause here to say “thank you!” to everyone of you, too. It is an honor to be ranked so high on Amazon’s author list, and I owe every bit of that to those of you who have read my books. I am beyond words to describe how exciting it is, or how much it tickles me to hear that you have enjoyed the fruits of my labor.

And it’s perhaps the ultimate compliment for readers to immediately demand more. I simply don’t know what could be better than that.

In the last few weeks I’ve had questions about Parno, Stormcrow and of course “Fire”, and when they could expect the next of whichever series they were interested in. Why this book was first, or second, or wherever it fell in the order.

First of all, I usually work on more than one project at a time, which is why I sometimes have books of different series released so close together. When I am stuck on one I just move over to another and keep going and so forth, back and forth until they’re finished. So I’m always working on something unless I’m taking a break, (which I do about three times a year for no more than one week, mostly to recharge my batteries if you will).

Fire From the Sky and its follow on novels run about 70-100k at the moment. They have clearly drawn lines and the characters are generally a straightforward group at this point which eases the dialogue challenge a little. As the story grows I expect that to change, with complexity rising as it does, and the length of the books as well, in all likelihood.

Stormcrow novels run anywhere from 90-130k words, give or take, and while those novels are complicated and tangled, the main cast of characters, complex though they are, is small and pretty manageable. Dialogue and movement isn’t terribly complicated to put together once I’ve gotten the plot and scenes sketched out.

Parno has become a monster in both scope, size, number of characters and the complexity of those characters. The story has grown from an original three books to now a minimum of five and more likely six or seven. I still have no idea how that happened other than the story wouldn’t do what I told it. That sounds ludicrous I know but. . .it’s amazing what characters you invent decide to do once you start writing. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve had something planned or how well, once you start putting it down, it’s almost guaranteed to change.

And Parno novels at a minimum weigh in at 150k words and every time I end one I know I could have kept going. At some point though I have to start thinking about what the print version will be like and stop.

And this is why some books are faster than others, at least for me. I’m not really familiar with how anyone else does their planning so I may be the odd one out, or I may just be doing the same thing as everyone else in this line of work, I don’t know. My point though is that in the time it takes me to write the next Parno novel, I may very well have been able to write two ‘Fire’ novels and a Stormcrow novel as well. Parno novels are vastly more complicated and have way more moving parts, which slows me down. I like to think it’s worth it and that it makes the Parno series better for it, but it still takes time to put that many wheels into one gear box.

In the time it takes to write the next Stormcrow novel, I still might hammer out two “Fire” novels, again just because the tangled plot of Stormcrow takes longer to work.

So no, I don’t favor one series over the other. I write wherever the inspiration is for that day. Every book has an outline (more like a map, really) so I can pick up where I left off with little to no problem. And I usually write a little bit every day on everything I’m working on at the moment, unless I’m really on a hot streak with one in which case I’ll ride that streak out until I collapse from exhaustion, 😀

So the order of books being finished isn’t a result of my liking one series over another, but simply the fact that each one is so different. They each have their challenges, their advantages, and their drawbacks. Some are easier, some are harder, some are a mix of both.

For those waiting on the next installment of Parno, I’m looking at a Spring release, which I managed to do this year with “Gambit”. One a year in that series is about what I’m going to average I think, and I doubt that would go faster even if it was all I worked on. I would still have times when I couldn’t move the plot along and instead of letting that be idle time, I just work on something else.

For Stormcrow, it may or may not precede the next Parno (tentatively entitled ‘Parno’s Peril’, btw) but I also hope to have it released by Spring, if not sooner.

The next ‘Fire’ novel may well be released around Christmas time.

Remember that all of this is assuming the Lord wills I live so long to get all this done. I do hope that he does of course, but I never take the Lord for granted. He will do as He will.

I hope this helps explain what I know seems to be a complicated system. And it’s just as rough on the proof readers too. Imagine you’re editing the next ‘Stormcrow’ and you suddenly read how Parno is working on the engine of the Celia. Or in ‘Peril’ you read that Clayton has decided to lead a cavalry charge against the Imperial Army. Or Galen working to protect his family farm.

Yeah, that happens. 😀

Let me throw in a special thanks to my wife, as well as Creative Text, my publishers, for all the editing and proofing they do. The thing is, I actually spell really well. What I don’t always do well is type. And I am terrible at catching mistakes. I suffer from a malady that affects many readers in that if I’m already expecting to find something in print, (say because I wrote it, perhaps 😉 ), then I’ll read it whether it’s there or not. That doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen enough that I miss many errors.

So thank you honey (da wife) and Dan (da publisher) for the great work you do cleaning up my messes.

And thank all of you again for helping me make it to ‘bestseller’ status on Amazon. I will do my utmost to continue measuring up to your expectations, and showing my appreciation for your patronage and your support, as well as your encouragement!

Thanks,

 

NCR

 

Hurricane Irma

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Irma is a monster. Largest storm on record for a storm outside the Caribbean or the Gulf. By now maybe anywhere, I don’t know. Mandatory evacuations all up and down the coast now with millions watching and waiting to see what happens.

 

If you had to evacuate with little to no notice, would you be prepared? If you are separated from family do you have an alternate way to communicate? Do you have a disaster kit with food, water and meds for at least three days? You should have two weeks worth of these things in your house at all times just to be safe. Doesn’t have to be pricey, just plain rice and beans will get you by in a pinch. Maybe a canned ham or two, or even Treet or Spam. Canned chili or ravioli. Anything that can be prepared and eaten with a minimum of fuss. A pack of paper plates, a bag of wipes, and a roll of toilet paper and paper towels is also an essential item, as is cutlery and drinking cups.

 

This list could keep going but I think you get the idea. Always be prepared. It might be an out of control fire, a quake, or. . .a monster hurricane. But if you have to move and move quickly, you need to be ready for it.

 

If you pray to the Almighty, please pray for those in Florida, and in the islands already hit. Please remember those who are still digging out from Harvey. And remember those in the northwest who are burning.

 

And give thanks if you’re not in the path of such devastation.

 

 

NCR

Happy Labor Day!

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I hope all of you have a safe and happy holiday weekend! Remember that if you drink, do so responsibly.

I would ask that you also remember the people of Houston in your prayers as well as everyone else who was in the path of Harvey. I ask especially for Houston because of family that live there. Fortunately they are all safe at least for now. Houston will have a hard job of digging out so let us not forget them as they work to recover.

The second Sanders Saga book, Brotherhood of Fire, is with the publishers. As soon as they give me a release date, I will post it here. Hopefully it will be soon!

Again, have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

NCR

Time has flown!

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Had it not been for a recent comment that appeared in my e-mail, I might still not have realized that I hadn’t posted here in waaaaay too long. I have been working almost every waking minute for two and a half months and did not realize so much time had gone by.

But, the second book in the Sanders Saga, “Brotherhood of Fire”, is finished! I’m checking it for errors right now but it will be making it’s way to the publishers by tomorrow at the latest. After that it will be in their hands. As always, when I know the release date I will post it here, as well as showing the cover art once I get it!

Hopefully a new novel will make up for my long absence from this blog. I honestly had no idea it had been so long since I had even made a post here. All I have thought about for weeks now is this book and the others I’m working on, and time has gotten away from me. It’s almost as if I woke up and it was suddenly the middle of August and I was thinking “huh?”.

I have doubled down so to speak since July 4th, working pretty much every waking hour that I didn’t absolutely have to give to something else on Brotherhood of Fire or one of the other two projects that I currently have going. As a result I seem to have missed the rest of July! 😀

 

BUT!!!! I hope you’ll think it was worth it once you’re reading Brotherhood. Meanwhile, I’ve got other irons in the fire, no pun intended, that I hope you’ll also enjoy once they are complete.

I hope you’ve had a great summer so far, and thanks for reading and supporting my work.

 

NCR

WOW!

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Fire From the Sky has been really well received! Already there are some great reviews and people seem to be enjoying it a great deal. That’s always my main goal is to create something that people enjoy.

 

Thanks to everyone who has read, and an extra thanks to those of you who have reviewed! I really appreciate it!

 

Already at work on moar!

 

NCR

Fire From the Sky

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My newest novel, Fire From the Sky, is now available on Amazon. This is the first book in a new Post Apocalyptic series I have been developing for a while now. At this point the series is open ended as I try and come up with as many torments as possible for the protagonists in the series 😀 (insert evil/sinister laugh here)

 

ANYway, here’s a link where it can be found.  If PAW is your thing then I hope it’s worth checking out and you enjoy it.

 

Have a good weekend~

 

Bad

 

I have not met my demise as yet

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First I have to apologize for being out of touch for so long. There are times, as most of you know, where I literally don’t realize how long it has been since I’ve been here because I’m working. I also during those periods rarely know exactly what day of the week it is, or if I’ve eaten recently. That’s just the way it is when I really get going on something. It consumes every waking minute and sometimes even my sleeping ones.

 

This time however I did something foolish and ignored a problem until it became an issue. Which in turn made me sick enough to think I had the flu. Fortunately I do not have the flu, but I have suffered murderous headaches and other side effects because of a severe sinus problem that I allowed to get out of control. That was not my intent of course, just a by-product of me thinking I knew more than I actually did.

I am better today than I have been in weeks thanks to the miracle of antibiotics, though still a long way from well. Regardless, I am working so there’s that.

Fire From the Sky should be nearing publication soon. I have seen tentative cover art and really liked it. Once it’s finalized I’ll show it here. As soon as I know when it will be released I will pass that information along.

 

Meanwhile, I am currently working on Parno IV, Stormcrow III, and Fire II. I have a couple other projects that I’m looking at as well, but they are more drawing board at the moment.

 

I hope you have a great weekend!

 

NCR

Fire From the Sky

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I have now sent the first volume of my new Post Apoc series “Fire From the Sky” to the publishers. Fire From the Sky is a contemporary story set in the present (well, now it’s the near past, to be honest) and focusing on one family and their friends as they try to survive in a world gone wrong.

UNLIKE Odd Billy Todd and Roland, this book is intended to be the start of a series, so there will be questions that don’t get answers here, probably, and there will be things and people that you may not see again until Book 3 or 4. It is meant to be an ongoing story and at the moment is open ended. I guess as long as I can make the story interesting, I’ll keep writing.

As soon as I  know the release date, I’ll post it here and on Facebook.

I have to give a big thanks to my readers as Parno’s Gambit has done well so far. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to know that people are enjoying a story that you put together and wrote basically from scratch. I really appreciate all of you who had taken the time to write and let me know you enjoyed it. As I’ve said before, some nights, when I really wanted to throw my hands up and say “I quit”, that encouragement from you is what kept me working.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

NCR