Sunday, February 25, 2018

Almost done with Oil Apocalypse #4

I wanted to update you on what I'm up to these days. I'm proofreading Oil Apocalypse #4, Parched, and I'll turn it over to the pro proofreader on March 1. I think I should be able to get it out around March 20 with a three-week pre-order period.

I'm not 100% sure where to go from there in the tale. I had outlined a book 5, but it was going to be a terribly bleak story, and I'm not in the mood to do that at this moment. (It gets harder to kill characters the longer I live with them!) So now I'm dithering. (You can stop at book 3, or you can stop at book 4, and it should feel like a complete series, no matter what I end up saying in book 5.)

I have a related series planned for longer after the end of oil, hundreds of years later, with a distant descendant of Sierra in the lead role. Have you ever seen the TV shows about Life After Humans? (there are two or three.) This fascinates me, how humans might be rebuilding while around them, there is rusting steel from collapsed bridges, crumbled skyscrapers, and other old tech that still exists, doesn't work, and creates something of a puzzle for the survivors. I've done quite a bit of reading about simple tech--building a wooden windmill to grind grain, blacksmithing, and so on. I plan to write that three-book series in 2019...unless some new, shiny idea jumps up, raises its hand, and demands to be noticed.

Ideas, by the way, are never my problem. I have files stuffed with ideas for novels, stories, and probably a dozen first chapters that wouldn't make half-bad books were I to continue them. I woke up a month ago with two great ideas for books I'll probably never have time to write. I'm an idea factory! The difficulty is in choosing between them, finding something I believe my fans will like but that won't bore me by being too similar to what I've already written.

In personal news, I'm moving halfway across the country in March, with the dates not yet set in stone (partly because of weather). What this means is that I might not be able to blog every single Sunday in March and April, but I'll get some articles up on some Sundays.

For those of you looking forward to spring, enjoy the weather, and for those of you entering autumn soon, enjoy the end of the awful heat you probably have had. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018


(This is a reprint of an article I wrote three years ago.)

Arguably the most famous of volcanic eruptions was the Krakatoa eruption in Indonesia. In the last week of August, 134 years ago, the volcano entered its final phase of eruption, an event that had been building for six months. With a force much more powerful than any nuclear weapon ever detonated, its final eruption sent an ash plume 50 miles into the air and burst the eardrums of people 40 miles away. It was heard clearly in Australia, Manilla, and in islands just west of Madagascar, and the shock wave was recorded on barographs as it swept around the world seven times.

Over 36,000 people died. Pyroclastic flow killed islanders nearby, and a hot rain of ash and stone killed more people 30 miles off. The following tsunami resulted in most of the deaths, and some argue that it caused well over 50,000 deaths not included in the 36,000 figure.

For months afterwards, there were spectacular sunsets from the particulates in the air, as well as changes to weather that lasted five years.

If you had been hanging out on the planet Mars at the time, you would have seen the Earth get--and remain for years--considerably brighter as the particulates increased the albedo of the planet's atmosphere.

Westerners living in the area or sailing nearby took notes that reached newspapers on the other side of the globe quickly. It was the first natural disaster that was reported so quickly, and widely. We take this for granted today, but the technologies for communication were new then.

While not the biggest volcanic eruption in the past 1000 years, it happened when communication and science technologies had progressed to such a point that its importance to the science of volcanology could hardly be overstated. It also revealed to meteorologists new information about high-level winds.

In 2003, Simon Winchester wrote a terrific non-fiction book about it, well worth reading if you're as into natural disasters as I am. Also, you could mosey on over to youtube and look for uploaded TV specials on the topic

Sunday, February 11, 2018

My pen-name fantasy is out!

Emperor of Eyes, my first fantasy book, published under the name LC Bard, is out at Amazon and on Kindle Unlimited.


Thanks for giving it a chance. I think you'll like it.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

A scam warning

Just a quick post this week to note something about myself.

I don't have a PayPal "donate" button, and I don't have a Go Fund Me, and I don't have a Patreon account. If you see one of those, or of any other such scheme pretending to be me, that would be a lie and a scam. Don't donate to it.

I'm old fashioned. (Also, simply old!) I think the way a writer gets paid is by writing books that people like enough to pay for, and earning some percentage of that as royalty. Any other form of payment makes me uncomfortable.

If you see any other authors that you'd like to support in those ways looking for money, always find their real website and see if they ask for donations there. Don't click via Facebook or anywhere else. Go directly to the source. Their website's URL is probably printed on their books and in the end-matter of their ebooks. If they don't have books out, they may never actually write one (loads of people "want to be a writer one day" but never get down to it). Look for writers who have proven they can write books you like to read, and support their careers.

And I believe the very best way to support writers' careers is not through Patreon but by buying their books. Already have the ebook and want to support them even more? Buy the audio or paperback or graphic novel version as well. It's pretty simple to do, and it's difficult to set up a scam for that, and it helps keep their book higher in the charts and so it might be found by a new reader more easily. To my mind, that's always a better choice than clicking "donate via PayPal."

Caveat emptor: buyer beware. And that goes double for giving away your money, even out of an urge toward kindness.

Back, next week, to your regularly scheduled blog.