Wednesday, June 24, 2015

New blog

Hi everyone!  I wanted to make a note that this blog has moved to the following URL:

See?  That's me. Damon Alan.

Sadly, this site will be stagnant from now on.  I know, I know, that's sad.  But the other site gives me much more creative control!  As of 6.24.15 I'm still updating content.  But you're welcome to stop on by.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

What is sci-fi?

It should come as no surprise that there are as many forms of science fiction as there are science itself. We all think spaceships and rayguns, but what about the TV show Helix? All modern day stuff except for the biology.

That's sci-fi.

Or how about Jurassic Park? Paleontology, biology... as sci-fi.

Blade Runner? Set in the future, yes, with flying cars, a dark reality, but also with biological science enough to create life in the form of the replicants.

Even Isaac Asimov's Foundation is not just space travel, it's also Hari Seldon and his ground breaking psychological science, called Psychohistory.

Some people who say they don't like science fiction might be really surprised to find that they do like particular subsets of it. After all, what is The Hunt for Red October, but military thriller with a twinge of sci-fi? Magnetohydrodynamic drive indeed....

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I love to cook.

If the kitchen isn't a mess, that is. If my daughters do their chores, the often get rewarded with delicious food.

 Let me share a fabulous recipe.

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Get your non-stick muffin pan. Spray it with cooking spray or even better coat it with butter.

Mix up eggs as if you were going to scramble them. One per muffin tin hole you plan to use. 

Fill the muffin pan with anything you might use in an omelet. Ham, sausage bits, cheeses of your choice, mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc. Fill them about halfway full.

Pour the egg mixture in on top until the muffin cup is 95% full. I mix my eggs in a 4 cup measuring cup because it makes pouring them out easy. If you plan on adding salt and or pepper to the mix, add it to the eggs and mix it in for consistency.  I often put in a couple of tablespoons of hot sauce for a great kick. You could also mix in some salsa. Depending on how much you use, you might leave out an egg or two so you don't have too much for the pan.

Once that's all done, sprinkle real bacon bits on the top.

Then cook for 25 minutes. The eggs will look like muffins, even rising to that muffin shape.

Oh my, you're in for a treat now.

If you try this, leave a comment with the ingredients you use. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

California and the Hippies.

This is what happens when you stuff 50 million people into an area with the water supply for 10 million. Colorado is probably going to experience the same someday, because I think I know full well where all these people are going to want to go once they're done screwing up their state as bad as it can possibly be screwed.

The sad thing is that this is preventable. Nuclear powered desalinization could provide all the water this state needs, not to mention Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Utah, Nevada, etc. Thorium, not uranium. Humans have a habit of destroying things and moving on. We in the USA like to think we're enlightened, and Californians are some of the worst in that type of arrogance. This isn't about global warming, because regardless of how you believe on that issue, global warming has become more religion than science. This is about foolish population practices. How environmentally friendly is it going to be when CA is importing billions and billions of plastic encased water bottles?

We have the technology to make the Southwest a paradise. Instead we build fountains in the desert and suck all the water out of the ground until there is nothing left but dust. What took millions of years to fill and stabilize we've destroyed in a century. Funny thing is we're inviting more people into this ignorance, even as we don't have the resources to provide for those that are already here. But that's about voting trends, not about human life.

I do feel sorry for California, but in the same sense I'd feel sorry for a disabled person beating their head on the wall when left on their own to do so. I can only assume California suffers some sort of mass mental illness that has created this mess. Electing movie stars (Ahnold!) and known idiots like Jerry Brown over and over are proof that there should be standards for allowing people to vote.

I believe this is how republics fall. This is how the Romans fell. They elected people who spent them into debt and gave charity through redistribution until there was no incentive left to innovate or produce.

I'm not saying nature isn't partially to blame, drought sucks. But it's also a fact that it happens. Dust Bowl anyone? For Californians not to see that and make plans to prevent something similar where they live is just the worst.

Like I said. We have and had the technology. Have had it for 30 years. We built the Hoover Dam, but we can't build desalinization plants? It might have happened but the same hippies that are now going to drink dust were 100% opposed to anything nuclear because they're too stupid to be entrusted with long term policy. Yet entrust them CA did and now they reap the rewards.

I feel sad as I look at CA's bloody forehead. And even more sad when I realize I'll probably be moving out of the state I love when all the fools who ruined CA move to CO.

Some days I wonder if we'll make it to the stars. Then there are other days when I look at the greatness we're accomplishing and realize we will, if we stop doing things the California way.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Crash Bang Boom!

So last week my computer died. Crash bang boom.

I'm not sure what went down exactly, but I think it was my OCZ 128GB SSD that cost me an arm and a leg 4 years ago. I guess getting that lifespan out of what was essentially new tech at that time isn't too bad. So, since the computer was down, I decided to upgrade.  I guess down isn't exactly the right word.  It was VERY unstable. So much you couldn't do anything because any moment it was going to crash. That's essentially down.

Maybe I've been lucky.  Every other time in my life I've put a computer together, it basically went as planned and it fired right up.  Maybe a small hitch here and there, but nothing like this time.

I have Samsung SH-S223 DVD writers.  Two of them. My new motherboard seemed to hate them like my 70 year old Mom hates gangsta rap. It took me a long time to figure out who wasn't getting along, however. Two days, in fact.

If I booted from the old SSD in AHCI mode, the computer would barely get to the Windows logo and hit the blue screen of death. If I booted in IDE mode, it would boot all the way but the DVD writers wouldn't be recognized by the bios. Which is a problem if you need to load in new software for your new motherboard including the drivers that will let it get to the internet so you can get to the most current drivers. Not to mention an operating system to run the computer at all. I had no way to load Win 7 to my new SSD, a Crucial 500GB monster.

Eventually I figured out what the problem was. Bought 1 HP dvd1265 to replace the 2 Samsungs, and everything booted up fine under AHCI. Go figure. I was able put Win 7 on the new SSD and the computer is running great.

MSI Gaming 5 motherboard, 16GB of Corsair RAM from my old machine.  It's still fast enough, it's DDR3.
i5-4690K CPU that I haven't overclocked at all. I just got a really good deal on it.
Nvidia GTX 970 graphics card, 4GB DDR5.

I reused my old case, power supply, and 1TB Seagate HD. I think the entire upgrade wound up costing me $780, but that's because I got the motherboard for $10 after I bought the CPU at Microcenter. The CPU was on sale as well, for $199.  That's crazy.  I splurged on the graphics card because of the savings on the rest.

It all runs like a top now. 

But then you remember.  I have to reinstall 4 years of my life to this new machine. Which is happening, but just as I need it. Firefox over IE. Thunderbird. Office 2007.  Yes, that still works great, get it if you get a deal. Scrivener for writing. Aeon Timeline for any plotting. Steam for games.

My advice to any of you out there that maintain your machine:  If you don't have a cloud service to back up your important files, DO THIS RIGHT NOW.  I use Dropbox ( and they give you 2GB for free.  I have iCloud too, another 5GB free.  I store all my art and writing at dropbox, all my photos and other stuff at iCloud.

So anyway, that's why no updates.

I'm really excited about getting back to work on my books. I got a smoking good review on Amazon this week, and I'm fired up. The Anvil of Dust and Stars continues to do better than I'd dreamed. Now to use it as inspiration to continue.

Hopefully I'll blog more too since the computer is doing well.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


The snowy and cold experience is bogging me down. I find myself wanting to sleep all the time. Do humans have a hibernation instinct?

I'm looking at the weather through the next 5 days and it's bleh. Mid 40s for a high.

I'm wondering what people did back in the days when there was literally nothing to do except chop firewood, feed any animals they might have, and stay inside. Oh, and try not to starve to death, freeze to death, burn themselves to death trying to stay warm, die of smoke inhalation, or whatever other horrors awaited people prior to the modern era.

We have it great, I shouldn't be complaining at all.  But that's the nature of human beings, right?

Regardless, I'm really looking forward to hearing those first songbirds sing. That next day when cars can be driven with the top down. When ATVs can be ridden in blue jeans and dogs can run around all day without any appendages lost in the process, human or dog.

In other words, come on springtime, we're ready.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

New Story Series: Slayer

So I had an idea, which was really based upon a dream. I woke up, raced downstairs, and got to work.

What resulted was a 12K word novelette, which I believe is going to be part of a series.
I'm hoping to release 1 per month, probably about 10 titles.

As always, they'll be available on Amazon via the Kindle.  Once I have six stories written, I will bind those together into a printed book and/or an ebook so the collection can be picked up all at once.

I just finished the first cover for the first story.  The story itself is written and is in final editing. Should be up this week for sale, I think.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Roller Coaster Ride

I sort of wish Amazon didn't let me track book sales. Sort of. I'm actually glad they do, but it is an emotional roller coaster ride that I'm not really used to experiencing.

From Feb 18th until last weekend I had my first novel on a countdown deal, and it sold really well. Twenty-six copies during that time. But then the 23rd got here, the day after the deal was over.
Zero sales. "Gah!" I thought. "I'm done, everyone who wants it got it those few days and now I'm a goner."

I resigned myself to that fate.

But no, four copies sold today so far. "Whew!" I said to my dog, because I talk to my dog a lot, "It looks like there are still people out there who want to read my stories about torturing some poor woman as she becomes the savior of humanity."

Naturally he looked at me and groaned, which is a sound sort of like a chain saw in slow motion. "r-r-r-r-r-r-r-rr-r-r-rrrrr". Without moving from his spot, and sometimes without even opening his eyes.

"I know, right Jake?" I agree. "Awesome."

Anyway, the emotions of being an author can be pretty wild.

This, btw, is Jake.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


One of my life's most happy things are dogs. I usually have a dog, and I've had some that are amazing.

I was reading the internet today (not all of it, whew!) when I stumbled across an article about the intelligence of dogs. This is the headline:

Yale Study: Canine Minds Far More Complex Than Originally Thought

You think? Every dog owner knows how smart these little guys are. Or in the case of my Jake, not so little. Jake practically knows English, and my last dog, Maggie was even better. You had to censor your conversations in front of her or the next thing you know she'd be at the door waiting to go for a car ride, standing at the treat box waiting for that, or waiting at the back door to go out. She even learned to spell, eventually, and r-i-d-e or p-o-t-t-y would set her off bouncing around the house.
Both Jack and Maggie are/were Yellow Labradors. Before them I had a German Shepherd named Athena. Athena was every bit as smart as the labs, but she had the added component of being an amazing protection dog.

I'll never be without a dog in my life. My next one may well be a Shepherd again, although I hope that's many years from now. Jake is 9, in perfect health, and I think he can give me another 6 or 7 years of happiness and companionship. Which is a two way street. This dog celebrates my presence. He will bounce up and down and moan he's so happy when I walk in the door. You just can't get that sort of loyalty anywhere else unless you're a rock star.

Here is the article. It's interesting, but I already knew everything that's in it. As I look at Jake laying here next to me, I realize that what really matters is the bond that man forms with dog. When I see a dog abused I am outraged. When I see a dog treated well I'm filled with warmth.

Dogs are our best friends. They don't know how to be anything else unless we teach them. That's the wrong lesson to teach. Love your dog. Praise him. Give him tasty treats because dogs focus around two things. Us and food. Make sure your dog gets plenty of both.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


I have a confession.  I'm a lard butt. :)

Yes, that's probably saying it in a way that is politically insensitive, or not up to par with current cultural standards.  But it is my butt, and if I want to describe it as a lard butt I claim that right.

What's more important is that I don't cushion the truth of it because I want to change it.

I've tried my entire life. It's a fact. I've always been built far more like a front lineman than a ballerina. ;)  So do I expect any miracles, no, I don't. But any positive result at this point will make me happy. 

One of the problems is that the two things I've chosen to follow recently, authorship and game design, are both sedentary in nature. Tapping on a keyboard can't burn that many calories. Neither can moving a mouse as I create digital art. I confess, I'm not really that big of a conventional exercise fan. I hate gyms. I don't really like to go for hikes, I'm getting too old for it and it's not at all comfortable to do at 7,000-10,000 feet, which is the altitude everything around here happens at.

So I started looking back at when I really started gaining weight.

Back in high school I graduated at 205#. Finished Army basic at Fort Dix at 185# or so a few months later. Went to college, soaked my body in beer, then joined the Air Force in 1986. Soaked my body in some beer in the Air Force too. Finished the service heavier than I when I graduated high school. Got out of the service, got a sedentary job as an Air Traffic Controller.  Was 230# by 1995 or so. Shit.

But in 1999 I was still about that weight and then something critical happened. I quit smoking. BAM! It was like I shoved an air pump in my flapper and started inflating.

I just realized how pivotal that event was over the last few days.

So I researched smoking and weight gain. Smoking and weight loss. Found several testimonials that vaping induces weight loss in some people. Now I like nicotine. I just don't want all that tar and other chemicals that are in cigarettes, not to mention all the illness that is associated with smoking.

So tonight I decided to try vaping. Yes, I know, fad, trend, danger, blah blah blah.

Let me tell you the immediate effects I felt.

  1. It tastes great.
  2. It's cheaper than smoking.
  3. It doesn't stink, in fact it smells like caramel coffee in my office right now.
  4. NICOTINE.  I immediately felt the influx of that chemical into my system. Side effects were clarity of thought and a feeling of focus. Things I felt were damaged when I quit smoking. Probably because nicotine altered my brain chemistry in the first place.  But I give you this study to ponder. 
  6. And this excerpt from that article: "Plus it has long been associated with weight loss." (speaking about nicotine)
  1. I shelled out nearly $90 to get started with this new vice.
  2. I got a nicotine headache. 
  3. It's a bit rough on the throat, I'm told that is transitional. But I do wonder, is it the atomized nicotine, flavor, or an effect of warm vapor?  I'll let you know if I remember, which I might do now that nicotine is again a part of my brain chemistry.
That's it so far. There are a few articles saying that vaping is bad for you, but I'm not a believer yet because there aren't any accredited studies that say so.  Tobacco companies funded a study, but if there was ever a biased study in the world it would be one funded by the people who lose money if you vape.

Anyway, I welcome my nicotine overlord back into my life after a many year absence. I can already tell that this is a better way to approach the reason I ever smoked in the first place.

I talked to several people at the vape shop, J Vapes (silly name) and several of them quit smoking because of e-cigs. I don't see how that can be a bad thing. I leave you with another study about nicotine and intelligence. Not to brag, but I'm not a dummy without the nicotine. I see no reason not to step that up a notch if I can.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


I'm not sure how many writers do it, whether they work one piece beginning to end, or if they have a variety of pots simmering in the fire.

I was the one piece sort of guy.  Now I appear to be the opposite.

I have the Dark Seas series, two books of which are complete and one book is about 1/3 done.

I have a political thriller that makes a statement about how the US is becoming much less free and stifles innovation with each step away from that freedom.

I have a short story in the works that is 3.5K words now but probably about 10K words finished. A fantasy piece.

I have an idea for a post-apocalyptic sci-fi that I'm considering writing on a bit today.

Earlier I had an idea about time travel that it probably wouldn't be too hard to work into a story.  Time travel/parallel universes/state of consciousness sort of thing is what first came to mind.

The thriller and post-apoc would be one off novels.  The short story could conceivably turn into a series of short stories about the same heroes.I have no idea what the time travel thing is yet. What's true is that there is no shortage of ideas demanding my attention, but there is both a shortage of time and endurance to get to them. 

Plus soon I want to write a piece about my GTI.  And I'm considering a non-fiction piece on agnosticism for the average dude.

So much variety.  Too bad words don't flow to paper as easily as they flow through neurons.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Not everything is a book.

Hard to believe that an author doesn't put all their time into the books, right?

'Tis sad, but true.

My wife is creating a company to make card games, and I've designed a card game for her to release. It's called All or Nothing and will be going up on Kickstarter "soon™", I believe.

Publishing a card game isn't all that different than getting a book published.

You have to write the game. Design the cards (like cover design in a way) and then find someone to print it.  Unlike a book, there aren't businesses lined up to print your cards, distribute it, and sell it on Amazon for you at a reasonable price. I'm pretty sure the companies that do print cards make a lot higher profit margin than those that print books. I do realize that there is difference in paper quality, which is probably a big deal, but a deck of cards is more to print than a 400 page book. 

But if you look on retail stands, a custom card game is pretty close to the same price as a trade paperback book.  Which means, per copy sold, my books will be more profitable than a card game.

But not everything is about money. 

Sometimes it's about checking that box.  I wrote a book.  I created a game.  I did X, Y, or Z in my life.  That's partially what this is about.  Diversity of experience, and yet another thing my kids can look back on when they're reflecting on my life someday.  I want them to say, "Dad lived.", not "Dad just sat around."

Not to mention they get the legacy.  If any of this stuff goes big, they get to inherit that.

In the end, it's our deeds, our creations, and our impact on the lives of others that survive us. 

I can think of worse fates than being remembered for games and books.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Next book

I've been working hard and fast on my next book in the Dark Seas Series, On the Shores of a Dark Sea.

Tonight I was editing and got to the point I don't think I was catching much.  Time to shift gears when that happens, so I got to work on the cover for that book.

Here it is, in preliminary form.  Changes happen, but I sort of like this one.  It grows on me as I look at it.

All of the art is original, of course, except the galaxy image that I lifted from my friend the Hubble Telescope.  The ocean was originally a photograph as well, but I edited it so heavily it doesn't look very much like the original photo. 

This book has a gas giant, although it would probably be a lot darker than the one pictured. It would be the color of coal most of the time. There is a scene by the ocean, in fact it's a fairly pivotal part of the book. The sky is green, the star in this star system is a K4 orange dwarf and the atmosphere of Refuge is different than Earths. Since the star is one step down on the spectrum from our G2 class yellow dwarf, I stepped the sky down on spot as well.  From blue sky to green sky.  Just a whim thing, I don't have any idea if that would actually happen.

Tomorrow I'm back to editing text.  If nobody has any objections to this cover on here or Facebook, I'll probably be published in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Got proofs for the print copy in today.  Now to get them looked over and upload corrected text.  I found a couple of typos, and will give the books to friends to find others.

Ebook sales are running along better than I expected, to be honest, which is a great surprise.  The print version will be available on Amazon only, which is both to keep the price down ($9.99) and also because I'm well aware that Amazon is the 800 pound gorilla in this market.

So I'll get reading and get the book in place for those who don't want a Kindle copy.  Which is $2.99 or Free to Kindle Unlimited users, btw.

Here's what the print version looks like.  I did my own cover, but am immensely pleased with it.

Yep.  I'm pretty hyped.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


The Anvil of Dust and Stars released today, at 12:01am EST, a mere three hours ago. 

This is a very exciting time for me personally, and a milestone in my life. 

If you like military sci-fi and/or space opera, give it a shot and let me know what you think.

If you like it, please leave a good review. It's the measure of success that will motivate more output and a continuation of Sarah Dayson's story.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Signs of Progress

I plan on releasing my 2nd book in my sci-fi series in a few months.  Few might be anything from 2-6 in this case, however.  It certainly needs a going over and an application of the lessons I've learned in the last year. 

I was hoping it would be easier. But nooooo, I have to work for it. :)

The good news is I've got the bug not to let the bad stuff hit the market with my name on it, hopefully that's the case. 

But another book is coming.  Then another. And so on.. just like that hair shampoo commercial from oh so long ago. And so on, and so on, and so on....

Monday, January 12, 2015

Shallow Hal

I go to critique group every Sunday.  Most people go to church, I sit in the temple of words known as Pike's Perk Coffee Shop and go over the words of my peers and they go over mine.  We discuss how we can make ourselves better at our art, and talk about our personal lives. We're both friends and professional partners.

With that said, my critique group showed me just how shallow I am as an author yesterday. One of the stories of my fellow authors contains a woman who has lost a child in her womb and is fleeing from her life. In doing so, she puts herself in danger.

One of my compatriots said, "I understand that her reflection on the empty beach house as a reflection of the emptiness of her womb."

I'm pretty sure I did a double take.

To be fair, I don't read women's fiction except what my critique partners share with me. It's not my cup of tea, but then I'm sure they're not all fans of my sci-fi and thrillers either. 

But I realized, I suppose, that I'm shallow. Empty house, empty womb? Really?  I read those words and thought, at best, "Oh, the house will remind her that this is where she wanted to raise her child."

I read the words. I take them pretty literally. It's the same when I write the words. If, someday, someone is reviewing my works and says, "Here, when the spaceship is penetrated by the missile, he's talking about Sarah Dayson's vulnerability as a woman..." Bullshit. I mean, and you can quote me, that the SHIP got hit by a MISSILE. LOL!

I have not hidden any meanings. I do not consider my story to be a metaphor for some other state of human existence. I simply write the words to tell as good of a story as I can tell. Not to really educate anyone about anything, but simply to entertain.

That's called commercial fiction, in my case.  I didn't pick up any life altering lessons from Indiana Jones. Or Luke Skywalker. Or even James Bond. What I was, quite frankly, was entertained. Which, as a guy, is one of my top priorities. Simply not being bored is good enough for me.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Been a while.

Sometimes life gets out of control.  Gets a bit confusing, and we let some things drop through the cracks.  That's what I've done with this blog.

I created another site that I intended to use for my blog, but that really wasn't so convenient. Apparently, for the largest part of 2014, this wasn't either.

A lot has happened in a year.  We moved to the west side of Colorado Springs.  Love it, we're going to move again in May and upscale our house choice a bit.

I have the first book in the Dark Seas series done.  It's available on Amazon on 1/31/15.  Here is the link.

If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free. I'm not sure I've mentioned on here before, I'm a huge Amazon fan, so I have gone exclusive with them. The Anvil of Dust and Stars is part of Kindle Select, which means Amazon has exclusive rights. In return they do a bit better promoting me and I still get paid even if the Unlimited crowd read my book.

Book 2 is done, but I want to make just a few more editing passes through it.  I also need to make a cover for it, I designed the one for Book 1 as well.  I'm going to keep a similar theme.

One of my kids got moved up a grade, that's a huge deal.

That's it for now.  Now that I'm published I'm going to try to pick up my blog posts again.  It's easy to let things slide when you're hammering away at novels.

'Til next.