Motorhead is one of the few bands who successfully blended elements of punk and heavy metal. Just about every metal band has cited them as an influence (especially thrash). Their catalog is massive, but here are a few of their many great songs.

Overkill – this song is considered one of the first songs to utilize double bass drums.

Bomber – Good live version from back in the day.

Killed by Death – This is probably my favorite Motorhead song. The video is so bad it’s good. Ha.

I Ain’t No Nice Guy – A rare acoustic song from Motorhead. Who says Lemmy doesn’t have a soft side?


Despite a pretty busy schedule, I’ve actually been able to get some decent reading done lately. I think I’ve finished on average a book a week over the last two months which is pretty good for me since I don’t have a lot of spare time. Rather than talk about every book I’ve read recently, I want to focus on two which I feel really stand out from the rest.

The first one is actually more of a series than just one book.

Here is the official blurb for the first book:
Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a fourteenth story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer. It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Officially secret, some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. On the other side are the people who kill monsters for a living. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business. And now Owen is their newest recruit. It’s actually a pretty sweet gig, except for one little problem. An ancient entity known as the Cursed One has returned to settle a centuries old vendetta. Should the Cursed One succeed, it means the end of the world, and MHI is the only thing standing in his way. With the clock ticking towards Armageddon, Owen finds himself trapped between legions of undead minions, belligerent federal agents, a cryptic ghost who has taken up residence inside his head, and the cursed family of the woman he loves. 
Business is good . . .

Welcome to Monster Hunter International.

I read the first book in Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series (Monster Hunter International) at the beginning of 2011. Leah and I both loved the book, but it took awhile for us to get to the sequels. I just finished the third book, Monster Hunter Alpha, shortly after completing Monster Hunter Vendetta.

As a result of the series, Correia is becoming one of my favorite authors. His POVs are distinct and enjoyable. Although he relies on standard tropes throughout the series, Correia is able to put a unique spin on many of them. Generally the dialogue is great (though there are a few cheesy moments). The action/fight scenes (lots of guns and big weapons) are a huge strength of the series and coupled with brisk pacing, it’s not hard to finish these books fairly quickly.

You don’t have to read fantasy to enjoy this series. Do yourself a favor and give it a shot.

The second book is called Flee.

Here’s the blurb:


She's an elite spy, working for an agency so secret only three people know it exists. Trained by the best of the best, she has honed her body, her instincts, and her intellect to become the perfect weapon.


Then her cover is explosively blown, and she becomes a walking bulls-eye, stalked by assassins who want the secrets she holds, and those who'd prefer she die before talking.

Chandler now has twenty-four hours to thwart a kidnapping, stop a murderous psychopath, uncover the mystery of her past, retire five highly-trained contract killers, and save the world from nuclear annihilation, all while dodging 10,000 bullets and a tenacious cop named Jack Daniels.

This was both my first time reading a JA Konrath novel and also the first time I've read anything in the thriller genre. Needless to say, I'll be trying out more by Konrath, especially within this series. The best compliment I can give the book is that I felt like I was watching a huge Hollywood blockbuster while reading it. The pacing was great, the protagonist suffered a lot, and the POVs were very tight and well written.

My only real complaint is an overly graphic sex scene. As I’ve discussed in a previous post, I just don't like reading about sex in my fiction so I skipped over it, stopping only when I thought there might have been something relevant for character development. It turns out there wasn’t. I feel like the scene could have happened off camera and the story would have been just as strong.

Besides that, this is another story worth your time.

So, what have you been reading?

Walk Through Fire officially has a cover!

Walk Through Fire is a prequel novella set ten years before the events of Rise and Fall: Book One of the Blood and Tears Trilogy. Unlike Warleader, which focused on Tobin and Kaz ten years before Rise and Fall, the focus of Walk Through Fire will be the Hell Patrol. I haven’t written the official description yet, but you will get a lot of back story on certain characters like Yanasi, Kroke, and Krytien as well as see how Jonrell became commander of the mercenary outfit.

Right now, the target release date is April 1, 2012.

Check out the cover below and leave a comment on your thoughts. Personally, I think this is my favorite of the three so far. Also, I love looking at each side by side. The theme I was going for really is starting to come together. Three more covers to go (one novella and 2 books)!

If you’re interested in procuring her services, please contact her at the following:
Brooke White
Sprout Studio (in Houston, TX)

Don’t forget to leave a comment about your thoughts on the cover!

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Rocky is hands down my favorite movie of all time. I can quote them all with ease. Bill Conti’s Gonna Fly Now is one of my favorite songs of all time and obviously it has almost everything to do with the emotions I get from watching the movies. It’s hard not to get pumped up when the first few notes kick in.

Someone hand me some raw eggs!

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It’s funny that a couple of years ago I would never have wanted to read a book that wasn’t in paper. Now, my wife and I both read quite a bit through our Digital reading devices. In our case, we have yet to buy an official device like a Kindle, Nook, IPad, etc. Instead, we’ve downloaded the Kindle App to our smart phones and do a lot of our reading there. Since getting that App, I generally read two books at once, one in Digital form and one in Paperback.

Right now my unwritten rule is I continue to buy my favorite authors in paperback since I own their previous work in that form already. Older books that have not moved to a digital format are also bought in paperback since that is really my only option. However, most (but not all) new authors are bought in ebook form. At first, reading digitally took a little getting used to. After all, I like looking at the books on my shelves. However, the ease and portability of carrying entire books in your pocket is just too good to ignore. This point has especially been driven home since our daughter was born in December. She is definitely an arm baby and therefore, it can be quite difficult reading a paperback book with one hand while holding a baby with the other. A phone however, is no problem.

My wife has been flying through books at a pace of almost one every day or two lately. I don’t think that would be possible without her phone.

Then, there is price….many independently published authors like myself price their books between $.99 and $4.99 which is significantly less than those from major publishing houses. Traditional publishers have started to jump on the bandwagon and recently began running sales on some of their authors where they will drop the price of a book (usually the first in a series) for a short time.

I’m not ready to give up paperbacks yet, but I can see that in a few short years most of my purchases will be ebooks…if not sooner. Besides, there is already a movement to get rid of Mass Market paperbacks (the cheap ones) and replace them with larger trade paperbacks and limited edition hardbacks. Those are great in some cases. However, I can’t see paying $25 for hardbacks when I can buy several ebooks of comparable quality at the same price.

How do you feel about reading digital books?

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Choosing to Die is an hour long documentary filmed and hosted by legendary fantasy author, Terry Pratchett. Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago and since then has wanted to commit assisted suicide when the disease makes it so he can no longer live the kind of life that he wants.

The video shows part of his journey in deciding how he should handle his death. Currently, it is illegal in any country to “assist” someone in suicide through an injection. However, Switzerland allows trained medical professionals to help someone kill themselves by giving them a glass of poison that the person must be able to drink without assistance. Before this poison is given, the person who wishes to end his life must be interviewed by those professionals and then the final decision is up to the medical professional on whether they will give the person the poison or not.

This is a great source of worry for Pratchett since with Alzheimer’s disease, he would essentially have to kill himself before he is probably ready to die as he must be able to coherently answer the medical professional’s questions and be able to give himself the poison. He cannot make the decision beforehand and have them carry it out at his request. Throughout the video you see him struggling with the question “when do I know the time is right?”

For him, a big factor is that if he can no longer write, then he doesn’t want to live. But again, by that point it may be too late for him. A famous Belgium author used the Swiss process several years ago and according to his widow who Terry interviewed used the same criteria for his decision….he could not finish the book he had started writing.

The documentary interviews and follows two individuals who do kill themselves through this relatively painless process. One is a 40-something year old man suffering from what I believe is MS. The other is an older man (I think in his 60s) suffering from another physical disease. In their cases, they felt they could no longer handle the physical pain and made their decision to die. This again, we’re reminded, is a luxury that Terry does not have since these two people still had their minds intact.

The show ends with the older man drinking the poison, falling asleep, and dying on camera. To say it is a tremendously sad event would be an understatement. His wife is next to him and holding his hand the entire time, trying to be strong for him. It isn’t until he is gone that she allows herself to cry.

That is a quick summary of what the video contains. I’ve included the YouTube link below for those who are interested in watching the documentary. Be warned, it is pretty heart wrenching.

My thoughts:
Although I completely understand where these people are coming from—wanting to die peacefully on your own terms—I cannot agree with it. One, this goes against my religious beliefs as a Christian. But removing religion from the equation, I can’t imagine ever agreeing with this process.

In many ways, to kill yourself (however you go about it) is completely selfish. I felt more sorry for the older man’s wife than the man himself. She had to put up a front in order to support her husband’s wishes and then has to live the rest of her life knowing that her husband would rather die than suffer on earth to be with her. That really hit home for me. I love my family too much to just give up on life.

Oddly enough, it seems that this is a subplot in Terry’s decision. His wife did not want to speak on the documentary because she does not agree with his desire to do this. She has asked him not to kill himself because she wants to take care of him in old age. He feels it is his decision to make and she doesn’t understand what Alzheimer’s will do to him eventually.

I really do understand Terry’s decision as well as anyone else who uses this route to end their life. Let’s be honest, life does suck sometimes. Among my many physical ailments, I’ve suffered with Crohn’s disease since I was eight years old. I’ve had two surgeries, countless tests, and currently give myself injections each month to keep things in check. At the worst of times, I’ve gone to the bathroom as much as two dozen times in a day and lived a soft food/liquid diet for nearly five months. And although it isn’t common, Crohn’s disease could kill me.

That being said, I hope that I never bend under the pain (physical or mental) that I may experience in my life where I might even consider this method as an option. I can honestly say that for every moment of pain, I’ve experienced a dozen moments of joy.

I just don’t want to miss those next dozen.

Spiritual Beggars is a great old school rock band that many would classify as Stoner Rock. It is actually the side project of Arch Enemy’s Michael Amott. The first album sounds like it could have been written by The Jimi Hendrix Experience or Cream. They added a keyboard player for the later albums and the band’s sound started sounding a bit like Deep Purple. Regardless, the musicianship is great and it’s hard not to imagine this band being huge if they came out in the late 60s/early 70s.


Tall Tales

Sad Queen Boogie

Dying Every Day


Round Two of the playoffs begin Saturday at 4:30pm with the Saints vs. 49ers. In many ways, the second round could also end, at least for me, with that game. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll watch the other matchups this weekend. As much as I dislike the Patriots, I want them to beat the Broncos. And I’m expecting a good game between the Giants and Packers. However, I really have no vested interest in those teams like I do with the Saints.

I’m definitely more worried about this game than last week versus the Lions. The 49ers have a great defense that I expect to test New Orleans. San Francisco also doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and unlike the Lions, they have a strong running game. And, let’s not forget the argument that many of the sports writers are touting…the Saints have never won a road playoff game.

I will admit New Orleans is better at home. But let’s be honest, it took the Saints decades to win a playoff game period. The road game argument doesn’t mean much to me. Playing outdoors does…

Here are my thoughts on what the Saints need to do:
- Score early – I know this is easier said than done, but the Saints looked like a completely different team in the second half last week. They can’t afford to get behind or off to a slow start against the 49ers since San Francisco is all about clock management and will plan on doing everything they can to keep Brees off the field.
- Run the Ball – The running game looked great last week and although their passing game is insane, the Saints finished the season as the 6th best rushing team. That’s two spots above the 49ers who are being talked about as a team that can better control the line of scrimmage. I know the 49ers have a better run defense than pass defense, but I think it is important for the Saints to stay balanced.
- Cut down on the mistakes – The 49ers do a good job protecting the ball and until last week, the Saints only had 6 lost fumbles on the season (I think?). However, Brees will sometimes force a pass into a tight space. He’s usually good for 2-3 of those a game. I’m not saying to play conservative, but unless the Saints are playing from behind, I see no reason to go crazy with throwing into double coverage. Turnovers which usually happen through INTs for the Saints will be key.
- Don’t stop blitzing – Thankfully, Williams won’t change his scheme for anyone. This week it should pay off. Alex Smith has definitely improved as a quarterback, but he’s still young and can be rattled.

This game can go either way, but I’m still picking the Saints for the win.

Saints – 30, 49ers – 24

And just for fun,here’s my predictions for the other games.
Patriots – 38, Broncos – 20
Ravens – 21, Texans– 17
Packers – 34, Giants - 28