On December 26th, I got to see Stuck Mojo for the first time as the band got together for a reunion show. In my mind, they really don’t get the credit they deserve. They were one of the pioneers in combining rap and metal. However, they never got the fame of the garbage nu metal bands, but somehow still got associated with them which immediately turns most people off from checking them out.

And that’s a shame. Rich Ward is probably one of the most underrated guitarists in metal. Just a great riff creator and song writer. Bonz does an excellent job fronting the band with lots of energy. Plus, Corey Lowrey’s clean vocals are amazing and his bass playing is perfect for Frank’s groove behind the drums.

Lots of energy and an unbelievable live show. You know a show is intense when two people are knocked out with concussions (one had a wound on the back of his head) before the end of the third song of the set.

They ended up only playing tracks from their first three albums so I thought I’d give a small sample from each of those below.

Do yourself a favor and check it out.


Throw the Switch

Not Promised Tomorrow


I hope everyone has had or is having a happy holiday season. Things have been pretty crazy for me. My wife came down with the flu and all three of my kids picked up a bad cold that we’ve all shared with each other over the last week plus. Therefore, all of our original holiday plans ended up getting nixed. My wife and I went into scramble mode to make sure Christmas was still fun and special for the kids.

I’ve still been writing/editing, but because of this and just a really hectic December, I’m admittedly several weeks behind of where I wanted to be. Nowhere near panic mode, just eating into the lead time I like to maintain on my releases so things never get to panic territory.

Anyway, as I usually do every year, below are my top 10 favorite reads of the year (not necessarily 2014 releases)

10. Eric by Terry Pratchett

9. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

8. The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig

7. The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons

6. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

5. The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks

4. The Martian by Andy Weir

3. Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

2. King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

1. Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

So, what are your thoughts? Read any good books lately? If so, share them in the comments.

It’s that time of the year again. This year has been really good as far as new releases are concerned, making the cut to five more difficult than usual. In fact, the margins between each spot are pretty thin. The deciding factor became which albums I listened to the most since their releases.

5. Overkill – White Devil Armoury
Bitter Pill

4. KXM – KXM
Rescue Me

3. Arch Enemy – War Eternal

2. At the Gates – At War With Reality
Heroes and Tombs

1. Judas Priest – Redeemer of Souls
Hell & Back

What were your top five albums?

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A great war. A changed world. A soldier through it all.

Forgotten Soldiers: The Tyrus Chronicle - Book One is now available for your Kindle! Click here to purchase or borrow if you're a member of Kindle Unlimited.

A paperback version can be found here.

Forgotten Soldiers is the first book in The Tyrus Chronicles. Three more books are planned for this series: Wayward Soldiers, Resurrected Soldiers, and Forever Soldiers. The next two are scheduled for release next year.

Here's the description for Forgotten Soldiers.

The Turine army is on the brink of victory against the Geneshans. Sergeant Tyrus and his unit are tasked to steal an artifact from the enemy that some believe has the power to destroy the world. Taking such power from the Geneshans would end the decade long war.

Upon their success, Tyrus’s unit is among the first wave of soldiers discharged from the army. War has robbed him of time with his wife and children, but now the life he has dreamed of every day for the last ten years is just a long journey away.

Traveling home, Tyrus finds the world he left behind changed in ways he never expected. His own countrymen view returning soldiers as a threat. His own townsmen want to forget he even existed. Danger is everywhere. His dream is in jeopardy.

If you enjoy the story or any of my other works, please consider leaving a rating or review at the site of purchase as well as other places such as Goodreads and Librarything. Like many other indie authors, I do not have a marketing team working for me and a positive review (even if only a couple of sentences long) can go a long way in enticing others to give my works a try.

Thanks for the continued support!

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These are my three favorite songs by The Doors. A great driving tune, a song that makes me wish they had done an entire blues album, and one of the most haunting, dark songs I’ve ever heard.

L.A. Woman

Roadhouse Blues (Live) (NSFW language on the intro)

The End


Though there are more than enough Halloween and Christmas cartoons, there are only a handful related to Thanksgiving that I can think of. Below is a small clip from my favorite Thanksgiving cartoon. I dare you to watch it and not have that gobble at the beginning stuck in your head.

I haven't given a new series I've been working on a lot of space here on my blog. That series finally has an official name, The Tyrus Chronicle. The series follows the main character Tyrus through the ending of a long war and adjusting to the world of supposed peace.

The first book, Forgotten Soldiers, will be released some time in December with the second book, Wayward Soldiers coming a few months later.

I plan to work on both this series and The Epic of Andrasta and Rondel over the next year and a half or so.

I’m still working on the official description, but I’m pretty excited about the cover and couldn’t wait any longer to reveal it on my website.

The illlustration is by Mario Teodosio. You can see his other work here. As usual, the cover design is by my wife.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.


There are some songs that are just made to be played live. So much so, the live versions are far and away better than the album versions. Below are three examples that come immediately to mind.

Paul McCartney & Wings - Maybe I’m Amazed

Judas Priest - Victim of Changes

AC/DC - Thunderstruck

What other songs do you think fall into this category?


It’s a Black Sabbath kind of day and Volume 4 was on my brain.

Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener


Under The Sun / Every Day Comes And Goes


Jerry Cantrell’s solo work often gets overlooked which is a shame because it is awesome. The entire album is great, but below are a few of my favorite tracks.


Jesus Hands

Hurt a Long Time



I listen to a lot of podcasts while at work. Below are my favorites.

TOUCHER & RICH - http://boston.cbslocal.com/category/98-5-the-sportshub-shows/toucher-and-rich/
This podcast is a morning radio show out of Boston and my favorite of all podcasts. I laugh out loud quite often while at work listening to it. The two guys started in rock radio and switched to a sports talk show when the station changed format. The great thing about the show is that it isn’t endless hours of boring analysis. There is some of that stuff, but they still mix it up and talk about other things like music, movies, etc. Obviously, the sports have a Boston area slant, but they do talk about sports on a national level too so you don’t have to necessarily be a fan of New England sports to enjoy. Thankfully, I grew up a huge Celtics fan and actually became a Bruins fan because of the show so I don’t mind most of the Boston sports talk.

TALK IS JERICHO - http://podcastone.com/Talk-Is-Jericho
Wrestling, music (especially heavy metal), the supernatural, movies, and everything in between. Really awesome interviews with a laid back and relaxed format.

The below podcasts all focus on the sci-fi/fantasy genre whether in book, movie, tv, cartoon, or music form. Besides just some generally good discussions on genre topics, there are a lot of great author interviews as well.

The Functional Nerds - http://functionalnerds.com/
Sword and Laser - http://swordandlaser.com/
Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy - http://geeksguideshow.com/
Adventures in Sci-fi publishing - http://www.adventuresinscifipublishing.com/

The below podcasts focus more on the craft of writing, so they probably wouldn’t be as interesting to non-writers. Still, I find that there is usually some good information/perspective in each webisode.

Writing Excuses - http://www.writingexcuses.com/
Speculate - http://www.speculatesf.com/
Hide and Create - http://www.writingpodcastonline.com/

There are quite a few other podcasts I listen to with regularity as well, but the above are the ones I download pretty quickly once a new webisode is posted.

What podcasts do you enjoy?

Easily my favorite Chicago song. A song about how hard it is to write a song.


Sometimes I feel like an old man. Besides, my issues with Crohn’s disease (which I’ve mentioned before on my blog), I have quite a few nagging injuries that aren’t very visible to those who know me. They include:

- A herniated disk from a weightlifting injury (455 pound box squat plus light bands for resistance) six years ago when I was pushing myself too hard to recover strength after a stomach surgery. Another lesson learned the hard way.

- A left knee that bothers me from time to time which I hurt in college while landing wrong in a game of basketball.

- Ulnar nerve issues on both arms that worsen based on the amount of office work I do.

- Some minor carpal tunnel issues from the same office work. This one isn’t too bad and is mostly dependent on the ulnar nerve issues above.

The back injury is by far the worst as it affects practically everything else. When it is at its worst, I’ll put my body in compromising positions to take pressure off my back which in turn injures something else.

The problem with all these injuries (back especially), is that it prevents me from doing quite a few things I used to love to do. I no longer powerlift as I once did (I do try to lift weights with some regularity and limited exercise selection though). I don’t run or play basketball as often as I would like either.

Needless to say, I’ve found it harder to stay in the shape I would like to be in.

However, I recently discovered DDP Yoga while listening to Chris Jericho’s Talk is Jericho podcast. The exercise program was created by Diamond Dallas Page, former pro wrestler (I was a big fan of him back in the WCW days).

I didn’t think much of DDP YOGA the first few times it was mentioned. However, I learned that he had started doing yoga after suffering a back injury worse than mine and that the program in many ways was designed for people with a lot of my problems. After a couple weeks of debating, I bought the program.


I’ve been doing this consistently for about a month with my wife, and I have to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I can see some noticeable changes in the mirror and feel stronger when lifting weights (I still do one full body day a week). Most importantly, my low back pain and my knee pain has decreased.

Yes, I’m drinking the Kool-Aid.

I actually look forward to working out again as I’m thinking more about the things I can try to do next rather than being depressed about all the things I can no longer do or the amount of weight I can no longer lift.

If you struggle with nagging health issues or just with motivation to stick to some sort of program, I suggest you give it a try.

Check out this guy’s inspiring story who couldn’t even walk before he started DDP Yoga.

And this is what DDP once looked like back in his heyday. Definitely one of my favorites and grossly underrated.

Self high five!

My three favorite tracks from the album. I love those raw sound on the earlier releases.

Rock and Roll Damnation (live)

Gimme a Bullet

Sin City (live)


My favorite album by one of the best thrash/metal bands of all time.


Black Lodge

Room for One More

Potters Field

This is Not an Exit


There’s an odd question that people ask each other every so often . . . Would you rather be blind or deaf?

Almost every person says without hesitation that they would rather be deaf. They don’t want to miss out on seeing their kids grow up, seeing their spouse grow old, watching the world change around them, and so on.

I can understand and agree with all of these things.

If I was blind, I wouldn’t be able to play sports with my kids, read to them, help them with their schoolwork as easily, drive them around, play board games or cards, build things with them ,and so on. I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of things with my wife that we enjoy as well. And being blind would put a much greater burden on her than if I was deaf.

However, if I could be completely selfish, I think I would probably choose to be blind rather than deaf. I know that’s a pretty odd thing for a writer to say since it would make that part of my life extremely difficult to continue.

But, without my hearing I’d no longer be able to listen to music. It might not sound like a big thing to some but music has always been a huge part of my life. I have memories from when I was just a couple years old listening to records with my mom or my grandma. No matter how lonely or depressed I’ve felt, no matter how angry I’ve been, or whatever, music has always been there for me. The thought of not being able to hear one my favorite songs when I absolutely need to makes me a bit nauseous.

Besides the music thing, there is something to be said about hearing a person’s voice, their laugh, and even their cry.

Although I might be in the minority in my odd choice, I’m not alone. Helen Keller said in an interview that if she had a choice to have only one back (she lost both her sight and hearing before her 2nd birthday), she said she would rather her hearing was restored than her sight as the silence was extremely lonely.

“Blindness separates people from things; deafness separates people from people.” ― Helen Keller

Any other thoughts?

I am a huge AIC fan, and yet, I just got around to buying this album. For some reason I can’t explain, it kept slipping my mind. I know, I suck.

This album is just absolutely awesome. Layne’s vocals are top notch and Mike’s guitar work is killer. Now, I’m angry I’ve lost years of listening to this. Argh!

River of Deceit (the single)

Wake Up (Live)

I’m Above (Live)


As a child of the 80s, I grew up a big Schwarzenegger fan. I watched his movies over and over again (and still do today). As a result, I’ve developed quite a few favorites. I will freely admit that this list is not necessarily his best films, but instead the ones I enjoy the most.

One of my biggest criteria is how easy it is to quote the movie. And all Arnold movies are full of gems.

As a warning, the clips are NSFW due to language. Also, it was as struggle to find clips for some movies so that’s why they might not be from the better scenes in the film.

10. Running Man
A terribly cheesy movie, but Arnold can somehow make it entertaining.

9. Twins
Very underrated comedy. How is it possible to dislike anything with DeVito?

8. Kindergarden Cop

7. Pumping Iron
Part documentary/part movie, this is a must have for any Arnold fan and/or any bodybuilding fan.

6. True lies
The movie not only has the one liners, as did his 80’s movies, but it also benefits from better supporting star power and a higher budget than Arnold’s earlier films.

5. Conan the Destroyer
Yes, this movie pales in comparison to Conan the Barbarian. However, it came on ALL THE TIME when I was a kid, and I’ve grown to overlook its shortcomings (i.e. Wilt Chamberlin’s acting).

4. Predator
Never in the history of cinema has a movie been made with more testosterone than this one.

3. Terminator 2
One of the best action movies ever.

2. Commando
I absolutely love this movie. Practically every line of dialogue is a one-liner. So quotable.

1. Conan the Barbarian
Dark tone. Great bad guy. Great supporting characters (including a strong female lead). Memorable bits of dialogue (“What is good in life?”). Awesome fight scenes. One of my favorite movie scores of all time. Arnold making you believe he is Conan. What’s not to like?

So where did I go wrong? What are your favorites?


One of my favorite bands and albums from the 90s. Musically, vocally, and lyrically, this album is awesome top to bottom.

Hunger Strike

Reach Down

Call Me A Dog (My personal fav of the album)


Back before Pantera borrowed heavily from Exhorder, they modeled their sound after Judas Priest.

It was much better than people like to pretend.

Over and Out

We’ll Meet Again


The Cult of Sutek: The Epic of Andrasta and Rondel, Vol. 1 is now free at Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, and Amazon CA. My plan is to keep it that way.

I’m doing this to entice readers to give the first book in the series a shot as I have confidence they will want to pick up Volume 2, The City of Pillars and each subsequent title afterward.

So, if you like a good adventure story with plenty of fantastical elements, there is no risk to give it a shot.

Here’s the description of the story:

His life has no purpose. She’s out to prove hers. An unlikely alliance forms. Their legend is born.

Rondel, a once famous minstrel is crippled and rotting away in prison. He has nothing to live for until Andrasta, a mysterious warrior, gives his live meaning again. The pair escapes prison and in the aftermath, form a partnership they hope will lead to fame and fortune. Their journey is a long one, filled with peril, adventure, and even failure.

The ancient Cult of Sutek grips the land of Iget. Framed by the cult for kidnapping and attempted murder, Rondel and Andrasta help a young noble rescue his sister in order to clear their name.

The Cult of Sutek is the first volume in a planned series of standalone adventures in The Epic of Andrasta and Rondel.


I decided that my son at 4.5 years old was about old enough to see the original Star Wars trilogy.

We watched the movies over the last few weeks. This was really cool for me because although I loved the movies growing up, I probably haven’t watched episodes 4, 5, and 6 in at least 10-12 years. I definitely haven’t watched them since Lucas “updated” them.

So, I thought I’d post some thoughts on each of the movies both from myself and also from watching/listening to my son.

One little bit of background before I start firing off my thoughts is that my son knew who Darth Vader was prior to watching A New Hope since a friend of his has a toy Darth Vader that speaks. Other than that, he had little knowledge about the movies, characters, or universe.

A New Hope:
- It may have been a while, but the intro is still one of my favorites of all time. The John Williams score, the scrolling text, and the awesome shot of the space battle and subsequent boarding of Leia’s ship. My son liked this a lot.
- Thankfully, Darth Vader shows up early because in the first minutes before he makes his appearance, all my son did was ask when he would show up. By the way, if Vader wasn’t on screen, he wanted to know when he would return. He definitely has a penchant for the dark side.
- I was really surprised my son didn’t take an interest in the droids. They actually didn’t grab his attention until they were on the Death Star.
- The sand people kind of freaked him out. I guess they are pretty creepy. It was the only moment in the move that scared him a little.
- He thinks the various aliens are all pretty funny. Unfortunately, he expects me to know what each one is and each one's entire life story.
- He audibly gasped when Luke first turns on his father’s old lightsaber. He LOVES them. After that one scene, every moment was him waiting for another glimpse of a lightsaber in action.
- He cracked up laughing at the trash monster.
- Obi-Wan’s death really got to him. I wasn’t expecting that, I think in part because I knew the character was coming back as a ghost and he didn’t. Three things really made Obi-Wan’s death hard on him.
1. He thought Obi-Wan was Luke’s father and he didn’t understand why Darth Vader would kill Luke’s father (yes, I am well aware of the irony).
2. My mother in law (his grandmother) died earlier this year and Obi-Wan’s death brought up some of those emotions for him.
3. He really likes Darth Vader and it was hard for him to think of Vader as a bad guy. No matter how much I told him then and throughout all the movies, it wasn’t until the third act of Return of the Jedi that it sunk in for him that Vader was the bad guy.
- We watched this movie over two nights since I didn’t want him staying up too late. The first night all he did was talk and ask questions about EVERYTHING. Therefore, he missed most of what was said and what happened. Thankfully, he was pretty quiet the next night and I think he enjoyed the movie more because of it.
- Overall, he liked the movie a lot and was excited to watch Empire Strikes Back, especially after I told him about Yoda.
- For me, the movie was good, but also a little disappointing. It didn’t have quite the staying power I thought it would. For one, the dialogue and acting were worse than I remember. The editing wasn’t as clean as I remember and all of Lucas’s “improvements” only made that issue more glaring.
- My son started singing a song around the house about Darth Vader (Oh, I want a Vader toy for Christmas).

Empire Strikes Back:
- Unlike A New Hope, we watched this one all in one night.
- Unfortunately, the questions were pretty much nonstop throughout, especially in the beginning.
- My son liked the AT-ATs a lot.
- He seemed to be much more into the other main characters for this movie, especially the droids and Luke.
- Seeing the ghost of Obi-wan was a big relief for him.
- Yoda was a big hit. I think that might be his second favorite character after Darth Vader now.
- So, my son’s favorite part of the entire movie was the part I was most worried about how he would react and that was when Vader cut off Luke’s arm.
- My wife watched some of this one with us, in part because she couldn’t wait to see his reaction to the big reveal that Darth Vader was Luke’s father. Oddly enough, he started laughing. No surprise, no gasp, he just thought it was funny.
o He might have still been distracted from Luke losing his arm though as he kept talking about it for the rest of the movie. “Daddy, did you see when Darth Vader cut off Luke’s arm? That was really cool, huh?” Like I said before, definitely a penchant for the dark side with this one.

Return of the Jedi:
- Due to timing, there was a several week gap between this movie and Empire so he was really anxious to see what happened next.
o As a funny side note, some friends of ours let him borrow the Star Wars Lego movie and The Lego Movie which feature the Star Wars characters. Because of this, he got confused several times. He didn’t realize the Lego versions were not in canon. I got a lot questions about Darth Maul not being in the film and even a “Daddy, when is Batman going to show up?” since that was in the recent Lego Movie. Funny stuff.
- The very talkative boy returns in full force!
- The Jabba stuff and breaking Han out is still pretty cool. My son liked the “dance number” as well.
- I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I do not understand the fascination with Boba Fett. Maybe he is awesome in the books (I’ve never read them), but he is an utter joke in the original movies. I just don’t get it.
- Halfway through the movie it finally sunk in that Darth Vader was a bad guy and that he was really Luke’s dad. When that happened, I got all the questions I thought I was going to get during Empire Strikes Back. “But if he’s his dad, why did he hurt Luke?” “Why would his daddy cut off his arm?” This line of questioning continued when they fought again and Luke cut off Vader’s arm.
- The Ewoks are not that bad. Are they my favorite part of the movie? No. But they are not anything close to being as bad as some say.
- The race sequences in the forest are still really awesome. My son liked them a lot.
- Taking out the defense shield of the Death Star sort of dragged for me.
- The lightsaber battle at the end with Vader and Luke still gives me chills. It might not have the flash and craziness of the fight scenes in the prequels, but it is still my favorite. My son loved it as well.
- The Emperor is still pretty freaky.
- My son was sad that Darth Vader died, but he was very happy that he became a good guy first. I think it made it easier for him to keep liking the character which he desperately wanted to do.
- I know everyone swears Empire Strikes Back is the best of the original trilogy, but I always preferred Return of the Jedi as a kid. After this re-watch, I think I still do.

In the end, he really enjoyed all three movies. In fact, he asked when we could watch them again. I plan to give him a second showing soon. I think he’ll like them more the second time around since he’ll be able to pay attention and not ask so many questions.

To further show how much he loves the movies, this is the shirt we got for him at his enthusiastic request.

And before anyone asks, I’ll show him the prequels eventually but it probably won’t be for a while.

This experience made me realize how much I can’t wait to watch some of my other favorite movies with him when he gets older.

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As usual, Overkill’s latest album is awesome. It should be a crime for a band to still be this good after 18 albums.

Below are my two favorite tracks right now.

Bitter Pill

Freedom Rings


The Judas Priest album Redeemer of Souls came out a few weeks ago, and it has been in heavy rotation for me ever since. This is easily one of their better albums which you might not expect so deep in their career.

If you’ve ever been a fan of theirs, I strongly urge you to pick it up. Heavy, lots of guitar work, a couple of nice ballads, and some great melody.

Halls of Valhalla

Sword of Damocles

Cold Blooded