Nov 28, 2016


Coming Soon! ... Hopefully!
THE LAST COVEN (The Tome of Bill 8) is coming.

This is it! The grand finale to The Tome of Bill series.

Bill's world is in shambles following his monumental ass-kicking at the hands of Ib. Sadly, the rest of the planet isn't exactly in great shape either.

Something needs to be done to stop it all and it looks like that something is the last Freewill and his remaining friends.

The only question is how?

From the buildings of New York City, to the woods of Canada, to the bowels of the Earth, Bill must finally master his powers so as to put an end to the evil that threatens to consume us all. No easy task.

Even if he somehow manages to do all that, though, his destiny still awaits. The final battle of good vs. evil. If he loses, he dies. But if he wins, everyone and everything he's fought for will be fucked.

Some days it really sucks to be the chosen one.

Turns out a full stomach trumped a full mind and I ended up conking out for a while anyway. One benefit of vampire physiology was needing less than half the rest I'd needed when I still had a heartbeat. So even though it had probably only been a few hours, I awoke nice and refreshed ... and thankfully without a pair of crazy green eyes staring down at me. Most importantly, the anger I'd been feeling, the same that I'd let boil over at Sheila, seemed to have receded. Amazing what a little good news and a bit of sleep could do.

I glanced over at my clock in the dark room, but the display was out. Maybe I'd kicked the cord from the socket at some point. Thinking nothing of it, I hopped out of bed and hit the light switch. Darkness remained.

Odd, considering the Apollo what-the-fuck down in the basement. Oh well, maybe it was just the shitty wiring in this place. That I hadn't woken up in a crater told me that whatever was going on was probably somewhat less than cataclysmic. Besides, what did it matter? I could see in the dark.

The living room was quiet and likewise unlit. The power was out there too. Unfortunately, it was the same in the kitchen, meaning the refrigerator was off. That was fine. I had a backup plan. I quickly moved the blood into our freezer. Thanks to years of neglecting to ever defrost it, the walls were solid ice. Not great for the appliance's lifespan, but it made a damn handy emergency icebox during outages.

The blood situation taken care of for the moment, I decided to grab a quick shower. Afterwards, I could meander down and ask Christy when she planned to plug her supernatural generator back in. I didn't smell any liquefied human remains in the air, a scent that was now burned into my olfactory bulbs, so deemed it safe that the situation didn't require immediate Freewill intervention.

Fortunately, the water heater in the building was entirely gas, so my shower wasn't ball-shriveling cold. Sadly, I wasn't quite in the mood for any me time. The presence of Sheila and Sally in the building had made for some good stress relief in days past. Angry jerking off wasn't quite the same as angry sex – or so I had to assume – but it got the job done. But with Gan back in the picture and in close proximity, no fucking way. Door locked or not, the miniature human tornado didn't seem to grasp the concept of personal space. The very last thing I wanted in this entire world – even less than ending up a slave, destined to kiss Sasquatch ass for all eternity – was to have Gan kick in the door while I had my dick in my hand. No, sir, I did not want that.

As if the thought of Gan wasn't enough to cause little Dr. Death to go hide in the shadows, I was just finishing up washing my hair when another unwanted guest reared his ugly head, or skull in this case.

You dare judge me and then perform this foul heresy?!

I see Christy decided to wake up Harry Decker for some reason or other. Just great. Lacking vocal cords, being that he was quite dead, Decker's sole means of communication was entirely psychic – meaning that walls, doors, or fingers in one's ears didn't do shit for keeping him out.

He didn't have eyes either, but at the same time appeared aware of what was going on around him. Who knew how far that extended? Yep, any happy time was definitely out of the question. Knowing my luck, he'd start in with a play by play for the entire building to hear.

Do you think the great Kala sits on her hands waiting for us? The White marches ever forward, uniting those loyal to her cause.

I so hated getting only half a conversation, especially when that half was from a fucking nutbag.

Sadly, Decker was a necessary evil. His knowledge of magical fuckery was greater than Christy's and she needed his help in order to modify the ancient spell we'd discovered into something that could not only stop the Jahabich, but potentially Calibra as well. If he could do that for us, I could deal with his presence for a while longer.

Afterwards, I could always find a convenient landfill on Staten Island to toss him into. The thought of shoveling a couple feet of garbage over him brought a smile to my lips as I turned off the water and grabbed a towel.

Despite the power outage, I was in a pretty decent mood. I figured that after I was done talking to the witches, maybe I'd stop by the downstairs apartment and check on Sally. I was hoping our new plan had snapped her out of her funk. Maybe we could shoot the shit for a while. Hell, even if she wanted to vent and spend an hour verbally eviscerating me, that would be fine. Though she would never admit it, I had a feeling she needed someone to talk to.

Of course, there was also a chance she might not be alone. That gave me pause. I never thought I'd ever consider Sheila a potential third wheel. Hell, I still had no idea where my feelings were going lately. Things, however, were definitely more complicated than ever – and not just because we were preparing for an assault against the center of the Earth.

So much for my good mood.

I got dressed and walked out, my mind full of conflicting thoughts ... thoughts I really needed to stow away for a time after the events of Armageddon had played out. Thus, I didn't immediately think anything of the familiar figure that passed me in the gloomy apartment.

"Hey, Bill."

"Hey, man," I replied idly a split second before realization hit and I came to a screeching halt.

I spun just in time to see the bathroom door close behind an impossible sight – that of my roommate.

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Coming soon to: Kindle Unlimited, Audio, and Paperback

Also be sure to check out The Road To Armageddon for more Last Coven goodness.

Nov 26, 2016

Who Watches the Apple Watch?

I've mentioned this here before a few times, but this blog originally started off, at least in part, as a bit of a tech blog. So, every so often I like to put up a post that harkens back to its roots.

My family awesomely gifted me with an Apple Watch for my birthday this year. Now, I'll admit, when the Apple Watch came out last year, I was fairly lukewarm to it. Partially because, as a rule, I try to never buy any first generation devices from either Apple or Microsoft. Both seem to like to use the buyers of their new products as guinea pigs. 2nd generation, however, seems to be where it's at, though. Thus this year two things happened to make me start to rethink my initial reluctance: 1) Apple announced the series 2 watch and 2) my trusty old sports watch broke, leading to months of me looking down at my wrist to check for time that wasn't there.

Let's just get one thing out of the way upfront. At no point did I feel I needed an Apple Watch. No. This is purely a want device. For most people it will be a luxury gadget, something to splurge your hard-earned money on because, damnit, you deserve it!  Even now, having owned it for a couple of weeks, I can say that for probably a good 99% of the people out there, there really isn't going to be a need for this. The only ones I can imagine who might think otherwise might be the fitness nuts among us.

After Apple's announcement of the series 2, I started dropping some major hints to the family, specifically my oldest son who I know listens when I bullshit about technology. I'm already heavily invested in Apple's systems, with both an iPhone and iPad, so a device that paired seamlessly with them was starting to make more and more sense to me (either that or I am a sucker for Apple's marketing).

Pictured: Professionalism
I personally favored the Nike+ model, because it was one of the more reasonably priced versions and because I just liked how it looked. Over the years,  in an attempt by my family to get to me look more professional, I've owned several leather band watches. However, I have never given two shits what others think of how I accessorize. If a company was ever going to not hire me based on my watch, then that told me it wasn't a place I wanted to work. Thus, rather than going through power watch after power watch, I always ended up falling back on durable sports watches - the kind that I could walk past a brick building with and enjoy the sound of the face scraping across the facade. Yeah, I'm weird like that.

As such, I didn't see a need for one of Apple's premium leather or metal bands (I like to keep the hair on my arms where it is, thanks).  Mind you, reasonable in Apple's ecosphere is still over $300.  And that's at the low end. Prices range to over $1200 for the highest end leather band, ceramic body, with build in blowjob port models (I might be exaggerating on one of those). So, no matter what, we're talking a pretty fucking expensive timepiece here.

So how is?

Well, first off, let's get something silly out of the way. This is easily the most comfortable watch band I have ever worn. No kidding. Most of the time I don't even realize its there. I don't know how the other types of bands feel, but they knocked it out of the park with the sports model. An expensive watch that feels like a torture device this isn't.

Battery life was a big concern to me, but so far I have yet to end a day with less than half a charge left. Would I want to take this on an extended camping trip with me? Probably not, unless I planned on leaving it in in my car to charge. But I'm comfortable thinking I could probably get through a weekend and still have a little juice left.  The wireless charger is neat, but I'm probably going to want to get a spare at some point.

Usage-wise, it pairs with an iphone (or ipad) and you can control it either from the watch itself, or from the phone. Let it be known, without a phone to pair it to it's basically tits on a bull. So you're either all in with this, or don't bother.

As far as that usage goes, well, I have to say the thing I use it most for is ... wait for it ... being a watch. Yep, I know, crazy right?  But I like having the time and date handy when I look down. As an added bonus, you can add additional info, like the current weather, to the face. Super handy for when I'm about to take the dog out and haven't yet grabbed my coat.

Thanks for reminding me what a lazy shit I am
The other major usage I get out of it is entirely circumstantial, but pretty awesome nevertheless. Perhaps the neatest thing about the Apple Watch is the ability to put my phone down to charge, walk away from it, and not have to worry about coming back to a dozen text messages asking "Why are you ignoring me?!" The watch functions as phone / messaging surrogate during those times. Heck, I was carrying something heavy up the stairs a week or so back when someone called. Rather than put everything down and fish my phone out of my pocket, I booped the watch with my nose and was able to answer it ("Yes, mom, I'm still picking you up for Thanksgiving").

The fitness apps are fairly useful, offering reminders throughout the day of little things one can do to improve their health, as well as being super handy for working out ("You're heart rate currently is ... err ... dialing 911 now"). Mind you, being reminded to take a minute an breathe when I'm in the middle of a hard chapter can be an exercise in "Hey Siri, go fuck yourself!", but it is what it is. 

Speaking of Siri, she/it works just fine with the watch.  For instance, it proved to be a great help this past week for cooking, with a quick "Hey Siri, set the timer for 20 minutes".

In short, the Apple Watch is almost entirely a convenience device. A must have? Definitely not.  A nice to have? Yeah, I'm beginning to see that it is. If you're invested in Apple's devices, and can afford to blow the cash, it's a handy little thingee to have.

Can you live without it? That's for you to decide, but I'm pretty certain the answer is yes. I definitely could, but I also can't say I'm not enjoying having it strapped to my wrist. 

Nov 10, 2016

The Future is Ours - One Day at a Time

Let's get the obligatory crap out of the way. Unless you've been living under a rock, you're aware of at least a couple of things: 1) Donald Trump won the US presidential election and 2) the online world is going absolutely bugshit about it.

There's tons of analysis on how this happened. I won't link to any of it. It's easy enough to find. Go on, do a search through Google News, I'll wait.  On the extreme end you'll find some claiming that any vote for Trump is a vote for racism, homophobia, misogyny, and making sure walking out of your house without first kissing a crucifix is a crime.  Personally, the analysis I favor is that, Trump's 12th century sensibilities aside, he represented economic change to a silent but large swath of the country. That they were so desperate for a shake up of the system they felt had forgotten about them that they were willing to embrace anyone who offered the potential of change, no matter how objectionable his personal standards might be.

I prefer to believe this because I still have hope in my fellow humanity. I simply can't believe that a good half of this country are just waiting for an excuse to cut up their white sheets and start burning crosses. I don't want to live in a world where I even contemplate that being a reality.

Sadly, there is, without a doubt, at least a vocal minority who does believe this and they latched onto Trump like the last life boat off of the Titanic. In a way, they have become his unofficial poster children, eclipsing those who feel forgotten by Washington and painting the entirety of his following as mouth-breathing neanderthals.

Unfortunately, in the past day alone, I've read stories of how this small minority of fetid trash has become emboldened.  There are tales of assault - physical, verbal, and sexual - being tried to the mantra that these things are now allowed because Trump was victorious. Their team won, now they get to pretend the laws don't apply to them while they tip over cars and set buildings on fire.

If you're reading this, I probably don't need to say it, but bullshit.

We're at a crossroads today, a chance for real change in DC, the potential for the ingrained (and inbred) establishment to be shaken to its core. But there's a dark side, a slippery slope, and it resides in the hands of those who would use this shakeup to further their agendas of hate. Make no mistake, they will try.

But therein also lies opportunity. I personally hope that silent majority gets the economic change they were hoping for, but we must draw a line when it comes to the desires of the lowest common denominator. We must stand up with our neighbors, our friends, our family, and those in need, to show that we will not let this country slip into a second coming of the Dark Ages. We will accept change, but we will not tolerate hate, abuse, or inequality - not from those who push this agenda, nor from anyone.

To enact that change, that better future, however, requires action. Sitting idly by and hoping things will improve does nothing but embolden the asshole demographic. That simply won't do. The truth of the matter is, it doesn't take a lot of effort if we all try to make a difference. A little here or there will germinate and grow.

Things you can do:
- Donate to a good cause.
- Volunteer at a place that could use the help.
- Talk to your kids. Educate them to understand that this world belongs to all of us, not just a select few.

And, perhaps above all else, DO NOT STAY SILENT. If you see someone being victimized for being different, whether it's the color of their skin, their religion, their sexual preference, whatever, do something. Stand up and say something, call the police, call security, whatever it takes.

It's a time of change, and that brings with it many challenges, but together we can all be the beacon of light that sends the cockroaches scurrying back to the shadows.

Addendum: Just to clarify a bit of the above, I don't advocate bad behavior no matter who you voted for. The above "things you can do", peaceful protests, petitions, etc, are all cool in my book. But everything I said above goes just as much for those whose candidates lost the election as much as those who won. If you've decided that the rules no longer apply to you, then you're as much a part of the problem as the other side you're supposedly protesting.