What has been cooking out of sight in the ‘Kitchen’

I promised this information some time ago, and then got caught up in actually working towards the project, and dealing with my personal loss.

The time is now for announcing that the project that the Phoenix Prime Collective has have been working on for over a year is about to become a reality. We are very excited that soon Wenebojo will be bringing something new to the entertainment world by combining an audiobook with streaming imagery and closed captioning. Plans are already in progress to add sign language to the stream. This will make the stories available through a broader spectrum of sight and sound.

In partnership with IBM, and running on their newest generation mainframes in the secure, worldwide Z Cloud, we plan to launch before Christmas. Before that launch, there is a Kickstarter campaign, followed by an early access period (which can be joined through the Kickstarter.)

It is a privilege to be a part of this project, along with my fellow Phoenix Prime authors and members. It is also an honor to be part of the group of fewer than forty people that have pushed this project forward. Our collective skills, hard work, and determination will bring this project and the streaming service it produces to a successful launch. In the process, many works of our authors’ works will also become available for purchase as audiobooks.

We hope that the project makes our stories and worlds more accessible to a wider audience. Many of the people that we hope can now experience our stories have found it challenging or impossible up until now.

To help support us, please share!

Please take the time to visit the Kickstarter page at https://kck.st/2IZiexK

We will also keep updates on the Wenebojo website, found here: www.wenebojo.com. There is a sample of the project ( a flash fiction work) available now!

Grief

Grief is a strange creature. Everyone feels it differently. Nor is there a way of showing grief that is out of the ordinary. It is one of the few examples of human emotion for which there is no baseline.

There are many traditional ways of dealing with it. From the keening in Scotland to the second lines in New Orleans, every culture has an expectation for mourning. The somber Catholic funeral to the celebration of their life in an Irish wake. Some groups of aboriginals ban the use of the deceased’s name for a period of time. No group, no cross-section of any society grieves in the same way.

My personal favorites are the second lines of New Orleans and the Irish Wake.

No one should look down on another for how they grieve. But there are unfortunate expectations in much of my society. For women to weep and for men to be stoic rocks. There are some who sneer at those who act outside expectations.

Ignore these people. They don’t have the empathy appropriate to help you. Strangely, it also might be a manifestation of their grief. Just let their actions go.

Still, I found myself mourning in a different way when my father died. I found solace in remembering all the good he did in it. Even when we did not get along, I could respect what my father did with his life. I could recognize the morality of his deeds.

Dad worked in the Pharmaceutical industry. He had a Masters in Pharmacology and an MBA. Dad was in marketing, but also knew the medications he was selling inside out. He pushed some products for very personal reasons.

He made it a personal crusade to get a vaccine for meningitis on the market. That may seem like an odd thing to make a private cause, but I had almost died of that disease at eight-months-old. Dad never wanted another parent to have to go through the stress and worry, the continued uncertainty of long-term consequences, that my illness caused.

When Dad retired from working for more prominent corporations, he set up a consultancy. He would pick and chose who he took on as a client based on how much good the project could produce.

In a way, my grief comes from how proud I am of the moral man my Father was. He could be rigid and stubborn, even harsh. Still, he acted from a core of right and wrong that I cannot deny, though I saw it as strictly black and white.

In a way, most of my grief comes from losing that rudder of black and white, right or wrong, morality in my life. I am a person who lives in the greys. Not a criminal, but someone who recognizes that crimes can be committed from good intentions.

Did I cry over the loss of my father? Yes. Many around me, however, may have seen me as stoic. I was not. I never kept the grief I felt locked in. It was always there, from when I heard he had advanced lung cancer.

And it will be with me for years to come. What I did do is accept the grief as a part of who I am rather than vocal or public expressions, or rock-faced stoicism.

There is only one wrong way to grieve. That is to deny the grief or lock it away and refuse to face it. When you lose someone, that loss will forever be a part of you.

Hiatus and the reasons behind it.

 

Hello. I am back, in a way. I apologize for the hiatus and will be doing my best to post more regularly. You, my fans, deserve an explanation as to what has been happening and what has been coming. In this post I will cover the ‘bad’ that has been weighing me down, my next post will be a discussion on that, and the final post will be the ‘good’ I have been working on.

My father was diagnosed with stage three lung cancer just before Christmas. I was told in mid-January. My relationship with Dad was always tumultuous and difficult. I always loved and respected my Dad, but there were times when I could not be in the same room as him.

I still love him, even now he is gone.

I had a trip planned to the US, so I could go and work with some of my collaborators. Meet with my mentor. Work on a project we had going in the background. Get back on track. I saw him the night before I left, and he was not as well as I hoped. He made me swear I would stay for the trip and push through and work on everything no matter what happened.

I saw him the morning I flew out. I said my goodbye. I could tell from his insistence that he was happy with what I was doing. It was the first time in my life I felt he approved of me.

I left on the 12th of June. Dad passed on the 20th of June from Pneumonia. He died with his sister, daughters, and wife at his side.

I kept my word to him and did my best to be useful for the rest of my trip. I finished my share of two collaborations and a short story while on the trip. (These are currently at the tender mercy of my editors)

But I still feel a gaping hole with him gone. I miss the feeling of a safety net for advice in specific areas. I even miss the arguments we had due to our different politics. He was one of the four most influential people in making me, well, me.

May the gods have recognized him and accepted him into their halls.

Next time, I will post on grief. After that, I will post something on the ‘good’ that has been chewing into my time like an evil caterpillar. I hope you all see the butterfly potential I do.

Something to tide you over.

Sorry everyone, I have hit a few problems and my books are running late(r) than I or, I imagine, any of you wanted. I should start posting snippets from the next 3 Mongrelverse books again next week. These are Through the Veil, book one of Good Deeds and Bad Company, Mongrel’s Tooth and Consequences, Book 2 of Breed Matters, and Forsaken Motherhood, Book 2 of Cursed Mother.

As to the delays? Well, let’s just say that life can bowl you a wrong’un, a flipper and a slider. Sometimes it seems to have the bowlers line up in a convey too, dammit. ( sorry, Cricket terms here, but I am Aussie, so it seemed right. Hmm. American terms… A Pitching machine throwing you a stream of curveballs maybe?)

In the meantime here are a couple of books to help tide you over… In a setting I should be contributing something to by the end of July, if not earlier.

Without further ado, welcome to the Badger Hole Bar, They can be found through this link

Book 1: Through the Badger Hole

Desolation and grief can leave you floating, unable to find a new shape to your existence.

Who knew that it was possible to be shocked out of the morass of sorrow by a well-timed push?!

Madrik was reeling from the loss of his family and unable to find his way into the new reality. Then something happened that sent him further than he ever thought to travel. A new life, in a new dimension!

This is a place where problems are solved, and life is continually changing. Come in, put your feet up, and join the crew that Madrik is collecting in this shared universe.

Be amused and challenged, touched and enthralled.

Welcome to the Badger Hole Bar!

Book 2: Grand Opening

Chaos and confusion. The tidal wave of tension before release.

The Badger Hole Bar is having its Grand Opening. Madrik and his new team have been frantic. Trying to get everything ready in time is hard enough, but there are problems.

Of course, it might help if the BHB would stop rearranging the architecture, or no new emergencies came up. Since that would be an impossible situation, they will just have to do what they can and leave the rest to fate, luck, or whatever.

That just leaves one main worry…

What if no one comes?

New Years Countdown deals!

 

A Mongrel’s Curse is on a countdown deal NOW (For 24 hours only, but… Welcome to your KDP running out,) and Paladin will be starting one soon.

A Mongrel’s Curse, From The Reviews

5 star- Great book! Now where is the second?
Yes, I love to chain read books, and I am already impatiently waiting for the next. I liked the worldview that is in this book. Supernatural and normals existing side by side, with Mongrel being a new twist to this genre. He has unique abilities that I am interested in seeing what will happen next.

5 Star – Really Funny
I like how the author got old mythology and gave a new twist. I am looking forward to the next one

4 Star – Not Jim Bucher…
…..However, the author isn’t trying to be either. When I read the back of the book I thought this was going to be Jim Butcher esque but it is very different. Very good too. I really enjoyed the world building, the characters, the storyline and there were no annoying grammar mistakes that shouted at me either. I will be keeping an eye on this author and would quite happily read something else of his.

Paladin, From The Reviews
5 star – A fun read
Interesting storyline, looking forward to see where it goes. A bit on the dark side and can be on the edge of stilted conversation. Going to be fun combining all the elements of life beyond “The gilded veil”.
5 Star – Very good
The level of skill and writing is promising toward a great future stand out author!! Very good read! Well done!

A Mongrel’s Curse is available to people in the US here and the UK here. Paladin Is the US here and the UK here
Sorry to everyone else – I wish I could run one everywhere. Amazon won’t let me. Talk to them, nothing I can do about it.
For you lucky people who can get it on the countdown deal, Enjoy. For others that find my customer’s reviews interesting, Enjoy.

If you could share this far and wide? I’d love the help!

P.S. There are a number of shorts and other Mongrelverse books available from Amazon, the easiest place to find them is HERE.

Evacuation is now Enhanced, Here is a snippet of new material!

Janna cursed herself as she heard a foot scrape on the sidewalk behind her. She hadn’t been paying enough attention, and her office for reviewing materials and sending them to the colonel was not in one of the better areas of town. She was glad she habitually kept her hands in pockets and didn’t wear gloves.

It seemed she had picked up a small group of thugs. Either they wanted to capture her for their boss or their own stable of whores, or they were merely planning on raping her. In this district, the police would pay no attention to such a crime. They were swamped with a gang war and the murders it produced.

Focused and making sure her Walther PPK-L .32 caliber was ready to be drawn from her sleeve. She was glad it was winter as it allowed her to wear a heavy coat with no comment. It enabled her to carry the light pistol in a holster on her wrist, concealed by the coat sleeve and quickly drawn.

She waited until she could hear them move up close behind her. Without warning, she dropped low and swept her right leg in an arc behind her, knocking two of the thugs into each other. Rolling to her right, she dodged the grab from the criminal on her far left. She drew her pistol as she rolled and steadied herself by leaving her left knee on the ground when she finished the movement. Firing three quick shots from the quiet gun into the brute that had grabbed at her, she took him out of the equation.

“She killed Yuri!” a fourth thug shouted as he barrelled into her. Janna hadn’t heard him until a moment before he struck. She avoided his grasping arms, but his body still hit her hard. He knocked her over, sending her tumbling across the ground. The force of his tackle sent the pistol skittering along the pavement.

One of the other thugs growled, “She must be some kinda cop. We’ll have to kill ‘er now. Siminov will be pissed. He’ll prefer the loss over us bringing a cop for ‘is stable.”

She continued to roll away from the thugs and considered running. A quick glance at them told her running was not a good option. They looked fit for street criminals, and she doubted she could outrun them. The pistol had skittered a significant distance from all of them, teetering on a drain. She quickly scanned the quiet street. She used this route as one of several back to her apartment to avoid attracting police attention. Unfortunately, that had backfired by drawing criminal attention. There was nothing available nearby for her to use as a weapon with her pistol gone.

People who already have Evacuation? Never fear! this is an update! If it doesn’t download automatically (It should, but it might not) just delete the current file and re-download. If you haven’t bought it yet, get it HERE!

 

Redemption, Boris #4, Snippet 8

Here is the last snippet for Redemption. The book is in other hands now, should be live within 72 hours. It has gone through all processes. Enjoy, and take a look at my other books. I plan on focusing on the Mongrelverse universe books for a while now. It starts with A Mongrel’s Curse, Here

There was a pause as that sunk into the listeners. Then a shout went out from one of Olaf’s men. The flanking group of enemies was the action that broke Olaf into action. His webbing hit the ground, as did his rifle. He quickly shifted into his bear form. He was moving as he was changing. Shots rang out, but Olaf charged at an angle. He was faster than any known Were. People used to targeting regular bears, leading the target for a normal bear’s speed, had no chance to hit him.

Quickly, he was through their lines. As he broke through, he passed two of the ambushing troops. One of them he smashed into the tree he was hiding behind. The man slid bonelessly down the trunk, unconscious or dead. The other bravely tried to line up a shot while standing directly in front of Olaf. The bear he now was pounded the ambusher into the ground before the bullet could be fired.

There were shouts of consternation. Perhaps the Belarusians had not heard of, believed, or encountered Weres before. But the confusion of a six or seven-hundred-pound animal charging through their lines distracted the best of them. Olaf’s patrol consolidated behind a group of trees that covered them from both the flanking movement and those who had remained in original ambush positions.

Olaf would worry about the damage the transformation had done to his clothes later. His armor was specifically designed to fit his bear form when he changed. It was not as strong as his father’s solid overlapping alloy plate armor, as it was made of the same cloth as the regular forces antiballistic armor. The pants were obliterated by the transformation. He had two spare pairs in his pack back at camp.

A bullet pounded into Olaf’s body armor as he was distracted by his silly concerns. ‘Get moving, make a plan!‘ shouted Danislav’s voice in Olaf’s head.

The order echoed through his mind. Plan, yes. Find the woman who had answered back to him. Take her into his physical control. It was likely she was the leader. If not, she was second or third in command. A hostage that gave him a chance for negotiation

Bullets cracked past him as he moved from concealment to cover and back to concealment again, sniffing the air for the smell of a female human. He could smell two, but only one was close to the location where he had heard the words shouted from.

 

Moving through the dense underbrush as fast as he could, dodging trees, he circled to a position directly behind her. He slowed, the sound of his continued forward movement covered by the ambushing force crashing through the underbrush to find him. There were occasional cracks of single bullets being fired.

They were no longer passing near him, so Olaf continued forward. When he found the source of the scent, he saw a young woman flanked by an older man and what he could only call a boy. Charging forward he flung the older man into a tree with a mighty backhand from a single paw. Several bullets impacted against his armor, moving down until they were hitting his rear.

The nine-millimeter bullets were more of an annoyance than a serious threat to him. They wouldn’t have threatened an ordinary bear, let alone a nanite enhanced Were of Boris’s line. They did, however, make him angry.

UPDATE: The Book is now live HERE

Redemption: Snippet 7

Here it is again. Boris #4 should be out before the New Year. Sorry for all the delays. Again, this is presented as is. ENJOY!

 

It was his third day patrolling, and they were about to head back. They’d found a few places that showed and smelt of recent human activity. The smell of anyone in the area ahead of them should have been brought to them by the wind that was blowing towards them. Olaf called time.

Though they had found tracking sign, the Weres had been universally thwarted in tracking anyone by scent. They kept encountering patches of strong ‘woodlands’ odor that had overwhelmed their sense of smell.

Olaf was reasonably sure the hide they had found a half mile back was a day old or less. Still, even in his other form, the human scents had been faint. They were the smells of people who were taking extra effort to smell like the environment. Rubbing dirt and strong smelling plants over themselves.

They headed back to the camp, the wind at their back, relatively unconcerned. They had patrolled the area only hours before, and apart from the hide they had found no new sign of other humans. None of the telltale vampire scent on the wind.

Still, his patrol moved cautiously. Overconfidence in the shuttle was what had gotten them into trouble in the first place. They were halfway back, and the breeze went still.

Olaf’s nose twitched, as did Andre’s. “Cover!” He shouted out the order. There was a human odor in the air now the wind wasn’t blowing it away from them. His patrol quickly dived behind rises, trees and whatever else they could find. Olaf himself took cover behind a tree.

He heard rustles in the brush ahead that confirmed his suspicions.

“It would seem that we are at an impasse,” a voice from the woods said. “We have all five of you located. A firefight was not what we had planned, but we will take it if that’s all that is on offer.”

Olaf thought quickly, then decided provocation was the best option if they were the enemy. “That’s all you have! We will not surrender to a blood drinker’s lackeys!” He shouted back. He loosened the straps on his patrol webbing, preparing to shift if he needed too.

However, he was not convinced they served the vampire. He thought he’d be able to smell what Danislav described as ‘old, off blood’ on a vampire’s troops. Especially if it had kept to one lair for some time, as many did.

There was silence for a moment, then a snarling feminine voice answered, “We have nothing to do with that bitch! Most of us are survivors of attempts to ‘cleanse’ our homes with some of her monsters.” That sounded more like this vampire was nearby and directing the Nosferatu. That was a small relief.

Olaf hesitated. If he took it at face value, then he risked looking a credulous fool in any event. Either that or arousing their suspicions about his motives. “I guess it is a standoff then. I sure as hell can’t trust that you are not working for the blood drinkers!”

Redemption, Boris Chronicles #4 Snippet 6

And here we have the sixth snippet of Boris Chronicles #4. It is presented as is, as usual, without editing being finished, but for your enjoyment!

It had been two days since Olaf’s shuttle had registered the self-destruct with Lilith. They had hoped for more information before this meeting, but none had arrived. Lilith concluded her initial report

“The engine of shuttle 0009 was restarted after failure by nanites holding the signature of Olaf. They reported high etheric reserves that would not have been present if the body had suffered significant damage. Indeed there was a residual energy higher than his average over the last twelve months.” Lilith reported to Boris in an analytical tone.

Boris smashed his fist down. “I don’t care. I’m moving south to take command of the force under Major Petrova currently. The situation down there is a higher risk than we initially assessed. They need someone with more seasoning.”

Paul raised an eyebrow at the outburst but said nothing.  Janna, however, was shaking her head vehemently.

“No, Boris. Danislav doesn’t have the command experience for a five regiment force. Worse, he’s never been seen by the Pack as an Alpha. He has the strength for it, but the perception is he’s always been your second. He’d have challenges for command within a day of news arriving with the rest of the force. The twins are too junior. I need to stay here until one of them gets back anyway.”

“A divided command is the last thing we need there, and I can only guarantee the Arkhangelsk Regiment and Vilosty’s regulars would accept him in command. Tolstov is ambitious, if loyal personally to you. The militia regiments could choose to place themselves under his command if Tolstov divides the command. His reputation as a commander is Danislav’s equal.” Janna said in a forceful, but analytical, tone.

“Both of them know Olaf missing or dead is the only reason you would command the south. Tolstov would look at it as the position of heir and second in command of the military being up for grabs.” She finished in a disgusted tone.

“We have three other children,” Boris said diffidently.

Paul snorted and said, “The twins aren’t taken seriously by the populace, Boris. Hell, I’m not sure either of them would want your job. They would have to become ‘proper.’ As for Fiona,” he paused and extended his palm flat, then shifted it from side to side, “I don’t know if she’d come back. She’s already the Mongolian pack’s second in command. That position makes her heir to the civil leadership since the fall too. Her renown is greater than anyone else in a position to claim heir if Olaf dies. And even if she did take the position, who would replace her in Mongolia? Her departure could open the door to the Sacred Clan. We know they’re still active.”

Paul’s voice held concern, with a touch of dread. As if he had already found a solution and didn’t like it.

More will be coming shortly, hopefully with a release date to be announced (or at least a Planned publication date.)

Paul C. Middleton

I’m Back!

Happy to talk to you all again. Sorry I have been incommunicado for a while. I was prepping for a trip to America, then in America meeting a lot of indy authors (Both at the 20 Books conference and a follow-up get-together of most of the Phoenix Prime group.)

But I’m Back and have at least 3 releases planned for the month: Redemption, Boris Chronicles #4, First Steps ( A Short story that will lead into a series I am calling Good Deeds and Bad Company.) and Operation Blowback (The Pandora Battalion #2) another short.

I also hope to get Mongrel’s Truth and Consequences finished this month for release at the beginning of 2018.

Upcoming, hopefully today, is another Boris snippet.

Talk to you in the coming hours and days

Paul C Middleton