Why Damien Lewis Is a Great Actor

This clip is a few years old, but one of the best renditions of Marc Antony’s speech from Shakespeare’s “Julius Ceasar.”

This is why I hate reading Shakespeare’s plays, but I do love watching them.

State of Writing

With me being in physical therapy for the last few weeks, my fiction writing has slowed to a bare trickle. Still, I’ve managed to put some words together. It also doesn’t help that I’ve had to completely overhaul one project, and lost a bunch of the original writing in the process.

Still, as of April 2018, here are the current projects I’m working on:

  1. Promise to the Magic Heart – This will be novel-length fantasy series, and probably a trilogy of books. My original idea was to mix the storyline with flashbacks (like Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series), except I’m not that good. So all the flashbacks were yanked for the first book, and then promptly eaten by Scrivener. I think I’ve got some earlier drafts, so I’m not completely screwed, but it’s a setback.

  2. Irregulars 3 – Outlining stage

  3. The Legion – Military sci-fi; not sure if I want to do a series of novels or a series of novellas (like Irregulars). I have the basic story, it’s just a matter of putting keyboard to word processor.

  4. The Clans – Urban fantasy. This is most likely going to be like Irregulars with short novellas combining into a bigger arc.

I’m hoping to get to writing more, but we’ll see if the personal and work lives let me.

And I really should try to actually sell some of this stuff.

State of My Podcasts

I’m going to try and do this on an annual basis. Part of it’s my own curiosity at how my podcast habits change. I’m also curious what others think about the same podcasts and which podcasts come and go.

I’m going to list the podcasts into some broad groups, with any annotations about frequency I listen to them or general impressions.

I listen to my podcasts in Overcast. I use four playlists:

  1. Daily – This is a playlist of what I want to listen to during my commutes, work, and other times. Some of the podcasts are put to the top on certain days. Some are “promotable”, which means they go to the top behind that day’s podcasts. The rest are filler, and I’ll get to them when I can.

  2. Writing – I use this as a warm-up for when I’m going to write as well as general knowledge to improve my writing

  3. Roman History – This one has two finished podcast series I’m listening about the history of Rome from its early beginnings to the fall of the Byzantine Empire

  4. History – Self explanatory

My podcasts as of March 2018:


Cato Daily Podcast – A good quick bit in various topics from a libertarian viewpoint. This one I use as filler on my “Daily” playlist.

Cato Events Podcast – Recordings of various panels put on by the Cato Institute. I’ve heard a lot of very interesting discussions and arguments. This one I use as filler on my “Daily” playlist. I will delete if the topic doesn’t interest me, as these can be pretty long.

Clear and Present Danger -A History of Free Speech – This is a Friday morning podcast on my “Daily” playlist. Still a little uncertain about this one.

The Good Fight – Formerly “The Liberty Files”, this one is a promotable on my “Daily” playlist. This is one I like using for hearing the conservative side of civil liberty discussions. A bit heavier on the freedom of religion than I’d like, but understandable from the hosts’ perspective.

Reason Podcast – Reason’s weekly podcast with their editors is promotable on my Daily playlist. The others are filler. Some good content and some that just don’t interest me.

Short Circuit – From the Institute of Justice, this one discusses notable cases that IJ is a part of. This is a promotable on my Daily playlist.

So To Speak – FIRE’s podcast discussing free speech issues. This is a Friday morning podcast on my Daily playlist.


Econtalk – Economist Russ Roberts does great interviews with a wide variety of guests and topics. I’ve been learning a lot. This is a Tuesday morning podcast on my Daily playlist.

GAO Podcast – GAO discussing some of their reviews. This one I use as filler on my “Daily” playlist


Hardcore History – Dan Carlin’s storytelling on various topics is spellbinding. This is promotable on my History playlist on the infrequent occasions new podcasts show up.

Hardcore History: Addendum – New one from Dan Carlin. The first two were interesting. This will be promotable if he continues.

The History of Byzantium – I only listened to a couple of episodes. It’s on my “Roman History” playlist to go after the “History of Rome”

The History of Rome – This one is on my “Roman History” playlist. Good for amateur historians like me. It’s a finished series.

Revolutions – Really good series on various revolutions. Each season goes through one of the more pivotal revolutions in history, starting with the English Revolution. I’ve listened to the first four seasons. This is on my History playlist.

War Stories – Good military history podcast. It’s in my “History” playlist.


Black Man With A Gun Podcast – Kenn’s podcast was one of the first I started listening to, and then I wrote Zombie Strike for him. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Down Range Radio – Right now, this is my Wednesday morning podcast, but it may get downgraded to promotable. Some of Bane’s nonsense and glad standing is getting on my nervesz On my Daily playlist.

Geeks Gadgets and Guns – A recent addition after they discussed Pathfinder with Erin Pallette. Right now it’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

The Gun Nation – This one is promotable on my Daily playlist on the rare occasions it drops.

Handgun Radio – This one I’ve been enjoying. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Handgun World – This one might go from promotable to fuller on my Daily playlist. Bob has good information, but sometimes his views annoy me, particularly when he goes off on rising evil.

Polite Society Podcast – Good information, but often too long. This one is filler on my Daily playlist

Riding Shotgun With Charley – Interesting so far, but currently filler on my Daily playlist

Safety Solutions Academy – Real good information. Paul is one of those trainers I’d like to learn from if I could scrape together the time and money. This one is promotable on my Daily playlist.

Self-Defense Gun Stories – I like the analysis of what went right and wrong from a variety of professional trainers. This one is a promotable on my Daily playlist.


The Economist – This is a Friday morning podcast on my Daily playlist. It provides a different perspective and reports on areas that barely hit my normal feeds.

The Fifth Column – This is a really good roundup focusing on the issues of the day and how the media reports them. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen – Charles C. Cooke. That’s why I listen to this podcast. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Neal Boortz Daily Commentaries – I loved listening to Boortz when he was on syndicated radio, and now I get two minutes of him. It’s interesting to see how I’ve diverged from him over the years. It’s only considered promotable on my Daily playlist because I get it daily.

The One With Greg Gutfeld – Only listened to a couple of episodes, but it feels similar to Greg’s Redeye days. Currently promotable on my Daily playlist.

Part of the Problem – Rabid anti war libertarian comedian Dave Smith is interesting. He’s certainly challenging some of my ideas. Promotable on my Daily playlist.

War College – This is a Friday morning podcast on my Daily playlist. An interesting look at politics and military issues.


Clockwise – This is a Friday morning podcast on my Daily playlist. I like the format and it helps keep me up to date on tech issues and trends.

Daily Tech Headlines – Good summary of big tech stories, and the weekend history segments are interesting. It’s considered promotable on my Daily playlist only becuse it comes out every day.


Friendly Fire – New one about three guys watching and critiquing war films. It’s a Friday afternoon podcast on my Daily playlist.

The Incomparable Game Show – Often hilarious, sometimes dangerously so when driving. It’s a Friday afternoon podcast on my Daily playlist.

Penn’s Sunday School – Penn prognosticating on the world. It’s a Tuesday and a Thursday morning podcast on my Daily Playlist.

Squirrel Report – It’s not a Friday afternoon drive without this one.

Unjustly Maligned – On hiatus, but I’d recommend going through the back of episodes.

The Way I Heard It With Mike Rowe – After growing up with Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story”, this one is a wonderful substitute. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Science & Skepticism

Skeptics Guide to The Universe – This was my first science podcast and really helped forge my skepticism. It’s a Monday morning podcast on my Daily playlist.

Skeptoid – Another one that helped in developing my skeptical outlook. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.


Writing Excuses – If you are a fiction writer, I can’t recommend this one highly enough. It’s currently the only one on my Writing playlist.

Software For Writing

For my birthday last month, The Brother bought me the Windows version of Scrivener. I’d heard a lot about from the Mac users, so I was willing to give it a shot. I also picked up the iOS version, because I do a lot of my writing on my iPad and iPhone. Here’s what I’m liking so far:

1. The project folders – everything you need for your writing project can be stored in a folder, including text, PDFs, pictures. You can be as extensive or as concise as needed.

2. Syncing – So far, linking Scrivener and Dropbox has allowed seamless syncing across all of my writing platforms. This was an issue when I was using Byword and Editorial, as I would occasionally get conflicting versions from different platforms.

My biggest issue with Scrivener right now is that it does not support markdown. Part of it is that I’ve been writing in markdown for the past few years, so it’s instinctive, but another is that I don’t have to go looking for buttons or highlight text when I want to do bold or italics. Really important when writing on the phone.

Overall, I’d suggest giving it a shot.

Story Idea – Narrative Cop

I’ve been binging the latest season of Hawaii Five-O. I don’t know why I enjoy it.

The show’s tropie, oversimplified, and generally a popcorn action flick every episode.

While watching, an idea came to me. A cop show/novel/story where the protagonist is considered a brilliant detective. Why, because (s)he can identify the narrative and solve the crimes based on how it interacts with the current media narrative.

Uniform Cop: The deceased is a known gang member who was seen making a drug buy two days ago. Probably killed by a rival gang.

Narrative Detective: No, I talked to his relatives outside. He was turning his life around. This was a corporate hit. Probably some nefarious scheme to keep essentials out of the hands of the poor.

Language and Cultural Appropriation

One of my weekly podcasts is Econtalk. This week’s was on the changing nature of language. Highly recommend, especially if you constantly feel the need to correct people’s grammar.

As a writer, it’s important to understand how language is used – especially for dialogue. Knowing the “rules” helps to properly convey the movies in my head to the reader’s. Much to the frustration of many an instructor or curmudgeon, language is not static. Especially not the English language. The meaning of words and the usage of words change. Trying to force people to use “proper” English (or whatever language) is in the end, foolish.

And now we get to the second half of today’s title. Culture, like language, is not static. No one practices the same culture as their ancestors did. Cultures change with technology and new ideas. Moreover, cultures share and absorb new things as their practitioners come into contact with others. In short, appropriation is a feature, not a bug.

Friday Quote- Wes Craven

“The first monster you have to scare the audience is yourself.”

Wes Craven

Friday Quote- Anne Rice

“To write something you have to risk making a fool of yourself.”

Anne Rice, successful author

Message Vs Story

I’ve been listening to a lot of the back episodes of the “Unjustly Maligned” podcast. The premise is to find a property (book, movie, television) that receives a lot of hate and bring someone on to explain why the hate is not deserved. Sometimes, the episode is great, such as the episode on Twilight (still don’t like it, but I certainly understand its popularity more). Other episodes are frustrating.

The reason is several of the episodes are less on defending the property for its story or setting and more on its “message”. Example is when they had Brianna Wu on to talk about Star Trek Voyager. Personally, I liked Voyager and I thought Janeway was a good skipper. Instead, the discussion was pretty much “Voyager has STRONG WYMYN!” 

I know that some of you are saying, well what did you expect from a person best known for leading SJW’s in Gamergate? The truth is that I have friends who I disagree with politically, but can totally geek out with over Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, etc. Instead, it was message being more important than story.

This is the crux of the argument. What is more important, message or story? Story or message? 

For me, the story will always be the most important. Characters need to be in a story because they bring something. For me, it’s because they drive the plot. My current project (which is taking far longer than it should) has a gay character. Did I choose to put a gay character in to check off a box or so that some of my readers will identify with him? No. I chose him because he helps drive the plot. 

Message fiction has its place. A good chunk of my “invisible friends” are fans of Ayn Rand’s works, and they’re all message fiction. Parables are message fiction writ small. Sometimes a person does need to see someone like them doing great things to kindle their own greatness. 

I choose to write story over message. Those are the stories that need to leap out of my mind. 

Audiobook Available Now

Where the Moss Grows is an urban fantasy that Kenn Blamchard and I developed. Kenn had the original idea, I wrote the story, and then Kenn narrated it.

Check out Kenn’s site for more information on the audiobook, and click the button below to purchase the audiobook. The audiobook is $9.97.

Buy Now

Ten bucks for two and a half hours of entertainment!

Solomon Love is a small time blues guitarist in Memphis who stumbles onto a murder. A murder committed by a cop. Now, Solomon and the cop are hunting each other through streets of Memphis. The cop has not only the police’s resources, but criminal allies as well. Solomon has a few friends, and the fact he’s a centuries-old werewolf on his side.

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