Understanding the bayonet

If you want an example of how studying the past can tell us things about the present, look no further than the lowly bayonet.

Many people question the utility of the bayonet in today’s world.  Sticking a knife on the end of an M-16 hardly seems a major increase to it’s lethality.  If anything you’d think it would get in the way, more than it would help.  Bill Mauldin famously had a soldier looking in wonder as he exclaimed “Hey did you know this can opener fits on the end of a rifle?”

But lets look at history.  The bayonet came about after muskets had been around on the battlefield for a while.  Back then people couldn’t fire muskets fast enough to stop cavalry riding them down, so they relied upon pike formations for protection.  Then someone got the idea of sticking a knife on the end of a musket.  Instant spear, yea!  The days of the pike formations were numbered.  A group of musketeers could huddle together behind their long muskets with their attached bayonets and ward of the horsemen.

And that is the key.  A GROUP of musketeers.  The bayonet isn’t designed for individual combat.  It’s designed to be used in a group.  That single knife sticking awkwardly off the end of am M-16 may look a bit silly.  But imagine this.  A group of soldiers line up, the officer shouts “Fix bayonets!” and as one the line of soldiers brings out those knives and attach them to the rifles.  Then they start advancing together towards a crowd.  People are going to run and get out of their way.  It happened in Afghanistan, Iraq, and in the Falklands.

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Work in Progress – Update

The good news is I finally sent a draft of my first “Spy” novel to my editor.  Why a spy novel?  Honestly, not everyone can relate to elves.  I also have friends who are Christian, but just cannot relate to an sort of ‘good’ magic user.  I want to write something that a broader audience can relate to.

It’s difficult writing, not because of the spy stuff.  I’m well read in all aspects of military history, including current day.  But writing in the real world … well . . . things happen.  e.g. there are scenes in this book set in Haiti and I started the outline BEFORE the big earthquake.

Anyway this draft is finally finished and with luck you’ll see it by the end of the year.  Depends on how many rounds I and my editor go through.

Don’t despair if you’re waiting for Tales of Tiberius Volume 2.  It’s in the works.  Right this second I’m finishing up Version 2 of Elvish Christmas (Good news, I have an editor now, bad news, I have an editor now.  More work for me, better product for you.).  Volume 2 is next on the list.  An educated GUESS would be late 2015.  Volume 1 came out in March 14, A year and a half later would be a good target date, but no promises at this point.  It’s still a part time job.

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Work in progress

Just for anyone who might be checking in and wondering what’s happening, here is a quick update on upcoming projects.

Artist and editor are working on an update of “An Elvish Christmas…”  I did not have an editor the first time around and a couple of really bad typos made it through.  So I will be publishing a revised edition.  New illustrations, I’ve seen some and they are worth waiting for.  : )

The next novel is likely to be a new espionage novel.  I’ve been working on this for a while to have something with a little less controversial occult stuff in it.  (Most of my online critics think I talk about Jesus too much, but I also know people who don’t want any occult content.  As a book featuring only real world or near future tech, this should be an easier read for those groups.  I am not changing my opinions, but magic and the spirit world are naturally not central to the story line  here.)

Tales of Tiberius 2 is progressing, and that should be next.  It’s the bottleneck in the Tiberius saga.  I actually started out with short stories (Volume 3) went on to write the first novel (Volume 4) then went back and published the Christmas stories (V 3.5) and the origin story.  (Volume 1).  So if you are a fan of the series, the bad news is Volume 2 may be a bit slow to come out, but Volumes 3-5 will be much faster releases by comparison.  If anything really takes off financially, the pace will pick up.

This isn’t a comprehensive list or a guarantee, just a heads up.

If anyone’s reading this and wants more news, respond or drop me a line.  I have a spam filter on, but legitimate comments are welcome.  I only censor for off topic.

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A rose by any other name…

It’s hard to know how to label my stuff sometimes.  I’m aware that my fantasy writing has a strong Christian perspective, but I’ve been cautious about labeling it as “Christian” fantasy.  That’s because I’m well aware that some Christians don’t want to see ANY occult elements.  Part of what I think makes Tiberius interesting is that he doesn’t fit neatly into any categories.  He’s a Christian who is using magic which, lets face it, is against the rules.  Judging by my reviews and comments I’ve gone a bit overboard in not calling attention to Christian elements.  In my defense calling Tiberius a “Magi” was not an accident and that was intended to be a Biblical reference.  Apparently that was too subtle and I guess it doesn’t show up that the book was, from the first, listed in the Christian fantasy section.

I’ve updated the books official description.  Hopefully that will be a more accurate description of the book to potential readers.  Still waiting for my first review calling me a Satan worshiper.  I know that’s coming.

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Easter message

For all of you who have lost someone. Remember this is the day of celebration.
1 Cor 15: 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

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Magic and Tech

Magic and high tech can have interesting convergence at times.  I always found it an interesting coincidence that summoning demons and writing computer programs have the same problem.  One little comma is off somewhere in the wrong place and disaster results.  Ti’s spellcasting may seem a bit computer programming like at times.  That’s a natural consequence of trying to write realistic magic.  Think about it.  In your classical magic story, Merlin is supposedly holed up in his tower working on his magic for weeks.  Then someone attacks him, he says Abracadabra or something and a fireball strikes down his assailant.  What’s the connection?  Maybe now that we have the experience of computer programming, this is all starting to seem more possible.  Sounds a lot like someone prepared a program to run on something and then gave the execute command at the right time, doesn’t it?  That’s not all there is to it of course, but I do find some interesting parallels in high tech and ‘magic’ at times.

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God is not dead

If you haven’t seen “God is not dead” you ought to go.  This film is an important dramatization of something that is playing out all too often in today’s College classrooms.  Namely the attempted suppression of Christianity by academia.  The reality and seriousness of this issue is shown very clearly at the end of the film where they scroll through an alarmingly large number of real courtroom cases on this very point.

I was very glad to see the film cite the work of John Lennox, one of today’s most underrated scholars  John Lennox is a scientist with unimpeachable credentials who routinely defeats atheists in debates about the scientific plausibility of the existence of God.  You’ve probably never heard of him because he’s not politically correct like Richard Dawkins.

If I have a complaint about this film, it’s that it tries to do too much.  But there is just no way you can fit this debate into a movie, so naturally they brush over some things that really should be explored in depth.  My advice, go see the film, get a feel for the debate and then follow up with some serious reading.  John Lennox would be a good place to start.

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100th sale!

Thanks to someone in Canada we have our 100th sale.  (Well I don’t know the person in Canada was the 100th, I just found there was a sale at Amazon.ca and I was at 99 till that point.)  I’m also assuming the CA, UK, and DE sales are not included in the Amazon.com sales, which I’m not sure about either.  Also includes one live sale of the hardcopy edition.

Thanks to everyone that bought a copy.  I hope you enjoy reading it and don’t forget to tell your friends about it.  (If you didn’t like it [and usually I’m about 25-1 like vs don’t like] tell all your friends it was the worst book ever written and that they should get a copy and see for themselves).

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Inspiration from the Rhein

Thanks to those who’ve bought my book in Germany. I think it’s Germany, I just get a sales report from Amazon.de   Drop me a line and let me know how you found it.

It’s actually fitting that the book would sell in Germany as there are some German connections. I took a couple of business trips to Germany back in 1999 or so. One time I was stuck there over the weekend so I was able to take a short Rhine cruise. It was great seeing the beautiful countryside.

Taking a Rhein cruise is an inspiration for fantasy writing.  The terrain isn’t really different from what you would find in the border lands in my stories.  Just as in Germany, the border lands are a little bit inland with a major river flowing through and castles strung along the river.  People grow wine and hams like they do back in Germany.  I learned a lot about the kind of towns you’d have in that region.  Finally, no one can seriously talk about Dwarves without thinking of the story of the Rheingold.  With any luck I’ll get back there one day for some book signings. : )

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Leprechaun report

Here’s a thought experiment for you.  Take your classic leprechaun.  Now I want you to imagine that he’s going to put on a different suit of clothes.  Instead of the modern green jacket, we’re going to put him in a red jacket like some of the earliest stories say he actually wore.  Keep the same thick black belt with a big square buckle.  We’re going to replace the hat with a red stocking cap with fur trim.  Not much of a change, just the jacket and hat, but what do we have?  A Christmas elf. Hmm.  Lets change the color to Brown instead of red or green.  Now lets put them with old Rip Van Winkle.  I know he said they were the ghosts of Henry Hudson, but maybe not.  Maybe we have three sightings of the same basic critter in three different locations.

This goes on a lot with fairy folk.  People don’t stop to realize that we may not be talking about different creatures.  Just different names for the same creature.

It’s gets more interesting when you go back and look at the old stories and realize some of these are more like UFO sightings than campfire stories.  Respectable people who have seen something strange.  Well, as the Bard said.  There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. – Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

Something to think about next time you hear about a Leprechaun and his pot of gold.

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