Book excerpt 4 from Wolf in the Headlights

Here we are with the fourth and final excerpt from Wolf in the Headlights (Alice the Wolf 4), this time from chapter 47. I hope you’ve enjoyed these previews of the story, and that you’ll consider picking it up for some fun Halloween reading. In any case, now that this is done, I’ve got some paid editing work coming up soon, and then I’ll be getting to work on my next book release, which should be in December if I don’t get too lazy with the editing. But for now, here’s Alice involved in yet another bad day already in progress…
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Okay, I need to think and put together a plan. My apartment is off limits with the cops looking for me, and I don’t want to be seen in town looking like I tripped and fell in a swamp. If I’m dealing with a warlock, I’ll need help from friends better equipped to handle magic. So, that’s Peter, who’s probably at work right now. I can’t fathom a run to Matilda’s, and Sophia is out given that she’s in Philadelphia for an art exhibit. I’ll give her a call after I’ve got some clean clothes, though.

I call Mona’s cell phone first. After two rings, she picks up and says, “Alice?”

“Mona, I need you to pack up a clean change of clothes for me, along with my pelt and my geode. If the cops show up before you leave and ask about me, tell them you don’t know where I am.” Continue reading


Game review: Mark of the Ninja Remastered for PS4

Mark of the Ninja dropped a newly remastered edition along with their debut on the Nintendo Switch, (a device I lusted after, but feel less attracted to now that the paid online features have been implemented) and I had vague memories of not liking it. But, my reason then for not liking it was the sales pitch that you could do a fully pacifist run and even get rewarded for it. But in reality, it’s only possible to do said pacifist run in New Game+, and so much of my review on that older version was griping about what I saw as a bait and switch ad. So I thought, “I know I have to kill everything on the first run anyway, so why not buy it again and see it through to the end?”

How does that old saying go? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I’m a complete dumbass who got what I deserved. Because of that, I shall temper my temper and avoid my usual rage filled f-bombing. I did it to myself, knowing what would happen. But I suffered through this, for you. In the words of Courage the Cowardly Dog: “The things I do for love!”

For those of you interested in only the hot take, that’s all folks! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time. Continue reading


Book excerpt 3 from Wolf in the Headlights

Welcome back to the sneak peekage into my newest novel, Wolf in the Headlights (Alice the Wolf 4), and this time I’m posting short cuts from two chapters, 29 and 30. (Quite a jump ahead from the first two samples.) Neither of these are complete chapters, but they help show how Alice is having a bad night out while trying to help one of her newer packmates out of their shell.

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Half an hour passes in this sweltering crowd, and my throat soon feels dry and raw. I look for Mona and Jesse, and I find them not far away. Mona wears a huge grin despite being covered in a shiny layer of sweat.

Jasmine leans closer to shout. “She’s doing fine. How about we go and get a drink?”

I nod and shout, “Jesse!” He looks around. “We’re going to the bar!” Continue reading


My biggest problem with modern mobile games…

I got a Kindle Fire last year as part of my efforts to engage viewers on Twitch. The plan was, I’d have my tablet streaming the chat from my channel, so that way I could keep up with what folks were saying whether I was on the PC or my PS4. That plan didn’t work because the Android Twitch app was bugged and wouldn’t show people’s comments. So I’d finish a stream wondering why no one said anything, only to check the channel on my PC and see that folks did try to say hi, and since I didn’t respond, they didn’t bother saying anything else. (And on that note, for the love of God, Twitch fix your shit, PLEASE.)

But after moving to the country, where streaming isn’t possible, (seriously, on a bad day, even YouTube can hang if my husband and I dare to watch videos at the same time) I thought I’d use the tablet to play all the mobile games I’d been missing out on by owning a Windows Phone. (This is the last one. Microsoft gave up on their music service, the only reason I was loyal to them, so fuck them.)

Which leads me to the real meat of my gripe, which is a consistent problem I’ve seen is way too many mobile games. You might think I’m taking about microtransactions or “energy limits” to keep me from playing without sitting through a timer, but neither of those bug me. I don’t worry about microtransactions because I don’t have money to spare on random loot boxes with no guarantee of getting the item or character I want. The timers don’t bother me because I pretty much play solely in the bathroom, and right about the time the game is ready to hold my session hostage, I’m ready to shut it off and get back to work, or back to a game on my PC or console. (Granted, I’m old, so bathroom breaks can sometimes take a while to get everything moving out the back door. But I digress.)

No, the real problem for me is constant downloads. You see a game has a 100 MB install file, and you think that’s big. But then right after you install it, it’s got to download updates, and these can end up being around 300 MB or higher. No sweat, though, it’s all installed and patched so now…no, finish playing the tutorial level and here’s another 300 MB download. Five minutes into a game, it’s already nearing a gigabyte of space for a mobile game with static image cut scenes and “voice acting” like “Ah!” “Aargh!” and “Nani!?” Every time I load up the game, it has to download more, and more and more. No, even worse, I might play one level and instantly get another download, halting my session for several minutes. You thought loading screens on your console were bad because you had to stare at them for a minute? Try waiting ten minutes between levels, and then that one minute wait seems pretty mild in comparison. Continue reading


Book excerpt 2 from Wolf in the Headlights

Here’s the second excerpt from Wolf in the Headlights (Alice the Wolf 4), this time from chapter 9. You may notice that instead of posting these one day after another, I’m posting them a week apart. I’m doing it this way to spread out the promotions a bit longer. If I do them in the same week, I’ve spent all my efforts too soon, and with the way social media streams run so fast, it’s practically an eye-blink before I’m off the social radar. So, new plan, yeah? One post a week and multiple promotions in the stream, hopefully leading to catching more peepers.

Aren’t these glimpses into indie marketing for social media so fascinating? No? Yeah, I didn’t think so either. So, let’s move on to the book excerpt…
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Monica is surrounded in her bed, with me and Jesse standing over one side, and her parents on the other. Pi and Josie are at the foot of the bed, and Evan is sitting in a chair across the room with Uncle John and Brandon standing on either side of him. Continue reading


I’m moving just up the block on Twitter

Tuesday I did something I’ve been contemplating for a long time now, going back to the point that I deleted all my old posts on this blog to start over. I started a new Twitter account, in effect rebooting my social self. Unlike the blog, I did not delete my old account just yet. That will happen in January, and in the meantime, I’m posting notices every day that I’m moving addresses. That way if someone wants to follow me over, they can.

The reason why it took me so long to reach a decision on this is due in most part to my follower count, which at present is 1,947. But lately I’ve come to realize that maybe half of that count is marketing accounts. They started off with people behind them, but then one day the owner of the account decided to use a bot to post ads for their stuff, and they never came back. They don’t engage with anyone, they just toss out the same 5 or 6 tweets every few hours to keep their stuff in the stream. (And by stuff, I mean books, music, and marketing services.) So really, what’s the point of keeping 1,000 followers if they never read what I’m saying day to day?

There’s also a very compelling reason for me to start fresh. More and more often, I see on blogs and in comments that Twitter is regarded as one of the most toxic social sites these days. I think it’s no more or less toxic than, say Facebook or Tumblr, but Twitter stands out more because it’s where so many people go to just rant about everything that’s bugging them. It’s a micro-journal, but I think lots of people end up getting tunnel vision, only using Twitter to air their anger without giving their positive side an equal chance to to be shown. People reading their streams get triggered by that negativity and go on the attack, and soon, it’s all just one big fight that no one can possibly win. Continue reading


Book excerpt from Wolf in the Headlights

This is the first of several excerpts I’ll be posting over the next few weeks for Wolf in the Headlights (Alice the Wolf 4), as has become my custom when I release new books. This time, I’m offering at peek a part of chapter 6, following immediately after a big fight. (Wouldn’t want to give away all the best bits, right?)
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The gauntlet is breaking down as most of our opponents divide to run left or right up the halls to deal with the larger packs of dogs led by the Prestons. At this point, I have trouble finding anyone to hit because one member or the other from my pack is mauling them before I get within range.

I get to the corner where the counselor’s office is, and I’m thinking this is way, way too easy. Aisha and Regina have a huge army at their disposal, so why are there so few skilled fighters involved in this attack? The only conclusion I can come to is that this is a diversion.

Maybe Aisha will humor me with an answer.

I open the door and walk inside. Aisha has Monica tied to a chair with duct tape, and she has a knife to Monica’s throat. Monica’s mouth is covered in more tape, a move I almost understand given Monica’s typical bluntness. Continue reading


New Release! Wolf in the Headlights

This has been a long, long time coming, but at long last, I have a new book out. (Hard to believe that when I started writing, I was able to put out a book every three months.) Here, finally, is the cover and blurb for Wolf in the Headlights (Alice the Wolf 4):

Life as a pack alpha hasn’t been easy for Alice. She’s lost loved ones, struggled with raising a child on her own, battled an army intent on slaughtering her and her allies, and barely survived a deadly disease that’s left her scarred and weakened. A quiet life seems even more impossible with the looming threat of war against Regina Burke and Aisha Warner and their combined forces.

But her enemies have come up with a new plan to publicly expose her as a lycanthrope. Alice is forced to play along, polishing her public image while at the same time building her pack into an army of her own. As if that weren’t enough to keep her nerves frayed, she has to take responsibility for a packmate fleeing from a bad home, avoid a band of determined assassins, and still find time for homework. It’s a tall order even for Alice the unflappable.

Could life get any more complicated? Unfortunately, yes.

Wolf in the Headlights is $4.99 and can be found at Amazon, Kobo, Nook, and on the blog bookstore. (Keep in mind the price will be different if you live outside the US.)

Continue reading


Game review: Dead Cells for PC

You probably expected this review to come out sooner, and to be honest, I did too. I’d purchased Dead Cells when it was still in early access. If you know me on Twitter, you know from my rants that I hate early access and refuse to pay to beta test for most companies. But after watching multiple Let’s Play videos and seeing how smooth the game play was, I decided to take a risk and pick the game up early. Before I even get to the proper review, I would like to offer kudos to the developer for releasing an early access product that was fantastically stable. In the thirty hours I played before moving to the full release, I never once had a crash or any kind of glitch. You can’t even see that in many triple A games after their obligatory day one patch.

Once the game went gold, I got a notification in-game that I should start a new game to experience “the full story,” and I did so with much trepidation for reasons I will explain later. From that point forward, I put another seventy-seven hours into the game, for a grand total of 107. So, know this review is coming after much kicking of the virtual tires, and that despite what I’m going to say, I will continue playing the game for a long time after this is published.

So….Dead Cells is a game I’d really like to hate. I can’t because it’s stable, it’s got gorgeous graphics, and fantastic music and sound effects. But I want to hate it because of the controls and because of the absolute pain it was to gather the main tools of movement within the game, runes. I want to hate it because much like Binding of Isaac, success or failure often comes down to the tools randomly doled out to me in the course of a run. I want to hate it because much like Binding of Isaac, so much of my time is spent groaning over bullshit created by RNGesus that it dilutes the times where I am actually enjoying the game.

Don’t get me wrong, on a good run with fun weapons and skills, this is mostly a joy to play. But a bad run will often be followed by another, and another, and given that a run to the last boss takes me around an hour and thirty minutes, those bad runs can often make me feel like I’ve wasted my time for nothing. (Y’all speed runners are probably snickering over my run time, and y’all can bite me.) Continue reading


It’s time to talk about Dark Souls Remastered (On PC)

All right, first let me apologize for the lack of content in forever. I’ve started and given up on three books, two of which were sequels from first books that I loved. We’re still flat broke, so aside from a few indie games that I’m not ready to review yet, I’ve only been playing old games over and over. But as you can probably guess from the title, one of those old games is technically new again.

When Dark Souls Remastered was announced, I restarted the Prepare to Die edition because I was certain a lot of older players would be dusting off their copies to get back in for some practice. I totally called that, for the first time being able to play with a world full of invasions and summon signs. I also got to see once again the WORST parts of the PC port, even with DSFix installed. For me, the single biggest problem was the game hanging in certain places like Quelaag’s Domain. There, I might have the screen freeze for up to five seconds. But the absolute worst place for hanging is the Firesage Demon boss fight, where if I don’t move to the far end of the arena, the game will hang for five to six seconds at a time every ten seconds or so. There are other examples I could give, but these were the most extreme.

I want to address the controversy around the price versus what you get in the remaster, and I want to start by saying that with me already owning the PC port, I got the remaster for half price. To me, all the new version had to do was fix those extreme moments of hang ups and it would be worth twenty euros. Part of this is because I got the PtD version on sale for ten euros. So with the two versions combined, I’m still not up to the forty euro asking price for newcomers or folks converting from a console version. But if you’re among the folks who looked at the new features and fixes and said “This is just DSFix and some minor graphics upgrades for an insane asking price,” I want to say…you’re not wrong. In fact I’ll go so far as to say your anger is justified. This is a lazy, lazy port, so lazy that FromSoftware couldn’t be bothered to do it themselves. Continue reading