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My First Novel: Knight Errant

My First Novel: Knight Errant

My first novel has finally been published. I wrote it with a long time friend of mine, Paul Barrett. He has several books out, one of which is in the sidebar. As you can likely tell from the cover of Knight Errant, the genre is Science Fiction/Space Opera. It is now available in eBook and paperback. So choose your preferred format or platform below and…

Buy The Book! Search your favorite platform using the listed ISBN number or click on one of the icons below and they will take you straight to it.

ISBN: 978-1-946143-29-7  ~  Paperback  ~ $18.99 ~ Available Now

ISBN: 978-1-946143-28-0  ~  eBook  ~  $7.99 ~ Orders on eBook Available Now

                eBook Link   

 Paperback Link

All books today are driven by reviews online. So if you like it, please leave a review. This pushes the book up into “suggested for you” or “others who bought this book also bought…” status.  I hope you enjoy it and let me know what you think.

Thanks, Steve

Happy Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day

Letter To The NFL on Veterans Day ~ Author Unknown

—-If I have brain cancer, I don’t ask my dentist what I should do.  If my car has a problem, I don’t seek help from a plumber!  Why do you think the public cares what a football player thinks about politics?  If we want to know about football, then depending on the information we seek, we might consult with you, but even a quarterback doesn’t seek advice on playing his position from a defensive tackle!

You seem to have this over inflated view of yourselves, thinking because you enjoy working on such a large scale stage, that somehow your opinion about everything matters.  The NFL realizes the importance of its “image” so it has rules that specify the clothes and insignia you can wear, the language you use, and your “antics” after a touchdown or other “great” play.  But somehow you and your employers don’t seem to care that you disgrace the entire nation and its 320 million people in the eyes of the world by publicly disrespecting this country, its flag, and its anthem!  The taxpaying citizens of this country subsidize your plush work environments, yet you choose to use those venues to openly offend those very citizens.

Do you even understand what the flag of this country means to so many of its citizens before you choose to “take a knee” in protest of this “country” during our national anthem?

You may think because you are paid so much that your job is tough, but you are clueless when it comes to tough.  Let me show you those whose job is really tough.

You are spoiled babies who stand around and have staff squirt GatorAid in your mouths, sit in front of misting cooling fans when it’s warm, and sit on heated benches when it’s cold.  That’s not “tough” that’s pampered.

You think that you deserve to be paid excessively high salaries, because you play a “dangerous” game where you can incur career ending injuries.  Let me show you career ending injuries!

You think you that you deserve immediate medical attention and the best medical facilities and doctors when injured. Let me show you what it’s like for those who really need and deserve medical attention.

 
 You think you have the right to disrespect the flag of the United States, the one our veterans fought for, risked limbs and mental stability to defend, in many cases died for.  Let me show you what our flag means to them, their families and their friends.

You believe you are our heroes, when in reality you are nothing but overpaid entertainers, who exist solely for our enjoyment!  Well, your current antics are neither entertaining nor enjoyable, but rather a disgrace to this country, its citizens, all our veterans and their families and the sacrifices they have made to ensure this country remains free.

You choose to openly disgrace this country in the eyes of the rest of the world, yet with all your money, still choose to live here rather than in any other country.

People with even the slightest amount of “Class” will stand and respect our flag.

Where does that put you?

You want to see heroes… here are this countries heroes!

You can protest policies, the current government, or anything else you choose, that is your right.  But when you “protest” our flag and anthem, you are insulting the nation we all live in and love, and all those who have served, been injured, or died to keep it free.  There is nothing you can do or say that can make your actions anything more than the arrogance of classless people, who care about themselves more than our country or the freedoms for which our veterans and their families have sacrificed so much, to ensure you have the “right” to speak freely.  Our country is far from perfect, but if you can point to any other country where your freedom and opportunities are better than they are here, then you just might want to move there and show respect for their flag!

Happy Veterans Day To You Veterans! 
I stole this from Woodsterman’s site. See below: And thanks.
 The Woodsterman ~ Vietnam 12/68 – 12/69
Book Reviews

Book Reviews

I stole this from Peter Grant over at his blog. I really need to learn how to link other blogs. He does a great job of explaining how book reviews drive sales and why new and independent authors shamelessly ask readers for them.

“No reviews, no revenue”

I know some readers find it frustrating when independent authors, such as myself, ask readers of their books to leave reviews on Amazon.com.  They don’t like to be bombarded with such pleas.  I try very hard not to issue such appeals too often:  but reviews are important, as the New York Post explains.

No reviews, no revenue.

That’s the key takeaway from a new study published in Psychological Science, which finds that if two similar products have the same rating, online shoppers will buy the one with more reviews.

. . .

The study concluded that consumers see products with more reviews as being more popular, and they’re more comfortable having what everyone else is having, regardless of quality.

“[When] faced with a choice between two low-scoring products, one with many reviews and one with few, the statistics say we should actually go for the product with few reviews, since there’s more of a chance it’s not really so bad,” wrote researcher Derek Powell of Stanford University, lead author of the report. In other words, when there’s only a handful of reviews, a few bad ones break the curve and bring down the overall rating.

“But participants in our studies did just the opposite: They went for the more popular product, despite the fact that they should’ve been even more certain it was of low quality,” he wrote.

Matt Moog, CEO of PowerReviews, previously conducted a study with Northwestern University that drew from an even larger data pool of 400 million consumers, which also found that the more reviews there are of a product, the more likely it is that a customer will purchase that product. “Around 20 [and running up to 50] is the optimal number of reviews for a product to have to give consumers the confidence that this product has been tried enough by enough people,” he told Moneyish.

. . .

Most online shoppers (97 percent to be exact) say reviews influence their buying decisions, according to Fan & Fuel Digital Marketing Group, which also found that 92 percent of consumers will hesitate to buy something if it has no customer reviews at all.

And 73 percent of shoppers say written reviews make more of an impression on them than the star or number ratings, according to Deloitte.

There’s more at the link.

I guess that shows why writers beg, plead and grovel for reviews!  I always tell people to leave an honest review, too.  If you didn’t like my book(s), feel free to say so, and why;  but if you did like them, please say that, too (and why).  It not only helps me write better in future (and I do take such feedback seriously), but it also helps potential readers assess my books and decide for themselves whether or not they’d like to ‘take a chance’ on a new-to-them author.

Interestingly, even negative reviews can help sell products to people who know what they’re looking for.  For example, one of my wife’s favorite cookbooks was bought because of a one-star review.  The reviewer complained that it was nothing but a selection of the best recipes from four previous cookbooks by the same author.  She felt cheated, because she owned the other books, and would not have bought this one if she’d known that.  My wife, on the other hand, read the review, and realized that by buying one book, she’d get the best parts of four others.  Sold!  Another example;  several readers, of varying political persuasions, have told me that they’ve sometimes bought a book in that field because of negative comments from reviewers of an opposing point of view.  If a left-wing reviewer attacks a right-wing book, a right-wing reader might buy it because of that, and vice versa.  I’ve never done that myself, but it makes sense to me.

So, dear readers;  if you’ve read my book(s), and haven’t yet left a review of it/them on Amazon.com, please do so.  Thanks!

Peter

Working on Book 2

Working on Book 2

32,000 words and counting on book 2. Needed a little bump so I walked over to the Starbucks that also just so happens to be in Barnes and Noble. The Barnes and Noble people would say that I walked over to the bookstore that happened to have a Starbucks inside. Either way, I Win. I got the mango black iced tea sweetened with lemonade. A most excellent choice for a hot summer day.

Thanks to all who bought the book so far, especially to Gary and Eric who also left a review. If you read it and like it, please leave a review, it helps drive positioning on Amazon.

For those of you with good monitors, you can see that Ashron and Laura are in book two and at least survive to page 85. Dr. Griid may or may not be wearing a red shirt. I haven’t decided yet. That may or may not have been a Star Trek reference. If you don’t know who Ashron or Laura are… Buy the first book. You won’t be disappointed. You’ll have to buy book to to see who Dr. Griid and Sam are.

Back at it Gary… Shaking the tree boss.

Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde

After driving back roads from Arches to Colorado, I came to a small town called Marcos. I saw what looked like a cool little restaurant with outdoor seating. After leaving 100+ temperatures, the 83 degrees in Colorado was a welcome change. The restaurant was Millwood Junction and I had their Ruben with macaroni salad.

Yes it was as good as it looked. I also drank about 800 gallons of tea. I suppose maybe I was a little dehydrated. So I asked the waitress what I should see while I was here. Without hesitation she said that Mesa Verde was a must see. And it was only 8 miles up the road. Awesome. Finished lunch and headed that way. I had no idea what Mesa Verde was. Dumb tourist.

By the way, the park pass I bought for $80 more than paid for itself on this trip.

The only campground in the park is Morefield Campground. It had plenty of availability so I took site 56 in the Zuni loop at $31.44 a night. The sites are average and not very well maintained. The staff up at Knife Edge were very nice. Knife Edge is the camp store etc. they have a nice store, gasoline pumps, showers, laundry facilities and a little grill with wifi. I asked one of the staff there what she felt was the must see part of the park. She recommended the Balcony House tour, but said I would need to get a ticket as it is a Ranger guided tour. I’m not much on tours but she said that was the only way to see this particular place. Tickets were only $5 so I picked one up for the earliest tour the next day. I was not disappointed.

I got there early and waited for the tour. I knew we would get to see the ruins but I still didn’t know we were going to be able to walk and climb through them. By the way, if you have a fear of heights or cramped places don’t take this tour. There are several others that have much easier access.

This is the view from above Balcony House.

The ladder up from below.

Same ladder from above.

This is the first room. Taking the first tour of the day assures that you are the only group there and provides a much better experience.

This is one of the “balcony’s” that the house is named for. Still the original materials.

Selfie.

View of the next room through a window.

The next room we entered.

The floor was amazingly smooth and flat.

This is one of the reasons they built here. This is a cistern where water would collect because of the differences in rock structure.

Fire pit and vent. They would cover this area with a roof of poles and brush to provide shelter in the winter. This is called a Kiva.

Our ranger. Notice that there are no guard rails. Darwin approves.

Another Kiva.

Ladders up and back to the top. That’s Bill and his family from Pennsylvania. He is a General Contractor on vacation. They were just an awesome family.

Ladder from the midway point. To get to that landing you had to crawl through an 18 inch opening for about 10 feet. Bill had to crawl through at an angle. I took a picture but it was so dark that it didn’t turn out. Again, heights and small spaces. Take another tour if you don’t like them.

Second ladder up.

Back up top. If you are in to history and ancient civilizations, I highly recommend Mesa Verde. And take the tour, you will not be disappointed.

Some more pictures of the area.

 

 

 

 

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Up early (5:30 am) to beat the heat. I wanted to get inside the park and to Delicate Arch by 6:30 am. Ate a granola bar and drank plenty of water on the way there.

This is what part of the trail looks like on the hike up to Delicate Arch. The camera doesn’t do the drop-off  on the right justice. The trail is about 3 miles round trip, with of course the first part being very much an up hill slog.

Here is Delicate Arch in the morning light. There is a person standing on the bottom left to give you a perspective on the size. Apparently quite a few others had the same idea I did about getting up early…

Here is the crowd that beat me up to the arch. So much for originality, being the early bird and all that.

This is a view of the parking lot from about half way up the hike.

And the obligatory selfie.

This cabin was part of a homestead from the early 1800’s. This cabin was built in 1906.

Some of the original fencing still remains.

This is the entrance to Sandy Arch. It was surprisingly cool inside.

A narrow entrance, but the way it sits, there was a nice breeze the entire time.

Sandy Arch, aptly named. The kids in the photo were having a great time. There was a Ranger here who said I should go up above and take a look around. So I bouldered (sp) up a little higher to get a few shots of the area.

In case you are wondering, there is only a 10 second timer on my camera, so sometimes these shots can be challenging.

This is the area above Sandy Arch. Neat terrain and out of the sun.

There was a trail across the desert floor to Broken Arch, you can see it in the distance. Back out in the sun it was hot and I didn’t see anyone on the trail, so why not, off I went.

I didn’t see anyone coming or going, just the way I like it.

So when I finally made it to Broken Arch, I was the only one there. Sweet.

Perspective shot.

From the other side with the sun.

This guy was unafraid along the trail back. I tried to get a couple of lizards but they were too quick.

Lots of cactus along the way; this is where the reptiles were darting around but I couldn’t get any of them.

I can’t remember what this formation is called but I would call it precarious.

All in all, Arches NP is a must see if you are travelling to Utah. Of the places I visited, this was my favorite. Go early, drink lots of water and you won’t be disappointed. Next stop: Colorado.

Pic Dump:

Moab Utah

Moab Utah

Took back roads from Brice to Moab Utah. The views along the way are awesome. These roads, like a lot of roads out west, wind their way through the middle of nowhere. The majority of which, are in open range country.

Now these cows really don’t care.

Same cows, just further along.

Different cows, different road, closer to Moab.

This is the road in to Moab. As I said, lots of open country.

Here is the Colorado river that runs along Arches and Moab. It was 108 degrees in the shade here so sleeping in the back of the truck was out of the question. (Keep your comments to yourselves). So I stayed in a hotel, the Inca Inn. Drove around Moab to get my bearings, then went to a TexMex place to grab some chow.

Chips, salsa, guacamole, chilies and a local Moab brewery beer. The AC was going full blast but it was still warm inside the restaurant. After dinner I went back to take a shower and get ready for Arches in the morning.

This was a surprise; not really sure what to say, my mind strays down to the gutter and I’ll leave it at that.

Tomorrow – Arches NP

 

 

 

 

Brice Canyon

Brice Canyon

I have stayed mostly on East coast time this trip so I am usually up at dawn and on location by sunrise or shortly thereafter. This is Brice Canyon. Another stunning location in Utah. However I will say that Zion and Red Canyon are visually better. It would depend on the time you have set aside for your trip. If you can see all three, they are very close together and worth checking out. If you set aside enough time for only one I would take the whole day and spend it in Zion; taking the shuttles and spending time at each stop.

Can you tell it’s still early? Not my best side… As I said I got up early, so there was nobody in the park. This is the main parking lot overlooking the arch, and I had the whole place to my self. I’m not big on crowds so this was awesome.

This is the view from the above mentioned parking lot.

Another shot with a different filter; not much difference really. Still worth looking at a second time.

This is the top and end of the road in Brice Canyon. There was one other car up here when I arrived.

Makes you wonder if other countries post the obvious or are they so worried about law suits that this is necessary? Easily half the people I encountered out in the parks were from overseas, I should have asked.

Speaking of signs, I forgot to put this one in an earlier post. This will give you a warm fuzzy feeling at night. This was in the campground at Mt. Rainier. The “more information” basically said to run if there was any sign of geothermic activity…very helpful.

Another shot of Brice Canyon as the sun hit the cliffs. The camera just doesn’t do it justice.

The other side. The haze you see in some of the pictures are actually from the wild fires out west. There were several big fires out here during my travels.

This guy was making his way across the road while I stood near by quietly.

He also had several does with him. Utah is mostly geological but there is still plenty of nature to see.