Friday, July 27, 2018

The thing about fighting evil? It keeps coming back.

As the sole survivor of a Taliban POW camp, Steve Petersen is damaged goods. He is convinced that he left his sanity within the horror-filled walls that held him captive for the better part of a year. His mind is trapped in moments of graphic, soul-crushing flashbacks, and his only solace is the momentary reprieve he gains from alcohol and drugs.

When he mysteriously wakes in a bright and cheery bedroom that belongs to a woman he barely remembers meeting, he knows he should leave. He should save the widow Anna from his own special brand of crazy. Leaving is not as easy as one would think, and he finds himself drawn into a world of real life problems such as folding laundry, and what to make for dinner.

This new way of life eases his need for drowning his pain in substances and offers moments of quiet healing – until Anna disappears. To save her, Steve must face the demons that have tortured him for so long and return to the place where it all began. Afghanistan.


Flashback has been previously released by Desert Breeze Publishing. The new, re-edited edition will be re-released on August 1st 2018. It is available for pre-order now.

Excerpt:

Life outside could sure be exhausting. Anna went into the kitchen, and Steve rested his head back and closed his eyes. Listening to her hum a song, just a little out of tune as she loaded the coffee maker soothed his nerves.
A hard rattling sound made him open his eyes again. 
Gunshots, and they were close. 
Anna still sang, and she would be an easy target.
He ran through the apartment, making sure to stay away from the windows. Peeking around the corner, his beautiful fiancée was oblivious to the danger.
Women.
How did they survive?
He sprung out from his hiding place behind the wall, shoved her down on the floor, and threw himself over her. After all she did for him, protecting her with his own body was the least he could do.
Anna wheezed, clearly trying to draw a breath.
“Sssh, they’re coming.”
She lay on her back, and the question in her eyes was clear. Have you lost your mind? Of course he had, a long time ago. She should know. 
When she opened her mouth, he covered it with his hand, so she couldn’t draw attention to them.
“Don’t you hear them? The shots?”
She shook her head and closed her fingers around his wrist, attempting to pull his hand away.
“I think we’re safe, but be very quiet.”

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Hot, hot, hot

It's hot. After living in Florida for nearly a decade you wouldn't think I'd find Sweden hot, but this summer has been like an oven.

It's not just my perception - this is the hottest and driest summer Sweden has experienced. I am tempted to say "ever," but meteorologists stick with "in recorded history." That's still hundreds of years.

My thermometers climb up in the 30s (Celsius) in the shade every day, and have done so pretty much since the snow disappeared. My county is almost out of water - it has only rained a few times all summer - and the country as a whole is experiencing the largest fires ever seen.

We've had firefighters from nearly a dozen different nations here to help. These trucks on this photo came up from Poland. Once they set wheels in Sweden, they had to drive for many, many hours to reach the areas where they were most needed.


The heat and drought could be a fluke. But, considering the weird weather we had during winter - I doubt it.

The past winter was cold and snowy all over Europe, because the air over the Arctic was too warm, pressing the cold south and changing our normal wind patterns.

Of course, the climate on Earth isn't just dependent on our planet - the sun goes through phases as well - but we can't do anything about that.

Anyway, the knee-jerk reaction of running out of water is to stop using water for plants. I think this is a horrible idea, and by now I'm pretty sure the county government has labeled me as a crazy person. That's okay.

I'm not saying we have to use our fresh water supply to keep the plants alive - they don't care if their water is drinkable to us or not - but if we don't have fresh water, we need to start reusing water to save them. We cannot let them die.

Other areas of the world already recycle water for the use of plants, but we haven't had to do that in the past. I am convinced we need to get used to the idea and start building systems for the future - the plants are the most important things we have at this point in time.

Plants are the lungs of our planet, and they can assimilate various gasses and produce oxygen and so on. Plants support insects and wildlife, even the soil - and us.

Plants play an important part in the cycle of water. The less plants we have, the less rain we'll have. (The interaction of plants with rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere is more complicated than this, but for this line of reasoning, that doesn't matter.)



We're a little funny here in Sweden. We're about, let's see... We're 10,000,000 people. The world has about 7,639,000,000 inhabitants. What's 10 million divided by 7.6 billion? Around 0.001. Not a huge part of the world's population. We still have a kind of hubris and believe we can reverse climate change all on our own. Like, if all Swedes just stopped using fossil fuels and plastic products, all would be well.

Not all 7.6 billion of the people in the world contribute greatly to the greenhouse effect, but the Swedish population is still so small we're negligible.

However, we have the 55th largest landmass in the world.

Keeping it green during the seasons when it can be green could make a difference. Instead we're letting it wither and die. One known side-effect of high CO2 levels in the atmosphere is that it disturbs the plants' cooling system. This disrupts the water cycle, pushing water directly to lakes and streams instead of returning it to the air. Having fewer plants will make this even worse.

What can I do besides preach?

More than I thought before I started.

I've stopped using salt when cooking vegetables, pasta, and similar, so I can use the water for the plants once it cools. All the water used for rinsing out my finicky pets' water bowls now go on the plants, and I've started building a system with water barrels, so I can catch the rainwater we do get from the drains on the buildings in my yard. It's a work in progress, but I will keep my little corner of the world as green and blooming as I can.

In the big picture that might not matter at all, but on the other hand, it might. It matters for all the little bumblebees, butterflies, and other creatures who come here to eat.



Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Nesting

I've never been interested in preserving foods. It has seemed super boring and superfluous - there's food in the store. This year, my subconscious has kicked in some weird nesting instinct. 

A part of me in convinced the pets and I will starve this winter if I don't hoard food, grab everything in sight, and put it in jars. My smart brain cell knows this is silly, but somehow stupid brain cell persuades it we need more jars.

And apples in jars, tomatoes in jars, peppers in jars, cherries in jars...

Stupid brain cell has even suggested taking the food cellar into use. That part of my brain claims it could look like this and be awesome. In reality, it's a crammed and creepy space with 5 ft ceiling height.

I'm a lot taller than 5 ft - the cellar seems created by and for a hobbit. I've never been in there, just peeked through the door. Still, stupid brain cell can be persuasive. Like, "If you don't want to use the one we have, how 'bout building a new one?" Because that's what we need.

Munching all this will be great during winter, but smart brain cell still thinks it's weird. Though, not weird enough to prevent looking up more recipes. What can I say - I do like to eat, lol.

Friday, July 20, 2018

The next book in the Embarkment saga is here!

I started promising people the book was "almost done" a few years ago. It has remained "almost done" for an admirable amount of time. But now it's here, and it's called Anguish and Hope. 

Will it be the last one? Not likely - these characters are active and they will want to appear in more books. But, now I have learned my lesson - I will not give a time frame.


The beginning:

Adam’s footsteps echoed through a long corridor. 
Except for needing maintenance, the Palmetto wasn’t a bad ship, not really, but he still hated it. 
He suppressed the emotions through an act of will. His crew should not know their android captain’s aversion to the ship or the mission, or to being there in the first place. He committed to this to help his wife save his father, and he would have to see it through. Even if it made him want to disassemble his own head.
Alex. The woman who sacrificed her life for him in the distant past: 2014. He brought her to his own time and world to save her, and for years they were inseparable. His affection for her was hardcoded with his base programming, a part of his mind that served much like the autonomic nervous system in a human. It contained things he knew and did without having to think about it. He put her there, not because she wanted him to or asked him to, but because he saw no other way to live. He needed her.
If Alex had been on the ship, he would have loved it. Now it was just one more obstacle that kept him from going home.
I should send her a message. Let her know I’m still alive.
He had intended to do so many times, but something always prevented it. If he hadn’t been so firmly rooted in logic, he would have thought the ship itself worked against him. It acted like a jealous lover who would rather sport an engine fire or mainframe breakdown than allow him to contact his wife.
Maybe he could get a message out if he did it right now, before anything else happened.
Running footsteps approached. “Captain, we have arrived at PB6524. There’s no sign of any technology or facility.”
That didn’t mean it wasn’t there. Though, it seemed unlikely on a planet so far out no one even bothered to name it.
“May I ask why you come running to tell me this instead of using the radio?”
At least the ensign had caught his breath. 
Humans had so many funny expressions. He’d never seen a person reach out and actually catch their breath. Doing so wouldn’t be possible.
“Com system is down, Sir.”
Of course it was.



The books in the Embarkment 2577 series are:

The first four are novellas, also available in a collection volume: Embarkment 2577. It has gotten a new cover, courtesy of Juan Villar Padron. I love it - it looks like a movie poster!


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Conversion has gotten a new cover - and some new chapters.


My novella Conversion has gotten a face lift. It has a gorgeous new cover by Juan Villar Padron, and it has gotten a few new chapters, to round off the ending better.

If you already have it as e-book, it should be possible to update to the new version through the Amazon website. You should be able to get the new version under "Your Account" and "Your Content and Devices."

Blurb:

Rhodesia runs through the forest, hunted by creatures wearing the faces of people she loves. They plead to her to wait in the voices of her family, and the sound sends chills down her back. What is worse? Succumbing, and becoming a mindless drone with the others, or perishing in the forest, alone?

Roy Planter is a man with a mission, and he has no intention of staying on a plague-ridden planet where more humans turn into mindless drones every day. Being stuck in a city, grouped with a sword-wielding stick insect of a man and a busty blonde with a too vivid sense of humor are only temporary setbacks. He's leaving, first chance he gets. At least that's what he thinks until Rhodesia arrives.

Caring for someone will not make his life easier, but can he really leave her behind?

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Do men know when they're mansplaining?

To comment on or explain something to a woman in a condescending, overconfident, and often inaccurate or oversimplified manner".
Funny examples from my own life:

  • The man who will explain to the woman where her house is, even though she lives there and he was unable to find it
  • The man who knows nothing about music, yet feels the urge to explain "how all songs are really the same" to a woman as soon as he learns she's a musician
  • The man who insists on explaining how to move a file - to a female network engineer
We've all encountered it. I'm sure most men have heard another guy do it too.

But, why?

Are men aware of doing it?

What's the most hilarious example you've heard?

Happy Valentine's Day

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