The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . City Pays Alcoholics with Beer

By Piper Bayard

Canstock 2014 Oct Street cleaner

Amsterdam Pays Alcoholics in Beer to Clean Streets

 

 

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order:

New York Times bestseller and former Green Beret Bob Mayer asks, Why Do You Write?  Check out Bob’s latest, ShIT Doesn’t Just Happen:  The Gift of Failure.

Ten Things to Never Say to a Writer by the hysterical and perceptive bestselling author Chuck Wendig.

Your Amazon Account Can Be Hacked Via a Kindle eBookvia author and heckuva guy Nigel Blackwell.

Wiki 2014 Oct Navy SEALs shooting US Navy public domain

 

How Navy SEALs Use Shooting Fundamentals to Forge Elite Warriors, by retired Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer and bestselling author Chris Sajnog.

Perry Block clues us in on 60 Signs You’re Way Past Middle Age.

Author, publishing attorney, and “reefer” Susan Spann tells us about Engineer Gobies in Engineering on the Reef.

Congratulations to K.B. Owen on the release of her third Concordia Wells mystery, Unseemly Ambition.

 

Unseemly Ambition

18 Kids Who Definitely Bested Their Teachers, via author Kait Nolan.

Via backpacker and professional photographer Steve Griffin, The Worst Hiking Partner Behaviors.

Kudos to American Raven-Symone:  “I’m Tired of Being Labeled.” This took some guts on her part.

And near and dear to my heart, Scientists Take a Look at the Feel-Good Benefits of Belly Dance, via lovely dancer and graceful lady Christine Moore.

Here’s your adorable fix for the week — Cute Baby Seal Joins Surfers for a Ride.

 

 

This Week’s Campaign Style Poll:

 

 

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 RISKY BRIDES

Limited Time Edition Now Available for Pre-Order!

Bayard & Holmes debut novella, THE SPY BRIDE, in this multi-genre

bestsellers’ collection.

The Spy Bride Risky Brides Boxed Set final Cover

8 Risky Brides — 8 Novels & Novellas

Looking for your next must-read author? You’ll find him or her in this limited-time-only collection. USA Today Bestsellers, (Vicki Hinze, Rita Herron, Donna Fletcher, Peggy Webb, Kathy Carmichael) veteran authors, (Kimberly Llewellyn and Tara Randel) and dynamic newcomers, (Bayard & Holmes)—all share their unique take on what it means to be a risky bride.

Spy Truth & Fiction — Automatics, Semi-Automatics, and Revolvers

By Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

There are basically three types of handguns—the revolver, the semi-automatic, and the automatic. All three are commonly misnamed or misrepresented in fiction.

 

Gunner's Mate 1st Class Montrell Dorsey with M240B automatic weapon Image by US Navy, public domain

Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Montrell Dorsey with
M240B automatic weapon
Image by US Navy, public domain

 

With an automatic weapon, the cartridges load into a removable magazine. It’s called automatic because when you pull the trigger, it automatically fires repeated bullets until you take your finger off of the trigger. As the shooter fires, the brass shells of the cartridges are ejected from the weapon.

 

Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380 semi-automatic Image by Avicennasis, wikimedia commons.

Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380 semi-automatic
Image by Avicennasis, wikimedia commons.

 

A semi-automatic also has cartridges that load into a removable magazine, which, in a pistol such as this one, fits into the handle of the gun. However, one trigger pull equals one shot, and the brass shell from each cartridge is automatically ejected. The weapon does not automatically keep firing.

It’s very common for a semi-automatic to be inaccurately referred to throughout media, movies, and TV as an “automatic” weapon. No matter how hot the journalist, movie star, or soap opera star might be, don’t believe it just because they say it.

 

Piper in the remake of Dirty Harry

Piper in the remake of Dirty Harry

 

A revolver is so called because the cartirdges reside in a revolving cylinder. Like the semi-automatic, one trigger pull equals one shot. However, the brass shells are not ejected automatically. A shooter must open the cylinder and eject all of the shells simultaneously.

Not to knock one of Piper’s favorites, The Walking Dead, but if you listen closely when Rick fires his Colt Python .357, you will sometimes hear the sound of ejected brass hitting the floor with each shot—something only semi-automatics and automatics do. Total audio fiction.

Now it’s your turn. What Spy Truth & Fiction questions do you have for us?

 

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

 RISKY BRIDES

Limited Time Edition Now Available for Pre-Order!

Bayard & Holmes debut novella, THE SPY BRIDE, in this multi-genre

bestsellers’ collection.

The Spy Bride Risky Brides Boxed Set final Cover

8 Risky Brides — 8 Novels & Novellas

Looking for your next must-read author? You’ll find him or her in this limited-time-only collection. USA Today Bestsellers, (Vicki Hinze, Rita Herron, Donna Fletcher, Peggy Webb, Kathy Carmichael) veteran authors, (Kimberly Llewellyn and Tara Randel) and dynamic newcomers, (Bayard & Holmes)—all share their unique take on what it means to be a risky bride.

Becoming Josephine — From Carefree Creole to Empress of France

By Piper Bayard

In BECOMING JOSEPHINE, Heather Webb eloquently traces the transformation of Rose Tascher, carefree Caribbean island girl, to Empress Josephine, wife of the most powerful man of her century—Napoléon Bonaparte.

 

Becoming Josephine by Heather Webb

 

Rose Tascher is a daydreaming Creole in Martinique who fantasizes of adventures in Paris and a grand life at the French court. When her beloved sister dies, Rose is sent in her place to marry Alexandre, an aristocrat and soldier. Before long, the stage of fancy dresses and glitzy balls devolves into a harrowing era of political witch hunts, when no one’s neck is safe from the guillotine. After narrowly escaping death in the infamous Les Carmes prison, Rose once more climbs her way up the social ladder. With her youth fading, along with her options for independence, her courtship with General Bonaparte ensues, and their rise to ultimate power begins.

Webb paints history with linguistic finesse, depicting characters and events with colorful, active palettes of expression. She draws her readers into the fear, uncertainty, and upheaval of revolutionary France through her vivid portrayal of Josephine Bonaparte as a passionate, imperfect, determined survivor. BECOMING JOSEPHINE is not only a refreshing perspective on the Napoleonic Era, it’s a great story.

Highly recommended.

 

 

FIRELANDS 5-Star Dystopian Thriller — On Sale at Kindle for $0.99

 

Firelands Cover

 

Eighty years in the future, America has devolved into a totalitarian theocracy. The ruling Josephites clone the only seeds that grow in the post-apocalyptic climate, allowing their Prophet to control who eats, who starves, and who dies in the ritual fires that atone society.

Subsisting on the fringes, Archer risks violation and death each day as she scours the forest for game to feed her people. When a Josephite refugee seeks sanctuary in her home, Archer is driven to chance a desperate gamble. A gamble that will bring down the Prophet and deliver seeds and freedom, or end in a fiery death for herself and for everyone she loves.

Seeds are life . . . Seeds are power . . . Seeds are the only hope of a despairing people. What will Archer do for the seeds of freedom, and what will she justify in their name?

Field on Fire Canstock

Praise for FIRELANDS

“Piper Bayard’s FIRELANDS is a harrowing and cautionary tale of a world in strife, of men and women struggling to survive amidst the fiery apocalyptic ruins of modern society.  Thrilling, moving, and ultimately hopeful, here is a novel to be savored long after you turn the last page.”

James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of Bloodline

“With great characters and an amazing world that both mystifies and terrifies, FIRELANDS deserves to be mentioned with the other great dystopian novels of the past three years.”

Jeff Ayers, Author Magazine

“With echoes of Under the Banner of Heaven and The Hunger Games,  FIRELANDS is a sprawling adventure ranging across a world racked by post-apocalyptic want, denial, and prophetic dictum. Equal parts heroic quest and morality play, it races forward on a current of deftly woven characters and breakneck action, never failing to deliver what every reader wants–a helluva good story.”

Ryne Douglas Pearson, screenwriter of Knowing and best selling author of Simple Simon and Confessions

 

“Piper Bayard explodes on the scene in FIRELANDS. Creative. Imaginative. Chilling and reassuring.  A captivating tale well told.”

Vicki Hinze, USA Today Best Selling Author of Mindreader

 

“FIRELANDS envisions a terrifying and prescient future of a United States lost to the worst extremes.  Piper Bayard’s wonderfully relevant and beautifully realized fantasy tale would make George R.R. Martin proud as it combines the best of Children of Men with Stephen King’s seminal The Stand . . . the result is a major debut that is not to be missed.”

Jon Land, bestselling author of Strong at the Break and Betrayal

 

Flat Spooky — Lovesick for NYT Bestseller Allison Brennan

By Piper Bayard

Flat Spooky is a wannabe spook whose mother was a Russian Honey Trap and father was an extra in The Bourne Legacy.  He came home with me from his birthplace in the back seat of a Ford Focus in San Francisco to be my Spook Consultant when Holmes is tied up with his other work.

FS SF driving across Bay Bridge into city 5-3-14

Flat Spooky driving across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco from his birthplace on Treasure Island.

Once he got to our house, he immediately began practicing his stealth techniques on our dog, Parker. Parker was not amused. In fact, he ran out of the room before I could get a picture.

When Flat Spooky disappeared the other day, I finally located him curled up on the couch with his new best friend, Grumpy Cat, and one of his true love Allison Brennan’s books.

Flat Spooky with best friend Grumpy Cat and Allison Brennan's book, STOLEN.

Flat Spooky with best friend Grumpy Cat and Allison Brennan’s book, STOLEN.

 

He was incredibly excited when I found him. . . .

Spooky:  “Look! She has a plain dot at the end of almost every sentence. She’s thinking of me!”

Me:  “That’s called punctuation. It’s in every book.”

Spooky:  “But it’s in HER book!”

 

Dead Heat by Allison Brennan

In an attempt to explain, we took a “look inside” at Allison’s new Lucy Kincaid novel, DEAD HEAT. It didn’t help. He was only more convinced of her adoration.

It was clear he needed to get out more. So I took him on a hike in the mountains to practice his forest stealth technique should he ever be called on to hunt down the Taliban or kidnapped adventure tourists who waste our military’s time and resources on a fairly regular basis by doing things that their mothers and common sense warned them not to do.

Flat Spooky hiding in a cactus.

Flat Spooky hiding in a cactus.

 

 

The first thing he did was run ahead on the trail and hide in this cactus to try and see if I would spot him. It wasn’t the best choice, as he quickly discovered that getting into cactus is much easier than getting out of cactus.

Spooky:  “Will Allison still want me with all of these cactus prickles?”

Me:  “She didn’t want you before.”

Spooky:  “She does want me! You saw all of the dots. You can’t deny it!”

 

Flat Spooky spying on the trail below.

Flat Spooky spying on the trail below.

 

His next move was to hide in a tree to spy on the trail below us in his hopes that Allison would walk by.

Me:  “She doesn’t live in this state.”

Spooky:  “She travels.”

 

Flat Spooky discovers wind limitations.

Flat Spooky vs. Wind

 

Then a wind kicked up. I took him home and put him to bed. A few hours later, I checked on him and discovered he had comforted himself with a bag of chocolates . . . My chocolates.

 

Flat Spooky raids Piper's stash.

Flat Spooky raids Piper’s stash.

 

He is now in the dog house eagerly awaiting the arrival of DEAD HEAT. Parker is not amused.

How do you suggest I deal with this little guy’s crush on Allison Brennan?

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Yakuza Launches Recruiting Site

By Piper Bayard

Pic like the ones you find at Yakuza site. Not Yakuza pic.  Image by Norbert Weber.

Pic like the ones you find at Yakuza site.
Image by Norbert Weber.

 

Membership in Yamaguchi-gumi, the largest family of Yakuza, or Japanese mafia, has been falling. Due to economic difficulties, the gangsta life is apparently not enough of a recruiting magnet on its own. So the Yamaguchi-gumi now has a recruiting website with its own corporate song, a poetry page, fishing diaries, and a message from the boss. Read about it here . . .

 

Japanese mobsters launch their own website

And this is the site. It’s in Japanese, but don’t worry. It has an English translation option.

Yakuza Recruiting Site

And here’s their video of happy little Yakuza at play to the tune of their theme song.

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

Speaking of Yakuza, Japan, and such, a big welcome to historical fiction author Susan Spann, the newest featured author at the Social In network. Look for Susan’s posts about ninjas, a.k.a. shinobi, on Saturdays at SocialInDC. Also, you can pre-order her latest Shinobi Mystery, BLADE OF THE SAMURAI, at Amazon now.

Blade of the Samurai

Kokkie H Reviews The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

In case you missed it, Holmes wrote an excellent piece about Boko Haram, the kidnapping that caught world attention, and the Western response. Boko Haram — Nigeria’s Jihadi Biker Gang

Image of kidnapped girls released by Boko Haram.  From Voice of America

Image of kidnapped girls released by Boko Haram.
From Voice of America

Emotional Triggers–A Direct Path to Human Connectivity. Great advice about social media marketing strategies from Lonny Dunn of Pronetworkbuild.

UNHCR Says Internal Displacement Affects Some 10,000 People in Ukraine

Via Screenwriter and Best Selling Author Ryne Douglas PearsonPhotos: Ray Bradbury’s House for Sale. Cozy enough for the best of writers. Can be yours for only $1.49 million.

Ray Bradbury's house

Ray Bradbury’s house

 

Photos: Welcome Home–The Story of Scott Ostrom via Christine Moore. There is more than one way to sacrifice a life. This Memorial Day, I won’t only be thinking about those who have died. I’ll be thinking about those who are called to go on.

Great article from New York Times bestseller and former Green Beret Bob Mayer. Survival Friday: Burglaries. I recommend checking out all of his Survival Fridays and picking up his book, The Green Beret Survival Guide. Part of the proceeds will go to Special Operations Warrior Foundations. SOWF provides scholorships grants, education and family counseling to the surviving children of special operations personnel who have died.

 

The Green Beret Survival Guide

Morning A.D.D. (Awkward Daily Dose): Gallery. Get ready for a laugh.

Porn addiction is a very real and very serious issue. Your Brain on Porn: 10 Common Signs of Addiction by August McLaughlin, who is the person you’d get if Dr. Ruth and a supermodel had a baby.

And our video for the day . . . Think of the tub as the Yamaguchi-gumi Recruiting Site, the dog as the Yamaguchi-gumi, and the cat as the poor sucker who takes their web site seriously.

 

 

All the best to all of you for a week of knowing who your friends are.

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Sci Fi Themed Brothel Near Area 51

By Piper Bayard

Star Wars Princess Leia and Jobba the Hut

For those who have always dreamed of an out-of-this-world threesome.

Alien Cathouse? Wonder why they went with that instead of Area 69? Will this make Princess Leia the first Disney Princess to end up in a brothel? Will there soon be a Disney-themed brothel near Magic Mountain? Speculation is endless.

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

So now let’s sweeten things up a bit with a recipe from author Amber Medina. Citrus Almond Cake with Whipped Coconut Cream

Terrific article from Bestselling Authors Jen Talty and Bob Mayer about The Relevance of Customer Reviews and Discoverability.

Where Children Sleep Page

image from Amazon.com

 

Christine Moore brings us a fascinating post by Sunny Skyz with some outstanding pictures from Where Children Sleep, a large format collection of photographs of children’s bedrooms from around the world by photographer James Mollison. 17 Children and Their Bedrooms from Around the World. I can’t encourage you enough to take a look at this.

The 50 Coolest Inventions from All 50 States via Bestselling Author Larry Enright.

Some outstanding perspective on the latest Ft. Hood shooting by Jenn Carpenter, who lived there. The Truth about Ft. Hood. Thanks to  Jenny Hansen of More Cowbell for pointing me to this.

Kudos to this Aquinas College class for The Best Classroom April Fool’s Prank Ever. Seriously. This was awesome!

Campaign Style Poll of the Week

All the best to all of you for a week of having fun with sci fi.

Join in comments at 

Bayard & Holmes

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . 

Sci Fi Themed Brothel Near Area 51

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Corn Dogs Shut Down Interstate

By Piper Bayard

image by BenFranske, wikimedia commons

image by BenFranske, wikimedia commons

A truck carrying ketchup, mustard, and 76,000 corn dogs wrecked on I-220 near Shreveport, Louisiana, this week, shutting down the interstate. Acting on the Five-Second Rule, local rednecks descended on the grub like zombies attacking the cast of The Walking Dead. Fortunately, no one was injured in the making of this End is Near moment.

Louisiana weather forecast? Cloudy with a Chance of Corn Dogs.

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

A big welcome to Kelly Roberts, the new kid on the Blogoverse Block. And So It Begins . . .

Interesting perspective from Natalie C. Markey. Life Lessons from a Middle Eastern Compound Resident

7 Minutes with . . . Allison Brennan by J.T. Ellison. New York Times Bestseller and Sharp Lady Allison Brennan this week kicked off her new Maxine Revere crime series with the release of NOTORIUS.

Notorius by Allison Brennan

Author K.B. Owen reminds us that there is a holiday devoted to mirth. Happy Hilaria! Cool Pranks, Past and Present

“Flat Stanley” Home after Decade in Soldier’s Wallet. Via Author Jenny Hansen of More Cowbell.

Author Julie Glover shares Dancing Bacon and My Three Degrees to KevinThose of us from small towns in and near Texas know that Footloose wasn’t fiction. This fun video that Julie found brings it all back.

Campaign Style Poll of the Week . . .

All the best to all of you for a week of hearty meals.

Cliffside Rose Flash Fiction: And the Winners Are . . .

Two weeks ago, I challenged readers to a contest telling us how a rose would end up atop a desert cliff in the middle of nowhere. Their stories had to include the words “Dixie,” “witness protection,” and “cheese grater.”

See The Cliffside Rose–Flash Fiction Contest

For the last week, readers voted here and at our sister WordPress blog to determine the top three winners of The Cliffside Rose Flash Fiction Contest with the combined totals. With some brilliant entries, this was no easy task, but three entries tied at the top.

And the winners are . . .

Olympic Ring Espionage image from Ebay.com

Olympic Ring Espionage
image from Ebay.com

BrickHouseChick:  Olympic Ring Espionage

Dixie was conflicted about being on The Bachelor, but she wanted the chance to meet her Prince. And that she did. Thor was very CALIENTE and had cheese-grater abs. The problem was, that he was a spy in Russia during the Olympics and they were ‘on’ to him. Putin blamed Thor for the 5th ring not lighting up during the opening ceremonies and was not happy. Thor was about to give Dixie the FINAL ROSE. If she accepted the rose, she would enter the program with him (no TVs allowed in the witness protection program), if she didn’t, she would have to let him go, forever. After much pondering, Dixie decided that she could NOT miss the Oscars, and opted for the RED CARPET rather than the RED ROSE. She kissed him goodbye and ran home to watch the E channel. Thor was devastated and jumped off the cliff.

You want to WHAT? image via Canstock

You want to WHAT?
image via Canstock

Michelle Morrison:  You Want to WHAT?

After six years in witness protection, Diane was free. She moved home and reconnected with loved ones. She rescued a dog and named her Dixie, and they had lovely walks by the cliff near her house.

Diane met Peter. It was love. Peter seemed smitten also. “You’re special,” he told her.

She smiled. “So are you.”

Diane and Peter went for walks by the cliff. They watched the sun go down and threw sticks for Dixie. Peter gave Diane a rose each month.

At the fourth month, Peter gave Diane four roses and said, “I’m sorry, I’ve met someone else.”

“What is this?” Diane asked. “You’re unhappy?”

“It’s not you, it’s me; we can still be friends.” Peter said.

Diane beat Peter to death with the cheese grater she always carried. She left the roses by the body. The judge ruled justifiable homicide and she got probation.

Motorcycle or Death image from Canstock

Motorcycle or Death
image from Canstock

Gry Ranfelt:  Motorcycle or Death?

“You said it didn’t matter.”

Tom flexed his jaw and refused to look away.

“The court cares. Think of our daughter. What life will she lead if you refuse witness protection?”

Dixie swallowed the dry mountain air. Had he brought her to these uncomfortable heights just to tell her to do what she’d refused four times?

She slammed the roses into his chest. They fell to the ground, petals still intact.

“The entire evening was an act so I’d warm up and give in.”

“No, I –”

She turned away. “Take us home.” She hated the thought of wrapping her arms around him on his motorcycle.

His sigh trickled her neck. She stiffened.

“I can’t.”

He grabbed and pulled her towards a waiting car. “Sorry. I’m not letting you get the fucking mafia on us.”

She screamed. She struggled. The cliffs scraped her skin bloody like a cheese grater.

 Congratulations!

Each of you has won a copy of USA Today Bestseller Vicki Hinze‘s clever tale of death and romance, Down and Dead in Dixie.

Down and Dead in Dixie Cover

I will forward your emails to the awesome Vicki Hinze, and she will get in touch with you to send your your prize.

A Big Thank You to all of the participants.

May your remote wanderings never include cliffs

and/or cheese graters.

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Putin Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

By Piper Bayard

Always trying to outshine Stalin, aren’t you, Vlady?

Let me put this in perspective. Putin is invading Ukraine based on the argument that because there are Russian speaking people of Russian heritage in that country, Russia has the right to go in and protect the interests of those people. By that reasoning, we can expect the Mexican army to be setting up camps through the Southwest any day now.

Ah, well. Once Yasser Arafat won it, there were no surprises left.

Vladimir Putin, Dove of Peace image by premier.gov.ru

Vladimir Putin, Dove of Peace
image by premier.gov.ru

See our previous response to the notion of Putin and Peace Prize in the same sentence at B&H Nobel Peace-Through-Ironic-Laughter Prize Nominations.

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

Proud to say our Monday post, Ukraine Crisis: Vladimir Putin and the Power of Gas, was Freshly Pressed this week. A big welcome to all of our new subscribers!

It Didn’t Start Last Week — Timeline of Ukrainian Invasions

Timeline of Ukrainian Turmoil — Part Two, 2001 – Present

Ukraine in Crisis: Vladimir Putin and the Power of Gas

The Cliffside Rose

The Cliffside Rose

The Cliffside Rose Flash Fiction Contest — Vote Now! When Holmes and I stumbled across this rose on the side of a cliff in the middle of a secluded desert on the day after Valentine’s Day, we challenged our readers to explain this oddity using the words “Dixie,” “witness protection,” and “cheese grater.” We have eight outstanding entries who are vying for your vote. Come by and enjoy the yarns they have spun in an effort to win a copy of DOWN AND DEAD IN DIXIE by USA Today bestseller Vicki Hinze.

I had the honor of guest posting at New York Times bestseller Allison Brennan‘s Murder She Writes site this week. In James Bond vs. The Spook, I share a few things I’ve learned about real covert operatives since I started working with Holmes.

Is this the real Holmes?

Is this the real Holmes?

Recently, numerous bloggers participated in August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest 2014. Three of my favorites are What are Your 21 Layers of Beauty? by Jenny Hansen, Beauty: A Matter of Mind Over Matter by Kassandra Lamb, and Inspiring Beauty Quotes: A #BOAW3 Wrap-Up, Part II by August McLaughlin.

Like Detective Fiction? Thank the Metropolitan Police Act by K.B.Owen at Misterio Press.

Yoga IS for Everyone. A Short Guest Series, Part 2 by Christine Moore.

When so many of us are tired of winter, it helps to be reminded of the beauty. Crystallize – Lindsey Stirling Dubstep Violin Original Song.

Campaign Style Question of the Week:

All the best to all of you for a peaceful week.

To join in comments, come to

Bayard & Holmes

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Putin Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize