What's the point of having a website if you can't use it to sell your shit? With that in mind, I hereby announce that my second book, The Blasted Lands, is now available in the Kindle store for $3.99 in the U.S., and adjusted in other markets.
The Blasted Lands is a followup to last year's Impact Winter, a sci-fi novel where the earth has been enshrouded in ejecta from a meteorite impact in northern Canada. This latest novel is a standalone tale, not a direct sequel to the first, but it does take place in the same area of central Pennsylvania, and features some of the same characters.
In writing this book and the one before, I did my best to imagine what would happen to the land and the people after a significant impact. What would the seismic effects be? How much damage would the air blast do? And what about the most lasting effect; the dust flung into the stratosphere, blocking out all light from the sun for an extended period? There are no good answers as to what would befall civilization were an event like this to take place. 
In this novel, some time has passed since the impact, and dusky light has managed to penetrate the shroud, giving the land an eerie countenance. Edward Gray and his small group have weathered the worst of the collapse of society and government, and are now, like other survivors, preparing for the time when the sun will shine once more. They have claimed a small farm in rural Pennsylvania and have set about readying house and field. But, a land with no laws can snatch away plans and dreams without warning. Edward and his people learn that lesson, much to their hardship.  
Check it out.

Former Governor of New York George Pataki has announced that he is running for the 2016 Republican nomination for president. He joins a pretty crowded field (the Wikipedia page on the GOP candidates is fascinating). His name recognition isn't great, and it's been nine years since he last held public office. At first glance, there isn't a lot to separate Pataki from all the other candidates whose polling hovers in the low single digits. But there is one big thing. He's not an arch conservative. He hasn't spent the entire Obama administration blasting anything and everything the president has done, nor has he spent much time pandering to the nutjob base of the Republican Party. He hasn't pegged gay marriage to natural disasters, called the Constitution the word of God, or questioned whether or not the military is going to invade Texas. In short, he doesn't have nearly as much baggage as someone like Ted Cruz or Mike Huckabee.
The Republican Party has a problem. They have mastered the art of gerrymandering to the point that they can win the House every two years while receiving less total votes, by millions, than Democratic candidates. They have also been able to leverage the conservatism of less populous states to win control of the Senate, even though the Republican members of that body, over the course of the three election cycles that turn over the Senate, received less votes than their Democratic counterparts across the aisle, again by millions. But the story is different when it comes to presidential politics.
I've written a lengthy column about what I thought was the best in film that I saw from this past year. Now it's time for the worst--for the dark side of my cinematic experience to come forward. There won't be as much structure here as in the Empty Balcony Awards. It doesn't matter what year a film was released, or if I've even seen it within the last year. These are awards for film garbage.
I like a sense of inflated self-importance. It's one of the reasons I maintain a website that has never managed to garner more than a few thousand hits in a month. (Except for that one time the site was hacked by someone in Russia and the increase in traffic crashed the servers. Sorry about that, Dreamhost.) Does anyone out there really care what I have to say, on any topic whatsoever? I'm sure there are a few people who do, here and there. But I'm only pretending that anything that appears in this space is more than just tiny words muttered into the vast information ether. I read somewhere, once, that we, here in the Information Age, are generating data at a per day rate that eclipses the accumulated data of the entirety of human history from before the internet. That's a lot of noise, and no matter how relevant one's contribution, that contribution still consists mostly of noise.