Monday, July 3, 2017

Independence Day and Washington Have Gone to the Dogs

Oh, happy fault. Pedigree made a short documentary about General George Washington and his enemy's lost dog. It's a clever ploy to plug their products, but who cares? The video accurately captures a little piece of history during the War of Independence and I love it!



From the evidence gathered, George Washington was a dog lover, partial to Staghounds, a hunting breed similar to what we call Greyhounds today. Sweet Lips, Vulcan and Scentwell were some of their names. He also had several Black and Tan Coonhounds, including rascals Drunkard, Taster, Tippler and Tipsy. Could it be that their owner was a bit of a Boozehound himself? After all, Washington did own the largest distillery in America and enjoyed a fine imported Madeira every now-and-then. However, he was no drunkard. The man was a model of moderation and self-control.


There's a rumor among dog breeders that Washington bred the Black and Tan Coonhounds with his Staghounds, which resulted in America's first Foxhounds. After studying the comparison, what do you think? 

Hmm . . . maybe.

Anyway, back to the commercial. The scene takes place in Pennsylvania, October 1777, during the Battle of Germantown. Cornwallis had previously marched into Philadelphia and claimed it for the British, so spirits were low. Of course, as the video captures so well, Washington never lost his sense of integrity.  

If you want to know more about the incident, there's a really cute children's book about the incident called George Washington and the General's Dog, by Frank Murphy. If you want an adult version, check out General Howe's Dog, by Caroline Tiger.


The original letter Washington wrote to Howe has been preserved for history. To see it, click here.

I wasn't planning on doing a blog entry today, especially not about dog food, but after I watched the commercial I couldn't stop myself. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Happy 4th of July! 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Avant Nation Publishing News

Here's a list of what's been going on over here in "cog" land:


Title Changes

  • When novel one was released back in 2015 it was simply called Avant Nation. I recently went back to give it a subtitle, Resist the Machine. Available here.
  • Avant Nation is now the name of the entire series. 
    Sequel Release Info
    • The title of the second book is Escape the Machine.
    • Gingerman Editorial has given it a thorough content edit and now it's currently with Mitey Editing for a line-by-line check. At this point, I can't give a precise publication date. My best guess is September 2017, thereabout. Fingers crossed.

    Book Cover Switch-A-Roo


    • I had planned to commission the same cover artist to do all of the books in the series, but he has dropped out of the business. Talk about bummed. I absolutely adored the image of Clara clinging for dear life on a giant cogwheel, but whaddaya gonna do?
    • I decided to use the opportunity to rethink the vibe I wanted it to give off.  Since Avantica is a place where the government uses advanced technology to exercise total control over its citizens, I wanted book cover 2.0 to wed Technology with Big Brother Is Always Watching for a creepy Utopia Gone Wrong effect. Do you think the new cover is effective that way? Feel free to comment. 


      Available on Amazon
    • A big thank you to my new cover artist, Keith Draws. When I approached him, I had a totally different idea in mind that I later scrapped. He was infinitely patient with my indecisiveness. Check out his webpage here.

    Evolution of Avant Nation's Lingo


    I made a few small editorial changes to the world building in book one. For starters, I gave names to technology that hasn't quite come to fruition yet in the real world. 
    • If you have read book one, you already know that flat screens are a thing of the past in the advanced nation of Avantica. Three dimensional viewing is everywhere. Images from video games and television are projected into the air. The Avants call these images video clouds. Vloud is the slang term (video + cloud). 
    • The clock makers wear telescopic goggles now instead of sunglasses. I didn't give them a special name, but I wanted to let you know.
    • In keeping with my own vision of the future, the majority of vehicles in Avantica are now driverless. The citizens summon them like taxis and simply tell the on board computer where they want to go. No human driver required. I decided to keep calling them cars and trucks. The reason being is that Avants assume a vehicle is driverless unless someone says otherwise.
    • The young Avants in the artificial wombs at the population factories are no longer called children. They're potentials. 
    Since every powerful culture develops its own vernacular, I think it makes sense the Avants would as well.  

    Now you're up-to-date and hopefully eager for book two. 


    In my next post, I’ll either try to entice you to be an early reviewer for Escape the Machine (Avant Nation, Book #2) or talk about some of the cool things commonly found in dystopian cover art.  

    Thursday, May 4, 2017

    Discuss Comet Dust Online with the Catholic Book Club

    Goodreads . . . The Catholic Book Club
    Comet Dust, a supernatural apocalyptic thriller based on the astonishing revelations of the saints, is the the Catholic Book Club's Book of the Month. I'm excited to be chosen and a little scared to find out what readers really think. Heh.

    If you'd like to read or join the online discussion over at Goodreads, here's the link: 

    Goodreads Catholic Book Club

    For those of you who may not be familiar with Goodreads, it's a free website for book lovers. Think of it as a large library that you can wander through and see everyone's bookshelves, their reviews, and their ratings. You can post your own reviews, catalog what you have read, what you are currently reading, and plan to read in the future. You can join a book club, create one of your own, and sign up to win free books.

    Independence Day and Washington Have Gone to the Dogs

    Oh, happy fault. Pedigree made a short documentary about General George Washington and his enemy's lost dog. It's a clever ploy to p...