Sipping Tea Flavoured Coffee with Ronald Hughes #Fiction #Dystopian #GoodReads

One of the favorite things for commercial creators these days is to portray writers in coffee houses tapping away at their tablet or dumb-phone creating the great American novel or some such thing.  Personally I don't know any serious typist, writer or otherwise, who would even remotely consider typing on either a tablet or dumb-phone.  I mean that is like beating your fingers against concrete.  “Touch” typing, despite the name, has nothing to do with how solidly one hits the keys.  Those of us who type fast or learned on manual typewriters (okay, I understand kids today have no idea what a manual typewriter is) have some force in our fingers.  I've been known to cook a cheap keyboard in under six months.  I know of others who gladly pay north of $100 for a mechanical wired keyboard because their fingers go numb using a soft membrane keyboard.

What is perhaps the biggest falsehood of the commercials is that writers drink coffee.  I've never met one.  I come from the IT side of life so I drink Mt. Dew or iced tea.  Coffee in all its forms is just plain nasty.  I won't even mention what people's breath smells like after they take a swallow.  I can't imagine having to breath the air in a coffee shop for hours on end.  I'd rather take my chances with the visible air in Beijing.  We will not mention what a growing number of people consider coffee the beverage of, but it is a category nobody wants to join.

The real life thing which is most offensive is being forced to purchase tea, especially iced tea, from a place which also sells coffee.  Most of the people who work there seem to be coffee, or as it was so eloquently called in that wonderful television series Sanctuary, “brown mud”, drinkers.  When told they have to brew a container of iced tea they will simply dump out the coffee grounds, toss in some tea bags, and use the same brewer to brew the liquid they sell as tea.  It isn't tea.  It is tea flavored coffee and it is disgusting!

What brings this post to mind is car shopping yesterday.  I was at one of those “immerse the customer” dealerships yesterday.  They seem to be the new trend in car dealerships.  A small food court, play room for the kids, comfy chairs with multiple televisions, etc.  All designed to get the customer in the habit of spending time in the dealership.  I looked around while waiting and noticed quite a few writers typing away on netbooks and notebooks, nobody was typing on a tablet.  Since this was a dealership in the Portland area I imagine the ratio of writers to regular Joes and Janes was a bit higher than many other cities due to the large creative arts community.

Since I was there to empty my pockets on a new ride I left the trusty netbook behind.  Caffeine addictions must be fed, however, even if one isn't busy typing.  I took a chance.  I walked up to a food counter and ordered a glass of iced tea.  It was with some trepidation that I took my first sip.  I was pleasantly surprised and informed the old guy behind the counter.  I didn't call him an old guy to his face of course.  If he reads this and tells me to look in the mirror I will take no offense.  His response was an even greater surprise.  “No, we don't brew tea in anything that's been near coffee because what comes out isn't tea.”  It shouldn't come as a shock I bought my car there.

“John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars” is one big interview. It is a transcript of a dialogue between “John Smith” (who, as the title of the book implies is the last known survivor of the Microsoft wars) and the interviewer for a prominent news organization.
Buy Now @ Amazon & B&N
Genre – Dystopian Fiction
Rating – PG
More details about the author

Storm Without End (Requiem for the Rift King) by RJ Blain #AmReading #BookClub #Fantasy

“Why have you come here?” the man asked in the trade tongue, the words clipped, harsh, and grating to Kalen’s ears.

“Passing through,” he replied, careful to keep his voice quiet and his tone even, like he did when soothing a wild or unruly animal.

“With no horse? With no pack? Your clothes aren’t from here. We don’t wear such symbols,” the man replied, moving closer. The tip of the sword was lifted. “We’re far from the trade road. Only raiders, outlaws, and beasts come this way. Which are you?”

Kalen reached up, touching the cloth crossing his chest. The sigil, crafted of black silk and embroidered in silver and gold thread, was in the shape of a winged serpent. Had he been wearing it when the serpent had bit him? If he had been in the city of Blind Mare Run, he would’ve worn his sigil as a sash. Had he been on the trails? He couldn’t remember.

“Which are you?” Kalen challenged, stealing glances to both of his sides when he could without losing sight of the man before him. The rain and the groaning of the trees masked too much sound. The other men were out there, but Kalen wasn’t certain of where they were.
The disadvantage could get him killed. He could only hope that their sight was as hampered as much as his, and that their muscles were also cold and stiff.

Fervent obsession lit the stranger’s eyes. “We’re those who will bring you to justice.”

“I am no Danarite,” Kalen said in the Kelshite tongue. Hatred ran thick between the lands of Danar and Kelsh. Few Kelshites learned Danarite, and fewer Danarites learned Kelshite. He jerked his chin at his left shoulder and his empty sleeve. “Do I look like a raider? Or a beast? I have broken none of your laws.” He took one step back, then another, until the bark of the tree bit at his back through the material of his tunic.

~Truth,~ a voice whispered. It was a sound, but Kalen didn’t hear it with his ears. It was a voice — a woman’s voice — but it resonated within his mind. It was meaning, intent and thought rather than spoken word.

Kalen shivered. Hearing voices in his head was the last thing he needed. Was the last vestiges of his sanity finally slipping away?

If the Kelshite also heard the voice, there was no indication of it. “The beast was here. It led us to here. To you.” Rage contorted the man’s features. “You lie.”

“Beast? What be—” Kalen sucked in a breath through his teeth and swallowed back his words as the man leaped forward.

“Hareth, wait!” someone — a man — shouted.

Rain whipped off of the blade as it was thrust at Kalen’s chest.

Kalen dove out of the way. The mud sucked at his feet and legs. The bark tore at his tunic, scratched at his back, and slowed him. Steel grazed his arm, and a pained hiss slipped out from between his clenched teeth. The blade bounced off the tree trunk and showered him with bark.

Then the tip of the weapon rose, arcing to strike Kalen down as he fell.


Kalen’s throne is his saddle, his crown is the dirt on his brow, and his right to rule is sealed in the blood that stains his hand. Few know the truth about the one-armed Rift King, and he prefers it that way. When people get too close to him, they either betray him or die. The Rift he rules cares nothing for the weak. More often than not, even the strong fail to survive.

When he’s abducted, his disappearance threatens to destroy his home, his people, and start a hopeless and bloody war. There are many who desire his death, and few who hope for his survival. With peace in the Six Kingdoms quickly crumbling, it falls on him to try to stop the conflict swiftly taking the entire continent by storm.

But something even more terrifying than the machinations of men has returned to the lands: The skreed. They haven’t been seen for a thousand years, and even the true power of the Rift King might not be enough to save his people — and the world — from destruction.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Fantasy
Rating – PG - 13
More details about the author
Connect with RJ Blain on Facebook and Twitter

Scott Moon on Writing Intimate Scenes in #SciFi @ScottMoonWriter #AmWriting #WriteTip

The Best Advice
At the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., 2013, Patrick Rothfuss (bestselling author of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear) suggested writing sex scenes can be difficult. Someone asked, “How do you know when a scene is too much.”
Rothfuss said when the reader can tell the author was touching himself or herself while creating the scene, it’s probably too much.
If I remember correctly, this was something he had heard before, so I don’t know if I can quote him, but the point remains valid. In science fiction, the expectations differ from that of a romance or erotic novel. Breaking the rules can alienate or even offend readers. Ultimately, each scene must do a job. If a dash of something beyond the genre-wall is needed, then it must go in.
A Humble Example
To date, I have not attempted to write erotica, but some of my stories have moments, ahem, that are more adult than others. To compound the risks I took in this novel, one of the genre-testers comes on page one. Here is the opening line from an early draft of Enemy of Man:
KIN ROLAND left Laura’s house hung-over, well sexed, and feeling dirty. He was bound by few rules on this planet, but the most important was to avoid drinking with Laura Keen.
An Editor Put on the Brakes
My editor thought this risked giving the reader the wrong idea. Unable to completely abandon the scene I envisioned, I rewrote page one many times. Here is the result:
HEROES weren’t sealed in space caskets and launched into the void—not while they were still breathing. Kin shuddered. Memories came at night; they came with regrets, fears, and nightmares only a man buried alive could understand. Heroes destroyed the enemy. Heroes saved the day and died before they could wear medals or explain what it was like to shed the blood of millions.
This room is too dark.
Kin needed to go outside and look at the sky, but the wormhole song, the distant groaning of a universe unraveling, reminded him of Hellsbreach—gunfire, plasma bolts, and nuclear explosions on the horizon. Better to dream of Becca, though she was the reason he volunteered for the campaign.
“Stop thinking of her,” Laura said.
Kin sat up in bed, dropped his feet to the floor, and watched her drift back to sleep. Her chest rose and fell, a silk sheet accentuating her curves. Her eyes began to move under her eyelids.
“You don’t even know who she is.” He ran a finger behind Laura’s ear and down her neck until she giggled in her sleep. He smiled. “I can share anything with you in moments like these.” He slowly pulled the sheet lower and she didn’t stir.
Laura would like the game—exposing her skin to the night air and staring until she sensed his attention and awoke, but he stopped, reaching to cup the side of her face instead. Lust didn’t mix well with the darkness still in his mind.
“I’d fail again, given the same choice. Could you commit genocide, Laura?” he asked.
“Hmm?” She struggled to open her eyes, it seemed, but pushed him clumsily away with one hand as she rolled onto her stomach, twisting the sheets as she moved.
“I still love her. You know that, right?” Kin said.
Motionless on the bed, Laura seemed not to breathe. The wormhole that dipped into the atmosphere quieted. Silence spread across the planet. Sea birds called to each other and waves gently touched the beach.
Let’s Talk about
This may not be a classic love scene, but is an example of something different from most science fiction I’ve read. The boundaries between genres seem to fade with each passing year. It’s a good thing. Like most writers, I read far and wide, and hope some of it finds its way into my stories.
I’d love to hear comments and discussion on breaking genre boundaries. Please recommend books I may not have considered, but might like to read. And, as always, I’m active on twitter at

Lost Hero

Changed by captivity and torture, hunted by the Reapers of Hellsbreach and wanted by Earth Fleet, Kin Roland hides on a lost planet near an unstable wormhole.

When a distant space battle propels a ravaged Earth Fleet Armada through the same wormhole, a Reaper follows, hunting for the man who burned his home world. Kin fights to save a mysterious native of Crashdown from the Reaper and learns there are worse things in the galaxy than the nightmare hunting him. The end is coming and he is about to pay for a sin that will change the galaxy forever. 


Enemy of Man: Book One in the Chronicles of Kin Roland was written for fans of military science fiction and science fiction adventure. Readers who enjoyed Starship Troopers or Space Marines will appreciate this genre variation. Powered armor only gets a soldier so far. Battlefield experience, guts, and loyal friends make Armageddon fun. 


If you love movies like Aliens, Predator, The Chronicles of Riddick, or Serenity, then you might find the heroes and creatures in Enemy of Man dangerous, determined, and ready to risk it all. It’s all about action and suspense, with a dash of romance—or perhaps flash romance. 

From the Author

Thanks for your interest in my novel, Enemy of Man. I hope you chose to read the book and enjoy every page. 

If you have already read Enemy of Man, how was it? Reviews are appreciated! 

Have a great day and be safe.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Science Fiction
Rating – R
More details about the author
 Connect with Scott Moon on Facebook & Twitter