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The kids have taken control of the house…

Al knows more than what the weather in Iowa is. photo from yahoo.

 

 

Hey Y’all,

 

Shorter article tonight because I think it is very possible that I have lost control of my family. Of course, I am operating on the assumption that I had any control at all.

 

Last weekend, my wife was working and I was left in charge. Well, it went just about as well as you might expect. I was sitting on the couch, trying to watch television but I was constantly distracted by my daughter and her boyfriend. They were on the opposite couch, sitting just a little too close for comfort for this baby daddy.

 

My sweet, little innocent baby girl really is a fantastic little woman but she really doesn’t make the best decisions when it comes to boys. The current boyfriend, is rough around the edges. He refuses to listen. He is not happy unless he is playing in the dirt. He can’t hold is bladder and he hates baths. He will act right until you turn your back on him then he is pushing the boundaries.  If he was my son, I would be so proud because he is just like his old man. But my daughter, is my precious sweetie and I wasn’t taking my eyes of this boy for a second.

 

To make things worse, his parents went out of town for a couple of days and they didn’t trust him to be alone in the house. Being the loving woman, that my wife is, she agreed that he could stay with us while they were gone. I didn’t approve but I was overruled. Then she made the mistake of thinking she could actually go to work and leave me in charge.

 

photo from yahoo.

 

I know you can see how this is not going well. My other kids were strangely silent so I went to investigate. I looked all over for them and when I went into the basement, they jumped out of the shadows to scare me! My son had some glow in the dark silly putty and they made scary faces. We joked about it for a while and then I remembered my cute teen was upstairs with that good for nothing, one tracked mind boy.

 

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Nothing says fun like a dark basement, glow in the dark silly putty and a chicken for a Dad. photo from rob akers

 

I bounded up the stairs and get what I caught them doing? Apparently, that disrespectful boy was acting in an inappropriate manner towards my baby. She is like her Mama and she doesn’t take any gruff from a insolent guy. Penelope put Rocco back in his place.

 

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My son says that “Penelope is savage.” Rocco found that out first hand. photo form rob akers

 

That’s my girl!

 

Satisfied that Penelope had everything under control, I went back to the office and got the babies out of the crib. This is the first time I am showing pictures of the twins. Oh, maybe I forgot to announce that we had twins. Well to be honest, my wife gave me a whole thirty seconds of “You can probably do it!”

Then she left me to deal a slow death of eleven years of hard labor. And now that they are in the world, I have discovered they are going to need a lot of effort to grow them into productive citizens of the family.

 

I wish I had known this back then. I would have just kept on watching television. photo from yahoo.

 

All I need to do is pay for these things. photo from yahoo.

 

 

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First look at the twins. The one on the left ‘The Book of Lot.’ The one of  the right is ‘The Book of John.’ photo from rob akers

 

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I had a friend edit it for me. Olivia teaches English to 6th graders. She gave me a D- on grammar. But she loves the concept. I am very good with her comments. Clocking in at 92,828 words, I am going through line by line incorporating her changes. photo by rob akers

 

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The baby brother, is currently 130,149 words. He is a big boy and is out to a couple of beta readers. It feels good to be moving closer to world domination. photo by rob akers

 

 

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I told you that Rocco can’t be trusted. He just looks guilty. But that sweet Penelope just wants to nap. photo by rob akers

 

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Keep smiling! photo by rob akers

 

 

Until next time, keep on rockin!

 

 

Don’t look for me here…

Still Waiting Boss. photo from yahoo

 

Hey Y’all,

 

The other day, a friend of mine asked me if I was going to see President Trump when he comes to Huntington, WV tonight. I chuckled and told him that of all the places in the world that I wouldn’t want to be caught dead at, that might be at the top of the list. We had a good laugh about it and no my friend isn’t going either.

 

My friend said he was going to mow the yard. photo from yahoo.

 

This morning, I got a text from a co-worker who lives out of state asking if I was going to the rally?

I replied. “What rally?”

“Trump in Huntington.” He said.

“Ha ha. No, but if you are coming up I will make you a sign.” I replied.

He isn’t coming up by the way.

 

I went to school with my co-worker. I know him well. photo form yahoo

 

So we are eight months into the first term of President Trump and it really looks bad.

  • He keeps firing his staff. Of course, if you expected anything different then you must have thought is reality television show was all fabricated.
  • Obama Care is still the law of the land. Of course, if you expected anything different then you don’t understand the power of the insurance/banking industry.
  • All the media wants to talk about is the past election where their candidate lost and the Russians are the scapegoat. Of course, if you expected anything different then you don’t understand politics.
  • North Korea is tossing rockets on a daily basis at Japan. Of course, if you expected anything different then you don’t understand poker.
  • China is still building pseudo-islands in the pacific. Of course, if you expected anything different then you don’t understand that they believe in their manifest destiny.
  • Afghanistan is still a complete failure. Of course, if you expected anything different then you don’t understand history.
  • Iraq/Syria/Yemen/Iran/Saudi Arabia/Qatar/Turkey and the rest of the Middle East is still engaging in a semi-warm war. Of course, if you expected anything else then you don’t understand what happens when you give trillions of dollars to a couple of tribes who have always hated each other and are less advanced than the Beverly Hillbillies.
  • The stock market is still going up. Of course, if you expected anything else then you don’t understand the power of the Federal Reserve pumping a billion dollars a week into the market.
  • The EU/Establishment/Democrats/Republicans/Liberals/Conservatives/Rich/Poor/White/Black/Latino/Asian/Canadians and everyone who might read these words still hate President Trump. Of course, if you expected anything else then you don’t understand the power of group think.

 

Full disclosure, I did vote for President Trump. The majority of the people in my state voted for President Trump. I can’t speak for them on a individual basis but the overwhelming reasons were because the only chance to bring jobs and employment back to this state is via the coal industry. It was a absolute certainty that President Clinton would have killed that industry.

 

As bad as things are, I am so glad I dont have to wake up to this face on my tv on a daily basis. photo from yahoo.

 

Eight months after President Trump, the coal industry is not showing any real signs of being re-ignited. Maybe President Trump will address that tonight; no I want to retract that…I am certain that President Trump will make some huge splashy announcement about bringing coal back and Makin Merica Great Again!

Here is the deal about West Virginians. As an outsider, it took me a long time to understand this about the residents of this state. They don’t respect outsiders who swoop in and shout words. They only respect outsiders who earn the right to be respected, and our Governor still hasn’t earned that right although I am sure he will be standing next to the President tonight. They don’t trust outsiders and are not dumb. They are the walking epitome of that line in a movie goes…”Show Me The Money!”

 

So true. photo from yahoo.

 

This state has a long history of being exploited by outsiders. Following the Civil War, Northerners came here about bought up all the mineral rights. They also stripped the land holding rights of those who sided with the Confederacy. It is estimated that West Virginia has the equivalent in natural resources that Alaska has. The difference is that the state of Alaska holds all those mineral rights and pays a healthy yearly refund back to its residents because the energy companies have to pay to access those reserves.

 

In West Virginia, all the mineral rights are owned by single families or occasional corporations. Very rarely do I hear of a local WV family that gets paid because there was a natural gas well on their property or coal was found. The vast majority of the mineral right payments go out of state to the descendants of the Hunt, DuPont, Rockefeller, Carnegie or old money families. It never stays in the state.

 

Therefore when a coal company exploits the resources of a vein of coal. They are free to close up the mine. The day after the mine is closed they declare bankruptcy so they don’t own the workers any benefits, retro-pay, or retirement. The suits are gone into the wind back to their palaces in the Caribbean and the local men and women who risked life and limb carving out the coal are left to pick up the pieces of their lives. The state is left to clean up the environmental disaster and pay unemployment to the workers.

 

We may not have any jobs…but we got moon shine. photo from yahoo

 

This state is in a bad economic place right now. So bad, that this is the devil that this states remembers, that is the devil that this state wants back, that is why this writer voted against Hillary Clinton and that is why most of the people in this state will be clipping their toe nails when President Trump speaks tonight.

 

Okay, I can wait a few more weeks before I get started on them. photo from yahoo

 

Until next time, keep on rockin!

You can’t get home from here…

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I think I am going to get a trailer. photo from rob akers.

 

Hey Y’all,

 

If you have been hanging around for a while, you probably picked up that I love to walk college campuses. My all time favorite campus was walking Harvard several years ago. Not because as I walked around, I felt smart. But because of what I did there.

 

If you ever watched the movie “Good Will Hunting.” I tried to re-create a scene from the movie. No, I didn’t ask if anyone liked apples. I found the mathematics (anywhere else, it is the math) building and I went looking for the chalk board where Will solved the math problem. I changed a number into a letter and swapped a couple of numbers around. I walked around laughing at my joke until I read this…https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/multimedia-article/tuberculosis-treatment-discovery-podcast/

 

Sorry Doc, I wish I would have been there a couple years earlier. You know he looks just like Ice Man. Photo from yahoo.

 

Anyone want to get oiled up and play volleyball because that is what fighter pilots do. photo from yahoo.

 

Yes, I am taking full credit for that one.

 

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to walk around my favorite university. Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Hope you enjoy the walk around the campus. Fair disclosure to Billy. I wouldn’t suggest you travel to the campus for a couple of years. The Campus Security has a shoot on sight order out for you. Sorry about that.

 

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This is Interstate I-55 in West Memphis, Arkansas. They started working on this project in the 1950s. From 1987-1991 it was totally jacked up. In 2017, it is better but they are still working on it. Nothing like government efficiency. photo form rob akers.

 

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That used to be my dorm, Delta Hall. I will have to check this building out later. Maybe they have a marker indicating where I used to live. photo from rob akers.

 

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This used to be the Twin Towers dorm buildings. That is a sweet looking building. photo from rob akers.

 

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They expanded the Student Center. I have got to walk around. photo from rob akers.

 

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These are the stairs where my roommate, Bert got jumped by a gang of engineers. They beat the snot out of him. According to him, he didn’t do anything wrong. photo by rob akers

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Good, someone washed up the blood and took away the ice cream cone that Bert was holding. The last time I checked, Bert was a cop in Georgia. photo from rob akers.

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They have a medical school now. This used to be the English building. They taught me everything I know about writing. photo from rob akers

 

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This is where I spent most of my class time, well when I went to class. I saw my academic advisor in the building. photo from rob akers

“Dr. Jones. Im Rob Akers. One of your former students.”

“I dont recognize you. Sorry.”

“I’m the guy that taught the rat to turn on the light when I played Metallica music and to poop when I played Vanilla Ice music.”

“No, sorry. Still dont remember you.”

“Do you remember when you filled out that intent to graduate form and I stopped you when I said that I had no intentions on graduating?”

“What did you say your name was?”

“Bill Grimes.”

“Were you the guy that had five restraining orders put on you by co-eds in the Education Department?”

“Yea, that’s me!”

“Get out of here loser. I’m calling the police.”

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This is the physical education building. Seven days a week I could be found here playing basketball. photo from rob akers.

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This was the court where I was playing in a 3 on 3 tournament. I got there late and when I got into the game. I hit 6 three pointers in a row. Best game I ever played. One the opposite side, I got my shot blocked so hard that it hit 20 feet up the wall and it was still going up. photo from rob akers

 

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This is the library.  When Bert would bring his girls to the room after the guy was closed, I came here to give him privacy. photo from rob akers

 

 

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This is inside the building where my dorm used to be. My room was approximately windows above the basketball goal. photo form rob akers

 

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They put a rock climbing wall where my friend Reggie lived. Very cool. photo form rob akers.

This building was the student activities center. It was very cool. In the lobby, there was a student working the admissions desk. She asked what I was doing.

“I used to go to school here.”

“Oh really, what years?”

“1987 to 1991.”

“Wow, my mom was here during that time too.”

“What was her name?”

“Shannon White (This is a false name to protect the not so innocent).”

“I know her. Does she still make chipmunk noises when she gets really excited?”

“What is your name?”

“Bill Grimes.”

“I’m calling the cops.”

 

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I thought it was a good time to check out the football stadium. photo from rob akers.

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It is a very cool stadium. Instead of building up. Using the natural terrain, they built down, into the ground. It holds 35,000 people photo from rob akers

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This is the coaches spot. It was empty, so I parked up front. photo from rob akers.

But it wasn’t long before the coach showed up.

“Do you know who I am?”

“Yes, Sir. You are Blake Anderson. Head Coach of the Red Wolves.”

“Thats right. You’re in my parking spot.”

“Do you know who I am?”

“No clue.”

“I’m Bill Grimes. I am a 777 pilot.”

“Congratulations. I am calling the cops.”

 

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photo from rob akers

 

Hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane. Until next time, keep on rockin.

 

 

 

I wanna Rock…

photo from yahoo

 

Hey Y’all,

 

Last week I took my family out on a very specific mission. We were going to find the most famous rock in America. Dragging and screaming, my kids and wife were subjected to a torturous journey across America. And now thanks to the power of the internet, you are welcome to follow along.

 

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photo from rob akers

“Are you the most famous rock in America?”

“No! I am a broken piece of concrete.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Are you the most famous rock in America?”

“No! I am a skate, but you can touch me if you want, big boy. All the cool kids do it.”

“Uh..I think I am in the wrong place…I have to go!”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Are you the most famous rock in America?”

“No! We are just pebbles.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Do you know the most famous rock in America?”

“Not in the Biblical sense. I am a Lady. Stop looking up my dress; you pervert!”

 

 

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photo from rob akers

“Hey Betty Clucker, do you know the most famous rock in America?”

“Yes! It but only the pure in heart will find it. You don’t have a chance.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Are you the most famous rock in America?”

“No! I am just a bell that never gets to ring.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Do you know the most famous rock in America?”

“No! But I love tea parties.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Are you guys the most famous rocks in America?”

“No! But we see old dead people.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Uh…yea…never mind…”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Do you know where the most famous rock in America lives?”

“No! But I love the new Stone Sour Album. Hydograd ROCKS!”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Do you guys know where the most famous rock in America lives?”

“Dude, seriously? We are as sharp as a brick wall.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Do you guys know the most famous rock in America?”

“Wrong city, dumb ass.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Hey can I get a ride to the right city?”

“If your name isnt Billy Grimes, you can’t afford this. Go find some cheap public transportation.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Are you guys the most famous rocks in America?”

“No, but we are relatives. Go ask Reggie around the corner.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Oh NO! Those meddling kids just threw Reggie into the water.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Can you help me find the most famous rock in America?”

“Yes! Go that way young man.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Are you guys the most famous rocks in America?”

“No! We are in rock prison. Follow the stone wall and look down.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Keep walking and rock on!”

 

“Now Look Down…”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Are you the most famous rock in America?”

“YES, how many other rocks have their birthday tattooed on their chest?”

“Holy Cow! You are Three Hundred and Ninety Seven years old.”

“Yep, Contrary to popular belief. I’m in my prime.”

 

 

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photo from rob akers

“GOAL!!!!!!!!”

 

“Kids I hope you had a great journey and learned something about American History.”

“Dad, next year can we just go to the beach like regular kids?”

“I was thinking about finding the most famous ball of twine in Kansas for the family vacation next year…”

 

photo from yahoo.

Until next time, keep on rockin!

 

Dude..where have you been…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Y’all,

I would like to apologize for this unexplained absence. Well…huh…let’s see…you know how it is… To be honest… I ran out of gas. I… I had a flat tire. I didn’t have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts!

 

 

Actually, I have been doing quite a bit of working this past month.

 

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No, not that. This…

 

 

The only reason I am here tonight is that I ran out of smokes. But I still have coffee and doughnuts. Life is good.

 

Seriously, I have been on a writing tear since the last post. I am going to give you my estimated word count this month. Before you have a heart attack please know that most of this was already written several years ago. So it is probably considered heavy editing rather than pure writing. Since I finished training and started finishing book number two until right this second, I am at 72,874 words.

 

That is a lot for experienced writers. For someone like me who is able to crank out 500 words an hour, it is exciting and frighting all at the same time. I am really close to having book two finished. My plan is to go back and hit book one hard with the edits and suggestions that my friends have made. The it will be time to start thinking about pouring money into this thing. Wow, this is getting serious.

 

This weekend I took a break from writing to go to the Knoxville Fanboy/Comic Con. I was there working and I thought I would share some of the photos and observations. I hope you enjoy and that life is good!

 

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Before you ask, yes I did dress up. I went as a short, fat middle aged dude named Bill Grimes. No one asked me for my picture. photo by rob akers.

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Love that costume, her purse pulls it all together. Not sure who the tall guy dressed in all black is though. photo from rob akers.

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In case you can’t tell that is Lou Ferrigno. I read today that someone in line was having a seizure while they were waiting to get his picture. He rendered first aid to them until the EMS arrived. He is still a cool dude and yes I was scared (too cheap to pay) to meet him. photo from rob akers.

Lou back in the day. photo from yahoo

 

 

 

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This is the guy that I was dying to meet. Bob Flick from the super folk group Brothers Four. What a great guy. I have no idea who the blond behind him is but Bob is so cool that he charged a bunch of people pay him 20 dollars just to talk to her. He didn’t care, he just put the money in his pocket. I think I will start charging people to talk to my wife. photo from rob akers.

There Bob is with that blond woman. Twenty bucks for a picture too. What a dude! photo from yahoo.

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I think they were the Star Trek people. Photo from rob akers.

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Now this is a guy that I know. I love me some Colonel. photo from rob akers.

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I felt like I was looking in the mirror. This kid will be never be President. He is way too cool. photo from rob akers.

 

The real reason, I went to the Comic Con was that I wanted to find some writers and see what they have going on. Here are the three that I was most impressed with.

 

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I spoke to J.P. for about thirty minutes. He is a thinker. For fun, he like to build worlds. He has been doing that since his youth. A couple years ago, he decided to try to write a novel. Instead of using one of the five worlds that he has already created, he just made a new one. Check out his website. photo from rob akers

 

Kenyon is a regular dude who had an idea for a novel. His idea was based on the Bible and what he would do if he had a spiritual gift. One thing led to another and here he is. I spoke to him for about thirty minutes as well. Open, honest and very straight forward, Kenyon is a guy that real about everything. Please check him out.

 

A.J. has it going on. First of all, he doesn’t write under name or pen name. He said that is what suckers do. ( my words not his actually), But he chooses to write under the Fiction Factory INC business name. He said that he chose this because it frees him up to write multiple genres without being type cast into a certain mold. He has about eight books,most of them are different genres or for different target audiences. I asked him who he stole the idea from. He said he made it up on his own. I think it is brilliant and I told him that I would probably steal the idea from him. He didn’t seemed threatened. Go check out his site. He is 100% about business. I really like what he has going on there.

 

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I’m putting this picture last. Please if anyone knows what characters they are rockin, please let me know. photo from rob akers.

Until next time, keep on rockin!

 

 

 

 

New Book “Twenty-Four Days” By J Murray…

Hey Y’all,

 

Our good friend Jacqui Murray has a new book out and I am honored to have been asked to help her promote it. It was only nine short years ago when I had the bright idea that I would like to write a novel. As of today, I am still hopeful that one day I will write a novel. But Jacqui is dropping her second full length novel as well as a already published book documenting the steps her daughter took to go from High School student to Naval Academy Graduate and Naval Officer.

People like me, sit around and dream of success while people like Jacqui make it happen!

Please go over to Jacqui’s side of the internet and check out what she has going. Over Five Thousand seven hundred people are following her site as she dishes on all topics related to writing, publishing, and being a Navy Mom!

Do yourself a favor and head over to Amazon to grab her two novels. It is summer time and we all need something to read on vacation.

Until next time…keep on rockin!

 

 

Is this a great cover or what! photo from J Murray

 

What sets this story apart from other thrillers is the edgy science used to build the drama, the creative thinking that unravels the deadly plot, and the sentient artificial intelligence who thinks he’s human:

An unlikely team is America’s only chance

World-renowned paleoanthropologist, Dr. Zeke Rowe is surprised when a friend from his SEAL past shows up in his Columbia lab and asks for help: Two submarines have been hijacked and Rowe might be the only man who can find them.

At first he refuses, fearing a return to his former life will end a sputtering romance with fellow scientist and love of his life, Kali Delamagente, but when one of his closest friends is killed by the hijackers, he changes his mind. He asks Delamagente for the use of her one-of-a-kind AI Otto who possesses the unique skill of being able to follow anything with a digital trail.

In a matter of hours, Otto finds one of the subs and it is neutralized.

But the second, Otto can’t locate.

Piece by piece, Rowe uncovers a bizarre nexus between Salah Al-Zahrawi–the world’s most dangerous terrorist and a man Rowe thought he had killed a year ago, a North Korean communications satellite America believes is a nuclear-tipped weapon, an ideologue that cares only about revenge, and the USS Bunker Hill (a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser) tasked with supervising the satellite launch.

And a deadline that expires in twenty-four days.

As America teeters on the brink of destruction, Zeke finally realizes that Al-Zahrawi’s goal isn’t nuclear war, but payback against the country that cost him so much.

Kirkus Review:

A blistering pace is set from the beginning: dates open each new chapter/section, generating a countdown that intensifies the title’s time limit. Murray skillfully bounces from scene to scene, handling numerous characters, from hijackers to MI6 special agent Haster. … A steady tempo and indelible menace form a stirring nautical tale

What customers are saying about this series:

J Murray’s long anticipated thriller, To Hunt a Sub, is a satisfying read from a fresh voice in the genre, and well worth the wait. The time devoted to research paid off, providing a much-appreciated authenticity to the sciency aspects of the plot. The author also departs from the formulaic pacing and heroics of contemporary commercialized thrillers. Instead, the moderately paced narrative is a seduction, rather than a sledgehammer. The author takes time rendering relatable characters with imaginatively cool names like Zeke Rowe, and Kalian Delamagente. The scenes are vividly depicted, and the plot not only contains exquisitely treacherous twists and turns, but incorporates the fascinating study of early hominids, and one ancestral female in particular who becomes an essential character. The narrative might have benefited from language with a crisper, sharper edge, but that is purely my personal taste and preference and takes nothing away from the overall satisfaction of this novel.

One thing I enjoyed about this read is the technical reality Murray created for both the scientific and military aspects of the book. I completely believed the naval and investigatory hierarchy and protocols, as well as the operation inside the sub. I was fascinated by her explanation of Otto’s capabilities, the security efforts Kali employs to protect her data, and how she used Otto’s data to help Rowe.

The research and technical details she included in this book had me in complete awe. A cybervirus is crippling submarines–and as subs sunk to the bottom of the ocean, I found myself having a hard time breathing. It’s up to Zeke and Kali to save the entire country using their brains. If you love thrillers, this is definitely one you can’t miss!

 

 

Book information:

Title and author: Twenty-four Days by J. Murray

Genre: Thriller, military thriller

Cover by: Paper and Sage Design 

Available at: Kindle USKindle UKKindle Canada

 

Photo from J Murray

 

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and  Twenty-four DaysShe is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

 

 

Another cool cover. photo from J Murray

 

If you want to get into the Academy, then you need the gouge. Here it is. photo from J Murray

 

Quote from author:

What sets this series apart from other thrillers is the edgy science used to build the drama, the creative thinking that unravels the deadly plot, and the Naval battle that relies on not just fire power but problem solving to outwit the enemy.

Social Media contacts:

http://twitter.com/worddreams

http://facebook.com/kali.delamagente

http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

https://plus.google.com/u/0/102387213454808379775/posts

 

 

Sample chapter:

Monday, August 7th

HMNB Devonport England

Until last month, Eyad Obeid considered himself a devout Muslim. He prayed five times a day, proclaimed God’s glory in every conversation, and performed the required ablutions when confronted with uncleanliness. When his brother was executed by Israeli gunman five years ago, Obeid swore retribution. No nobler purpose could he imagine for his worthless life than dying for Allah.

But instead of a suicide vest and the promise of seventy-two virgins, the village imam enrolled him in college to learn nuclear physics, thermodynamics, chemistry, and math so complex its sole application was theoretical. Much to Obeid’s surprise, he thrived on the cerebral smorgasbord. In fact, with little effort, he attained all the skills required by the Imam.

By the time he earned his Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics, he had learned two lessons. First, he was much smarter than most people around him, and second, the western world was not what he had been told.

Now, just weeks after graduation, Eyad Obeid approached the dingy Devonport pub on the frigid southern shore of England and wondered how to explain to the man responsible for giving Eyad Obeid this amazing future that he would fulfill his obligation, but then, wanted out.

He squared his shoulders and entered the pub.

His stomach lurched. Rather than his mentor Salah Mahmud al-Zahrawi, he found the Kenyan and his three henchmen. He had first met these thugs in San Diego California where he learned to run a nuclear submarine under the friendly tutelage of British submariners. When Obeid finished his studies, the Kenyan slaughtered the Brits. No warning. No discussion, just slash, slice and everyone died.

As did Obeid’s belief in the purity of Allah.

The nuclear physicist jammed his hands into his pockets, hunched his shoulders, and approached the table. The Kenyan had never introduced himself and Eyad Obeid lacked the courage to ask.

“I was expecting Salah al-Zahrawi,” Obeid offered as he slipped into the booth.

The Kenyan stared past Obeid, eyes as desolate as the Iranian desert, thick sloping shoulders still, ebony skin glistening under the fluorescent lights. Danger radiated from him like the hum of a power plant. He had three new fight scars since their last encounter, like angry welts but otherwise, he looked rested, clearly losing no sleep over the slaughter of innocents.

“You have one more job before you are released.” In a quiet, toneless voice, the man without a soul explained the new plan, finishing with, “If you fail, you die.”

Obeid was stunned. His gut said Run! He risked his future—his life—staying a moment longer with this crazed zealot, but Obeid did little more than croak a strangled, “If I succeed, I will also die!” His University friends called it a Sophie’s Choice.

The Kenyan shrugged. “But less painfully.”

Obeid twitched as heat washed his face. As he sought an appropriate response, the waitress arrived with tea. She poured a cup for each of them, chattering to no one in particular about how she had forgotten her blarmy slicker because her boyfriend kept her up the whole bloody night, di’n he, and she was frightfully knackered. No one responded.

“Shall I tell you the specials on offer?”

The Kenyan slowly ratcheted his head toward her. “Go.”

The waitress backed away, almost knocking over another server and his steaming tray of eggs, bacon, black pudding, and baked beans.  “Well, aren’t we in a bloody mood,” and she left.

The Kenyan did not seem to notice, his flat dead eyes back on Obeid. The physicist squirmed. He was but one man. His only hope was to quietly warn the authorities.  He folded his hands into his lap to hide their shaking.

Insha Allah, I will help. What do you require?”

“Do you remember the training you received from the Parishers?”

The British submariners you butchered? Obeid nodded.

“You must ensure the sailors perform their duties after we hijack the sub.”

With no further explanation, the Kenyan tossed a fistful of notes onto the table and left. As Obeid hurried after him, he surreptitiously thumbed a message into his phone and pushed send.

There was no signal.

The Kenyan parked in the crew lot outside Her Majesty’s Devonport Plymouth Naval Base. Obeid changed into a uniform and emerged from the car carrying a loaded gun in a prayer rug. Maa shaa Allah.

The storm broke and quickly turned the parking lot slick and shiny. Obeid shivered despite the heavy pea coat with the warm fur-lined collar. How did the British stand the weather? When this ended, he would never again leave the sparkling sun and cloudless skies of his beloved Iran.

“Eyad!” It was Tariq Khosrov, with two other friends from Obeid’s graduate program, all with PhDs in nuclear physics. Tariq was one of the smartest boys Obeid had ever met and the most naïve. “Are we going to steal a nuclear submarine?”

Obeid hissed, “Quiet!” and the Kenyan nudged him toward the base’s thick metal gates. They had been designed to stop an AK-47 or a firebomb, even an RPG, but not the weapon Salah al-Zahrawi would use. Faithful Muslims who worked for naval personnel had replaced pictures of the dead San Diego Parishers with Obeid and the rest of the hijackers. By the time the Royal Navy realized something was wrong, HMS Triumph would be gone and missing.

“Next!”

The man in front of Obeid passed his ID to the bored security. He checked the man’s face, his computer screen, and waved him through.

It was Obeid’s turn.  “ID, please.”

Obeid’s chest tightened as the stern-looking sentry, blonde hair trimmed close to his scalp, collar turned up against the wind, fingers like thick sausages on powerful hands, turned a flint-eyed glare to Obeid. The nuclear physicist froze and the guard’s boredom became suspicion. He read the name stitched on the right breast of Obeid’s uniform. “Haim is it?”

He looked Obeid up and down, as though to determine if the name matched the slight figure in front of him with wire-rimmed glasses and the thatch of black hair dripping rain down his forehead. True, he couldn’t tell Obeid’s stomach lacked the six-pack of muscles the real Haim had been so proud of, but he could see Obeid’s slender hands and they were those of a scientist, not a sailor. Surely, the guard would say something.

Obeid fumbled, almost dropping the ID before shoving it forward.

“Anything to declare?” The guard’s gaze flicked to the prayer rug.

Sweat broke out under Obeid’s arms. Should he tell the guard there was an AK-47 in his prayer rug or would he shoot before listening to Obeid’s explanation? No, better to deal with the problem onboard. Besides, the Kenyans claimed they were simply leveraging demands against Britain backed by the threat posed by the sub’s weapons. They would never use them.

He bit his lip hard, tasting blood, and forced anger into his voice. “You suspect me because I am Muslim? Do you want to examine my prayer rug?” His voice dripped with righteous indignation as he had practiced and he extended the tightly-bound bundle, taking care to keep the ends turned away from the soldier. “Maybe I am carrying an A… K.” He purposely stumbled over the name.

The sentry flushed and stepped back as though burned.

“Now I didn’t mean that mate, did I? O’ course you’re fine,” and waved Obeid through.

Across the yard, limned against the grey sky, towered the domed shape of the HMS Triumph, its deck slick with rain, sail glistening in the early morning light. The warheads it carried could reach the vast majority of the planet but the bustling sailors, some in oil-stained uniforms, others nattily dressed in white with jaunty officer caps, greeted each other, oblivious to the danger approaching them in the uniform of shipmates.

What had he done?

“Keep going,” the scar-faced Kenyan hissed between clenched teeth.

Obeid balled his fists to stop their shaking and forced his steps to be slow and measured as if in no rush to start what would be a three-month deployment.

When the group reached the Triumph, they were greeted by a cherub-faced seaman. “You the Parisher blokes?” He stuck his hand out. “Name’s McEwen. We’re the Second crew. First came down with food poisoning.” He chuckled, eyes crinkling with merriment, brows like gray steel wool. “Brill, you think? Who wants to play hide and seek with a Diesel?”

McEwen poked the Kenyan in jovial familiarity while Obeid combed through his training for what a ‘diesel’ might be.

“Enough yakking. Get sorted, blokes. We leave in an hour.”

 

 

 

Looking California but feeling Minnesota…

Chris Cornell wrote the lyrics “Looking California..Feeling Minnesota for the song ‘Outshined’ photo from yahoo.

 

Hey Y’all,

 

Slight departure from what I had planned today but sometimes off course maneuvering towards real life is appropriate.  On Wednesday, look for a promotional article about our good friend of this site, Jacqui Murry as she has written a new book…

The rock world lost a really talented artist on Thursday. Chris Cornell, was the lead singer of two different groups; Soundgarden and Audioslave. Being very honest, I was not a fan of either group, but I was familiar with both groups. That isn’t a slight to the guys in Soundgarden, it is just that they were on the leading edge of the grunge movement in the early 90s. That was the wave that replaced the hard rock music that I grew up on in the 80s more commonly known as Hair Metal.

 

Metal dudes dont smile, laugh or be happy. They are angry,all the time especially when they are feeding your soul to the devil. This is grunge and I rejected it. photo from yahoo.

 

Those who know me the best, know that I am a person that can hold a grudge for a long time and since Soundgarden was in the same genera as Pearl Jam and Nirvana, then by default I would never be a fan. That was the music of the next generation and I moved on looking for other forms of entertainment. Yes, I did fall into Nu Metal in the later 90s. Limp Bizkit was an infatuation because I did like to break stuff. Slipknot scared me but not enough to keep me from listening the first time, twenty years later they are still on my must listen playlist on YouTube and Pandora.

 

Thirty one years later, I still haven’t resolved my issue with these two guys. Don’t go off and buy me a flannel shirt. photo from yahoo.

 

I was talking to a close friend last Thursday afternoon. He told me about another close friend who is having some health issues, again. Since I don’t officially know, I am going to be very vague but here is a short summary. Five years ago, our friend got the cancer. It a was very serious form of cancer and required a very high amount of radiation and chemo to fight down. There were points along the way where the doctors were not hopeful for a positive outcome. He survived and even came back to work. Hardly a year later, he was on the other side of the world when his doctor called and told him to come home.

My friend said that he would be back in ten days. The doctor said be in my office in two days; it is that serious. Two days after he got back, he was in surgery having his kidney removed. The cancer had returned to a different part of the body. Now, he has another tumor, they don’t know what it is yet but I feel pretty safe in saying that Cancer sucks.

Last Wednesday, my family went over to another friend’s house to watch three of their youngest kids. Their oldest kid was at football conditioning after school, he is a big strapping kid so he doesn’t need anyone like me watching him. Their number two kid, Katie is in the children’s hospital in Cincinnati fighting a serious case of the cancer. I refuse to give cancer the dignity of a name because cancer sucks. If you would like to know more about this incredible family, check them out here or on Facebook.

http://courageouskatie.weebly.com/

 

Picture

This is the family before cancer. They are more beautiful today than they are in this picture. I wish I had faith like them. photo from courageouskatie.weebly.com

 

Saturday afternoon I was thinking about my friend’s new health issue, my other friend’s little fourteen-year-old daughter wasting away in a hospital with tubes of toxic medications flowing through her body and the untimely passing of Chris Cornell. Then I read this from one of the few religious blogs that I follow. I don’t read anything from anyone who writes that “good old time gospel of pie in the sky mixed with the you’re going to burn in hell if you don’t repent” style of preaching. If that is your thing, good for you. Not trying to make anyone mad, I just prefer to hear/read different viewpoints.

Anyway, now that I ticked everyone off.

Reading Jason Micheli’s article really hit home for me. I can’t say that I believe everything that Jason had to say. I’m really not even sure that I am smart enough to understand what he is saying. I know that I don’t have the faith to really believe what he said, which is more about me and not him. If you choose to read it, here it is a copy of his sermon that he conducted for a funeral of a young man who committed suicide.

http://tamedcynic.org/sermon-for-a-suicide-do-you-believe-this/

 

Jason Micheli. I am not sure if this is pre or post cancer. photo from tamedcynic.org

 

This is a book that Jason wrote about cancer. photo from tamedcynic.org

 

I don’t know if he put it up because of Chris Cornell or it just worked out like that. But I spend a large part of Saturday afternoon watching Soundgarden videos and coming to appreciate how musically gifted Mr. Cornell and the other guys in Soundgarden are. I realized that I was wrong about them. They not grunge. They are metal.

Another of the groups that I really like is called Machine Head. Started in the early 1990s, I thought they were anti-grunge and I followed them off and on until I heard their album ‘Unto the Locust’ in 2011. Wow, what a great anti-establishment album. If you ever see me on an airplane, sitting in an airport, writing in a Starbucks or walking the streets of your fair town on a layover, you will see me with headphones in. There is a 50% chance that ‘Unto the Locus’ will be rattling around between my ears.

The lead singer is named Robb Flynn. I have never met Mr. Flynn but he is an example of what America is about. He is the driving force behind the Machine Head brand. While they are not commercially popular like Metallica, Megadeth, Slipknot or even Soundgarden, he has managed to make a comfortable living doing what he loves while remaining married and raising a family. It is fun for me to follow Mr. Flynn via a mass email list. There he writes about what is going on with Machine Head and himself in general. He is not doing the straight promotion of the group, but he writes very detailed and long emails about the things that he cares about.

 

Robb Flynn doing his thing. I bet he is President of his kid’s school parent/teacher organization. photo from yahoo

 

As you can tell, I like to know what real, honest people think no matter what if I agree with it or not. I feel like it helps keep me grounded, relevant, and current. Anyway, Mr. Flynn sent this out Thursday evening with a follow up Sunday. Mr. Flynn’s words are not for the weak or easily offended. He is real, honest, direct, blunt and lets you know how he felt about Chris Cornell. Read it at your own risk. This is the link to their Facebook page. I hope it works.

https://www.facebook.com/MachineHead/posts/10154745571783823

He added another article on Sunday about talking to his oldest son about suicide. I bet my wife and I had a similar conversation with our kids about Katie and her cancer. Cancer Sucks and Suicide Does Too.

http://machinehead.tumblr.com/

According to the media, if you can believe them. Chris Cornell was taking an anti-anxiety medication named Ativan. I’m not a doctor and I just go what I am told. But two of the side-effects of that medication is depression and thoughts about harming yourself. My wife had a family member commit suicide several years ago. Lynn, was a man’s man. Big, tough, hard but fun to be around. He was an engineer on the trains. He had worked around trains all his life and he was well respected by the hard dudes on the train lines.

He got hurt on the job and after several surgeries he still had nerve pain in his elbow. The doctor put him on something to help with the pain but the two side-effects were that you don’t sleep and you get depressed. Sometime after starting the medications, he was gone.

The following are the words of Robb Flynn. I totally agree with him. If you are in a bad place and you have nowhere to turn. Give me a call. Trust me, if you are down to my number then you are officially in a bad place. Please talk to someone if you are thinking about hurting yourself or someone else.

Seriously, call me and we will figure something out other than hurting yourself.

304-617-1101

Robb Flynn said this in his Sunday message:

“Talking about it on our group-text helped a lot, talking about it with my guys at practice helped a lot.  Writing the journal helped a lot, reading you’re replies helped a lot.

 

And so I’m sharing your replies to hopefully help anyone else struggling with this.

 

It needs to be discussed.

 

His suicide, depression, mental health, whatever we want to call needs to be addressed.

 

We need to get over our uber-macho, alpha-male-society, and be able to talk about these things.  For ourselves, for our kids, for our future.

 

My oldest son had heard Genevra and I talking about Cornell.

 

Driving him to school 2 days ago, he asked me how he died.  I told him. He didn’t understand why someone would do that.

 

It was tough conversation.  And my first thought was to not tell him what it meant, but then my larger fear went to “what if he feels this way already?”  And before you go, “oh kids don’t feel that way, kids are just happy all the time”, I have 2 friends who are going though it with their tween/teenagers.  So we spoke about it, and I told him “I hoped that him and Wyatt never felt that way because THAT scared me even more.”

 

It was heavy…

 

How any parent lives through that I’ll never know.”

 

 

Lyrics to Outshined. Power stuff. photo from yahoo.

Some Chris Cornell videos.

This dude turned a sugary Michael Jackson pop song into a masterpiece. Way cool.

 

He was so cool that he got to do a James Bond theme song.

 

He did about a thousand covers. Everything from Prince to Whitney Houston. He does an amazing combination of U2’s song ONE and Metallica’s song ONE. It is crazy and it makes my brain hurt because it is so cool. I have no idea how he could do that. I hate that I have learned about him like this. Life is good, don’t throw it away.

 

Until next time, keep on rockin!

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