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Blogs From Exile

Our short film is an official selection at the FilmQuest Film Festival

Congrats to the entire team who created the short thriller The Inflection Scheme. We just received our official selection at the prestigious FilmQuest Film Festival in Provo Utah, to be held this October.

The story is about a crypto trader who makes a $10M bet at a nefarious crypto exchange and has to deal with a protege from his past. It's based on a story I wrote, but all the credit goes to the director, writers, crew, and amazing cast. 

This is an especially gratifying moment for me because I've submitted screenplays to FilmQuest in the past and consider it one of the top up-and-coming film festivals.

Congratulations to everyone involved in the making of this film, best of luck in Provo, and looking forward to hearing of more selections at other festivals. 

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Inconsistency Doesn't Lie: An easy Way to Determine if You're Being Misled

The following is taken from my self-improvement book The Unused Path. It's a simple way to evaluate proposals, arguments, and behaviors to see if they pass the 'makes sense' test. It can help you avoid being deceived, and it begins with a simple piece of advice:

Watch for inconsistencies.

When something is inconsistent, it doesn't match or fit what's around it. Train yourself to notice inconsistency wherever you find it, but especially when dealing with other people. Do their deeds match their words? Do the words they're speaking to one audience match what they say to a different audience? Does their behavior under one set of circumstances match their behavior under others?

If the answer to any of those questions is no, it's possible they may try to mislead you.

Here's an example: Some people will attempt to convince you to stop using an item that works, just because it's been around for a while.

There's an apt saying on this topic. "Don't throw out the old bucket until you're sure the new bucket doesn't leak."

Let's say someone is trying to convince you to replace your 'old' bucket with a new one they happen to be selling. The world is full of people peddling leaky buckets, and they can offer arguments that seem convincing. They'll tell you it's made from a better material. They'll tell you it's lighter and stronger. If there's money in it, they're likely to tell you anything.

How might you figure out if they're playing you, without actually getting played?

Look for inconsistencies. Examine their argument to see if it logically supports the action they recommend. Question it from different angles to see if it makes sense all the way through.

Let's continue with the bucket example. They're telling you the new bucket is stronger and lighter. Is this important, even assuming it's true? The old one is working well for you, so it's obviously strong enough to do the job. Does it matter that the new bucket, when empty, is lighter than the old one? When either bucket is full of water, the weight of the water is what makes it heavy—and that's the same in both buckets.

Those are two inconsistencies right there. It may be a good idea to stop considering this purchase—and get away from that person.

You can apply this technique to arguments, promises, and even excuses you may be offered. Consider each part of what you're being told separately, and then look at the whole thing together. Does anything they're proposing seem illogical, impractical, or unlikely? Dig into that inconsistency, and you may avoid getting fooled.

My book The Unused Path contains numerous straightforward tips like these for navigating life with a clear head. It also contains step-by-step advice on solving problems, budgeting your money, managing your time, getting sound advice, and more. It's available in ebook or print from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and I hope you'll check it out.

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Exciting news from my horror writing

I'm thrilled and honored to announce that my horror short story, Lion Lake, has been selected as one of the stories to be included in a "Best of Lovecraftiana" anthology. Lion Lake was first published in the May 2022 edition of Lovecraftiana, and my story is in some august company in this collection. 

Tentatively entitled The Best of Lovecraftiana Magazine, the anthology will include:

Lion Lake Vincent H O'Neil
Sideways Carlton Herzog
Maggona Beach David B Harrington
Dreams of the Docent Lee Clark Zumpe
A Look Like Death Scott J Couturier
Accelatrix Glynn Owen Barrass
The Dappled Egg Tim Mendees
The Fate of the Jaquiths RC Mulhare
The Horror at Innsmouth High Joan d'Arc
Ash and Resurrection John M McCormick
Final Words Simon Bleaken
The Mesonoxian Maxwell Ian Gold
The Psychic Investigator David A Riley

If you're enjoying these blog posts, I think you might enjoy the novels and short stories I've written as well. Please visit some of the links on my webpage and consider purchasing my writing. Thank you. 

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See the Good with the Bad

Feeling a little stressed? Well here's the "See the Good With the Bad" passage from my self-improvement book The Unused Path:

When things aren't going well, it's natural to focus on what's wrong. There's a value to recognizing these wrong things, because we can't fix what we don't see. However, it's equally important to recognize the things that are going well.

What puts a smile on your face? What went right today, or yesterday, or recently? Who do you look forward to seeing, or what do you look forward to doing? What in your immediate vicinity is a thing of beauty you haven't noticed?

Stop and look at the sky every now and then. Appreciate the clouds and the stars. See the trees and the bushes and the vines and the grass you pass by every day.

These sights exist without your involvement. Recognizing these things can help us to gain perspective on our lives, our troubles, and the world in general. Perspective can help us manage stress and decide how we view our surroundings and even our existences.

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Don't let the small hurts get you down


Recently, it felt like a whole host of petty annoyances were piling up around me. Work issues, scheduling conflicts, and more than the usual number of writing rejections.


Most of us can deal pretty easily with the minor problems life throws at us, but when they come in larger numbers the impact seems almost multiplicative. Before we can deal with the issues we have, more come tumbling down on us. It's easy to feel overwhelmed.

While this was happening to me, I was reminded of a saying from my time in the Army. Shortly after graduating from West Point, I attended one of the Army's most challenging schools--a 60-day commando training program called Ranger. Ranger is characterised by sleep and food deprivation, physical exertion involving heavy rucksacks and difficult terrain, and all while being harassed by a team of experts called Ranger Instructors.

The school begins with two weeks of intensive land navigation and road marching that can seriously tear up your feet. Walking on blisters can really sap your energy, and when you add that pain to hunger pangs and exhaustion, it can feel insurmountable.

One of the Ranger Instructors advised us, "Don't let the little hurts get you down" and I really took that to heart. Instead of bemoaning the long list of discomforts afflicting me, I focused instead on each one separately and viewed it as a "little hurt" that could be managed. It was nothing more than a mental trick, but it worked.

So the next time things are stacking up on you and it feels like you're sinking, remember not to let the little hurts win. Deal with the issues one at a time, and see how much more effectively you'll manage them.

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Finding purpose in the AI age

Yesterday I read a couple of disturbing posts about the recent arrest of a young Air National Guardsman for leaking highly classified information. The posts suggest that the leaker was seeking to impress online friends, and ask how do we give people more purpose in life than gaining a dopamine rush from seeing 'Likes' online?

I recently published a futuristic fiction novel that wrestles with this very question. In a not-distant USA, AIs make most of the decisions and robots do all the work. Everyone's got everything they need--except a purpose.

The book is about the people seeking that purpose, and how that quest comes to be viewed as a threat to social stability by the government of that time.

It's currently on sale for 99 cents as an ebook on Amazon, and here's the link:


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An intriguing problem for a mystery writer

In my latest short story, I ran into a snag that I'd never encountered before. For a while, I was working with a plot that didn't seem to provide a plausible way for the killer to get caught.

This is definitely one of those "good" problems to have, because it probably means the case is a tough one and the readers will find it a challenge. But before they could do that, I did have to figure out how the perp gets caught--or, if the perp doesn't get caught, how the story ends.

As background, I set out to write a tough, tight "whodunnit" murder mystery with only two suspects and a remote location. Putting them there, and crafting the motivation for the killer, left a case that would not be easy for investigators to solve.

I was being very strict with myself and the circumstances I created for the murder. So no "dumb moves" by anyone in the story.

As an added degree of difficulty, the investigators aren't sure the death wasn't an accident.

Because of that, there was very little pointing toward the killer in the first place and the killer didn't have much time or opportunity to make a mistake that could tip anyone off.

To resolve this, I used an approach that I imagine some investigators take. I went through every one of the killer's actions and words to see if they provide anything that could point to that character as the perpetrator. That actually didn't work, but then I tried the "it's not what you see, but what you DON"T see" approach. In other words, if the available evidence doesn't solve the mystery, what evidence is missing that the investigators would expect to be there?

I'm still being strict with myself, but think I figured it out in a way that is realistic, believable, and in character. It's been a rewarding exercise, and it's definitely stretched my brain. 

Now to write the story. 


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FREE--read the first 3 chapters of my YA sci-fi story The Gathering Elements

Check out my serialized YA sci-fi story "The Gathering Elements" on Kindle Vella:

Cal and Rosamund are orphans conscripted into a monastic school that trains teens to be spies and saboteurs serving in the corporate wars. The school has many enemies, and it holds a deep secret: Its top administrators are experimenting with the void created by the folding of space and time, a realm containing unearthly wisdom, terrifying entities, and sudden madness.

#scifi #ya #sciencefiction #youngadult #dystopian #kindlevella #kindlevellastory

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Check out my new serialized story "Negotiating Hostages" on Kindle Vella

Read the first 3 chapters of my serialized crime drama "Negotiating Hostages" FREE on Kindle Vella:

When two organized crime gangs exchange hostages for an approaching sit-down, what happens when one of the hostages is a fake and the other is something much worse?

#kindlevella #crime#suspense #thriller #hostage


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Launch of an innovative new book series

The first two books in my new series are on sale now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in ebook and paperback. This series is something new, in that it pairs a futuristic fiction novel with a non-fiction self-improvement manual/life-philosophy manual.

The first book, A Pause in the Perpetual Rotation, is a science fiction novel depicting a future United States where everyone has everything they need--except a purpose. A new philosophy called The Unused Path has been embraced by many, and the government finds this increasingly disturbing.

The second one, the non-fiction book The Unused Path, is that philosophy.

I hope you like them. You can read more at this link.


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