Todd Barr! He was the first to answer the questions, and he got all of them right. Thanks Todd!
So I’ve been trying to think of a good giveaway, and I’ve been drawing a blank. So I decided to go with a little trivia. The first person who answers four questions correctly will win signed copies of Old Sins, Saying Goodbye to the Sun, and 61 A.D. I would add a copy of 33 A.D. to the pot, but I am fresh out. The questions are taken from some of my books, so hopefully you guys have read them. Answers must be posted here, not on Facebook.
1. In Saying Goodbye to the Sun, what is Raine’s last name?
2. In NASTY LITTLE F!#*ERS, what is the name of the man who contracted Colby to protect the team of scientists?
3. In 61 A.D., which of Boudica’s daughters was pregnant?
4. In 33 A.D., what was the name of Marcus’s murdered brother? For a bonus point that will earn the winner absolutely nothing, who killed him?
The first person to post all four correct answers here, on my blog, will win signed copies of the books I listed above. BUT…there is a bonus round. I have one more question to ask, and the first person to answer it correctly will win a free signed copy of 79 A.D. when it is released. (NOTE: The release date for 79 A.D. has not yet been determined.) This, by the way, is separate from the other contest, meaning you do not have to answer all 5 questions in order to win anything. If you just want to answer the bonus question for a chance at 79 A.D., that is fine, too. Ready for the question? Okay, here goes:
Bonus Question: Indie author sensation Amanda Hocking featured one of my short stories on her blog not once, but twice. What story was it?
There you have it. Signed copies of several books are on the line. Start digging through your Kindles or hard copies…..now!
I would like to share with you a conversation that Cole and I have at least a dozen times every day…
So, file this under the tag “THAT explains it!”
Recently, I have noticed a drop in my clothing count. Pants, socks, unmentionables, etc. seemed to be disappearing from my dresser. We have been making regular trips from the house in AL to the one in TN, so I simply assumed I was leaving clothes in Knoxville by mistake. But lately it has gotten to the point where I don’t have enough pairs of pants or socks to make it through a solid week in AL, which doesn’t add up. Again, I just figured I was screwing up somehow.
Then, this morning, Cole was in our bedroom while I was making the bed. I watched him walk over to the clothes hamper and pull out out one of Heather’s shirts. He then proceeded to take the shirt over to the extra dresser (we have two, but only use one) and put the shirt into the bottom drawer. When he opened the drawer, I saw that it was FULL of clothes. Pants, shirts, socks, underwear…all dirty, and stuffed into the drawer so tightly that he couldn’t fit the new shirt into it.
So there you have it. I have not been leaving my pants in another state, my two-year-old son has been hoarding them.
Yeah, I know. Another long silence. Sorry, guys, I am pretty bad about that.
I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking about 79 A.D. And I deserve them. I had said it would be out by Christmas and it isn’t. This is all on me. I would like to blame several weeks of illness (not just me, but my wife and son, too…it’s almost been a plague at the McAfee house!) and over two weeks of holiday traveling, but the simple fact is that I have not delivered. Part of that is due to the reasons I just mentioned, and part of it is because the book just isn’t ready. There are issues with the timeline and plot elements that still need some tweaking, as well as editing. I can not, and never will, release a book that is not up to my own personal standards, and 79 A.D. is not there yet.
The new target date is late February. I will keep you all posted if that changes.
2013 is shaping up to be a very busy year for me, as I am planning to release no less than three new books and a couple of compilations. If I am lucky and the timing and inspiration fall just right, I might release four. Of the projects slated to be released this year are my first foray into epic fantasy, another collection of short stories, 79 A.D. (of course), an omnibus edition of the Bachiyr novels (all four books will be available in one volume, along with bonus content), an omnibus edition of my short story collections (again, with bonus content), a second book of Stay At Home Dad stories (NOTE: I may scrap this project, since the first book just languishes on the virtual shelf), and a vampire novel called BAIT, which is a particular favorite of mine that I have been dying to get back into.
Much of this depends on how much time Cole gives me to work, of course, but all of the above are quite doable, so long as I can keep my butt in line. Your emails, reviews, and comments help more than you can know in that regard, so please feel free to contact me and tell me to get off my fanny. Or get on my fanny, I guess. Butt In Chair, and all that.
In any case, thank you all for your patience, and my sincere apologies for how often I test it.
As we all know, 28 people died in the Newtown, CT shooting, including 20 children aged 6 and 7. But the number of victims is infinitely higher. An entire nation was shocked and wounded last Friday, and citizens the world over wept with honest grief at the tragedy of so many young, innocent lives cut brutally short. I cried when I heard the news. Four days later, it is difficult to think about this massacre without raising the hair on my arms and feeling the moisture build in my eyes. Like most of us, I am filled with a sense of outrage, despair, and even fear.
So is it possible, in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, to have a rational and civilized discussion on ways in which this kind of thing can be prevented? Not a finger pointing exchange or an I-Told-You-This-Would-Happen marathon. Both sides of the gun debate have made their points over and over and, frankly, they are starting to stand on the bodies of the dead to wave their political flags. It’s a bit disgusting.
What I would like to do is dig for ideas, try to find a realistic, workable way to curb these senseless attacks. We’ve heard several ideas already, ranging from arming teachers and administrators to better health care for the mentally ill. I think both ideas have merit, but neither of them is a perfect solution.
So what is? Eliminating all guns is logically impossible. The logistics alone are as prohibitive as it gets. There are over 200,000,000 guns in the country, with a little over half the population admitting to having at least one gun in their home (there are probably more, since there are a great deal of illegal guns in addition to the many legally-obtained firearms) and approximately 2 million men and women in service, including reserves. Trying to confiscate firearms, which many people consider a Constitutionally protected right, will lead to armed conflicts between soldiers, police, and citizens. To put it as simply as possible, a large number of gun owners will not willingly hand over their weapons, and will fight to keep them. Best case scenario would be a few skirmishes in which a relatively small number of people are killed or injured. Worst case scenario would be another Civil War, with several deep red states deciding they have had enough. As tragic as the Newtown shooting was, it would pale in comparison to the number of people who would lose their lives in a modern Civil War.
So are the gun rights people correct? Is the answer not less guns, but more? Will our children be safe if our teachers are given the opportunity to carry firearms into the classroom? While I tend to think potential shooters would be more reluctant to enter a school and open fire if they knew there were armed individuals inside, I am not completely sold on the idea. Most teachers, like most human beings, are good people who just want to do their jobs, help the children in their care, and feel like they are making the world a better place. But there are some teachers who really should not be permitted anywhere near a classroom, firearm or not. How many sex scandals have we seen with teachers and students over the last few years? How many other instances of teachers abusing their authority have we witnessed? Not to mention that teaching is a low-paying, high stress job, and more than one idealistic, well-intentioned teacher has been driven to the brink by spoiled American kids. Would introducing firearms to the classrooms be a wise move, all things considered? In most cases, I think the teachers would be fine, but there are always exceptions, and the very first time an over-stressed teacher snapped and turned the firearm on the class, it would make national news and call the wisdom of this into question.
Banning “assault rifles” seems like an idea that is gaining ground, as well, but there are numerous flaws in that plan, too. First, we must define “assault rifle.” If we are talking about any semi-automatic rifle, then that is a LOT of guns that will be outlawed, and you are looking at all the logistical issues I mentioned above. If we include features like collapsible stocks and pistol grips to the definition, one has to wonder why those features mark a weapon as an “assault rifle.” I won’t go into all the specifics here, because it would take too long, but let’s just say that you would need a specific definition of the term “assault rifle” that could be broadly applied.
Even then, you would face a monumental task: taking a large number of the most dangerous weapons available to civilians away from many people who will probably not be inclined to simply hand them over. See notes above about a new Civil War. And to add to this, it should be noted that a ban on assault weapons has been done before. The federal assault weapons ban lasted from 1994 to 2004. Now, if you are paying attention and know your history, you will immediately realize that two high-profile firearm-related incidents occurred during this ban: the Columbine School Massacre and the DC Sniper Rampage. Additionally, the Oklahoma City Bombing occurred during this time. (It’s probably worth noting that the Oklahoma City Bombing, which was carried out with fertilizer, racing fuel, and a rented box truck, killed more innocent people than the Columbine, Virginia tech, Aurora, and Newtown shootings combined. Also worth noting is the “one shot, one kill” nature of the DC Sniper attacks, which used an AR style rifle, but could have just as easily been carried out with a bolt-action rifle.)
The ban was allowed to expire in 2004 because the numbers simply didn’t back it up. Gun crime did not significantly decrease during the ban. In the interest of being fair, it should be noted that the ban was loosely written, easily skirted, and did not include any weapons or magazines that were manufactured prior to its inception. What that means is that every firearm that fell under the definition of “assault weapon” under the ban was still legal to own, sell, and operate, so long as it was manufactured prior to the date the ban went into effect. Essentially, the ban only prevented NEW “assault weapons” from being manufactured for civilian use, while having zero provisions for those that already existed. (Similar to the ban on fully automatic weapons, which are still legal to own and operate as long as they were manufactured prior to the date the ban went into effect.) Additionally, as I noted, the ban was easily skirted by firearm manufacturers, who only needed to make a few (mostly minor) modifications to their products in order to comply.
But all that said, the last ban did not work, and a new, stricter ban would likely cause more problems, the largest and most complicated of which would be simply enforcing it. Short of sending out armed patrols to confiscate existing weapons, how would you go about it? Australia introduced a ban on assault weapons and spent hundreds of millions of dollars buying rifles from its citizens, and even then it did not get them all. These rifles are expensive, ranging from $600 for a low-budget model to ten thousand dollars or more for a customized, top-of-the-line rifle. Can the United states afford to buy all those rifles? Probably not, which means the armed patrols would be the only way to get them, and now, once again, we are looking at the possibility of a Civil War.
So, what is the solution? I honestly don’t know. I am open to suggestions. I would ask only that you keep your suggestions civil, logical and realistic. The diatribes of “guns are evil” and “if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns” are so common and so well-known they do not need to be repeated here. I am not interested on hosting a debate on gun rights versus gun control, what I am hoping to find is a solution to school shootings. A realistic, workable solution that does not degenerate into a bipartisan bicker-fest. If you have any ideas, please share them.