I would like to share with you a conversation that Cole and I have at least a dozen times every day…
Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
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.
So today is Thanksgiving, a day in which we Americans are supposed to pause between mouthfuls of turkey, football, and conversation to reflect on the many things we have for which we should be thankful. Some of us have more than others, and some of us have less, but I can say with absolute certainty, having traveled extensively, that all Americans have more than most. Even in the worst days, the American People are rich by the standards of many. For that, we should all be collectively thankful.
But that goes without saying, I suppose. And so I want to take a moment to talk about some of the other things for which I, individually, am thankful:
I am not a religious man, but I am far from an atheist. So I am thankful that God (or Allah, or Jehovah, if you prefer) allowed me to wake up this morning and continue to draw breath.
I am thankful for my lovely wife, who puts up with far more than she should have to because, for some reason, she loves me and thinks I am worth it.
I am thankful for my beautiful, intelligent daughter, who taught me (even though I was a slow learner) how to be a father.
I am thankful for my son, who has filled my heart and my life with childlike wonder and innocence at a time when I didn’t even know I needed it.
I am thankful for my family, both for those who have been here for years and those with whom I have only recently reconnected. The older I get, the more important they become.
I am thankful for those who read my books and enjoy them. Without your support I would not be able to do what I do.
I am thankful for those who read my books and hate them. Without their input I would not know which areas of my work need the most improvement.
Last, but not least, I am thankful for our men and women in uniform. Every day, those men and women wake up, put on their uniforms, and go to work. That uniform is a statement to you, the American civilian. It says “I am willing to die for you.”
Every single man and woman who puts on that uniform is a braver and better person than I could ever be, and for that, I am thankful.
Tomorrow, millions of us will be battling each other for deals on goods and gifts, forgetting in our quest for bargains the very lessons of today. Being thankful will lose out to seeking bargains, and the mad holiday rush will begin. So before that happens, take a moment to look at the list above and see if there is anything on it for which you are thankful. If you are among family and friends today, hug them, tell them you love them, and enjoy the rest of your day.
Tomorrow is the Big Day, America. I would like to encourage everyone to actually vote. Don’t just grumble about the state of the country or how much better one candidate would be over the other. VOTE!
Voting is a right that was paid for by the sweat and blood of American soldiers. THEY paid the price so YOU could have a voice. VOTE!
Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, VOTE!
Even if you don’t think your candidate will win, VOTE! Yours could be the vote that pushes them over the top.
If you don’t VOTE, you have NO RIGHT to complain if the country doesn’t reflect your personal ideology. If you don’t VOTE, you are bowing your head and letting other people decide who will lead you without even trying to fight. If you don’t VOTE, you are throwing away the most basic fundamental right of a US citizen, a right that billions of people around the world WISH they had.
Most importantly, if you don’t VOTE, you are saying your voice does not matter to anyone, not even to yourself.
Old Sins, aka The Gallows Tree, is finally out.
Well, actually, it’s been out for almost a week. It had a quiet release on Saturday, October 13th with very little promotion or fanfare, and now the first review is in. I have been waiting for this moment. Dreading it, even. Old Sins is such a disturbing, even offensive, story that I just knew the reviews were going to pan it and call me every name under the sun. That’s why I waited so long to publish this book.
Well, today is the day. Imagine my joy when I saw it was five stars. Here is the review, written by Marisa Brown:
“Disturbing. Just, disturbing. Which I guess is the point, it being a horror novel and all. Very well written, riveting story, and a must read for any horror lover. It could definitely be offensive, but there is a powerful message behind it.
Highly, highly recommended.”
Not too shabby, eh? Right now Old Sins is only available as an ebook, but I will be working on the print version soon and expect to make it available within a month or so.
UPDATE: Old Sins also received its first blurb this morning:
“Old Sins delivers a return to old-school rural horror in the tradition of Stephen King. Character, suspense, chills–check, check, check. McAfee is a Mack Daddy of the horror genre.” – Scott Nicholson, The Home
Scott is a MASTER of the horror genre, so this made my week!
Some of you may know this already, but the working title “The Gallows Tree” has been changed to Old Sins. The new title just fits better and isn’t as clumsy-sounding. To me, anyway.
So, without further ado, I give you the cover to my upcoming horror novel, Old Sins:
This book will finally be available for your reading…uh…pleasure (?) next week. Just in time for some good old Halloween Heebie Jeebies.
I do not have the back cover copy ready as of yet, but I will be working like a dog over the next week to get everything ready. This darn book has been sitting on my hard drive and in my head for too damn long. It’s high time someone else got to read it.
Look for OLD SINS next week.