Thursday, April 19, 2018

When Natural Rights Are Being Suppressed, Stand Strong

There is no question that a climate of extreme polarization is taking place in America.  It is reaching the extent that there are two very different nations, or populations, emerging within the same geographic space.

The two visions are irreconcilable and incompatible in the long run. In the short term it is accelerating a lot of conflict between individuals and communities.

A very dangerous trend is taking place within this climate.  Both the government and large corporations are engaging in the suppression of natural rights, and at the top of the list is the freedom of expression (speech).

Major social media providers are increasingly deciding what their users will and will not see, what they deem to be acceptable, or quality, posts, and censoring users who run afoul of various transgressions as established by the providers.

By using words like "hate speech" or "offensive speech", or "harassment", they have aimed to put anyone disagreeing with their censoring in a bad light.  After all, how can anyone be supportive of "hate", or "offensive speech", or "harassment"?

The fatal flaw in their position is that the definition of "hate speech", "offensive speech" and "harassment" has broadened to the point where simple disagreement, legitimate criticism, and having a different view or opinion has fallen into these categories under their perspective.

Free expression and free discourse includes speech that may be deemed hateful and offensive.  This is very different from making a specific threat to someone, or an active call for violence.

One only has to see what is transpiring all across Europe to see what I mean.  Expression of one's own opinion about certain Islamic beliefs expressed in their religious texts, or discussing the dangers and costs that come to communities as a result of mass migration, can get a person fined or arrested in many countries.

The criticisms voiced by such individuals might well cause discomfort or even offend some, but they are part of legitimate discourse, dissent, and expression.  They involve issues that could have profound future consequences for everything from women's rights to the sustainability of social welfare programs, to the safety of the LGBTQ community, to name a few.  The zeal with which the governments of many countries in Europe suppress the opinions and criticisms of many of their citizens in regard to these issues raises serious questions about the agendas they are pursuing.

Agendas versus free expression are at the epicenter of the issue.

In America, anyone who is intellectually honest can see this in the current gun control debate as it pertains to the media's usage of Parkland students in their coverage, editorial content, and events.  Students such as David Hogg, who align solidly with an anti-gun agenda, are given extensive coverage, invitation to forums, and wide exposure, while students such as Kyle Kashuv, who is a defender of the right to bear arms, finds options for media coverage and events much more limited.

It is clear that the mainstream media is not engaged in journalism, but rather the promotion of an agenda.  This is demonstrated in what is covered, who is interviewed and what side of the issue they are on.

While Hogg is advocating for changes that will undeniably result in the suppression of the Second Amendment, media figures react in an adversarial fashion if one questions anything about him, from his FBI connections through his father, to where exactly he was during the Parkland shooting. (some stories say he was at home during the shooting and then rode a bike to the campus, while others have him in another building separate from where the shooting took place).

Questions seeking to clarify facts are not bullying in any way, contrary to what media figures would have you think. They are legitimate inquiries into a young figure who has irrefutably been spotlighted by the media as one of the leaders of a movement.  They are important in exploring how David Hogg skyrocketed to such media prominence while others did not.

In a school with over 3,000 students, asking why David Hogg has such an eminent position versus his peers who went through the same experience is a question that any honest journalist should be asking. Unfortunately, real journalism is in short supply these days beyond alternative and independent media outlets.

Thankfully, America's fundamental principles provides protections for freedom of expression in the face of agenda-driven suppression.

The Bill of Rights has the concept of Natural Rights at its foundation.  Natural Rights are an innate part of being a living human person, upon birth, and are not granted by government or any other human-created entity.

What is given by a government can be taken away.  Natural Rights, which are not given by government, can not be taken by government either, only suppressed.

Further, America is a constitutional republic, not a democracy.  A constitutional republic is a bulwark against the kind of mob rule that those with agendas would desire to enact. This is why they are so eager to eradicate things like the Electoral College and other things that protect the minority from tyranny of the majority.

Ultimately, people simply need to understand the power that they have within them as individuals.  All that is needed is the determination and will to take a stand when it comes to the defense of Natural Rights.  A refusal to give ground.  A refusal to allow suppression of Natural Rights to occur.

This path requires backbone and the thick skin required to endure a hailstorm of name-calling and character assassination attempts, but it is the same path that threw off the yoke of a tyrannical monarch and set in motion a country that achieved tremendous success and uniqueness in all of human history.

It is time to embrace that spirit once more.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A New Novella and a New Hero For Today

Last week, I shared the cover art for a new novella, Depths of Night, that marks the debut of my Ragnar Stormbringer character.  I was thrilled with the artwork developed by Olivia Pro Design, as it really captured the atmosphere of this story.

Ragnar Stormbringer is a heroic warrior that inhabits the same world as Rayden Valkyrie, who is the focus of my novels Heart of a Lion and Thunder Horizon.

Ragnar is also one of the main characters featured in the Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot, which is based upon an original screenplay and story line of mine (it is not an adaptation of one of my books, although I do plan to do a novelization of the show's story line at some point). 

Brock O'Hurn portrays Ragnar wonderfully in the TV pilot and I cannot wait for the completion of post-production so we can show everyone his performance.  I would love to see the pilot lead to a full season of episodes.  I have a very exciting journey envisioned for the ensemble cast and I know that characters like Ragnar will both engage and thrill today's audiences. 

I've wanted to begin telling Ragnar's full story for awhile.  I also wanted to explore Rayden Valkyrie's story further.  In that light, I began to develop a number of brand new stories, some featuring Ragnar, and some featuring Rayden, which will be part of an exciting group of new releases over the next few months in eBook formats. 

The eBook releases allow me to bring new stories to my readers on a regular basis while I complete some larger novel projects.  To me, this is a win-win for everyone as I can increase the number of releases I have without compromising the quality of my work. 

My readers deserve my best at all times, and while it can take awhile to develop one of my larger novels, it is possible for me to deliver some shorter format works (like short stories and novellas) that meet my standards for putting something forward for release (which I won't do unless I am 100% confident I have done my best on it and left nothing behind).

I believe Ragnar, like Rayden, has a lot to offer readers of today. When it comes to heroes, I like to champion the kind of hero who is mortal, of flesh and blood, imperfect, and does not possess supernatural powers ... yet has an underlying honor code and rises up in trying situations to do whatever it takes to succeed.  My heroes do not hesitate to go against the odds, no matter how overwhelming.

Rayden and Ragnar are very different characters, but at the end of the day they both are human, can be related to, and call upon everyone to embrace the heroic aspects that are inside each and every living person.  You don't need some fancy costume, supernatural ability, hi-tech gadgetry, or otherworldly origin to be a hero in the vein of Rayden and Ragnar.  To me those are the truest kinds of heroes, because they overcome the limitations we all struggle with. 

I am confident that these stories can be enjoyed by all kinds of readers, not just those into sword and sorcery or fantasy fiction.  Heroic, inspirational characters reach beyond genres and engage a reader on many levels.

The Ragnar Stormbringer adventure begins on April 4th, with the release of Depths of Night, and there is much more to come! 

Check out the synopsis below and if you have a Kindle, be sure to pre-order a copy too!

Synopsis of Depths of Night: After a harrowing end to a long sea journey, the famed northern warrior Ragnar Stormbringer and a force of warriors step ashore in the lands of the Petranni, a tribal people known for their workings in silver and gold. The search for plunder takes a sharp turn when homesteads, villages, and temple sites show signs of being recently abandoned.

When it is discovered that the Petranni have all taken refuge within a massive stronghold, Ragnar and the others soon fall under the shadow of an ancient, deadly adversary. Wielding his legendary war axe Raven Caller, Ragnar finds his strength tested like never before.
Kindle pre-order link:

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Become One of My Patrons and Join My Journey!

I have a personal Patreon page now, as do so many independent artists and creatives in today's world. It is a platform through which anyone in the public can choose to become a patron of an artist, musician, writer, filmmaker, or a company engaged in those kinds of activities.

For myself, this is something that can be of tremendous help in advancing and growing in my content creation and activities. At the moment, in addition to being a writer, I am also developing a TV show, co-hosting a weekly podcast, co-hosting a weekly V-log, engaging in weekly blogging, hosting original content on my own YouTube channel weekly, while also tending to all the tasks involved in running a press (Seventh Star Press) and convention (Imaginarium Convention).

The workload is seven days a week, with most days being long, whether twelve hours, fourteen, or even more (and sometimes overnight). It doesn't come with any guarantees. No benefits of any sort, like healthcare or paid vacation or sick days. When I'm dealing with an illness, I have to still meet deadlines and make things work on a regular basis.

I'm not complaining.  This is what I do.  I love the areas of activity I am involved in and have always maintained I'll work 80 hours a week at something I like versus 30 in something I have no interest or passion for.

At this stage of my journey, I have seen that the work I do does help and benefit a great many others, in many ways. 
Seventh Star Press has enabled a great many authors to have their work published, with quality presentations that involve great care in regard to cover art and layouts. It has also provided lots of opportunities for editors and artists, and serviced many thousands of readers with quality content. 

The Imaginarium Convention has delivered a wealth of opportunities in learning, networking and empowerment to all kinds of independent creatives, whether authors, editors, publishers, filmmakers and artists. 

The Vlogs, blogs and podcasts all serve to regularly provide insights, education, and inspiration to all kinds of independent creatives on their own paths.

My own creative work, whether in writing or filmmaking, strives to encourage and inspire, with affirmations of positive values and outlooks in the protagonists I embrace. The Rayden Valkyrie character is a prime example of this, and I have gotten many messages from readers who have been inspired and encouraged in the ways I had hoped to see.

Ultimately, it is up to others to recognize the value in what someone does, but I believe strongly in the work that I do, what is has been for others, and what it can be for many more. 

The realities are that the landscape for creatives is unpredictable and constantly shifting.  It is a very difficult road to travel.  The book publishing world alone sees regular, profound changes in the way books are marketed and sold, and these changes are rarely, if ever, truly helpful to smaller press and independent writers.  Similarly, ad revenue streams on things like Google Ads or YouTube monetization sees sudden and unhelpful changes, such as the famous "adpocalypse" last fall.

A little help is needed and this is where a group of Patrons can make a huge difference. 

Having a little more surety in what I can look to each month can enable me to develop even stronger content and participate in more activities like workshops and events.  I can upgrade the equipment I use regularly, take advantage of more marketing opportunities to raise awareness of my work and all the things I am involved in.  From growth to production value, Patrons would help me develop and keep improving in all my spheres of activity. 

I can assure potential Patrons that the result will be increased content with stronger presentation, which will, in turn, benefit a much greater number of independent creatives.  There is a real synergy that can happen with a solid base of support at Patreon.  I look forward to engaging regularly with my Patrons, no matter what level each chooses to participate at. 

If you are interested in supporting my work in any area, whether my writing, my broadcasting/Vlogging, my filmmaking, blogging, or the work I do for Seventh Star Press and the Imaginarium Convention, please consider becoming one of  my Patrons. 

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.  It means a lot to me. more than you might realize.

You can visit my Patreon page at the link below to learn more: