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Dreamcatcher: Hail to the King Reading Challenge 2019


Three weeks of gray boys, SSDD, alien fungal infection, friendship, and so much more. Dreamcatcher kicks off the 2019 Hail to the King Reading Challenge with all of its 620 pages. I read this one in hardcover and it was a weighty book to haul around in my bag. Could I have read it on the Kindle? Sure. I didn’t. I own most of Mr. King’s books in print and I do like to take them down sometimes and read the actual book.

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Freedom From Distractions With Freewrite

Freewrite Blank

My Freewrite arrived today along with the set of blank keycaps I had ordered. There was a question about whether the Freewrite would arrive today. The UPS shipping was originally going to deliver to the Post Office for them to deliver. I paid to upgrade the shipping because they said it would arrive a day earlier. But this morning the tracking still showed “In Transit” though it had a scheduled delivery date of today.

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Rereading Tommyknockers by Stephen King


I decided to reread Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers in December as an appetizer for the 2019 Hail to the King reading challenge. And what an appetizer it is! Fortunately, I got through it with all of my teeth intact. Yes, fair warning, if teeth falling out is a trigger for you, this might not be the book to read. Otherwise, read on. 

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Happy Birthday Mr. Clarke and Ms. Austen

Jane Austen

Today, December 16th, is the birthday of both Arthur C. Clarke and Jane Austen, two literary greats.

Clarke’s work had the greatest impact on my own. I discovered Clarke through his short stories and novels at an early age. Rendezvous With Rama, 2001, and his other works shaped my interests in science fiction. For the longest time 2001 and the sequels were the future. I remember how strange it was when I found myself living in 2001,then 2010, and it wasn’t—of course—the future that Clarke described. I was born near the end of the Apollo missions and was a child in the Mojave desert when the Space Shuttle started flying. Clarke’s work (and that of other science fiction writers) led me to believe we’d be back to the Moon and beyond. By 2010 that seemed much less likely but my enthusiasm around space exploration hasn’t dimmed. I was so excited when Huygen's Probe finally showed us the surface of Titan or New Horizons revealed Pluto and Charon—and soon Ultima Thule (in 15 days!)

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Hail to the King 2019 Stephen King Reading Challenge

Hail to the King 2019

Here's something just for fun: You're invited to join me in a chilling reading challenge for 2019—Hail to the King 2019.

The challenge itself is simple: Read a Stephen King book each month in 2019 and share your thoughts on the book. Whether that's on your blog, social media, Goodreads, or Amazon reviews—share your thoughts. I'll be posting my thoughts here on the blog and I hope you'll join me with comments and discussion on each post.

I've created a free PDF with the titles selected for each month. Pop your name into the box below to join my Reader's group, Readinary and download the PDF. You're welcome to unsubscribe at any time, but I hope you'll stick around.

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200+ Ways to Have Fun Slashing Your Day With Slayaway Camp

Slayaway Camp

You ever have one of those days where something just delights you, unexpectedly transforming your whole day? It might be that the cute human you like flirted with you when you bought your favorite caffeinated beverage. Or it could be that you discovered a hilarious way to indulge your inner 80's slasher. No? That hasn't happened to you? Which one?

Puzzling Deaths of Glee

I had one of those days yesterday. I love playing video games—I just don't choose to play games as often as I might have done in my early NES days when you couldn't save a game and played long marathon sessions using the Force to battle through all of the levels of the Star Wars game and destroy the Death Star.

I'm what you'd call a casual gamer. Gamer light. Sure, I'll play a game now and then (Minecraft, WarCraft, StarCraft, basically anything with ‘craft' or ‘Lego' in the title). I don't stay up on all the latest gaming news. I don't have the time (and yet I have an absurd impulse to buy games that I'm not going to spend much time playing, just in case I want to play them).

Yesterday I turned on our XBox One and went to the Deals With Gold (like I said, it's absurd, but there it is), and looked at the games. And there it was:

Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut

Butcher's EditionIn all of its blocky gloriousness, Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut with the delightful Skullface character. I clicked on the game and watched the trailer and immediately clicked BUY.

And waited for it to download.

I missed the news when Slayaway Camp launched like two years ago. Casual gamer :shrug:. I know, old news, like me.

Seeing Slayaway Camp filled me with the same nostalgic glee as Paperbacks From Hell (awesome book, just saying).

Splatterific Gaming

The small human watching with me on the couch said, “You bought it?”

“Yep.” The XBox popped up an announcement that my controller batteries were low. Not from playing. It's just been that long since I picked it up. Casual gamer.

The game finished installing and I launched it with glee. First puzzle, super simple, slide Skullface over to the unwitting blocky person and—choose rating pops up.

I pick an R-rating for more gratuitous cartoony gore. And SPLAT. First victim. I laughed. Horrible? No, hilarious.

Slayaway Camp Screen

Level Up, Killer

Each level makes up part of the Slayaway Camp ‘movie' in which Skullface slaughters victims at the camp in a variety of gruesome and amusing ways. If you've ever watched Friday the 13th, Sleepaway Camp, or any other 80's slasher films, this is all familiar territory.

Except, this is all done in an isometric environment and the characters are puzzle pieces that you slide around the board. You don't directly control the victims—but they do run away in terror if their fellow camper gets beheaded in front of them, or if the killer moves into an adjacent square.

It so funny. Sick? Maybe so. Still funny.

Killer Collectibles

As any good casual game, Slayaway Camp offers a range of souvenirs for the discerning killer on a budget. Final kills at the end of each level generate gold coins that can be spent to unlock weapons and new killers. The puzzles might not change—but you can replay them dressed in your finest costume. Don't want to be ordinary Skullface anymore? How about Flaming Skullface? Skullface's Mom? Killer Clown, or any of the other killers in the gallery.

Slayaway Camp Shop

Never-Ending Sequels

Completing one set of puzzles unlocks new movies like Return to Slayaway Camp and more. The game uses VHS box art as part of the retro style with witty (or at least amusing) descriptions of each film.

Like any other puzzle game on the planet, Slayaway Camp puzzles increase in difficulty as you progress through the game. It introduces new game mechanics — scare your victims into fires and watch them burn — including cops (approach with caution), pits, falling squish bookcases (seriously, does no one ever anchor their bookcases?), and much more.

Killing On The Go

Soon after I progressed through the first Slayaway Camp movie, life intervened and we had to go out. Something about needing to buy food, I guess we're not that far beyond our hunting and gathering stage.

While out I had a thought. That game would work great on phones, I wonder if they did a mobile edition?


Yes! Downloading…

I soon started hacking my way through the levels I'd just played on the XBox One, happily slaying time with Slayaway Camp on my phone. A hilarious game, executed marvelously, and it makes me happy knowing that at any moment I can pull out my phone and start hunting down victims.

What? Did I say something wrong?

Slayaway Camp Victims

If you've watched all of those old slasher films, enjoy a little casual mayhem from time to time, I recommend checking out Slayaway Camp.

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Enjoy these posts? Want to see more? Give my novels and stories a try. Either way, like your comments and shares, it tells me that you enjoy the work and want it to continue.

And if you really want to connect? Become Readinary and join my readers' group below.

Thank you so much. I truly appreciate it.

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Favorite Author Reread: Beholder’s Eye by Julie E. Czerneda

Beholder's Eye

I've started rereading Julie E. Czerneda's
Web Shifters series beginning with the first book, Beholder's Eye. Czerneda is one of my favorite authors and I enjoy going back and experiencing her character's stories again. She writes my kind of science fiction—a universe filled with a variety of intelligent species doing their best to get by each day. It's space opera and tons of fun. Let me tell you why I think this book is worth your time.

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42 Answers to the Question, “Why Blog?”

number 42

The Number 42

Few writers have made as much of an impression as Douglas Adams on my imagination. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy remains one of my favorite books.

“Forty-two,” said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.

The number 42 has entered the popular imagination since the release of Douglas Adams' book. I don't know the ultimate question. I have asked myself on many occasion, "Why blog?" Most recently, while taking the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course from Problogger. One of the first assignments is writing a post answering that question. It probably isn't the ultimate question, but I decided to use the number 42 to answer it anyway. Here are 42 answers I came up with to the question, in no particular order, as far as I know.

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