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New fantasy novel release: The Blue Gem

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It took nearly four years, but the completion of The Blue Gem, follow-up to 2014's The Dragon Princess, has finally arrived. 
Granted, this is not the over twenty years it took me to complete the first novel. That one took form before I even hit my teens so it can be somewhat excusable the novel took so long to complete.
The Blue Gem, on the other hand, was started a month or so after I self-published The Dragon Princess. The second novel ended up being roughly 40 pages longer, involved more research and I even took some time to draw (possibly unneeded) floor plans. 

Between a busy weekend of NCAA basketball, St. Patrick's Day, and working on other projects, I was able to finally edit (for the 5th time) the final 20 pages of the manuscript. Thus began the process of readying author profiles, updating the manuscript format to fit requirements, and submitting the file to Kindle Direct Publishing. 
We went live late Friday night.
The Blue Gem is now available for download via Kind…

The Walking Dead: Andrew Lincoln's "exit"

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*Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers from Season 9, episode 5 of AMC's 'The Walking Dead'. Read ahead at your own peril. "I found them."
Three words, simple in nature but utterly profound when said in context of the events of the November 4 episode of The Walking Dead.
This bit of dialogue had the chance to go into the pantheon of greatest television exits. It was up there, to me, with the closing lines of Justified. "We dug coal together."
The words "I found them" were spoken by Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, the central character of The Walking Dead for the past nine seasons. He said the words just before blowing up the valued bridge he'd worked so hard to preserve. The act was a final good-bye in realizing he'd been with his family -- comprised of apocalypse survivors -- the entire time.
End scene.  Good-bye, Rick.
Psych!
Turns out there was to be two more scenes after this act, with an immediate aftermath negating one of…

NFL: Progress of the first-round quarterbacks (thru week 8)

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This weekend marked the eighth week of action in the NFL. It's time to check-in on all of the quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. Throughout the history of the NFL, there has been a long debate on how soon -- and how ready -- rookie quarterbacks should make their debut. Even for the most talented of passers, with the rare exception, the prevailing thought has been to have the rookies sit a year or two while learning the ins and outs of the pro game.
This year has been different, with four of the five quarterbacks selected in the 2018 NFL draft already earning multiple starts for their respective teams. And the fifth, Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens, has seen game action in certain packages.
Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs is a good example of having a quarterback sit a year before starting. Mahomes has thrown for 300 yards or more in seven games and four or more touchdowns in four straight games. In the process, Mahomes has led the Chie…

Dying breeds: The role of the true starting pitcher

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"Baseball really is a glorified game of throw and catch. And if you don't have guys who throw it really well, you can't compete for long." - Tucker Elliot The complete game by a starting pitcher will be extinct in five years.
It's a stat that has been clinging to life for many years now and, in 2018, had vital signs that barely registered on the baseball monitor. Pray for its well-being.
The complete game led a robust life, thriving in the dead ball era, holding solid through decades until the 1980's, and even enjoyed a few surprise performances into the early aughts.
Leaving behind a cadre of greats, the complete game is topped by the king, Cy Young. Back in the day when starting pitchers would throw nine innings, hit the bar all night, and get up and do it again the next morning, Young finished his career with 749 complete games.
Strategy, technological advances, and care for the welfare of pitchers advanced, in turn leading to the infrequency of the comple…

WWE Super Showdown: Past and present collide

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The WWE heads to Australia for a super-show, with current and former superstars headlining this showdown. Super. How would you like your lasting in-ring image and impression of your favorite WWE superstar to live on in your memory?
Is it their dominance during their heyday? Nailing their finisher? Chugging beers?
For many, especially in the wide, wide world of wrestling, the image is one of the wrestler going out on top in a final, epic match for the ages. Or perhaps it's their favorite wrestler receiving one final ovation -- even if they lost the match -- from an arena of caring fans.
Ideal scenarios, for sure, but most of us are well aware that's usually not the case when it comes to the business of the WWE.
On the business side of things, the WWE wants to make money and capitalize on a wrestler's popularity. And with this huge event in Australia, by using favorites from the Attitude Era The Undertaker, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Kane, that's exactly what the WWE…

NFL: Four rookie quarterbacks looking to leave their mark

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It didn't take long for one of the most talked about QB draft classes to begin imprinting themselves on the NFL. We're a quarter of the way through the 2018-19 NFL season. Over this span, we've witnessed high-scoring affairs, a modern take of the "Greatest Show on Turf", and far too many overtimes and tie games to deal with.
Among all of this action, we've also seen four of the five quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft start at least one game.
And all four don't look to be relinquishing their spot anytime soon.
Success has been varied for each, to be expected at his point in their careers. Three of them have a win under their belt. All four have looked impressive at times, mediocre in long stretches, and completely lost in spurts.
One, Baker Mayfield, has looked pretty electric in his eight plus quarters of action.
The fifth quarterback taken in the first round, Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens, has seen game action as well…

Devising, creating and writing

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Hitting a wall arrives more out of laziness than anything else. Right? Writing every day should happen, even with a few words, a few sentences being put to paper. Different stories require different states of mind. Or so I've led myself to believe.

Sometimes scorching thoughts burn through the brain cells, leaving embers floating along the path of once working synapses.

Stall.

So I free write. Devising something new. Or so I'd like to believe.

A chance
before the world spins out of control.
Carrying towards zero
desiring to win.
Executing with every ounce
finally settling in with zeal.
Guarding life with limitless energy.

Having to settle for a lost wish
inserted via a narrow sleeve
Joking still
keeps me at the forefront of deep.

Little by little I zoom
maybe into the place of misguided care

Never have (rarely) given a peep
or maybe it's just a lull
pleading inside for something more.
Quiet leads to coda
rarity leaves behind vapors
searing the last traces of love.

Time
Under …

WWE: Matt Hardy unlaces boots for (possibly) final time

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Speculation has been swirling for weeks, but it appears the WWE's Matt Hardy has wrestled his last match. Growing up, way back in the late 1980's, when professional wrestling entered my world, those late Saturday nights when what formerly was the WWF (now WWE) came on, I was kid in complete awe.
There was Andre the Giant dominating opponents. I dreamed of one day having 24-inch pythons, all thanks to eating my vitamins. Snakes being brought out and being placed on fallen opponents and the insurmountable presence of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper all piqued my interest.
These were much simpler times, ones in which naivete about the world of wrestling, not realizing the outcomes had been scripted, allowed awe and an infinite suspension of disbelief.
By the time my late teens and early 20's rolled around, I'd handed over my fandom of the WWE for others to love. I'd outgrown the sport enough to not watch the shows anymore (but still occasionally read up on).
Matt Hardy…