WINTER IS COMING

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Apologies to Game of Thrones fans, of which I am one. Alas, this post is not about my wife’s and I favorite show. Despite recently being left at the cliff, hanging as it were by the finale, this post is about something much dearer and nearer to my heart: SKIING!

Having recently finished and released my two new books, DEVOLUTION: LEVEL UP and DEVOLUTION: IRL & the omnibus edition, METAVERSE GAMES I decided to take a short mental break from plotting, planning and even occasionally sitting down and typing out chapters of a new book.

Those of you that know me, or have followed me know that my fun-job is teaching skiing. It’s what I do for about a third of the year, sometimes with long stretches of no days off. It is a labor of love that now my thoughts turn to…

Yes,  its that time of year when the leaves turn to their vibrant autumn colors. When the air is cool at night and the mornings are brisk. When soon the first sugary dusting of snow falling on the mountain peaks that rise to eleven thousand feet visible from my backyard will make their presence known.

Is there even a better time of year?

Well, yes boys and girls there is. It’s called winter and it’s coming for all of us. In my case, not soon enough!

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RELEASE UPDATE

Tuesday, September 12 is the release date for both of my upcoming novels as well as the omnibus edition. Below are the final covers and the blurbs.

Want to get a free review copy? Email me at highdesertwriter@gmail.com.

DEVOLUTION: LEVEL UP

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A post-epidemic city sealed off from humanity. A still contagious populace as dangerous as they are hideous. Traps, labyrinths and cunning foes all seeking the untold riches remaining. What could go wrong?

After a viral outbreak spreads like wildfire, an entire metropolis is quarantined. Within the abandoned “Dead Zone” tens of millions now suffer a fate worse than death.

Left behind are valuables from hard currency to art to jewels and gold plus mountains of commercial goods and equipment. For those brave enough or foolish enough to go after them the rewards are enormous. These infiltration teams work on commission to retrieve treasures for their owners or take for themselves the abandoned spoils.

When two young and inexperienced infiltrators become trapped after they venture deeper “Downtown” than they should, a desperate rescue mission is launched.

Join Andy Crawley and Logan McMillan and other members of the “Voracious Soldiers” as they attempt to save their stranded team members who have found the mother lode of treasures. With the sun setting soon, cruel things will come out. With enormous riches at stake, it becomes a race to the finish where everyone plays for keeps.

DEVOLUTION: IRL  picks up where “DEVOLUTION: LEVEL UP” leaves off.

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Advanced VR making real life imperceptible from fantasy is a technological marvel. For some, it can even affect reason and judgment. As rivals battle for treasure, power, and love, reality and its perception soon spiral out of control

Ruthless gangs, seeking an enormous treasure slip out of their territory and go behind the lines. Murder and other crimes, everyday activities of the Outfitters as they’re known in the “Dead Zone,” are taken to a new dimension.

Battling with the vicious killers and hordes of mutants will take all the skills and guts possessed by Andy Crawley and his team as they race to buy time for the FBI’s Metaverse Crimes Team racing to save a hostage’s life. 

 

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METAVERSE GAMES 

This omnibus edition contains both book one and two. It is the complete story and the best value.

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UPCOMING RELEASES

I’m getting ready to release three new works. Two stand-alone novels and an omnibus edition that contains Volumes One & Two. Both volumes are a spin off of my first book “The METAVERSE: Virtual Life-Real Death.”

Volume One of the “METAVERSE GAMES” is titled “DEVOLUTION: LEVEL UP” A deadly outbreak that resulted in millions of devolved humans, no more than mutations now who are as deadly as they are hideous. Rival gangs, known as Outfits who claim the city as their own and government sanctioned mercenaries who infiltrate deep into the dead city to recover assets and valuables left behind. A tale of non-stop action and adventure!

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Volume Two, “DEVOLUTION: IRL,” contains a prologue that brings readers up to speed in case they missed Volume One. It picks up where the first one left off, Outfitters for whom killing is an everyday occurrence slip out of the dead city seeking the location of a large treasure known to but a few of the mercenaries. In the “Dead Zone,” nothing is as it seems as competing factions battle one another both in the dead city and out.

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“METAVERSE GAMES” is the omnibus edition, combining both stand alone novels into one larger read. Volumes One and Two will be available as ebooks at $2.99 each while the Omnibus edition will be available at 3.99.  “METAVERSE GAMES” will be available in paperback also.

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I’m hoping to have all three released at the end of August 2017, stay tuned!

 

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COMING SOON IN PAPERBACK!

In formatting for a papWillKurth-The Metaveers_72dpi-1500x2000-13erback version of “THE METAVERSE: VIRTUAL LIFE-REAL DEATH,”   I decided to redo the cover. I think the new design more accurately reflects the story, a thriller that is ultimately about the chase.

Any thoughts?

 

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Freedom To Be…

In the summer of 1776 and the fight with England already a year old the Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia. The precursor to what became the “Declaration of Independence” was the resolution by Henry Lee of Virginia and the famous words:

“Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

4th-of-july-funnyAnd the rest they say is history…

Often overlooked in our disagreement with our cousins “across the pond” was the simple request that English Subjects living in the colonies have the same rights as any Englishmen. Hence, the familiar chorus of “no taxation without representation.” Had King George and the Parliament acquiesced, then we all might still be Subjects of the British Crown.

Or maybe not. Americans have an ingrained independent streak. We don’t much care for totalitarianism whether it’s from Kings, or a government big enough to give you everything and thus big enough to take everything. The Founding Fathers worried so much about having a pure democracy that could lead to the “Tyranny of the Majority” they favored a Republic, the Electoral College and checks and balances so that neither people in the population centers not individual politicians, judges or unelected bureaucrats could reign supreme.

“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” soon followed. While life and liberty are inherent rights, only the pursuit of happiness is guaranteed. That last part often gets some people caught up. They aren’t happy, or more to the point they feel that something isn’t fair. Therefore it’s up to the government to fix it, which I’m ok with; that was the way the system was set up, and in fact, many injustices, social, racial and economic have been overturned.

But that road to happiness is an elusive one and should be maintained with vigilance. I am libertarian in my politics: I don’t much care what you do in the privacy of your home, private life or in the way you make a living, just don’t demand that other taxpayers and I pay for it.

Those great men 241 summers ago gave us something wonderful and unseen in human history: Freedom to be…

I’ll let you finish the sentence.

Happy Fourth of July!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Of Zombies And Men

I’ve been revising my new novel which I plan on releasing sometime this summer. While it is part of the “Metaverse Crimes Team” series it is not a sequel per se but rather a spin-off of  “The Metaverse.” 

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It is not strictly a horror story or even a tale of the undead, Zombies nonetheless have a central role.

Anyway, I was going to write a cute tongue-in-cheek post about why my home state of New Mexico is a good place to ride out the Zombie Apocalypse that everyone knows is coming.

Then the news broke that a gunman (they almost always are men) had opened fire, deliberately targeting a group of Republican Congressman because of all the wrongs that occur in this world those elected officials, their aides and presumably anyone else in attendance advocated for policies that the shooter was in opposition to. I won’t wade into that whole episode any further except to say that it got me to thinking about some things.

In my upcoming story, a lot of action occurs where people, both bad and good struggle against terrible monsters, former fellow human beings and now Zombies. The handful of “normal” people must battle the awful beings whose legions number in the tens of millions. Needless to say, a lot of firepower is brought to bear on these hapless creatures.

discourse-thumb-280xauto-27863It’s easy to shoot down Zombies right?

Aside from the fact that they will bite you and try to suck the brains from your skull or tear the flesh from your body they need to be destroyed, for the good of humankind. Most people (at least the ones I know) would not think it exciting let alone moral to go out and shoot people down. But dehumanize that person, and something happens in our psyche, both individually and collectively that allows many to treat their fellow man with dismissiveness, derision, and even violence.

Unfortunately one does not need to be a Zombie to undergo that judgment. It seems simply having a difference of opinion for some people is enough, while for others it is about religion. I have noticed that society as a whole has de-evolved when it comes to civil discourse. You need not look past the most popular social media sites to find examples.

With the internet between us, it is easier than ever to dehumanize another person. We wade into discussions to start arguments, we jump into debates to start fights that are mostly virtual but just as vicious as the real thing. It’s easy to do when you don’t have to look the other person in the eyes. You don’t consider their point of view let alone their feelings because those things no longer count. They are not an equal; worthy of nothing but your scorn. What they say, think or believe does not matter because you have already rendered judgment.

A fan of lively debate and persuasive conversation I  used to discuss the issues of the day on Facebook and other forums but no more. My politics are not important, nor are yours. They will have virtually no effect on another person, at least not individually. We used to debate to persuade those on the other side of the position to if not join us, at least to find common ground. I still enjoy a lively face to face discussion, and some of my closest friends have views diametrically opposed to mine on a variety of topics and yet we like each other still.

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Perhaps the art of conversation and civility, in general, is lost over the new mediums in which most of us communicate. 24/7 news channels of all stripes give us plenty to get worked up about while allowing us to pass judgments on people based on sound bites that we rarely hear in context. I would go so far as to say that is done deliberately but then some might call me a conspiracy theorist (other than space aliens at Area 51 being hidden by the government I believe no conspiracies…JK).

I guess for now I will return to my “safe space.” You know, the one with the Zombies. At least I know they are make believe (aren’t they?).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What’s In A Name?

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Friends and relatives who visit us here in the “Land of Enchantment” otherwise known as the State of New Mexico are often surprised about two things:

  1. We are a part of the union.
  2. We have four full seasons

The first one I put up only half in jest. But some people who may need to brush up on their geography sometimes believe that the southern border of Colorado separates the USA from Mexico. They may be surprised to IMG_2289find out that New Mexico became a state before Arizona, although just by six months in 1912.

Previously both were part of the New Mexico Territory. Arizona kept the title that the Spanish converted from the Papago “ali-shonak” meaning “small spring.” Our state retained the connection to Mexico and Spain, confusing Easterners and others ever since.

Unlike Arizona much of which is warm even in the winter, New Mexico, particularly the Central and Northern portions have a full four seasons. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Parts of Arizona get cold while portions of New Mexico remain warm even in January, bringing me to the main point of my post.

I reside in what we call the “High Desert,” which also happens to be part of the name of this website and my Twitter Handle. Everyone can imagine a desert, lots of brown sand, little vegetation and even less water. But what then is the High Desert? A standard definition is above 4,000 feet in elevation with less than 10 inches of annual precipitation. New Mexico’s mean elevation is 5,700 feet above sea level but our annual rainfall averages around 14 inches while the snowfall averages around 22 inches.  Of course being averages, there are the extremes like the 100 inches of snow some of our mountains received this last winter.

The fIMG_0772oothills of the Southern Rocky Mountains where our home is located is around 6,800 feet above sea level. We receive above the snow and rainfall averages for the state. That elevation, well above a mile, along with the greater precipitation gives us some green in the spring and summer and some white in the fall and winter. The parking lot of Ski Santa Fe where I instruct skiing is at 10,350 feet. The peaks towering above the base area extend to over, 12,000 making it one of, if not the highest lift-served ski terrain in North America.

The name High Desert may not define precisely the topography of where I live, but I will nonetheless keep it. The photos are from the open space just a short walk from my home. It’s a place of peace and reflection where I plot and plan what the characters in my books do. It’s a great place to work through and overcome writer’s block and plot holes because you place those things in the back of your mind when you are surrounded by such grandeur. As you hike along your subconscious works out all of the details.

It’s not the desert, and it’s not the mountains, but it is a place I love. I think I’ll keep the name.

 

 

 

 

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