Category Archives: General

Wait…I have high blood pressure?

SO.

Seems I have high blood pressure. Not only that, I had no idea I had it. But apparently it was “go to the emergency room NOW” high. I know, right?

Sit back and let me tell you a story…

So, many of you already know my pa-in-law has been with us for nearly two months now. Long story short, he had to have an operation on his back; he couldn’t get it back home; one of the best doctors to perform the surgery he needed just happened to be located a few miles from us. So he came down to stay with us while he recovers. The recovery has taken longer than anticipated, but hey—it’s BACK surgery!

Anyway, one of the things the nurse told him he needed was a blood pressure monitor at the house. So, BJ got one for him. When it arrived—as we are wont to do when we get new gadgets like this, BJ went around checking everyone out (when my dad had to get his blood sugar tested—we all got our fingers poked that weekend! Ha). Everyone was pretty normal but mine came back at 196/127. Hmm. That seemed high. So we did it again. 191/126. Since it was so high, and I’d never experienced anything like that, and I FELT FINE, BJ told me to just go to bed. So I did.

Next morning, my reading was 176/117 (thereabouts—BJ has it all written down, I’m going on memory). We (we, meaning BJ) decided to call the doctor to make an appointment to get me checked out. We’d both hit the interwebs that morning and decided it sounded bad. Several places calling it the “silent killer.”

Once on the phone, they told her to check it again and it was about the same…and they said “get to the Emergency Room NOW.” I didn’t really want to go because I FELT FINE. But she assured me that it was not fine and if I let it go unchecked I could have a stroke or a heart attack.

We went to the ER.

I had a LOT of tests run. Doctor came in later and told me that “my pump and my filter” were both fine, and that was very important. They ran like eleven different blood tests, took an image of my chest (thought my heart might be enlarged—never said exactly why—but it was also fine). Slowly but surely my BP went down to around 127/89, still a bit high, but they gave me a prescription, told me to monitor it, AND to follow up with a doctor.

Since then, my bp has hovered around the 150/90 range with the daily meds. I’m monitoring it fairly regular during the day; have added a vitamin and walking and have an appointment with the doc scheduled.

So…yeah…that happened…

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Cat & Mouse #1 Kickstarter is live!

Yep, you read that correctly. Cat & Mouse #1 has a kickstarter running…and I’m asking you to go check it out. Wait…you thought C&M #1 was published in 1989 by EFGraphics…and then in 1990 by Malibu’s Aircel. It was.

C&M #1 Vol 2

This is for Volume 2! A whole NEW thing. The link is:

A brief history for those interested: When I was at the University of Southern Mississippi in the middle 80s, I met Steven Butler, who became a lifelong friend. Steven was a super-talented artist and he and I swapped notes of rejection from assorted comic companies. He was trying to get work as an artist, me as a writer. So we decided to work together and do our own thing.

One of Steven’s roommates was the equally talented Mitch Byrd, and Steven recruited him (My other pals, Barry Gregory and Thomas Fortenberry were involved on the writing side). In trying to figure out what projects to do, Mitch had a four page piece he had penciled and Steven had inked. It was a crime/cop thing that featured a shadowy figure shoot at cat burglars as they leaped out of a window. I took that and used it as a springboard to come up with the story for the first issue of C&M, with some serious input from both Steven and Mitch. If you’ve read it, you know that I included a character by the name of Demon, a character who’d been with me in one form or another, since about 6th grade.

Cat & Mouse #1 Vol 1

Cat & Mouse ran for 18 issues once it found a home at Malibu. Mitch and I did a four issue Miss Fury mini-series after, but then we both went on to different projects (Mitch landed some nice work with DC comics, and I became an editor at Malibu).

C&M just kinda went away.

Until today. Actually, until about two years ago with another supremely talented artist asked me about it. Enter: Dean Zachary.

But because it’d been so many years, it didn’t make sense to me to just bring back the same characters from before (there’s some other stuff, too)…so the characters from Volume 2 are completely new characters with completely new backgrounds, etc. The spirit and mood and tone will all remain—and we’ll even get to see some of the supporting cast from volume 1, but there are a lot of new faces involved—which makes it very exciting.

Volume 1 began mostly about fighting corruption in the justice system. Volume 2 will deal with the very serious theme of human trafficking. It will remain a “General Audiences” book, but the theme will be a little heavier.

SO…yes, this is me asking. Please go check out the link and consider pledging—I really think you’ll like what you read. But if you can’t pledge, please consider sharing it to those in your social network—tell them you know me and you think they should plop down a few dollars to help us get #2 made!

Thanks!

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Cat & Mouse #1 kickstarter slated for May 1

I’m super-excited to announce to you that May 1 is our target launch date for the kickstarter campaign for Cat & Mouse #1. I know we’ve been teasing it for a while, but we’re finally there.

I won’t talk long here, but don’t be surprised if over the course of the next few weeks, you see images with our announcement. I can tell you this, though: the campaign will feature the comic, of course, and it will have a KICKSTARTER ONLY wraparound cover! Unlike some other comic campaigns I’ve seen, this is the ONLY way you’ll be able to get the comic with this cover. Oh, you’ll still be able to get the comic, just not the KS wraparound version.

Also, I’ve managed to put together a couple of complete sets of volume 1—all 18 issues. I’ve culled back issue boxes and even ordered a handful of them from Mile High to complete a few sets. Full sets are pretty tough to come by…so there will be a few available.

Also, I’ve got about 10 copies left of the very first edition of Cat & Mouse #1. A lot of folks don’t realize that before Malibu’s Aircel picked us up, C&M #1 was printed—on newsprint and in COLOR!—by EFGraphics. EFG also printed Jazz Age Chronicles by Ted Slampyak…but EFG went belly up before they could print C&M #2. Those copies of C&M #1 will be available as a limited pledge reward.

I’ve also been hounding some of my artist pals to do some art for us and I think you’ll be happy at what you see! I won’t mention all of them now, but I’ll mention that the first one to raise his hand and say he’d help is the hot new artist Timothy Lim. You’ve seen his work on Thump: the First Bundred Days, and My Hero Magademia. This will be your chance to get a one of a kind original work from him!

So, mark your calendars!

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Remembering Kendall Jones

L-R: Grey Overstreet, Wynndel Stanton (Paul), Me (Peter), Mike Harris (Ace), Kendall Jones (Gene)

A childhood friend of mine died this week…and I’ve been incredibly bummed. I haven’t really talked to him in years. Regrets? Maybe?

I dunno.

I don’t want to talk about how bummed I am…instead, I’m just going to take this space to write a little about him. You can skip this blog post if you like…this is pretty much just for me…

I met Kendall in 1976, when I moved to Brandon, Mississippi in 6th grade. I met him at the same time I met Mike Harris and Wynndel Stanton. They were already friends. Mike lived two houses down from me, Wynndel two houses from him, and Kendall behind Wynndel on the street behind.

Kendall was the first to ever call me by the nickname “Rolo.” The candy bar had their annoyingly popular add that contained the lyrics “you can roll a Rolo to your pal,” and Kendall used to sing that to me frequently. Many have used it since, but Kendall was the first.

Kendall had the most “elastic” skin I had/have ever seen, but it was also fragile (don’t know how else to describe it). He would often pull it up to demonstrate to us just how elastic it was. But we also spent a lot of time outside those days, in the woods, at the creek, etc., the smallest thing could break his skin and make him bleed.

Once, probably around the 4th of July, Forrest Welker placed a firecracker in Kendall’s hoodie. Kendall caught wind something was happening and flipped his hoodie up to get away, only to have the firecracker explode next to the skin on his upper back. Yep—blood.

Scott Cook (keyboards), Me (drums), Wynndel Stanton (bass), Kendall Jones (guitar). 4.19.1980

Kendall was part of the first band I was ever in. Ever. We were a band before we know how to play instruments. One year a bunch of us got instruments we could not play but wanted to…and formed a band: me on drums, Kendall on guitar, Mike Harris on guitar, Scott Cook on keyboards and Wynndel Stanton on bass. Forrest Welker was our “manager.” We got together and “jammed” a lot. We were terrible, but we were learning to play together. Mike moved to Germany the summer of ’79 and then we began to get a little better.

We began to actually perform in various places, mostly local churches. Kendall wrote the first original song our band ever performed—I can still sing MOST of the words today.

We used to camp out on top of a water tower. Yep. The whole lot of us. Kendall was usually the first to climb up lugging a rope that he would tie up and toss down. Others would climb up behind him and someone on the ground would then tie all our stuff (sleeping backs, coolers, etc) to the other end and they’d haul it to the top. We spent many nights on top of that tower and saw some pretty awesome sights. Scott Cook has the greatest collection of photos from there and I’m trying to get those from him.

Mill Creek ran behind Kendall’s house and we spent a lot of time messing around in the creek: riding bikes in it, shooting snakes and turtles with our bb guns and other such outside playing.

Kendall was the first person I ever remember playing tennis with. He played at the Millcreek club frequently and I almost never did, but tried to play some. He beat the snot out of me.

Kendall moved the summer of ‘80. I saw him when he came for a visit sometime after…but that was pretty much the last time of any note…and this was all before email and facebook and such. I didn’t even know he’d moved back to Mississippi.

I could go on…

Godspeed Kendall. Thank you for so many great childhood memories.

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Defending the First Amendment

Because of the racist idiots in Charlottesville, VA several weeks ago(and if you’re not sure what I’m talking about—where the heck have you been?), I’ve seen dozens of posts about “hate speech” and free speech and the First Amendment. I’ve seen people—some that I like a lot—suggesting that “hate speech” isn’t protected by the First Amendment.

That scares me so much it gives me chills just to type it.

For quick reference, The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Y’see, that’s the beauty of the First Amendment: it gives you the ability to express any ideals—regardless of how idiotic I find them to be—freely and openly. So, yes, Nazis have a right to stand in the public and spew their anti-Jewish Aryan nation hate. And yes, BLM has the right to yell they smell bacon and death to pigs. I don’t like or agree with either of those opinions, but the First Amendment does give them the right to say those things even though the over-whelming majority of us (and I’m assuming most everyone reading this) find those opinions deplorable.

My dad and I have had the discussion about flag burning. His dad (my grandfather) fought real Nazis in WW2 and it really bothers him to see people burning and/or stomping on the flag. It bothers me, too—I don’t like to see it. But where Dad and I differ is he suggests that it might should be illegal to do that (not strongly, but it’s something he’s kicked out as a response to it). As repulsive as I find flag burning, I don’t think the act should be illegal. Now, if you grab MY flag and burn it, then that is both theft and destruction of property that is not your own—you should go to jail! But if you want to spend your own money and buy a flag just to burn…well, that’s your right to do so.

The same is true for “hate speech.” The First Amendment protects the right for people to talk hateful. No, I don’t like it, and I don’t agree with the speech, but I do know the First Amendment protects it–and it should. I think people who want to take away the right of free speech are very scary people. The problem is, as always, where does it stop and who decides what is “okay” speech and what is not? We can’t agree on that—so it’s best to let everyone expression an opinion. Because, after all, WHO determines what “hate speech” exactly is. I know that I don’t want some people making that determination, and I’m sure there are many who wouldn’t want me making that determination. After all, I think any anti-comic book speech is hate speech! Thankfully for those comic book haters, the First Amendment protects you.

The exception to the First Amendment is, of course, something like yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. But that’s not “expressing an opinion,” that’s “yelling wolf” (if you don’t know that reference, look it up). There’s a big difference.

The beauty of the First Amendment is that it is for everyone, not just the people you agree with. Believe it or not, I’m willing to fight for your right to say you hate me and to call me a bigot, homophobe, hillbilly, cracker, Southern redneck or whatever else you desire.

But the First Amendment is about SPEECH. The minute your fist hits my face, the First Amendment is no longer under consideration.

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Hurricane Irma Diary part 3

If you missed the earlier parts and want to read them, you can find part 1 here and part 2 here.

From the back porch, we could actually see across the big open field behind us (it’s a community park) and see lights on. None of the homes around us had light, but about a quarter mile away or a little more, the community there had power!

There was a curfew in place, and since both Full Sail University (where I teach) and Oviedo High School (where Brett attends HS) were closed, we just hung out at the house. We didn’t really have anywhere to go.

Tuesday was hot, and so Brett and I hopped in the truck to go get gas and maybe a burger. I wasn’t sure how long I’d need to run the generator and I didn’t want to lose the contents of the freezer and fridge. With the generator going, at least we could dive in to the contents some. If it wasn’t sandwiches, I grilled what we ate.

Tuesday night was so hot it was miserable. So much that I got our box fan and sucked some of the power from the generator to run it hitting me and Brett (I was on a mattress in the living room floor, Brett on the couch beside me). Neither one of us got much sleep, and going outside really didn’t do us much good, either.

Power began to flicker on and off on Wednesday. It’d come on and we’d cheer…wait a few minutes…then it’d go off. Faked me pretty good once as I even unhooked the generator…then it went back off.

It finally came back on to stay around 6pm, one hour shy of a full three days.

OHS had gone ahead and cancelled school for the rest of the week…as did Full Sail. So Brett and I filled the rest of our week playing games. We still didn’t really have anywhere to go…so we didn’t go.

Probably a bit of a letdown for part 3, I guess, but really, the “exciting” part was during the build-up and the actual storm itself.

Next week I’m going to rant about Free Speech! Yeah…I got worked up a little.

 

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Black Friday through Cyber Monday sale on some of my work!

I decided to a Black Friday – Cyber Monday sale on a few things. If you’ve been wishing you could try something out that I’ve written, now is the time!

Obviously, TINY is the new one. Regularly $6 each, you can get both issues for $7.50 (plus shipping). If you’re a digital fan, you can get them for .99cents each, or $1.98 for both of them!

Next are the graphic novels KREY and DEMON’S TAILS. Regularly $15 each, you can get both of these for $7.50 each (plus shipping). Once again, If you’re a digital fan, you can get them for .99cents each!

While my Switchblade mini-series isn’t available digitally (yet—I’m working on that!), I’m working through the last sets to make way for the collection. You can get all three issues for the paltry sum of $1!

Lastly, if prose is more your thing, you can pick up the print copy of my novel Buying Time for $5, or digitally for .99cents!

Simply follow the link to my online store, find the above mentioned titles and select them. When the pop-up window comes up, you’ll see “select an option.” That’s when you’ll see the BLACK FRIDAY deals!

Don’t delay! The print copies make GREAT Christmas gifts! I’ll even sign them to make your gift complete!

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