Friday, September 28, 2018

Kevin Antcliff's The Divorced Daddy Diaries: Acceptance, Adjustment and Adventure in the Post-Divorce World 2nd Edition

(Author's Note: Nope, no Science Fiction or Fantasy here. This is just something that I thought deserved a review.)

You know how people tell you that you don't know how something feels until you've been through it? Well, sometimes you have been through it. I mean, I just read a book about a guy who is divorced and has two little girls. I was actually kind of afraid to write this review because I thought people might assume I wrote this book under a pen-name and then reviewed it myself. I mean, that describes my situation pretty well. Well, no, I didn't write this book. Kevin's story is completely different than mine. And, oddly enough, despite the similarities, he seems to feel a lot different about it than I do. That was a bit of a shock.

Despite all of that, this book still hit me pretty hard. I really wish I had a copy when things finally went to shit between myself and Nicole. Granted, Kevin was still married at the time and hadn't written the book yet, but it still would have been nice. Because, despite the fact that situations were different and we reacted in totally different ways emotionally, there are a lot of things we both went through. I would think that most divorced men with kids have a ton of similarities and even divorced dudes with no kids have some.

To me, The Divorced Daddy Diaries by Kevin Antcliff is a book about one man and his journey, but in a way it stands for all of us guys out there and I think that's a good thing. Something I seem to have been bombarded with since before I started dating is the refrain of the divorced woman/single mom and how bad she has it. Oprah has done shows about it. Books are written. Studies are conducted. It's legit. I'm not saying it's easy for women either, but you never hear about the man's point of view.

And it's not easy for us. Reba McEntire once did a song called It Always Rains on Saturday about how sad it made a mother when her son left for the weekend. I remember how much my dad used to love that song. I also remember catching crap for asking how the father in the song felt when his kid went away for a week. No one wants to hear it, but it's a valid question. People with penises are not immune from emotional pain, especially when it involves something as important as their children. Kevin talks us through what that feels like. It's not a good feeling.

Reading about what Kevin went through with his daughters was rough because I've been through it. I had to hold it together while reading The Divorced Daddy Diaries because I read the whole thing while sitting in the waiting room at a car dealership while my vehicle got worked on. Crying in public is just not something that dudes do. It wasn't easy though. That hit me hard.

There are a lot of emotionally rough moments in this book, both for the writer and the reader. That's important though, because divorce is a rough thing to get through. Kevin was married for thirteen years - and then he wasn't anymore. If you haven't been through it, that's a rough feeling to describe. He had also lived with his daughters for their entire lives, until he didn't anymore. That hurts folks. He does a good job of showing how much.

Don't get me wrong. This isn't some scholarly treatise on the emotional state of men after divorce. This reads more like a conversation you had with your buddy over a couple of drinks one night. It's raw. It's emotional. It's not clinical in the slightest and I loved that fact about it. Clinical terms can be so detached. The Divorced Daddy Diaries are not detached. They're real. That in and of itself is what makes this book worth reading.

It's not organized like a doctoral dissertation either, and I love that about it. A lot of going through a divorce as a dude is trying to make things better for yourself while waiting for life to kick you in the nuts again. I don't care who you are or how many people you have seen go through this process nothing prepares you for it. Life as a divorced dad is a disorganized mess. You control the things you can and ride out the things you can't. The Divorced Daddy Diaries seems to follow that pattern pretty well. There is no real logical progression of chapters toward some kind of ultimate climax at the end of the book, but it works.

My perverse side (and yes, I definitely have one) wants to present this book as a gift to one particular professor at Wayne State University who is known for her love of academic formalism. It's not because I think she'd like it. It's because I think she'd shit her pants and send the book flying across the room at warp factor nine. I picture myself standing behind her belting out my best wicked clown laugh. That's awesome though. I was a graduate student in history when I took her class and I still enjoyed this book more than any of the works that she assigned.

And there are some fun parts to go with the emotional stuff as well. If you've tried online dating for any length of time you know that there are some real whackadoos out there. Kevin found a few of them and recounts his experiences with them. I found myself chuckling more than once at some of the things he went through. I've been there. It's all true.

All in all, I'd recommend The Divorced Daddy Diaries to everybody but I consider it essential reading for any man who is going through, has been through, or is thinking about (or fearing) going through a divorce. Seriously. You're not the only one dealing with this, bro. It's rough out there, but there are others who know what it's like. Buy the book. It's a quick, informative read and you'll enjoy it.

Bottom Line:5.0 out of 5 Broken Hearts

The Divorced Daddy Diaries: Acceptance, Adjustment and Adventure in the Post-Divorce World 2nd Edition
Kevin Antcliff
Self Published, 2018

The Divorced Daddy Diaries: Acceptance, Adjustment and Adventure in the Post-Divorce World 2nd Edition is available for purchase at the following link:

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

What Makes Us, Us

(Author's note: I'd give credit to whoever created the meme if I had any clue who they were. I have not done any research to confirm the veracity of the quote, but I like it.) 

So just today a momentous occasion of huge import occurred. It will change my life forever, or at least the next few days. No, I'm not getting married. No, I haven't reproduced again. That book contract I've always dreamed of? No, but I might have more luck with that if I actually finished one of my projects. Nope, no new job. Nope, not moving in, out or around. This event though, it was truly Earth shattering. Watch out underwater subduction zones, because this one is a doozie. What happened? What could possibly produce such an outpouring of emotion from a guy like me? What has me so worked up that I feel the need to write about it at two -freaking- thirty in the morning? (Granted, I probably won't post this till tomorrow, but it's legitimately almost two thirty.)

Would you like to know what it is? I'll tell you. I won't even make you guess like a certain sadistic twelve year old does.


The new season of The Walking Dead came to Netflix. Well, actually it's the old season, but I haven't been able to see it because of circumstances only somewhat within my control. So now I get to spend a few days (actually probably about a week with my work schedule) not sleeping so that I can watch this totally awesome, if somewhat formulaic, show. And believe me, the big bad this season is the Best Villain EV-AR. I'm so geeked. Get it? Geeked?

See, as much as I'd like to think that my readers are all as cool as the Fonz, they're more probably a lot like me: Not as cool. Perhaps a bit introverted. Not the kind of person that just relaxes when their favorite thing shows up all over again. We're committed (or possibly should be). We're awesome. We're people who love what we love and don't care who knows it. We're geeks. We're nerds. We're the Fandom of Science Fiction and Fantasy in all of its forms and we rock.

We're so cool we could freeze a penguins belly feathers.  We love our hobbies with the passionate fire of a million suns. Some of us aren't as supportive of the hobbies of others as we should be (insert "sports-ball" references here) but we love what we love and we wish you did too.

Seriously. On February 15, 2015, I did my first post here at Jimbo's. I had three goals:

1.) Geek out about all of my favorite stuff
2.) Get Free Books
3.) Make Money

I'll admit that I haven't done so well with that last goal, but nobody's perfect. And hey, monetization tips are welcome. I keep doing this anyway because I love talking about what I love and what I love is books and I've gotten a bunch of those. That's not totally true. I love all things Science Fictional and I love to talk about that as well, so it's not just books.

I'm not saying you have to have a blog to be a geek or a nerd, etc. A lot of people like the same types of things we do and they're not going to take the time and effort away from other things in their life to spray words all over a computer screen. If that's their take, I support it. Do you people. That doesn't mean they won't talk about it though. If you don't believe me, go to a con.

I'm not an avid con goer because of my financial situation, but I have been to a couple. Actually one, but I've been there in two separate years, so that's two cons. It's not that expensive if you go to a local one so you don't have travel expenses. Day passes are cheap as well. Just to and enjoy. You know what you'll find? People just like you.

What? You've never been in an area where everyone gets the joke? Have you never seen a girl who looked to be five or six years old walk up to the guy next to you and pull on his shirt asking, "Are you a brony?" I don't know who was more excited. (Yes, it really was the guy next to me. No, I'm not a brony. I need more explosions than the ponies provide and the World's Most Awesome GF (TM) has enough pony love for the two of us.) I had never heard of Doctor Who until I went to my first con and stood in awe, gawking at a life-sized Dalek, complete with plunger arm and had someone explain it to me. I guess I looked as confused as I felt. The thing is, the people that helped me out were having the time of their lives. Especially since they said, "It's from Doctor Who." and I said, "Who?" It made their freaking day.

(Yes, I know who Doctor Who is now. I'm still learning about the show though because they took the razzle-frazzin' thing off of Netflix two days after I found out it was there. It's on Prime now though. I'm two whole episodes into whatever season came up first. It's the one with that one guy playing the doctor and the really hot love interest chick. Except I didn't call her hot. Seriously. I LOVE YOU STEPH!!! I'm not in trouble am I?)

For the record, yes it is okay to geek out in excitement over your lover too.

So be not afraid to let your geek flag fly. Lemme see you in your Star Wars T-shirt or your Tardis dress. Come to the con dressed as a Draenei. Walk around saying "Exterminate, exterminate." Get your Spock ears. Make your life sized replica of the Stargate. Float like a leaf on the wind. Cry over the death of Sturm Brightblade. Pass me a tissue on that one. While you're at it, roll some oddly shaped dice and pass me a Mountain Dew. Rock a power ring like it's nobody's business because it's not. Oh, and hand me a green one. I'm old school. You're enjoying yourself and you're not hurting anybody. Let the next generation know. One of the happiest moments of my life was when my daughter did a guest post. It doesn't get much better folks. Try it some time. Enjoy your hobby and enjoy each other because we are - we really are - the only ones who get it.

Some links to purchase some of my favorite stuff are included below.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Hank Quense's Contact: Book One of the Zaftan Troubles

What do you get when you cross ugly, smelly, dirty aliens in control of both spacefaring technology and magic with dwarves who own battleaxes and can toss spells of their own? No, not Spelljammer, as much as I enjoyed that. You get Hank Quense's Contact: Book One of the Zaftan Troubles. You also get a rocking good time.

One thing that has always driven me slightly bonkers in fantasy fiction, going back to Tolkein, is that dwarven society is often ignored. I mean, sure Gimli played a major role in The Lord of the Rings but  at no point do you really get to see him in his home setting. He is clearly excited to get to the Mines of Moria but, by the time the Fellowship gets there, everything is gone. Everyone is dead. There are no dwarves left to interact with.

Quense takes care of that problem right off the bat. His story is set in a dwarven society. In Contact we see the problems and advantages of a dwarven society. Dating is apparently even more of a problem than in human societies. Property rights are a big thing. Hard work is valued. Those who don't work don't get a whole lot of respect. It's the kind of society I would love to live in.

And make no mistake about it: Dwarves are, in my humble opinion, the greatest thing that ever happened to fantasy literature. I don't mean just Gimli, son of Gloin. Bruenor Battlehammer and Flint Fireforge are age old favorites. The Dwarven Nations Trilogy is one of a very few good series about dwarves being dwarves. Another good one is the series by Markus Heitz. Quense has a ways to go before I can add him to that list, but he's certainly taken a step in the right direction.

It also seems to say a lot about Mr. Quense's politics. His government is dominated by people looking out only for their own best interests. The local governor is a product of a political dynasty. Taxes are not necessarily seen as a good thing. The needs and wants of the people are viewed mainly as a way of getting re-elected. Just as I was about to label Contact a conservative work though, I get an eyeful of "pipe-weed" use and a hatred of corporations that wouldn't fit a classic conservative. Therefore, Contact must be a work that is Libertarian in nature.

This is a good thing.There is way too much leftist drivel on the market these days. It's good to see someone with some good old-fashioned values and not a bunch of preachy, incoherent, identity politics fueled crap being fed into my Kindle. The best part about it is that Quense shows instead of tells and I, for one, was not able to find anything that looked like a sermon. Quense did a good job here.

The Zaftan themselves, are vicious corporate industrialists. They either conquer places or use corporations to undermine their societies. I kind of don't like these guys, but then again I'm not supposed to. They're the evil foreign invaders out to take everything of value. In a way, they're almost a caricature of the great colonizers from history, to include Romans, Japanese, Ottomans, Mongols, the Moors and lots of others. In a way they're not though. Very rarely in history has a conqueror come to help the people they're conquering. The might makes right theory of conquest has historically been very popular because it works. When the Zaftan don't recognize property rights in the sequels (this is planned as a seven book series) it's going to get ugly. I'm sharpening my axe in anticipation.

The Zaftan are not exactly the universe's most lovable people otherwise either.  Some are cranky. Others are lazy. One may very well be the death of his crew in a most literal sense. They're all focused on personal advancement at the cost of everyone and everything other than themselves. These guys are less trustworthy than my ex-wife. The captain is a woman with an attitude problem, although she may very well have an excuse.

They also appear to be very hard to kill. I'm thinking of my Dungeons and Dragons party from the late Nineties and our first encounter with a troll. Fortunately, my DM allowed me to get away with some meta-gaming and our party didn't wipe, but I'm guessing that the characters in Contact won't be as lucky. The next book looks like it might just get ugly for our dwarves.

I don't do spoilers but I'm looking forward to the sequel (which I have already downloaded) for another very important reason as well. I'm not going to say what it is, but it's a reflection of something that either reflects pop culture or is made fun of by pop culture, depending on your point of view. I want to see how this turns out or if it changes over time. I have a sneaking suspicion it just might because reasons.

Contact is a work of humor but sometimes it can be hard to tell when Quense is being funny and when he's actually making a point. That's actually a good thing though, as it keeps things from getting too preachy and we all love to laugh, right? I mean, that's a great thing. There was a lot here story-wise but it's always good to have a good time.

My only complaint about Contact, if you haven't guessed it already, is that it's not as long as I'd like it to be. I get that many authors are starting to come out with books more quickly now. And with a price point of ninety-nine cents I've got no complaints there, but it seems to be over awfully quickly. It takes a bit of time to get started as well and by the time things start moving we're already a third of the way through the book. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I just wish it was a bit longer. Then again, a good author leaves their audience wanting more.  I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel because the first one was so good. I just wish I hadn't gotten there so quickly.

Bottom Line: 4.5 out of 5 Braided Beards

Contact: Book One of the Zaftan Troubles
Hank Quense
Strange Worlds Publishing, 2018

Contact: Book One of the Zaftan Troubles is available for purchase at the following link:

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Suggestion for the Dragon Awards

Listen, I'm a lover of the Dragon Awards. As the only award truly given by the fandom, I think they're both important and interesting, not to mention fun. So under no circumstances should this post be misconstrued as a nerd rage or anything. I really appreciate what the Dragons do for Science Fiction and Fantasy in all of its forms. I mean seriously, who else gives awards for SF/F card and board games? I started this blog with the premise that the Science Fiction community needs to open the umbrella and let more people and their hobbies in. The Dragon Awards have done exactly what I asked for and they've done a better job at my mission than I have. It sucks to admit that to myself, but it's true.

So no, I'm not here to lambaste a group that doesn't deserve it. I do, however, think that maybe, just possibly, the World's Most Awesome Awards could possibly open itself up to just one more category. It encompasses a group of people who labor away talking about what they love and spreading the word, often with zero compensation. I'm talking about people who spend their time promoting many of the same works that get nominated and win Dragon Awards. I'm talking about people like me.

I'm talking about people who have fan sites. Seriously. I hear you laughing out there, but think about it. The Dragon Awards are a celebration of Science Fiction and Fantasy. They are the expression of love from a fandom that is at times contentious, but is united in its love of all thing Science Fictional. I think it's time to bring attention to those who bring attention to the super talented authors and game designers, movie directors, etc. that the Dragons have.

No, I'm not going to lie to you. I really would love to win a Dragon someday. I'm also not delusional. There are many sites out there with a much bigger following than mine. I might, if I'm lucky and/or my girlfriend is feeling generous that day, receive one mention on a nomination ballot. This isn't about me.

I'm not trying to take away from the amount of work it takes to write a one hundred thousand word novel. I'm not trying to denigrate people who direct movies with huge casts and crews that probably number in the hundreds or the writers who work just as hard as novelists to get their stories on paper. I'm just saying that those of us who own and maintain websites work hard too.

Just the other day I was freaking out about ever completing a novel. I mean, fifty or sixty thousand words is a lot, right? Sort of. My favorite publishing house is Baen and they require a minimum of one hundred thousand words. Good gosh, golly-gee, how could I ever write a hundred thousand words?

Then, I thought about it. This is my one hundred and sixty-sixth post. After my first few posts, I was told that it was better for Seach Engine Optimization purposes if I did posts that were at least one thousand words long. I've written to at least that length ever since. Some are like ten words over and others are over twice that. Out of one hundred and sixty-six posts, I'm guessing (and I'm too lazy to count) that there are at least one hundred and seventy five thousand words contained within this blog. That's a lot. I'm not scared to write a novel anymore. I haven't exactly finished one either, but nobody's perfect.

And that's just the amount of work that I've put into this blog. There are much larger sites that put a lot more work in than I do. I post a couple of times a month. I'm at forty-nine posts for the year and I'm on pace to write more posts in one calendar year than I ever have before. There are sites out there with multiple contributors posting daily. They're the people telling people about these books, movies and games. They're putting in their blood sweat and tears too. I'm just thinking they might deserve a little recognition as well.

Now, to be fair, I might limit it to people who don't have works eligible in other categories. I'm a huge fan of both Sarah Hoyt and Larry Correia. I buy their books. I read their books. I've reviewed them both here. I go to their blogs. The fact remains that, were it up to me, I'd make their blogs ineligible for a Best Fan Site Dragon. I wouldn't allow sites like or to compete in this category either. Ditto the official Blizzard forums for games like WoW or Hearthstone, etc. Make this an award for the fans.

I'm not saying to rule out all professionals though. I mean, IO9 pays its writers and I'd be perfectly okay with them competing. I'm just saying that we need to keep this to people who write about science fiction and fantasy instead of people who write science fiction and fantasy. It should be about those of us who ordinarily wouldn't get the accolades. Seriously folks, this is one for the people.
I hate to do this, but I have to give the Hugos props here. They have a “Best Related Work” category. Now, I wouldn't do it the same way they do. I know of SF authors who have been nominated for Best Related Work. I know that the Hugos in general are controlled by one small group of nominators who get their own elected every year. I'm not asking to have the award (if it ever happens) limited to one person who sits at the right table at the awards banquet every year.I just think we should be part of the discussion.

The Dragon Awards are given at DragonCon every year. DragonCon is, at the end of the day, about connecting the fans with the content creators and having a good time doing it.  When the rubber meets the road though, the people carrying the load and doing our best to promote the hobby are the people out there, like me, who write about it. How about a little love for us too?

Some links to DragonCon related products are listed below:

The Janitor Must Die by John Fulton

(Author's Note: Due to the fact that I'm reviewing a book by John Fulton, I currently have a Jonathan Coulton song stuck in my head. If this post gets too zany, blame them.)

The janitor must die. That guy has got to go. There can be no sparing him. We got to get 'im, got-got to get 'im. (Oops. That's an old Tribe Called Quest song. Sorry. Sometimes I confuse janitors with wallets. Don't we all?) I mean, Josh is a pretty decent guy but he's got it coming. I think. Right? There sure are enough things out to get him that it doesn't look good. Who is after him? The stuff in the book. You do know this is a book, right? Are you paying attention? You're sure? Riiiight. Anyway...

Listen, my cousin Josh was a janitor and he never had a day like this Josh does. Things go from frustrating to bad to worse to... Well, I don't wanna spoil anything. Let's just say that out there somewhere there is a person who got into a car wreck and had a day ten thousand times better than the day that Josh has had. Seriously.

Part of the problem of reviewing The Janitor Must Die by John Fulton is that I don't like to include spoilers. At the beginning of the book Josh, our hero and janitor extraordinaire (or maybe averagedaire) has no idea how badly things are going to go that day or how his whole world is going to get turned upside down. I don't want to give up too much here.

What I will say is this: If you are

A.) a janitor


B.) You forget your wallet on the way to work and can't buy breakfast

just turn around and take yourself back home. Preferably at maximum warp.

Oops. That was a Star Trek reference and this isn't a space novel.


Listen, I warned you that this was going to be a weird one, okay?

And really, warp speed may be a massive understatement of how quickly I'd run away if I knew my workplace was going to end up like THAT. Seriously. Either you agree with me or you haven't read the book. Thankfully, there is an easy fix for this problem: Read the book and agree with me. See! Piece of chicken. (Oh God, none of you got that one.)

Part of the problem here, if we're being honest as that as good as The Janitor Must Die is (and it is a damn good book) it is kind of an interesting combination. It's kind of a big mass of "HOLY SHIT!" mixed with a bit of "What the FUCK?" crossed with just a little "Wait, what?" The thing is that there really aren't a whole lot of major plot twists. Josh really had no clue what was going on around him until things got crazy. And they go from zero to Joker levels of insanity in less time than it takes to talk about it. He's learning about the world around him as he goes and so are we. It's a bumpy ride for all involved. Some things don't fit at first.

This is a good thing as there is a lot in this first book (there is a note about sequels at the end but no time table given except "soon") and it's either a clueless main character or a series of info dumps. Fulton made the right choice here. This thing moves. The Janitor Must Die is a story that lives, breathes, and creeps. (Wow, the Oxford comma really does work.)  I have a vision of Fulton sitting at his computer with his word processor on and his hands extended from him as living words fly from his fingers and onto the screen, arranging themselves into an awesome book...

That sounds like fun. Maybe he'll show me how to do that. Seriously, because I'm all in. How cool would that be? Wiggle, wiggle, woosh, story. Done. Awesome.

It's actually a really good thing that there is a sequel or six million coming. There are a lot of things that seem to fit but  aren't completely explained. I'm hoping that further reading will elucidate certain aspects of an occasionally opaque tome which, while thoroughly delightful, is, at times, moderately insufficient in backstory. (Sorry, I thought this goofy post needed a super serious moment. Did it work?)

All trash talk aside though, it would be nice to see a little more of what motivates certain characters in future books. I'm not naming names, but the actions of certain characters would make a bit more sense of why they're doing what they're doing. I'm not calling for endless pages of exposition and long soliloquies to long lost lovers. I don't need to see a musical production describing the existence of  some classified government agency. Actually, The Janitor Must Die is probably better off without the screeching pimple-faced teenagers (UGH. High school memories) but I'd like to see maybe a flashback or two at some point in the future.

I'm really thinking of a couple of characters in particular here. I don't want to name names or give details because that would be very spoiler-y and I'm not trying to be like the peaches in your grandma's cobbler. Let's just say there are some very loose ends a possibly a very deep mystery or two that could use some light shed on them. Like about three very large star's worth.

That's not to say that The Janitor Must Die is a bad book because it's a very good one. At the end of the day, I'm left wanting more, and that's a good thing. Trust me. I tried to read Twilight once. After a hundred and forty pages I didn't want - as in couldn't take - anymore. This is not that book. I just wish there would have been a bit more here. I guess I'll have to read the sequels to find out more. I'm okay with that. I'm looking forward to it.

But for now, I'm off on a mission. Granted, I've had breakfast, lunch and dinner today, but I'm going to go eat breakfast again. Twice. Just to make sure. And I'm taking my wallet with me when I leave too.

Bottom Line: 4.75 out of 5 Shotgun Shells

The Janitor Must Die
John Fulton
Full Ton Press, 2018

The Janitor Must Die is available for purchase at the following link: