The Writer in Black

The Writer in Black

Friday, July 15, 2016

Treva's Children, free promo

Now Through July 18, 2016, Treva's Children of the Knights of Aerioch series by David L. Burkhead will be available free.

From the story:

Talisa sat leaning back against a tree, her eyes closed.  Despite the warmth, the strange, unnatural warmth, she felt chilled to her core.  She could hear her people chatting as their fear of this unnatural spring in the midst of winter faded to be replaced with simple pleasure in the warmth, in the ripe pears and apples, and in the simple knowledge that the path behind them was now blocked, deferring for at time the Schahi threat.  She could smell venison cooking over a fire.

The sound of voices faded, as if, one by one, the people stopped talking.  The last voice faded, leaving only the sound of the brook and the popping of the fire.

Talisa opened her eyes.  On the far side of the brook a woman stood.  Tall, almost six feet, her straight brown hair falling alongside her neck to disappear behind her back.  She wore a brown tunic and trousers.  In her left hand she held a gnarled staff, fully eight feet long.  A fierce scowl creased her face.

Talisa stood.

The woman pointed her staff at Talisa. "This valley is sacred to Treva.  To defile it is death."

Talisa's mouth went dry.  She approached the woman. "We meant no harm.  Please, My Gracious Lady, allow us to rest until tomorrow and we will depart."

The woman set the butt of her staff on the ground. "I am not your lady.  Your lives were forfeit when they crossed into this land."

Talisa saw no pity in the woman's eyes.  Treva, unlike the Threefold Twins, cared little for people.  She gave her love to the wild things of the world, to the plants and animals, the rocks and streams.  Still, Talisa tried once more to plead her case. "We did not come of our own free will.  The Schahi..."

"I am aware of those abominations.  The avalanche stopped them.  And yet you came hither anyway."

Talisa stepped forward and dropped to her knees. "Please, I beg you.  If there must be a punishment, let it fall on me.  I lead these people.  It is my responsibility, not theirs."

The woman stared at her for a long moment, then nodded. "Very well.  These your people may stay until the morning.  Your life I claim." She turned. "Come with me."

Monday, July 4, 2016

On This July 4th

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, 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; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

LibertyCon 29 Schedule

Here's my schedule for LibertyCon 29.  I'll have books for sale at my Author's Alley and Autograph sessions.

Day     Time     Name of Event
Fri     02:00PM     Frontiers of Nanotech    
Fri     04:00PM     Author's Alley (Burkhead, Kemp, C. Kennedy, Maggert)    
Fri     05:00PM     Opening Ceremonies    
Fri     09:00PM     Bootstrapping Industrial Capacity After An Apocalypse    
Sat     10:00AM     Where Next for Human Space Exploration - Mars?    
Sat     12:00PM     Autograph Session (Burkhead, Patterson)    
Sat     05:00PM     Author's Alley (Burkhead, Gibbons, D. Kennedy, Schroeder)    
Sat     09:00PM     Reading: Thomas Mays & David Burkhead    
Sat     11:00PM     Mad Scientist Roundtable    
Sun     10:00AM     Kaffeeklatsch    
Sun     12:00PM     Author's Alley (Brooks, Burkhead, Coe, Lowery)    

In addition, my daughter will have pieces displayed and for sale in the Art Show.  She's using the "pen name" of "Neko San".  Check it out.  She's really good.

Here's a sample of her work:

Pretty good for a 12 year old.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Defense against terrorist attacks

In 2008 after the Mumbai terrorist attacks, I wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper.  I also sent versions of the letter to State and Federal representatives.

After the Mumbai terrorist attacks, there has been talk about how to prepare for an attack here. One item that is frequently missed is that the choice of when and where to attack lies with the terrorists and, therefore, the police can do little to prevent them. The terrorists will simply attack where the police are not. If you put guards on Chase Tower, the terrorists will attack the Marriott. Put guards on the Marriott, and they will attack a shopping mall. Put armed guards on the malls and they'll attack the next Pacers home game. There simply are not enough police to be everywhere so they'll simply go where the police are not. And since these terrorists are willing to die for their cause, the thought that the police will eventually arrive and stop them will not deter them. And if India with its highly restrictive gun control could not stop the terrorists from getting the weapons they used to kill, no such gun control legislation in the US could stop similar attacks here.

Fortunately, however, Indiana has a second line of defense against these terrorists. According to a 2004 article in the Indianapolis Star, there were then 300,000 residents of Indiana who were licensed to carry handguns. That's one in twenty people in Indiana, and the number has likely only gone up since then. In most large crowds there will be some who are licensed to carry. Not all will be carrying at any given time and not all will have the fortitude to stand up to the terrorists and stop them from killing the people around them, but some will. And so we are guarded even where the police are not--by our own citizens.

Unfortunately, there are areas where those guards, provided without charge to the State or to the people so guarded, cannot go. There remain soft targets where terrorists like those in Mumbai could find fertile killing fields. Those targets are our schools, our universities, and our day cares. The threat is to our children and youth who are the very future of our nation. The very one's to whom we should be giving the greatest protection are instead the most vulnerable.

It is vitally important that our schools and universities be protected from terrorists such as those who struck Mumbai. One way would be to hire and train armed security personnel for every school and university in the country, enough to have several in every building whenever children are present. This would be a costly undertaking and would take considerable time to implement. The other solution is far less expensive and that is to allow individuals who have a clean criminal record and no serious mental health issues--people, in fact, who can successfully obtain an Indiana handgun license--to be armed in such places and to encourage teachers and facility in such places to do so. This will provide the same, free, armed security that the rest of our State enjoys.

I got one reply back, from Representative Andre Carson (hack, spit), dismissive of the entire concept but claiming he'll "keep [my] thoughts in mind.  I wrote the following response to him:

Thank you very much for your thoughts concerning gun control. I will keep your thoughts in mind when I vote in 2010.

You see, a person in your position cannot be ignorant of the facts unless he is willfully so.

A person in your position cannot help but know that there is a strong positive correlation between "gun control" and violent crime--the more "gun control," the more violent crime.

A person in your position cannot help but know that the foreign examples of low crime or low gun crime had their low crime even before they enacted gun control legislation, and the trend has been for crime to increase after gun control is enacted.

A person in your position cannot help but know that India's severe gun control, amounting to an outright ban for all practical purposes, did not stop the terrorists from obtaining guns and killing large numbers of people with them. That "gun control" only ensured that the victims could not fight back.

A person in your position cannot help but know that every time easing the infringement on the right to keep and bear arms is proposed (as, for instance, when a State proposes "shall issue" on handgun licenses) the predictions of "blood in the streets" are made, but every time the easing actually happens, the predictions fail to come true.

A person in your position cannot help but know that, for stated purpose of reducing individual risk of violent crime, gun control does not work.

Since you cannot help but know these things, I have to presume that there are other reasons for your stated position in favor of "strong restrictions" on guns.

Aside from the date, I see nothing I need to change in any of that.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Hordes of Chanakra ebook available for Pre-order

Pulled into an alternate world mired in the middle ages, Kreg finds allies in Kaila, a rough swordmistress, and her wizardly father. He’s also found their foes – an unending horde pouring forth from the small nation next door.

Now, he’s in a race against time to find the true source, before everything he cares about ends in fire and death!

Monday, May 30, 2016

On This Memorial Day

In Flander's Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

 Among your barbecues and other holiday celebrations, take a moment to remember those who fell.