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Book Signing for Afternoon Shipment

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Everything You Need to Know About Judging Angels and How to Get Your Autographed Copy
Right now, the 500-page trade paperback edition of Judging Angels is available through St. Corbinian's Bear's ephemeris at the cost of $29.99. That is the same price one would pay through Amazon Prime for a non-autographed version.

As part of the roll-out promotion, the Bear will not charge U.S. customers (only) shipping costs for orders placed between now and June 30th, 2017. In other words, the Bear will eat the shipping charges (i.e. his profit) for a limited time to put the book into your hands. The Bear would love to extend the same offer to all of his friends, but international shipping costs can be outrageous.

Purchase through the regular yellow Buy Now button in the sidebar. Please tell the Bear to whom and how you would like him to autograph your copy of Judging Angels. The idea is to fill out the box above the Buy button before sending. I have noticed PayPal seems to have dropped one o…

Our Shipping Department is Now Ready to Serve You

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Everything You Need to Know About Judging Angels and How to Get Your Autographed Copy
Right now, the 500-page trade paperback edition of Judging Angels is available through St. Corbinian's Bear's ephemeris at the cost of $29.99. That is the same price one would pay through Amazon Prime for a non-autographed version.

As part of the roll-out promotion, the Bear will not charge U.S. customers shipping for orders placed between now and June 30th, 2017. In other words, the Bear will eat the shipping charges for a limited time to put the book into your hands.

The Bear will also, for the same limited period, include an original Super Fun Happy Bear Doodle on the autograph page, unless you tell him not to. He has spent hours mastering this and other Bear doodles to district his editor from, well, editing his markups.

Purchase through the regular yellow Buy Now button in the sidebar.* Please tell the Bear to whom and how you would like him to autograph your copy of Judging Angels. (You pr…

Judging Angels Book Club Questions

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It's bound to happen. Badgers, bunnies, lions, tigers and Bears will be gathering in clearings, dens and Starbucks to discuss their kind's novel, Judging Angels. To get the discussion going for book clubs, here are some suggested questions.

Q: After reading the book, which of the weapons in the story would you choose to defend yourself (it's your story, so you can tell it however you want) from a village of heavily armed rednecks high on Nazi meth?

Q. Can you accurately recite from memory the directions for making Nazi meth? (That isn't covered in the book, so you might want to keep quiet if you can. Book clubs are all infiltrated by the FBI.)

Q. You have asked your doctor for a prescription for Adapt, haven't you? If not, why not? It's pretty cheap through informal channels if your doctor has not yet been sufficiently... educated on its benefits. [Bear discloses he is a paid spokesanimal for Hermes Pharmaceuticals and the world's number one drug, Adapt. &…

Some Chapter Headings & News

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First off, Judging Angels is listed at 15 7 and 19 10 in top 20 Hot New Christian Fantasy books, Kindle and trade paperback respectively. Yes, Christian Fantasy, but not your grandmother's Christian Fantasy. When a woman picks up a gun, it is not a flintlock rifle, she is not in a Conestoga wagon, and she might just be having a really bad day.

Secondly, here are some Chapter Titles I thought I would share.

Last ThingsHermann Goering's WatchAn Occurrence on Highway 21A Phantom of DelightA Siren of WolvesGood Cop - Good CopA Family MemberGood News from Parrot Bay, WisconsinCharm OffensiveCats and DogsForensics and Fortune-TellingFolly, Sex and the Last Cup of Coffee

World Building

I am setting writing on the sequel to Judging Angels aside for a bit so I can make detailed notes on the Judging Angels universe. I need to be certain that everything is and works the same in all books in the series. Not as exciting, but very necessary now.

I don't want anyone saying, "Wait a second. I thought x couldn't do y."

There is a lot of background to be laid down, too. I always like to know why everyone does everything, and part of that answer depends on shared assumptions of people in the character's culture. This raises issues of religion, status, laws and customs. Moreover, it is not enough to just develop a world. Everything must also provide a commentary.

All characters are like us, no matter what else; all places are like home, no matter what else. The mirror may have been filched from the fun house, but it's still a mirror.

Who Killed Superman?

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By all accounts, handsome, athletic George Reeves was a likeable, happy guy who always had time for kids who wanted to meet Superman. (Even when one pointed a loaded .38 at him for a few tense seconds.) However, playing Superman on the dubious new medium of television wasn't the greatest career move for an actor whose first appearance on screen was in the blockbuster Gone With the Wind. (One of the twins.) But from 1952 through 1958, the Man of Steel was nicest guy in Hollywood..

At two a.m. June 16, 1959, he died of a gunshot wound to the head. It was ruled a suicide despite some dodgy details.

Some books give the impression that nobody ever died of natural causes in Hollywood, and only a few knew the real story about anything. I get it. It sells books. Right now I'm working on a theory about Rin Tin Tin and a rival studio's dog, Pal. I just don't trust a dog who identifies as the opposite sex and goes by an alias. Pal a.k.a. Lassie.
So, some say George Reeves was mu…

Milestones & Merging the Two Stories

I've got 11,000 words written, so I'm on a good pace. I just finished Chapter 3: "Laikas" (see previous).

The first part was originally intended to be short, and fill in the important events of a 12-day gap between the end of the action in Judging Angels and the beginning of Judging Angels 2. I am finding there is no way to do that in a chapter or two.

So we start with a short flashback, and the new characters are aware of the events going on at the same time in the original novel, but are quickly overwhelmed with their own problems.

But also, the "fill-in" chapters are pretty interesting on their own, if I say so for myself. The new characters deserve to have their story told, too, and the Judging Angels universe will continue to be developed. I'm excited about moving the new material toward its inevitable merging with the characters and situations of the first novel in the series.

It's going to be some collision.

As usual, lots of twists and surpr…

Laika: Poor Soviet Space Dog

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The sequel to Judging Angels is about Laika. Sort of.
Laika was shot into space by the Soviet Union in November of 1957, when I was just three months old. She was a stray, probably part Samoyed, and part Terrier. She was the first animal to orbit the Earth.
The Soviets, however, did not give Laika a round-trip ticket. The circumstances of her demise was long a secret, and too sad to relate here.
The world is full of Laikas: people other people shoot off into the worst places in the world, and they can never come back. Not really. Laikas are the abandoned people who can do nothing to help themselves.
Laikas are waiting for a hero. 
Is there a part of you that is moved by Laika's tale, and wish there was something you could do to give it a happy ending? The sequel's theme is that moment when you realize you're working for the worst people in the world, and decide to rescue as many Laikas as you can. It pulls back for a wider picture of the events begun in the first novel, …

Meet Joey Catania: the Catania Elephant

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Joey was not in the Navy, although he had tailored Navy uniforms he seldom wore, but wore well when he did. His business card read, “CDR Joseph Catania, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Environmental Health Officer.”

He reported only to the Surgeon General of the United States.

Yeah, I know. "Surgeon General" just screams thrills and intrigue. And who wouldn't be interested in the adventures of an Environmental Health Officer? Radon gas discovered in some mortadella's house!

Sure, for the sequel to Judging Angels I could have picked the CIA, or Seal Team Six or something. It would write itself. What can anyone do with Joycelen Elders?

But, that's exactly what they want you to think.

Does it help if Joey used to be known as l'Elefante di Catania?

When you're a fixer for your boss, who is himself a fixer for your mutual associates, there might be a bump or two in the dark after all. Even for an "Environmental Health Officer."

Just …

The God of Crows

First of all, I'm really excited about the tens of visitors to this blog. Hey, it's getting more traffic than St. Corbinian's Bear, a Curious Entertainment for Catholic Ladies and Gentlemen of Discriminating Tastes, did at first. (See sidebar.)

Some may wonder what I'm up to. (Probably not, but let's pretend.)

While JA is still in editing, I have been hard at work on a sequel, working title, "Departed for a Season." This is how the King James Version describes the devil's retreat after tempting Jesus. A holy man once said something to the effect that, "You will struggle against sins of the flesh until the day you die. Even then you will struggle against them."

A little holy hyperbole, no doubt. I think he was Orthodox.

You never beat temptation. The devil may flee if you resist, but you can bet he'll be back, having only departed for a season.

The definition of an optimist is writing a sequel before the first book is even published. I…

What's Up with the Death Penalty?

The Role of the Death Penalty in Judging Angels
I am a former death penalty lawyer. I am in what has to be a very small club of lawyers who have both prosecuted and defended death penalty cases. Naturally, there are sorta elements of the death penalty included in Judging Angels.

Judging Angels does not take a position. Those who might be expected to be against the death penalty are. It is not a theme, nor is any effort made to resolve it as a moral or political question.
The protagonist is not even practicing law. There are no trials, and the line between good guys and bad guys... gets scuffed.
If it makes any real point about murder cases, it is that prosecutors and defense lawyers both (and the profession in general) might put the macho image aside and address the effect a decades-long diet of mayhem and murder is having on their psyches.
Some Thoughts on the Death Penalty
But since the question is reasonably on the table, let me give my thoughts. No one was ever persuaded on this mat…

In the Beginning

Judging Angels starts with a short, portentous sentence that has more than one meaning. Perhaps Catholics will understand.

"It was a day of very last things."

What does it mean to be human? To live, to love, to try to do the right thing and fail, because everything is against you? And, yes, to die? "Last things" indeed.

Judging Angels is about playing the game called "Being a Human" on hard mode. Everything is a puzzle, including identities, and characters may not be who they think they are.

Also, what does the criminal justice system do when 2 + 2 = 5 no matter how many times it adds up the numbers? I am a death penalty defense lawyer, after all, so you can expect a dollop of police procedural whipped cream on this puzzling pie.

What is the real story? The exciting adventure/crime narrative that propels the characters along a dark road of self-discovery? Why are main characters constantly warned about "the real story?"

What is your "real s…

Status and Beware of WHAT?

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Judging Angels status: in editing. I'm guessing a May roll out date.

More to come. In the meantime, one finds the strangest things our our place. Like this pizza delivery box. Oh, how I would love to know the story behind this!