Sunday, March 30, 2014

Liza Learns sumkin: Size Does Matter

Today, I want to talk about the meat in my chili.
(That is not what this blog is about at all)
 The common chicken. If we went to visit them in their unnaturally crowded natural environment, we might not ever eat chickens again, but we'd survive the visit.

This was not always the case. 

We've known ten foot tall chickens once terrorized the island of Madagascar  because THEY STILL EXISTED IN THE 17th century. 

We don't know for certain why they went extinct, but here's my assumption:

A pirate leaves the ship to gather fruit, comes upon a chicken almost twice his height and the size of an elephant. 

Fully aware that chickens are mean with a proneness to peck, he draws his blunderbuss and shoots the creature. Then hurries back to report chickens the size of elephants.

Naturally, the other pirates laughed at him, but everyone stopped laughing when he led them to the dead chicken and found two more chickens pecking at it's remains.  Every man in the group pulls his weapon and fired at the monsters. 

Hearing the extended gun shots, the pirate captain puts the ship on alert and goes out with his most trusted men and comes upon a mass of food beyond his wildest imagination.  

"I want a fire pit built at once, and get these birds plucked, gutted and roasted. We are going to eat well on this trip."

"What if there's more of them?" The first pirate asked.

"Leave the smaller one, and douse it with poison. That should keep them at bay. And no more wasting ammunition. Let's find out exactly where the heart is located."

A few days later, the captain & his men sailed off with a shipload of smoked chicken which they traded (along with tales) to other pirates during their travel. And soon, Madagascar was the McDonalds of the sea and a favorite of the pirates.

And that is how the giant chicken became the last of all the various giant chickens that once roamed earth.

(Chicken is real, pirates really did consider Madagascar a pirate stronghold in the 17th century, but the story with dialog is made up by silly Liza)

But how did a giant flightless bird get on an island to begin with. It surely couldn't wade across the water.

Here's my non-verified explanation:
Madagascar is a BIG island just off Africa. It looks to have once been part of Africa and wandered off during shifts in the plates.  
Just shift it down and to the left and it will be next to Zimbabwe, which isn't a terribly friendly place, so I don't blame it for running away.

So that's how they got on the island and lived so much longer than the chickens that were on the mainland.  

That's right, Liza is claiming the giant chickens roamed the mainland. Here's why.

According to Scientific America a new find in bird bones has occurred. 

An 11.5 foot tall, 500 lb, Chica-raptor. Okay, I just made the name 'Chica-raptor' up. But the rest is true to the article. It's actual name is Anzu Wyliei, which evidently means "Chicken from Hell".  That is so much more mature and scientifically well behaved than Chica-raptor. 

They've evidently reconstructed it from the 66 million old bones of three specimens. It has the head of a chicken,  
the body and claws of a raptor 

and the crest of a Cassowary. 


I know what you're thinking. What's a Cassowary? I had to look it up.

And here is what they believe the combination looked like:
The response of a human remains unchanged.

The Chica-raptor is calling back to it's family, "Suppertime!"

Here's the skeletal frame they created from the 3 sets of bones which were found in North and South Dakota. That's right! This one is Made In America:

It looks so dainty and harmless, and possibly trying out for American Idol.

If we had wild giant chickens running about America, then I must presume the critters were everywhere. However most of them died before humans showed up. Most, but not all. 

Liza puts on her sceptic hat

Now this is me stepping back and being a skeptic:
First, let me concede giant chickens existed. I believe the Madagascar Elephant chicken, it's two species and 7 genres did exist until humans killed them either for food, sport, or the simple fact no one in their right mind wants to live around a ten foot chicken.

But I've gone to too many museums to admire the skeletons of fabulous dinosaurs that turned out to be plastic molds created to go around the three real vertebrae bones they'd dug up. 

What I'm saying is that paleontologists are a bit like authors. They fill in the blanks with their imagination, being as credible as they can. But at the end of the day, much of what they present is no more than educated speculation, similar to the story I provided above as to how the elephant chicken came to live on the big island and why it eventually became extinct. The fact that it survived until the 17th century is a credit to the native people of Madagascar. They were clearly brave people, willing to accept the giant creatures that roamed on their new home. (But it might also explain why they were always traveling off searching for other islands to inhabit. Theirs had giant chickens on it.)

Later immigrants, proved to be less respectful to the many strange creatures of Madagascar. To be specific, it wasn't until the island became a stronghold for PIRATES that the birds died out. 

Pirates-Why can't we make them extinct?

So allow me to summarize matters: 
1) Madagascar ran away from Africa, and took some giant chickens with it. (It took some other weird things too)

2) It did not take any humans. They showed up close to CE when they sailed to the island, created tribes, and lived with 10 foot chickens.

3) Then the damn pirates made the island a strong hold and killed all the chickens.

4) Now we've discovered more giant chickens in North and South Dakota. I've no idea what killed them, but given they seemed to have bred with raptors, these things definitely needed to be wiped out.

5) The discovery of chickens in America, leads me to conclude giant chickens lived all over the continents but humans weren't having it. The chicken could either shrink to a foot tall or become extinct. Many wisely chose to shrink.

And now, they are held in overcrowded captivity and slaughtered at will. (Bet they are regretting the whole shrinking thing.)

Now, if you'd like to read the less funny, but more detailed speculation in the Scientific America article, click here. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sci Fi Predictions from the 20th century

Previously, I discussed the birth of Sci-Fi in the 1800's. That's right. The Regency and Victorian Era birthed Sci-Fi.

Now let's discuss the 20th century when it spread to TV and movies and made a major impact on the humans on Earth.

The inventions & discoveries made in the 1900's are far too many to list, so I'll just state some major ones that impacted Sci-Fi writers.

Nuclear Power
The internet
Concept of Artificial Intelligence
Mass production of:
  Air conditioners   
   Personal Computers
   Wireless Technology
   Tracking systems (radar, Dopler, GPS, Satellite)
   Global network systems (cash machines
  Advanced transmission systems(wireless, Fiber Optics)

Add to this two World Wars and a string of undeclared wars and a great deal of people began to long for a better time in the future, while pessimist could see how the bad would just get worse.

Here are some predictions that came true:

Author C. Clarke predicted Video Games in his 1956 novel, The City and the Stars. Two years late the first real-life video game arrived.

He also predicted the iPad. in his 1966 novel, 2001: A Space Odyssey.  In it he has a device called a Newspad that sounds remarkable like the iPad.

Ray Bradbury predicted ear buds in his 1950 novel, Farenheit 451. The real ear buds were created by Apple in 2001

Upon writing these examples, I have to ponder. Do sci-fi writers predict well, or are they inspiring inventors to create their fabulous ideas. Given both may pull from the fertile pool I believe they both could easily derive the same ideas on their own. But it is not impossible to conceive  that upon reading about this fabulous Newspad, Steve Jobs was intrigued and set about creating a real device to match Clarke's imaginative one. 

So, what's your favorite Sci Fi creation that you want developed in the 21st century.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Gregory Bellarmine presents The Blood That Cries in the Ground

$10 Gift Card for one commenter.

The Blood That Cries in the Ground
by Gregory Bellarmine


Italy. A tough master of novices, Father Dante encounters the bold young priest Antonio who challenges his identity and accuses him of being the Saint Nicholas. But despite the Father faking his death, a determined Antonio discovers a rather alive Dante arrayed in kilt and armor.

In return for Antonio’s silence—and to protect the town from attracting all manner of darkness—Dante agrees to tell his life story. Without explanation, Dante orders Antonio to meet him at night in the abandoned Cathedral, the site of a former battle that the Church has kept secret for a generation.

Until today.

The Criskindl. Ice Steeds. The Unborn. Saint.

From the Dark Ages’ when Poet-Sorcerers ruled kings, to the Holy Land when a new civilization was rising, to Revolutionary France where love is lost and gained, Father Dante pursues the one responsible for both his master and his mother’s deaths: Black Peter, his brother.


"As you see, I'm not overweight, and of being jolly I've never been accused. Moreover, I find the pagan ritual of indulging children's greed quite loathsome. Rewarding a year's worth of insolence merely encourages more childish behavior and prevents the child from becoming the man. Secular excess goes against everything I believe about how to upbraid the sinner. In fact, I can't name a single child who should get anything other than the strap for Christmas."

He sat back in the creaky chair, then wove his fingers together and hooked his thumbs into his silver buckle. The white of Father Dante's priestly collar contrasted the Cathedral's late-night shadows. Diamond eyes—blue crystal pools that appeared half-blind but which studied all—snared the candelabra's golden light with a glint. Red among gray streaked the trimmed whiskers at his chin, and cardinal flecks peppered his mane.

November gusts rattled the stained-glass windows and shuddered the main doors where we sat in the foyer. I glanced right to the rows of freshly varnished pews, then above to the painting of Sebastian's Martyrdom on the dome, and hoped the Abbot slept soundly. On the curved roof was a gothic spire, and that was where the young Abbot took his brief hours of rest. He claimed he felt closer to God there.

Dante shifted his broad shoulders. "Were a man like that to exist, do you really believe he'd be sitting across from you now? They're myths. We made them up to teach women to pray at least as much as they gossip. Really, Antonio, you surprise me."


Gregory Bellarmine is the author of the bestselling Monthly Roman Breviary. He lives a happy though sometimes sleepless life in the UK with his wife, two children and rather cheeky Parson Russell Terrier.


Gregory’s blog is


 Book Trailer -


Amazon USA:


“The Blood That Cries in the Ground will grab the reader by the throat with a death grip from which it is impossible to break free.” -Reviewed by Bil Howard for Readers' Favorite

Link to the full review:

$10 Gift Card

Monday, March 24, 2014

Doctor How and the Illegal Aliens by Mark Speed

Today, we have the fabulous Mark Speed and his hilarious Doctor How and The Illegal Aliens.

Space Rep: Don't you mean Doctor W--

Liza: No, and don't even say it. It says Doctor How.

Space Rep: Sorry, I just thought your fingers got drunk before they began typing tonight.

Liza: Nope, it's Doctor How. So would you like to know about the prize?

Space Rep: Esy.

Liza: What does that mean? Oh 'Yes'. Very clever Space Rep. One randomly chosen commenter will win a $50 gift card from either Amazon or B&N.

Space Rep: All right! How do I win it?

Liza: Just follow the rafflecopter my friend.
Now without any further delay let's check out this book. It sounds to be right up my alley.

Doctor How and the Illegal Aliens

by Mark Speed


Doctor How’s famous megalomaniac brother Doctor Who sold his fictional life story to the BBC half a century ago, painting himself as a lone hero. Disillusioned, their four cousins dropped out. For fifty years, Doctor How has held the line against the forces of darkness and stupidity. And he’s not that happy, since you ask.

Illegal aliens try to hack How’s Spectrel (TARDIS is a very rude word where he comes from), just as he suspects his estranged cousin Where has been compromised. When reports come in of mysterious attacks by alien creatures, Doctor How has to rely on his new companion Kevin, a petty criminal from south London, and Trinity, a morphing super-predator, as he counters this threat to humanity’s existence. Bungling agents from MI16, long desperate to capture the Time Keeper’s technology, hamper How’s efforts to combat the alien menace. Can Doctor How keep ahead of MI16, save Where and combat the alien threat?


Kevin lowered his window and said, “Come on, Doc. We haven’t got all night.”

Where honked lightly twice, and Kevin laughed.

Doctor How smiled and took a couple of steps towards the cab.

There was a crash from inside the house, and the sound of splintering wood. The Doctor whipped around to see the sofa burst through the front window and tumble into the garden. It came to a stop upside down against the wall. He took a couple of steps back, pulled out his Ultraknife and held it towards the house.

“Get in the bleedin’ cab and let’s go!” yelled Where.

“I want to know what it is. Kill the headlights.”

“Kill the headlights? You’ll kill us all. Get inside!” Nevertheless, Where turned off the headlights.

“Get in, Doctor!” shouted Kevin.

The wall beneath the living room window collapsed outward in a cloud of dust, and the radiator that sat underneath it fell with a resonating clang onto the rubble. Water gushed out of a piece of broken central heating pipe.

A pair of black antennae waved through the dust. They were followed by two interlocking pairs of black mandibles two feet wide that scythed back and forth in the night air.

“Oh, you absolute beauty,” said the Doctor, lowering his Ultraknife a fraction.

“Oi, nutter! Get in the bleedin’ cab, will ya?” Where turned the headlights back on, lighting up the rest of the creature. It was six feet wide and six feet tall, with a rounded shiny black body.

“I wish you hadn’t done that,” said Kevin. “Get in, Doc. Let’s go!”

“It’s after you, cousin,” said Doctor How. Or your Spectrel. Or your cab. Or all three.”

“Well, I don’t want to stick around and find out which, do I? Get in, you bleedin’ maniac!”

The Doctor opened the door and got in the front beside his cousin, who jammed the vehicle into reverse just as the creature edged forward a few feet, to where the cab had been two seconds before.

“Wait!” said the Doctor. He slammed the cab into neutral and jerked the handbrake.


Mark Speed has been writing novels since he was fifteen. His comedy writing has appeared in
newspapers as diverse as the London Evening Standard and The Sun, and been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra. He performed his solo comedy, The End of the World Show, at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2011 and 2012. He is currently working on the five-volume Doctor How series.

Amongst other postgraduate and professional qualifications, he has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from City University, London. In 1995 a chiropractor told him he’d never run again. Sensibly, he gave up chiropractors, runs every day and has completed several marathons and a couple of Olympic-length triathlons.

NLP founder Dr Richard Bandler called him a ‘polarity responder’.


Don't forget to enter to win the fabulous $50 Tour Prize

Pippa Jay's cover reveal for REBOOT

Today, I am thrilled to reveal Pippa Jay's gorgeous Reboot cover:

“Welcome to immortality in utopia!”

From the moment Damien signed up for a perfect life with ReGen Inc., he didn’t ask any questions. He didn’t want or need to know. But after he’s rebooted this time, there are gaps in his memory he can’t ignore, and people he no longer recognizes are accusing him of betrayal. When someone dies, he’s determined to go looking for answers…but sometimes it really is better to forget.

Someone pounded on his door. Damien jerked out of bed, heart hammering. Had ReGen realized their mistake? Were they coming to wipe the rest of his memories?
Reality swept over him as the last of the fog of sleep faded. He wasn’t a hermit. People often came to visit, though they weren’t usually so loud about it.
He pushed off the bed, a slight stiffness making his movements awkward. He clipped the doorframe on his way out and cursed at the spike of pain in his shoulder. Clumsy! The last thing he wanted to do was damage this new body so soon after a reboot.
“Hold on!” he yelled at the unknown visitor hell-bent on punching a hole through his front door.
He was still clothed from last night, but he paused in front of his mirror to drag his fingers through the tufts of his dark hair. “Yes, all right. I’m coming!” He tugged his shirt straight. “Open.”
A dark-haired woman stumbled through the door and fell against him. “Damien!”
His arms circled her by instinct, but the impact sent him staggering back a step or two. “Whoa!”
She gazed up at him, her hazel eyes red-rimmed as if from crying, and her pretty face screwed into wrinkles. “I was so worried. When you didn’t come over last night…”
“Last night? Come where?” Her body pressed into his was causing all kinds of interesting reactions, but confusion overrode them. “Who are you?”
“Who?” Her eyes widened, and she jerked out of his embrace. “What’s wrong with you?”
Fear swamped him again, a cold that chilled him to the bone. “Diagnostics says I’m fine.”
“Diagnostics?” She backed away, as if he’d morphed into the worst kind of monster, then grabbed his right hand. Damien flinched as she rubbed her thumb hard over the back of his hand. Over the place where his scar had been. “Oh…” She dropped his hand, her head still bowed. “Oh, Damien.”
Her gaze knifed through him, accusing. “You’ve been rebooted.”

A stay-at-home mum of three who spent twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and
Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay bases her stories on a lifetime addiction to science-fiction books and films. Somewhere along the line a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moments trying to learn guitar, indulging in freestyle street dance and drinking high-caffeine coffee. Although happily settled in historical Colchester in the UK with her husband of 20 years, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the SFR Brigade, a community of science fiction romance authors and publishing professionals committed to writing and promoting the very best in the genre.

Places to Find Pippa:
Blogs –
Adventures in Scifi -
Spacefreighters Lounge -

Friday, March 21, 2014

Liza O'Connor reviews Alpha's Strength

Today, I am reviewing Rebecca Royce's recently released shifter novel, Alpha's Strength.

I worried when Rebecca Royce ended the Westervelt Wolf series, fearing she was done with wolf shifters. And in my opinion, no one does them better than Royce.
Thankfully, she’s not done with the alpha driven wolf shifters. She’s just moved on to new stories with fresh new situations.

Cyrus runs Manhattan with an iron fist. He will keep his pack safe whether they want him to or not. But something is missing and lately he is more on edge than ever. With his pack at risk and the Alphas of Philadelphia and Boston breathing down his neck, he doesn’t anticipate the arrival of his true mate, particularly when he finds her in a coffee house across the street from his office building. She’s not only identical to the mate of the alpha of Philadelphia but has no idea that werewolves even exist, let alone that she’s one herself. Cyrus is determined to protect her while he solves the mystery of her life. 

Betsy, strong, smart, and determined, has been suffering for months trying to keep her parents alive. She doesn’t know where the werewolf who followed her home came from and she doesn’t care, he just needs to leave her alone. But as Betsy gets to know Cyrus, she will discover things about herself that she’d never believed possible. She’s the only one who can help Cyrus keep his pack safe—especially when the true believers are out to destroy them.

Liza Reviews
I love this new series, the Fallen Alphas. Matters have gone bad. The prime alpha of the country has died, leaving the district alpha’s going for each other’s throats, sometimes literally. 
The focus of this story is Cyrus. Leader of the Manhatten Pack of Shifters.
Having a pack of wolfshifters living in NYC is no minor feat. The chance of discovery is high. But that is Cyrus and his pack’s home and he’s created a ton of rules to keep them safe. But some of the pack don’t like his constraints, and during this story, shifters die when they skirt the rules and others let him down big time.
But with his trials and tribulations he also discovers love. Betsy. She looks like the mate of the Pennsylvania alpha. But how can that be? Betsy insists she’s an only child of parents who are presently being held prisoners by their cult-leader and will come to harm unless she marries the cult leader's son, whom she hates.
To all his other tasks, Cyrus must secure the safety of his mate, her parents and discover the truth about her past, convince her, she is his mate, and attempt to destroy his enemies.
To do this, he must join sides with other alphas he does not trust, but unless they join together, they don’t stand a chance against this enemy.
The plot is complex, but it never overwhelms and always entertains as Rebecca Royce takes us through the first full novel of what I hope will be a very long series.
If you love shifter novels, consider this a must read.
If you don’t normally read shifter numbers, I strongly recommend you begin with this one. But be warned, they are addictive.

For more about Rebecca Royce and her many books

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Unholy by Paul DeBlassie III

Today we have Paul DeBlassie here to share a bit about his book The Unholy.

Space Rep: While the title's a bit scary, the cover is very cool! Is there a tour prize?

Liza: I agree the cover is gorgeous and yes there is a tour prize of a $25 gift card (Amazon or B&N, winner's choice). 

Space Rep: Yes!

Liza: Settle down and let's read what this story is about.

Paul DeBlassie III


A young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, The Unholy is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. Native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision.


“Help me? Help yourself! Face what is yours to face,” Elizabeth hissed. She yanked the door open then forced it to slam behind her.

Claire stood still for a moment, feeling as if a tornado had swept through the room. Elizabeth’s demand had left her shaken. She drew a deep breath, then went to her desk and picked up her tea, noticing her trembling hands.

Turning toward the window, Claire saw a muscular orderly accompanying Elizabeth to the locked ward at the far end of the hospital compound. A flock of crows circled high overhead, seeming to follow the two receding figures. As they arrived at the outer doors of the locked unit, the orderly reached for his keys. The crows circled while the two crossed the threshold of the unit, Elizabeth suddenly pausing, turning, and looking outside, her gaze riveted on the flock of birds.

All but two flew off, disappearing into the piƱon-covered hills. The two that remained came to rest on the red brick wall adjacent to the locked unit, their black eyes boring into Elizabeth. She looked panicked then enraged and, shaking a finger at the creatures, yelled something. Her frantic gestures told Claire that she was screeching curses to ward off evil.

Claire took a step back from the window, from the impact of Elizabeth’s rage.

The orderly grabbed Elizabeth roughly by the arm and pulled her inside.

The crows waited, watched, then flew away.


Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D., is a psychologist and writer
living in Albuquerque who has treated survivors of the dark side of religion for more than 30 years. His professional consultation practice — SoulCare — is devoted to the tending of the soul. Dr. DeBlassie writes fiction with a healing emphasis. He has been deeply influenced by the mestizo myth of Aztlan, its surreal beauty and natural magic.  He is a member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. 

Author Links

Buy Links

Don't forget to enter for the $25 Gift Card.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Liza Reviews A Matter of Circumstances and Celludrones by Claire Robyns

Today, I review 
A Matter of Circumstance and Celludrones
By Claire Robyns
This is a fabulous, well written, consistently entertaining, addictive hybrid steampunk, demon slayer novel.  I couldn’t stop reading it. 

The only part I didn’t like was when at 81% finished per Kindle, the book ended. And that is a flaw with Kindles, not Robyns. 

Some of you may not realize it, but any book I read to the end is a fabulous book, because I don’t have time to read lesser books. If it’s not a great book, I stop reading. I never commit to reviews, since there’s a strong chance I won’t finish a book. And yes, this means I never give bad reviews, but honestly, who needs the negative Karma.

But quiting was never a possibility with this crazy, delightful book. So, I’m happily reading along and bam, I hit an electronic brick wall. And it really hurt. Especially since matters of the heart are not resolved. But at least book two is out there so I can continue my addiction to this story.

So here’s the crux of the story:

Steampunker Greyston (he’s got a wicked fast airship) tracks down Lily to understand her connection to his past, only in doing so, gets the Ostrich Lady involved. The Ostrich lady is a demon from another dimension that dresses like a Victorian lady with terrible tastes in hats. But at least she stands out in a crowd.

Well, the first thing she does is kill our heroine.

You can imagine how surprised I was. Not a quarter into the book and my heroine, whom I liked, is dead.
Fortunately, Greyston has the ability to move back time if he acts fast enough. He manages and the story goes a lot better (with no one dying) the second time around. But this Ostrich lady is not a quitter. She keeps trying, and sadly does kill one of the secondary characters during her many attempts.

Their big questions about their past and what is really going on are answered in this book.

They also fall in love, but it’s a rocky love.
Then at the very end, they learn something about themselves that rocks Grey to his core and he runs off, while Lily intends to remain and rid the world of demons once and for all.

This story is kind of like Buffy the Vampire in Victorian garb, except instead of a stake, you need to run about with a pail of salt water. (Those who have read the book are laughing now.)

There’s a great deal of light hearted humor, mixed with disturbing events (like the death of the heroine) but not a single dull moment. It will hold your interest and entertain you the whole way through.

I promise. (Unless you are a curmudgeon realist, in which case, you won’t like it all.)

I won this book for one of my odd comments I make on other people's blogs. I’m glad I did. This extraordinary tale was a pleasure to read. I give it 5 stars.

Available at Amazon in ebook & Print