Thursday, September 29, 2016

Free Stuff!

To celebrate four years as a full-time writer, I'm planning a series of giveaways. I want to thank you all for supporting me. I love researching, writing, and polishing every day.

First of all, I'm giving away mobi copies of my short story collection "Epic Fails" for people who subscribe to my free newsletter (see box below the image).  No more than once a month, I'll send out an update on what I'm working on, upcoming events, humor, links to free stuff. and the odd piece of writing-related information similar to this blog. When my new novels come out every 3 or 4 months, I'll send you the first 20 percent as a preview and let you decide for yourself. I also welcome feedback. No pressure. Not every genre is for everyone, and certainly not every novel. I won't share your information with anyone else. If you don't have a Kindle, contact me at ScottRhineBooks (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll send you a PDF version.

If you've ever wondered what I sound like, I'm giving away 20 more copies of the Audible audiobook I narrated, "Void Contract", to people in the US only. ($20 value) Sorry, the audible codes I have are redeemable only on the US website. These are first-come-first-served. Just send a request email to ScottRhineBooks (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll send you instructions and the coupon code. This doesn't obligate you to anything, but reviews/ratings are always appreciated.

Lastly, I'm giving away copies of my paperback "The K2 Virus".

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The K2 Virus by Scott Rhine

The K2 Virus

by Scott Rhine

Giveaway ends October 08, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Cards Against Humanity

Cards Against Humanity is a fun yet twisted card game, kind of like an adult version of Mad Libs. The players take turns reading a question card aloud. The others each place an answer card face down from their hand of many choices. Whoever has the best answer wins an awesome point. If you know you can't win, you can toss one of your bad cards. You can buy expansion packs, but they also provide blank card for you to make your own questions and answers. Here are a few suggestions :

  1. do-it-yourself vasectomy kit
  2. home circumcision with toenail clippers
  3. poison ivy as toilet paper
  4. operatic duets with farm animals
  5. bot fly larva up the nose
  6. Viagra in a Pez dispenser
  7. Catwoman’s latex suit
  8. A full bladder on a bumpy car ride
  9. anal leakage
  10. handcuffs
  11. offending everyone in the room with one joke
  12. hard-boiled egg dog farts
  13. playing dead
  14. toy soldiers soaked in napalm
  15. an immortal soul
  16. a Prince Albert
  17. Ronald Reagan’s colon
  18. bigger guns
  19. Rodents of Unusual Size
  20. peeing in the shower
  1. You can find sites online that offer this for free
  2. what we hope happens to telemarketers
  3. what to bring to a Hollywood wedding
  4. the name of Harry Potter’s latest nemesis is an anagram for ____
  5. A necessary evil
  6. What clowns laugh at
  7. boys only want love if it’s _____
  8. In the Redneck Cookbook, you can substitute ______ for beef
  9. Our first indication he might have been a serial killer
  10. My newest medication warns not to combine it with _____

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Panama Canal Cruise part 3: Caribbean

Once we passed through the canal, the Disney Wonder had a pirate party with fireworks. They swerved to avoid a rainstorm and had to turn the ship around 180 degrees so the wind wouldn't carry the ash over the ship. By now, we've seen all the movies at the theater. Light between the Oceans was slow and depressing. The meals are still fantastic, but we start walking up 8 floors on the stairs to shed the extra calories. The ship is days from being disassembled for a refit and we notice things that need repair: the shaking elevator, the smells lingering in certain places.

Sunday, we stop in Cartegena, Colombia. In the heat, we bargain for a cab driver for the entire day--$40. The gold and chocolate museums are tiny, but Mr. Emerald was awesome. He had quality stones at a great price. My daughter, Emily, wanted to hold the sloth at the shopping center. I had to use pantomime and high-school Spanish to describe the creature. The clerk's face brightens with recognition. "Ahh, perisoso!" We check three possible locations, but the sloth never shows. Everyone is nice, including the man selling coffee.

Everything in the walled city is ancient, reminding me of the oldest parts of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Most of Centro is barricaded to keep cars out and the tourists safe. The cab driver needs to give a payment to people who reserved the parking space. I heard that they live off something like $10 a day, but they all have cell phones.
We came back early and spend a long time taking pictures of all the birds. The ice cream on deck 9 tastes good after walking so far in the heat.

On Tuesday, the kids take a set of photos we entitle "best first day of school ever."

We sign up for a body composition analysis at the spa, but the sales guy is overly aggressive and wants to charge $1232 in seaweed pills. We refuse. When I can finally access the Internet in Cozumel, I research the product. People on cruise bulletin boards were almost entirely negative. People on Amazon were split, but those with positive feedback had more regular bowel movements, not more rapid weight loss.

I bought a classic Star Wars shirt at Del Sol, and we picked up a really soft set of bamboo sheets and bath towels. We turn down all offers of tequila, cigars, or massage.

On the last night, I took the time to listen to one of the performers in the lounge, an awesome guitarist, Rodrigo Figueroa. Playing Time After Time One of the other performers sat down beside me for the whole set and whispered, "I wish I could play like that."

On the last sea day, I trade one of my paperbacks for another sci fi book in the Quiet Cove coffee shop. This gives me something to do on the long bus trip to the airport and the flight home.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Cover Reveal: Quantum Zero Sentinel

In edit now: The Quantum Chronicles Book One: Quantum Zero Sentinel. (82K words science fiction adventure)

The first thing the instructor tells you in quantum physics is that everything they taught you before was a lie. Instead of her dream job at the FBI, Maia is forced into an undercover assignment at Quantum Computer Research. Big changes are coming, disruptive ones. She finds whispers of treason and the cornerstone of an entirely new technology. As she follows the clues, nobody turns out to be who she expects them to be, not even herself.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Panama Canal Cruise: part 2 the canal

The Disney ship anchored in line on the west side of the canal the night before. Some people got up as early as 4:30 am to get good spots on deck 10 forward.
Around 7:30 am, we ate breakfast on the deck while moving through the fog toward the Bridge of the Americas, which connects North and South.
In the close up, you can see buses driving over above and the freight cranes below. For those ships that are too big to fit or can't afford half a million bucks to transit unload here and use the railroad to reach the other side. The weather isn't bad yet.
The air is so hot and humid most days that each time I went from the air conditioned room to the deck, my glasses fogged up.
By now, a canal pilot is on board to steer us through. Lines of buoys (green on on side, red on the other) and about four tug boats guide us up to the first lock. The old canal, opened in the 20's, has three locks up to the man-made fresh-water lake and three back down to the Caribbean. 
Cables are attached to locomotives on each side in order to prevent us from hitting the side of the canal. From our room, I could see the dungeonesque stone walls two feet from my porthole. As the lock filled, I watched the blocks pass like the window of an elevator.

The design of the double doors is cool, dating to the time of DaVinci. These have been working flawlessly for a hundred years.
Two ships going the same direction pass through at the same time. We tailed a huge container ship all the way to the lake. If you look in the upper left-hand corner, You'll see a ship on the recently opened NEW Panama Canal, built by the Panamanians. It opened late and already there have been problems. Because of a cement company strike, the different layers don't match and leak.

From our deck, you can see the three drainage ponds for the new locks next-door. It looks much more modern. Rumor has it that the Chinese are building another canal in the Guatemala region.

I included this photo to show the trains. Also, from the observation decks on the right of the third lock, people on the shore take photos of us taking photos of them.

On the other side, we see another bridge. The terracing on the mountain side from explosives was cool. The jungle has already covered it. The lake was huge and placid. Not a lot of private craft, though, for our security as much as theirs. A previous cruise ship once went off course and took out their yacht club.

The other side, we follow the same step in reverse, with the cargo ship on the opposite side. The pool belongs to the crew until the Wonder's refit is done at the end of this cruise.

See how huge the doors are.

In some places, local car traffic crosses when they're closed.

Afterward, we had a Pixar party. Sully was an awesome dancer, but the giant French rats were a little scary.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Cruise thru the Panama Canal: part 1, the West

This year, we took a two week Disney cruise through the Panama canal. The kids missed four days of school, but they did most of the homework in advance over the summer. We flew into San Diego the night before and stayed at the Wyndham Bayside, literally across the street from the dock.
Dinner was a delicious visit to the Cheesecake Factory. When we booked the hotel through Priceline, it was supposed have breakfast but they wanted to charge an absurd amount for it. Since we could start eating as soon as we boarded at 11:30, we went with a quick snack from a local 7-11. This also provided an excuse to by 20 oz pop bottles for later use on excursions. The local Fox news station was covering the opening of cruising season and interviewed our friends, the Bleesses,

On the ship, my teenage son Pierce disappeared almost immediately. We occasionally spotted him by the ice cream machine on deck 9. My daughter became a pin-trading ninja and scavenger hunt pro. My wife started crocheting a "hippie" wrap during the sea days. I discovered the Marvel movie channel on the TV and outlined the next story in my series The Quantum Chronicles.

We've been on the Magic about 5 times, but this was our first time on the Wonder, We didn't see any real difference until dinner, where we met Ariel for the first time on a cruise in front of Triton's restaurant. Our only regret was that special orders of creme brulee dessert came in sets of four, We were repeated reminded of the YouTube video entitled "First World Problems."
Tammy made our shirts on her embroidery sewing machine.

The entertainment was interesting. Tammy and I both got to participate Shawn Farquhar's magic shows. I got to meet author Ridley Pearson several times and attend a writing seminars. The most popular lectures, though. were by Captain Ken Puckett, a retired canal pilot. He related several personal anecdotes over lunch and pina colada flavored ice cream.

In Cabo San Lucas (a cape) we were tendered in to shore. The cliffs we gorgeous. We saw lots of fish, but we'd missed whale season. The local Diamonds International offered free cab rides into town and impressed our women with their tanzanite. Pierce asked for the WiFi password immediately, and I found the husband chairs. Tammy has a black belt in haggling and made some of the vendor cry. We walked back to the docks in the tropical heat, about 90 degrees. Minnesota was 65 when we left. Thankfully we had brought our refillable pop bottles.

Puerto Vallarta was more scenic, but had 95 percent humidity, Pelicans were everywhere. At the jewelry store that gave us a free taxi ride, Pierce found a push-button combination safe that contained a gem that was yours if you guessed the combo. He had tried about ten before the clerk told him one guess per adult customer. Emily found some free breakfast lemonade that turned out to be tequila. The road work outside was being done manually by men with cobblestones, sand, and rakes. My favorite landmark was the mythical sea nymph sculpture that the birds liked to perch on.

Tammy got all eight of us back to the docks at a bargain rate of $24. Pierce finally showed interest in his surroundings when Tammy spotted a glassblower making dragons in his shop.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Emily's County Fair Photos

My daughter, Emily, takes photos all year to have good ones to enter the 4H photography contest at the fair each. She's definitely evolving. Last year, she took about 200 shots, and this year she took over 1100--that's without a family vacation. Then she had to winnow them down to only five. Here were her final choices.

The first was a rainbow she spotted in a spiderweb after a rainstorm.
The second we refer to as squirrel-zilla, a hungry guy who likes to eat peanuts out of the bird feeder.
This is a spring day in Minnesota, gazing over the deck toward our pond--birches and a pine.
Out of a ton of birds and butterflies, she picked this peacock,
The last one was the hardest. In the past, she always included photos of our cats. This time, she opted for a closeup of a flower.