A good New Years to you all.

Hey, all. First off, I’d like to wish all of you a good New Years, my friends in Australia are pretty close to 2022. Me? I still have one more full day in this benighted year.

But hey, at least I have a new violin, and I need to practice. A lot.

Below is how this thing sounds. An old song called “Faded Love,” performed imperfectly.

It’s OK, I guess, for not having practiced for twelve or thirteen years.

Hope in this new year to get a lot of playing in, pick up some new songs. Also hope to be able to play them pretty well, but we’ll see. I’m already looking forward to sitting out on my deck, the corn lush and green, and messing around with my fiddle. Heck, though, that’s seven months off into the future.

What am I doing now?

Well, besides drinking coffee.

In 2022 I’ll release the second installment of The Promised Land trilogy on my paid website, along with the second book in the Ohio Rifles series. I’m pretty excited about that. In addition, I should actually have at least one officially published launch, time unknown. Probably going to stick with Amazon’s KDP service, but I’m unsure about that as of right now. Also, of course, there is the matter of my collaborations with others. These are bearing fruit, and I’m pretty excited about this.

Dunno. At the moment it looks as if 22 is wide open with possibilities, but I don’t think I’m going to do the long-delayed Australia trip this upcoming. Too many variables in travel arrangements right now.

Besides that, not a whole lot going on.

Good luck to all of you this upcoming year, and may it be better than what we had.


The Fiddler

A pretty nice gift, this Christmas Eve. Our family’s tradition is to give out one, and mine happened to be the first new violin that I have ever owned. In fact, the newest one I’ve had was a school fiddle from the twenties, my other one, my G. Grandma’s, was made 1860-1880. Pretty old.

That’s a nice fiddle, that old one, but that’s the problem. I feel like it will snap in half every time I tune it, so I’ve wanted a new fiddle for a while. Well, my family got me one, a nice acoustic/electric model. It has a nice sound.

But that’s not really what I want to talk about. I’d like to talk about the guy who taught me how to play in the manner of these hills, a fella by the name of Clarence.

Clarence was an older gentleman with coke bottle glasses, his poor eyesight was a source of life-long frustration to him.

No, it wasn’t because he couldn’t see the music. He never read a sheet, anyway, he played strictly by ear, his foot always tapping.

Clarence was pissed because his eyesight kept him out of World War Two, he took that regret with him to the grave. He told me the story. When the 37th Infantry mustered for overseas deployment, Clarence volunteered and for a while he wore the uniform. Then the Army docs said his eyes were too bad, and they sent him home. He went back to work in the steel mill, and he eventually retired from there.

But in the meanwhile, the 37th slogged through the island-hopping campaigns in the Pacific, it was a very bad time. They ended their war in Luzon, 1945. Nothing but hard, bitter fighting in the worst of conditions for years on end.

Clarence didn’t miss much, in my opinion. But even fifty years later he was pretty sore about it.

He was one hell of a fiddler.

Let’s make one thing perfectly, crystal clear. I cannot play 1/1000th as well as Clarence. There was hardly a tune he didn’t know, and he could play all of them and their variations masterfully, all by ear, all without a single sheet of music. He was a borderline prodigy, and I feel privileged that I knew him.

With regret, I was never able to say goodbye.

During yet another deployment, he died. I came home and he was gone.

This encyclopedia of Appalachian music was closed for good, his knowledge and his collection of violins gone.

If I would have been a better student. If… I don’t know. If I could turn back the clock.

Well, at least I can still play “Shady Grove” the way he taught me. And I still remember him, the best fiddler I have ever known.

Since Afghanistan I have not been able to play. But over the past six months, despite other challenges, I have felt the old desire return. I guess that’s a good thing. And now I have this brand-new, pretty little red fiddle (the lighting makes it look yellow. It’s not).

Hopefully all of your holiday breaks are good, and you get a gift as nice as this one.

A holiday treat

And no, it’s not a pumpkin pie, although those are nice. No, the holiday treat will be over on patreon.com/jasonlambright on the 24th of December, in this fine year of 2021.

I’m a little behind schedule in officially launching book one of the Promised Land trilogy, but that’s OK for a number of reasons, chief among which is that the crucial editing process is still ongoing. I refuse to put a substandard product out there, so that’s cool. The Storyteller’s Heaven will simply have to wait for some point next year.

How is that a treat, you ask. Being denied a book? Some flipping treat.

Alright, here goes. On Christmas Eve the first rough draft chapter of STORY2 will drop on my site behind the paywall. The good little boys and girls, my acolytes, will have unrestricted access to the kickoff chapter as other mere mortals gather around a crooked tree for a sad little package with socks.

No, my peeps will be gifted with the rawest, newest sci-fi fiction out there, a book that is still in progress (in fact, I am well into Act II of the novel).

So, be advised. If you wanna, for a couple of bucks you can sign on and get an entire space opera novel, half of an alternate history, and the lead off to the bridge novel in my latest trilogy for three bucks. In addition, you get my thoughts and the occasional cri de coeur as I try to figure out this writer thing more or less in public.

It’s all behind the paywall, so stop by and check it out. I’d be glad to have ya aboard.


Stick a Fork in It…

…’Cause it’s done.

What am I talking about, and why did I bust out a photo of me doing some battlefield planning?

Easy. What I’m talking about is The Storyteller’s Heaven, my first published work since 2017. And I published that picture of me because we’re going to discuss some plans today.

Alright. It’s been kind of tough around here lately with all kids of life event fireballs that I’ve had to dodge, and I am hoping to get back into the swing of things pretty soon. A big deal, a major rock, is the final prep, edits and creation of the ebook file for TSH. I’ve never gone through the indie process before without some major handholding; to say that I’m a bit shy about the process would be an understatement.

However, stiff upper lip and all that. It is going to happen. It’s simple a matter of when, and what will be the final quality.

The “when” is hard to control, and the quality will be the best that I can afford. This. This is what I owe my readers. Good, clean, copy and not some worthless garbage that would be more at home in the bottom of a greasy dumpster behind the local chicken farm.

Therefore, I must plan.

At present, the plan for TSH is about ninety percent.

However, on patreon.com/jasonlambright you can view the entire novel now, if you’d like. As a bonus, there is also a good portion of my alt history series as well. If you sign up now, you’ll get my ebook gratis here shortly, and in the meanwhile there is plenty of material to read.

I believe some 104 odd posts by yours truly, and in each and every one of them you are free to comment and join the conversation.

In my old profession self-promotion was frowned upon, and I still have difficulty marketing anything.

So, in that spirit I’ll say it as I see it. The material is there. Feel free to unlock the door and climb aboard, I’ll be glad to have you join the ranks of the hardcore.

Let’s talk.


Amazon Fire Stick

BLUF: Gives your obsolete TVs an extra five years.

Amazon Fire Stick, where have you been all of my life?

I didn’t realize this was a question until I randomly saw a Black Friday ad a few days ago, and I beheld a product I didn’t know existed- a Borg Brain that takes over your dumb, non-smart TV and turns it into an edifice of streaming, YouTube gazing awesomeness.

Now, it’s probably the case that this product has existed forever and the more tech-savvy among us (Dirk, I know you’re out there) is probably shaking his/her head at my backwardness.

Let me tell you about the Fire Stick, and its awesomeness. Also, it would help if I gave you some background.

A while back I upgraded a few TVs around here to smart TVs, i.e. TVs that can stream without awkward interfaces. TVs that are easy to use with Netflix, Hulu, etc. I’ve been very satisfied with my new smart TVs, but it left me with a dilemma.

A couple of perfectly good TVs that were “dumb.” Well, I hate waste, but what was I to do with the older wall-mounted flatscreen in the guest room or the faithful Sony that had been replaced by its brilliant cousin, the smart Toshiba?

Stupid me, I found the Amazon Fire Stick, and it seemed as if it would transform my dumb TVs into smart ones for a mere twenty bucks.

I had my doubts. But what the heck, I figured, if this would work it would save me a fair bit of jack and extend the lives of some very good, but obsolete, TVs. So, I ordered a couple. In typical Amazon fashion they arrived right away. For a couple of days I let them sit, I feared that using them would be a nightmare of passwords and bulky, glitchy interfaces.

Well, I did it today.

The hijacking of my dumb TV was incredibly easy.

Lemme tell you how this worked.

First, turn on the old TV, then select HDMI whatever (the TV can’t be so old that it doesn’t have an HDMI port, although there are probably hacks for that, too).

This is the last time you will use the old remote.

As soon as you turn on the Fire Stick (which I jammed into the HDMI port and plugged into its independent power supply), the Borg Brain takes over your old TV, and it replaces the old remote, too. All of a sudden the ominous lopsided Amazon trademark appears on your screen, and all you have to do is enter your WiFi password, and then your Amazon PW (yes, you must have an account).

At a certain point, the updating Stick will have you change the volume on the old TV with the new, provided Amazon remote, and the assimilation is over.

The Amazon Borg Brain has taken over your faithful set and transformed it into something new and fearsome.

Want to watch Apple TV? Enter your PW and go for it. Feel like binging on the lives of the British royals? Put in your Netflix PW. Rinse, wash, repeat. And oh yes, I must mention that there’s a ton of free content as well.

The Amazon Fire Stick.

Who knew?

Breathe some life back into your old(er) set.