Saturday, October 21, 2017

Mostly Books

Today I'll be at Mostly Books in Tucson  from 3-5 pm.  If you're in the neighborhood, stop by and say hello. The store is just down from Bookmans at  6208 E. Speedway.  By the way, they have Halloween cards if you haven't gotten your yet.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Spooky Stories, part 2

Here are some more books for Halloween.  Let's start with one that's in many reprints, Edgar Allen Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart." A classic.

Ghost Hunting Critters. This is an unusual anthology edited by J. A. Campbell.  It's about ghosts but told from the viewpoint of animals--really.  She's a master at this type of story. I found it to be kind of a mixed bag with some good and some not-so-good. If you like stories with animals in them, this is for you.








Similar to the previous one. The difference here is it's all J. A. Campbell. Remember, I said she's very good at this type of story. Brown: Ghost Hunting Dog is set in the Old West era. She goes around with her person and exorcises ghosts from saloons and such. It's actually a lot of fun. Very good one to read if you have kids [but not really young ones].







The Brotherhood is my vampire novel. It's about a group of monks who happen to be vampires. And it's got good vampires and bad vampires and some really nasty alchemists. It's kind of an epic story, spanning 2000 years from biblical times to the modern era.









Ronald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories.  Ghost stories just seem right for Halloween and this is a nice collection of them.












If you like Zombies, this is the place.  A large collection of all kinds of zombie stories.  A funny thing about this book. The editor actually wrote me to get reprint permission for a story. Thing is, it's a story by the other David Riley--the one who lives in England. I wrote back and explained there are two of us and that's why I always use the middle initial of B. They sent me a free copy. It's a good book.






Haunted Nights is a brand new anthology of 16 stories about Halloween by my fellow HWA members.







Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Spooky Stories, part 1

Hey, I'm an active voting member of the Horror Writers Association, as hard as that may be to believe.  I know a thing or two about horror literature. I really do.  Halloween is coming up fast. Want some stories to sit around and read with the lights down low? Try these. More book suggestion tomorrow.

The Dead Ride Fast, an Ebook from Jackson Kuhl.  Buy it for "Realgar." It's a really creepy story.











I'm the editor of Heat of the Midday Sun.. There's some good stuff here. The story that will keep you up is J.A.Campbell;s "Serpent's Rest."










Gunslingers and Ghost Stories,  I'm the editor. This is the best selling book I've edited.  All ghost stories set in the Old West.










The Astronomer's Crypt by David Lee Summers.  A very unusual location with a creepy story set at an observatory.











Mine again. Don't buy it for my story. Buy it for my co-author Laura Givens' story. "Chin Song Ping and the Long, Long Night" has some good first rate dark fantasy including some hungry ghosts.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

E Books

Like Ebooks? Some of my books are on Kobo and Kindle.  Actually, a lot of my stuff is on Kindle and some of my stuff is on Kobo.  There's all sorts of digital platforms that have come and gone. These two seem to be all that really matter. I've hardly ever had a sale on any other venue.  I used to sell a few things on Nook, but those sales are a distant memory.  

Monday, October 16, 2017

Pancakes

Ever wake up in the middle of the night wanting pancakes?  I did yesterday.  It's nearly a half hour drive to IHOP and or Denny's.  I ordered some blueberry pancakes.  And ate them at IHOP. I didn't go to Denny's. Then I drove home. If I'd had pancakes mix I could've fixed some and not had to drive across town.

Then I went to the store later in the day. They don't have frozen blueberry pancakes. They just have regular pancakes. I hadn't noticed this change in the cosmic order. The store guy confirmed they don't make blueberry pancakes anymore. Further proof the world is coming to an end. At least IHOP still sells them.



Saturday, October 14, 2017

Envelopes

I was at the store yesterday. I needed some envelopes--the regular business envelope.  I started to put a box in my cart, then noticed they wanted two bucks for them. I put them back. On my way home I stopped by the dollar store. The same envelopes were available for a dollar.  I was so pleased I saved a dollar on my box of envelopes.  Counting the extra time of going to the dollar store, it was not really that great a  bargain. Still, I'd saved a dollar and I was happy.  


Orville Who?

I rarely do reviews.  There's this show called The Orville.  The concept of some bumbling commander flying around the cosmos with his ex wife and the dumbest moron in the galaxy for a helmsman seemed like a looser out the gate.  Add to that some very tired story lines that have been done to death. And, strangely, I like it.  It seems like everything is wrong with this show. Nonetheless, I find it oddly entertaining.  And I can't really explain why. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Halloween Tree

I sure wish minions pf people would order copies of Legends of the Dragon Cowboys to put under their Halloween tree?  You do have a Halloween tree to exchange presents don't you?  Where does the Great Pumpkin put them if you don't have a Halloween tree?  

They say Halloween is now the second biggest holiday in terms of money spent, second only to Christmas. I believe it. Around Tucson people really decorate their homes and have all levels of parties and merrymaking. Now order the books so you can place them in the Halloween stockings. Get to it.



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Halloween Haunts

As I've previously mentioned, my listing for the HWA's Halloween Haunts is today.  Just click on the link.  Each entry requires you to click on the title to get the full text. Or are you afraid? Haunted hotels your thing then click below for a true ghost story that happened to me on Halloween.

http://horror.org/says-can-ban-halloween-david-b-riley/




Monday, October 9, 2017

The Trump of His Day

When I was in the fifth grade or so, our teacher gave us some sort of assignment about Columbus.Day.  Well, I'd read about this guy--and not just in the sanitized textbooks full of questionable facts provided by the school.  And I turned in my little paper about the accomplishments of Christo Columbo. She marked that up even though that was his name. It was not COLUMBUS and his first name was not CHRISTOPHER.  A man who was such an inept mariner that he thought he was in India--wrong continent pal.

I went on to point out his own men mutinied and locked him up on his third voyage because he was such an inept commander.  Oh, and I also pointed out he never set foot on the mainland of America, North or South.  So, how on earth could he be credited with discovering it?

Then I pointed out the Vikings had been to North America 600 years earlier. If anyone had discovered the place, it was Lief Erikson, not Columbo.  

Well, there was red ink everywhere.  I think I got an F on it. My first F ever.  I always got mostly A's in school back then. And I was right. What I had written was the truth. Yet the Donald Trump of his day got a holiday named after him and I got an F.  Thing is, I knew I'd be blasted and did it anyway.

Needless to say, Columbo Day is still not my favorite holiday. 

I always wondered if he was banging Queen Isabella. I can't think of any other reason why she would have backed this loser. Love is blind, they say.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Potables

My brother made me a few bottles of Martian Red Wine to take to Mile Hi Con later this month.  That was nice enough of him.  We'll toast or curse his winemaking ability in due course. This all started because I wanted Martian Red Ale, which is what Sarah Meadows drinks in Bonded Agent.  I couldn't find anyone who would make any for me and I don't know how to make beer.  Then my brother, who makes wine, offered to make me a little Martian Red Wine.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Legends of the Dragon Cowboys

Authors David B. Riley and Laura Givens have combined two novellas into one book.  “We wanted it to be like the old Ace Doubles that used to double up two stories. We both like the size of novellas, but they’re tough to get published on their own–too big as a short story and two small for a regular novel,” said Riley. The book is published by Hadrosaur Productions of New Mexico.

In “The Venerable Travels of Ling Fung” by David B. Riley, a wandering businessman encounters a Mayan god, crooked enterprises and Yeti, the Abominable Snowman, when all he really wants is to open a gun store.  Ling Fung is not any ordinary Chinese entrepreneur–he’s highly skilled in Kung Fu and he can shoot good, too. While his heart is set on business, providence seems to have other plans for him.

Laura Givens brings wily acrobat Chin Song Ping to the Wild West in search of adventure and fortune. He finds little fortune, but plenty of adventure. Chin Song Ping is a scoundrel, a gambler and a trouble magnet. His heart of gold lands him in schemes to outwit would-be gods, cannibal ghosts, insane robots, Voodoo despots and the ultimate evil--bureaucrats.  But he is a romantic, and the love of his life is the true treasure he seeks. The odds are always against him but if he survives he will become the Western legend he always was in his own mind.

The Wild West just got a lot wilder!


Genre: fantasy, weird western.

The book is available in trade paperback and ebook formats through most booksellers.
Print $ 12.95 Ebook $3.95
:ISBN: 1-885093-83-7


Thursday, October 5, 2017

He's A Moron

He's A Moron. When I say it nobody cares.  When the Secretary of State says it it's a big deal.  And that's okay.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Book Stuff

Putting out a new book really soon now. When you bring out a book certain decisions have to be made.  In consultation with my co-author and the publisher we decided not to bother to get quotes and just go with a description of the book. Quotes can be something of a pain. They can also tie up production sitting around waiting for someone to read the darned book and provide said quote.  

Still, here are some quotes I'd love to see:


Better than most books that I didn't read.

I liked it real good. Where's my Twenty bucks?

If I'd actually read this book I'm sure I would've liked it.

The babe on the cover is hot.  

It would be better if there was a babe on the cover, a really hot one. Otherwise it's okay.

I liked the babe on the cover, then I was informed that's a dude so I don't like it anymore.

It looks like Chinamen on the cover. What kind of commie crap is this?

My dog could write better than this crap. In fact, he says they stole his idea.

This is the sort of thing we publish in hell.   -Nick M., The Devil.






Monday, October 2, 2017

Books

I went with my father to buy books last week.  He likes westerns.  He can trade in the old ones and get more of them at one of the used book stores.  I guess it keeps him off the streets.  What I noticed though, was this bookstore had customers and seemed to be a viable business. Yet, gone are the chain bookstores.  Well, they say they still  exist but I never see them anywhere.  I don't know why.

At the same store, I have a few of my books on their shelves.  They don't sell well.  But they do sell every now and then. I seriously doubt my father realizes I have books that I've written for sale in that same book store. He's never shown much interest in my writing and I'm sure it's never occurred to him that I have books in there.  My books are not westerns.  

Well, people read what hey want.  They had some cute birthday cards, too. My brother has a birthday coming up. I suggested he buy a card. He wouldn't do it. Then we left.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Halloween Haunts

Every October the Horror Writers Association has its Halloween Haunts event.  Every day at least one member is featured and posts an article, essay or story on writing or Halloween. Most write about Halloween. The neat thing about this event is that it's free. Oh, and you can win prizes, too. Many members give away stuff from books to audio books, or even signed stuff.  AND it's all free.  And you can enjoy some really good takes on Halloween by some of the best writers in the business. 

My entry is scheduled for October 10th this year.  But I hope people will view it daily.  It's a good deal and it doesn't cost a thing. So, tell your friends.

Friday, September 29, 2017

kar repairs

It took all day yesterday to get my car fixed. Wait, didn't I just get it recalled earlier? Yep, but that was my other car. Backup car needed new belts and it took forever. Hopefully I'm good for a bit.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

mirror, mirror...

As I mentioned before, my car went into the Ford dealer yesterday for its third recall.  They did the work and gave me back my car right on time.  Then I discovered the mechanic had reset my mirrors.  I don't see why my mirrors had to be changed to drive my car 20 feet into the service bay. It takes me hours to get my mirrors back--yes hours.  I'm real picky about my mirrors. Not happy about this at all.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Old People

If you're bored some day, go to an apartment complex or other senior housing place dominated by seniors and hang out by the mail box [for incoming mail]. It is astonishing how long it takes them to get their mail out of their mail boxes. Simply astonishing.

Then go to a post office with curbside boxes for outgoing mail. That;s a show. A lot of these people are barely able to mail a letter.  If I get like that I hope someone shoots me.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

recall

Of I go to the Ford dealer.  Third recall of my car. Nice way to kill a day.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

gridlock

In Tucson you know summer is gone and fall is here. Not because it's below 100 degrees--no siree.  Because the traffic turns to gridlock.  They say a lot snowbirds won't show until November, I notice a huge increase in automobiles clogging the roads right now.  

Saturday, September 23, 2017

I don't like them

I bought stamps yesterday.  Can't say that I liked any of the ones I was offered. I'd heard they were trying to unload the jack-o-lantern stamps from last year. No such luck. I ended up with some Disney stamps. I don't like them.  


Stamps I'd like to see

Great Barbarians series
Attila-the-Hun, Genghis Khan

Great outlaws:
Seth Wilmouth [a distant cousin, robbed a few trains in Missouri]
Clyde Barrow
Bonnie Parker
John Dillinger


Evan Rachel Wood
[she's not even dead, yet. Dang, she's hot looking. I'd buy them]



Haunted Hotels
The Stanley
Hotel Jerome
Hotel Coronado


Note to post office:
one side a card of stamps, other side a scratch off lottery ticket.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Book Signing

Well, I'll be at a book signing this Sunday. Haven't done one in a while.  I gather they have a ton of local authors of all flavors there and it's something of a madhouse.  That doesn't sound too bad. Sure beats sitting in the back of a store on a flimsy card table in Grand Junction, Colorado. That was my first book signing. People would alter their routes in the store to avoid coming near me. It was simply awful. At least this one will have people there.  If anyone is interested it's this sunday at Bookmans NW in Marana.  

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Anticipation

Had various communications with the publisher about my new novella project.  Just routine matters like whether there's going to be an about the author page and a few housekeeping matters.  I'm looking forward to seeing it.  One thing I noticed in my bio is I've written over 100 short stories. Actually, I crossed that milestone quite a few years ago.  I've shifted to longer works and I've done more editing, but my output is way down. I used to really crank out stories--not so much these days.  Of course there used to be a whole lot of magazines that published regularly. Not so any more.  The number of markets, mostly anthologies, has really shrunk. There are just not as many places to send short fiction to. 

I digress, "The Venerable Travels of Ling Fung" is a novella, that's a short novel in author speak, is a story about some of Ling Fung's adventures in America and a little bit about some things he did in China.  He's not the first Chinese character I've used.  In my Miles O'Malley novels, Miles' friend Wing Ding also tries to make it in America.  But, thus far, Miles and Ling Fung have not crossed paths.  Although a mutual villain, Ah Puch, appears in both stories.  Ah Puch is a Mayan god of death who's decided he likes 1880s California and wants to rule it for himself.  Both Miles and Ling Fung end up, reluctantly, taking him on. 

In the Two Devils [now reprinted in The Devil Draws Two]  Miles goes after Ah Puch and meets some interesting people along the way.  One of them is a very sexy fallen angel named Mabel. Mabel, I just love her. I've never seen a character like her. She lives in hell and comes along now and then to entertain herself with Miles. I rarely talk about her and she's not mentioned in reviews because she's kind of back story.  Described as a stunning redhead, she can pretty much charm poor Miles into doing whatever she wants.  And Miles knows she's manipulating him and doesn't care.  He's a guy. Still, Mabel never really hurts him and is becoming a more irresistible character on her own. I've been writing some stories about her as a much more expanded character.  If I can find some markets, my readers [both of you] may soon see more Mabel in action.

To counter Mabel, I also have Buffy.  While Mabel may seem like an 1800s name, Buffy may not. Buffy is a real angel. She lives in heaven and is not a fallen angel, but the real deal. She also likes Miles, although would never have physical relations with a mortal the way Mabel shamelessly does. So, this is a little different type of weird western and even I don't know how it's going to turn out. But the Mabel stories are turning into a lot of fun. I know weird westerns don't generate the sales other types of speculative fiction do, but they sure are fun. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tree of Death

We had some really bad winds about a month ago.  Many of my neighbors had serious roof damage. I lost one of my beloved ash trees that I planted earlier this year.  The storm snapped the trunk. No way to fix it. I chopped the broken part up and disposed of it.  Now the bottom two feet of the trunk, which I left alone for some odd reason, is blooming out. Looks like I may have an ash bush of some kind.

It's been a hard summer, ferocious winds and very limited rain. Oh, and much hotter that it should be for mid September. It's amazing my other trees survived.

Monday, September 18, 2017

It ain't Xmas

Okay, so one of the local dollar stores is putting up Christmas decorations. Apparently, we're not going past Halloween and Thanksgiving and direct from Labor Day to Christmas. It's ridiculous. Look out 4th of July--you're next.  Make this madness stop.  

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Get ready for Halloween

Get ready for Halloween.  It's coming up fast.  Have little Suzie or Johnie go as insurance salesmen. All they need is a second hand suit from a  thrift store and a small briefcase. People are terrified of insurance salesmen. It'll be great.  And don't forget your dog. As I've mentioned before, they LOVe getting dressed up in costume and going around to visit the neighbors.  They also like the extra treats.

Also, put electric lights in your jack-o-lantern.  It works way better than candles.  Oh, and drink some hard cider. We always had apple cider when i was a kid, but it was that sweet crap from the store. Give me some hard cider please and drunk kids will be just more memorable.

More ideas later. Get started on these.



Friday, September 15, 2017

Gates of Hell

I live in a gated community.  That means there's a gate out front to keep me safe. Hah!  It's like trying to stop a flood with a spaghetti strainer.  Yesterday I came back from a meeting and it was around midnight.  Well, the blasted gate would not open.  I tried my key and nothing.  I called myself on the call box. Since it goes to my cell phone, in theory if I call myself I can press 9 and it'll open/  No can do. Well, I sat there and eventually someone else showed up. Her key worked fine. The gate opened and I went home.  

There's no reason for this.  According to property management, the gate is functioning fine and my key is good.  "I must've done something wrong."  Yep, it's always my fault.  At least I didn't have to leave my car out on the highway all night.  We'll see what happens tonight.  

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sound of Music

I don't know what it means should someone  ask for an  E flat. I took piano lessons for two years, starting in third grade. I did not have interest in piano. My grandmother decided I needed music in my life. I hated that damned piano. I never had any interest in it   And when I finished taking lessons, my brain purged itself of all music terminology,  Now I don't know nothing.

It's been a long time since I was in the third grade taking piano lessons.  I note it as there's a recital this weekend just down the street from me.  Some poor kids have to go and play music they couldn't care less about so mommy and daddy can put on their good clothes and come and watch. poor little bastards.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Dark N Stormy

Well, the climate change hoax sure showed Florida.  Florida grows a lot of crops. This can't be good for food prices.  I'll bet they manage to keep gas prices jacked up the refineries in Texas are all up and running.  

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Bonded Agent

I sure wish a million or so people would buy my science fiction novel, Bonded Agent  You can order it from these places called bookstores and/or from mighty Amazon.com

Now I know that few people will do something just because I said to.  Still, it's actually a good book. The problem with it is the main protagonist.  She's a Martian citizen who works for an insurance company. Ew insurance.  It's true.  Yet it's really a military SF story.  But back to Sarah.  Sarah Meadows turns out to be a genius at military tactics.  She's so good at it, the emperor of  this reptilian race hires her to fight his war against Earth.  Uh oh.  Fight Earth? Yep. As I said, she is a citizen of Mars. Earth is at war with a reptilian race. And the lizard men are sick of being pushed around by a very militaristic Earth. War has broken out and Sarah joins the lizard men.  

Thing is, the typical male science fiction reader seems to prefer that white dude from Earth to be the hero.  There is no white dude from Earth in this book.  There's a strawberry blond chick from Mars. Female readers like this story a lot more than guys do. At least, that's the feedback I've gotten.  Now Sarah's not perfect.  She is a little too fond of Martian Red Ale. And, in one scene, she actually kisses a boy.  Pretty risque stuff, eh. 

So, dear reader, get a couple million of your friends to buy this book in print or ebook formats.  I need motivation to write a sequel. I need more readers who crave Sarah Meadows' return.  We left her, with the war over, unemployed at a bar in Dry Gulch, Mars.  That's no place for Sarah.

Friday, September 8, 2017

What's In a Name?

Call me old fashioned, but when I grew up hurricanes were female. They always had female names. I wasn't happy when they changed that practice.  There are some things where tradition isn't so bad. Heck, my cousin was named for hurricane Carla because she was born during the famed storm that blasted Galveston, Texas back in 1961.. Harvey? That's not a storm name. 

I detest naming ships for living people. We've got the John McCain, the George HW Bush and who knows what else out there. And I don't like them being named for boys, either. A ship, since ancient times, has been referred to as a she. They are the feminine, so naming them after a dude is doubly bad.

Well, I don't think anyone cares about my opinion, but I lay it out there just the same. This blog is called Rants & Raves and I'm ranting.   So many blogs and web pages are just I'm the great writer buy my books. Not me. It's no fun for me to do a blog like that. This thing is really the column I never had.  Back in the good old days writers had columns in newspapers and magazines and people paid them. 

Now, if the navy wanted to name a ship the David B. Riley, well ...

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Entertainment

Ya know, the movies have sound now and people actually talk. I haven't actually been to a movie in about a year. I watch them on Netflix, but don't go to first run movies because they're expensive and they never seem to have anything I'm particularly interested in.  Locally we have:

Home Again--a very tired idea.

Hallo Hombre - no idea

All Saints - haven't a clue

IT 2017 -- must be some kind of sequel

Dunkirk -- I almost considered going to it.

I think I'll stay home-- That's not a  movie. I mean it, I think I'll stay home. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Back From the Grave

A lot can happen in a year.  Science Fiction Trails 12 came back from the grave.  All the contributor copies and author payments are done. That's it until next year. The darn thing is an annual.  J.A. Campbell wrote a fun story that's a different take on Red Riding Hood and a Werewolf version of the wolf. Oh, but this is Science Fiction Trails. Where's the science fiction?  It's got little green men from Mars as well.  

It's also got a reprint story from the late Aaron B. Larson. Alas, few people probably remember Aaron or knew him in the fist place.  He was an outstanding writer and I wanted to bring back one of his stories.  

Monday, September 4, 2017

Home Despot

I found out in conversation the other day that our millennial generation don't know nothing. I was having breakfast at a local diner and some of the staff were arguing about an odd topic.  They couldn't agree why we [USA] import so much stuff from a country like  Korea that threatens us constantly.

Finally, I'd had enough. "Listen, we import nothing from there. There are two Koreas. We import all the tires and cars and stuff from South Korea.  North Korea is the country that wants to kill us.

"No," the ignorant waitress said.

"Check please," said I

Yep, the future of our country is in good hands.  I think I need a cave to move to,


Getting together

Happy Labor Day! I guess. I don't really like this holiday.  I tend to view holidays as a nuisance. I guess it's because I worked in the hotel business for so long and always had to work on holidays. Can't enjoy them if you're working.  This year I'm not doing anything.  A few family members are gathering at my brother's house for a cookout.  Nothing fancy. And that's about it.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Labouring

Where'd summer go? It just got here. I'd swear it just got here.  And I've got so many projects I'm working on, no rest for the weary.  I hate three day weekends.  It's too crowded to go anywhere. No mail delivery. I don't like them at all.  But if you're off, have a nice holiday. Spend it reading some of my stories.   I really could use a couple million more people to buy my books. That's just a tiny percentage of the global population.  

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Sneak Peak

I can offer a sneak peak at my new novella.  The book is called Legends of the Dragon Cowboys.  I team up with Laura Givens and we each contribute a novella to the book. So, two stories in one book. It's meant to be in the tradition of the Ace Doubles where you had two back-to-back books so both covers looked like a  front cover.  But that was not possible to set up in the age of digital books and bar codes on covers.  Laura's story is "Chin Song Ping and the Long, Long Night." My contribution is "The Venerable Travels of Ling Fung."  They're both Weird Westerns set in the 1800s.  I'll have more information when the book is released.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Oh No!

When I hear someone else is writing about me I get uneasy. This time, it's good. In fact, some amazingly nice comments about me, or really my writing, turned up on David Lee Summers Blog along with a really great bargain to buy a few of the remaining copies of my novel The Two Devils. Check it out.

https://davidleesummers.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Hot one

Boy howdy is it hot.

It's plenty hot to fry an egg on the sidewalk.  The thing is, I don't really like fried eggs. I prefer scrambled eggs. And the sidewalk flavorings, the dried dog piss and bits of people's shoes. Well it's not conducive to dining, at least not for me.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Science Fiction Trails 12



                                                                                                                                                                 Science Fiction Trails 12 is now available.  
Back from the grave! After a four year hiatus Science Fiction Trails returns. We're the home of the science fiction brand of weird western adventure.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Just in time for Halloween

Just in time for Halloween, J. A. Campbell has come out with an anthology of ghost stories your kids will love and so will you.  These stories are told from an animal point of view in the vein of her Brown, the Ghost Hunting Dog series.

















These ghosts don’t stand a chance...

From the beginning of time to the distant future, special animals of all species have answered the call to fight evil.

From dogs and cats to birds, horses, even dinosaurs, and one unusual fish, these spirited tales of ghost hunting adventures will thrill and delight readers.

Sam Knight, Laura Hargis, Carol Hightshoe, J. D. Harrison, Shoshanah Holl, Rebecca McFarland Kyle, Jessica Brawner, Jamie Ferguson, Dana Bell, Boom Baumgartner, J. L. Zenor, and J. A. Campbell have come together in this anthology to contribute to J. A. Campbell’s Brown, Ghost Hunting Dog universe.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Choo Choos

The new issue of Science Fiction Trails may be known as the choo choo issue.  Not only does it have a train on the cover, but a couple of the stories are train related as well.  Trains are a staple of the west.and of the western.  It was only after the transcontinental railroad was completed that we saw the massive expansion of the American west.  Sure some folks ventured around South America on ships and there were the families lumbering along on the Oregon Trail.  But it was the iron horse that really opened the floodgates of white people colonizing the west.  

Yet, those very rail lines now seldom carry human passengers and are exclusively devoted to the hauling of massive amounts of cargo. For years there have been bottlenecks in the rail system as the railroads struggle to keep up with the strain on their infrastructure.  

So, what's the next big thing in transportation going to be?  The SST was too costly and had serious pollution problems.  Tubes that allowed a new type of train to glide through a vacuum were promised in the golden age of science fiction, but never materialized.  And a Star Trek like transporter--well I haven't seen one open in my town yet.

And now we have self driving cars and aircraft on the near horizon.  Thanks, but I'd rather take the train.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

This ain't England

Cops in England and some southern states use flashing blue lights.  Every cop I've ever seen in Arizona had blue and RED flashing lights.  Wednesday night, as some of you know, I'm addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper, a strange vile liquid no one but me likes.  I didn't have any so I headed of to Safeway around 9 pm to get me some. To me, that's not that late. Due to road construction I went down Valencia as part of Kinney is closed off. [that doesn't mean much unless you know Tucson].  I'm buzzing along driving the speed limit. There's almost no traffic on the road.  As I passed by the Casino Del Sol, a dark colored car came up behind me.  On came flashing blue [and only blue] lights on the front grill area..  

This was odd.  I pulled over but immediately decided this was likely some fake cop playing games.
I readied by cell phone to call 911 with one hand and drew my 9mm out of the little console that people put tapes and stuff in with the other. Gotta love concealed carry in Arizona. Just flashing blues and heavily tinted windows. The car stopped off some distance  behind me.  I looked back.  I have a suspicion he was looking for a female and when he realized it was a dude he took off. And he took off at a high rate of speed. All I could get was a partial plate. and dark sedan. Not much use.  I don't know the true intent.  Could've been teenagers screwing around. Could've been far more malevolent. 

Well, I pulled into a nearby convenience store.  In a few minutes a deputy sheriff met me there. I was not much help, but at least they know about it.  And that was that. Didn't get any Dr. Pepper. Went back home.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Garbage From Outer Space

Today is garbage day.  Frankly, I can't figure out why I have so much garbage.  As usual my can is full.  In fact, I had yard trimmings I had no room for.  The only reason for so much trash must be space aliens.  Obviously, it's got to be difficult for them to arrange trash pickup service--no fixed address and probably don't have credit cards good around here.  I think they come by in the middle of the night and fill up my trash can.  It's the only reason i can think of for why I have so much trash every Wednesday.

What do they throw out? I don't know. I'm sure as hell not going through it.





Tuesday, August 22, 2017

dark skies

Well, the eclipse came and went.  I live too far south to get the full effect.  I was reminded of Mark Twain's story A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The hero gets out of a jam by threatening to  eat he sun, knowing an eclipse id due.  The local dullards go nuts when it comes to fruition and the sun vanishes.  They concede everything and the sun soon returns.  

Twain was fascinated by astronomical phenomena.  He came in on Halley's Comet and died upon its return.  Imagine what stories he could cook up now with so much more science discovered. Things like distant suns with planets, black holes, and Pluto, are just a few examples of stuff that had not been discovered in Twain's time.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Science Fiction Trails

Well, I've got the new issue of Science Fiction Trails just about ready.  It's even got little green men from Mars.  You can't go wrong with little green men.  I always liked putting issues together and came to miss it back when we stopped production.  Well, it's back and will go on sale next month.  And I've even lowered the price of it.






Sunday, August 20, 2017

Liberty?

I don't usually get political. I wrote an entry for today that ripped our president.  It disappeared. Poof!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Follow Up

My surgery is healing nicely. I've got a damn good doctor who knows how to do surgery.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Off to doctor

Going to the dermatologist today for follow up on my surgery.  I have struggled with tumors on my nose for the past few years.  It's been awful.  They're not malignant, but they've been growing nonetheless--making my nose slowly change shape and become more and more the nose of some sort of troll or something.  Children would simply stare at it.  And I couldn't get a doctor to help me.  I'd go from one dermatologist to plastic surgeon than a few more dermatologists and all of them kissed it off and refused to remove it.  Finally, the nightmare ended when I found a dermatologist who was willing to remove them. The surgery only took an hour and it only hurt for about a day.  And, I hope this is the last visit and I can mark this chapter in my life as over.  I am so happy. 




Thursday, August 17, 2017

Once Upon A Time

I've mentioned I have a book coming out soon.  I have not given much detail because I do not have a release date and don't want to get the cart before the horse. But I can offer up a bit of a teaser. Here's part of an interview with Laura Givens that will be in the new issue of Science Fiction Trails.


We caught up with artist and author, Laura Givens, and asked her about her role as author in a new book, Legends of the Dragon Cowboys.


SFT: What the heck is a Dragon Cowboy?
LG: In the Old West there weren't a lot of complimentary terms for Chinese who came to this country to help build the railroads and new lives for themselves.  Dragons imply a certain strength of character and self determination that I hope my character, Chin Song Ping, embodies.  The west was full of Chinese men and they weren't all former Shaolin priests, coolies and cooks.  As Pete Townshend of the Who once noted, “All the best cowboys have Chinese eyes."

SFT: What's your story about?
LG: My half of the book is composed of short stories about the improbable life and crazy times of Chin Song Ping.  They are strung together by the narrative device of having his grandson relate the stories to his comrades on the eve of their execution.  The stories are humorous, and adventurous and meant to keep the reader, as well as his fellow prisoners, engaged at an impossible time.

SFT:  So, two stories in one book? What kind of deal is that?
LG: The novelette length used to be a lot more common and is great for telling stories not padded out to a thousand pages like modern readers have come to expect.  Ace Books used to put out "Ace Doubles" where you flipped the book over and got a whole new book in the back.  Since getting a printer to go along with such a format might cause troubles, Chin Song Ping sits upside down on our cover as a show of respect for the tradition.

SFT: Why a Chinese character?
LB: Why not?  I grew up in white bread western Michigan but I lived for a decade in San Francisco and came to love the weird hybrid that is Chinese/American culture.  The only way to truly know a subject is to come at it from as many perspectives as possible.  I love Westerns and this is a perspective not seen often.

SFT: Any more planned adventures for Chin Song Ping?

LG: The next time Ping's grandson relates a new adventure I'll be sure to pass it along to Science Fiction Trails readers.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

corn dogs

Except for Weinerschnitzel, it's a rare fast food outlet that sells corn dogs.  I don't really know why we have to differ from that golden goodness, but the darned things are tough to find.  Yep, you can buy them at the store and cook them. But buying one ready to go is tough, excepting certain state fairs which sell them.  Since I rarely go to state fairs, that's an outlet that excludes me.  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Trees

I guess I'm obsessed with the trees I've planted.  I worry about them. We've had a tremendous amount of wind, so I've put poles out there to shore them up. I put plant stakes in the soil for extra nutrition. And I look at the weather forecast and wonder when they'll need to be watered. Yesterday Mother Nature took care of the watering for me with some serious rain.

Why I am so obsessed with my trees stems from the fact I've never had my own yard before.  I owned a home in Colorado for about 10 years, but that was a condo and it didn't have a yard. A year ago I bought my present home in Tucson and it's the first yard I've actually owned.  Add to that there were no trees in the yard and Tucson is really hot.  I wanted some shade. I have visions of relaxing in the shade sipping lemonade some day. But I can only live out this fantasy if my trees grow. They're not big enough now to provide shade. And that's why I try so hard to keep them going.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Thunder & Lightning

Well,  had more thunder and lightning last night. I don't think anybody had any trees come down.  A little milder storm this time.  The plants sure like the rain water.  

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Book Festival

So many cons and events wait until the last minute to let you know what, if anything, they want you to do.  That's why it's been a real pleasure to deal with the Tempe Festival of Books.  I've got an author invite for this one day book fair that's held Saturday, November 4th.  I've already got my schedule. They offered me a table to sell books from, but I decided to consign with Duncans Books instead. And I've already got my schedule. I'll be on a panel discussion about writing science fiction. For a one-day event, one panel isn't at all bad. I'll have plenty of time to talk to other participants and attend some of the other events they have planned. 

This event is being run by the Tempe Library.  They've been great about communicating and I'm really looking forward to it. If you live in the Phoenix  area, you might stop by. This doesn't look like it's anything close to the huge size of the Tucson Book Festival, which is simply huge.  But that may be a good thing. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ferocious mother nature

We've been getting very violent afternoon thunderstorms here in Tucson.  Last night, the grim reaper came for me--well, at least one of my trees.  The winds were so strong the ash tree, one of four I've planted in my yard, was down on the ground.  I put it back up, tied it to a pole for more support, and am hoping it's not going to die. This was a seven foot tall tree and I was hoping it was big enough to make it. Boy was I wrong.  My other trees show no sign of damage.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

19th century saucers

I have two presentations I used to give fairly often to any willing group of people. One was "Flying Saucers of the 19th Century." The other one was "The Great Airship of 1897."  I haven't given either one in some time.  The reason: hecklers.  People actually singled me out to disrupt my talks. It wasn't just a one time thing, but an obvious pattern. So, I tired of it and stopped talking.  Censorship in another form?  Well, I can't prove it.

In both presentations, there is solid evidence that there were aircraft flying around in the 1800s that should not have existed.  In particular, the Great Airship of 1896--1897 definitely was beyond the capabilities of balloons and other lighter than air craft as it had a powerful electric spotlight and an ability to travel at over 100 mph. This is well documented. And, most of the books and articles are wrong. I've explained why I think they're wrong. And I, unlike some others writing or speaking on this, don't have the answers to all of the questions. 

Glowing objects over Civil War battlefields. Yep. People don't want to hear it. It upsets their sensibilities.  The story of the airship is kept in obscurity. Historians and writers won't tough it.Yet thousands of people saw it. The State of California held legislative hearings on it.   And I was often not allowed to discuss this.  event.

In many ways, the 1800s cases are more straightforward than the muddle that is the post WW II time when people usually think UFOs showed up. Back then, there weren't other aircraft in the sky. Anything up there bigger than a bird did not belong. But, after being repeatedly disrupted I kind of gave up. I haven't proposed these topics now in about three years.  And I'm not likely to bring these up for an audience at a con or elsewhere anytime soon.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Chompin at the Bit

I've danced around talking about my new book project without saying much.  I've seen the cover. I like it. problem is I don't have a release date yet. And I don't have permission to show the cover. What I can is the book is in the spirit of the old Ace Doubles where they used to have one book, usually a novella, with a second book facing the other way. So both front and back cover were front covers so to speak.  Well, we thought in the era of digital publishing this was impractical. But that's way inspired us.  So, I wrote a novella called "The Venerable Travels of Ling Fung," which reprises my character Ah Puch.  And Laura Givens' story "Chin Song Ping and the Long, Long Night" takes up the other half of the book.  The overall title is Legends of the Dragon Cowboys.  One book, two stories.  

So, I've seen the cover. And it looks just like Ling Fung--at least how I envisioned him.  I don't know when I'll have release information or be allowed to show the cover.  I'm kind of excited about this release because I return to the weird western.  I'll go to my grave being thought of as a weird western guy.  Truth is, they actually only represent a small part of my cumulative output.  Last year I released a science fiction novel, Bonded Agent. I'm really happy to return to the weird western genre.  

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Weird Western Update

Yesterday I was working on the new issue of Science Fiction Trails.  I should call it the choo choo issue. I don't recall but two stories in the first eleven issues that had trains in them.  I've got that in this issue.  The train, or at least robbing the train, is a western staple.  It's almost as popular as robbing the town bank.  That's why I find it odd that train stories have been rare and bank robberies even rarer.  I just don't see many submissions using these storylines. Don't know why.  

Submissions were soft, overall, but that was not unexpected since the  thing has been off the market. Hopefully that'll change for the next issue.  It's hard to build any kind of synergy with an annual publication. Yet we've never sold enough copies or received enough stories to publish more often. In fact, there are no "new" writers in the new issue.  They're the same ones I've relied on in the past. That's fine, although I'd like to see new talent.  It is what it is, I guess.  Waiting for cover art. Issue 12 will be out in September.

Also on the weird western front, I return to weird westerns with Legends of the Dragon Cowboys. That's a book with two novella sized stories featuring Chinese heroes in the Old West.  I team up with Laura Givens. Her Ching Song Ping character is most entertaining..  

My story features a fairly new character called Ling Fung He made his debut in an anthology called Under A Dark Sign. He's back and taking on the Mayan God of Death, Ah Puch. For those who've read my Miles O'Malley stories, (all three of you, ha) Ah Puch is obsessed with converting California into his own personal country in 1880's America.  Ling Fung, both an expert marksman and Kung Fu practitioner finds himself reluctantly taking on this adversary.  He really is much more interested in setting up a gun store.  Americans love guns and he thinks selling them will be the ticket to his prosperity.  A release date is not set.  Things are progressing quickly and I've seen the cover. More info there as it develops.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

calls

I got a robo call from some place at 6 am this morning.  Why do these companies think I want their fraudulent car warranties or that I'm going to give to their bogus "police" organization?  And I just love getting woken up by these assholes who don't even know what time zones are. Not in a million years.  I'm about ready to go without a telephone at all.  The Do Not Call List a complete joke. These companies violate it with impunity and nothing happens to them. Memo to Congress: revise the law.  Violating the Do Not Call List needs to be a capital crime punishable by death.

Friday, August 4, 2017

robots from outer space


Forget foreign competition.  It's not the Chinese or the Mexicans that want your job. Nope, it's the robots.  They work all day and never even ask for a lunch break. And they don't even want a benefit plan. They're quietly taking over.  At my library you don't check books out from a librarian, it's a robot. My doctor doesn't have a receptionist.  You check in with a robot.  Type in your name and click a button and sit down and the medical assistant will come get you.  

Who needs cops writing tickets when a camera at the corner will do?  Heck, burglar alarms are being replaced with little cameras. Won't be long and they'll probably hook up tasers to them and not only alert the owner but capture the crooks as well. What's a burglar supposed to do? It's enough to make them go straight. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

thunder & lightning oh my

This time of year we get thunder storms in southern Arizona.  It's just a natural cycle.  Then we can go for months with little or no rain at all.  During these storms people sometimes get hit by lightning.  I guess one tends to discount or ignore getting struck by lightning as it is a rare event.  So, I was outside doing weed removal as the clouds darkened and the thunder started to roar. And I ignored it. Then a blast of lightning struck the ground less than a block away.  Damn.  It was reminiscent of Zeus in mythology picking someone off with his lightning bolts.  It shook me up at just how foolish I had been and that I should have given nature a little more respect. I went inside and stayed there.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

laser beams

Back in the days of the space program ordinary folks were introduced to laser beams. We didn't know what to do with them, but they seemed cool.  They revolutionized communications. Gone are wire telephone cables. Fiber optics carry laser beams at much more capacity. 

Earlier this week I got to benefit from them directly as I had surgery to remove a few tumors from my nose.  I was out of the surgery in less than an hour. In days of old I'd have had stitches and maybe even plastic surgery.  Now, just some minor bandages for a few days and that was pretty much it. Sure, it hurt a little for the first day, but the pain was minimal compared to what a scalpel and stitches would bring. 

My problem had been I had a tough time finding a doctor who would help me.  I finally found a dermatologist who was really into laser surgery. I don't know why other doctors were unwilling to do it. It was a piece of cake.  Like all surgeries, there are risks and it goes without saying that it's comforting to have a good, experienced surgeon.  But, once completed, what was warping the very shape of my nose and cutting off breathing in one nostril was gone. Poof. 

So, in science fiction, they shoot the bad guys with laser beams.  But, right now, they use them for surgery and it is truly amazing.   

Monday, July 31, 2017

edits

Well, the good news is i found a publisher for my novella.  The bad news is I found a publisher for my novella.  Now comes the agonizing process of editing and revision.  Part of the problem is you don't know what style book your editor is going to use, since you don't know who's publishing or editing your book--at least I didn't.  Ergo, where one style book may go to numerals after twenty, so you'd do 21 next. That's not universal.  This leaves me feeling like an idiot even though it's not really a big deal in the overall scheme of things.   Actually, I got off fairly easily.  So far, I haven't seen anything I can't live with in the way of edits.  I should point out this is a novella, about half the size of a typical novel.   I'll talk more on this once it's all done.  

Got a preview of the cover.  It looks good.  More to follow. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Bugs

Now that it's  a little cooler and we've gotten some rain, the bugs are out. In particular, crickets. That chirping they do is so incredibly annoying.  This year I unleashed outdoor bug spray right after the rain let up. And it seems to have worked. I can hear them on other lots nearby, buy not around my house.  It's so darned annoying. I don't know how long this will last.  Living in a hot climate, you've got to stay on top of bug problems.  We've got termites, flies, crickets, scorpions and roaches. Just take you pick.  

Friday, July 28, 2017

More on Surgery

Had surgery yesterday to remove some tumors from my nose.  Surgery hurts.  To avoid opioid  addiction, doctors are getting pretty stingy with pain killers.  I want morphine. I'm paying lots of money. Give me morphine.  The good news was my surgery was laser surgery and it only hurt for about half a day.  then the pain subsided and it was over.  

There's something about surgery, trusting one's life to somebody you just met.  But surgery can do a lot to improve life.  Back in Roman days there was a surgeon named Galen who was way ahead of his time. He was so skilled he even did things like remove cataracts.  He tended to cater to the nobility as they could pay cash and poor folks couldn't.  [And that looks like where we're heading with health care, but I digress[.  Anyway, Galen was it if you were sick back then.  A lot of doctors were actually Greek. But they were far more advanced than what came later.  A lot was lost to the plague, which I've written about before.  A Roman citizen could get surgery, with anaesthesia,  and John Adams daughter was given blood letting for her breast cancer in the 1700s.  Yes, it's my theory much of what brought on the dark ages was a direct result of the plague.  It was not lead water pipes and it was not the plague.  History books for schools are written by morons because they have to be approved by politicians in order to get purchased. 

Burned flesh has an odd smell.  I inhaled some of that fragrance while they were working on me.  

Thursday, July 27, 2017

knife

Having surgery today.  I'll provide more info later on.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Happy Birthday

Well, I got a nice birthday present in the form of a contract to publish a novella.  More about it as we get toward release date, which is a while off still.  Novellas, which run around 30,000 words, are a size I really enjoy writing, but they are a real bear to get published.  I have  done a few that I had to re-edit into short stories to get them published.  So, being able to get one published as envisioned by the author (hey, that's me) is really neat.  The story brings together my past character, Ah Puch, the Mayan god of death, with a newcomer to my stable, Ling Fung.  Like the Miles O'Malley books, it is mostly set in 1880's California.  Ah Puch is still trying to raise and equip an army to take over California. This time it's a mysterious Chinaman who decides to block his efforts.  Updates will be posted as they develop.  

Saturday, July 22, 2017

There But For

My neighborhood was hit hard by storms this week. Lots of trees came down.  Lots of folks without power. Lots of people with roof damage.  And me--nothing.  I didn't even lose power.  It kind of made me fee guilty.  But I actually just felt lucky. it could've easily been my house that took damage. And no one was hurt, as far as I know.  The tree guys have been sawing up the fallen trees and things almost look like nothing happened. The smashed up roofs--well that will take a little longer.  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Now they've done it

Well, I met the news that Jodie Whittaker will be the next Doctor on Doctor Who with a so-what attitude.  I went from just loving the show during the Matt Smith era to no longer watching it during the outgoing Peter Capaldi. I didn't stop watching it because of Capaldi. I actually liked his performance. It was more a total dislike for the preposterous and moronic storylines the show had descended to.

So, a woman doctor eh? I predict set in their ways fans will not take to her.  It had already been established that Time Lords can regenerate into different genders. The long-term villain The Master had already regenerated to a woman and changed the name from The Master to Missy.  

Is she going to have dudes travelling with her? I hope they keep the concept of hot babes in short skirts for travelling companions.  I still miss Amy Pond.  I also think the doctor should get a dog. [Not a robot dog like Tom Baker had--a real one.]

Anyone  have any thoughts?




Monday, July 17, 2017

A few thoughts on Cable TV Series

A few days ago I expressed dismay that Westworld got so many Emmy nominations.  I really did not think much of the show. HBO had a free view of one of their other shows, so I took a look at Game of Thrones.   I am probably the only person in the USA who has never watched it–not a single episode.  

Can’t beat free.  I watched about half an hour’s worth then turned it off.  I couldn’t take any more. It was absolutely awful.  I can’t sit through shows where I know what characters are going to do and say before they do it. I knew every word the actors were going to spew out of their mouths with no idea of the story background. I knew the wine was poisoned too, I’ve never seen an HBO produced program that I like.

Storm Central

A few days ago I was complaining about the heat and lack of any rain.  Well, we've been getting rain.  quite a bit of rain.  Sunday afternoon I was sitting in front of my computer when a violent blast of wind came along.   Only when I ventured outside did I see the scope of the damage. There were down trees everywhere.  Some of my neighbors car ports had been destroyed.  Thus far the weather service has not branded the storm a tornado.  Me thinks it was as the damage is too spread out for a micro burst. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Bugs

Had my annual termite inspection recently.  They're a real problem in this area.  The one last year, which was when I was buying the place, turned up the little bastards. A treatment ensued and I'm still here. It occurred to me one could get termites out in the wild and implant them underneath the homes of people one didn't like.  If they, like most folks, didn't get regular pest control, uh oh.  How do I think up stuff like this?

Friday, July 14, 2017

22 Emmy Nominations?

22 Emmy nominations?
It baffles me.  I think Westworld is a mediocre television series that doesn’t really accomplish anything.  Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys?  They’ve muddled that.  But they’re so obsessed with what it’s like to be an android one has but the barest glimpse of what it’s like to be a guest there.  I had a rough time watching some of the episodes as I dearly wanted to turn my TV off.  I guess they got so many nominations because so much of what’s on TV is such mindless crap. Just like this show.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

listen chumps

I wish Congress would stop playing games with health insurance.  The American people are way ahead of Congress.  They know what they want.  Stop behaving like robber barons for once and actually help people to get insurance. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

water everywhere

After months of no rain we got a really substantial rain last night.  It cooled things down and gave our plant friends a drink.

Monday, July 10, 2017

mountain lion?

This morning I found a track in my back yard that startled me.  I think it was a mountain lion.  There are tons of them in southern Arizona, but they usually stay up in the mountains.  It was a big cat.  You can tell a cat print from a bear or dog because cat's claws retract. This animal had a paw print the size of my hand.  It wasn't the kitty that lives with the elderly lady down the street.  Well, we've had no rain this year at all, six months with no measurable rain where I live. The airport had some in March but we didn't get any. With record heat and no water anywhere I guess it's on the move trying to find better digs. Our neighborhood borders a large park called Tucson Mountain Preserve.  The mountain part is a ways off, but there's plenty of desert. Maybe it wanted a dip in the pool.  Well, other than it surprised me, I'm not going to worry about it.  I've lived in national parks so I've lived around wild animals before. My view is if you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone. Sure wish I'd seen it.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

penny for your thoughts

There was a penny on the sidewalk yesterday, down by the mailboxes. It looked so pathetic lying there.  Well I picked it up. I put it in my coin jar. Soon, it'll be reunited with t=its coin buddies at Coinstar.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Hot Foot

Dogs have it rough in our current  heatwave. The pavement is so hot they can't walk. The pavement burns their feet.                                                                      


















































































                                                                                                                                     






















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Friday, July 7, 2017

Hell on Earth?

Generally, I don't mind the heat. Heck, after freezing my ass off in the mountains of Colorado for 14 years, a little warm air seemed nice. But damn! Every day is over 110 degrees.  My trees I planted to get some shade are in trouble. Their leaves look  burnt.  There's talk of rain and cooler weather in the next few days. I certainly hope so. I  do not want to lose my trees.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Weird Westerns on the Rise?

Weird Westerns have always been on the fringe of genre fiction.  But they’re not the ticket to obscurity they once were. It’s actually a hundred year old genre that’s very rich and diverse in its subject matter.  These stories are riding a new wave of popularity, not only with readers but authors as well.  Case in point, a new anthology:Straight Outta Tombstone.  Edited by David Boop, the book is packed with stories by major writers .  Alas, I’m not one of them. Although I know most of the contributors in the book, my story didn’t make it into the book.  I have nothing to gain or loose from the success of this book. I just note it’s out. And it’s a rarity in that so many Weird Western books are put out in the small press world. Boop has collected major authors and the book is put out by Baen, a major publisher.  I hope it does well as this sort of book, with it’s wide distribution, can reach a lot more readers.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Dr. What?

Over the years I've been an on-again off-again fan of Dr. Who.  Most recently, it's been mostly off.. I've found most of the episodes silly and preposterous.  That's why I was surprised at the season finale.  It was quite good.  They're on a massive ship stuck in the gravity well of a black hole. 


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Fireworks

Yesterday there was a fireworks display nearby.  It had to have come from somebody's house.  Thing is, it was the big fireworks that come in displays.  It can't possible by legal.  It was a nice show.  I personally quit setting off fireworks since all we have are the boring kind that don't explode==the  safe and sane, 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Don't Call Us, We'll Call You.

I was planning on being in Phoenix this weekend for Westercon 70.  That didn't pan out.  "You have an awesome background, we'll get back to you," in English means we want nothing to do with you. Being snubbed is not unusual, about 90% of the cons I've approached to participate with in some way have snubbed me.  They rarely communicate than they think I'm a worthless toad--they just ignore me.  That's what Westercon did.  That's the way it goes.  But I will not buy a ticket to places that treat me like that.  

Saves me transportation costs, I suppose.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Prowlers

Well, the neighborhood didn't hear from the prowlers last night. They say when it's 110 degrees crime drops off quite a bit. In fact, there's some study that shows a sharp drop off in crime after 92 degrees. I think you have to adjust it up a bit for the desert southwest.  We have a dry heat, as they say.  Does this mean global warming is bringing good things?  

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Disconcerted prowlers

My neighborhood was a little bit rattled in the wee hours of the morning yesterday as a number of houses reported someone prying on and knocking on windows around 1 am. I live one block from all the activity.  Our neighborhood is quiet, mostly older people and I really don't know why someone would find it that exciting to prowl around in the middle of the night.  I guess the local hooligans have little else to do.  

Friday, June 30, 2017

Informed?

Our friends at the US Postal Service have come up with a new service nobody wants. They call it Informed Deliver or something like that.  You get an email that shows [literally with a little picture] what mail you are going to get that day.   It seems to work fairly well. There are a  few restrictions: residential only, no  business  mail.  But it's free. You have to sign up at their web