Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Retro

Well, it's time for the obligatory retrospective.  It's been a mixed year.  My personal life was uneventful.  Nothing really bad or great happened to me.  Did have some worsening pain in my shoulders. Went to a physical therapist and that helped a lot.  

My writing world didn't see any great accomplishment.  I did manage to get a nice book out called Legends of the Dragon Cowboys, which is two novellas set in the weird west.  But my short story placement was nil.  And Science Fiction Trails returned from the grave with issue 12.

Going forward I am editing a book of ghost stories right now.  I hope to get a few of my own stories placed somewhere. Lately, the market has wanted other things than what I really want to write.

I probably will attend three or four cons again in 2018 along with a book fair and maybe some reading somewhere. My schedule hasn't been confirmed yet.  I tend to be snubbed by cons for some reason. A lot of them want nothing to do with me. They'll pass me over in favor of some clod who self published two poems more often than not.  It used to bother me.  I used to think it was because I didn't belong to the major writing organizations associated with my genres. I joined HWA & SFWA and discovered that didn't make any difference--the cons still snubbed me. Even though I resent being snubbed, truth is I don't really like cons all that much.  Some people go to them nearly every weekend.  Frankly, I really don't have that much fun at most of them.  There's one con I sure would like to go to in March as it's just down the street from my house, but I  haven't heard from them yet. Anyway, my schedule will be posted here if and when things get firmed up.

And that's about all there is on this topic.  The readership of this blog has quadrupled over the course of the year. I'm not sure why, but glad all the same. So Happy New Year everybody and keep reading stuff.


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Postal Estados Unidos

Looks like the Donald is mad at the Postal Service. Join the club.  One to three day service for Priority Mail is usually about a week in my experience.  Meanwhile, Amazon gets special rates no one else can get and even gets their packages delivered on Sunday.  

But competitors UPS & Fedex charge a lot. Big companies get big discounts. The little guy who just ships a few packages has to pay a lot more.  So we go to the post office and stand in long lines and that's as good as it gets.  It's just like Donald's tax deal--all for the big corporations and the little guy gets fucked in the butt. Well, the Postal Service is a lot like that and you'd think Donald would be happy.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Fast Fuhd?

Went by a fast food place for lunch.  The one run by Ronald something or other, the clown that's not the clown at Jack-in-the-Box.  Wish I'd gone to the other clown.  What a bunch of clowns.  They've put these kiosks in the lobby but the employees pay no attention to your order.  You order a drink, but they will not bring it out to you.  Even  when you ask the employee why you didn't get it, they still won't give it to you. And "customizing" your sandwich is a pointless waste of time.  I didn't want a pickle and said so.  Got one anyway. The solution is to not go there anymore.  I didn't really want to go there, but after sitting at the car dealership for three hours whilst they  fixed my car, I was hungry and wanted some lunch. McD on Ajo & McKinney in Tucson, you are the worst McD in the whole blasted state of Arizona, me thinks. I haven't been to all of them and none of them are great, but this one really sucks.

McD overall is a far cry from the limited service limited menu restaurants they started as. And I can't say they've improved any. Far from it.  I always regret going to one of their stores. However, this particular store consistently is bad. If they had any competition they would not exist. There is nowhere else to go for many miles.  

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Let's Get Physical

For the past few years I've been suffering from shoulder pain.  Along about the beginning of  November my doctor sent me to physical therapy.  The therapists have been having me do various exercises.at the hospital twice a week.  It's been amazing. My range of motion has improved and the pain in my shoulders is gone.  These people really know what they're doing. I feel so much better and am so happy I found something that helped beside gobbling pain pills. Yesterday they discharged me from the program. They can't do anything else for me. I was given some exercises to keep doing at home every day which should help keep my shoulder functioning better. 

That is not to say I am cured. I suffer from two maladies. One is arthritis. Alas, my shoulder popping and all is not going away. The other problem was tendonitis where the tendons in my shoulder were messed up and hurting. This was where the therapy helped.  

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Greetings From the DMV

Apparently, according to the letter I got yesterday, my  car registration is suspended.  Why? It doesn't say.  It only says correspondence pending.  So I have no idea what the problem is. They went to the trouble to send me a notice but that notice doesn't tell me what the problem is or what I need to do to resolve it.  I've often imagined that Hell is something very similar to the Motor Vehicles Office.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Another Doctor

Well, the new Doctor Who has finally arrived.  I never took to the last one. It wasn't really his fault as I thought the story lines were simply awful. I quit watching the show.  So my expectations are low. After they regenerated The Master, The Doctor's arch nemesis, into a woman I wasn't all that surprised to see a female Doctor come along. 

I hope the Doctor gets a dog. I don't mean a mechanical one like Tom Baker had. I mean a golden retriever.  A dog can play fetch and go get help when the doctor falls in a well. .  It'll be great.  Maybe she won't fall in a well, but I kept wishing Capaldi (the outgoing Doctor) would have.  

Actually, she's a nice looking woman. I hope she wears short skirts. And I hope her travelling companion is another hot redhead like Amy Pond (yes, female).  I'd watch the show then. Yep, put the doctor in short skirts, hot female companion and a dog--preferably a golden retriever.  That would work for me.  Unfortunately, the BBC doesn't care what I think.  I wish they'd let me write some of the episodes, the ones where she puts on a skimpy bathing suit and so does her hot companion and they go fight the Daleks on the beach. That would be cool.

Is this kind of sexist? Probably.  But I know what I like and that's what I'd like to see with the show. It'll never happen.  W.C. Fields said never take a part opposite little kids or dogs--they'll upstage you every time.  The dog idea won't fly.  Maybe I can hope for short skirts though.


Monday, December 25, 2017

Feliz Navidad

Today is Christmas.  Go watch The Man Who Invented Christmas or download A Christmas Carol on Netflix or Amazon.   Go and get Dickenesed.  It's kind of the solution to everything all in one wonderful story. 

Oh, if you have a dog, be sure to give it a present. Most dogs can't read Christmas cards. But they sure like a new ball or chew toy.




Sunday, December 24, 2017

More on Snails

Well, the package I wrote about was finally delivered to Missouri.  It took six days.  They call it a two to three day service.  I'm glad it arrived but I'm not happy at how long it took.  The Postal Service  view is "It's a miracle it got there at all." Well, not really That's my view.  Their service is erratic but they don't seem to care and it's not guaranteed although, had they never delivered it, I guess it does come with automatic insurance up to fifty bucks.  I guess that's something.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Ghosts From Outer Space

Well, as I've mentioned before, I'm editing a haunted hotel anthology right now.  I've also mentioned writers rarely write to markets. Instead, they try and stick something they've written into an existing project. Well, that's what we're seeing so far. Surprisingly, we're getting a very light submission load. I think we'll be able to complete the book, but I'm amazed at how light the volume is compared to other projects I've edited and the fact the guidelines for this one were rather well distributed. Oh well, that's the nature of the beast. Some projects overflow with submissions while other ones go begging. We're not at the begging stage, just a little surprised by the lightness of the volume.  

I wanted to do a haunted hotel book as I've worked at two haunted hotels.  One had a somewhat playful entity that loved to stomp on the ceiling and also liked to ride around on elevators and scare children.  Then the other place had a darker more aggressive presence that I never quite understood. There, a mirror would appear in a hallway that looked like it was dripping blood--sending more than one night employee fleeing from the property and their job. I guess truth is really stranger than fiction.  It's a shame the ghosts can't submit their own stories based on what it is that makes them do ghost stuff. That would re-do the term ghost writer.

Well, they say you don't really believe in ghosts until you've encountered one.  I have. I do. And that may be why I'm more partial to ghost stories than other types of horror stories. 




Friday, December 22, 2017

Snails

They don't call it snail mail for nothing.  I sent a Priority Mail package to Missouri on Saturday. It's supposed to be a three day service. Humbug!  It's still not there. Thanks to the wonders of their tracking service I have no idea where it is. It was scanned for acceptance and hasn't been seen since. I'm sure some lazy clod tossed it in a bin at the back of the Tucson post office and there it still sits, no one making any effort to get it to its destination. The Postal Service may be cheaper, but I guess you get what you pay for. I dearly wish I'd used UPS.  

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Static

I got a little static over my posting yesterday.  The way I look at it, I was just there and she took her top off.  If I hadn't written about it no one would ever have known.  But I did write about it and I don't see where I did anything wrong.  I wrote about it because things like that don't happen that often.

Whilst on the subject of women taking their tops off.  If it was up to me women could take their tops off anywhere men do.  Many places around the world are more tolerant of such things than this country. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Privacy in cars

People seem to think they have more privacy in cars than they actually do.  They pick their noses, eat their lunch and read their newspapers as they drive along.  Still, there are some things you just don’t see every day.  Case in point, yesterday I was stopped at a red light.  I noticed some motion next to me in a SUV.  I looked and saw a woman was taking her top off. She was in the back seat on the passenger side of the car. Two other ladies in the front seat seemed oblivious to the show going on.

Now, a proper gentleman would have averted his eyes. Of course, a proper lady wouldn’t be taking her top off in a car, either. Naturally I kept on watching.  So she took off a brown sweater and then put on a green top.  In the interim I noted Hmm, she’s kind of cute.  I also noted she wasn’t wearing a bra.  

With the green top now on, the light changed and away the car went, never to be seen by me again.  The young lady certainly made my day.   However, I can’t but wonder if she didn't realize she was clearly visible or she knew full well she could be seen and simply did not care.  

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Obligatory Self Promoting Gift Guide for Christmas Procrastinators

Okay, still haven't started your holiday shopping.  Christmas is this Monday.  Here's an easy solution. Give books to people. Not just any books--my books.  Whilst Mostly Books in Tucson, Quimby's in Chicago & Broadway Book Mall in Denver have some of my books, I have no idea if your local bookseller has any. Not to worry, you can still order from Amazon and select two day delivery and check gift wrapping and a wrapped present will still arrive in time for Christmas if you act today.

Does your recipient like science fiction?  Send them Bonded Agent.   It's even got lizard men. That's Bonded Agent by David B. Riley





Want more of a western flavor for that favorite buckaroo?  Then get Funged.  Ling Fung will dazzle and amaze as he takes on his adversaries with his martial arts skill in this western fantasy featuring two awesome novellas.. It's even got a Yeti in the story. How cool is that?.  Order Legends of the Dragon Cowboys by David B. Riley & Laura Givens and you also get her story of "Chin Song Ping and the Long, Long Night."  The critics like her story even more than mine.  






Prefer a mix of stories?  Then order Gunslingers and Ghost Stories. It;s got all sorts of ghostly tales from the Old West.














Monday, December 18, 2017

A Few Thoughts About the Holiday

America as a nation has some strange priorities.  As the new tax bill shows, we choose to expend our resources on the wealthy yet we are a nation with astonishing poverty.  One of the down sides of living in Tucson is the place is just crawling with homeless people. They are everywhere.  There’s no simple solution to the problem of the homeless. Many of them have addiction problems.  Others suffer from a litany of mental illnesses.  It’s a complex problem, to be sure.  Yet our Congress shovels billions in unnecessary tax breaks to the wealthiest citizens and devotes almost no resources to helping the homeless. Surely, this is not a simple problem to fix.  I just note that very little effort is being done to fix it. Giving some bum on the highway median a few bucks because he has a cardboard sign so he can go buy some rotgut booze is hardly helping anyone.  I certainly don’t have an easy solution.  I just note there are precious few temporary shelters, social workers and medical personnel available to help this segment of our population.

I make note of this because of the many renditions of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol available this time of year.  Dickens’ London was rife with people not unlike the bums who permeate the parks and public spaces around Tucson. And Ebenezer Scrooge’s lament, when asked for a donation to help the poor, was “Are there no prisons, are there no workhouses?”   Not nearly enough to house the surplus population.

When Dickens’ book hit London just days before Christmas it generated an enormous flood of charitable giving. One account I read was charitable giving that year doubled over what it had been. That’s a heck of an accomplishment.   

What am I asking the 200 or so people who regularly read this blog to do?  .Something very simple, actually.  Watch one of the versions of A Christmas Carol. Even if you’ve seen it before, view it again. There are many of them. They’re on TV. They’re available from Netflix. Or read the book. It was a book before it was dramatized. Or go and see the current movie The Man Who Invented Christmas, which is about Dickens’s and how he came to write the story. That’s all I’m asking. Then think about things. 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

May the Force Be Somewhere

I thought I'd rant a bit about science fiction.  First of all, there's a new Star Wars movie out.  I sure hope it doesn't blow like the last one.   I remember little about the last one as it was so unremarkable. I know I fell asleep during it and Luke Skywalker got his light saber delivered by FedEx or someone at the last minute of the movie. Otherwise, it was pretty forgettable.   Maybe I'll see the new one, but I doubt it.

And I still have not seen the new Star Trek TV show.  I think that all access deal is a rip off and you get little but TV reruns and Star Trek near as I can tell.  I'm not paying extra for Star Trek. Frankly, I wish they'd stop going back to the early federation and pick up where Voyager ended.The federation has grown and evolved so why go back to toddler stage?   

Speaking of Star Trek, much buzz about the Quentin Terantino Star Trek film  I sure hope they place it in the federation after Next Generation or Voyager, somewhere in that era.  

So, I'm pretty much sick of Star Wars. It seems like it's nothing but a cash cow to be milked by Disney and little else.   I wouldn't mind having a light saber, though.  That would be cool.  Otherwise, I really don't give a fat rats ass what happens to these movies. And I'm somebody who really likes science fiction.  But the unwashed masses seem to really go for this stuff, based on the lines outside the theater.

And speaking of Star Trek, did I ever mention I thought Captain Janeway was kind of hot?  People at work back in Colorado used to disagree on this but I thought she was pretty hot. The folks at the hotel liked Seven of Nine better. And I always thought Dr. Crusher was hot on Next Generation.  I never really wanted to bang anyone on Deep Space Nine.  That Trill chick didn't do it for me and neither did the Bajoran chick.  Sorry, no can do there.  So, if I was getting an assignment, it would have to be Voyager and not DS 9.  . Oh that Dabo girl was kind of cute, but I don't think so.  Thanks for sharing that with us, Dave. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Beard

As I've mentioned, I'm going to physical therapy to alleviate some shoulder pain.  Anyway, an elderly woman who's also getting some sort of  therapy asked me yesterday: "How do you always have three days growth of beard?"

Well, "I can't tell you that." And I won't.  I always keep my whiskers looking like I've got three days growth going.  I got rid of my full and very gray beard about a year ago.  Now, it's the three days look.  I use a groomer for beard trimming instead of a razor and voila, three days growth every day. Why? I have a coarse beard and regular razors are problematic. This works better for me. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Honorable ...

Ran across an interesting tidbit that was in a way a bit troubling. I think and hope it was sloppy reporting or the way the article was edited. It had to do with a decision by the Senate not to confirm a judicial nominee to a federal district court. The fellow had never tried a case and apparently was considered unqualified by the Bar Association.  I have no idea if he'd be a good judge or not.  But the following, and I am quoting verbatim from the article, seemed to imply this was a disqualifying factor. 

Talley has practiced law for three years and has never tried a case. He also has written horror books and has participated in ghost-hunting activities.


Simply put, I've written horror books and participated in ghost hunting activities.  I guess that makes me unqualified to be a federal judge.  Of course I've never even been a lawyer and don't think I'm qualified to be a judge either. It just never occurred to me that I am not a suitable candidate to be a judge by virtue of ghost hunting activities and writing horror books. Hell, I am editing a book of ghost stories right now. Yipes.  I wonder what else the Senate would refuse to confirm me for based on writing horror books. For shame.  Maybe they're horrible books and not really horror books? 



Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Oh Christmas Tree

Well, the unabated ferocious winds we've been having destroyed the Christmas tree in my front yard. Well, they knocked it over and some of the lights got busted.  I put it back up and watered it and put new lights on it. Mother nature vandalized my display.  



Monday, December 11, 2017

True Review

It's always nice when a good review come out for your book.  True Review  just released a review of Legends of the Dragon Cowboys.  The link below will take you to it:



http://www.truereviewonline.com/b101v44n30_09.php




Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Two Devils

My first weird western novel was The Two Devils.  It even got a good review in the Denver Post and a few other places.  I have four still new copies of it that I'm offering while they last or until Christmas for $2.00 each plus shipping. This a print book, brand new. One hell of a deal. It's on Amazon Marketplace. Just go to Amazon and type in The Two Devils by David B. Riley.

This is the debut of my Miles O'Malley character and his horse, Paul. He gets into all sorts of trouble as he deals with the evil Mayan god, Ah Puch, the regular devil, and a few sexy fallen angels as well.

This book is no longer in print. You will never again see this offer.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Cancelled

Caught  a list of cancelled TV shows the other day. Boy am I out of it. I'd only seen one of these shows. The others, not once did I watch any of them. Apparently I was not alone.  The one show I'd seen was Emerald City.  I really liked it.  It was a little different take on the Wizard of Oz.  I really liked it, but apparently no one else did.  Like I said, I must be really out of it. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Blowhard

The desert isn't known for heavy wind. This certainly isn't the open plains or Texas.  Yet wind is what we've got and lots of it.  I've had to reinforce my young trees in my yard to keep them from being destroyed from repeated high winds.  It's awful.  If climate change is a hoax, that hoax is doing a pretty good imitation of the real deal in my back yard.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Let There Be Light, Part 2

Now the one trend in holiday lighting I can't seem to get around is these projector lights.  I you haven't seen one, they're a projector you put in your yard and it shines light on your house. You can have pink polka dots or just about anything you want.  I think these houses that use them look hideous.  This is a new trend I can certainly do without.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Let there be light

In my gated community neighbors have been putting up their Christmas lights.  I myself have a tree in my front yard lit up.  Some of my neighbors have very elaborate displays.  I've always loved Christmas lights, although I think some houses get over done.  But, if you think about it, it's a weird idea.  I've tried to learn the origin of the practice and it's come up a dead end.  The Christmas tree indoor is rooted in Germany as best as I can tell, where they decorated the tanenbaum for the holidays.  That tradition migrated to England in the mid 1800s and from there to America.

But I can't quite figure out where the idea of decorating houses with lights originated. If I figure it out, I will share it here.  I guess the thing to do is enjoy the holiday displays and not worry about their origin too much. Snoopy won first place when he decorated his dog house.  Good grief.  Maybe I'll even start to like icicle lights. Nah.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Bizness

In college I took a marketing class in the business school.  I wasn't a business major, but I thought it would be interesting.  We had to come up with a product and develop a plan of how we would market it.  My product was Lump-o-coal.  It would be a piece of coal  shrink wrapped on a card with a punch hole so it could be hung on a peg in stores.  The cardboard would have a picture of Santa Claus and it would say on the front "For that Rotten Little Kid" On the back would be more info on the concept of giving a lump of coal to kids on Santa's naughty list.  I think I got a "B" on the project, mainly because the professor thought it was a limited market.  I always had visions of a Christmas morning with hundreds of Christmas stockings with a Lump-o-coal sticking out of them. It would've been awesome.

I never really had the resources to actually produce and sell this, although I always wanted to.  I always envisioned it as the next pet rock.  If someone wants to run with this concept and develop it, be my guest. It's obvious I will never get it off the ground.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Man Who Invented Christmas --Review

As any of the regular readers of this blog will tell you, I don’t do very many reviews.  Well, I’ve also maintained that I believe I have seen every English language film or television special portraying A Christmas Carol.   Naturally, when a new movie came out on this topic I had to go and see it.  The Man Who Invented Christmas is about how Dickens wrote the book, A Christmas Carol   It was later adapted to a play and later still adapted for film. 

I find this a difficult film to review.  I know every line in the dramatized versions. I believe it to be not only the best Christmas story ever written but also the best ghost story.  But what if someone were not as enamored with this concept?  While I was thrilled to see Ebenezer Scrooge develop before my very eyes, would someone less enthralled with this work feel the same? I’m not really sure. 

This movie is well acted.  It gives us a look at dark, gritty Victorian London and a look into Dickens’ personal life as well.  Scrooge, as he develops, forces Dickens to go some places in his own memories that he would rather forget–just as the three Christmas ghosts force Scrooge to do the same. Just go and watch it. This is much better than those stupid syrupy things that pass for Christmas movies these days.

Friday, December 1, 2017

South Pole Birds

Once again I find penguins on wreaths, penguins on Christmas cards, penguins on all sorts of holiday items. What the heck do penguins have to do with Christmas?  Assuming one subscribes to the Santa Claus mythos, Santa lives at the NORTH pole.  Penguins come from Antarctica, the home of the SOUTH pole [a few species live in South America]   What the hell do these stupid flightless birds have to do with Christmas?  My own brother has a wreath with a penguin on it--probably just to piss me off.  These damned birds have nothing to do with the historical parameters of the Christmas holiday season.I wish Santa Claus would take a shotgun down to the South Pole. That would show 'em.