Friday, November 30, 2018

Name Game

In Wednesday's blog I might have implied that unpopular names are connected to bad people. My example is you just don't find people named Uriah Heep.  There are names that have fallen by the wayside that aren't necessarily "bad" characters.--lots of them.  Not too many Hercules out there.  Julius, except for that booth at the mall for Orange Julius, not too much. And how many girls named Cleopatra do you come across?  

Why some names become so tarnished and others don't is beyond me.  I do not understand it.  

I don't know to what degree the Census Bureau keeps track of names.  I wish they'd team up with the Government Printing Office and put out a book showing the most and least popular names for boys and girls.  

My vote new parents name your sons Percival in 2019. Let's get that one up in popularity.  And for girls, Oklahoma.  

As a writer, I was somewhat intrigued when I learned about Dickens' collection of names.  It's not always easy to come up with the right name for characters.   I have a novella that should be coming out in the first quarter of next year.  One of the main characters is a blond woman; that may not be entirely accurate. More like an angel.  She's Kevin.  That's just what name she drew when I created her. Oh, and she's plum crazy.  And I'll have more to say about Fallen Angel when it nears publication.

My Miles O'Malley character just sort of popped up.  Then one day I actually had a guest at the hotel named Miles O'Malley.  I was so thrilled. I upgraded him to a suite and he never knew why, but Miles O'Malley was staying at my hotel even if wasn't my Miles O'Malley.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

What's In a Name?

Just watched one of the many versions of A Christmas Carol. I like them all, but some are better than others. As a rule I think the ones that stay truer to Dickens' original story are the best.

Dickens was an exceptional writer.  And, like most writers, he had a few eccentricities.  One was that he collected names.  If he encountered somebody with an interesting name he'd write it down in a notebook where he could retrieve it when he needed to name a character for a story.  So, need a name for one creepy crooked guy, hmm, Uriah Heep should fill the bill.  

Under this concept, apparently there must have been an actual Ebeneezer Scrooge.  You don't find a lot of folks named that.  In my years in the hotel business I checked in a lot of people. I never checked in an Ebeneezer, or a Uriah, or an Adolph for that matter. We did have a visit from Jesus Christ–but that was the fairly common Hispanic variation and not the lord coming back for a resurrection.   

Anyway, if I ever encounter a lawyer named Uriah Heep, I think I'll find representation elsewhere.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Christmas For Older Kids

Last year I gave out copies of something called Christmas For Older Kids. It's a chapbook meant for fun--nothing to take seriously about everyone's favorite holiday.  As I said, I gave them away.  I can't give them away to the whole world, but some folks have asked for them.  They're nominally priced on Amazon if anyone would like a copy. Available in print only.






Monday, November 26, 2018

Science Fiction Trails

Issue 13 of Science Fiction Trails is free on Kindle today.  We don't normally offer current editions for free.  It''s unlikely we will again. Our reasoning is simple: We have not been able to get back to our old circulation.  We stopped publishing for a couple of years and it really hurt our sales.  If you haven't seen a copy lately, here's your chance. Just go to Amazon and get a free Kindle copy. The print copy is also available at regular price.  

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Black Friday

Black Friday didn't seem all that interesting around here.  I didn't find any rock bottom deals and did not buy anything. 

Alas, it doesn't look like my books sold much either.  That would be nice.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanks

I'm not going to rattle on about what I'm thankful for. Just a few thoughts.  It's been a disappointing year in many ways, but I haven't had any major health issues and I have a place to sleep at night.  That's more than a lot of people have.  Literally. I have a friend who lived in the area of one of the California fires. He's missing.  No contact. Don't know if he's been relocated or burnt to a crisp.  

For the first time ever, my little chapbook Christmas For Older Kids is now available on Amazon.  If you want a  little different take on Christmas, order a copy.  There are a lot of people who read this blog, yet they never buy anything.  Not only is this a fun read, but buying it would provide motivation to keep doing this blog.  It's not like I make any money off this thing.  I'm just saying.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

All set to cook

I'm all set to cook another one of my famous turkeys.  They're so dang good.

A few tips if you want to improve your turkey experience.

Cook over mesquite, but watch your fire as mesquite charcoal can get really hot.

Do not put stuffing in that bird.  It cooks up to its wonderfulness if you leave the inner cavern open.

If you must have stuffing, use one of the stove top products and augment it with a little turkey runoff if feed be.




Tuesday, November 20, 2018

You poor bastard

I feel sorry for you. You are not likely to get any of my turkey.  Oh sure, you may get someone else's turkey, but not mine.  My turkeys are the best in the world.  What you're eating is not. No one can cook a turkey better than I can.






Sunday, November 18, 2018

Just thought I'd mention

The reading period is now open for Science Fiction Trails #14.

Full details are on the Science Fiction Trails blog:


https://steampunktrails.blogspot.com/2018/09/writers-guidelines-issue-14.html



Saturday, November 17, 2018

Thievin rascals

Lost another package from that large company that sells lots of stuff.  Second order in a row.  This one was different in that it was marked "Direct hand off."  I don't know who it was handed off to, but it was not me.  That's the frustrating side of ordering stuff from them.  A lot of their packages just disappear.  And then it's a pain to get your stuff.  I contacted them and they said they'll re-ship but I hate it when that happens.   It seems to be a big problem.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Brr

We had such mild weather when the cold front came through Tucson today it was a bit of a surprise.  Back in Colorado once Halloween came all bets were off on when winter would start.  Around here I have rarely needed a coat.  Hardly a big deal. I opened the closet and got a medium weight coat out and went about my business.  Heck this almost shirtsleeve weather back in Colorado but I've been here long enough I felt cold.  I noted some people were really bundled up in heavy coats. It wasn't THAT cold.  

That reminds me, the Christmas stamps are rather disappointing this year.  








Monday, November 12, 2018

My World

I caught something the other day that got me thinking. It was one of those internet surveys. This one wanted to know who created the best science fiction worlds.  Some of the choices were Star Wars by George Lucas, Gene Rodenberry's Star Trek and a few more. These are all highly subjective.

Well, my world is California.  No, I didn't invent it.  But my 1880s California is the setting for quite a few stories.  It's got sea monsters, a devil, a Mayan god, and few sexy angels.  It's no different than Star Fleet command–except this is my universe and it's much smaller.  And riding around in this universe is Miles O'Malley–one time barber and now federal lawman.

Miles gets into all kind of trouble, but not by choice. He's not greedy or trying to take over the State of California. His troubles root to his sense of good and bad or right and wrong.  The Mayan god I mentioned wants to take over  California. Miles takes him on in order to protect the good citizens of the state to the relief of the United States Government, which hires him as a Secret Service agent in gratitude for all he's done for them.  You can take in most of Miles's adventures in a triple novel tome called The Devil Draws Two

But wait there's more.  Not only does Miles populate this world, but so does Ling Fung.  This Chinese businessman encounters some very strange things in his quest to assimilate into the California lifestyle including a Yeti [That's Yeti, not Sasquatch] looking for a mail order bride. And a Mayan god [oh, that sounds familiar but I was talking about Miles then]. And he could have lunch with the local cannibal–and may end up on the menu.   All while dealing with racism how to get along with white people. That is one of two novellas in a book called Legends of the Dragon Cowboys.

And that's my universe until  now–sort of.  I recently signed a contract to publish another novella, Fallen Angel which is also set in this universe. It features a fallen angel named Mabel She's quite the handful as she's tired of living in hell and decides she needs more excitement in her life. So she takes up counterfeiting to fund her lavish lifestyle and sets out to have some fun in California. Oh, didn't I mention Miles works for the Secret Service?  I think I did.  Then there's Kevin, Mabel's sister. Now she's just plain crazy and you'll be amazed at what she's been doing.

And that's a very brief summary of the Miles O'Malley world.  It's available, except for the latest book, Fallen Angel, right now.  And that book will be along soon, although a release date has not been announced.


Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Moon

It's the 50th anniversary of the moon landing coming up in July.  Heck, we don't have 7 Elevens or anything on the moon.  Seems to me it was kind of expensive to get there. Yeah, we perfected cool stuff like laser beams.  But they also invented Tang, which I'm not a fan of and the Space Pen, which left a lot to be desired.

Well, I've been reading moon stories and hope to continue to read them up until the July anniversary. I am starting with Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon.

the moon


Friday, November 9, 2018

Tired of it all

The crooks who lose run around crying "Fraud." They wouldn't be complaining if they'd won.  We've got that going on in AZ where a mountain of mail in ballots (including mine) just about crushed the vote counting system.  Now Donald himself is saying it's all fraud. The ignorant fool doesn't seem to realize there is no such thing as a do over.  The local officials count the votes and the parties often have observers, and it's over and that's it.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Vote

Get out and vote today, if you haven't already.  I vote early and have for years--ever since they allowed it. It beats standing in line.  

I don't believe either of my grandmothers ever voted.  Neither of them ever drove a car, either.  I don't think the two are connected.  I don't know if they could meet today's identification requirements if they were still alive and wanted to vote.  

I registered right after I turned 18 and started voting at the first election that came along.  Then they came out with this vote by mail concept.  I guess there may be some risk to privacy and a few ballots may not get delivered properly--but it sure is damned convenient.  

The trend seems to be more toward discouraging voting these days.  If they wanted more people to vote, they should have a deal where, after voting, you get a coupon and you could take it to some place like Dairy Queen and get an ice cream cone.  Now that would be something.  Heck, I might even try and vote three or four times if I got ice cream. That would be something.  

Monday, November 5, 2018

More Gooder Ice Cream

I had some ice cream over the weekend.  It comes from some company in Hawaii and is only available at the Asian supermarket.  Damn this stuff is good.  If I'd known they had cool creamy wonders like this I might have moved there.  I still might, tho moving gets tougher as you get older. At least I can get this wonderful ice cream.



Sunday, November 4, 2018

Hallomas

Since the stores have Christmas stuff out before Halloween. Heck, the local Lowe's had Halloween and Christmas decorations side by side.  I actually tried to talk my dad into giving out Christmas candy canes to Trick-or-treaters.  He didn't go for it.  

I think putting Christmas merchandise out before Halloween is ridiculous.  But I cannot figure out any way to stop it.  Maybe they could just combine the two into Hallowmas.  

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Writers write--or do they?

My recent trip to Mile Hi Con was mostly uneventful. I got to catch up with some old friends, had a little fun, but nothing of great consequence happened.  I didn't feel very good as my drive to Denver  was exhausting and I really just wanted to sleep.  

In this backdrop one recurring theme kept popping in my head.  Plagiarism.  I wished we had a panel or something on ripping off other people's creative work.  Why? Two of the authors at the con are thieves of other writer's work.  They've sent me stories that were written and published by older writers such as Jack London and O. Henry as their own work.  And I have every reason to assume they continue to do it.

And I have remained silent on this, reluctant to call them out by name because it could set off a legal battle and even if it didn't, I have little to gain by trying to take action.  Writing is not the practice of law.  There is no such thing as a writers license.  The various writing organizations really do nothing to protect the integrity of the craft.

So, I returned  home and thought about what I could realistically accomplish in the coming months and let it go at that.  

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Numbers

My dad had 112 kids last night.  That's a respectable amount of kids, but not as much as some places get.