Thursday, February 27, 2014

A nice review up

New Zealand reviewer Steve Johnson recently reviewed my new story in Tales of the Talisman vol 9 no 3.

"Where’d That Come From?" by David B. Riley was quite simply an excellent piece of SF...

Kind of made me happy.

The review can be found at

Deconstructing things

I mentioned in a posting last month that I've actually walked away from four anthologies this year--and it's still February. Thing is, when they're only paying a pittance, I'm just not that receptive to the stupid nonsense you have to put up with from some editors and publishers. In spite of this, I'm still scheduled to appear in three anthologies and one magazine this year. And it's still only February. So, all in all, things aren't off to that bad of a start.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Island adventures

Once upon a time Dave was sitting on the beach on a desert island. There’s not much else to do on a desert island but sit on the beach.  Then, this flying saucer came out of the sky and hovered over him. A bright light shown down and a cardboard box floated to the beach. Then, the flying saucer was gone.

Dave opened the box and took a bite of the piping hot pizza. It was delicious. They always were. He soon finished the pizza and tossed the empty box with the others. He sat back down on the beach because there’s not much else to do on a desert island. 

“Don’t mean to sound ungrateful. The pizzas are really quite good. Would it kill you to give me a ride home? Just wondering.”

Monday, February 24, 2014

Here's Mud in Your Eye

The term "Here's mud in your eye" is a drinking toast.  Outside of old black and white movies, I don't think one encounters it very often these days.  I actually had some mud in my eye this morning.  A car went by and splashed a puddle on me and I got some crud in my eye.  I was not amused.

The dilemma is what to do about it.  I know where the car that splashed me lives. The question is, how much retaliation is justified for getting splashed with muddy crap?  I decided, against my nature, to be merciful and not slice their tires or put cement in their muffler. I don't really know why I was so forgiving.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dish Washers

Back in the 1800s if you said you had a dish washer people would think you meant you had an employee who washed your dishes.   But, this certainly is not the 1800s. I rather like my dishwasher.  You just put dishes and cutlery in the racks and turn it on. And then you have clean dishes.  I just hate washing dishes.  Cannot stand it.  So, I'm delighted to let a machine do this for me.   Growing up, we never had a dishwasher where we lived.  I didn't have to wash dishes, though.  My mom always hated the crappy job I did washing them. Now, and this is still true, I did not set out to do a crappy job washing dishes. But, no matter how long I wash them, they always come out crappy looking.  I seem to have no talent for this, whatsoever.  

This leads us to the question of the day. What did cave men and cro magnon people eat off of?  Did they use rocks, or logs, or did they make an early version of china to eat off of. I guess I'll never know.  

Friday, February 21, 2014

Cereal Killers

I was talking to people at work about my idea for Abominable Cereal, where you have little Abominable Snowmen with frosting on them. Nobody seemed to like my idea. So, I asked them what type of cereal would they have. Cars, was one answer. Ford Flakes--seriously. Someone else wanted little rifles. Who the heck wants to eat little rifles when they could munch on The Abominable Snowman?  This gun thing is out of hand. And what would you call it? The answer: Shoot 'Em Cereal. And these people thought Abominable Cereal was stupid. Further proof the zombie apocalypse approaches. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Then There's Cons

Cons don't like me. I'm talking about the conventions that take place on just about any weekend around the country. Some focus more on costuming as others concentrate on media. Some of them focus on horror and others steampunk or science fiction. Some are large while others are small. But, they seem to have one thing in common. They don't like me.  I've lost count of how many cons have snubbed me. But it's a lot of them.

I'm a published author (although I know people are astonished to learn that). I'm an active member of the HWA.  I've edited scores of things.  I'm the publisher of two, count them two, genre related magazines.  Yet, cons overwhelmingly seem to want nothing to do with me.  

Of course, this year I've effectively given up. I'm, no longer soliciting cons. I'm tired of pounding my head into the wall.  I was invited to one con, Leprecon in Phoenix. I look forward to attending it. And that may be it for the entire year.  

Writers and artists and others in the trade go to cons because it's a great opportunity to meet new fans, find out about the latest trends, see old friends, meet other professionals and have a little fun.  They're also fairly expensive. It's not the cons themselves, it's the travel and lodging expenses that become an issue. And, in my case, it's not always easy to get weekends off from my day job. So, one can certainly buy a ticket and attend these cons. But, believe me, I've sat on both side of the participation tables, and being a programming participant is way way way different than just attending one of these things.

So, this year I won't have to worry about scraping up the funds to go anywhere. Yay. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Phu Yuk

Coca Cola turned in lackluster earnings for the latest quarter.  I don't have all of the answers to their problems, but I know one thing they could do. Diet Coke tastes like shit.  This is a deliberate strategy as Coke has been terrified it might sell better than regular Coke, so they formulated it to taste inferior to regular Coke.  Well, people would buy more of it, perhaps lots more, if it actually tasted good.  I doubt they'll follow this advice, but they should. 


I was somewhat surprised to learn in my discussions with four or five people this weekends, twenty-somethings all, that not a single one of them had any idea what steampunk was. Not a question of if they liked it, they didn't even recognize the term or had any idea what it was.  It is now obvious that this generation signals the coming of the zombie apocalypse.  What do I base this on?  I think the zombies will likely be smarter than these people are.  Yep, we're going to evolve into a zombie society. No other conclusion can be reached. No doubt about it.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

El Presidente

Well, tomorrow is President's Day.  I wonder why presidents get their own day.  A heck of a lot of them were dullards.  A few were outright crooks.  Only a very few were remarkable leaders.  

And, speaking of presidents, some of them have had dogs.  I always liked George W. Bush's dog. I think his name was Barney. The one that not only bit a reporter, but got himself banned on the Marine One helicopter. Now, that's a dog I'd like to meet.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Coin of the Realm

I found a dime on the sidewalk today.  It's been weeks since we could even see the sidewalks around here. I always like finding money.  It's just unexpected out of the blue spending power. Alas, coinage isn't what it used to be in terms of buying capacity.  But I still enjoy finding it.

At the hotel I used to work at, there was money underneath the seat cushions darn near every night. It was not unheard of to rake in a whole dollar--sometimes even two.  Alas, the seat cushions where I now work have never yielded so much as a nickel. I don't really know why this is so.  Nowadays the best I can hope for is the occasional dime or penny on the sidewalk.  And there's no hope of finding a quarter or any of the Sacajawea money anyplace. It just doesn't happen. Cursed debit cards.

Gold coins. Why can't anyone ever leave these on the sidewalk?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Dash Of This

I've been proofreading the new issue of Science Fiction Trails 11.  The issue is completely awesome. But there is one thing I have been noticing in recent years that I don't like.  More and more writers are using dashes as a sort of generic punctuation.  Back in the stone age when I was in school they were frowned upon. I was taught to use them sparingly for effect. And that was about it.  Now, they're everywhere--at the end of sentences--in place of commas--in place of semicolons.  Did you notice I was using dashes?  I don't like it.  I haven't actually rejected a story for too many dashes, though I  have been tempted.  

I don't know what's behind this trend, other than the breakdown of civilization.  I've wondered if people are too lazy to care or they really think dashes are wonderful.  I know I'm fighting a losing battle, but I am not happy with this trend at all.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


I noticed with some interest that one of the major national park concessionaires announced their applications for seasonal workers are down.  For the past few years they've gotten bumper crops of application as work has been so hard to find. Now they're dropping to pre recession levels.  Another way of looking at this is not everyone wants to drive halfway across the country to work for minimum wage for three to six months.

Some years ago I worked a couple of these jobs.  I have fond memories of one and the other--not so much. Although living in some of these places is really cool, that's often offset by crappy food, deplorable slum-like housing and very low pay. Which is why I haven't done that for quite some time. I simply decided it was not worth bothering with.  Although, as I get older, maybe I'll get me an RV and join the senior crowd and view it as a cheap place to park my RV for the summer. This type of work is heavily dominated by college students and retirees. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Getting an oil change today for the old car.  I hate getting oil changes. Whilst I know it's necessary, I always feel ripped off. Back when I had my first car, a Chevy Nova, I changed the oil and even did tune ups myself. Alas, I find modern cars simply too difficult to access and maintain--not to mention the difficulties of disposing of the oil. So, I find it necessary to have it done. Such is the way of progress.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Walking away

Writers who are struggling to get published will be shocked at what I have to say today. In the past week I’ve walked away from three anthologies.  That’s three anthologies where they accepted stories from me and I walked away from them.  The most recent one was yesterday when I refused to accept the proposed edits.  One of the biggest problems in writing is when an editor crosses the line and goes from editor to trying to re-write the story the way “they like it.” In the projects I’ve edited I’ve been criticized for not editing aggressively enough. Here, when changes seem arbitrary and not rooted in any style directory I’ve ever seen, I have to decide if I want to play or take my ball and go home.  In other words, I lost all confidence in the editor’s ability to edit. 

The other two were contract issues.  One of the collections was billed as a print anthology. When the offer came, it had morphed into an ebook.  Now, I have no objection to ebooks, but when you promise one thing and abruptly change gears, I lose confidence quickly in the ability to publish it at all. So, I walked away.

And the third project had language that basically said they could republish the book in other languages without any additional compensation.  Excuse me?  I’m not sure if that’s what they meant, but that’s what they said. So, I walked away.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Walking Back

Just a brief mention today that new episodes of The Walking Dead are back. I can't wait.  I really think this is the best episodic horror program ever made.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

More From Bizaro Land

No, I didn't get the story from yesterday back again. No, this time someone posted on this blog by way of Goodreads (they're linked). It was in a language I did not recognize, going on about I have no idea. I deleted it. I'm increasingly tempted to change my blog to not allow comments.  I'm getting tired of the strange nonsense that pops up here. The strange nonsense should be limited to my stuff.

Caught a new review of Space Pirates. This is a fairly old anthology that I have a story in. The review completely ripped the book.  Gave it one star and said nothing in it was worth reading.  Well, people have a right to their opinion.  But, this book isn't that bad.  When does a review become a vindictive hit piece? Apparently, yesterday. I guess everyone has a right to an opinion.  

Of course I'm not allowed to an opinion. If I review a book, I get a boilerplate form letter disallowing my review. I'm never given an actual reason and going over the boilerplate from Amazon there is nothing I wrote that violated their rules.  I no longer even bother to review anything, since it'll be struck down anyway. If only there were some consistency. If only they'd provide an actual reason. Not gonna happen.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Directions From Bizarro Land.

I once, many years ago, purchased an electric barbecue grill. The instructions were mostly in Korean. The English instructions were "Put parts together, then turn on grill." That was it.  Well, the parts didn't even fit together.  Needless to say, it was never used.  I think I lost the receipt and the whole fiasco went into the trash dumpster.  So, we say people should follow directions when, in reality, they can't because they don't know how to read Korean. So, to my surprise, I got a story submission yesterday. It was for Science Fiction Trails, which I edit. And, said magazine is closed to story submissions. This brought an emailed rejection. To my dismay, it came back again today.  Yes, it was resubmitted the day after I sent it back. The accompanying email said it had been re-written to comply with my suggestions.  There weren't any suggestions.  I never even looked at the story. I sent a terse message that we're not open to submissions. Therefore, how was it re-written? 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Picture This...

Picture this... A post office outside drive up mail box.  Try observing it. It won't take long and someone will drive up and they will have a difficult time mailing a letter.  it will take them an inordinate amount of time to take said letter and reach out and place it in the slot. In fact, you will actually wonder if that person will even accomplish the task at all.  And this can be seen at any post office in the country at just about any time.  Yes, we have a veritable army of people out there who struggle to simply mail a letter.  Proof, I believe, that alien invaders could conquer us in mere seconds.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Deep Freeze

Colorado, like much of the country, has been shivering of late. It's just darned cold.  Of course, it is winter.  Last night, I got up and read Jack London's "To Build a Fire." It seemed appropriate. It's about a guy in the Klondike who's fallen though the ice of a frozen river and is desperate to build a fire for warmth. I really like this story, but haven't read it in years.  It's no secret I'm a big fan of London's writing. I think this is the best of London's shorter works.  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Poor Quality Fuhd

I had a sandwich yesterday at a local restaurant. It was just awful. I'd ordered the same sandwich there before and it was good.  What went wrong?  I don't know. But I won't ever go back there again.  That's the thing about restaurants. If people aren't happy, they just never go back. And, one day, there aren't any more customers and the place goes out of business.  Not exactly profound, but it's true.  

The cause of this?  Too often the so-called owners hire dumb shits mainly because they work cheap. Serves 'em right when they board up their place, me thinks. 

Monday, February 3, 2014


At least the Super Bowl is over.  I was really tired of hearing about the Broncos. I correctly predicted a Seattle blowout. Bring on baseball. Hu Rah!

Sunday, February 2, 2014


It's Ground Hog Day.  I always celebrate Ground Hog Day by eating sausage (sausage is ground hog).

I've always liked this holiday, perhaps because of its simplicity. The corporate hucksters haven't figured out how to ruin it yet.  Still, employers look askance if you ask if you get Ground Hog Day off. And there isn't really a huge selection of greeting cards commemorating the occasion at the local card shop. But, I guess that's why I love this holiday.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Dog Pirates

Today and tomorrow, in honor of Ground Hog Day, my novella The Pirate Dogs is available free on Kindle. Just go to Amazon and download it and you can read about the adventures of Captain Yellow Dog and his band of pirates.