Saturday, May 31, 2014

New Story Out

I have a new story out. It's called "The Toy Men" in Penny Dread Tales IV.  This is a steampunk story. It's about the USS Wanderer of the United States Naval Air Corps.  This story takes place in the arctic region. I think folks will find it a fun read. For whatever reason, this book is heavily weighted with Colorado authors.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Paranormal TV

I watch too many paranormal TV shows--the ones where they go out and look for Bigfoot, Mothman, or some ghost.  As I watch them, it occurs to me most of the scenes could easily be faked.  One show in particular just seems way too good to be true.  I won't mention which one because, even though I'm right, I have little to be gained from a protracted legal fight.  Anyway this particular show, I believe, is fabricating their encounters. Yet these shows are being presented to the viewer as true adventures--not fiction.  I suppose the thinking is if you're dumb enough to watch... Well, I know I'm getting fleeced and I watch anyway.

The UFO shows tend to be really bad about playing with the facts.  Two in the past week both mentioned the Aurora, Texas crash and they were both completely wrong.  I've read everything I can get my hands on about that one--including the original newspaper clipping. So, is it entertainment for the gullible or a serious attempt to find out what's out there?   Alas, I think it is the former.

And the sad thing is there are so many unanswered questions on these subjects. People really do see things that aren't there. I really have dealt with ghosts. And so on. I'll put my soap box away for a while. It doesn't do any good anyway. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Penny Dread Cover Reveal

Well, the cover for Penny Dread Tales IV has been popping up on various blogs. I look forward to my contributor copy.  I expect it will be available for sale any day now.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Just Me And Whomever

Very slow night at the hotel I work at.  Hardly anyone is staying there.  It's just a slow time of the year.  Around here summer doesn't get going until around mid June as a rule.  Just me and the ghost.

Yup. That's what I said.  I don't know much about this ghost.  It likes to stomp around and be heard.  Can't say as I've ever noticed it do much else.  Just a few minutes ago I heard it stomp around on the floor above me.  I went up there. There was no one there--never is.  I said "If you're trying to get my attention, you've got it.  Is there something I can help you with? What do you want?"  No answer or response ever came. It never does.  

Ghosts are a strange lot. So many questions, yet so few answers. Long time readers of this blog will know this is not my first haunted hotel.  But, this one isn't an old decrepit building.  It's fairly modern. Yet, something stomps around for no apparent reason. I sure wish ghosts played chess.  Damn slow night.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Vampires and Airships

Just got my contract for an anthology of vampire stories called These Vampires Don't Sparkle.  I gather there are actually going to be two volumes for this one. I'm in volume one.  This will be an ebook.  My story is "Crosses," about a vampire from Roman days who becomes obsessed with crosses.   No word yet on an actual release date.  Carol Hightshoe is the editor. This will be a Sky Warrior product and my first time publishing something with them.

Also recently signed a contract for my steampunk story "Toy Men" which is slated to come out next month in Penny Dread Tales IV.  I was invited to a signing in Denver for that one, but had to decline because of my work schedule. This one is an airship story and a dark look at Christmas. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

water from outer space

It seems in this part of the country you either don't have enough water or you've got too much of it. A lot of places have been flooding with torrential rains just pounding away. And they're lucky the huge snow pack from record winter snow has just barely started melting or it would be even worse. Other western states like Arizona and California are quite dry.  What's this all mean?  I don't know.  I just know we're having an extremely cold and wet spring. 

And I was bummed out because with rain comes clouds.  And I didn't get to see the meteor shower we're supposed to be having. A total bummer. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Don't believe it

I've long maintained that a lot of what passes for news these days is simply garbage.  Yesterday I got a call from a pollster.  As we got into the questions, I was astonished the pollster was actually eating something. That's incredibly unprofessional. The first few questions were phrased oddly. Then we got to the Keystone Pipeline. She wanted to know if I thought it should be built.  I said I don't know. Then, it got really unprofessional. She insisted I have to answer yes or know. I said I don't have to,  that I had mixed feelings about it. Anyway, when you're arguing with the pollster, that's simply bizarre. I had this happen last year one time, so I simply hung up.

Yet, someone, probably a republican funded PAC (based on the way they seemed to be pressing me to answer) will think they have real data when they really have nothing but garbage. They didn't care about my opinion, I was just a data point to be manipulated.  This used to be really common in the fifties and sixties. It was called push polling.  And the results would be released and then often picked up by mainstream media who can't be bothered to look at their own data, if they actually had any.  That's what brought about the "Dewey Wins" headline back when Truman was elected.  The trend had been to more scientific polling methods. to avoid this. But there still seems to be a seedy undercurrent that is not interested in what people actually think--only giving out a preordained result.  Completely cynical and corrupt. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Deck Painting

Last summer I painted my back porch with a coating being touted by a major big box seller.  It didn't hold up for crap. After just one winter I now have to re-do this. I'm sure not using their deck coating again. Off to the hardware store to see what else might work.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Like many people, I have problems with pollen allergies this time of year.  In fact, this is the worst year I've had since moving to Colorado. I'm just miserable. The medicine my doctor prescribed used to work--but not this year.  And the worst thing about this is the quack cures people I don't even know tell me to try. Yeah, the bee pollen/honey idea is nice--except we don't have any bees around here. There's no such thing as local honey. Pollen from the front range (Denver-Ft Collins) is entirely different than what's up here in the mountains. And various other concepts from not eating gluten (what's up with that?) to buying some miracle potion at the health food store for $50 a jar.  I wish I had a bunker I could crawl into and wait for allergy season to end or the zombie apocalypse--whichever comes first. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

More Dueling

There's this most wonderful program on AMC called Turn. It's about America's first spy network during the Revolutionary War.  It's loaded with intrigue.  Sunday's episode centers around a duel.  It was awesome. I think it was fairly accurate for the customs at the time.

So, I may have mentioned before that I think dueling should be legal.  If two men hate each others guts they can go out in some field and blow each others brains out.  No lawyers, no magistrates, just two men and their seconds.

Now, I've never been to a duel.  I did challenge somebody to one once, and the sniveling coward didn't show up.  Boy, I sure wanted to blow that guy's brains out.  Alas, it did not happen.  It's become a lost art, unfortunately.

Of course, one last observation is the pistols of the day should not be trifled with.  Although they didn't have rifled barrels, they had rather large projectiles--much bigger than most bullets used today. Meaning, at short range, if you got hit, you were in for some serious damage. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Dying in the West

It Looks Interesting

The trailers for the forthcoming movie A Million Ways To Die in the West looks interesting. After the huge flop of the Lone Ranger, I'm hoping something western can do well.  Western comedies have had mixed results.  I don't think this is another Blazing Saddles.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Powers That Be

I'm one of those people who only reluctantly pays bills online. Yes, I like the idea of saving nearly 50 cents in postage. And, like many folks, my bank offers free bill pay. So, what's the problem?  Deep down, after so many years of paying bills by writing a check and mailing it, this electronic payment stuff just doesn't feel right. So, I was out of town for two weeks and had to pay some things electronically as I wasn't around to mail off checks.  As luck would have it, when I returned, I checked and all of my bills were taken care off--except for the power bill.  When I logged on to my account with the power company I noticed my account was listed as delinquent. No payment had been posted.  Well, it was two am, I was tired after driving back from Arizona, so I paid it directly on the power company web site and went to bed.  Well, I wasn't wild about this. I checked the next morning and the bank showed the bill was paid.  Then I went back to the power company site and discovered there were now two payments and I now had a credit balance. Oy veh. 

So, as near as I can figure this out, the power company took about five days to post the first payment after they  got it. The  payment was actually there on time, they just didn't post it. I have no idea if they manually post electronic payments or if it's all done by voodoo. But the second payment that I made directly to them went in right away.  I guess it's better to be overpaid than sitting here in the dark with the power turned off. There just seems to be a disconnect between the theory of electronic bill payments and the reality of them. 

Well, I didn't have an image of an electric bill. This gas bill will just have to do.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


I mentioned yesterday I'd like to duel with someone who hides behind the anonymity of the Internet. I actually lament the loss of dueling in our society.  I wish we could bring it back.  I think, if two people have unresolved issues, this affords a simple way to settle things--all without the need for any government bureaucracy or some magistrate.

Now, I actually challenged somebody to a duel once. It was a former boss.  I said let's shoot it and end this once and for all.  Well, the backstabbing coward didn't show up.  I sure wish he would have.

You'd think the gun crowd would be on board with this, but not so.  Maybe some day.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cafe poison

I've been aware for some time that a certain individual keeps attacking some of the projects I've worked on in various online reviews. This person is a coward--hiding behind pseudonyms, and different ones at that. I began to figure out these seemingly disparate reviews were the work of the same person due to some common language that keeps popping up,  coupled with a near illiteracy in writing the reviews. A good review should give examples of why something is so. So a continuing attack on me, the editor, is actually an unusual approach--no matter how lacking in talent I may be. Poorly written unsubstantiated attacks stick out to the cynical eye of someone who has done as much editing as I have.  So, while I am now convinced these hit pieces are the work of somebody with a personal grudge, rather than an actual review, I am still no closer to learning the identity of my would-be assassin. That's, unfortunately, the price of publishing stuff. 

So, if it is a personal grudge, stop hiding behind anonymous reviews.  I'll gladly fight you or shoot it out in a duel anytime you like--whoever you are.

Saving Money

The Postal Service laments the fact they're losing money like crazy. Yet, there are ways they could bring some more back in. USPS, feel free to use these ideas.

The Elvis stamp made money as millions were kept and never used to  mail anything.  There are other stamps that would be hits. Famous UFO crashes.  Drawings of places where UFOs crashed would be gobbled up by the UFO crowd. Just imagine a first day of issue cover from Roswell.

Hold local raffles if you have a hot mail carrier. "Win a date with your letter carrier." That would be popular.

Mail your kid to grandma.  Just like it sounds, if kids meet certain size limits, parents could mail their kids to another relative in specially marked boxes--with air holes of course.

Sell ads on the side of mail trucks. Hey, it works for buses. Don't know why they haven't tried this obvious one before now.

Sell seats on mail trucks. Not the local delivery ones--the big ones that haul mail along the interstates. There's a passenger seat just going to waste.

Prizes in stamp books. You buy a book of stamps and scratch off a coupon inside and win prizes like cash, or stamps or your picture on a stamp.

Well, these are a few things they can get started with. I'm sure I'll think of more ideas.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Back to the Old Grind

Well, made it back from Leprecon. Had a nice trip, though I found an awful lot of the so-called attendees to be rude and obnoxious. Alas, that happens at some of these things. People have a chip on their shoulder when they come through the door.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


This post is coming from Leprecon In Arizona.  Having a great time.  They even let me do my 1897 Airship presentation.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Another one

Well, I got my contract for another anthology.  That makes four due out by year's end. That's not bad since I walked away from three projects where I didn't like the way they were going and withdrew my stories.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


It continues to amaze me, in my role as art director, how many artists take jobs, say they want to be artists, then blow it off and never do anything.  It's happened yet again.  I'd dearly like to post the names of these people, but will not on the advice of legal counsel.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Leprecon Schedule

Well, I finally got my Leprecon schedule, May 8-10 in Phoenix (Mesa) AZ

The Great Airship of 1897
Sat 11 am

The Weird, Weird West
Sat 1 PM

The Future of Money
Sun 10 am

Advanced Steampunk
Sun 11 AM

Is Steampunk Losing steam?
Sun 1PM

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Tired Family

Gordon returns to the living room.
Betsy is knitting.  Grampa is sitting in his chair.

Grampa: Hey Timmy.

Betsy: It's Gordon, Grampa.

Grampa: Okay Timmy.

Gordon: Hon, there's a human head in the freezer?

Betsy: I know. I found it out in the yard. I thought I might make something out of it.

Gordon: Make something?

Betsy: Sure like a planter or something. Maybe a hummingbird feeder

Gordon: It's someone's head?

Betsy: Oh, they turn up all the time.

Gordon: [starts sniffing] Hon, your father is smelling a bit ripe.

Betsy: My father? My father died before I ever met you.

Gordon: Well, my dad's been in prison for the past 30 years.

Betsy: If he's not your father or mine, who the hell is this silly old coot we've been living with?

Grampa: I've pooped me britches.

[To be continued]