Friday, October 31, 2014

All Hallows Eve

It's Halloween.  I've always loved Halloween.  Apparently, I'm not the only one. I read somewhere that people now spend more on Halloween than any other holiday besides Christmas. It's overtaken Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day. Frankly, it's more fun than most other holidays.  

Well, there aren't a lot of kids in my condo complex. I doubt I'll get any trick or treaters. No one invited me to their Halloween party.  We can't have Halloween decorations where I work. In short, this year Halloween is coming up as something of a dud. But that's my problem. I remind blog viewers that the Horror Writers Association has been running its annual Halloween Haunts blog. A lot of these entries are really good and entertaining.  They've also got some of the crap I write.  If you haven't been following it, just click on the button on this very page.  It's all free. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Marketing on the cheap

One marketing effort I've been doing has been handing out bookmarks featuring Six Guns Straight From Hell 2.   They're pretty cool looking.  Anyway, last weekend I put some on the freebie table at Mile Hi Con, as well as handed some out to the anthology contributors who were attending the con. At least 50 bookmarks were taken by people.  Well, I do wonder what these people are going to do with them. I suspect most of them are taken home along with other freebies then thrown away.  They sure didn't buy any of my books.  The dealer that was carrying copies had not sold a single one by midday on Sunday, which was when I left. Nor has anyone purchased a copy from any of the distribution outlets that carry the book since the con ended.  I guess people just want the really cool looking bookmark to use for other people's books.  And that's okay.  But I sure wish someone would've bought a copy. As a marketing effort, although cheap, I'm not sure if it's that productive. 

Something wrong

I made sloppy joes yesterday. They were really good.  I wonder why you can't get sloppy joes at restaurants or fast food outlets.  Someplace somewhere may have them, but I've never seen them.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Multi Purpose

At work the other night I came across something marked "Multi Purpose Dust."  I got to wondering just how many purposes there could be for dust.  Turns out it's for killing different types of bugs. But, back to the dust concept. I got some charcoal dust from a BBQ grill and put it in a plastic container. Then I ran off a label calling my dust "Premium Dust."  And I placed it on a shelf.  Yep, a container of actual dust,  I don't know what anyone will use it for, but it's there now--ready to go.

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's Not Too Late For Halloween

It's Not Too Late For Halloween. Give out copies of Six Guns Straight From Hell 2 instead of candy.


Overall, as I just went to my 10th Mile Hi Con, I've noticed a drop in the number of people in costume. By that, I mean walking around the con, not in the costuming competition.  But I did notice a lot of guys wearing a fez this year. I almost joined them, but I couldn't find one that I felt looked authentic. So,I didn't wear any getup at all this year.  I'm not really sure why the fez was the look.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Back From MHC

Made it back from Mile Hi Con.  I had a pretty good time.  I doubt that I'll be involved with any more author events this year unless something unexpected comes up.  

Friday, October 24, 2014


About the only wild animal I fear is the skunk.  They're mean little bastards with teeth and claws and that special bonus package.  I've been skunked before.  It's the most vile smell there is.  This time of year they always seem most active for some reason.  At work about two weeks ago one came inside the building through an open door.  Fortunately, it turned around and went back outside.  If it hadn't, I don't know how you make a skunk leave until it's ready to go.  Later that very same day I was home sleeping and suddenly this horrid stench permeated my bedroom.  My immediate thought was  Oh god, that skunk followed me home.  I slowly realized that, although skunks are clever, skunks aren't likely to follow me 20 miles to my house after I left work.  I guess one could hop in a cab and say "follow that car," but that seems a bit far fetched. Cab  fares in Vail are astronomical.  So, I gradually realized the skunk was not really after me. The neighbor's dog went after one and, big mistake. 

This all came back to the forefront of my attention yesterday as I went out to my car and around the front of my car came a skunk.  I reasoned it was there waiting for me.  And I was doomed.  It paid me little mind and sort of waddled off down the street.  I dove into the Ford and closed the door as fast as I could.  Safe for now, anyway. We've had rattlesnakes, moose, bears and mountain lions in our condo complex over the past few months.  I'll gladly take my chances with a rattler over the thought of another skunk encounter. 

By the way, tomato juice doesn't work. A mixture of hydrogen peroxide and shampoo, lots of shampoo, will eventually remove that small.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mile Hi Con

This weekend I'll be at Mile Hi Con at the Hyatt Denver Tech Center.
This is my schedule:

Friday 4PM  How Small Presses Choose Their Covers

Saturday Noon   The Lasting Appeal of Time Travel Stories

Saturday 9PM Gearing Up For Steampunk

Sunday 11AM The Great 1897 Airship

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I'm amazed that gas prices have come down so much.  I doubt that it'll last for long.  They say grain prices are down too.  With the cost of production and transportation down, then I don't understand why food prices still seem so darned high at the store.   

Monday, October 20, 2014

David Boop From Outer Space

Had a very strange dream yesterday.  I should ad that I've been battling a cold or something--at times feverish, cough syrup taken may do more harm than good.  And through all of this, I had a very strange dream yesterday.  There were pods landing all over the world.  And the pods opened and each pod contained a cloned David Boop. There were hundreds of David Boops wandering around the world. Each one was dressed in khaki and wore a Pith helmet. Now, David Boop is a real person. I've know him for years, but I've never dreamed about him, not ever.  

So, the Chinese government was trying to kill all of the David Boops.  And the David Boops were trying to get their hands on weapons to fight the Chinese.  And I don't really know why any of this was happening. It has to be one of the strangest dreams I've ever had.  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Time's Up

Next weekend I'll be at Mile Hi Con.  One of  the panels I'm on is about time travel stories.  I've always had an uneasy relationship with time travel stories.  As an author, I've only written two.  As an editor, I've actively discouraged them.  When we were doing Science Fiction Trails  I had to change the writers guidelines to keep them away.  There was a time when all I got was some clod goes back in time to the OK Corral and doesn't really belong there.  It was always the OK Corral and the Earp Brothers.  It might not have been so bad had it occasionally been Little Big Horn or someplace else--yes it would have.  These were always dreadful stories.  

It boils down to this: Time travel is an easy crutch for an unimaginative writer to use to deal with a science fiction story set in a time different than our own.  Rather than write about the folks who actually live there, they always seem to think people from our time are superior or more interesting. So let's write crappy stories about time travel.  And how do we get back in time? Oh, we can crawl through some unexplained hole behind our stove or we can smoke crack [these are actual examples I've gotten]. 

That's not to say all time travel is crap--just most of  it. Even though I have a loathing contempt for most time travel stories, I rather like Dr. Who.    I think the H. G. Wells story was pretty good for its day. It can be done.  Heck, during the Matt Smith era of Dr. Who, there was a bona fide weird western episode set in the town of Mercy that would've fit right in the pages of Science Fiction Trails.  That one involved an alien war  criminal who was trying to escape justice by hiding out in a small western town.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


There's a comet going really close to Mars.  I gather the ESA and NASA are going to try to get the satellites already spying on Mars to take a look at it.  I find myself wondering what the Martians are doing.  Of course, there's not really much you can do about a comet.  Back in the 1800s people would freak out when a comet came close to earth--way more than they are for Ebola. They'd buy comet masks to keep from inhaling comet dust.  That's why I wonder if the Martians are freaking out about the approaching comet or simply taking it in stride.

Friday, October 17, 2014


The Postal Service has a new set of Batman stamps out. I bought some yesterday.  They're pretty cool. One of them is a round stamp depicting the bat signal that Commissioner Gordon used to shine on clouds. I always wondered how somebody living in the bat cave was supposed to see that.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Boiling Mad

I've been getting calls from some boiler room at all hours.  That's bad enough.  What's ticking me off is they never give me a chance to answer the call. It only rings a couple of times then they hang up. So, I don't even know who it is that's bothering me.  What is the point in calling somebody if you won't even give them a chance to answer the call?  I can't really report them for violating the no call list until I figure out who they are.  Probably some charity wanting money. They're always exempt from the no call. Most of the charities that use boiler rooms are questionable charities. Damn I hate telemarketers.  

Saturday, October 11, 2014


I was most pleased to see that The Coming of Crow by Joel Jenkins has been released.  Crow is a Native American gunfighter who travels all over, and I mean all over, and gets into some truly amazing adventures.  I had the honor of editing a few of the projects that some of the Crow adventures were first published in.  I honestly believe these are some of the best gunfights I've ever read. I can't wait to read the stories I wasn't involved with and will likely post a review at some future point in time.  Order this book. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Halloween Haunts

As I threatened a few days back, today is the day my posting of Halloween Haunts should be up on the HWA blog. Just click the nearby button to be taken there.  To recap, Halloween Haunts is an annual series of postings by HWA members about Halloween and horror.  Some of the members are really good writers.  And then there's the crap I write as well.  So, don't just sit there reading this blog--get the to it.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


I got my oil changed recently.  I don't really have a good place to change it myself, so I have it done by a mechanic.  I noticed that a local large store that sells everything had some oil that I thought I'd like to try--a synthetic blend. The problem is that very same store doesn't offer it if they do your oil change, then you have to get some other oil. And the place I usually get my oil change doesn't offer it either. So, the only way I can get the oil I want into my car is do it myself. See sentence two. So, I have Ford oil in my car.  I wanted the synthetic blend oil that comes in a five quart jug. But I have the Ford oil. It's not that there's anything wrong with the Ford oil. I just wanted the other oil and resent the fact that I can't have it.

I got to thinking that I could change my own oil.  The condo association frowns on people doing auto repairs on site. It occurred to me I could go to my former boss's house and change it in their driveway when they're not home.  And I could leave the used oil in the flower bed. This appealed to me, but might not play well with the local sheriff's department if I were discovered. I thought about changing it in the parking garage of another hotel down the street from where I work. They never close their access gate.  But most hotels have security cameras these days and I still might end up on the wrong side of the law.  So, I have Ford oil in my car.

Monday, October 6, 2014


Over the years I've tried to convince people Hoover Dam was named for famed lawman J. Edgar Hoover.  I've tried to convince people that J. Edgar Hoover and Edgar Rice Burrows were the same person [they look nearly identical].  And I've tried to convince folks that J.Edgar Hoover invented the Hoover vacuum cleaner.  And there actually are people running around believing that he invented a vacuum cleaner and has a famous dam named after him.  Why the fixation on Hoover?  Don't know, really.  The only thing left to do is place a story by J. Edgar Hoover in an upcoming anthology. Hmm, would people actually believe that?  

Edgar Rice Burrows or J. Edgar Hoover?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Pounding into walls

This fall I tried to organize a Halloween author reading in Denver.  I polled a bunch of authors and none of them wanted to do it.  Then I tried to set up a Christmas steampunk reading.  I ended up cancelling that as well, as very few authors wanted to participate.  So I vowed that I'm not going to try and organize any more author events.  It's kind of a shame, as I've rather enjoyed doing them.  But I'm tired of pounding my head into walls.

And I now have my schedule for Mile Hi Con.  I'm doing a themed steampunk reading--yay.  And I'm on an art panel with something to do with small press art.  And I'm on a time travel panel.  And I'm moderating a panel discussion about the 1897 Airship. YAY!  I love talking about the Great 1897 Airship and have given a number of talks on it.  This is the first time I've ever had a panel discussion. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Stolen data

Well, I've now had data about me stolen from three companies.  I still say that these companies don't need to keep so much data on people.  If they didn't insist on hanging on to every possible scrap of information about me, then there wouldn't be anything to steal--or at least not as much.  I guess I should feel flattered that people think my information is worth stealing.