Saturday, September 30, 2017

Halloween Haunts

Every October the Horror Writers Association has its Halloween Haunts event.  Every day at least one member is featured and posts an article, essay or story on writing or Halloween. Most write about Halloween. The neat thing about this event is that it's free. Oh, and you can win prizes, too. Many members give away stuff from books to audio books, or even signed stuff.  AND it's all free.  And you can enjoy some really good takes on Halloween by some of the best writers in the business. 

My entry is scheduled for October 10th this year.  But I hope people will view it daily.  It's a good deal and it doesn't cost a thing. So, tell your friends.

Friday, September 29, 2017

kar repairs

It took all day yesterday to get my car fixed. Wait, didn't I just get it recalled earlier? Yep, but that was my other car. Backup car needed new belts and it took forever. Hopefully I'm good for a bit.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

mirror, mirror...

As I mentioned before, my car went into the Ford dealer yesterday for its third recall.  They did the work and gave me back my car right on time.  Then I discovered the mechanic had reset my mirrors.  I don't see why my mirrors had to be changed to drive my car 20 feet into the service bay. It takes me hours to get my mirrors back--yes hours.  I'm real picky about my mirrors. Not happy about this at all.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Old People

If you're bored some day, go to an apartment complex or other senior housing place dominated by seniors and hang out by the mail box [for incoming mail]. It is astonishing how long it takes them to get their mail out of their mail boxes. Simply astonishing.

Then go to a post office with curbside boxes for outgoing mail. That;s a show. A lot of these people are barely able to mail a letter.  If I get like that I hope someone shoots me.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Of I go to the Ford dealer.  Third recall of my car. Nice way to kill a day.

Sunday, September 24, 2017


In Tucson you know summer is gone and fall is here. Not because it's below 100 degrees--no siree.  Because the traffic turns to gridlock.  They say a lot snowbirds won't show until November, I notice a huge increase in automobiles clogging the roads right now.  

Saturday, September 23, 2017

I don't like them

I bought stamps yesterday.  Can't say that I liked any of the ones I was offered. I'd heard they were trying to unload the jack-o-lantern stamps from last year. No such luck. I ended up with some Disney stamps. I don't like them.  

Stamps I'd like to see

Great Barbarians series
Attila-the-Hun, Genghis Khan

Great outlaws:
Seth Wilmouth [a distant cousin, robbed a few trains in Missouri]
Clyde Barrow
Bonnie Parker
John Dillinger

Evan Rachel Wood
[she's not even dead, yet. Dang, she's hot looking. I'd buy them]

Haunted Hotels
The Stanley
Hotel Jerome
Hotel Coronado

Note to post office:
one side a card of stamps, other side a scratch off lottery ticket.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Book Signing

Well, I'll be at a book signing this Sunday. Haven't done one in a while.  I gather they have a ton of local authors of all flavors there and it's something of a madhouse.  That doesn't sound too bad. Sure beats sitting in the back of a store on a flimsy card table in Grand Junction, Colorado. That was my first book signing. People would alter their routes in the store to avoid coming near me. It was simply awful. At least this one will have people there.  If anyone is interested it's this sunday at Bookmans NW in Marana.  

Thursday, September 21, 2017


Had various communications with the publisher about my new novella project.  Just routine matters like whether there's going to be an about the author page and a few housekeeping matters.  I'm looking forward to seeing it.  One thing I noticed in my bio is I've written over 100 short stories. Actually, I crossed that milestone quite a few years ago.  I've shifted to longer works and I've done more editing, but my output is way down. I used to really crank out stories--not so much these days.  Of course there used to be a whole lot of magazines that published regularly. Not so any more.  The number of markets, mostly anthologies, has really shrunk. There are just not as many places to send short fiction to. 

I digress, "The Venerable Travels of Ling Fung" is a novella, that's a short novel in author speak, is a story about some of Ling Fung's adventures in America and a little bit about some things he did in China.  He's not the first Chinese character I've used.  In my Miles O'Malley novels, Miles' friend Wing Ding also tries to make it in America.  But, thus far, Miles and Ling Fung have not crossed paths.  Although a mutual villain, Ah Puch, appears in both stories.  Ah Puch is a Mayan god of death who's decided he likes 1880s California and wants to rule it for himself.  Both Miles and Ling Fung end up, reluctantly, taking him on. 

In the Two Devils [now reprinted in The Devil Draws Two]  Miles goes after Ah Puch and meets some interesting people along the way.  One of them is a very sexy fallen angel named Mabel. Mabel, I just love her. I've never seen a character like her. She lives in hell and comes along now and then to entertain herself with Miles. I rarely talk about her and she's not mentioned in reviews because she's kind of back story.  Described as a stunning redhead, she can pretty much charm poor Miles into doing whatever she wants.  And Miles knows she's manipulating him and doesn't care.  He's a guy. Still, Mabel never really hurts him and is becoming a more irresistible character on her own. I've been writing some stories about her as a much more expanded character.  If I can find some markets, my readers [both of you] may soon see more Mabel in action.

To counter Mabel, I also have Buffy.  While Mabel may seem like an 1800s name, Buffy may not. Buffy is a real angel. She lives in heaven and is not a fallen angel, but the real deal. She also likes Miles, although would never have physical relations with a mortal the way Mabel shamelessly does. So, this is a little different type of weird western and even I don't know how it's going to turn out. But the Mabel stories are turning into a lot of fun. I know weird westerns don't generate the sales other types of speculative fiction do, but they sure are fun. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tree of Death

We had some really bad winds about a month ago.  Many of my neighbors had serious roof damage. I lost one of my beloved ash trees that I planted earlier this year.  The storm snapped the trunk. No way to fix it. I chopped the broken part up and disposed of it.  Now the bottom two feet of the trunk, which I left alone for some odd reason, is blooming out. Looks like I may have an ash bush of some kind.

It's been a hard summer, ferocious winds and very limited rain. Oh, and much hotter that it should be for mid September. It's amazing my other trees survived.

Monday, September 18, 2017

It ain't Xmas

Okay, so one of the local dollar stores is putting up Christmas decorations. Apparently, we're not going past Halloween and Thanksgiving and direct from Labor Day to Christmas. It's ridiculous. Look out 4th of July--you're next.  Make this madness stop.  

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Get ready for Halloween

Get ready for Halloween.  It's coming up fast.  Have little Suzie or Johnie go as insurance salesmen. All they need is a second hand suit from a  thrift store and a small briefcase. People are terrified of insurance salesmen. It'll be great.  And don't forget your dog. As I've mentioned before, they LOVe getting dressed up in costume and going around to visit the neighbors.  They also like the extra treats.

Also, put electric lights in your jack-o-lantern.  It works way better than candles.  Oh, and drink some hard cider. We always had apple cider when i was a kid, but it was that sweet crap from the store. Give me some hard cider please and drunk kids will be just more memorable.

More ideas later. Get started on these.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Gates of Hell

I live in a gated community.  That means there's a gate out front to keep me safe. Hah!  It's like trying to stop a flood with a spaghetti strainer.  Yesterday I came back from a meeting and it was around midnight.  Well, the blasted gate would not open.  I tried my key and nothing.  I called myself on the call box. Since it goes to my cell phone, in theory if I call myself I can press 9 and it'll open/  No can do. Well, I sat there and eventually someone else showed up. Her key worked fine. The gate opened and I went home.  

There's no reason for this.  According to property management, the gate is functioning fine and my key is good.  "I must've done something wrong."  Yep, it's always my fault.  At least I didn't have to leave my car out on the highway all night.  We'll see what happens tonight.  

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sound of Music

I don't know what it means should someone  ask for an  E flat. I took piano lessons for two years, starting in third grade. I did not have interest in piano. My grandmother decided I needed music in my life. I hated that damned piano. I never had any interest in it   And when I finished taking lessons, my brain purged itself of all music terminology,  Now I don't know nothing.

It's been a long time since I was in the third grade taking piano lessons.  I note it as there's a recital this weekend just down the street from me.  Some poor kids have to go and play music they couldn't care less about so mommy and daddy can put on their good clothes and come and watch. poor little bastards.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Dark N Stormy

Well, the climate change hoax sure showed Florida.  Florida grows a lot of crops. This can't be good for food prices.  I'll bet they manage to keep gas prices jacked up the refineries in Texas are all up and running.  

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Bonded Agent

I sure wish a million or so people would buy my science fiction novel, Bonded Agent  You can order it from these places called bookstores and/or from mighty

Now I know that few people will do something just because I said to.  Still, it's actually a good book. The problem with it is the main protagonist.  She's a Martian citizen who works for an insurance company. Ew insurance.  It's true.  Yet it's really a military SF story.  But back to Sarah.  Sarah Meadows turns out to be a genius at military tactics.  She's so good at it, the emperor of  this reptilian race hires her to fight his war against Earth.  Uh oh.  Fight Earth? Yep. As I said, she is a citizen of Mars. Earth is at war with a reptilian race. And the lizard men are sick of being pushed around by a very militaristic Earth. War has broken out and Sarah joins the lizard men.  

Thing is, the typical male science fiction reader seems to prefer that white dude from Earth to be the hero.  There is no white dude from Earth in this book.  There's a strawberry blond chick from Mars. Female readers like this story a lot more than guys do. At least, that's the feedback I've gotten.  Now Sarah's not perfect.  She is a little too fond of Martian Red Ale. And, in one scene, she actually kisses a boy.  Pretty risque stuff, eh. 

So, dear reader, get a couple million of your friends to buy this book in print or ebook formats.  I need motivation to write a sequel. I need more readers who crave Sarah Meadows' return.  We left her, with the war over, unemployed at a bar in Dry Gulch, Mars.  That's no place for Sarah.

Friday, September 8, 2017

What's In a Name?

Call me old fashioned, but when I grew up hurricanes were female. They always had female names. I wasn't happy when they changed that practice.  There are some things where tradition isn't so bad. Heck, my cousin was named for hurricane Carla because she was born during the famed storm that blasted Galveston, Texas back in 1961.. Harvey? That's not a storm name. 

I detest naming ships for living people. We've got the John McCain, the George HW Bush and who knows what else out there. And I don't like them being named for boys, either. A ship, since ancient times, has been referred to as a she. They are the feminine, so naming them after a dude is doubly bad.

Well, I don't think anyone cares about my opinion, but I lay it out there just the same. This blog is called Rants & Raves and I'm ranting.   So many blogs and web pages are just I'm the great writer buy my books. Not me. It's no fun for me to do a blog like that. This thing is really the column I never had.  Back in the good old days writers had columns in newspapers and magazines and people paid them. 

Now, if the navy wanted to name a ship the David B. Riley, well ...

Thursday, September 7, 2017


Ya know, the movies have sound now and people actually talk. I haven't actually been to a movie in about a year. I watch them on Netflix, but don't go to first run movies because they're expensive and they never seem to have anything I'm particularly interested in.  Locally we have:

Home Again--a very tired idea.

Hallo Hombre - no idea

All Saints - haven't a clue

IT 2017 -- must be some kind of sequel

Dunkirk -- I almost considered going to it.

I think I'll stay home-- That's not a  movie. I mean it, I think I'll stay home. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Back From the Grave

A lot can happen in a year.  Science Fiction Trails 12 came back from the grave.  All the contributor copies and author payments are done. That's it until next year. The darn thing is an annual.  J.A. Campbell wrote a fun story that's a different take on Red Riding Hood and a Werewolf version of the wolf. Oh, but this is Science Fiction Trails. Where's the science fiction?  It's got little green men from Mars as well.  

It's also got a reprint story from the late Aaron B. Larson. Alas, few people probably remember Aaron or knew him in the fist place.  He was an outstanding writer and I wanted to bring back one of his stories.  

Monday, September 4, 2017

Home Despot

I found out in conversation the other day that our millennial generation don't know nothing. I was having breakfast at a local diner and some of the staff were arguing about an odd topic.  They couldn't agree why we [USA] import so much stuff from a country like  Korea that threatens us constantly.

Finally, I'd had enough. "Listen, we import nothing from there. There are two Koreas. We import all the tires and cars and stuff from South Korea.  North Korea is the country that wants to kill us.

"No," the ignorant waitress said.

"Check please," said I

Yep, the future of our country is in good hands.  I think I need a cave to move to,

Getting together

Happy Labor Day! I guess. I don't really like this holiday.  I tend to view holidays as a nuisance. I guess it's because I worked in the hotel business for so long and always had to work on holidays. Can't enjoy them if you're working.  This year I'm not doing anything.  A few family members are gathering at my brother's house for a cookout.  Nothing fancy. And that's about it.

Saturday, September 2, 2017


Where'd summer go? It just got here. I'd swear it just got here.  And I've got so many projects I'm working on, no rest for the weary.  I hate three day weekends.  It's too crowded to go anywhere. No mail delivery. I don't like them at all.  But if you're off, have a nice holiday. Spend it reading some of my stories.   I really could use a couple million more people to buy my books. That's just a tiny percentage of the global population.