Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Minimalist Xmas

Last year was the first year I had my own yard--ever. I lived in a condo in Colorado. So, when I bought my house in Tucson I went all out last year and put lights all over the bushes and cacti. This year I find myself in a more minimalist mood.  I put colored lights on one tree in my front yard and that's it. It looks nice--a little Christmas tree and that's all I'm doing.  A house nearby  out minimalized me--they replaced their white yard light with a green one and that's all they did.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Hotel Haunted

I note the guidelines for Hotel Haunted are finally up at the publisher's web site.  It's been mentioned here and elsewhere, but I'll mention it again in case anyone missed it.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Black Friday

I bought a garden hose at Lowe's on Black Friday.  People were all running around at these stores. Not me. I bought a new garden hose and went home.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Mister Heat Christmas

I do not remember the name of the show. It was one of those Christmas specials. This one had some heat miser who ruled the south and his brother, ice guy, ruled the north.  Well, it's clear where Arizona is. Even for here, it's unusually hot.  We're well  into the high eighties each day. Sure wish it would cool down. And greenhouse gasses continue to spew into the atmosphere unabated.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Oh Tenenbaum

I needed a new tree as one of my beloved ash trees was killed by some fierce winds a few months ago.  I decided an evergreen might do the trick.  I bought one yesterday. It's some kind of pine.  So I set it out in my front yard even though it's eventually going into the back one. I'm going to put lights on it and it will be my Christmas decoration. After Xmas, I'll take it to the back yard and plant it near the place my ash tree went off to tree heaven.  

Friday, November 24, 2017

Feast and such

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone.  My turkey yesterday was superb.  I make the best turkeys in the world. No one can out cook me on turkey.  It was moist and tender and delicious.  ...

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Award Goes To

As I've mentioned before, I belong to the HWA.  One of the things the HWA does is give out the Stoker awards.  These are a writing award for various categories of horror writing.  I was even on one of the juries which reviews the submissions in the anthology category a while back.  Now, unfortunately, people send me pitches telling me about their book, or screenplay or whatever--mostly books.  There are zillions of them.  Frankly, these people are delusional for the most part. Their works have no chance of winning.  My own theory is the work has to have done fairly well commercially so people are aware of it, not from sending me an announcement but because it's in bookstores and has been reviewed and such. Obscure works never cut through all the clutter.

Another thing it needs is to be pretty good. I was talking to a writer friend a few weeks ago when I was in Denver. He's the editor of a pretty good anthology. He really wants it to win a Stoker award. It's done fairly well, even briefly making it to the best seller lists.  Problem is, it's not a true horror anthology. It's a weird western anthology. I would not consider a lot of it to be in the horror fiction category. Ergo, when I vote it's going to be difficult for me to vote for it and I like the book (should it make the ballot)..  I just question if it's the right book for a Stoker. This is a horror award. There are similar awards put out by Mystery writers and the Science Fiction Writers. Most genres have some type of writing organization concerned with the craft of writing in that particular genre. 

And that leads back to the problem of it being a weird western. They are by definition cross genre.  The weird westerns have grown a lot in popularity in recent years. I still call them the unwanted bastard stepchild of literature.  I've always thought about creating a weird western award of some kind. But, that would require a lot of work and you have to have some sort of prize to back it and a big awards ceremony and I don't think so. Maybe someone with more ambition will try that some day. So, I will be surprised if the weird western anthology picks up a major literary award like a Stoker. But, maybe it will. If it does, I'll mention it here next year when the awards come out.  

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Writers Guidelines, Hotel Haunted

Below are the guidelines for an anthology I will be editing along with julie Campbell, if anyone's interested in submitting.

Hotel Haunted
Writers Guidelines

Editors, David B. Riley & J. A. Campbell

Wolfsinger Publications is looking for story submissions for  a new anthology entitled Hotel Haunted. All stories must, at least in part, take place at a haunted lodging establishment. This can include a hotel or similar business such as a rooming house, dormitory or hostel. They can take place in any location or time period. 

All stories must have a supernatural entity i.e. ghost in them.  Ghosts come in many forms. We don’t care if it’s a full bodied apparition, a mist entity, a black/silhouette ghost, disembodied voice or even a demonic entity–as long as it’s recognizable as some form of ghost. This is a work of fiction. We do not want a retelling of Ghost Adventures episodes. Have interesting characters. Unusual villain or heroes are welcome. This is a horror book. We are looking for something scary with recognizable horror or dark fantasy content. We are not after Casper the friendly ghost. You can use humor, but our bias is toward something scary. 

Reading period will be December 15th, 2017–January 15th, 2018. Please, only one story at a time. Submit in standard manuscript format, 12pt Times New Roman or similar font. We do not like courier. We like simple clean manuscripts–don’t embed anything cute or fancy. All terms by written contract and acceptances are subject to final approval by the publisher.

You can review sample contract at the Wolfsinger Publications web page. Basically, the author will receive a $5.00 advance payment for the right to use the Work in all English language print and e-book editions of the Anthology. The listed amount is an advance against a share of fifty percent of all future income received by WolfSinger Publications from all editions of the Anthology less any handling costs, service fees, or discounts when paid in full by the distributor, bookstore, vendor, organization. The fifty percent share allocated to contributors shall be distributed  in proportion to the number of authors in the Anthology.

Submit stories as an attached file. We prefer /DOC or .RTF files. Please include a word count and put hotel haunted submission in subject line. Before you submit, look over your submission. Have you included full contact info on the first page of the manuscript? That means name, address, email & phone #. Does your manuscript have a word count? Is the file name similar to the story name? At the end of your story, did you include the words “The End” or something similar so the editor is certain he has the entire story? If you want italic use italic. If you want bold face use boldface. Do not underline. Underlining to get italic goes back to the days when writers used typewriters and compositors actually set type. Those days are mostly over and it’s an antiquated habit. We prefer Times New Roman in 12 point type. Stories should be from 1K-7K words in length. Query if you have questions. Send an attached file to:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving, I Guess, Sort Of

"Happy Thanksgiving" is what I hear if I buy a candy bar or a quart of milk from any store.  The blasted holiday seems to run for the entire week.  You can't get a medical appointment.  The blasted grocery store already has empty shelves.  I'm starting to get in humbug mood and it is only Tuesday. And so-called Black Friday has been raging all week long as well.  At least people don't put up Thanksgiving lights on their houses--yet.  I'm kind of starting to dislike this holiday.

What am I thankful for?  Redheads.  I have a thing for redheads.  And that's about it.  And dogs. I like dogs.  And my house. I'm thankful I have a roof over my head. Living in your car sucks.  And my refrigerator. I really love my new refrigerator.  And that's about it.  I don't have a problem with people being thankful. But that's not what the stupid holiday has become. It's become an excuse for gluttony and drunkenness and football.

An amazing number of people will burn their houses down as they attempt to deep fry their turkeys. It's around 20 houses on average that burn to the ground each year.  Let's not forget that. 

There is one good thing about T Day. If you see your relatives, your get it over with. If you see them on T-Day you're not obligated to get together on Christmas. And that's something to be thankful for. A lot of people don't understand the T-Day exception to going to see relatives for Christmas. Hell of a deal.

Oh, my turkeys are the best in the world. No one cooks turkeys better than I do. Mesquite grill. Keep the   damned stuffing out of the bird and they'll cook much better.  The turkey I cook will be wonderful.

By the way, let the dog have a little bit of turkey.  They work hard all year keeping you from being murdered in your sleep. Give them a slice of turkey.

Please don't wish me a happy thanksgiving.  And that's about it.

Monday, November 20, 2017


I love my new refrigerator.  It keeps my food all nice and cold and it doesn't make strange noises in the middle of the night like the old one did.  In cleaning out the old one I found some salad dressing that expired a year ago. I threw it out. My brother thinks I should have used it. He says expiration dates are arbitrary. It's too late, I already tossed it out. It was thousand island dressing.  

Saturday, November 18, 2017


I'm hoping the publisher will post the guidelines to a new anthology I'm going to edit. So far, they're a little behind.  It's called Hotel Haunted. Along with co-editor Julie Campbell, we'll be putting together a collection of ghost stories set in haunted hotels.  Why haunted hotels? Why not? Actually, I've worked in haunted hotels and always wondered what the story was behind these entities. While I may never know the actual reason ghosts live in them, I thought it might be an interesting area for fiction. So, if  you're interested, check with Wolfsinger Publications for the guidelines for Hotel Haunted.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Wrong Way Mail

I keep getting mail for someone who does not live at my address.  I've been here a year and a half. The house I bought when I moved to Tucson sat empty for at least half a year before I moved in. Ergo, the mail for this person is at least two years obsolete. Why won't these companies ever update their mailing lists?  I wish they had goons that would go around and work them over when they sent out mail to the wrong place. That would show 'em.  Almost as good would be if they'd just update their addresses. Neither seems likely.  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

SFT 13

Well the new writers guidelines are up at the Science Fiction Trails site for issue 13. I sure wish more people would buy the darned thing. It's not all that expensive and has some great stories in it.  It'll open up for submissions in January.  I'm hoping to see some stories about robots. Why robots? Well, we've never historically had many submissions about robots and I thought it would be something to focus on.  

Monday, November 13, 2017

Con over

Well, Tuscon is over and done with. It's a little smaller con than most of those I go to. Frankly, I did not really connect with the programming. There was little I found interesting. The people were not particularly friendly. I doubt I'll ever go back.

And that concludes my con schedule for 2017..  I'm not sure what I'll attend in 2018.  I'll post it here later on, although I don't know why as it seems to make little difference if I list events or not.  Attendance at signings and cons has little to do with posting things here on this blog.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Refer Madness Part 2

I just love my new refrigerator. It was purchased at one of those big box stores that was having a sale. It's so quiet and it's laid out nice inside. In looking over refrigerators, I noticed that the simple refrigerators with the freezer on top are fairly cheap. You pay dearly for one with an ice maker. Side-by-sides and freezer on the bottom models cost a lot more. Mine is just  a simple refrigerator with a freezer on top and it doesn't sing to me or make ice or pour mixed drinks or nothin' except keep my food cold. I am so happy. And it doesn't beep all night long.

Note to the refrigerators out there who read my blog: if you want to go to  the scrap heap, just start beeping in the middle of the night. That'll do it real quick. It's not funny.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Refer Madness

My refrigerator started beeping at two o'clock yesterday morning.  Best guess is it was some type of problem with the door sensor.  And it would not stop.  Strange thing was, after I got back from physical therapy it had stopped beeping.  Listening to that thing beep whilst I am trying to sleep, well it's kind of like the Chinese water torture. You lay there wondering when it will beep again. It's an old refrigerator. It may be time to check out all the appliance sales they're having this weekend. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Off to Tuscon

Going to Tuscon this weekend.  This is a local con, so no lodging or transportation issues for me. Not really doing anything but attending. I'm not involved with programming and I'm not selling anything in the dealer room. Just an ordinary con attendee.  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Chick Flick

I briefly mentioned "Chick Flick" in pre-panel conversation at the Tempe Book Festival this past weekend. Was surprised people were unfamiliar with the term.  These are movies that women like and men should never watch them. If a man watches one he will have an immediate desire to commit suicide. I was surprised people were unfamiliar with the term. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Ghost Stories From the Airport Inn?

I am about to start editing a book of ghost stories.  The best ghost story ever written, at least in my opinion, is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I think Dickens may be one of the best writers who ever lived. It amazes me that every now and then someone tries and changes the story. They fail. If it is the best ghost story, changing it simply makes it into a feeble retelling that pales to the original. Case in point: the bird in the poultry shop was not a turkey; it was a goose.  Turkeys are an American bird that were transported to Europe. The first report of turkeys being consumed in England were in 1573, so it is possible the poulterer had a turkey. However, the original Dickens story had the bird as a goose, a traditional holiday meal in English homes of the day. Next, Mrs Cratchit   will be serving french fries. 

But others will inevitably try and retell the story in some feeble attempt to do so.  I don't know if I've seen every TV version of this story, but I've seen a bunch of them. 

Of course, my anthology would not include this marvelous story as it is a collection of tales about haunted hotels. I'm teaming up with Julie Campbell to do a collection of ghost stories set in haunted hotels. Since Ebenezer didn't rent out his home, it really would not qualify.  It'll be interesting to see what people come up with..  I wish Dickens could contribute, but I doubt he's going to return from the dead to write a new story for me.  I hope they're set in some place good and not the local airport inn right off the interstate.  Time will tell.

I've actually worked at two haunted hotels and have shared a few aspects of this on this blog.  Most recently I retold about a boy and the black ghost in the elevator at the hotel I worked at in Colorado. I've also mentioned the one in Wyoming.  Anyway, we shall see what type of stories come in. We don't know what kind of business Scrooge and Marley were in. The story never actually says. I doubt they were innkeepers. Too bad. Having someone like Jacob Marley with chains rattling to ward off people from smoking in non smoking rooms would be awesome.  

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


New Zealander Lyn McConchie just reviewed Legends of the Dragon Cowboys.

Thus far, the feedback we've gotten on this thing is simply incredible. People really seem to like it.
Did I mention your local Kobo bookseller can hook you up if you prefer ebooks and it's also available on Kindle?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Random thoughts on I 10

Driving to the Phoenix area for the Tempe Book Festival, I wondered:

Why isn't there any place to eat alongside the interstate but Denny's and McDonald's?

The roadside rest area is disgusting--far worse than the ones in Colorado. I can honestly say Colorado has some of the nicest rest areas I've ever seen.

Is it national truck day?  Does everyone with a truck just get out and drive at the same time?

"Don't pick up hitchhikers?" How are escaped inmates supposed to get anywhere if no one picks them up?

I never see any hitchhikers out here in the boondocks anyway. They're usually in town.

How come they never have any cute redheads hitchhiking?  Obviously, because cute redheads can get a ride without having to hitchhike.  Duh.

What was that roadkill?  I don't think it was a dog, but I'm not sure what it was.

Is that state trooper behind me going to pull me over? Nope.  He's probably just looking for someplace besides Denny's  to eat at, same as me.

When do we get driverless cars? I could be taking a nap. Taking a nap whilst driving is not a good idea in my car--but the future will be wonderful as I sleep blissfully whilst my car careens off a cliff.

Driverless trucks lumbering along at 75 mph--what could possibly go wrong?  At least they won't have to eat at Denny's.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Book Fest Part 2

Yesterday's Tempe Book Festival went reasonably well.  Our panel discussion on writing science fiction went very well and had a decent sized crowd.  I don't know what the crowd size was for the outdoor booth area. I only sold a couple of books. Thanks to Duncan's Books & More for sharing space .  Overall, it was a nice event.  

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Book Fest

Today I will be at the Tempe Book Festival.  They have me on a science fiction panel. Otherwise I'll probably be hanging out around the Duncan's Books booth, where I expect to have some books on consignment.  Stop by if you're in the area. The whole event is free.

Friday, November 3, 2017


There are at least four businesses around greater Tucson that have large dinosaurs on their property. By large, I mean ten feet tall or so. By dinosaurs I mean T Rex. Of course, they're not real dinosaurs. They've been built out of something. One of them is even at a McDonald's.  

One of them is just a few blocks from me. That one is made of metal of some kind and sits in front of a rock and mineral store. Dang, I sure wish I could have one.  I'm sure our homeowners association wouldn't allow it. Dang it would be cool. Alas, I am far too stupid to figure out how to build my own big dinosaur.  I sure enjoy driving by those that are publicly on display.

dino outside McDonalds

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Things That Go Pop For 100

Well, I've started physical therapy on my shoulders.  They've been bothering me for some time.  The nice physical therapist thinks I have both arthritis and tendonitis.  I hit the daily double.  Well, she thinks they can help me.  I was amazed at how many popping sounds my shoulder could make. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


Well, Halloween came and went.  Now we stuff ourselves with turkey and trip over Christmas items in the stores.  I'll be at Tempe Book Festival Saturday, November 4th. This will likely be my final author event for the year.  Come by and buy some books. And you can come to the panel I'm on--writing science fiction.  Wait, don't I just hate writing panels? Well, I do, but the nice folks at the library asked me to do it and I said I would.