Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Cutting Costs

I recently switched over to Consumer Cellular from one of the more bigger and more expensive services.  It's really worked out well and I've saved a good deal of money that will add up over time. Yay! 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Pouring Gasoline

I try very hard to keep politics out of this blog.  There is no rigid format. I don't call it David B. Riley Rants & Rave For Nothing.    I ranted about soap boxes and the incompetence of fast food counter help. But politics, "It's a mania" to misquote Ben Franklin.

The President's pouring of gasoline to ignite racial hatred was hardly a surprise.  Being a cranky middle aged white guy I don't pretend to know what it's like to be of some other race.  But I never considered myself racist.  Nonetheless, because of my demographics it has not been uncommon for people who barely know me to start railing about "Ship 'em back to Africa" and similar themes.  Those are not my views.  

Growing up, I came to view my mother as one of the most racist people I ever knew.  Yet she would always deny being a racist.  She'd deny being a racist, yet come home from the store and announce there was some black guy at the store.  She'd deny being racist, yet the first predicate of any remarks was how black someone was and the need to always remind  anyone that someone was black.  She was raised to hate the Japanese, and she relished that from the WWII era until the day she died. She also hated Mexicans, I never really was clear on that, save for the fact all Latinos were Mexicans in her eyes.  Her racial formula never made any sense.  Why I now feel the need to mention it, I don't know save for the fact that race is not simple.

But I am  not my mother.  When I was a laundry supervisor at hotel laundry operation and people made comments about the Chinese Laundry, I advised them they could keep their thoughts to themselves. When I recently posted the guidelines to the book I'm editing, Tales From Dry Gulch,  I was denounced as racist and my writers guidelines were taken down from some websites.  No one ever bothered to state why they were supposedly racist or let me respond to any of their criticism. That angered me greatly.  And I still do not see what was racist in those guidelines. Apparently, writing about people of color, even accurately is racist to some.  I guess I'll never understand it.

But back to the politics.  The President of the United States stood in the Rose Garden and said a slight variation of "Ship 'em Back to Africa," a mantra I heard all the time from my mother's friends when I was growing up.  And that attack was directed at four women who are not only United States citizens, but elected members of Congress.   I'm a writer. I have a very large vocabulary. Yet I was at a total loss for words.  Maybe I'll think of something to say today or tomorrow, but I wonder why I should have to.  My mother didn't really know any better. Donald Trump certainly does.

Sunday, July 14, 2019


Our seasonal monsoon finally showed up last night.  They usually start in late June and nightly thunderstorms bring much needed rain to Arizona.  I fear we're going to get a very brief  monsoon season this year.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Tacos From Outer Space

Cheap tacos. How can you beat that?  A  lot of reviews have come out on Burger King's new taco. A lot of comparison has been made against Taco Bell. Frankly, it's a lot more like Jack in the Box's taco than Taco Bell's, in my humble opinion.  They both feature deep fried tortillas.  The main difference that I can tell is Jack in the Box deploys a small slice of what appears to be American cheese whilst Burger King uses shredded cheddar.  I got some of each and tried them side-by-side. To my eye the BK ones are a little bigger.  And I kind of liked the BK taco better.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Reap what you sew

The other day I told a friend that I wish the space aliens would use their mind control to make people order copies of Fallen Angel.   She asked : "What alien mind control devices?"

Well, back when I worked at a hotel in Colorado the general manager got miffed with me turning off the music at night.  He wanted to know why I was doing it. "It's alien mind control," was my actual true really I said it answer.  He replied, "I know that, but why do you turn it off?"  And I explained it gave me a headache. So, I promised to turn it back on at the end of my shift and that was the end of the matter.

Until I moved to Vail, another town in Colorado.  When I first worked there I kept turning off the music, but always fired it up in the morning. The manager hauled me into his office and asked why I kept turning off the music.  "It's alien mind control," was my actual really I said that answer. And he said "I know, but it keeps people calm."  He wanted it on all night. I reluctantly complied.  Then another company took over and the alien mind control system was taken out.

So, I thought the aliens could go into people's minds and make them buy my book.

She said "that's ridiculous."

"You don't believe they can do stuff like that?" Asked I.

"No, of course they can. But who are the bad guys in Fallen Angel?"

"Uh, the aliens from Mars."

"The aliens from Mars who eat people and hate women?"

"Uh, I see your point," said I.  "When the aliens produced the movies ET and Close Encounters of te Third Kind , the aliens were portrayed positively.  I portrayed them as evil. They're not going to help me."

"Not in a million years," she said.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

elections is good

I'm already sick of next year's election and it's over a year away.  These damned politicians aren't going to deliver anything close to what they're promising. It ain't gonna happen.  I have no solution, but think the process is far too long.  The British can call an election and the whole process only lasts about two months and it's over.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Weird Western Books On Sale!

Hadrosaur Press has their weird western books on sale, including two of my books.  It's a really good deal.  Link is below.


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Fine Dining

I've had a  couple of problems in the past few days that I have never had in my entire life.  First of all, last week I sat in a restaurant for 25 minutes wondering where the heck my order was. Then the waiter told me he forgot to put the order in. Duh?  I said to forget the whole thing and walked out of the place. I doubt I'll ever go back.

Then, yesterday, I was having lunch. I'd ordered a cheeseburger--nothing fancy.  My food arrived and I asked: "Why is there bacon on my cheeseburger?"  and he seemed shocked. "You don't want bacon?" To which I responded "Did I order it with fucking bacon?"  So he takes it back to the kitchen and returns in a minute. "Listen, asshole, I could've taken it off  myself. Bacon has a strong flavor. The damned thing still tastes like bacon."  Then I threw it back in the kitchen. I have no idea where it landed. "Cram it up your ass!" said I.  Then I walked out of the place and left.  I've never cared for bacon. I sure as hell never ordered it. Am I unreasonable?

Neither of these problems has ever happened to me, not ever.  

Monday, July 8, 2019


It rained for ten minutes at my house yesterday.  We're well into the monsoon season where we should have rain rolling through the area every day and there is nothing going on.   This is not good. I'd rant about the government trying to cover up the science on climate change but it wouldn't do any good.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Buying bulk

Okay, one amazing experience is taking someone who's really really old to Costco.  I took my dad there last Wednesday as he wanted to have a cookout for the 4th of July.  So, I had to take him there as he can't find Costco on his own.  We found the steaks.  Now, I'd have been over at the hot dog department cause there ain't no way I'd be paying nine bucks for some steak--that's each steak was nine bucks..  He doesn't think much about the price and we soon have a pack of steaks in the cart.  

Then we go over to the ice cream area.  You had to buy two half gallons of vanilla ice cream.  No, we can't do that because it'll melt.  Okay. but you wanted ice cream?  Then we go and get cranberry juice. You have to buy two jugs--they're attached to each other.  "That's too much cranberry juice."  Okay, so I said I'll put it back then put it in his cart and he didn't notice.  Then we went to get corn.  They had packs of eight ears. "That's too much corn."  Okay, but you wanted corn.  Then we got the strawberries. No objection. One clam shell of strawberries.  No objection. Hmm. He can't cope with buying in bulk.  "Look over there." and I toss a second pack of strawberries in the cart.   "Want some tortilla chips?"  Okay. I put one bag in the cart, it's like five pounds of chips, but they're only in one bag so there's no objection.  And we were soon checking out.  We go out to the car and head off to his house with a ridiculous amount of strawberries, but no corn.  

Then he says, "we need to stop at the store."  Okay, so we stop at the store. He goes inside and returns with corn, the same kind they had at Costco, and with ice cream--two gallons of it because it was on sale.  

And I'm still eating strawberries because no one ate any on the 4th.  

And that's taking old people to Costco.  Go and find some old guy and take him to Costco. If you don't have one of your own, I'm sure you can borrow one.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

What's in a word?

Well, I am a writer. I have a fairly large vocabulary.  They have these words called synonyms. A synonym is a word that means the same thing as another word.  Now, a while back I submitted to a weird western anthology.  One of the many stupid changes the editor made to my story was he changed poop to shit.  Well, they are synonyms. They mean the same thing. But, they're not used exactly the same way.  

I used the word poop to describe all the horse product that was on the road  in a western town in 1880.  These were mostly unpaved towns with dirt roads. The poop mixed with the dirt and flies bred and it would rain and you had this mess of mud and poop and flies.  In talking about this situation the character was in mixed company. That means ladies present.  That's why I referred to this product as horse poop.  I did not think a gentleman would use the term shit, even though it is a synonym, in this circumstance in 1880.  But the editor, who is sort of a slave to active voice, decided shit was more activer than poop was and changed it to shit.  I took exception to this change and some of the other even more stupider changes he made.  I ended up withdrawing my story.  

Of course that's not the only time I got pissed off at changes made by an editor.  Back when my novel The Two Devils was being edited, the very same character that was in the short story just mentioned was sitting on the porch reading the newspaper.  That newspaper was called The Epitaph. That was the real newspaper of Tombstone, Arizona.  That editor changed it to "the newspaper."  He took the correct name for the local paper, which was the best name for a newspaper in the history of the world and changed it.  And 15 years later I'm still steaming about it.  [The reprinted book is in a tome called The Devil Draws Two by David B. Riley and has Epitaph in it].

Now, I couldn't walk away from the book because I'd signed a contract.  Where no contract had been signed at the point I walked away from the short story with shit in it.  I wish I could have.  Both editors are still alive. I didn't kill either one of them.  I probably should have, but I didn't.  What's this all mean?  A lot of writers throw things into a story that need change. But, sometimes editor's change words when a writer really wanted that particular word, knew exactly what that word means, and might show up at that editor's house with a crazed look in his exes and a shotgun in his hand.

I've been editing Dry Gulch.  In spite of being warned about content needed to be appropriate for younger readers, some of the writers stuck whores and crib girls in the saloon even where it had nearly nothing to do with the story.  Bad writer.  Well, this makes the editor step in and change that. It was in the guidelines.  And the paper's name was the Dry Gulch Gazette. That was in the guidelines, too. So I don't have any remorse.  

So, it's different being and editor than a writer.  And that's why editors carry guns.

Friday, July 5, 2019

All gone

Remarkably quiet 4th. Wasn't anybody around in my neighborhood.  Don't know where everyone went.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Quiet 4th

Decided not to go over to New Mexico and buy fireworks.  It just didn't seem like it was really worth it.  Sure, I enjoy a bottle rocket and don't mind a few firecrackers, but such things are not legal here and I decided not to bother.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Can't decide

When I was a boy I just loved fireworks.  We spent much of our 4th of July time at my grandmother's house in Arkansas.  The advantage was fully legal fireworks. You could set off as much as you could afford.  And my brother and I blew off a lot of them.  We figured out that the firecrackers and bottle rockets were far more economical than a lot of the other stuff like Roman candles and bigger skyrockets. 

And we never got injured or burnt down the house or anything.  Although we did blow up a few ants as we blasted their ant hills.

But those were real fireworks. They were the kind that flew and exploded.  All we can buy are the safe and insane kind that just sort of fizz.  I can't decide if I am going to bother this year.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Hooray for the town drunk

I have often lamented that most of the weird western stories sent to me for the projects I edit are what I call "Walking Badge" stories.  I coined that term as the central character is always some sheriff. He is not even remotely developed as a character. And the story goes downhill from there.  It would be nice if they'd use an army provost marshal or something now and then--but no. It's always some sheriff.  

So, here comes Dry Gulch, the new anthology I'm editing.  This one's a little different in that the stories all take place in Dry Gulch, Colorado.  There is a sheriff in two of the stories--one from the nearby town of Pronghorn who's sweet on the local school teacher. And a sheriff from New Mexico comes by looking for some bandits.  Here's the thing that surprised me: Not only was the concept of some sheriff very limited, but the most popular character by far is Henry--the town drunk.  I was very pleasantly surprised.

Now, back to sheriffs for a moment.  Dry Gulch has a town marshal as most incorporated towns did. And that's what ticks me off with this sheriff crap. Sheriffs are usually elected and police unincorporated counties. Most towns were policed by town marshals hired by the mayor or town council.  They're not the same thing.  But twits writing these stories don't seem to know that.  In Tombstone where an overrated gunfight was once fought, Virgil Earp was town MARSHAL. That's Virgil, not Wyatt Earp and marshal, not sheriff.  Wyatt ran for sheriff and lost the election. He was deputized by his brother as a deputy marshal.  But that's not how most people would re-tell the story if I had Tombstone Tales instead of Dry Gulch.  

But rant and rave all I want, I doubt it'll make any difference.  

Okay, so the town drunk is the most popular character.  The second most popular character is Wendy, the owner of the saloon.  She beat out an alien piano player.  Yep, Dry Gulch is a happening place. And, right in the middle of all the action is Henry Steelman, the town drunk.  I am so happy.  

And there's no crooked rancher trying steal somebody's land, either.  But we have an alien piano player.  

Monday, July 1, 2019

Blue Balls

I've mentioned before that Hostess changes the color of its Snowballs product every now and then. The standard color is pink.  When they do this I always buy a package.  They're geniuses at getting me to buy the things.  So yesterday they had some green ones. Or were they blue?  I am not sure. They're kind of a turquoise.  I still bought some, but I am confused as to what color they're supposed to be.

Sunday, June 30, 2019


Nicknames aren't as popular as they once were. Well, at lease that's how it seems to me.  I never really had a nickname growing up.  I was Dave, even though I preferred David, I was ALWAYS Dave.  When I reached adulthood, I became DAVID most of the time, but neither affliction is a real nickname.  Curly is an inevitable nickname for some bald guy.  

One place I worked at for a while was a commercial laundry in Wyoming.  A few people came there with existing nicknames. We had one guy called Tex.  That wasn't his real name.  Then we had this guy who was rather obnoxious and nobody liked.  I started referring to him as butt wipe.  In a very short time, the whole place were calling him butt wipe. It stuck like glue.  He complained to personnel that everyone was calling him butt wipe, to no avail. Personnel simply couldn't get it stopped.  And they weren't sure where it started from.  I was called into the personnel manager's office and I denied everything and swore I'd never personally called him butt wipe. The guy quit and left and that was the end of butt wipe.  Is butt wipe a proper noun? Maybe it should be Butt Wipe.

What reminded me of butt wipe was a trip to a restaurant yesterday.  I was sitting in the counter and the cook asked the dishwasher "Where the hell is that butt wipe?"  Well, I'd love to be a fly [or more likely cockroach[ on the wall of that kitchen.  Ah, the fact that butt wipe still exists as a derogatory nickname made me smile. A name I created [maybe] is still in the archives of names like stinky. I was so happy.  

Saturday, June 29, 2019


One of my favorite shows is Alone.  That's the show where they dump you off in the Arctic and just wait until you go insane.  I've been thinking. It would be fun to do something like Alone, but with special effects to really mess with the survivors. Like  have a Bigfoot walk through their camp, a visit from space aliens--that sort of thing.  You could really mess with these people. Plant a dead body on the trail, then have it disappear.  That sort of thing.

Friday, June 28, 2019


Still haven't resolved the hit and run accident I had last month, but things are looking up.  In Arizona they don't make it easy to get the information about the other driver. Privacy, they call it.  You have to get a police report.  That took two weeks before they released it. Then you fill out some form and have to have your signature notarized. Then you mail the form to Phoenix.  Then in a couple of  weeks they finally send you back the information about who owns the other car and if there was any insurance.  Frankly, this is ridiculous to make victims have to go through this.  

Now, I have an older car and only had liability coverage. If I had collision coverage and had filed a claim through MY insurance company this production would not have been necessary.  So, there actually was insurance on the other car that hit me, making one wonder why it was a hit and run. I then contacted said insurance company and filed a claim.  After a week, they finally got back to me and took my statement and wanted pictures of the damage.  Not remarkable claim service, but at least I didn't have to go to court over the accident.

Oh, in case you're wondering, as for the hit and run. That's a crime.  Alas, when the sheriff's department gave me a photo lineup, I  could not identify the other driver.  I don't know if that was because someone besides the owner was driving or I simply couldn't identify her from the rather crummy pictures they showed me.  But no charges were filed as I could not identify anyone.

Coincidentally, today is National Insurance Awareness Day.  What better way to celebrate than download a copy of Bonded Agent, and read about her adventures as an insurance adjuster. 

Thursday, June 27, 2019


One of the little requirements about my community is you are required to have a yard light and said yard light must have an arm that displays your street address.  This is for safety, so the men coming to kill you will find the right address and not attack some innocent bystander.  My yard light quit working about a month ago. Try as I might, I can't figure out what's wrong with it and don't really want to pay some and to come out.  So, my solution was to pitch the old bulb and buy a solar light and drop that into the place where the old light bulb went. Voila, I got a yard light that works. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Trash Cans

You'd think taking the trash out is something folks could do without messing it up. Well, not in my neighborhood.  Actually, it's more the recycling cans.  They move. On their own.  The ones our trash company provides have wheels.  On a windy day, they tend to take off and go for a ride around the neighborhood.  This is caused because people will put out their recycling even if they only have two beer cans.  There's little weight in these cans, so off they go.  Last week I came home and a can was out in front of my driveway. Thing is, it wasn't my can. I don't put out recycling until the can is relatively full. But there was this can from some neighbor.  Not knowing which house it belonged to, I did what anyone would do in such a situation--I rolled it so that it was in front of the house next door.  It sat there on the curb for two days. I guess, at some point, somebody realized they were short a can and went in search of it because it finally went away, hopefully back home where it will be loved and nurtured like all good recycling cans are.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019


Took my father to the dermatologist yesterday.  He has problems finding places in this town, which is really spread out.  Alas, he had a spot he was worried about. It wasn't skin cancer. The problem is, AZ is a high skin cancer area and they warn people to have suspicious spots and moles checked, then they go in and "Ah, that's nothing."  Better safe than sorry. He was worrying about it, so I told him to go and get it checked and drove him to his appointment.  

Monday, June 24, 2019

Moving in; moving out

Well, had some neighbors move out yesterday. They were only there for a month. I hardly knew 'em. This is a rental home and people really come and go there.  I don't know if the place is haunted or why, but no one stays there for more than a month or two. I think moving is a lot of work and I don't see moving into a house for such a short term as making any sense. Yet I'm sure some new tenant will move in in a few days and they'll be gone lickety-split.  

Sunday, June 23, 2019

shower curtain

Okay, you're probably confused and bewildered.  The Shower Curtain Cover  was not my name for it, I showed the cover I rejected for Dry Gulch to a few folks.  Some of them though it looked like two lawmen looking at a shower cover.  I tend to agree.  I can't really show it to the general population,  I don't attack artists except in the case of fraud or criminal dealings and a bad cover does not meet that threshold. But, that cover will be forever known as the Shower Curtain Cover.  

So, I re assigned the cover for Dry Gulch to another artist.  I'll mention that artist after I accept the cover.  We'll see how this ends, but I hope it ends good.  Stay tuned. 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

suddenly, summer

Usually, in Tucson you know it's summer long before the season arrives.  This has been an extremely mild Spring.  We've only had a couple of days over 100 degrees. In these parts, that is quite unusual. So the official start of Summer hath come and gone, scarcely noticed.  

Friday, June 21, 2019

Art art

Had a chat with another writer yesterday on the subject of weird western cover art.  I was lamenting my problems that I got a total mess and was wondering if the artist was spending too much time at the marijuana dispensary.  Well, he thinks the situation is that weird westerns are getting such crummy art because most of them are self published and the people won't spend any money to hire an artist. There may be something to that--as two books I was asked to review both had black and white clip art covers.  

Alas, that does not make folks want to but a book.  It reminds me of an art panel I was on at a con last year and the guy next to me was so proud they only spent a few dollars on cover art by using some stock photo agency.  I wanted to say, "And they look like it," but didn't.  

A good cover can really help sales, a  bad cover can doom what's probably already a project that's unlikely to succeed.  Self published books tend to be poorly edited.  Ad crummy art and you've got a real turkey on your hands.

That said, my dilemma was this was a pro artist who sent me something that was simply baffling. There was supposed to be a ghost; it looked more like someone hung a shower curtain on a porch. Sigh. No ghosts tonight.   

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Art Who?

Life goes on.  Even though Science Fiction Trails is finito, a few book projects continue. It's in my role as publisher and de facto art director that I find my greatest sources of frustration.  Working with flaky writers is nothing even close to dealing with artists.  Half the time you give out an assignment, they agree to terms and you never hear from them again.  The other half of the time you get something back that looks like it came from a sixth grade art class.  Frustrating doesn't even begin to cover the nightmare of working with artists.  One of these days I'm going to write a story about some art director who goes around some art academy killing all the students.  It's just a fantasy I have. Well, I've decided the cover I just got wouldn't hold muster for a sixth grade art class--if they actually still had art in the sixth grade.  And we'll try again with another artist.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Adios Amigos

Although this is my personal blog and the following is  posted on the Science Fiction Trails Blog,  I am duplicating it here as well.  I'm surprised we lasted as long as we did.  It's been obvious for some time readers weren't buying what we were selling.  I am still proud of what we published. There are few small magazines that came close to the quality and diversity of stories we published.

June 19, 2019
For Immediate Release

Science Fiction Trails Magazine has announced that it has ceased publication. The last issue for this annual fiction magazine was number 14, which published in April of 2019.  The magazine focused on science fiction weird western stories.

“Due to a huge drop in sales in our last two issues, we have decided we can no longer continue the magazine,” Managing Editor David B. Riley said, explaining the decision. “Up until recently, we always managed to sell enough copies to cover the cost of publishing an issue, but the last two issues have not even been close,” Riley said.  Copies of recent issues remain on sale through online bookstores.  “The magazine was created because there are very few publishing opportunities for the science fiction weird western, with most weird western anthologies concentrating on horror theme products,” according to Riley.   “While we’ve seen a drop in author submissions, we always managed to put an issue out, but the drop in sales is something we cannot recover from.”

This announcement does not affect Science Fiction Trails Books.  Tales From Dry Gulch, our 11th anthology will be released in September 2019.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

passing money

Back when I lived in Colorado and was working in the hotel biz I once got a five dollar tip from a guest. I didn't get tips very often as i wasn't really in a tipped position, so these events were few and far between.  The thing was, there was something odd about the five one dollar bills the guy gave me. Frankly, I suspected they might be counterfeit.  I put the money in the front desk bank and took out a fiver. In effect, I was passing counterfeit money on a small scale [maybe].  Well, I felt bad about this. The next day I retrieved my funny money from the bank and returned the fiver. So, my next day off I went to the bank and told the bank that I was afraid I'd gotten counterfeit money.  Well, the teller looked at it, then went and got the bank manager. She looked at it as well. Then she came over to me and told me these bills had a rough life and had gotten wet but she believed they were real and thanked me for my concern..

She offered my a new fiver and I took it and that's the last I saw of the funny money.  I guess I'm not a good paperhanger. 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Abandon Ship!

Writing is a horrible profession.  By that, I am  not talking about horrible writing. I am talking about the business side of writing--getting stuff published, getting paid, that sort of thing.  Well over a year ago I edited a horror anthology for a small, two-bit publisher in Colorado Springs..  Well, the book never came out, folks never got their token payments, and months went by as the publisher complained she was too depressed to do anything.  It became obvious that this book was going nowhere.  But, the contract gave the publisher until January of this year to bring out the book. Of course that never happened.  I saw an opportunity for the writers to get out of this deal and urged them to withdraw their stories.  They didn't. The publisher did cough up the token payments to everyone.

Case closed? Hardly.  You would think if the editor of an anthology was contacting a writer and urging that writer to get out while you can and withdraw your story, the writer would have enough sense to say "Hey, maybe I should do that."  Well, apparently not.  Now the January deadline to bring out the book has long since passed and there is no sign of the book. I doubt it will ever be published and this publisher is simply wasting everyone's time.  In my case, I made very little editing this book and it's not going to affect me very much.  For people just starting out as writers, that's a different story. This book had a few seasoned pros and some novice writers in it.  While I still would prefer that it was released, I'm also so damned sick of this project that I've written it off..  

So, what do you do when this happens?  I tried to warn people to get out. I saw this coming. I did all I could,  But I'm not the publisher.  The publisher controls the rights to this book.  There is only so much I can do.  I could contact the grievance committee of a writing organization such as SFWA or HWA and ask for help getting the rights released. But, hell, that opportunity was available once and they wouldn't take it.  So I'll do nothing.  Being an editor isn't the glamour job folks think it is.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

phast phood

There's a large fast food restaurant near my house. It's the only one.  If you want something right away, they're it.  The other places are around 10 miles away or more.  Nonetheless every time I go there I regret it.  The food is awful and the experience is so bad I swear I'll never go back.  It wasn't always that way.  As a youth I had fond memories of them, but that was then.

We're getting a Dairy Queen in the neighborhood.  Is that an improvement?  It's been years since I've gone to a Dairy Queen.  My guess is I'll remain unhappy and disappointed, just with two choices instead of one.  

Friday, June 14, 2019

That Weird Western Guy

I didn't  used to consider myself a weird western guy. I wrote in science fiction, sometimes horror and some weird westerns. Well, when I moved to Arizona a couple of years ago, I've pretty much been all weird western.  When I got to cons I tend to try and do weird western panels and presentations.  But, whilst I am a weird western guy, a recent review of Legends of the Dragon Cowboys got me thinking.  The reviewer said these are not your typical monster bashing weird westerns--true.

As I've said before, there's a bunch of editors and writers who think all weird westerns must be dark horror.  Other weird western writers  and editors think anything set in the west that has horror, or science fiction content is fine.  But, by quantity, there were a few years between 2005 to 2015 when almost everything was dark fiction.  Now, the dark fiction is somewhat tapering off and the science fiction weird western has renewed strength.  I think Cowboys & Aliens started this tend, but it's around in other places. Even one of the later Matt Smith Doctor Who episodes was a true SF weird westerns ["Mercy"].  David Boop's trilogy Straight Outta series are the multi genre variety.  And so are my recent novellas.

What really signaled the change to me was editing Tales From Dry Gulch.  No monsters, and very little of that formula. I got some very creative stories and some were ghost stories and some were science fiction.  None of them were the ultra dark fiction that tried to crowd the science fiction weird western from the planet.  I have no idea if the pendulum will swing back the other way. I do wish more folks would buy these books.  They're good stories.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Car phantoms

Cars have these annoying check engine lights which are linked to a small on-board computer.  Mine keeps coming on, then before I can get it into the shop to have them check it, it goes back off. and the code in the computer only lasts a short time. So, the mechanic isn't sure what's setting off the thing, although he suspects it's a bad sensor.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


Sold a book to a major NY publisher.  I think it's bad luck to talk about publishing stuff ahead of time.  More info later. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

father's day

Been trying to figure out what to do with the crazy old man for Father's Day.  It seems unlikely the space aliens are going to abduct him before Father's Day.  My brother is leaning toward buying him a sprinkler. Yep, the kind you water the yard with. He has one now--refuses to use it. He'd rather stand out in the yard with the hose, yet he complains about how tiresome it is.  I guess buying him another sprinkler is the way to go. Then he'll have two sprinklers he never uses.

Monday, June 10, 2019

innovative storytelling or jumping off a cliff

I've edited various anthologies over the years. Most of these anthologies have been western horror stories. The one under construction now is Tales From Dry Gulch.  This one's quite different than what I've done before. How so?  Well, for starters, there's amazingly little gun play.  Westerns have bullets flying everywhere--but not in Dry Gulch.  There's as much science fiction content as there is horror.  The horror is mostly in the ghost story range.   Overall, the stories have a lighter, friendlier tone than I was expecting.  They're a sort of Mayberry on the Wild West.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 9, 2019


Well, so much for our mild Spring. We're supposed to go over 100 degrees today.  Ah, Arizona.  But it is a "dry" heat as they say.  I bought a  new cactus and planted it in my front yard.  It's not real big, but it was on sale.  The pine tree died.  It just could not take the heat.  One thing about cactus is this is where they evolved and they're adapted to this climate.  Still, it's hard to get things to grow in my yard.. 

Up north [northern Arizona], they try and get Colorado Blue Spruce trees to grow.  Most of them die.  They just need more water than they get in this state. Up in Colorado they get  a lot more snow and they just don't survive this far south. People like them as they're pretty trees..  But armor plated thorny things like cactus seem to fare better in this area.

Saturday, June 8, 2019


I wonder, do white trash families realize they're white trash?

Friday, June 7, 2019


Now that it's getting warmer bugs are getting more active.  I've got all sorts of bugs on the windshield.  I'm not really sure what some of them are.  Here in Tucson we don't seem to have the mustard bugs we had in Colorado.  What's a mustard bug?  They're these little yellow flying bugs that smash into your car and it looks like you got pelted with packets of mustard. Don't know the official name for them. So convincing are they, I was dating a woman back about 10 years ago and I actually convinced her that was where mustard came from--mustard bugs. Yep.  Mustard actually comes from a little yellow flower that grows a number of places and is particularly common in Canada.  

Thursday, June 6, 2019


After an unusually cool Spring, we're supposed to run up over 100 degrees this weekend and may be well above that this time next week.  Summer has arrived.  Now some folks don't like it when it gets this hot. I don't really mind.  I do feel sorry for dogs as the hot pavement burns their paws.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

moter veehickles

Went to the motor vehicle department yesterday. Let's just say it involved the recent hit and run. The people working there must get special training. I have never seen any other place where everyone who works there is an asshole and absolutely nobody is interested in helping anyone.  That seems to be the case in other states as well.  I wish I knew how they have such consistent quality control. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019


Things aren't going well in recycling.  They've sharply cut back what we're allowed to recycle where I live as there is no market for a lot of the stuff.  I figure we may not have any recycling before long. I hate filling up the landfill with stuff that could be recycled, but that seems to be the future.

Monday, June 3, 2019

solar power

My front yard light quit working.  I decided, rather than repair it I'd spend the vast sum of $5 and buy a solar light.  Our homeowners association requires we have a yard light.  So, after a week I've decided it's not quite as bright as the old electric bulb but it meets the requirements and I think I'll keep it.  These solar yard lights are much improved over the ones a few years ago.  They're brighter and more reliable.  I'm pretty darn impressed.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Dry Gulch

I've edited a lot of anthologies over the years; most in the weird western category, a few more traditional horror and some science fiction.  Some have been well submitted, some have gone begging for stories and had to be cancelled.  That may be why some writers are reticent to submit to an original story anthology--who wants to go to the work and have it get cancelled.  And maybe the writing world just hates me.  It is clear that, more often than not, I have struggled to fill most of these projects.

That was kind of the deal with Tales From Dry Gulch, which just  finished it's reading cycle. Once again, I would have liked to have had a few more stories. Still, I have enough to make a good book. And I was amazed at how well the stories fit. It is so nice to see stuff where the writer actually read the guidelines.  These stories fit together amazingly well, even though they're over a wide range of types with ghost stories and little green men represented.  And, what became an amazing thread was "What the heck is zinc?" kept turning up about the town's zinc mine. 

So, the book will be edited, laid out and a cover designed for it. And later this year it will be released and we'll see if folks will buy it.

Friday, May 31, 2019

May or May Not

They say this has been the coldest May in many years. Normally, one day out from June we'd be having some really warm weather--but we're not. It's been quire mild. Whilst the forecast is for much warmer weather real soon, this respite from the desert heat has been nice.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

ads and stuff

Ever had a new movie that's about to come out and  you kinda thought you might want to go see it then the trailers and ads come out and the movie looks so stupid you change your mind and decide not to go?  Such is the case of Secret Life of Pets 2. Damn. No way am I going to that one.  Commercials strike me as really stupid.. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


Mailed out contracts for US contributors to Dry Gulch anthology.  Will get the foreign contributors off in a few days.  But wait, isn't the reading period open. Well, yes it is and I could still add a story if I got one I liked. That's the thing about books is you can adjust the size if you want.  There was a rush at first, then nothing. Haven't seen a story in two weeks, so  do not expect much more action.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019


I had supper at a food truck.  This one was Italian. The one a few weeks ago  was BBQ,   I'm amazed at how good it was.  Our homeowners association has been inviting food trucks in every now and then.  The thing is, these two times are the only times I have ever eaten food truck food.  I don't know why, but I never hopped on the food truck bandwagon before.  I've been missing out.

Monday, May 27, 2019

spam, wonderful spam

I don't know why, but just about every retail company  I do business with seems to feel if they have my email number they MUST spam me every blasted day.  One particular large home improvement store sent me email every blasted day.  Now, the thing is I like this store. I actually buy stuff there.  But that still doesn't mean I want constant daily spam from them.  I don't know why these companies do this as I can't believe their customers want this constant glut of email. Yet they do. This isn't the first time this has been a problem.  A number of companies have done this to me, forcing me to unsubscribe from their marketing efforts.  The thing is, I wouldn't mind an occasional email now and then if they had something interesting going on like free barbecue grills or something, but it seems to be deluge or nothing with these places.  Whether it's a large clothing company in Duluth IA or the big box home improvement chain, the result is always the same--I have to get away from them because they won't leave me alone.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Are the Brits back?

I note two sales in the United Kingdom this week for Science Fiction Trails 14.  I note it simply because it's unusual.  For years now I've had no sales at all in the UK.  I once sold quite a few copies there but the sales just vanished.  I've actually sold a few copies in Germany which isn't an English speaking market as the British market had remained silent. And we're talking like a decade of basically no British sales.  I can't always tell where ebooks are going, but most print sales are compartmentalized.  I'm not sure  why the British market vanished.  And Germany does have a lot of expatriate Americans living there.  It would be something if the Brit market picked up a little steam.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

editing books

Editing books, meaning acquisition editing as opposed to copy editing, is way different than writing them.  It's really a different mindset.  With Dry Gulch, I'm trying to decide what I want in the way of stories.  Will I get more or is this what I have to choose from?  Which stories fit better?  And then, it starts coming together and Dry Gulch goes from abstract concept to real life anthology. 

The down side on something like Dry Gulch is writers won't write to guidelines--they try to convince themselves their story fits a certain project.  If you have an open ended project like a horror anthology and you just say "Send me horror" there's a lot of that lying around and you tend to get a lot of stories.  My stuff is always highly specialized and I don't get that kind of deluge, accordingly. Still, I'm mostly pleased with what I've gotten. 

Friday, May 24, 2019

people are scum

Well, yesterday my car was hit by a hit and run driver.  There seems to be a lot of this going on these days.  Fortunately, I was not hurt but car sustained some damage.  This woman drove right through a stop sign and smacked my car.  Then she took  off and left.  I don't really know how this will all turn out.  I'm hoping the sheriff's department will track her down.  I got her plate number and a decent description.  Only time can tell.

I can only speculate why she took off. Probably had no insurance. More likely had warrants or at least a suspended license.  My impression was she was intoxicated, but she avoided a sobriety test by taking off.  I can say this, if I was on a jury for someone who blew away a hit and run driver, I'd likely vote to acquit.[the shooter of the hit and run driver, I would never acquit a hit and run driver]. That's probably harsh.  But these people who only care about themselves, keep on driving no matter what, and can't care less if they damage someone's car or even kill somebody--well, I think this is a special type of scumbag.  And I  have felt this way long before yesterday's incident.  Any developments and I'll post it here.  

Thursday, May 23, 2019

page views

I've noticed a trend on this site. When I write about garbage, the number of views goes way up.  This site will pick up right around an extra 100 views when I write something about recycling or garbage. I wonder if that's true with network television and people are actually clamoring for more stories about garbage. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019


My father is out of town for a few days.  He designated my brother to put out his garbage.  He is so obsessed with garbage he even made a diagram of where the can goes in relation to the driveway. Just out there by the street is not good enough, it must be on the left side of the driveway with the edge of the can lined up with the edge of the driveway.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

solar stuff

My yard light quit working. Our HOA requires we have one. My dilemma was I couldn't figure out why it wasn't working and I didn't want to pay some guy to come out and fix it. Solution, for five bucks I got a solar light and put it in the casing where the light bulb had been. It works great. Problem solved. I noted there are simply gobs of amazing solar lighting options for just about any lighting need.  

Sunday, May 19, 2019

another one

Another review came out in something called Nameless Zine.


Overall, positive although a few comments had me scratch my head.  This was written and sold as a novella, the reviewer seems to think it's supposed to be a novel.  And the date of 1963 should be 1863.  Like I said, a little strange but overall a nice review. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Brand loyalty

Companies spend a lot of effort, time & money to keep customers to them   In my case it is all for naught.  In the past two weeks I have dumped a credit card in favor of a different one, dumped my cell phone carrier, and replaced both my car and homeowners insurance with other companies. I don't know if the old companies are sorry to see me go, but in each case i got a better deal and I took it. 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

insurance yum!

Ah, it just so happens that my car and my homeowners insurance come up for renewal in early June. So I've been talking to insurance companies.  It clearly pays to shop around.  I saved $200 on my car insurance and $190 on my house by switching companies.  Yay!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Goodbye computer

My old Dell computer died yesterday.  It was 10 years old--ancient by computer years. It was a good computer.  Fortunately, I was fairly well backed up.  I'll miss it. I certainly got my moneys worth.

Monday, May 13, 2019

I don't know.

Why are my book sales dropping? I don't know.

More importantly, does anyone actually read anything?  Take this blog for example.  It usually has around 200 people visiting the site each day with site visits up to 500 folks now and then.  But what do they want?  I don't know.

I mentioned last Sunday, not yesterday but May 4th, I had a nice review of my latest book, Fallen Angel, in the Arizona Daily Star.   Is my "Quirky little novel" going to see an increase in sales?  I don't know.  The Star supposedly has circulation on Sunday around 350,000.  Well, that's a lot of folks who could have read the review.  But how many actually did?  I don't know.

Last year my book Legends of the Dragon Cowboys  was reviewed in the same paper.  I saw no appreciable increase in sales.  It had some other favorable reviews, but that did not generate much in the way of sales.  So, while people won't buy a book if they don't know about it, that does not mean they'll buy one if they do.  The sad reality is my overall book sales have been dropping.  That is especially true of Science Fiction Trails, where I am editor.  Sales of each of the last three issues have been 50% lower than the previous issue.  The issue just released has gotten positive feedback from readers, quite a bit of positive feedback, yet the sales are still way below the previous year and super way below what they were five years ago.  Has the reader changed that much or is something else going on?  I don't know.

See a pattern here.  I don't know what's going on, but something ain't right. 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

rain yay!

Got some rain last night. It was a decent amount. Living in the Arizona desert, rain is a big deal. We can go quite a while between rain showers.  It's really good for  out plant friends.  And I won't have to water my yard for a few days. 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Badges, we don't got no stinkin badges

I'm working on an anthology that's a little different than my past projects which were mostly western horror. Dry Gulch is western, but I didn't tell the authors what it had to be. I just said where it takes place, which was Dry Gulch, Colorado and gave them a few stock characters. Authors were free to add whatever characters they wanted.  I'm still reading for it, but I've been really pleased. They are using my stock characters and there's a pleasant overall lack of walking badges. That's been a longtime peeve of mine, the two dimensional lawman in charge of every story.  About the only lawmen, ironically, are in a story I wrote.  The most popular characters are the alien piano player and the town drunk.

Well, I'm really enjoying putting this book together.  Can't wait for the final product.

Friday, May 10, 2019


I'm up to my ass in weeds. This has been the worst spring for weeds in many a year, the locals who've lived here a long time tell me.  I can barely keep up with it.  I burn them off with my propane weed burner and turn around and there are more of them growing.  So today will be yet another yard work day. 

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Is it racist?

I'm working on an anthology that's sort of a shared world concept.  Contributors had to use at least one character from a list of stock characters. They were free to add their own characters as well.  Well, my guidelines were taken down off one site because somebody complained they were racist. No one ever complained to me directly, so I don't know what their beef was.  I suspect it involved a Chinese character who ran a laundry and also was involved in various criminal enterprises.  Thing is, a lot of Chinese people in the 1800s ran laundries. They found a niche in the labor market and filled it.  And, there was a crime problem amongst some Chinese folks in the form of violent tongs in west coast cities.   So, are we now relegated to only having white people commit crimes? Is it racist to have a person of color who is a bad guy?  I don't know.  I'm not used to this sort of attack.

Well, I guess I'll write a Mexican bandit story to make up for it.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Big City Papers

It was nice getting reviewed by the Arizona Daily Star Sunday.  It's gotten really hard to get reviewed by newspapers.  Papers keep cutting back on stuff and books just aren't as interesting to folks as are, say, movies. My first published novel, The Two Devils, managed to get reviewed in the Denver Post when it came out. If it came out today, that would not likely happen. The Post once had a regular reviewer of science fiction--now they don't.  

Getting a review is nice.  People aren't going to buy a book they don't know about.  Yet, they may not buy it even if they do.  Bookstores don't special order like they once did.  I know my book is available through distributors, yet I've gone into four bookstores and been told "We can't get it." That means we don't want to bother.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Fallen Angel

My new book, Fallen Angel, was reviewed in the Arizona Daily Star last Sunday.

This quirky new novel by Tucsonan David B. Riley is a cross-genre romp, religious fantasy meets historical fiction, science fiction, zombie “Animal House.”...

Here is a link to the full review


Monday, May 6, 2019

For the birds

I don't know why old ladies love to feed birds so much.  They all seem to love to toss out food for them.  My grandmother was that way when she was alive--just loved feeding birds and did it constantly.  Well, the old lady behind my house is of the same camp. She has a bird feeder and knows how to use it.  In fact, she's putting out so much food--filling the damned thing twice a day, that she is attracting a massive amount of birds into the neighborhood. These are mostly doves and they shit on everything, including my house and my car. Because of the huge amount of food there are far more of these blasted birds than would normally be around in the Sonoaran desert.  and there seems to be nothing I can do about it. If I kill the damned birds I can be arrested by Fish and Game, yet nothing will happen to the old bat who is tossing out the food.  My only hope is she'll attract rattlesnakes and one of them will bite her and she'll die. Alas, that isn't very likely. 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Yard work

My yard has been taken over by weeds. It started in the middle of winter and continues.  No matter what chemicals I try, the crabgrass just laughs at me and says "What else you got?"  Even using propane to burn the little bastards can't keep up with it.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

moo vee

Can't we have a respite from comic book movies? Apparently not.  I'm so sick of them. Maybe that colored my attitude toward the new Avengers movie.  It was basically a bunch of cameo appearances and little more.  I could've done without it.

Friday, May 3, 2019

teachin younguns

At the recent Wild Wild West Con I had a few occasions to talk with school teachers and librarians.  They all said about the same thing, they thought their students would be interested in stuff like weird westerns, but they had qualms about recommending it for fear that it might carry too much in the way of excessive sex and violence for young people.  Have they seen what's on TV lately?  Anyway, I assured her that little of my products fall in that camp and also suggested a few other things they could feel good about recommending to young people.  

I was glad to talk to them about this. It's been obvious that librarians shy away from weird western type of material, at least I know some of their concerns.  And it got me to re-focus my radar a bit as well.  Two of the submissions for a weird western project I'm editing came in with references to visiting the whores at the saloon.  Well, I suggested visiting the saloon girls as an alternative.  Am I censoring?  I don't think so. It was a minor issue in both stories.  Still, some of these writers are so darned touchy. 

Thursday, May 2, 2019


I got a Hersey bar with almonds.  I'd just about stopped eating them since they went to pieces of almonds.  This one had full almonds. It was good. I hope they've gone back to whole almonds.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

It's Spirits

I got asked recently why I'm not going to ghost towns or haunted places anymore.  And I don't talk about ghost related TV shows.  Have I given up on them? No. It's just that nothing new ever comes up. As far as ghost shows, it's just the same old thing over and over. And one paranormal show is clearly fabricating their encounters.  

People seem to forget that most of my ghost experience were in haunted hotels. I worked in two of them.  Since I retired from the hotel business I haven't been around haunted lodgings, ergo I just haven't been as involved.  They  say you never really believe in ghosts until you've encountered one. Well, none of that has changed.  It's just I don't really have anything new.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Blow the man down

Boy howdy, is it windy.  It's not as bad as the wind last year that broke one of my trees, but it's still pretty bad.. 

Monday, April 29, 2019


I thought I'd share a few thoughts about ice.  Where I live, well I think our water smalls funny.  When I freeze water in ice cube trays the ice smells funny.  My solution is to buy bag ice at the store. It doesn't stink. 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

the neighborhood

My street is kind of on a small hill, and as you drive it, it goes up hill slightly.  I have learned that if I go past my house and stop in front of the house uphill a ways and start talking on my cellphone this neighbor will inevitably come charging out the door--presumably to yell at me for stopping in front of his house on a public street.  Whereupon I will immediately take my foot of the brake and drive off. Ha ha.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Strange Goings On

I live in a gated neighborhood a few miles out of Tucson.  For some reason, every few weeks, unknown persons have wandered around the neighborhood pounding on windows in the middle of the night.  Thus far, no one has been caught.  I had it happen to my house about six weeks ago. It was about 1 am. There's something weird about somebody pounding on your windows when you're sleeping. You're not sure if it's real or you just dreamed it. Until I got an email in the morning from our neighborhood watch I wasn't really sure.  Anyway, I do find it odd that somebody has nothing else to do.  Apparently a nearby street had an incident two nights ago.

Friday, April 26, 2019


Every now and then The Orville really blows me away.  Sure, they run a bit sugary for my tastes, but some of their episodes are really doing some serious science fiction.  The end of season finale has revisited the episode where the really bad android guys have attacked.  Pretty good stuff.                       

Thursday, April 25, 2019


I keep hearing stories of school districts closing their libraries.  I keep hearing of schools dropping cursive writing off their curriculum.  Most places have already dropped art and music. What's next?  They won't need those things because their phones will take care of it--and it saves money.  I don't know what they're doing to fill up the time.   Here are some suggestions.

Parking lot studies. Students will learn how to patch holes in parking lots, paint stripes for parking stalls, direct traffic and so on.

Sleep lab.  Students will go and sleep.  Studies show students don't get enough sleep and maybe they'll be less horrible if they're rested.

For high school students, fornication lab.  Students will spend an hour every day having sex with each other.  Since they don't have library or art, well at least they'll have something popular.

And that's my fix for education curriculum's. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


This hasn't gotten much attention. The recycling world seems to be collapsing.  Our trash collector has cut back to only plastic bottles, cardboard and aluminum cans. Gone are newspapers, glass bottles, magazines steel cans [like for soup or dog food] and any plastic but bottles.  There go the landfills.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Book Titles

I'm editing an anthology.  Well, here are some really bad titles for your anthology:

Really Boring Tales

Stories to Sleep By

The Most Expensive Anthology Ever Made


Stories About Something

We Forgot What It's About but  It's Probably Good

Stories by Authors Who Just Stopped Caring

Monday, April 22, 2019


Off to the Ford dealer for yet another recall repair.  This sort of thing kills the better part of a day. My main problem is I live so far from the dealer it's tough to do anything else.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Do you know? Part 2

Yesterday I ran some facts and invited people to figure out which ones were actually true. The one about actress Hedy Lamarr was true.  All of the other ones were not.  Didja fall for any of them?

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Do you know?

Can you tell which of these statements are true and which ones are not?

Famed lawman Wyatt Earp founded the Wyatt's chain of supermarkets.

Federal lawman J. Edgar Hoover invented Hoover vacuum cleaners.

Movie actress Hedy Lamarr invented a guidance system for torpedoes in WW II.

Actress Lucille Ball claimed she was once abducted by space aliens.

Howard Hughes escaped from a German POW camp during WWII.

Author H.G. Wells was once charged with shoplifting for stealing a hat in a London store.

Actor Raymond Burr invented cell phones.

General Eisenhower adopted Adolph Hitler's German shepherd Heidi at the end of WWII.

Tomorrow I'll reveal which facts are real and which ones are bogus.

Friday, April 19, 2019


When I was little I loved making hard boiled eggs and coloring them for Easter.  Of course my mother kept an eye on things, but I managed to cook and dye them on my own.  I've always wondered why some store  doesn't sell already colored eggs. Of course, it's fun to dye  them and where's the fun of just buying them.  I note a tend to more store bought candy eggs instead of real eggs.  That's a shame.  There's something about dying Easter eggs that I miss.  I'm not going to make any, but I do miss it.  

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Have you been redacted ?

One of the things about writing fiction is it sometimes collides with reality.  In my novella Fallen Angel, (available on ebook or from your favorite bookseller) the angel Mabel is caught in the file room at a government office. The government clerk asks what she's doing in there. Her answer is she's redacting the government file on her.  Well, when I wrote that passage a year ago it wasn't all that remarkable, just part of the story. Now, suddenly, "redacted" is everywhere.  Well, if someone were reading my book today they might stop a moment, where they otherwise would not.  And Mabel hypnotizes the government clerk and goes on to save everyone from the Martians.

For the dullards out there, redacted means to remove or obscure.  And the term is everywhere.  It's funny how that works sometime.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


Got some rain last night, but it was dang little. In a moisture challenged area you always hope for rain, but know not to hope too much.  

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Martians

I was kind of bothered in a review of my new novella, Fallen Angel, that said I used Orwell's Martians.  My Martians fly around in glowing spheres.  My Martians talk--at least to Mabel, as she's the only one who speaks their language.  And my Martians are real assholes--Orwell's are not developed particularly.  Both Martians do seem to want to eat humans, but that's pretty much the end of any similarity.  And, my Martians are little green men. They're not gray, they're green.  That's not so much Orwellian as the contemporary view of aliens is gray beings with black eyes. Mine are green and have glowing yellow eyes.

My Martians were inspired by an account of a UFO sighting during the Battle of Vicksburg.  in the Civil War.  General Grant felt that Vicksburg would give the Union control of the Mississippi River and essentially split Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas from the rest of the Confederacy.  And when the town fell it did pretty much do just that.  There is an account that an artillery battery stopped firing because the soldiers were all gawking at a glowing sphere that was hovering over the battlefield. You don't find that in the history books.  I wasn't around back then, but I tend to believe it happened. And that event, not Orwell's story, is what inspired me to write Fallen Angel.  Mabel, an angel residing in hell as she was one of the angels kicked out of heaven, turns up in the Civil War and works as a photographer.  Being an angel, she can talk to the Martians as angels can speak any language.. Unfortunately, the Martians are all males and despise the very notion of having to talk to a woman.  Things do not go well for the Martians. And they turn up in 1884 in California, which is where a number of my stories are set and they once again encounter Mabel along with Miles O'Malley and his horse, Paul. They should've stayed on Mars.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sisters of the Wild Sage

Book Review     
Sisters of the Wild Sage by Nicole Givens Kurtz, April, 2019

I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy of a new author collection from Nicole Givens Kurtz. Sisters of the Wild Sage is certainly not a bunch of lawmen running around taking on the forces of evil. Most of the action is set in Wild Sage, New Mexico.  There's a quote that says a lot. "When someone with a pistol meets someone with a magic wand, the pistol loses." These stories are about women, for the most part–women of color. And Kurtz lets loose with her having lived in New Mexico, the wind, the night sky are powerful forces here. And the story is just as likely to take place in a hogan as anywhere else.    

In the interest of disclosure, I was the original publisher of one of these stories. "Justice" first appeared in Six Guns Straight From Hell back around 2007. Maybe I'm biased, but it's still my favorite story in this collection. It actually has a sheriff in it, but none of that matters as justice asserts itself in a Navajo hogan.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Binge watching

Nowadays we can binge watch an entire season of a particular TV show if we want to.  The problem is there aren't that many shows one wants to watch that way. As I mentioned before, I recently binged on the Legend TV show. from the late 90s. I hadn't realized it still existed.  I'm still looking around for the next such adventure.  

Friday, April 12, 2019

Black Hole

I hope everyone caught the black hole.  Galaxies have them and they must serve some purpose.  I have no idea what that purpose is. When they start up Star Fleet, I hope they have all the black holes mapped or that could be a disaster.  

Thursday, April 11, 2019


One remarkable thing about my recent deluge of boiler room calls is the lack of language skills on the part of the callers.  Note to phone scammers: If the victim can't understand you, he's not going to sign up for what ever the hell it is your trying to swindle him with.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Brrr They are having blizzards

They're having blizzard conditions up in Colorado.  It's supposed to be in the 70s today here in Tucson.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Robo Calls

Screw the stupid wall. If President Donald wanted to be popular he'd find a way to end these annoying robo calls. I got 25 unwanted robo calls yesterday and 57 unwanted text messages. This is out of control and the Do Not Call Registry is a total joke.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Killing Eve

Caught the new season debut of Killing Eve.  That's the show that has an assassin who really enjoys her work and a former British intelligence analyst who's trying to catch her.  So far, it's amazing at how good it is.  

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Summer Fuhd

Around these parts, if you walk your dog during the middle of the day you'll burn its feet as the sidewalks are so hot.  Advancing on that theory and on the fact you can cook an egg on the sidewalk, which I have done, I created the solar oven last summer, which was really a cardboard box lined with aluminum foil, with one end open to let in the sunlight.  I cooked a baked potato, although it took four hours.

So, this winter I've been thinking about how to improve my design.  I've got some ideas and plans to try some other things and see how they'll cook with nothing but the sun for energy. First, it has to warm up a little. Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

sokay I guess

Well, there are two reviews up on my novella Fallen Angel.  One is at a online review site, the other is an Amazon review.  Neither reviewer was overjoyed with it, nor did they hate it.  Critical Mass, the review site said I used Orwell's Martians. I kind of took exception to that as War of the Worlds Martians lumbered around on walking machines. My Martians flew in glowing spheres. As I've said before, my inspiration for the story came from an account of a UFO sighting at Vicksburg, not from War of the Worlds. Nonetheless, the review was not awful and people won't buy a book they don't know about.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Go to the store

How many people go to the store?  I do. It's a long way to the store from where I live. I'm out in the sticks outside the municipal boundary of Tucson. From here it's quite a drive.  So I get so I don't want to go.  Run out of food? Well, there's still stale rain bread and orange juice--it's what's for dinner. Maybe tomorrow when I'm down to ketchup and orange juice I'll break down and go to the store.  

Thursday, April 4, 2019


Last night I had food from a food truck.   It was only the second time I've had food truck food.  I had some lunch in Denver three years ago and I had supper last night. Our local neighborhood has been having food trucks come by now and then.  So I tried it.    I had a hot dog. It was good, but not really remarkable.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Dog Park

Our neighborhood may soon have a dog park. The homeowners association is taking a vote on one. I think it's a good idea.  Thing is, I don't have a dog.  Still, I like the concept.  I'm reminded about the lab in Seattle who loved the dog park and went every day with her person.  Over time, if he was taking too long she'd go out to the corner and get on the bus by herself. She'd ride the bus and get off at the dog park.  She was videoed  and it caused quite a stir.  The drivers all knew her and couldn't say no to her, but the transit authority was not too pleased an unattended, unleashed dog was riding the bus system.  I just point out how much some dogs like dog parks.

Monday, April 1, 2019

April Fools Day

Couldn't think of anything to do to my brother for April Fools.  I guess I've run out of ideas.

Sunday, March 31, 2019


I am pleased to announce Science Fiction Trails issue 14 is now available.  Yep, it just won't die and keeps coming back every year just like a plague of locusts.  All kidding aside, it's a pretty good issue. It's even got a big giant scorpion.  How many magazines can say that?  Order your copy now--and get thirty or forty copies for your friends whilst you're at it.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Recycle This M''F

They've cut back on our recycling.  And they may completely cancel it.  We're down to aluminum cans, plastic bottles and cardboard only.  No more catalogs or glass containers and a lot of other stuff. Kind of sad, really.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Service, give me service

Car is off to get serviced today.  It's hard to get service appointments this time of year. All the snowbirds are getting ready to go back to whatever frozen wasteland they came from.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019


One unexpected treat of the recent Wild Wild West Con was a chance to see the TV series Legend, which starred Richard Dean Anderson.  I always wondered what happened to the show.  Well, I knew it was cancelled after one season back when the UPN Network was in turmoil.  I never even saw all of the episodes.  Well we got to watch an episode and I was refreshed at how really good this thing is. And I realized you can still buy it on DVD You have to put in Legend Complete Series as Amazon has trouble finding just Legend for some reason.  Watching this was a real treat.  And, they filmed most of it right here in Tucson at Old Tucson Studios.

The concept is this western writer sort of becomes the hero he's been writing about and he's helped by a Hungarian inventor who seems to me to be a lot like Nikola Tesla. And this inventor helps Nicodemus Legend be a Western super hero with all sorts of inventions.  Frankly, this is what I love when I talk about Weird Westerns.  

Alas, it didn't last very long and Richard Dean Anderson went off to Stargate SG1 and that was that. If you like this sort of thing, I can't recommend it enough.  This is as good as it gets . If you've ever liked a weird western or western oriented steampunk, check this show out.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Flu Like Illness

Seems everyone I know is sick. A lot of people have something called Flu Like illnesses. That's where the symptoms are like the flu but it may be some other virus. Ah choo.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Snow Ball Mystery

I've mentioned before that every time Hostess changes the color of their Snowball product, I buy one. Thing I can't figure out is what happened this spring.  There were no green ones for St Patrick's Day. I was really bummed.  They went straight from their default pink to a purple color.  I guess the purple depicts Easter.  I am really bummed.  

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Privy Tales

Here's something not everyone thinks about nowadays.  I've been doing some research into indoor plumbing.  Until recently the Census Bureau asked a lot of questions about the number of toilets people have--and folks really hated it.  The reason why is an amazing number of homes did not have indoor bathrooms until well into the 20th century--especially in farm/rural areas.  I was working on a story set in 1880 in Denver.  There's a good chance a home would not have had any indoor plumbing at that point in time.  Packaged toilet paper went on the market in 1857.  I guess people used corn cobs before then.  

Privy is a synonym for outhouse.  Nowadays I suspect most folks are unfamiliar with the term. 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Crazy Old Man

My father turns 92 in a few days.  I asked him what he wanted for his birthday. "Nothing" was his answer. And nothing he shall receive.  I was going to send in to the White House and see if the president would send him a card. Apparently, they do that, but then I realized the president was Donald Trump and nobody wants a card from him, so  I didn't bother.

I thought about getting him a jigsaw puzzle, but doubt he'd like it.  I decided to give him his wish and nothing he shall have.

There are some thing I wish I could get him to do.  A really old guy can get away with stuff I can't.

Sit in his driveway and take pictures of the neighbors all day long.

When my brother goes to work, have the crazy old man sitting in his garage.  That would confuse my brother for days.  Why are you here, dad?  I don't know.

Put my dad's car in my brother's garage. Why is your car in my garage, dad? I don't know.

Have him order a trash dumpster put in his driveway. [My brother has to drive past the crazy old man's house to get  to his house] My brother would ask him why he got the dumpster?  I got a bag of lawn trimmings.

Have him go to my brother's house at dinner time when they weren't expecting him.  Why are you here, dad?  I thought we were having dinner. Never mind and walk away.

Have him go to my brothers house with an 18 year old girl and introduce Misty as his new fiance. "We're getting married tomorrow."      [Oh, how I wish I could get him to do this one. Oh please.]

Well, these actually have more to do with antagonizing my brother. But that's the kind of guy I am.

Friday, March 22, 2019

spring cleaning

Spending the day trying to clean my house.  I can't seem to get little elves to come and do it. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019


One of the publishers I've worked with over the years is Hadrosaur Productions.  They currently have two of my books on their newly refurbished web page.  You can get my just released novella Fallen Angel as well as my book Legends of the Dragon Cowboys.  They've got some other books you might like as well.  Check it out:  http://hadrosaur.com/

My own Science Fiction Trails Press has not been very active, publishing the annual magazine but nothing else the past two years.  That's mainly because our last few anthologies have sold so poorly that I've been reluctant to add more money losing ventures to the mix.  Whilst I've considered a few projects, so far I've been reluctant to return to a more aggressive publishing menu. Sty tuned. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

onward stories onward

One thing about writing that I don't think non writers understand is how much work goes into a book. It really takes a lot of effort.  I've been working on another  story set in my 1800s California weird western universe with Mayans gods and Martians running around.  Last night I came to the conclusion that the story I was doing simply was not working.  What do you do when that happens? In my case, I decided to put the story aside for a while. I'll work on something else and revisit it in a few months. If I still can't figure out a way to make the story work, then I'll likely  abandon it.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Well then

I offered to fix my kin [relatives] green eggs and ham for St Patrick's Day. They declined.  "I don't like green eggs and ham. I don't like them, Sam I am..."  Well, quoting Dr Seuss, they should've been more adventuresome.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Happy St Patrick's Day

Enjoy your St Patrick's Day.  May you find your nearest Irish restaurant and have yourself a wonderful meal. Uh?  Find some place that serves Irish beer then.  That would be Harp or Guinness. Frankly, I don't care for either one.  Just order Irish Whisky, they say it's like Scotch only not quite as good.  I don't know any brands, I don't drink Irish whisky and I'm only part Irish so I just don't know.  And there's something about corned beef--my mom made it for some reason.  She wasn't Irish, so I'm not sure why.  All I know is the Hostess Snowballs usually turn green for St Patrick's Day but not at the store I shop at.  Otherwise, I don't understand St. Patrick's Day.  I think you're supposed to hang a shamrock and stand under it and pretty red-haired girls will kiss you.  Either that or little green men bring you a pot of gold.

Anyway, it's not Ground Hog Day, but have a nice holiday anyway!

Saturday, March 16, 2019


Word coming in from my Colorado friends that they've been suffering through widespread power outages for a few days now due to a really bad blizzard.  That's not much fun.  It seems to me winter should be winding down, but old Jack Frost seems to have other ideas.  Then you hear the tragic stories of people using charcoal to heat their homes--let's hope not.  

Friday, March 15, 2019


It seems like every day another Democrat is announcing for the presidency.  Well, I want everyone to know that I am not running for president.  

Thursday, March 14, 2019


I've got these damned doves that keep hanging out on my car--pooping all over it.  I cannot get them to leave.  I've tried swatting them with a broom.  I put a rubber snake out.  They just won't leave.  It's not hunting season  and they are a game bird so I can't just kill them, as much as I'd like to. The reviews on these ultrasonic devices are not encouraging.