Monday, September 16, 2019

Off for surgery

After all my medical tests last week, now I'm off for surgery today.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

More medical stuff

So, I go through all the tests. They took enough blood to feed a vampire.  The nurse practitioner didn't like my EKG, the cardiologist said it wasn't that bad, but made me get an echo cardiogram just the same.  That's a glorified ultrasound if you have not had the pleasure.  Then they decided to clear me for surgery.  I guess that's a good thing.

Surgery is scheduled for Monday.  

Friday, September 13, 2019


Huh?  The thing I noticed most about having all these blasted tests--three hours of tests for what's supposed to be a half hour outpatient procedure.  Anyway, these medical people, not the doctors so much as the little trolls who work for them, ask some things that make you wonder.  I don't think I'm super old and decrepit,although I'm starting to wonder.  "Can you sit up on the exam table?"  Uh, no I need to sit on the floor.   "Do you need a wheelchair or can you walk over to get your ultrasound?"  Uh, no, I just walked three times that far coming in from the parking lot, better order me up a wheelchair.   "Do you need help putting your shoes back on?"  [seriously]    I don't know how my shoes get on each morning.    Do they really think I'm that feeble or is it just the force of habit?  Maybe I don't really want to know.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

And More Tests

And the cardiologist I had to go to because the nurse practitioner is an id*t decided I can have my surgery.  Yay!  Now, what else will go wrong? Stay tuned. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

What A Production

Getting ready to have surgery. What a production.  They took a lot of blood and stuff. One gets the feeling they're desperate to find something wrong with me, in addition to the problem for the surgery.  The nurse practitioner, which means a nurse with godlike power over you, did not like my EKG. I don't understand what is wrong as no one really told me. So, tomorrow it's off to see the cardiologist. Are we having fun yet?

Monday, September 9, 2019


"Well, well well. How about we just take our knife and cut that tumor out of you. Betcha you'd like that."

"Go ahead.  [That's one way to save on co-pays }

Sunday, September 8, 2019

What are you doing?

I was asked why I posted a lackluster review of Tales From Dry Gulch yesterday.  Well, it wasn't that bad.  It's just people like seeing what other folks think before purchasing. To put it another way, we have nothing to hide.  As is often the case with anthologies  tastes vary a lot.  So people are looking for something that makes them feel like this particular book is right for them.  It's hard to get them to buy.  The review gave folks another take on the book.  

Saturday, September 7, 2019

New Review

A new review just came out for Tales From Dry Gulch.  at Critical Mass review site.

Not overly wild about it, but not hard on it either.  He has not liked much of my latest products. Folks can read it for themselves.

Friday, September 6, 2019


Well, I've got to have surgery in the near future.  It's not as simple as stick a knife in me, and call it done. Oh no, first I have to be cleared for surgery.  I think that's so they're confident I won't die on the table. Maybe not. I felt like the last time I was cleared for surgery was for my kidney cancer operation. Then I felt like they were basically checking me out for drug use. I'm sure someone on meth would create havoc with anaesthesia.  So, if I get cleared, then a few days later they'll stick the scalpel in me--assuming the insurance company approves the blasted procedure.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Not a Drop to Drink

Our water went out at 7 pm Monday and was out until Tuesday evening.  We tend not to think much about water. You turn the tap and it's there, until it is not.   Then, forget about that morning shower or doing your laundry.  Maybe you've got some bottled water to drink--maybe not.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Speaking of Dry Gulch

Antigone Books in Tucson now has copies of Tales From Dry Gulch.  Tell your friends.

Them Librarians

Every now and then when I got to an event such as a con or book fair I end up talking to school or public librarians. Yes, they still exist.  They're curious about weird westerns, but afraid to recommend them to younger readers.   Some of these, hell lots of these, have a lot of violence and sex in them. Well, not all do.  Legends of the Dragon Cowboys has very little of that sort of thing.  And the new Tales From Dry Gulch kept itself to a  PG sort of rating.  I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to a young person.  But librarians, overall, remain skittish. I guess they're tired of angry parents complaining if they guess wrong.  

So tell your libraries to order these. Them is good readin.

Monday, September 2, 2019

To Kindle or Not to Kindle

The Kindle ebook version of Tales From Dry Gulch should be up and running today sometime.  There are other ebook services but I tend not to use them.  Simply put, they don't sell enough copies to bother with.  Kindle will typically sell 20 copies for every one sold someplace else. So, these other places do not seem to me to be worth bothering with.  

Saturday, August 31, 2019


Wild berries are not common here in Arizona.  To get such things in the wild, one must go to places like Maine or Oregon.  However, the canned ones are not all that bad.  I wanted some blueberry pancakes last night, so I got out my pancake mix then poured it onto my griddle, then topped the little wonders with blueberries.  Boy, they were good.

What I do not understand is the lack of frozen blueberry pancakes. Around here in Tucson there is no such thing in the stores.  I used to but them all the time, but that was in Colorado.  They don't have them in Colorado, either.  They used to, but they're gone. Where did they go? 

Thursday, August 29, 2019


Yesterday evening I was on my way home when my phone lit up with a flash flood warning.  The next block I drove into a river.The car picked itself off the ground for a moment. Then the tires reengaged and I gunned it and got out of there and made it home with no further dangers.  Flash Flood warning--no shit.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019


Last weekend i blew a tire on one of our deplorable, treacherous county roads.  Well, my car has a doughnut and that's what I limped into town with.  No problemo, I thought as I have two cars. So, I backed the other car and the mirror hit a pole under my carport, shearing it off instantly.  So, in a matter of an hour or so I go from two cars to one car limping along with a doughnut tire and one car with a  busted mirror just begging some state trooper to stop me and give me a ticket.  I replaced the tire yesterday. Today the car is getting a new mirror installed. Yay!  It;s not safe out there.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Dry Gulch

I haven't said much about Tales From Dry Gulch. I was waiting to see the physical books and make sure they were okay.  A lot of things went wrong with the production of this book.  They look great and they're ready to sell.

Welcome to Dry Gulch, Colorado.  It's a small town that's struggled since the gold mine went bust. Still, people try and be positive about the future.  There's some company from back east that's thinking about putting in a zinc mine.  No one is sure what zinc is, but that won't matter.  At the center of town is the saloon.  There you can find men drinking and cussing and paying cards.  And you can have a cold beer, maybe even served to you by Wendy Washer, the owner of the saloon.  And you can enjoy the piano playing, if you get over certain things about the piano player. Sam Knight does double duty in that he wrote one of the stories and did the cover art as well.  That ain't a cowboy heading in to the saloon through the bat wing doors.

Folks are welcome in Dry Gulch.  You can take the stage from Denver or there's rumored to be a flying saucer from some other place.  No matter how you get there,   I think you'll enjoy the stories by Sam Knight, J.A. Campbell, Jill Hand, Patrick Dorn, Henry Ram, and more--As you get to know Marshal Jones, town drunk Henry Steelman and Chief Running Bear, who deals a  friendly hand of stud poker.  Dry Gulch is easy to find, just saddle up and order a copy from your favorite online bookstore.  

Sunday, August 25, 2019

It's here!

I got my Moscow Mitch mug today. I can put beverages in it and it has a picture of Moscow Mitch on it. I don't normally buy stuff like this, but I think the Moscow Mitch thing is hilarious.  So, I'm having tea. "Here's to you. Mitch! Das Tribunal!"

Friday, August 23, 2019


Got some rain last night--finally. Hopefully that'll cool down things a little. August was looking like it might be an all time record hot month.  Of course rain is not a simple matter in my neighborhood. My cell phone lit up with emergency alerts to be prepared for flash flooding.  Mt neighborhood drains water rather well, but our access roads that go into town may be a mess in the morning. If they flood there can be mud and crud everywhere. Stay tuned.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

It's Hot

It's just unbelievably hot.  I mean, sure it's Arizona in August. As I write this, it's 10 pm and it's still rather hot outside. And tomorrow my day job takes me outside yet again.  It's not going to be pleasant.  

Monday, August 19, 2019

Weird Westerns

For 20 years I've been an advocate of "The Greatest Genre Nobody Ever Heard Of."  I'm talking about Weird Westerns.  These are an under appreciated genre that's over 100 years old, yet most folks have never heard of them and don't really understand the concept. There a lot of them around.  I edited the heavy on science fiction, Science Fiction Trails for 14 annual issues.  I've also edited or co-edited some freestanding anthologies such as Gunslingers & Ghost Stories and Six Guns Straight From Hell, to name a few.  In the past couple of years I have two novellas, The Venerable Travels of Ling Fung and Fallen Angel.  [And some other stuff that's not really in print].

So, I think it's safe to say I like this genre. I talk about the genre whenever I can find a willing audience at book fairs, science fiction conventions and similar venues.  I think I have some credentials in this area..  

And now I release Tales From Dry Gulch, where I am editor as well as a contributing author as one of the stories in the book is mine.  What amazed me was how well the stories fit together.It kind of struck me as a Wild West version of Mayberry.  Well, maybe not that syrupy.  But whether it's Wendy Washer and the problems she has with her saloon or the amazing things the town drunk gets into, it all kind of fits into a town I'd certainly like to visit.  I suspect this is in part because most of the other authors are people I work with.  I think they've figured out I'm a sucker for a ghost story--and real sucker for anything with little green men and flying saucers.  Still, these folks took the time to read the guidelines and select at least one of the of the mandatory stock characters.  Most importantly of all, many of them said they had fun writing their stories.  And I think that's most important of all.  I believe the readers are going to have fun reading it.

Print is out now, the ebook will be along in a few weeks.  Tight on money, maybe you can get your library to order a copy for you.  That's Tales From Dry Gulch, the one with the little green man in a cowboy hat going into the saloon.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Dry Gulch

Who'd a hunk it?  A shared world weird western anthology.  What'll they think of next?  Yep, we are talking about Tales From Dry Gulch, a new anthology edited by me. It's available now from Amazon. The ebook is expected in about two weeks.

Contributing authors were given a list of stock characters. They had to use at least one and could choose from Wendy Washer, the saloon owner, or Henry Steelman, the town drunk, to name a few..  The cover comes from Sam Knight who also contributes a story.  So, order your copy today.  Then you can saddle up and take a ride out to Dry Gulch.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Heating back up.

Things are really heating back up.  My car's air conditioning can't quite keep up with it.  Good news isstores and places aren't as crowded as folks seem to stay home more when it's this hot.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Many hats

I've worn many hats as I've published stuff over the years.  There's my author hat because I've written a whole ton of short stories and seven novels. And my editor hat because I've edited a whole bunch of anthologies plus 14 issues of Science Fiction Trails magazine.  I've also been publisher of some of these things, particularly Science Fiction Trails.  But most people don't know that 've also worn an art director hat.  I've bought a lot of the cover art in all these things I've been publisher for.

Well, Science fiction Trails Publishing has been putting together a new anthology called Tales From Dry Gulch.  The thing went together quite well, so when I was wearing my editor hat I was happy. But, put on the art director hat and just sigh.  Over the years, I've had so much trouble with artists. This project was no exception. The first artist delivered a caver. For the first time ever, I was forced to reject the cover. It looked like the artist really phoned it in.  There two men on a porch. It looked like clip art that had been slapped down in a couple of minutes. And they appeared to be looking at a shower curtain on the porch. That was it. Plus the buildings were all purple for some inexplicable reason.  I gather the shower curtain was some sort of ghost.  Well, two guys standing on a porch next to some ghost, in itself was pathetic.  I showed it to three other people. They all thought it was a shower curtain on a porch.  

The next artist, like all my art assignments, agreed to the deadline.  Well, the deadline came and went with no cover. Alas, not being in a forgiving mood, I informed the artist he  need no bother and hired a third artist.  That artist delivered what I wanted in two days.  

Sure, writers are a pain to work with. But I'll take writers any day over artists. Nothing causes me more grief than working with artists in publishing land.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

yard work

I've got this big old ugly bush in my front yard.  I've never really liked it, but it doesn't hurt anything. but it desperately needs trimming.  Between the fact it's been well over 100 degrees and I've been nursing a bad back, this has not been something I really wanted to take on.  But, that's the goal for today--to trim the bush.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


My back pain has finally tapered off. I still have no idea what I did to cause it.  It's simply amazing how hard simple things like getting in and out of bed can get.  No wonder old people are so cranky.

Monday, August 12, 2019

More Yikes

Still do not know what I did to get my back hurting. The last two days were most unpleasant, but it is finally settling down. Nothing like back pain to remind you how quickly you can be messed up and feeling very mortal.

Sunday, August 11, 2019


There's nothing like back pain to make you say Howdy.  My back has been killing me.  I don't know what I did to upset things.  I don't have a history of back problems. In fact, such pain is quite unusual. Therefore, I'm somewhat bewildered as to what to do about it. But I write this blog entry at 3 am because I sleep and am completely miserable.  And, thanks to the people abusing opioids, doctors no longer give out pain medicine, so there is little point in venturing off and seeking medical help.   Although I doubt it. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019


I've said before, every time the Hostess people change the color of their Snoballs, I buy a package. It never fails.  They've been green for a while, not sure why. Today, they were orange. It seems a little early for Halloween, so I'm not sure why the orange color.  But that's what they were. Naturally, I bought a package.  They've got me completely programmed.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Oh please, oh please

Tucson has relatively few tall buildings.  Since is fairly plentiful the trend has been for urban sprawl rather than upward growth that you see in cities where they've run out of land.  Still, downtown has a few such places.  I was getting inside an elevator and noticed some people were heading for me.  I frantically looked for a button to close the door, but could not find one.  I desperately wanted it to close before the people got there. Miraculously, it did close in time and I did not have to share my elevator and went straight to the floor I wanted.

Am I a bad person for not trying to hold the elevator? Probably.  But it's just the way I am.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

This Just In

I live in an older people neighborhood. A lot of my neighbors are grandparents. One neighbor has a daughter and two grand kids who live fairly close by here in Tucson.  So, apparently mom took the dog out to go potty two mornings ago.  And there was poop on the back porch.  She decided it was human poop and her son Kevin must have taken a dump on the porch. The younger grandchild is still in diapers and is an unlikely suspect.

Well, Kevin denied knowing anything about it. And he pointed out he'd done one of those backyard camp outs at his friend Robert's house and only returned a few minutes ago.  So, either Kevin walked three miles in the middle of the night to take a dump on the porch or he might be innocent.

So, another look was taken at the poop.  It looked human to the parties involved.  As they're discussing the turd, a neighborhood dog runs up and takes a  big old dump. And that poop looks just like the previous one.

So, young Kevin narrowly escaped execution solely because he had an alibi.  Makes you think, sort of.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019


Had my eye tests yesterday.  I did pretty good.  In fact, I did better on one test for peripheral vision than I did last year. I don't really know how that is possible.  I have high eye pressure. It was caught early, so it never caused the eye damage glaucoma can do if not treated.  This runs in the family, but I always urge everyone who knows me to get their vision checked.  Some of these eye diseases give few symptoms until major problems start developing and it simply isn't that difficult or expensive to go in and see an eye doctor--be it a doctor of optometry or an MD opthamologist.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Out With The Eyes

Off today for an eye exam.  I hate that.  And I get to do the little machine with the flashing lights. I really hate that.  Although I like my eye doctor, what I hate are the little trolls that heard you around the place. I guess they're medical assistants of some form, but they would have you believing they actually knew something about eye care. Truth is, most of them can barely schedule an appointment and are completely useless.  The sooner the robots take over for medical office staff, the better.

Monday, August 5, 2019

The Pleasant Season

August is usually a really hot month here in Tucson. It's certainly started out that way.  Of course it gets hot all over the country  in August.    I'm growing some shade in my back yard, but that takes time.  

The college kids will be showing up soon if they haven't already.  This cycle takes place each year. And the school kids go back soon as well.  Growing up in California we didn't go back to school until after Labor day, but around here it's mid August.  And so another season comes to an end. I call it the pleasant season. It's when the schools close, the college kids go to wherever they go, and the snowbirds are gone.  The traffic is light, the stores uncrowded because all these blasted people are gone.  I even got my car worked on the other day without an appointment.  Fancy chance that'll ever happen in the winter months around here. Yes the pleasant Season is coming to an end, although we still have a little while before the snowbirds are back.

Sunday, August 4, 2019


I'm not going to keep dwelling on Moscow Mitch.  I do find the explosive way it took off fascinating. But this isn't really a political blog and I'm not going to keep hammering away at him.  But my usual visits to this site run 200-250 a day. They went up to 1000 when I posted the recipe for a Moscow Mitch sandwich.  Whether folks are clamouring for a new type of sandwich or just more information on the tormenting of the senate's majority leader--that I can't say. 

Oh, this  is my favorite Moscow Mitch song:

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Where will it go?

I mentioned the Moscow Mitch phenomenon yesterday. It appears to be spreading out of Kentucky. I'm told a bar in Ft Collins has a vodka cocktail they're calling the "Moscow Mitch."  Simply amazing.

I asked a Russian how to make a Moscow Mitch. This is the recipe for a Moscow Mitch sandwich:

This is how you make a Moscow Mitch. First, you take a good sized chunk of baguette, slice it in half, and toast it. Then you put a thin layer of butter—real butter—on the bread. Then you take boiled eggs, slice them thin, and cover the buttered bread with the egg slices. Then you cover this with good quality salmon caviar. Voila, the Moscow Mitch.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Every Now and Then

Every now and then a nickname comes along and attaches itself like glue. A lot of those attach themselves and you can't ever get rid if them.  In junior high it might be "Stinky" or something. In prison it might be "Fingers"  Think about that one a moment.  In college it might be "Hot Lips" or Slutty Sheila"   We had a guy when I was in Wyoming who we called Butt Wipe. I'm not sure where it came from. Anyway, the person stuck with these names seldom likes them but is loathe to do anything about it.  We know where this next one comes from.

To this comes senate majority leader "Moscow Mitch " McConnell.  He won't allow a vote on election security bills and has been accused of being on the side of the Russians in election meddling. Some even think he hopes his doomed campaign will be saved by the Russians.  So, the Kentucky Democratic Party is having some fun  selling stickers and other merchandise that says Moscow Mitch on it.  I think it's hilarious. Moscow Mitch he shall always be.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Paranoid Delusions

Yesterday I had a cancer scare.  I convinced myself I had testicular cancer.  So I made an appointment and went off to see my doctor.  Apparently, that type of cancer doesn't look like what I had. My gonads were really swollen.  It was diagnosed as a cyst that was  full of fluid. So, I was referred to a urologist to have it drained and that's that. My doctor was not too impressed with my self diagnosis.  

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

blueberry pancakes?

I don't know if it's a factor of where I live or what, but I cannot find blueberry pancakes in grocery stores here in Tucson.  Certainly, this is not a blueberry producing area. I get that. But canned blueberry's can be shipped anywhere.  I recall once buying blueberry pancakes in the frozen aisle in other states like Colorado. Then, for some reason, they sort of disappeared.  I know a few restaurants sell them, but I wanted them at two o'clock in the morning--a time of night I didn't really want to get dressed and go back out to get them  I guess I'll have to make do until I can find some, if they still exist.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Straw People

I continue to be appalled at the number of eateries that stick straws in my beverage.  I don't use straws at home and wonder why I need one if I eat someplace else.  These damned plastic straws create some serious solid waste problems.  And I don't understand why restaurants all think people need them. They don't even ask, they just keep putting them in your drink.  How do we stop it?  There must be some sway to stop the madness.  We don't need all these straws.

On a related note, I seem to remember paper straws as a child before everything became plastic. At least those would degrade.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Old Karz

They say it's cheaper to have older cars than new ones.  I haven't had a new car in a very long time. I do have two aging cars that seem to be spending most of their time at the local mechanic.  Last week it was a throttle assembly.  Tomorrow one of them will get new spark plus and a transmission flush. Will it ever end?  I doubt it.

Whether I need two of them, that may be the real question. It's nice to have a backup car. Tomorrow, with my car in the shop I still have a car to go places.  On the flip side of that--twice the registration fees and more insurance.  

Saturday, July 27, 2019


Well, I looked around for housing yesterday.  I didn't really like anything.  I guess I don't really have enough money to do what I'd like.  I guess I'll just stay put for a while.

Friday, July 26, 2019

looking for housing

I've been considering selling my house and returning to the rental market.  There are quite a few rental options, so deciding what I want to do isn't all that easy.  These senior only places come with meals and stuff. I kind of like the concept. Whilst I qualify as an over 55, I'm a lot younger than the median ages of 75+ that a lot of these places have. Would I fir in?  Probably not.  To be continued.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

This just in

Well, there's this thing that seems to be serious where they want a bunch of people to storm Area 51. I think I already have plans.

Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us


"Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us" is a Facebook event currently planned for September 20, 2019 at Area 51, an United States Air Force facility within the Nevada Test and Training Range, to raid the site in search for extraterrestrial life. Wikipedia
DateSeptember 20, 2019

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Birthday Kardz

Well, it's that time of year again.  There's a fair chance I may have a few birthday cards in my mailbox today.  I just don't think the email cards are the same as a printed card.  Maybe I'm just an old geezer in that regard.  There's something nice about a printed card with some hilarious Farside cartoon on it. 

Oh, I'm showing my age again. Farside was this hysterical cartoon that used to run in newspapers.  Then one day it stopped because Gary Larson didn't want to do it anymore.  I went into a depression for a while back when that happened.

About three years ago everyone forgot my birthday and I didn't get any cards at all.

Presents, I ain't got no presents.  I don't really care about presents as it's usually something I don't really like anyway.  But a nice card that brings a smile to my face, well I'll admit I still enjoy that.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Magic Karpet

Been trying to get someone to clean my carpets.  I've never liked those do it yourself machines you rent from stores.  There's something about my zip code in that they think I live many miles farther out of town than I really do. Ergo, no one wants to come to my house to do the work.  I finally found some place, but will they actually show up?  We'll see.

Monday, July 22, 2019


"How come he needs two cars?"
I live in a neighborhood of older people.  A few of the old ladies go for a walk in the morning, which is a perfectly reasonable activity.  But they talk loud. If I have a window open I can hear them. They don't seem to understand why I have two cars.  It seems to bother them.  The reason is simple enough; my cars are older high mileage vehicles, one of them is really older built in 2000.So, one of them is 20 and the other is 12.  Having two of them gives me a backup.  One of them was damaged in a hit and run a few months ago.  The other one has been in the shop for various things as recently as last week when a part connected to the accelerator broke.  Having a backup car means I can still go somewhere if I need to.  In a sprawled out town like Tucson public transportation is spotty at best.  And that's why I have two cars.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Messing alone

I've mentioned before my fondness for the survival show Alone.  That's the show where they dump you off and leave you there to go insane.  I keep thinking if I had a production company, how easy it would be to bring in a few people and let them think they're on a survival show, but it's really not.  Then just mess with them.  Have footprints in fresh snow when they wake up.  Have piles of cigarette butts nearby, like someone's been watching them.  Maybe have their entire camp vanish when they're off hunting, put food in their camp they didn't catch.  The list goes on  and on.  It's a good thing I don't have a survival production company.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Moon Landing

My mother was thrilled when they decided to do the moon landing on her birthday. I've been somewhat amazed at how little interest there is in the 50th anniversary of this event.  Back then the whole world was glued to their TV sets.  Yet, at a recent convention, I gave a talk about moon stuff and hardly anyone even showed up.  Stories of the day predicted we'd soon have bases on the moon.Well, that never happened. I guess the problem was there simply wasn't much going on.  If they'd found gold, things might have turned out differently.  But they just brought back a few hundred pounds of rocks.  We benefited greatly from the space program with improvements in computers, commercial uses for laser beams, improvements in food storage yum freeze dried,

As I think back to how mesmerized people were, locked on to every development, it's kind of amazing how little interest there is in the 50th anniversary.  But that grainy picture of Neil Armstrong stepping from the Lunar Module and onto the lunar surface is still very clear in my memory.

If I'd been an astronaut, and I was 10 years old then, but if I'd have been an astronaut, I'd have pointed somewhere off camera and said "What's that?  It's coming closer! And then screamed, followed by silence for a minute or so.  Then a just kidding. Well, that's why I'm not an astronaut.

Friday, July 19, 2019

all by myself

Of all the survival shows they have on TV, the one I like best is Alone.  Here, they drop you off in the winter out in the middle of nowhere and just leave you there until you go insane.  It's certainly the show I'd like to be on.  With my kidney problems and some other health issues, I couldn't survive on any of these shows.  Alone allows way more provisions, but calling in for help is the same as tapping out.  So, the folks build shelters; some quite elaborate and others little more than a lean-to. This season, in the Canadian arctic, that may come back to haunt some of them.  

As with Naked & Afraid, procuring food is tough.  

If it were me, I'd try and build a raft or dugout canoe before the weather turns really cold. Then I could cover more ground looking for resources.  Fish move around. Game moves around.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Rough Time For Car World

Yesterday, my car broke down.  It could only go about ten MPH. I feared I was going to have to get my gun and shoot it. That's what they do with horses to put them put of their misery. Whilst I thought it was a transmission problem, it turned out to be a throttle problem and not all that expensive to fix. At least where this happened I was only about a mile from the place i take my car to for service.  So I limped along with my flashers on and that was that.

This is the same car that was hit by a hit and run driver in May. Poor car's been having a rough time, but it's not quite ready to be towed off to that junk yard in the sky.

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.