Sunday, May 31, 2020

summer riots

I predicted summer riots quite some time ago.  They clamped down on people for too long and it was bound to happen. I didn't know what the flash point would be. I certainly didn't know something as brutal as what happened in Minnesota would come along. But I was certain something would trigger it. 

We destroyed the jobs of millions of people yet allowed the big box corporate stores to remain open. In many states people can't even go out for a  meal or have a beer in their favorite watering hole. There's little sports programming to watch.  They even closed the national parks.  Most of this had little to do with the spread of the virus.  And we so absolutely got no leadership or even encouragement from the White House.  

What surprises me is people are actually surprised there's rioting.  Probably more to come.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

readership

At times I wonder if doing this blog is worth it.  It almost always has 200 views a day and it's not unusual to go upwards of 400.  I don't really know how that compares to other sites.  The most popular hits seem to be the phobia of the month.  The page views go up every time I announce the new phobia. Another popular subject is garbage.or recycling.  The mere mention of something to do with garbage causes the viewership to soar.  And adding some type of picture also causes a ride in viewership.


Friday, May 29, 2020

Phobia of the Month

This month's phobia is: Bibliophobia- a fear of books.  I actually knew someone who had this.  He'd break out in a cold seat and start shaking at the mere mention of going inside a bookstore. Even the sight of books made him flee.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Blood and guts

I had to get a blood test yesterday.  It's just part of my upcoming regular doctor visit.  I  was amazed at the changes the medical office building has gone through.  They've got people sitting in chairs in the hallway at one doctor's office because they used to pack everyone in like sardines in their waiting room.  They took my temperature when I came through the door. I supposed if I had a fever they'd have killed me on the spot.  Ah, looking back on the good old days when they only had to worry about blood born pathogens.  I had my mask on and was able to proceed to the lb for my blood draw.  

One thing I left with was a feeling of how glad I was that I don't work in healthcare.  This sure isn't my idea of fun.

Now, today I have to take my father to a different medical building for some tests he needs done.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Doctor on TV

My kidney doctor now refuses to see patients in person.  He only sees you on a computer screen.  I guess this is the future of medicine.  I can't say as I'm particularly fond of this trend.  But away I shall go.  I think It's time to find another doctor.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Grant

Tonight will debut the start of a three part miniseries on Ulysses S. Grant, the famed Civil War general and American President. I've long thought Grant was misunderstood and  plan to watch the show.  

Can't get enough Grant?  Well, it so happens Grant appears in my novella Fallen Angel.  Of course my story is fiction, but I didn't select the general by accident.  Grant is instantly recognizable and we learn the Angel Mabel formed a friendship with Grant During the Civil War which continues after his presidency when Martians decide to invade Earth.  

So, if you can't get enough Grant, Fallen Angel is available in ebook and print versions.  


Sunday, May 24, 2020

memorial

It's almost Memorial Day.  We had a cold spring by Arizona standards. Couple that with everyplace being closed, and I am having trouble grasping the concept of Spring. 

Friday, May 22, 2020

banking

I checked some of the local banks for what they are offering these days.  What a rip off.  I use a credit union here in Tucson and had not realized what a rip people are getting from the large banks.  Whilst I admit these banks do have large branch and ATM networks, but they're all wanting high fees for that convenience.  I also note that some of these accounts are no longer called checking accounts and do not have check writing.  Now, if you have a certain balance or get a certain amount direct deposited, well then they offer some fee waivers off their $12 a month fees [that's $144 a year for the math challenged]..

Still, by comparison, my credit union offers checks, bill pay, online banking, debit/Visa ATM card, online banking and it is free [although a $25 savings account is required]

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

neighborhood watch

We have one of those neighborhood watch groups. I fear they may have gone of the deep end. These outfits serve a purpose, but the emails I've been getting from them are a bit overzealous.  I'm supposed to call 911 if someone comes to my door.  And I'm supposed to call if I see a car I don't recognize in the neighborhood.  Generally, our society does seem to be developing a fear of strangers.  I think this may be overkill.  I wonder if it's just our neighborhood.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Help Wanted For Our Times

Help wanted:  Hoard Rampager I.  This position is for anticipation for the coming plague-ridden end of days. Rampager will join a roving hoard and forage for food and supplies, including taking of same by force, fashioning and maintaining weapons, guarding same and other duties as assigned.  Must be willing to mercilessly kill people.  Experience with heavy equipment or mining equipment to force open secure underground bunkers especially desirable.  Benefits include generous share of the loot and opportunities for rape and other violent acts.  Experience preferred but will train the right applicant.  A criminal record is not considered a problem for this position.  Submit resume to Mayhem Temporary Personnel Services.


Help wanted: Camouflage Expert.  Must be able to design and install materials that will make underground bunkers and survival food storage sheds hidden from roving hoards and other thieves. Successful candidate will have experience with paint and construction materials.  Must be able to fool hoards into thinking there is nothing of value on client's property.  Salary can be in either gold or freeze dried food products.  Submit resume to Mayhem Temporary Personnel Services.

Help wanted: Medical services provider. In anticipation for the coming end of days, a physician or nurse practitioner is desired to deliver and administer medical supplies to survival bunkers, including antibiotics and vaccines for preventing deadly outbreaks.  Ability to treat bullet wounds would be a  plus.  Bullet proof vest and sidearm provided. Payment can be in gold or freeze dried food products. Submit resume to Mayhem Temporary Personnel Services.

Help wanted:  Plague body remover.  In anticipation of the coming end of days, a robust individual is required to go around to homes and businesses and collect dead bodies from plague ravaged neighborhoods and dispose of same. This can include digging graves or building home made crematoriums.  Ability to evade roving hoards would be a plus.  Experience with Ebola or Sars or similar outbreaks highly desirable. Payment can be in gold or freeze dried food products.  Submit resume to Mayhem Temporary Personnel Services.




Monday, May 18, 2020

Faking it

As I've mentioned before, I am in the process of editing a western horror anthology.  About 1/4 of the stories that come in have no prayer of being taken seriously.  The writers who create them have no idea of what the west was like. And they aren't very good at faking it.  Some writers don't know much about the Old West, but make up for it with really entertaining plot or at least interesting characters. But what tends to show is when the story is in some unnamed western town where we don't even know what state or territory it's in or the year it is taking place.  

My advice if you want to write these type of stories: sit down and create the town you're placing it in. Come up with a town, then come up with the basic folks in that town like the school marm, the town marshal, maybe there's a mayor or preacher.  Just start visualizing what this town is like.  Then name the place.  You'd be amazed to ho w much that helps your story become more believable.

Now, if your story is set on a ranch or some other place that gets tricky.  One writer keeps sending me crap set on ranches because I don't think she has a clue what western towns were like. he thing is, she doesn't understand ranch life either. But if you come up with an interesting location, it can really improve your overall story.

I have gone the made up town route, although my western books with Miles O'Malley, and more recently, Fallen Angel, are set in 1880's San Francisco.  Growing up in the area, I know a lot about the history of the region and it's just been a natural place or me to base my characters. Ling Fung, from Legends of the Dragon Cowboys, takes up residence in Placerville, which is a California mining town that I selected somewhat because it had a high Chinese population in the 1800's.  

My point is, don't just run with a generic town--give us a real place, or a realistic place whether you use a real town or make one up.  You'll be amazed how much better your stories will be.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

New review out

http://www.thenamelesszine.org/Books-2020/Exchange_Students.php

There is a new review out of the anthology Exchange Students.   I have a story there called "The Pupil" about a Martian barrister who takes on a student from Earth. It also features my Sarah Meadows character.


Saturday, May 16, 2020

Oh boy, what a fish!


This picture just caught my eye. 

Friday, May 15, 2020

Editor, Writer, Art Director, Retired Old Geezer

What am I?  I sometimes wonder.  I definitely retired from the hotel business and moved to Arizona from Colorado.  But I still edit projects.  I still act as art director and hire artists to do covers.  And I still edit anthologies.  It's that last hat that people who aren't in the business don't really understand. They think of an editor as somebody who corrects mistakes in a manuscript or who proofreads something.  That's a different kind of editor.  I am selecting stories to put in a new book of western horror stories. And things are going fairly well.  We're getting some really good stuff.  In fact some of its so good I started thinking Stokers.  The Stoker awards are given out by the Horror Writers Association for the best horror fiction--much like the Oscars go to film making achievements. Then I had to slap  myself for thinking such things. I once said hell will freeze over before they ever hand out a stoker to a weird western anthology.  It ain't gonna happen.  But, deep down, I've done a lot of these things and this one is starting to look special.

While we continue to work on this book, you can read Six Guns Straight From Hell. Although it's out of print, it is abundantly available from   online used book outlets and a number of libraries have copies which you can get through inter library loan if your local library lacks it.  That'll get you in the mood for what's coming later this summer.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Germ Warfare

For all our effort, all the hell everyone's gone through, all the millions of jobs lost, we have more cases of virus in the USA than anywhere. People are dying like crazy.  I have this idea of going around coughing on homeless panhandlers..  But they might cough back.  That's a new take on germ warfare.  Whose germs would win? 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Uh? Not Martians Again

Okay, so I have these friends who are thinking about starting a restaurant when the economy settles down and the plague tapers off. They ran one before.  So, they were asking for ideas of what to call it. There were six folks just tossing ideas around.  And I said to call it "The Martian  Cafe."  I further suggested they have a little green man on the menus and the front door and a slogan on the menus like  "Where Martians eat for free."  And they could decorate it with pictures of Mars and stuff.  The kids meal could maybe come with a toy flying saucer.  It would've been the coolest place.

Well, then it occurred to me everyone was looking at me and not in a good way. I thought it was about the best idea I'd ever had in my life, but that didn't seem to be the reaction.

Okay, I am  not obsessed with little green men. I'm obsessed with Martians.  My novella Fallen Angel is chock full of Martians as the angel Mabel has to save Earth from them--twice.  

I liked my idea for the name.  Hell, I'd start one myself except I know nothing about running a restaurant.




Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Blue capes and guns

I've often wondered if writers wore capes and carried guns how things might be like.  I tend to forget how self-delusional writers tend to be.  They think their stupid idea is the most wonderful thing anyone ever came up with.  They think a story about two boys playing fort will be accepted by a publisher of a western horror anthology.  So, we as a society should give writers capes and guns and a shirt with a big W on it.  And writers could go around and stop bank robbers and catch babies falling from buildings.  Wouldn't that be something?

Monday, May 11, 2020

Dogs on duty

I live in a neighborhood of older people. They drop dead rather often.  One neighbor walks her dog every evening. A few days ago she came by without him.  Usually it's the humans who've croaked, but I started thinking the worst.  I asked her where Trevor was, fearing the answer. She surprised me. Trevor was fine--more than fine.  Her son had simply taken him surfing.  Yes, the dog loves to surf, which he can't do in Arizona.  And he was over in California riding the waves.  So, the concept of some dog going off on vacation had not really occurred to me.  I wonder if he sends out postcards.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

product idea

Do you keep worrying that there might be someone hiding in your shower?  I sure do.  That's why I just thought of the shower alarm.  You hang it from the shower head.  When you get in the shower you enter a code.  If you don't then it starts beeping, so you know someone's in there if you hear it. I sure wish I knew how to build such a contraption.  

In fact, I could start a whole line of products like the shower TV camera, where you tap into your home TV setup and can watch the inside of your shower.  And there also could be the microphone in the shower so you'd hear some guy moving around in there.  A whole line of products for a problem you probably did not even know you had.

Speaking of men hiding in the shower.  Back in Colorado I had to come in to attend a meeting at the hotel  I worked at.  Normally I was just there at night.  Well, the maid was yacking with another maid and I snuck  inside the room she was cleaning and closed the shower curtain.  A few minutes went by then she reached into the shower area and I yelled "Grrr."  She went running out into the hall screaming. I went out a second door and vanished.  The poor woman eventually got a supervisor to go back in and of course there was nobody hiding in the shower.  I was a bad boy.

One Halloween I went over to a  girlfriend's house and hid in her shower and put on a Ghillie suit.  Those are the rugged outfits snipers use and sometimes are mistaken for Bigfoot. Hunters use them also. It was six am, that's how dedicated I was and how unprepared she was. So, she came into the bathroom buck naked and opened the shower door and I grabbed her wrist and  yelled "Grrr!"  And she went racing out of her apartment, sans clothing while screaming. And her barking mop dog, Toby, was right in front of her. Some hero he was at protecting his mistress. I took off out the kitchen door.  Somehow she figured it was me. Well, she wasn't my girlfriend any longer.  So, yes, some guy hiding in your shower really does happen.  And it's probably poetic justice I now awaken convinced there's some guy in my shower.


Ghillie suit used by hunters

Friday, May 8, 2020

illicit doings

There are people around Tucson who will do illegal things if you pay cash.  They usually work out of motor homes and tend to move around a lot. No, I'm not talking about drugs. I'm talking about barbers.  It's a crime to get a haircut right now. I guess that's about to change and barber shops will soon re-open.  But these mobile, illegal barbers have been filling the void.  Do I wait, or get one now?  That is the question.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

future of medicine

Last week I took my dad to a new doctor.  The doctor sits down the hall and talks to the patient over a TV screen.  I guess this is the future of medicine.  I can understand this concept in rural areas where there aren't enough doctors.  When the guy is right down the hall and doesn't want to catch anything, I find this troubling.  The medical assistant still comes into the exam room and takes the patient's blood pressure and temperature.  So the medical assistant is exposed, although sh was wearing a mask and gloved.  But doctor God down the hall is too important.  I guess this is the way things are heading, but I can't say I'm all that impressed.  

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Phobia of the Month

This month's irrational phobia is purinsumphobia.  It's a fear of trash cans.  Just imagine trash cans following you around, plotting to get you. If that's the case, this may be 

Monday, May 4, 2020

Hiding in the shower

Okay, I've had a few days recently when I was convinced there was somebody hiding in my shower in the middle of the night.  Each time I got out of bed and went and checked. Of course, no one was there. The problem when you're paranoid is if you don't check, that's the time there really is somebody hiding in your shower.  Does this happen to other people or just me?

Sunday, May 3, 2020

okay, then

Now then, so far I've predicted large scale rioting this spring. I already explained the 92 degrees theory.  And people have been so clamped down and they're broke and have nowhere to go. To my thinking riots are inevitable.  The worse thing they did was close the bars. Hell, people have been catching diseases at bars for centuries although they were a different kind.  Liquor gives people a release and that's been taken away from them.  Not only that, but you can't sit down in a nice restaurant and have a pleasant supper--it's only to go order you have to go and eat at a truck stop. Yep. boiling over is inevitable. Just wait and see.  And if I am proven wrong, I just won't admit it.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

good fortune

Two days ago I found a quarter.  Yesterday I found a dime when I was pumping gas. That's a total of 37 cents I've found this week. 

Friday, May 1, 2020

editing stuff

Everyone who thinks they're an author should take a crack at editing, at least once.  I'm editing a horror anthology currently. I've teamed up with Colorado author J. A. Campbell for this endeavor. It is simply astonishing how bad a lot of the stories people send out are.  I'm also starting to wonder if they teach anything at all in school anymore.  There are people submitting for publication who do not even seem  to understand what a paragraph is.  

On the other hand, there are some really talented writers out there.  I'm actually impressed with the quality of some of the stories that are coming in--really impressed.  We may end up with a pretty dang good book.  And that's why I do this.  I don't have to edit.  I could spend the time writing short stories or maybe even another novella.  But sometimes I like to work in a more collaborative venue that anthologies provide.

Some anthologies are rather vague collections of stories. A lot of them are themed in some fashion. As most folks who read this site know, I tend to spend most of my effort in the weird western genre. The new anthology will be no exception.  I'll mention more when the reading period ends.