Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye, decade of the tens

Thus ends the year, and the first ten years of the twenty-first century. At this rate, there may not be a twenty-second. Gah.

We started the decade as a treasonous Supreme Court coup d'etat took over the presidency of the country-- yeah, when they actually bothered to count the votes cast, the other guy won. Now no matter who is in charge, we have a government that believes in neverending war, spreading terror, murder, torture, and crushing any dissent. We've become the old Soviet Union, the bad guys we used to fight against. We have a government that actively works against its own people. Why do we tolerate this? I guess we're afraid of any other alternative.

We will go bankrupt before we stop sending troops to die and bombs to kill overseas. The desire of the taxpayers to support this wasting of billions may be infinite, but we will eventually have no more billions to pour into overseas deserts. What happens then, when we've gone bust, after making enemies of the rest of the world? Payback's gonna be a bitch.

So many people are trying to do good, but as long as those at the top are destroying us, we are losing the battle. Let's spend the next ten years restoring the rule of law, rather than the whim of tyrants. Let's prosecute for illegal actions, in a country where no person is above the law-- the way the Founding Fathers set it up.

If we don't, it's going to be a damn grim world for our children.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pretty Good Company

My story "Locust Time" is in the upcoming anthology "Fungi (#20)," due out in January.
Take a look at the author list:

Uh, yeah, that's me, pointed out as a "talented newcomer" by editor Pierre Comtois, in a print collection alongside Ray Bradbury, H.P. Lovecraft, Ramsey Campbell, and popular mystery author Dave Daniel.

Can you say "WOW!" I'm so happy, and quite stunned. My earliest recollection of fiction is an excerpt from Ray Bradbury's "Dandelion Wine," and soon you'll be able to go to Borders or Barnes and Noble and buy a collection of my words next to his. The man has been one of my influences and idols for over 40 years, and it is an honor to share a venue with him.

Now that, folks, is the kind of thing we writers dream about and work for.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Happy Boxing Day. No, it doesn't man you can punch someone-- it's an interesting "celebration"- if you haven't heard of it, look it up.

Hope you all had a great holiday. Around here the wrapping is off the gifts, and with other detritus, is still scattered about, with boxes, bangles, and bows. The Christmas was good, as was the Christmas dinner, with a tasty turkey and all the trimmings. We lazed about, watched "A Christmas Story" on TV, read a little, and got to relax. All good.

Now time to get back to work, get the writing back on track. Am eager to tackle the problem novel, now that the problem is solved. That's just one of the many projects to do, but it'll be a good start. After the novel is fixed and polished, the goal is to have it in print next year, along with another one or two.

One thing slowing me down is bad back pain, with limited movement as a result. And now we've got a blizzard coming, which means shoveling and pushing out cars. This will take some doing. Ugh.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Frantic Holidays

Haven't posted much, haven't written much, because of so much going on with the holidays. It's been a crazy time. Just trying to keep head above water. Am looking forward to some vacation down time, to get back on track.

But not writing doesn't mean not planning. Recently I figured out how to fix a problem novel (different from a novel problem). This is a biggie, as I couldn't find the clear way to improve the thing, after years of having it sit around. My long works are organic and carefully plotted, and you can't just toss stuff in to pad it out. So it sat, a bit flat and a bit short. Good ideas, a lot well-executed, but not complete.

And then, pow! the answer came in about five minutes, and the solution clicked on all cylinders. I'm just blown away that it's so simple, and absolutely avoided my conciousness for so long. Duh.

This is good, very good, because writers can get stale rather quickly. If you don't exercise that mental muscle, that careful crafting, it gets harder to get back to it. I just read a writer blog (with much sadness) and she says she's taking such a break from writing, she doesn't feel the fire anymore, and may not write in the future. I certainly hope this is not the case, as she is a terrific writer with things to say. I would be sad and terrified if I lost the fire and didn't feel like writing anymore.

So- on to the Christmas cards, and the family stuff, and getting things done at work. Then, into the breach!

Happy holidays, all. Stay safe, and appreciate all the good things you have.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tis the Season

With the holiday season of gift-giving coming up, I'd like to recommend the gift of books. This helps everyone- the recipient, the giver, the independent bookstore you bought the book at (you did go to an independent and not a big chain, right?) and the writer who wrote the book.

Hey, that's a lot of giving in one gift! If you don't know what book to give, get a gift certificate to the store. The recipient will have a nice time browsing and picking out something they like. Can't go wrong.

So forget the sweaters, the fuzzy slippers, the tie or coffee mug. A book is eternal, and more than one person can enjoy it. Give some books this Christmas!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Telling the Truth is Now Illegal

By now you've probably heard that the governments of the world are moving to crush one man, the guy in charge of the Wikileaks site. They're doing so because he is the most dangerous man in the world in their eyes- he's the guy whose site tells the awful truth about the criminal acts they perpetrate on a daily basis.

Those in power hate public scrutiny, because they know decent people would object to their insanity, and they operate in cover of darkness. Wikileaks has pulled back the cloak of night to show us their dirty doings, and like the cockroaches they are, they're scurrying back under cover. And they're moving Heaven and Earth to destroy the man and the website that embarrassed them.

They commit the crimes, but they're going to put HIM in prison. That, dear readers, means you are living not in a democracy, not even in a republic, but a dictatorship, pure and simple. They can imprison a man for exposing their crimes. We do not live in a country governed by the law. We are governed by a few shadowy criminal powers that do whatever they want, with no oversight, no accountability, no checks or balances. They are power-mad oligarchs and fascists, who work against freedom.

The administration of our curent leader is more interested in pursuing whistleblowers (not just the Wikileaks guy, but many others) than it is in pursuing criminals. How backward is that?

Brings to mind the old saw, "nothing done in secret can ever be good." When it comes to government, it is most definitely true. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and we've seen how averse they are to public view.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Another story out!

Wow- yet another story published, as of today. This one at:

It's a flash story (under 1000 words), and a humorous take on the zombie apocalypse.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Latest Story Out

My latest story "Kamikaze Hipsters" is out today, as the first story in the new Dark Valentine anthology!

Check it out- and click on the Welcome Winter icon and be patient while all 3.3 MG loads. Then scroll through and enjoy the read, along with the wicked cool illustration by Mark Satchwill. This is quite an issue. Thanks to Editor Katherine Tomlinson for recognizing the merits of the story and showcasing it so well.

I'm quite fond of this one. The title came to me as I was sitting in a doctor's office, thinking very morbid thoughts. The title was so great I started writing it soon after, not knowing where it would go.

The writer Harlan Ellison is one of my favorites, and I feel this story is close to something like he'd do. Of course if he heard that, he'd get my address, come to my house, and beat me senseless. He is, after all, a writing god.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Terrific animated video

Wow- this funny animated video "So You Want to Write a Novel" is the answer to all those who say they want to write, but have no training, don't read, and think that anyone can do it and be outrageously successful just by picking up a pen or a keyboard:

What makes this so funny is that it's so totally true.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Cost of College

The cost of putting someone through college these days is enough to make one sick. At close to $50,000 a year, it is fast becoming one more thing to break the back of the back of the middle class. Many students are graduating with six-figure debts, one very efficient way to keep them in economic slavery. One wonders if that isn't part of the plan.

As middle-class parents of children fully expecting to attend college within a few years, we are keenly aware of the problem. It is a major worry with us, and we feel inadequate and unable to plan for any sort of retirement, because all our financial wherewithal will need to be diverted so some college can give our kids a fighting chance in today's vicious economic climate.

So read a terrfic book: Higher Education? by Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus. It exposes the absurdity of the inflated costs of today's colleges, and shows why we're simply not getting our money's worth for the high price tags.

The best part is, it's not just a rant. Their research is broad and deep, and they turn up insitutions with good ideas, those who are doing it right. They offer effective, simple proposals for getting us back on track. If you've got kids and are expecting to get them to an institute of higher learning, you simply MUST read this book.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Our family is very thankful this year, for so many things. We have a happy, healthy family, a home, good food, enough of it, and hope for the future. We appreciate our good fortune, and think of those who must do without.

While a fat turkey basted in the oven, we watched the Macy's parade on television. I was pleased, but mostly blown away, to see Arlo Guthrie on one of the approved floats, singing "This Land Is Your Land."

First, Arlo is an icon of the counterculture, and has been since the turbulent 1960's. This folksinger has worked for social justice and fought the fascistic excesses of the right-wing establishment for almost half a century. His whole life has been a finger in the eye to the Establishment, and to the corporate culture. He was one of those long-haired hippies so reviled by the war hawks, and was so known for his vociferous anti-war policies that he was an enemy of The Man.

And on one of the most excessive displays of corporate culture and commercialism, he sings a communist song made famous by his father, Woody Guthrie. "This Land" is about true democracy, where the land belongs to all the people, not just the rich and privileged. Woody sang about the common people, the ones who really made this country great. He sang all over the land with a guitar sporting the slogan "This machine kills Fascists." (One of his torchbearers, the wonderful Pete Seegar, has adopted a kinder, gentler slogan for his instrument-- "This machine surrounds Hate and forces it to surrender.") If only we had more like them.

So Arlo the anti-corporate icon headlined in a parade sponsored by and dedicated to, corporate industry. Simply head-shaking, ironic, and unbelievingly subversive. And I'll bet that in this modern clueless culture that most of the people watching had no idea of why this was special.

To highlight it, at noon today, we listened to a broadcast of Arlo singing his iconic Thansgiving song, "Alice's Restaurant." This remains one of our Thanksgiving Day rituals, much more important than watching football. The whole story spins out again, never losing it's charm, and we weave the past into our present lives.

To us, the work of the singing Guthrie family and others like them is much more than a turkey leg and a song. They worked hard to bring about a world without desperate want, a world where everyone would be able to spend the day in joy and peace, not trying to kill each other. A world where people could be free and unafraid. Nobody is shooting at us today. We wish it were so for all the world.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Now Appearing

Hello again- it's been a busy time. Have been hard at work with the people from Rosstrum Publishing ( to get my 40-page career ebook out on Smashwords. It's titled "How to Improve Your Interviewing Skills," and is now available in a number of formats. Check out a sample. If you're going to interview for a job in the next few years, you'll need the tips from this book to help you avoid mistakes and say the right things.

This is the first step in my independent publishing plan. Have also been in negotiations to get my other works out. So soon enough you'll see ebook versions of my first few novels, soon followed by print versions. And a collection of previously-published short stories. And that's just the beginning!

It's a big, scary step, but exhilarating. It's going guerilla, outside the mainstream big publishing houses. Viva la revolution!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New Anthology

Just got word that my story "Bootleggers," which appeared in Short-Story.Me! is now in the new anthology they have up. Available in the Kindle bookstore--
"Short-Story.Me! Best Genre Short Stories Anthology #2".
(The print version will be available in the Amazon Bookstore and their affiliates in about three weeks.)
It's a 250-page, 24-story volume that includes Crime, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery and Science Fiction.
To see the Authors & Stories included and the cover:

To buy the electronic version of Anthology #2 ($9.99) for the Kindle:


In a sport magazine, one of the columnists wrote on how proud he is to be a rules hacker in tournaments, and detailed some examples. Some people wrote in to defend his attitude. Me, I was disgusted.

In sport, there are concepts of sportsmanship and fair play that go hand-in-hand with honor and personal integrity. What this guy advocates has nothing to do with this.

He attempts to make a distinction between his beliefs and actions and those of outright cheaters. But it's a blurry line, when they share the same contempt for an ethical code, and the same philosophy that "winning" is more important. Why should people believe or trust anyone who boasts how much he can "bend" the rules but claims he won't "break" them? Bend something long enough, it'll break. If you live in a bordello, pardon us for not buying your avowed chastity.

Anyone who "wins" with this type of reprehensible behavior is no champion, but just a pathetic loser. Any prize they might swipe is merely a tarnished badge of shame. Unethical actions and a lack of moral fiber cheapen the meaning of sport, making it a meaningless and soiled activity, with prizes for the most blatant rules hack. Better that competitions go away than these "sharp practice" advocates go on demonstrating their rule-bending cunning.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My First Ebook Purchase- Just Another Day in Paradise

Well, another Luddite has fallen-- I have joined the digital revolution, and bought my first ebook. The world has changed, and so I must adapt.

Now understand, I'm Old School, and as a lover of books (both reading and writing), am firmly sold on print versions, which I'll always keep in my heart. Yet I see the expansion of books to digital format as an addition, not a replacement. Even thinking of offering my own novels in this format, rather than embroil myself in the dying world of big publishing.

My standards for fiction are high, and my budget low, so most of what I read is borrowed from friends of from the library. When I plunk down my limited cash for a book, it better give me some bang for my buck.

So for my first ebook, I chose carefully. Katherine Tomlinson, the editor of Dark Valentine, recently came out with a collection of her short stories, Just Another Day in Paradise. As a new reader (and contributor) of Dark Valentine, I like what they put out. So I thought there was a good chance I'd like the stories written by an editor who publishes the kind of story I like.

Am very pleased to say that I hit the jackpot. The collection is superb, well worth the purchase price and the time spent devouring all the stories. You get the visceral punch right right from the beginning, with the first piece (also the title story). It's written in the second person, always a tough act to bring off, but managed here to effect (as are others later on in the collection). It's a pointed tale of the horrors of modern life, and how easily someone just gets overwhelmed. It's a frightening reminder of how close to the line we all are, and how a simple nudge in the wrong direction can be fatal.

So much of current horror writing is crude, tasteless, terrible, cardboard blood-splattering, but that's not the case here. These well-written stories are full of character, and tell what happens to us when things take a turn to the dark side. This will be a hit with fans of Stephen King, tales in a similar vein, but given a personal stamp by the author.

So when you're in the mood for a shiver of frisson, or "exploring the dark heart of urban living," pick up a copy and settle in for some chills.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Did you vote today? Those who didn't should not complain about the abysmal state of the political climate. If you want the rights without the responsibilities, tough. Gotta take part, even if you think it's meaningless. It isn't. Vote against the bastards if you want, but vote. Tell them what they're doing is not acceptable. Vote for "None of the Above."

What baffles me is that many voters cast their vote for the party that works the hardest against their self-interest. Doesn't anyone remember how much horror happened to this country in the years 2001-2008? Remember who was in charge of everything? And some want them back? WTF? How many times do they have to screw you before you get it?

I dislike both parties, and am an independent. I'll vote for most anyone else, except when there's such an egregious A**hole running that I vote for their opponent. We seem to have more than the usual number running in races around the country today. People want a change, but the whack-jobs decided this was their year. We've got Nazis, witches, and certifiably insane candidates running. All part of Democracy.

The ones who get into power represent the will of the people- which should scare the living crap out of you, if you have a brain. People get the government they deserve. When we grow up as a people and decide to act as adults, we'l have better people in charge. But since we act as ignorant fools, we keep getting the same thing over and over.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Another Story Sale

Cool beans for Halloween! My flash piece (very short story) was accepted by Every Day Fiction, to go up soon.

This is my first non-genre, mainstream story. See, I'm versatile!

Happy halloween everybody. Stay safe.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Great fake ad

I've never been a fan of stupid, or of ignorance. However, it seems that they're more popular than ever, especially in the media, which feeds on stupidity and ignorance.

So here's a great fake ad, which sums up the political climate today:

As Charles Dickens said, in A Christmas Carol:
"This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased."

And as Thomas Jefferson said:
"People get the government they deserve."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Victims Must Apologize

In the world of modern-day neoconservatism (which has nothing to do with fiscal sense for the public), victims should now apologize to the ones who victimize them. We have two stellar example recently.

The first example of arrogant self-entitlement is when the wife of Clarence Thomas called Anita Hill after 20 years and asked her for an apology.

This folks, is the definition of “unmitigated gall.” For those fuzzy on history, about 20 years ago Clarence Thomas was nominated for the Supreme Court, despite a lack of sense or jurisprudence acumen. He was an ultra-conservative party hack, who never strayed from the party line, and so was up for his reward.

One brave, lone woman stood up to testify that maybe this wasn't such a good idea, as Clarence was a sexually harassing creep and bully in the workplace. She gave examples, dates, documentation. She exposed this toad for what he was and is. Not one deserving of a seat on the highest court in the land.

Clarence acted with the usual fake outrage, and claimed that anyone against him was a racist, due to his African-American ancestry. Even though the one exposing him also had African-American ancestry.

And in the usual modern-day upside-down bizarro world, Anita Hill was reviled by the right wing pundits and apologizers. She was the one who endured slander, smears, and character assassination. She suffered greatly for having the courage to stand up to this asshole and his counterparts. And she suffered for it, while Clarence went to his reward, and later betrayed the country.

And now, two decades after the fact, his wife wants Anita Hill to apologize-- for telling the truth.
What kind of parallel universe do these people come from?

But oh, this is even topped by another example. A few years back, Dick Cheney was serving as Vice President after five Supreme Court judges (Clarence Thomas among them- see how it works?) overturned the will of the voters and instead gave office to the people they wanted. So Dick was out with his buddies on a private enclave, drinking and whooping it up, and fired a shotgun load into someone else in the party. Coming very close to killing him.

According to the laws of the United States, a shooting must be investigated, and the shooter questioned. But Cheney ignored the law, as usual, and blew off the police until he could sober up and get his story straight, which took him and his cronies until the next day. They also claimed that Dick and his victim were close friends, because in their world, it's better to shoot your friends. This was another blatant lie which went unchallenged by our stalwart press.

Though his victim almost died, this gang of criminals later made HIM apologize in public!
'So sorry, sir, for getting my face in the way of your muzzle blast. I'll try to be more careful.'

And to this day, the victim has not received any official apology. Because these damn criminals have no decency, no honor, and no respect for anything but money and power.

Two shining examples of what is wrong in this country. It's not the immigrants, or religious groups, or poor people, or the boogeyman of the moment, it's the rich, entitled plutocrats who crush everything in their path and then demand we apologize for getting our blood on their shoes.

And you wonder at the fury of the mob in the French Revolution.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Annoying pop-up ads

Here's a note to website developers: don't be stupid!

I regret to say, many are being so. The new fad is putting links on their page that pop up to a wasteful, totally annoying ad when you roll over it. Lots of them. Probably because some clown told them they'd make tons of money if they did.

Here's a tip, dimbulbs-- the quickest way to get me (and many others) to leave your website and never return is to scatter these stupid pop-ups all over your page. You think you'll make money? You'll LOSE money, because NO ONE wants to see these things! What in the hell is wrong with you? When people get annoyed at a website, they DON'T RETURN!!! You'd better get that quick, before the site owner wonders why they're not getting traffic anymore. And if it's the owner telling you to put them in, tell them it's the quick way to website suicide. People click links to see cool things, not ads. When you put these in, you're insulting your viewers, and we do not like it.

Greed makes people stupid, and stupid people get greedy. They go hand in hand. Here's a trend that needs to stop-- NOW.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A revolution, but books will not die

Another end-of-the-worlder talking about how ebooks are killing print books:

My response...

Yes, it's a revolution, and things have already changed. Good or bad, it's here, and one can get swept under by the tsunami, or grab a surfboard and give it a good ride.

First of all, books are not going away. They'll still be around, with people who like them. While fewer books may be printed and sold because of ebooks, it may not necessarily mean fewer readers or less profit for a writer.

Old Model- I hear of a writer, walk into a bookstore (and assuming I've got the stomach to wade through the steaming dung piles of ghostwritten celebrity “books” foisted on us by big publishers), pay $25 for a book. The writer gets $1-$2 of that, paid 6-12 months (or more) afterward.

New Model- I hear of a writer, go to their website, read a sample they've put up, and buy the ebook for $3. That's right, $3, not the overcharging for ebooks the publishers are currently doing. And the writer still gets $1-$2, but gets it far sooner than a publishing house is going to give it up. And if I like it, I'll buy more (and recommend it to others), because the price is good. And if it's really good, I'll pick up print copies anyway.

I'm middle class, and can't afford the $25 each for the hundred or so books a year that I read. So I'm already getting them from the library or the discount bins, for which the writer gets zilch. The only time I'll fork over big bucks for a new book is at a signing, or for writers I'm keen to collect (established brands).

So with ebooks, the writer has a much better chance of being read and getting direct profit from me, because I'll take a chance for $3, and if the book sucks, I'm not outraged at being ripped off.
This revolution is a reverse of the Industrial Revolution. There, the cottage industries, such as home weavers, were put out of work by economies of scale and machines that could produce more goods cheaper and faster. Now we have behemoth, bloated publishing houses getting put out of work because the little cottage industry can produce a book, printed or electronically, cheaper and faster. How ironic.

Latest Story Out

Today my story "Carnival of Pain" is out at Dark Valentine:

With a very cool illustration by Pamela Jaworska.

A little something for the Halloween season, and an homage to Ray Bradbury. Happy reading!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Beware of modern medicine

At the dentist recently, I was prescribed clindamycin, an antibiotic, to see if it would clear up a minor oral issue. Since penicillin is not for me, this was the stuff to do it. I had the prescription filled, and noticed on the label some of the side effects. They included diarrhea and vomiting. Holy Cow! I thought, that's worse than what it's going to help. This is supposed to make me better, not make my inner fluids pour forth from both ends.

So I went online, and in less than five minutes, got the rundown on this drug. I found personal stories from dozens and dozens of people of how this drug had screwed up their health, causing many severe and long-term issues. People had been in the emergency room, the ICU, or just went through misery and thousands of dollars in medical bills stemming from the prescribed use of this drug.

There are those who dismiss it when you bring up something like this, and say that every drug will cause a reaction in somebody. This drug, however, messed people up badly. A lot of people. Frequently. The more I read, the more I wondered how this dangerous drug got approved and on the market, and gets so blithely prescribed so often and for such minor issues, when so often it causes major harm.

I became convinced that it did more harm than good, and refused to take it. I'm glad I found out the information before I started, because I'm sure it would have adversely affected me, and I'm a healthy person with a strong constitution. I think I'm not the only one to have dodged a bullet here, because had my health been so compromised, I'd have been suing these bastards for poisoning me.

The kicker was, when I called the dentist to voice my concern, the receptionist at the medical practice heard my story and confessed that she had suffered bad side effects from this very drug! Good grief! And yet my concerns were pretty much brushed aside by the dentist prescribing. Didn't want to hear about it. Modern medical practitioners do not accept critiques from somebody without medical training. They've got their desk reference and their training, and the drug companies say that not too many suffered in the limited clinical trials, so they're good to go.

Folks, we've got NO ONE looking out for our health. The Food and Drug Administration, which is supposed to be a watchdog agency looking out for our interests, is in the pocket of the big pharmaceutical drug companies. The FDA represents the industry, not the people. And because of that, dangerous shit like this goes out and hurts people. And the ones who are hurt think it's just their tough luck, when it's a big company pushing dangerous chemicals on us so they can make a profit. But doctors take their word as gospel, and do no checking on their own.

Kind of scary when you think about it. There are thousands of people dying in this country every year from reactions to their prescription medicines. But very little is changing. People simply don't matter to companies as much as money.

So do your own research before taking ANY drug, even from the kindly doc who you've seen for years. Because they make dangerous assumptions. Those assumptions can cause you a great deal of harm.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Great blogger, JA Konrath, on how the big publishing houses are killing themselves by ignoring the proper pricing and distribution of ebooks, and how they're screwing the writers:

So now I've got another avenue to think about. Apart from self-publishing, one can sell $3 ebooks and make the same profit as going with a big publisher who charges people $25 to buy your book. Sure, not everyone wants an ebook, but now there's another option for those who do. The big publishers are pricing themselves out of the game, and they don't like the new frontier very much. It's cutting into their domination of the market, and their profits.

If a print book doesn't sell well, it dies a horrible, ignoble death, and the publisher will needlessly tie up the rights for years. So a writer can't get their backlist available to people, which pretty much means they can't make a living. With the new models, a writer can control their books, and keep them in print, which means they keeps selling.

The cost model is going out of book producing, which is how they've held writers over a barrel for so long. With POD, that model is blown apart as well.

No more returned books, no dumping thousands of unsold books in discount bins (for which the writer gets nothing), no waiting for meager checks months or years afterward from tardy or dishonest "creative accounting" publishers, none of the hassle of dealing with the greedy gatekeepers. Wow- and one gets to pick their own cover. And not have to wait years to get each book out.

For a writer with a lot of work to get out, this is looking better and better.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Another sale!

Wow- Happy October! Got news today that the story I finished and sent off Sunday night was just accepted by Dark Valentine for their Fall Fiction Frenzy! (Never let it be said that hard work and productivity don't pay off!)

They're now my new favorite market- because this is another milestone, my first multiple sale to the same market. Also because their editor, Katherine Tomlinson, is nice, responsive, and obviously has great taste in writing!

So "Carnival of Pain" is scheduled for sometime this month. Which is fitting, because it pays homage to Ray Bradbury, author of "October Country" and most notably, "Something Wicked This Way Comes," one of my favorite books (set at Halloween).

To illustrate the rollercoaster of life, also got a painful cortisone injection deep into my shoulder joint, and later tonight will go to a new dentist. Pain and joy, so closely mingled...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sick Day

Sick day today. Yesterday morning felt a cold coming on after a great weekend, and at two o'clock it hit me like a freight train hauling a ton of bricks. A generous friend at work drove me home (since I'd carpooled) so I could rest and not infect others. Am sneezing my brains out, leaking from my nose, and achy.

Another friend noted my increased output of recent stories and said I was starting to sound like Heinlein. From your lips to God's ear, my friend. Damn, that man could write! Books and short stories galore, and many of them superb.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Story and Changes

Sorry it's been a few days since posting, but this month got crazy, especially after school started for my daughters.

Last Monday, we got the news at work that a big company wants to acquire us. So now we've got to live with more uncertainty- will things change? Will my job still be available? Not things you like having to worry about. The recession is over only insomuch as you have a job- that's the cold hard reality.

Writing keeps my mind from worrying, even if for a short time. So I've been working hard today, and finished writing a new story: "Carnival of Pain." Had the original idea a very long time ago, and was never able to do anything with it. But the story gelled recently, and now it's done. Sent it off to its very first market as well. Fly, little one, find a home.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Was feeling a bit down, so was very happy to get in the mail my complimentary copy of the magazine "Ghostlight" with my poem "Dead Things" published in it.

The editor asked me to send you folks to the site to buy a copy. You should, as it's my first poem sale, and this issue could be worth some money when my writing goes out to a broader audience. Just saying...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Not Everyone Can Write

It's sometimes said that everyone has a novel within them. This should be clarified to specify that everyone has their own story to tell, however, to turn that story into a novel takes a lot more. There's a lot of people who figure that when they retire, they'll finally crank out that novel that's been sitting inside them all those years.

Trouble is, if you haven't been writing all those years, the result is unlikely to be any good. So many people think writing is just something everyone can do. They're proficient in the language and can type, and they think that's about all that's needed.

The truth is it's no easier to do well than successful surgery. Yeah, most people can pick up a scapel, and even cut someone if they had to, but how many could take out a gall bladder without medical training? Doctors go through a lot of training and practice to do what they do, and so do writers. But it's a field where many think they'd be successful, if they just sat down and tried it for a little bit.

Well, it aint so. It takes time and a great deal of concentrated effort to be a good writer. And we're always learning. There is no perfect writer, and there never has been. There has never been the perfect novel. There are some short stories, however, that approach perfection.

Is there perfection in other fields? Is there a perfect musician, artist, banker? Are there some professions which lend themseleves to absolute mastery? We have Master Chefs...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Backwards into the Future

Especially since the year 2000, the governemnt of the United States seems intent on dragging us backwards into the future. None of this is good, and it is all done in the name of getting even more control over us.

When the Cold War ended, we were unopposed as a global superpower, and it was a chance for a real peace, with a peace dividend. Without the need for such a military prescence, we could use the money wasted in nuclear proliferation to create a better country, and a better world. But the ones in charge invented a new boogeyman, and replaced Communist with Terrorist- even better, since it was less-defined, scarier, multinational, and irrational. Remember, fear is more effective if people are vague on what they're afraid of.

And so they reached into the evil old past and brought back the Crusades, and are waging an ever-escalating war on all things Islamic. Considering the hundreds of millions of Muslims across the world and the millions in this country, it would seem an insane and self-destructive course. It is. Keep attacking someone long enough and they'll respond in kind, or worse. Treat people with murderous hate, and they'll learn to hate you back. Our leaders slaughter innocent civilians by the thousands and ignore the blowback.

But that madness wasn't enough, and so they brought back the Inquisition. They now torture at will, to anyone they say opposes them. Innocent or not, doesn't really matter. That judge who just gave his sanction to the illegal kidnapping and torture ( should get a lesson in "do unto others". Wonder how he'll spend his thirty pieces of silver.

They tossed out the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and they're revoking human rights to pre-Magna Carta days. This is utter fascism and tyranny, and a violation of everything this country claims to stand for. Why don't we just rebrand ourselves "Communist Russia," since we now have as official State policy for every bad thing we ever said they were doing. Our government now rountinely does deeds that are war crimes, things that people were hung for after World War II.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When you propose murder, kidnapping, and torture, don't be surprised and don't complain when it's done to you and your people.

And let us hope those evil bastards who participate in these crimes will someday be brought to account.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day

It's been a great Labor Day Weekend so far. Lots of time with my family, even though we were shy one yesterday, as my wife drove down to a friend's and helped her through a tough time.

Finally got to ride the Bruce Freeman Bike Trail in Chelmsford Saturday. Wow- what a gorgeous, well-maintained path. So convenient for biking or even walking. Perfect, shaded path, and even on a hot day it was fine. They've done a great thing in making this a communal space for exercise and enjoying natural beauty.

Then we tried kayaking, but the rental place was closed. Wah. So we played tennis instead, and had a fine time.

Buckled down the last two days and wrote out the complete draft of a new short story, Moose Tracks. Completed it last night, about 2300 words. Great satisfaction at completing some new piece of work.

Today is such a perfect Fall day, it's time to pick apples!

Then tomorrow, it's back to work for me, back to school for the girls, who are less than happy about the prospect. They enjoy their Summer leisure.

For me, it was all too short a Summer. Yeah, technically there's two plus weeks left, but Labor Day is a marker milestone. And the weather change certainly put an emphasis on the difference, giving us an early taste of Fall.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

More work needed

Haven't seen much activity in my story submissions during August. Possibly most editors were on vacation.

The worst offenders are those editors who've had my stories for months, indicated they were interested, and then never responded again, despite polite queries about the status. Have three of those. Would be nice to hear one way or the other.

So I need more stories out there, and have two more ideas for immediate stories that can be written. Time to get to work!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Catching up

Have spent the last few days trying to catch up. Also realized Summer was over. Even though today was nice, spent most of it inside, submitting stories and poems to different places (for very little potential money). Ah, the glamorous life of the writer!

Does anybody else make a 30-item To-Do list for their weekend? Yeesh. Just somebody tell me what vacations are like.

It's been a busy month, not entirely unfun. I do crave a nice getaway of a week or so of relaxation and totally fun activities. Just a break in the action, that's all.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Another period of silence-- this time for family, as my wife's relatives came for a visit. As (Samuel Johnson?) said, "Fish and house guests stink after three days."

When I saw one of them drown a perfectly good steak (grass-fed, organic, local, tender, succulent, juicy) in ketchup-- without even tasting it first, I was appalled.

And as a comment on that, today is the anniversary of the day the Visigoths sacked Rome, in 410 A.D.

Now I wonder why I thought of that?

Okay, we've got our lives and routines back. Now to ketchup on everything.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Percentage of Stupid

Here's the latest: one out of five Americans polled thinks our leader is of a different religion than the one he goes to church for:

It's official-- we have a 20% stupidity rate in this country.

Years ago, a friend said that people believe what they want to, in spite of any and all evidence to the contrary. I don't belong to either political Party (both act only in their own best interests, leaving us out in the cold). I'm an independent, and don't believe the man is doing what he should to help the people of this country, but that doesn't make me desire to adopt stupid beliefs to bolster my point.

So look around. A significant percentage of your fellow citizens are ideological morons, who believe in absurd, made-up propaganda. That explains why we can't get anything politically significant done, and why we seldom seem to learn from the mistakes of the past.

One in five. Boggles the mind. This may be The Age of Information, but what good is it to brains that are snapped shut?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Writing Letters

This last week, I was forced to write a letter, and realized how long it had been since I had done that. I used to write letters all the time, back in the bad old days of no Internet and expensive long-distance telephone calls. It was a great way of communicating with people. You took the time and effort to put down your thoughts and send them off. People knew you cared.

Now in the days of instant communication, there are so many people I don't keep up with. Very strange. And if I weren't a writer by vocation and avocation, it would have been difficult, a skill long-forgotten.

Anybody out there still use hand-written letters as a way of keeping in touch?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fair Day

Took a holiday today, to take my family to the Bolton Fair. Yeah, our big Summer Vacation. We used to go every year and loved it when the kids were small. Then we wound up at the Common Ground Fair instead, and didn't get back to Bolton. This year, we noticed Bolton was early, and decided to return. The weather was scheduled to be good, so off we went.

Well, it seems to be much smaller than before. Yeah, I know it's not a weekend, but really! There were a few good shows, a magic act and a trampoline group (it's an Olympic sport now!), lots of animals, and the usual. Just less so, of everything. We had a good time, but were expecting more, as we had experienced in years past. Ah well.

But I didn't slack off. When we got home, I tested audio files for voice recording, and I updated the website:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New ride, new possibilities

It's been another busy time, which is why I haven't posted more frequently. Unlike Facebook, where it seems like some people post every time they have a cup of coffee or buy socks (as if anyone cares), in this blog I try to post something of actual interest, rather than just putting something up for the sake of posting. At least that's the goal, and I do appreciate and salute those of you discerning people that read the words here.

So the latest- we have a car from 1998 that has served us well, but is at the point where the next pricey repair bill will be its death knell. So we looked to replace it before it became of the utmost urgency, which is how we got it in the first place. Being desperate to buy a car is never a good idea, as you don't get the best selection, and certainly not the best price. We like taking our time on major purchases, doing the research and finding a good deal.

And so we did with the replacement. A friend at work told me of a vehicle new to me, the Mazda5. A micro-van, seats 6, with fold-down seats, good mileage and acceleration, and a top-notch repair and customer satisfaction record. And a fair price point. So we looked, we tested, we loved. And we took our time weighing particular offers. Saw one that was a bargain, drove about an hour to see it, and bought on the spot, because it met all our requirements.

However, they didn't have the title in hand yet, so we couldn't finalize. Required another trip to sign the financials. And then another to pick it up. So it's required some chunks of time to deal with it all. We'll still take it to our garage to give it a thorough going-over, because it's a good idea, and we're like that. But the family seems happy with it, so all is well.

And now back to work writing good things and telling you about it. Last night sent off another query to a literary agent. Let's see if she can recognize a good thing when she sees it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Am very down tonight about the state of trying to get a novel published. I've written three, and good ones, and it seems very unlikely in this environment to go with traditional publishers. Mostly because they'll never see the novel to see if it's any good.

Of course it would help if the gatekeepers, the agents, would actually respond to professional queries. If a business solicits queries, they then have a duty to respond, and those who don't are just jerks who shouldn't be in the business. If you want a list of names, I can supply them. Too busy to reply? Then post a frigging notice on your website, dipstick! Don't waste our time.

For all the hours I've wasted preparing manuscripts and queries that never got answered, I could have written many more books. But agents can't be bothered until you're already famous and will make them a lot of money. Nice racket.

The traditional publishing business is getting it's collective ass kicked by the explosion in other methods of publishing, and mostly responding by whining rather than doing anything. Well, in chaos there is opportunity.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hard Work and Play

Have worked the last few hours, finishing a new story. Was inspired by recent sales to get more tales finished and in the pipeline. So as soon as it was done (ink still wet), off it went to a brand-new market. May it find a good home.

Last night was a bit of fun, something different. A work friend gave me tickets for the Official Patriot's Practice at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. I'd never been there, and so marvelled at the huge structure, the scale of the undertaking, all for sport. It was fun, and seeing the celeb players and owner and coaches was a hoot.

Can't help thinking, though, that if this many people put the same effort into education and electing good leaders, what a greatly improved country we'd have. If teachers, firemen, police, and nurses were paid more, and athletes got a few less millions, it would show sanity on our part.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Another story sale!

What a week! Two sales! That's a first.

First the sale to Dark Valentine for Halloween, and now "Locust Time" will appear in Fungi #20, probably at year's end.

This only spurs me to work harder. Dashed off a flash story to a place last night, and need to finish and submit another story elsewhere.

Pretty good output for a non-writer.

We're Obsolete?

Great think piece at this link:

The author makes some valid points. He could have made an even stronger case by linking the current situation with the tottering Roman Empire. When they were no longer fighting for survival of their country, but mere expansion of empire, as our country is doing now, the Roman citizens rightfully wondered why they should serve in the Legions, to go off and die for nothing in a foreign land that treated them as the invaders and occupiers they were. Far better to hire mercenaries to do the bleeding and dying for you. The US now uses its own brand of mercenaries (contractors) in our empire occupations, and apparently, cannot run without them. Hmmm. We should rethink this, or go the way of the Roman Empire.

The patriotic men and women who serve in our armed forces see the mercenaries get better equipment, pay, and protection than they do. Our troops get injured (physically and psychologically) and then shafted when they don't receive the care they should. And given the numerous Arlington Cemetery scandals, they don't even get proper burial honors. Disgusting treatment from a government that expects them to offer themselves as sacrifices, with no return.

And all we get as news of the occupation are lies. The latest Wikileaks affair reveals thousands of official documents showing the unending insane cluster**** that is our "mission" there. Our troops dying, their civilians dying, an unending cycle of misery and death and waste, all for nothing. This is utter madness.

And then we hear of our "allies" in Pakistan using the money we give them to fund the Taliban. Your tax dollars are paying for our troops to be killed. Wonder if the Tea Partiers will ever protest that little fact? No, they're too busy fighting against overrides to make their local schools better.

As in the Roman Empire, when the rich got super-rich and the poor got progressively poorer, the whole structure was in trouble, and began to fall. We need to take a good hard look at our actions and make changes now, before we become the next empire to fall. When a nation no longer has anyone in charge but the oligarchs, we are doomed. Right now, the super-rich are ruining the nation, and waging war on the middle class. They are sowing the seeds of destruction for us all.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Another Sale!

Yahoo! Just got word that the editor of Dark Valentine loved my tale "Kamikaze Hipsters," and is accepting it for publication.

Number 14 and counting. Almost enough for that story collection!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Throughout history, those in power meet to talk and plot of how to increase their power and wealth. They manipulate events to their benefit, often involving criminal acts, which unfold to the detriment of the rest of us. There are proven power groups doing anything to consolidate and expand their power and money. And yet, brainless shills of The Powers That Be (TPTB) often pose this question in various media: "Why do so many people believe in conspiracies?"

Well, duh. Because those in power lie to us. They're so terrified of anything resembling the truth, and so contemptuous of the common folk, that they'll push any load of reeking manure as "The Official Version." Usually, this is so transparently idiotic, and so easily disproved, it's a wonder why they bother. But they follow the Goebbels maxim, "Repeat a lie often enough, and it becomes the truth."

So TPTB have their flunkies promote a distorted meme and wonder why anyone with a brain doesn't swallow it. Then they work very hard to cover up or discredit anything contradicting the official version. You know, when a group acts together in this way, it is, by nature, a conspiracy. That's why we believe in so many-- because they're happening! If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks, sounds, smells, and feels like a duck, has the dimensions and DNA of a duck, with a big sign around its neck saying DUCK, we're told we are unhinged if we call it a duck.

People who question the whitewashing coverup are called crazy, paranoid, nutbags who wear tinfoil hats and believe in all kind of crazy things. Their detractors sometimes go too far, as one who complained about people believing in a conspiracy to kill Lincoln. Uh, it happened, dumbass, and people were hung for it. Sorry we're not as stupid as you think we are.

People use their emotions to make beliefs more often than they use facts. Sure, some people will believe anything, but when vast numbers of rational people doubt the word of our government, we have a crisis. We doubt them because they refuse to tell us the truth about anything that matters.

A conspiracy is just a group of people acting in their own interests to screw the rest of us.
So let's play The Conspiracy Game! See if you can guess these common kooky conspiracies!

1. The leader of a nation is assassinated by a supposed lone gunman, with numerous shadowy ties to multiple criminal organizations opposed to the slain leader. Days later, the alleged assassin is in turn slain, despite being "guarded" by numerous armed law-enforcement officers. This SECOND convenient "lone gunman" also has numerous ties to these organizations, and can offer no convincing motivation for his deed. TPTB convene a show commission, spend months of toil and millions of dollars, to produce a multi-volume fairy story that puts the Brothers Grimm to shame. This ludicrous farce awakens the country to the fact that they will never again get the truth from their government.

2. A country that believes in voting to elect its leaders has an election that is close. Rather than going through the bother of actually counting the votes cast, a group of people with amazing power decide that they will pick the winner, and so they appoint their chosen buddy. Somehow, the country agrees to let this happen, and the world is plunged into a nightmare. When those votes are finally counted, they show conclusively that the opponent won the election, by thousands of votes. This bloodless coup of treason goes unpunished.

3. After a horrendous act of violence against its populace, a nation retaliates by declaring war against a third party with no ties to the incident (like invading Mexico for the attack on Pearl Harbor). To prop up this illegal activity, TPTB spread the lie for years that there was a connection, until finally admitting it was not true. Yet they are so efficient that a significant portion of the populace still believes the lie, and supports the criminals and their efforts. The conspirators, some of whom had been planning this path for 20 years, are rewarded lavishly.

4. A huge worldwide organization with unlimited wealth and power discover that thousands of their officials routinely engage in the sexual abuse of children. Their response is continued public denial, and the transfer of the predators to new pastures, where they continue to rape and abuse children. The organization does nothing to halt the criminal activity and continues business as usual, which keeps them comfy and secure, amidst a world of poverty and oppression. The predators and their protectors continue to go unpunished.

5. A patriotic man with a career as a professional athlete enlists in the armed forces to serve his country. He is shipped to a foreign country, where he becomes disillusioned with his "mission," of being a target/cannon fodder/bullet sponge. He is slain by members of his own unit, yet his death is rearranged and retold as a noble tale of heroism and sacrifice in the face of the enemy. TPTB move swiftly to bury the truth, brutally lying to the man's family and the world. The coverup conspiracy is deep and wide, yet the truth sneaks out. A low-level scapegoat or two are tossed to the crowd as sacrifices, yet the organization goes on with business as usual, with no punishment for those who crafted the conspiracy.

6. Oh, yeah, and this, from a recent Washington Post:

Crazy stuff, huh? Just imagine if any of it were true! Remember, conspiracies don't exist!
Insert Jedi mind trick here...

Monday, July 19, 2010


It's been another busy time—this last week was occupied in getting ready for my 35th High School Reunion. I made my way to the upper reaches of Maine, the extreme northeast corner of the United States. Go a few feet more and you're in Canada. If it wasn't so far (8 hours by car) I'd attend more.

Been back to that town only once in the last 34 years, and that was a drive-by. Haven't seen most of the attendees since graduation, and it was good to see them again.

Most of the people didn't look like they did back then, and my name memory bank was rusty. Didn't help that most people didn't wear name tags! Most of them have seen each other in the intervening years, and all have made previous reunions. I only recognized about four without help.

Most recognized me, however, saying I hadn't changed. The dam let loose as memories came flooding back. With about 50 people present, I didn't get a chance to talk to everyone beyond basics of “Where are you now?”

The most interesting thing is when someone would recount a story, and the other person (who was ostensibly there at the time of the story) would have no recollection of it. One person's standout incident was another person's forgotten tidbit.

Had a great time. Taking the class picture was fun, and we were all rambunctious. Instead of “cheese!” I yelled “Show your surgery scars!” Had we done so, we'd probably have yielded a crop to scare combat brigades. Would have been interesting to tally up all the medications taken by that group.

There was no one I hated or even disliked. People were cordial and not abusive. It's nice to be in a room where people seem delighted to see you and talk to you. Haven't had that in awhile...

The town parade was impressive, it's a regional one for most of the county. And it's a big county. An hour and a half for all the floats to go by! And one float went by twice, surprising and puzzling us. Apparently, they got lost earlier, got squeezed into line, circled around, and also got in their original lineup slot.

The highlight was the seemingly endless parade of tiara-topped princesses, queens, and Misses, winners of various beauty and talent pageants. It seemed like every third parade vehicle sported a young miss waving to us from under a sparkling crown. Pretty amazing for a low-population region.

My companion was pleased to see both of Maine's United States Senators walk the parade, and shake hands in the meet-and-greet, all without obvious bodyguards or Secret Service presence. It speaks well of Maine that legislators can go among the common folk without cadres of handlers and musclemen walling off the person. In these troubled times of violent fanaticism, it's nice to have sense, less paranoia, and a sense of normalcy. It's the way things should be.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Death of the backlist, midlist

Once again, proof that the traditional publishing biz is cutting its own throat. This is an incisive posting from Holly Lisle. You probably haven't heard of her, but there are many who buy her books, enough for her to make a living, at least until now. Now we're all in trouble.
“It wasn’t that long ago that (mystery-DP), science fiction and fantasy were genres supporting a lot of midlist careers. And if you say “What’s the midlist?” you’re not alone.

The midlist was where writers who’d never had a New York Times bestseller, but who created great stories regularly, lived. They weren’t household names. But they were full-time writers, they sold a lot of books, their backlist (their old books) stayed in print and earned them royalties twice a year, and their frontlist—their NEW books—brought them new readers who then found all the old stuff they’d written and bought that, too.

Backlist was the keystone upon which you built your career. Your older books kept making you money year after year after year, while you wrote new books and gained new readers and built a following. Your older books were your assets, and they paid off just as any good investment pays off.

And when I first got into the field, this was still what writers thought would happen.
Only publishers don’t keep backlist in print anymore.

So there are no midlist writers anymore, because if you don’t have big numbers on your first book, and bigger numbers on your second book, you don’t have a career.

Now frontlist is all that matters, backlist dies, and writing fiction for a living has become not building a career but playing the lottery.”


So there you have it. Publishers, in an effort to save pennies, are slaughtering golden geese as fast as possible. Instead of small streams of continuous revenue over the years, they're opting for big scores, of which there aren't enough to go around. And killing off the possibility of creating more. They'll absorb the losses in their multinational corporations, but the real losers are writers trying to eke out a living, and by extent, you and me.

It's hard enough making a living writing fiction, so that we have only a few hundred people in the country doing it. And it's getting harder every day, in this insane, greed-driven business atmosphere, where money trumps quality. The big publishing houses don't want to represent good books, they want “Twilight” and Dan Brown crap. They're manure dealers, and they want us to trade our gold for the crap they push.

There are few enough readers now, and with more competition, the good writing is getting driven out by the bad. “But it's popular!” say some. Yeah, so's McDonald's, but do you want that to be the only places to eat? If no other restaurant could stay in business, and no chef could practice and learn, and that was the only food choice, you'd hear some complaining.

With writers unable to make a living writing books, the pressure to write crap that will sell is enormous. Some will, but some will work other jobs and continue to write good books, only fewer of them. But when there are big piles of manure dominating the landscape, it's hard to pick the pearls out.

Just another nail in the coffin, and another reason for writers to go the self-publishing route.

Monday, July 5, 2010


We're tired in our household today, as we spent yesterday in Boston, celebrating the Fourth of July. To our British friends, we celebrate the date as when our country threw off the yoke of British Crown oppression.

It was a good day, although a hot one, with stops at various parts of the city, winding up at the Museum of Science. As a member, you can purshase special tickets and get rooftop access for the Boston Pops ceremony at the nearby Esplanade. Good ringside seat for the fireworks. While the Esplanade is crowded with hundreds of thousands of sweaty bodies, and requires longer standing around, the rooftop is not as crowded, and has a good breeze, and you can sit.

A musical group kept us entertained for awhile, and the Pops ceremony was televised in. And it was magic seeing the sunset over Boston, the sky a beautiful pink, gray, and blue. You look down over the Charles and see the hundreds of boats all gathered out on the water.

From our lofty perch, we could see fireworks from other cities along the coast, off in the other direction. These ones went off before ours, so we got several shows for the price of one.

Then we had to get out of town through the traffic, which was awful. Got home after midnight, and were all tired.

Too tired, in fact, to attend the Chelmsford parade this year, which was this morning. One day of extreme heat and outdoor activity was enough for us. We watched it on TV instead, and counted ourselves lucky to not have to be out in the 90+ degree heat.

We had to pull out a lot of stuff to do some painting, so today I'm going through it all, putting some back, throwing some out. In a busy life, one can collect a lot of junk. This year, I've been much better at getting rid of stuff we no longer need.

So hope you all had a good and safe holiday time. Last night, an alleged drunk driver hit one of the policemen on duty directing traffic, probably one of the ones we passed on our way. Our sympathies to the officer and his family, and let's hope the driver gets just desserts.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, Happy 100th

Happy Birthday, America!
It's the Fourth of July, an anniversary we celebrate as integral to the founding of our nation. Would that we could understand and abide by the principles of freedom. If only our leaders would truly work for that, and for us, instead of against us. Make no mistake, those in power in this country (both "sides") represent their own power-hungry interests, and not ours.
But those in power have declared they are above the law, no matter what they do, as long as they say "it's for our freedom," or their current catch-phrase, the overall "terrorism," defined however they choose to define it (this "logic," by the way, is straight out of Lewis Carroll and George Orwell).

This and their actions of the last few years are in direct contrast to the setup of our nation and the Bill of Rights. The point of law in this land was that no one should be above the law, that it was applicable to every citizen--especially those in charge. Because tyrannical kings and despots could do as they liked, and humankind being fallible, it was likely to be against the best interests of those not in power.

If the Founding Fathers took a look at the current political situation in this country, they'd immediately start the Second Revolution. Because that's why they needed to start the first.

Those in power have declared they can detain and torture anyone, anywhere, with no formal charges, trial, or defense. And they do-- and the world knows it. (And then they ask-- Why do foreign countries hate us?) This is illegal, and those who commit it are criminals, who should be brought to trial themselves. That's how law works.

Those in power have declared they can assassinate anyone, including American citizens, anytime they feel justified. Well, how nice. They'll act on the same level of intelligence-gathering as when they said Iraq had nuclear weapons they were going to use on us. Murder is also illegal in this country, or was, at least.

Those in power are wasting the lives of our troops in pointless, endless, military occupations in multiple countries, that endanger the whole world. This will destroy OUR country if it continues. Our nation will be bankrupt morally and financially. Hey, Tea-Partiers, want REAL lower taxes? Stop the wars. There's a few trillion you'll save.

Those in power have stripped regulatory, watchdog agencies of all responsibility and authority, givng us the largest oil spill in history, that will cost we, the taxpayers more billions of dollars-- that will not be used for schools, medical care, human services, or repair of roads and bridges.

We have been swindled, people. A number of voters wanted change, and we got another slick con-man who lied to us about what he would do. He's done the opposite, he's just a smoother liar who appears sincere and talks tough.

For example, I don't see much "ass-kicking" against BP. Their leader was laughing on his yacht (news story) while millions of gallons of oil poured out of his wreck. He laughed because he knows BP won't have to pay up for their disaster, the taxpayers will. Just like Exxon, years ago, who got away with it, sticking us with the cleanup, the aftermath, and the bill. Hey, one of our leaders and legislators spoke publically, into recorded devices, saying that BP should not be responsible. Ah, the best leaders money can buy. Oh, and a judge declared that we should still drill, because he had boatloads of oil stock. Another criminal. Boggles the mind.

How long are we going to stand for this? As long as we have power in our homes, and enough food to eat. As long as somebody else foots the bill, all's good. We like our comfort zone. Change is tough, progress sometimes requires sacrifice, and we've gone soft. It's a shame, because I love this country and really want to be proud of it. The people are what makes it great, the leaders do not. I cannot be proud of a nation that acts like an arrogant, vicious, bully.

Well, that's my Independence Day Declaration. This is the 100th posting of this blog. Thank you to all the readers, especially the followers, who will receive a special offer in the future.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Latest Oldest Publication

Well, thereby hangs a tale...

I found out tonight that my short story publication #13 is indeed somewhat unlucky-- because it's been out for 20 months, and I never knew it! (plus I didn't get paid- it was a work for free site)

Got an email back in 2008 saying it had been accepted, but the website went stale, and there was no further communication. Seemed like another editor and mag went into limbo, a frequent occurence in this biz.

So silly me sent the story out to other places. Am now glad it didn't get picked up, because of rights issues, it would have been a sticky legal wicket.

Yeah, the guys changed their url, put out another issue, and didn't notify the writer. Wicked smart, huh? I just wrote a polite email, to let him know he had possibly committed a breach of etiquette, at least. I was kind.

So, erstwhile readers, I have a latest, oldest publication, "Body English," which you can read at:

All I can say is-- it's a strange business...

Pain Part 2

Okay, I've gone from being opposed to shots of cortisone to believing it's the wonder drug of the ages. Because it worked for me. For four days I had a glowing ball of agony in my swollen shoulder joint, a lump you could feel. Not moving hurt, moving hurt a lot more. Touching the lump made me gasp.

At night, I couldn't get comfortable enough to sleep. It was not a pleasant week.

So yesterday I broke down and asked for it, and got injected. Minutes later, there was noticeable improvement. A few hours later, I suddenly realized I couldn't feel pain unless I moved around to try to find it. Yahoo! Have been off painkillers for over 32 hours now, and actually got about 6 hours of sleep last night. It's a whole new world. I can move my arm to over 33% of what it should be. Up from 3% yesterday.

So we're sometimes opposed to things, and have to change our minds when conditions change. A good lesson to learn, and I'm happy to be able to be flexible enough when it matters.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Haven't posted this week, because I've been in severe pain. I've got calcific tendonitis in my shoulder, and it flared up to a severe degree this week. Have been in constant pain and unable to sleep much at night. So I got a cortisone shot today, which I didn't want to do, but relented.

More pain after finishing the 21-CD audio book "The Religion" by Tim Willocks. Okay, I officially hate him, because he writes so much better than I, I might as well give up. He's even done more stuff thanI have. Holy crap, I thought I could get historical, and the guy depicts a medieval battle so well, I felt like I was in it. If you like historical action with a timeless but offbeat love story and grand sweeping themes, get this book.

It's not usually my type, but I lost my carpool driver, and have been driving myself, and needing good long works to listen to, while I navigate the Massachusetts road. Glad I did, this is awesome. You'd think the guy was there, 400-plus years ago!

Would someone please send a copy to Dan Brown, to show him how cool, interlocked, multilayered stuff can actually be well-written? Reading his books, that's pain, but for a different reason. He's as bad as Tim Willocks is good. Read any piece of Dan Brown bilge and then go through "The Religion." The contrast will blow you away. DB is fast-food swill, TW is a gourmet meal, rich and full and memorable. Yes, more people go for the cheap swill, but those who love things of a higher caliber will prefer the better work. And them's the ones that matter.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Latest Story out

Hey, campers- my story "Bootleggers" is finally out, at:

It's a story of rumrunning, gangsters, and a guy who gets mixed up with the wrong girl.

And my poem "Dead Things" is out, at the renewed link of Ghostlight:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Sneaky Way of Making Fans

In response to a previous posting of IE Lester's excellent article in New Myths (10 Science Fiction Novels to Give to Your Father-in-Law):
I mentioned that the general populace cannot think of science fiction beyond Star Trek or Star Wars, and thus, they dismiss the field as not worthy of serious consideration or study, either literally or cinematically.

Styrofoam Dog leapt to the defense of Star Wars, correctly citing that it is an excellent representation of the mythic hero's journey, so brilliantly expounded by Joseph Campbell. The poster asked, in essence, “What's wrong with Star Wars?”

Well, nothing (aside from Jar-Jar Binks, and that's VERY wrong). I wasn't dissing it, but pointing out that for the masses, it isn't very serious, and it is what they think of when they think Science Fiction. They haven't progressed beyond viewing the entire field as rayguns, spaceships, and bug-eyed monsters.

(There is an alternate view, among the truly enlightened, that an appreciation of these examples is a necessary component of modern culture, specifically geek culture, and indicates a technological mastery of the computer age, which has brought the future at an ever-accelerating pace. See where the author posits that an ability to discuss the merits and differences of these stellar examples defines the most hireable computer masters)

The prejudice of the masses for science fiction and its followers is reinforced when they see television coverage of science fiction conventions. They see adults dressed up in costumes, and think it's all a childish waste of time, something not for grownups. They may have seen a piece on the woman who showed up for jury duty in a Starfleet outfit, and extrapolated from that that anyone who likes science fiction is a nutjob.

When someone starts with that viewpoint, it is futile to begin a discussion with the merits of the thing they dismiss, in this case the two most well loved examples of sci-fi fandom. We'll leave that for another time (or perhaps a guest posting- Styrofoam Dog, are you up for the challenge?)
Rather, we get sneaky- give them the gateway books that will hook them. Bit-by-bit, you add ideas to their mindset, expanding their consciousness, making them a science fiction fan without them realizing it, until it's too late.

Then explain how Kurt Vonnegut, 1984, and Brave New World are all science fiction. Whoa- ideas and literature? Show them how the best examples of good science fiction is indeed serious and good. It's a long path before you can convert them to Star Trek and Star Wars, but it can be done. Just pity them, because they weren't inclined to start that way, and don't know what they're missing.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dave Daniel Book Launch Party

Hey again- sorry for the lack of updates. Life got in the way, and we got busy.

There were some comments on my posting of the IE Lester article, wondering if I was dissing Star Wars- fear not, that was not my intent. I'll be addressing that in a post soon to come.

Last night was the book launch party for the new Dave Daniel book collection of short stories "Coffin Dust." Great time, big crowd (amazing for a writer party). Dave did a live reading of one of the stories from the book, "The Three O'Clock." A terrific, entertaining piece, which gave echoes of the good short story work of Stephen King.

To demonstrate what a supportive guy Dave is, we were chatting with the man who published his early work (and wrote the foreword to Coffin Dust), and Dave started praising my stories to the guy. Wow- a party for an established writer, and he takes time to note my modest work. Very cool.

With a dozen story publications under my belt, I'm trying to get a few more sold to publish my own collection. Soon I'll start contacting publishers, to see who will be the lucky one!

Another local writer was part of the festivities last night, Stephen O'Connor. Hadn't heard of him before, but he had a short story collection as well. He read one of his works, and it was fun and marked him as someone to read. I picked up his collection, "Smokestack Lightning," and look forward to the other stories.

Support writers- especially the local ones! (As long as they're good, of course- I wouldn't ask you to encourage the sucky writers!)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dead Things is out!

Dead Things, my first paid, published poem, is out at Ghostlight:

It's a nice thing, because it happened by chance. I was submitting poems that my daughter had written to another magazine, and recalled that I'd written a few poems. This was first, and I sent it out and got a quick acceptance. So I polished up a few more and sent those to different places. Nothing suceeds like success!

Trouble is, they don't give contributor copies, and the magazine costs more than what they paid for the poem. I'm not supposed to lose money getting published!

Dennis Lehane in Chelmsford

Today I went to see Dennis Lehane give a talk here in Chelmsford. He's a witty and fun guy, and had a lot to say on writing.

I love his work, he's the real deal. Loved his crime books; now he's drifting away from that, but he's hit his stride and is very popular. Deservedly so, for he works hard and really captures life in different neighborhoods in Boston (and has no desire to write about other places) .

He loves gangster films-- think I'll send him the link when "Bootleggers" appears- he'd like it.

Pick up his books and give a read. Along with Parker and George V Higgins, he's one of Boston's Best.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

First date!

I sent off a query to an agent, and actually got a response!
Not only that, it was back within the week!
Not only that, but she'd like to see 50 pages of my novel and a synopsis!

Woo-hoo! It's like asking out that nice person, and having them accept. It's only a first date, and nothing may come of it, but if I get my first 50 pages in front of a reader who knows mysteries, there's a chance. Heady stuff.

That's one of the cool things about writing, that any email you open can bring exceptionally good news, and change your fortunes for the better in an instant. You've got to be able to handle rollercoaster emotions, and not take rejection personally, but it's also wonderful to imagine that this could be the one.

So keep you fingers crossed, and hope she knows good stuff when she sees it!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Great Article

Great article on the New Myths website- Ten Science Fiction Novels to Give to Your Father-In-Law, by I.E. Lester (bio on the New Myths site).

Just reading the headline popped titles into my brain. The slant was trying to give great science fiction novels to someone who doesn't know the genre, with the idea of giving them such good stuff you make a fan out of them. Going from someone who sniffs at 'Rocket ships and bug-eyed monsters' to fan is quite a leap, but it can be done, and Lester has done it-- by having impeccable taste. I say that because I agree with much of his list-- they were the same titles that came up for me.

You have to know the person and what they will and won't like. You want to ease them into the field, without shocking them or giving them something they won't understand or be interested in. Or something too tough, like Dune.

So you have to choose carefully, and leave out some great books for later in the process. Many people don't know the field, thinking it's all Star Trek or Star Wars. They just don't know the rich heritage of classics that have made new fans over the decades.

Just reading the titles Laster had passed on made me smile with memories. In the pre-Amazon days, when I had no money, I had heard of this great alternate-history book called Bring the Jubilee. Couldn't find a copy anywhere. Finally located it at Shakespeare & Company, the ultra-cool bookstore in Paris, France. It was as good as I'd heard it to be, and stands as one of my favorites. In it, a slight change in timing throws a spin into the Battle of Gettysburg, and changes the course of the Civil War. The South wins the battle, and the war, which came very close to happening in real life. (Being from Maine, I'm a big Joshua Chamberlain fan-- he was the former Bowdoin Rhetorics professor who saved the Union at the Battle of Gettysburg. Jeff Daniels, an actor I don't usuallly care for, portrayed him brilliantly in the movie The Killer Angels.) Years later, Harry Turtledove, the grand master of alternate history, wrote Guns of the South, another take on the South winning.

Another old favorite is Flowers for Algernon, which I mentioned in my New Myths take on writing. And on and on-- but hey, read the whole article. He says it better.

Maybe we should all take on a project like this. Vow to make a convert in the coming year, with a book that'll blow their socks off. You never know when we could get another fan.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Audio at last

After overcoming a technical obstacle, I was finally able to get voice files recorded and exported as MP3 files. So I did a few samples, and the product is nice. As soon as I get some time (hah!), I'll be posting some audio files for your listening pleasure.

Eventually I'd like to record stories, poems, and books for you to download. Not just mine, but the work of other talented writers as well. Maybe some interviews, if folks would like to listen to them. Podcasting is a whole new field, which means wonderful opportunities. I'm certainly not the first to jump on this bandwagon, but hey, I'm a writer first, and there's only so many hours in a day.

If there's anything you'd particularly like to hear, let me know.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Another Dead Market

So I sent a story out to market months ago and hadn't heard back, despite a polite query. Today I found out the market was dead, the website name up for grabs, and my story was left hanging. AAAGGGHHH! Months gone by for nothing!

So I fired up Duotrope and looked for another market. This is a tough one to place, a flash piece (under 1000 words) based on a situation I once heard about. It's a good piece, a mainstream work, not for one of my familiar genre markets. So I'm breaking new ground here, a good thing. And off my little piece went, into the void, hoping to find a home.

It's been a busy month and a busy day. Today also sent out another poem and worked on a new novel, and did research into podcasting and grant writing. That's what I do on a day off! Having two careers is a lot of work.

Persistence is the key in this game. One of my stories went to almost 30 markets before finding the right home, despite many editors saying they loved it and it was well-written. And some have sold on the second attempt. You just never know. But you keep writing them and submitting them, and hope for the best.

I used to keep a morgue of magazines and websites that had turned down a story of mine, that were no longer in business. Grew so big I couldn't keep up. They're gone, I'm still publishing. Perseverance.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Publishing Article

Noted author and raconteur Garrison Keillor has an article out
about the publishing biz nowadays. He laments the passing of the old way, the traditional method of publishing.

He is aptly fit to pass sentence, having been an outstanding performer in different media, and has promoted and supported good books and good writers. He's also right, and it is a sad thing. Sadder yet is how the publishing industry is pulling on the lid of their own coffin, and sealing it from the inside.

Awhile back, publishing companies loved books and put them out because they mattered, and sometimes they made money doing it. That model gave way to greed and stupidity, where companies went into publishing solely to make money, as if books were any other commoditized product, like oven mitts or widgets. They consolidated from many companies into the handful that now represent the majority of published books in the country.

What's been the result? Walk into a bookstore and look at the shelves full of crap that get published nowadays. I was in one last night, and felt disgust and despair. Any idiot celebrity gets a six-figure book deal to get their kisser on dozens of books, most of which are badly written by ghostwriters. About half the fiction I pick up these days is downright bad or boring, and I wind up tossing the book without finishing (years ago, I never used to do that, because there might be something of value).

There used to be editors, who worked on books so they wouldn't look bad when they went out. They've been replaced by marketing “experts,” who care nothing about quality, only sales. Few publishers accept manuscripts now, preferring to let agents screen for them. They claim it's not cost-effective to look through “over-the-transom” manuscripts. Horse poop. There are many readers in this country who would be willing to offer a thumbs up-or-down on a manuscript, if asked. A company could send an electronic version out to say, ten people, and if enough said yes, it would go up to the next level. And the company would soon figure out who were the good screeners, and reward them.

But agents work on commission, and many are reluctant to accept new unproven writers, knowing they'd get less than $500 on average for developing a first book from a new writer. They're chasing the big fish, just like the publishers. But you have to go through them now for everything first.

Garrison, in the article, talks about mailing off a manuscript to a publisher and getting it read and accepted. That seldom happens that way anymore, your chances are better of winning the lottery. Most writers of the past couldn't get read or published today, because the authors weren't famous enough or have an opening “hook.” But if they did, they'd still get read, because there is still a market for good fiction.

For years, the publishers took advantage of writers, screwing them out of money through creative, sometimes illegal, accounting practices. Nowadays, it's mostly up to the writer to do their own marketing and selling anyway.

So why shouldn't writers go with the new model? Publishers claim that their business is expensive, but Print On Demand has made it less so, and someone won't have to wait years for their accepted book to see the light of day. Here's my own example: with three good novels written (and the one I'm sending around was deemed good and salable by industry pros), it'll still take about three years for the book to hit the shelves, even if it's picked up right away. Their lag time is ridiculous. And it would take a couple of years for the next one to come out, because they'd be waiting to see how the first sold. So in the next five years, I could have one book out. But with Print On Demand, I could have about 6 out in the same time. Hmmm.

Now publishers will whine about ebooks, fewer readers, and many other things to explain why they're in trouble. But few will admit that it's partly their fault, that for years they kept strangling the geese that laid golden eggs. Now they're standing around in dead birds, looking for someone to blame.

Many publishers wouldn't know a good book if it bit them. They want blockbusters, not quality. There are countless tales of rejected books finally getting out to a hungry public and selling millions, and/or winning prestigious literary awards. One such author won a major award for a book, and resubmitted it under another name. It was rejected- by the same place that had published it!

Let's put out the same challenge to Mr. Keillor-- take out anything that would identify you or the work, and submit your next book to publishers under a pen name, and say you're a new writer. Let's see how long it takes to get published.

There are plenty of good works waiting to be published. But too often the big guys won't seek them out. And yes, there are fewer readers, and more competition for eyeballs. So you'd think they'd change, but they keep their outdated model, and ignore good writers in favor of blockbusters. Thus pass the dinosaurs.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Still Need an Agent

Just got a response from an agent to a query, which is something, since a good number of them don't even bother to respond. And it was quick. Points for him.

But he declines to read my novel or represent it. So on to the next. In this modern age of publishing, you need to have some celebrity to get an agent or publishing house interested in you. Maybe I need a show on Faux News, spouting ignorant opinions about people who aren't like me. Then I could get published! Just go into any big bookstore for proof, and see the many titles by those with nothing to say.

Ah, well. Traditional publishing is going the way of the dinosaurs, and it's no surprise. Nowadays there are good alternatives, and no reason not to use them. I've been loyally going the old way out of a sense of duty, but I'm fed up with their gatekeeping, which lets few in unless they've already made it.

I've got to get my books out before I'm dead-- that's the plan. So I've set a deadline. If there are no agents or publishers smart enough to want a good novel or story collection by the end of next year, I'll forego the privilege of making them money, and go another route.

In case you think this is just whiny me, consider the best-selling author, James Lee Burke. He's such a good writer he can make you weep with the beauty of his prose. His book, the Lost Get-Back Boogie got rejected 111 times over a period of 9 years. When it was finally published, it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Don't See Robin Hood!

Q: What has 18 movies mashed together and still doesn't move?

A: The awful, crappy new movie of Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe...

This riddle was inspired by one of the bits of business in the film. It comes right after the homage to Monty Python. Yeah, Monty Python. They had no idea what kind of movie they should make, so they took every sword film that made a buck in the last twenty or so years (longer for Python, I know), mixed in a few others, and threw it against the wall to see what stuck. Well, none of it stuck, but it stunk. It's a runny, nasty, mess, and it reeks. It's also an offense to history, and good filmmaking. Sure, there are bits and pieces of it that look nice, but they're gleaming specks of Fool's Gold in the dungpile.

About three minutes and six eyerolls in, my wife turns to me and says, “I didn't know this was supposed to be a comedy!” Now this could be a fun film if you wanted to make a parody that incorporates bits of other movies to make fun of them, a la Scary Movie, Hot Shots, and that genre. Maybe that's how it started. But they played it straight (mostly), and the result is the crud at the bottom of the pool at the sewage plant. No one should go watch this bilge-- it's not even bad enough to be fun. And this from a guy who LOVES sword movies and Robin Hood. It's not often that a film offends me so strongly, and on so many levels, but this one managed. So why is it so bad? Oh, so many reasons. Here's just a few.

1: Needless, hyperactive jumping around in time and place, like a bad thriller novel.

2: A complete lack of internal logic, with stupid plot holes you could drive the French Army through.

3: Modern bits of business that don't belong in a period piece.

4: Historical detail of a history that never happened. Your audience members are not as stupid and ignorant as your scriptwriters, guys.

5: Characters acting like idiots, and for no reason.

6: Other laughable dumb stuff.

7: The “Kitchen sink” theory of the more crap you stuff in, the better someone will like something.

8: Bad guys have shaven, bald heads, kings have long curls and ringlets, good guys have short hair. And every adult male has one prominent scar.

9: Horrible lines and dialogue.

10. Obvious thefts from better movies, and too many of them. A partial list:

Gladiator (Russell Crowe is the noble guy who stands up to the black-haired, suddenly-crowned, psycho despot, and suffers)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (None shall pass!)
Braveheart (Freedom! Uh, these bozos live in monarchies, and that's treason)
Lord of the Rings (Robin Longstrider- Aragorn/Strider)
Peter Pan (This one is especially puzzling- see below)
Kingdom of Heaven (Modern multicultural sympathy for the Muslims, from the Crusaders)
A Knight's Tale (Right down to the chubby, funny sidekick from that film, playing the chubby, funny sidekick, Friar Tuck)
Saving Private Ryan (They love that D-Day landing footage so much, they recreated it-- in the Year 1200, and had the French invade England (already done, dimwits, ever hear of 1066?), with LST's no less, a type of landing craft not invented until World War II. WTF? Why didn't they just mount machine guns on them?)

Some things to smack the producers of this crapfest in the head for, for wasting two hours and twenty minutes of my life:
--The Magna Carta was not created circa 1170 by a stonemason, and it was not created to provide all the common men of England with rights. It was a forced agreement from a bunch of rich, powerful guys who wanted to show the King he wasn't as big as he thought he was.

--So you admit that King Richard had been held for ransom for 4 years on his way home from the Crusades-- so where does this “along for the ride” Crusader army spring from? I guess they just hung out in the woods for 4 years, huh? Yeah, that would happen. And if Richard is “pillaging his way across France”, where's this mighty French invasion force that comes along a short time later? I guess they were building their WWII-era LSTs and couldn't be bothered to stop him.

--What the hell is up with the Peter Pan-like/Lord of the Flies Lost Boys? They keep getting tossed into the plot for no reason, like a bad spice. And at the big battle scene, poor, foraging forest kids suddenly show up riding tiny horses (Shetland ponies?) and plunge into battle (for what possible reason?) with little more than fur loincloths and sticks, against well-equipped soldiers. Yeah, pit the equivalent of a couple of fifth-grade soccer teams to fight fully-armed combat vets-- that should be entertaining, for about five minutes-- if you want a bunch of needlessly dead kids.

--A soldier's sword was a necessary piece of equipment, upon which his life depended, and would have cost quite a bit-- and yet in this move, they use their swords as prybars (snap!), hammers, can openers, whatever. The lead doofus pounds the hilt of his his weapon (also an important heirloom) on stone slabs, which would break the sword-- despite the fact he has a 6'9” guy behind him with a giant war hammer!

--Apparently, Robin's men can teleport, because they're on the cliff tops in one shot, and two shots later are in the thick of battle. How'd you guys do that?

--Robin sleeps a few feet in front of an absolute roaring, six-foot high fireplace bonfire. Know how much heat that puts out? They don't, obviously. Robin would have roasted like a chicken. Oh, and with no grate, the floor in front of this bonfire is covered with nice, dry straw. Let's just say Locksley Hall would be a black pile of ashes by morning.

--Wow, coronations for the new King of England need no ceremony, just mom picking up a crowned helmet and slapping it on her other son's head. Done deal.

--Numerous “proclamations” nailed to a tree (oops, Harry Potter snippet) for an illiterate populace, when paper was ridiculously valuable. And a guy yelling for a nail, like everyone's carrying them around in their pocket. Yeah, even nails were worth a bunch back then, and not that common.

There's so much more, but just don't bother. This movie should not have been made, and should not survive and flourish. If it makes money, there will be more crap films like it, so let it die like the stinking turkey it is.