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.