Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Haunted Hotel Part 4

In celebration of Halloween, I’m retelling some things that happened while I worked at Lake Yellowstone Hotel some years ago.

Part 4: The Demonic Entity

One of our security guards at the hotel had a new video camera that had low light capabilities. He’d bought it to film bats. The Lake Yellowstone area actually has its own species of bats. And they’re nice bats. They eat lots of mosquitos and don’t bother anyone, though they do sometimes get trapped inside the buildings and startle hotel guests. This was before the current crop of low light cameras was available. It was new stuff back then.

So, one August night, the security guard was filming this and that, getting to know his new toy. He came out of the dining room and over to the front desk, whereupon he replayed what he’d filmed. He kept looking at the screen. He turned the camera around toward me and asked,“What do you make of that?”

I stared at an image of two red glowing eyes. I had no doubt about what I was looking at–no doubt at all. It was what paranormal researchers call a demonic entity. If you have not heard of them, they’re kind of like a ghost on steroids. Mean, nasty entities that are not to be messed with. And what was it doing in my hotel’s dining room?

The security guard preferred the theory of lighting problems. So, we went back in and tried to replicate the result from different angles and such. We could not do it. Nothing even came close to the image. I wish I had a copy of the picture. It was just creepy and mere words do not do it justice.

As if to spite us, or perhaps to remove any doubts, about a half hour later we noticed a light coming from the Sun Room, which is kind of an alcove off of the main lobby. We both went over just in time to see a small round light float up from just above the floor and vanish into the ceiling. And he got that on video as well. We replayed that for days to anyone who would look at it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Haunted Hotel Part 3

In celebration of Halloween, I’m retelling some things that happened while I worked at Lake Yellowstone Hotel some years ago.

Part 3: The Mirror that Dripped Blood

At this point, I’d worked at Lake Hotel for some time and heard rumors the place was haunted, though I dismissed those rumors as the work of overactive imaginations.

The graveyard crew usually consisted of two security guards, a night porter and night front desk agent. I was filling in for the regular night guy at the front desk so he could get a night off. It had been a quiet August night. There were no late check ins or guest problems. At around two o’clock, one of the security guards came down the stairs from the old wing of the building. He was shaking--Really shaking and he looked pale.

Finally, he explained what had happened. He’d gone upstairs to make his rounds. On the upstairs floor he’d gone by the mirror on the wall. The mirror was dripping blood. He thought we should call the park rangers.

I resisted that notion, if for no other reason than there was no wall mirror in the upstairs hallway where he’d encountered one. But, he had our curiosity. So, myself and the night porter and the other security guard crept up the stairs to the third floor, which is called the second floor, but that’s another story. Our curiosity compelled us to go. And, as we suspected, we found nothing. There was no mirror, dripping blood or otherwise. We went back down and gave the guy a little ribbing and went back to our respective duties. But, the poor fellow knew what he’d seen. He came in and quit the next day.

As luck would have it, my next job was at another hotel. It turned out that the general manager of that hotel had been the manager of the very same hotel in Yellowstone a few years before I worked there. One slow night we were talking about the place and I regaled my story about the mirror that dripped blood. I noticed he had an odd grin on his face. He then told me during his tenure there the night porter had gone upstairs for a guest request for towels and encountered a mirror dripping blood. The fellow was hysterical. Like the security guard, he came in the next day and quit. And, as in my experience, there was no mirror there when he worked there, either.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Haunted Hotel Part 2

In celebration of Halloween, I’m retelling some things that happened while I wroked at Lake Yellowstone Hotel some years ago.

Part 2: Early checkout

I found myself again working the graveyard shift at Lake Yellowstone Hotel. The lobby of the hotel is quite large. There are two wings of the hotel. One is accessed by a grand staircase that runs right down into the lobby area. The newer wing of the hotel is down a hallway and has an elevator.

As my regular “day job” duties had not gone away, plus I also had the night shift reports to prepare, I was quite busy and not anxious to deal with guest matters that evening. So, I didn’t quite know what to think when I heard the unmistakable sound of people coming down the stairs. I saw a gentleman with luggage, followed by two kids, then mom was bringing up the rear. It was 12:45 in the morning. There is nowhere to go at that time of the morning in Yellowstone National Park. The nearest town is almost 100 miles away. But, there this family was.

The guest handed me a room key. The second I saw it I felt like I already knew what happened. It was the key to room 209–the haunted room. At least, many of the employees insisted the room was haunted by a ghost they’d named Matilda.

“Is something wrong?” I asked.

“We’re getting out of here,” the guest replied.

I had already deduced that.

The wife finally interjected. “There’s a ghost in our room.”

“I see,” said I. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

She then explained she’d woken and was a bit shocked to see a woman standing by the kid’s bed, looking at them. Then, the woman vanished. Mom had woken the family up and demanded they leave. I pointed out nothing was open in the park and the nearest towns were some distance away. She didn’t care.

As they started to leave, I asked what the ghost looked like. She described a 1920s flapper with a tight headband. This was the same exact description the employees who’d seen her always gave. I don’t know where they went, but I guess anyplace sounded good to them.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Haunted Hotel Part 1

In honor of Halloween, I’m retelling some of my experiences at a haunted hotel in Wyoming. Some of these, some folks may have heard before.


I’m the sort of person who never sees ghosts and had always been skeptical of the very premise. So, I found myself working the graveyard shift at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel in Wyoming. This is a very large canary yellow wood frame hotel right on the shores on Lake Yellowstone in the nation’s oldest national park, with over 300 hundred rooms on the property, including an annex and outlying cabins. It is the oldest hotel in the park. I’d heard stories from employees of a ghost in the old wing of the hotel. The building has two wings, one is newer and even has an elevator. The old wing, though remodeled many times to install modern amenities, is part of the original structure.

A few of our security guards swore they’d seen something. I later learned the employees had been seeing a ghost regularly for years. She was described as wearing a tight hat or headband like they wore in the 1920's and a dress from the same vintage. In other words, the flapper look.

A new desk clerk arrived on the scene. She mentioned seeing a ghost at a haunted house recently, before coming to Yellowstone. Since she hadn’t been there long enough to be corrupted by stories of our ghost, I decided to perform an experiment. I just asked her to walk the length of the building and see if anything turned up. I told her there was a rumor that the hotel was haunted, but nothing more. We went at midnight. That seems to be when ghostly entities like to conduct their business. As we walked by the specific room where most of the sightings had happened, she suddenly jerked. Goose bumps shot up on her arms. She told me something just touched her. I was over ten feet away and there wasn’t anybody else on the floor. We then went to the end of the hall. She turned around and gasped. By the time I turned around, there was nothing there. She told me she saw something, for only an instant, then precisely prescribed the same thing others kept seeing, a woman who looked like she was from the 1920's.
Lake Hotel, as it is informally called, sits right on the edge of Lake Yellowstone, one of the largest high altitude lakes in North America. The property is well maintained with on sight dining and bar. There is a large sun room on the ground floor where people can relax and listen to live music in the afternoons. This is a seasonal property, only open about six months of the year. It does not operate during the winter.

For some time, no one is certain how long, employees have been seeing strange things on the second floor of the old wing. Many an employee has reported seeing her at the window as they walk to work in the morning, looking out for just an instant.
And the employees have even named her. Matilda frequents the back side of the hotel, which looks toward the forest and away from the lake. For whatever reason, she manifests around employees far more often than guests. Tourists, as reported, do also encounter her from time to time. It’s always on the second floor.
She is a bit of a puzzlement. As this hotel sits inside a national park, the government keeps voluminous records on just about everything, including how people die in the park. Park service archives do not report any unnatural deaths at the hotel during the 1920's. This is often a link with ghost presences. In fact, they don’t record any deaths there at all. There have been numerous drownings in the nearby lake, usually from sinking or capsizing boats. Some people have suggested a link there. Of course, this leaves one wondering why she looks out toward the forest instead of the lake.

I spent two summers at that hotel. I never saw a thing and nothing ever touched me when I went down the halls. I still don’t know what to make of it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Ghostly Gathering

Well, it's finally here. Tonight is "A Ghostly Gathering." I'll be reading ghost stories along with five other writers at Broadway Book Mall in Denver.

I sure hope it goes well because it was kind of my idea. I organized it. You never really know if people will show up for these things, but the price is right--free. A few of the participants are even good writers.



Friday, October 26, 2012

Holiday Numbers

Some interesting numbers from the US Postal Service. At least, I thought they were interesting.


HOLIDAY BY THE NUMBERS
The U.S. Postal Service delivers
nearly 40 percent of the world’s mail.
237 Number of years U.S. Postal Service has been delivering holiday cheer
17.9 billion Amount of cards, letters and packages to be delivered between Thanksgiving and
New Year’s Eve
658 million Number of pieces of mail processed on Dec. 17, the busiest mailing day of 2012
528 million Average number of pieces of mail processed daily
560 million Average number of pieces of mail processed daily during the holidays
29.5 million In pounds, the amount of mail the Postal Service will process for overseas military
installations
170,000 Number of vehicles used to transport holiday mail
2.5 billion Amount of holiday stamps the Postal Service has available this year
242 million Number of customers who visit a Post Office during the holidays
34 percent Percentage increase of air cargo lift of mail by Postal Service during the holidays
37 million Customer visits to usps.com during the holidays
Tuesday, Dec. 4 National Operations Center at USPS staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Monday, Dec. 17 Busiest MAILING day for holiday cards
Wednesday, Dec. 19 Busiest DELIVERY day for holiday cards
Monday, Dec. 17 Busiest MAILING day for holiday packages
Thursday, Dec. 20 Busiest DELIVERY day for holiday packages

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Get Your Grump On

I've got a set of four of my Grumpy Gaines short stories up on Kindle if anyone's interested. Grumpy Gaines is a Texas Ranger in the 1880s who takes on aliens and vampires. It's only a dollar. It's on my Amazon page. There's a link from this page.


[If a million people would download this thing I'd be really happy.]

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Stale doughnuts




City Market, the local version of Kroger, often has doughnuts in a box. They're really cheap, but lately they have stale ones that are only 79 cents a box (12 stale doughnuts for 79 cents). I just love them. They make a great breakfast along with a glass of juice or something. Thing is, when I was at the con last weekend they had some fesh doughnuts. I didn't like them. They were even free. I now prefer the stale ones. Fresh doughnus taste funny to me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

To the sea?

People will put whatever spin they want on last night's debate. But I heard something that I found simply astonishing. Mitt Romeny said Iran is in cahoots with Syria because it's their path to the sea. Say What??

Iran and Syria don't even have a common border. Not even close. And Iran already has a considerable coastline and is already on the sea.

I don't normally go into political stuff, but this displays an astonishing ignorance that I just had to comment on.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Contastic

Well, I survived my trip to Mile Hi Con with no calamities whatsoever. I didn't require a tow truck and didn't even get sick. Actually, I had a rather nice time.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Guest Blogger Karl

Hi, it’s me, Karl.

I’m guest blogging today because Dave’s gone off to Mile Hi Con. I don’t know what goes on at those things. I’ve never actually been to one. Nobody ever invites me anywhere. I figure they have lots of dancing girls and liquor and stuff like that. And everyone sits around and drinks beer and talks about astronomy. Maybe it’s best I didn’t go, come to think of it.

I don’t drink. You don’t want to see a drunken dinosaur. It’s not a pretty site. Staggering around, knocking over trees, eating fruit, stuff like that. Then you throw up over yourself and some triceratops starts laughing at you. It’s just better not to go there. We didn’t have liquor stores back in the cretaceous, but sometimes dinosaurs got into fermented fruit and stuff. And if you’re a plant eating dinosaur and you’re drunk, then some apex predator like me comes along and eats you. Trust me kids, there’s a bad side to getting drunk.

I made some suggestions for the con, but I never heard back from anyone. I said they could have a panel on time travel. Heck I’ve traveled sixty million years through time. I’m an expert. But do they want that? Hell no. They went with the zombie shooting gallery instead.

I also suggested dinosaur rides for the kids. They didn’t seem to like that one either. Then there was the Klingons versus dinosaurs battle to the death. I thought people could bet on that one. But they didn’t even want to do that, either. What a bunch of wimps.



Friday, October 19, 2012

Off to Mile Hi Con

Well, I'm off to Mile Hi Con. Wish me luck. Why do I need luck? Bad things seem to happen when I go to Mile Hi Con. The first five years or so I always had car trouble. I'd blow a tire, my battery would fail. Once, the brakes even went out. Then car trouble evolved to physical problems. I picked up the flu and was running a 102 degree fever. Then, two years ago, I picked up a super agressive antibiotic resistant infection that nearly killed me and I spent four days in the hospital getting pumped full of intravenous antibiotics. I didn't go to MHC last year. So, I guess I'll see what calamity awaits me this time.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Story for Halloween

In celebration of Halloween, I'm reprinting my flash piece below. It's been reprinted many times, including my current short story collection, Flying Saucer Stories


THE HIGHWAYMAN

by

David B. Riley



He couldn't tell for certain if no one had seen him, but there weren't any sirens screeching through the night. Kal opened the hatch and climbed down. So far, so good. He hurried across the park, then stopped by the statue of some guy on a horse. The house was just across the street. He looked right, then left, then scurried across the open area and slid under a tall bush. So far, so good.

He hoped the commander wouldn't find out what he was doing. He doubted he could explain why he was 100 light years off course. If all went well, he wouldn't have to. Kal looked around. Surely, this was too easy. He switched on his voice translator and readied his ray gun. It was time.

He climbed out from the bushes and strutted boldly up to the front door. A slight sense of dread was trying to overcome him. He fought it off. If only humans weren't so darn big. He reached the porch. His antennae were vibrating from the music inside. At least they were home. He readied his ray gun and pressed on the door bell button. He liked the pleasant chiming sound it made and rang again.

Slowly, the big door opened and he peered up at a human female. He raised the weapon. “Give me Earth food now,” he ordered in his most forceful manner.

“Oh, George, come quick.”

It's summoning its mate, Kal thought. He prepared to fire. Then, a human male arrived holding a tray of candied apples.

“He's so cute. Just like a little space man,” the female said.

“Less talk, more food,” Kal ordered.

“Of course. You've got a long way to get back to your planet,” the male said. A very sensible individual.

“I just made them,” the female stated.

He placed one in his loot sack. It was so big he decided not to ask for more of them. He didn’t want humans to think his kind were greedy.

“Good night.” The male closed the door.

Kal scurried back across the street. A small human female wearing a mask ran toward him. He readied his ray gun, though she looked young and harmless.

“They got candy apples?” she was asking.

“Yes. They look good.” He held tightly to his sack in case she tried to grab it.

“I'll go get me one.” She trotted across the street. Kal holstered his weapon and watched in amazement. Without any weapon, the young human child obtained a candy apple from the elderly couple. Kal reasoned the mask must be frightening to humans. The young female stood at the edge of the sidewalk and waived at him. “Happy Halloween,” she yelled.

“Yes, happy.” He felt oddly pleased the young child called Halloween had gotten an apple as well. Earth food was so addictive. He headed for the ship. This had worked so well he would try it again, tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cons and such

Just got the flyers printed for the Ghostly Gathering reading coming up. They look pretty good. I'll bet it'll be the best free event in Denver on the 27th. I guess the plan is to distribute them at Mile Hi Con this weekend. And then people take the flyers and throw them away. That's how these things usually work.

And I also got some flyers printed up for the new Gunslingers & Ghost Stories anthology coming out December 1st. I gather the plan is to distribute them at Mile
Hi Con and then people will throw them away.

Speaking of Mile Hi Con, they've got me on a copyright panel Friday afternoon, and a small press panel Saturday afternoon and a late night reading of steampunk and weird westerns Saturday night. Not too bad.

Monday, October 15, 2012

More on them zombies

The season 3 opener of The Walking Dead. did not disappoint. Lots more zombies to kill and some new characters are also appearing. And they've got new digs. You've got to watch this show.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Zombies

Well, The Walking Dead is/are back. I've never been that big on zombie stuff, but I started watching the series late into the first season and I found it addictive. I don't know what's in store for the new season, but I anxiously await it.

All in all, the AMC channel has some ass kicking TV shows. They just ended another season of one of my favorites, Hell on Wheels. Of course, their seasons are pretty short with only a few episodes. So, last week the railroad camp was getting attacked by the Sioux. Tonight, it'll be zombies attacking our band of regular people. Maybe this season we'll finally find out what's up with that dang helicopter that keeps being seen up in the sky.

Speaking of zombies, that's one area I've never attempted to write. Whilst I've written about vampires and ghosts I've never taken on zombies. I just have not felt comfortable with the medium.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Prize

Well, the Nobel Prize people have awarded all of their prizes to others. I didn't get one. I never win anything. I thought the decision to give the Peace Prize to the EU was bizarre. Does that mean everyone who lives in Europe is now a Nobel Laureate?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pen Names

As an editor I see a fair number of writers using pen names. These are just a few thoughts on the subject. Pen names got started for a couple of reasons. Women often found that men would not read stories written by women, especially in certain genres. And some people with ethnic sounding names were forced by publishers to use pen names much as many actors were forced by movie studios to change their names to more American sounding names. These issues are not so prevalent nowadays. What does remain is fans of certain genres can't cope with their favorite author writing in another genre. Mystery fans would never forgive somebody for writng in science fiction. Ergo, if a writer wants to do both, one of those genres needs to be done with a pen name.



I also know of a writer who does horror and fears getting static from the Mormon Church because his stoires have fairly strong sexual content--hence a pen name.



But that's not the case with most of the writers I see using them. Most of them are the most amateur green writers out there They've decided on a pen name that is often stupid (yes, the name itself is stupid) ordered their writer business cards and writer stationery and set out to be a writer. Everything is all planned out--except the bothering to learn how to write part.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Readings

What makes an author important? Is it the dollar sales of his work?? Is it in the winning of awards? I don't know. I do know that I approached a library about doing a reading of ghost stories in celebration of Halloween and I was squarely rebuffed. I'm not important enough. They didn't say my stories suck. They didn't say they don't want to do anything for Halloween. They said I'm not important enough. The basis for this? I don't know. I can only guess they've never heard of me, ergo I'm not important enough. This particualr library has three of my own books plus two other antholigies which I contribute short stories to on their very shelves. I doubt the person I talked to even bothered to check that fact. I'm important enough for someone to actually order books I've written, but not important enough to read ghost stories for Halloween. Welcome to my world.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Clodumbus

Can't say that I'm a big fan of Christo Columbo. More on that in a moment. Cities with large Italian populations like San Francisco have always had big celebrations for Columbus Day. I remember back in college I had this history class and Columbus came up a few times on some assignments. I always wrote "Christo Columbo" and it always came back from the intructor marked in red. Christo Columbo was his real name. How it became in America Christopher Columbus is a mystery to me. Anyway, the gist of one of my test responses was what did Columbus accomplish? I replied he brought death, disease and mysery to the native peoples of the Caribbean. And on another question about his third voayage to the new world, I pointed out that his own men imprisoned him after a mutiny because he was such a poor commander. I don't remember what grade I got in the class, but it probably wasn't very good. But, to this day, children are indoctrinated that Columbus was some visionary explorer. Truth is, he was a dim bulb who actually thought he was in India. If anybody was so undeserving of a holiday, it is he. Yet, the banks will be closed in his honor today. And then there's the notion he discovered America. He did not. Leaf Erikson, a Viking explorer, found the New World centuries earlier. We were never told about Leaf Erikson when I was in school.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

email

Every once and a while I get communication from folks who I might have some reason to get communication from. Unfortunately, it usually gets lost as spam. I get tons of spam because I have a public blog and a business website, so I'm vulnerable. The problem that I don't think well meaning people think of is that they send me a friend linkup or something from Facebook, or similar sites. As I've made a conscious decision not to join Facebook, I tend to view these as bogus efforts to send me viruses or pictures of animals screwing or whatever wretched things that come in through email. So, I would suggest that a regular email with a subject that makes sense is a better way to get in touch with me than some friend message that I'm probably going to think is spam. Anyway, that's my take on things. Some folks are so enamoured with their social media they have forgotten any other means of communicating.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

More Polly Ticks

I had a few thoughts about the debate the other day. My thoughts aren't always like the thoughts of normal people. Obama should've shown up with a few bottles of his infamous White House Ale. He could've given a bottle to Jim Lehrer, the moderator, and kept one for himself. And they could've sipped beer during the debate. And for Romney, they could've offered him a glass of milk, since a good Mormon won't drink beer. Then there's the Republican Party's pathetic attempts to restrict voting with their ID rules. If I were doing that, I'd move all of the polling places far away from minority neighborhoods and onto streets without things like public transportation. That would be more effective at retricting turnout than the ID rules. I'm not advocating doing that, just stating that it would work better. And, how glad I'll be when the endless horrible commercials are over. The British can do a full election cycle in about two months. It takes us two years. I'm sick of it. Make it go away. Please make it go away.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Halloween Haunts

As I've mentioned before, the HWA is running special postings on their blog all month long in celebration of Halloween. My posting is scheduled to run today. Check it out. Or, are you afraid? http://www.horror.org/blog/

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Commerce

I got an offer from Holiday Inn yesterday. I don't know why. I'm not sure how they found me. You see, I have not stayed at a Holiday Inn in five years. And I've vowed to never stay at one again. I actually once worked at a Holiday Inn. But, that was some time ago. Five years ago I had a reservation to stay at one in a Denver suburb. It did not go well. They stuck me in the worst room of the hotel, presumably because I had a discounted room (they only had five paying customers that night--hardly full up). It stunk of cigarettes and mold. When I complained, I was told there was nothing I could do about it. They were right about that. Though I left the hotel and never returned, there wasn't anything I could actually do about it. I complained to Holiday Inn customer relations. They were as rude and uncaring as the jerks at the actual hotel. When I worked for them they took guest complaints very seriously. Not anymore, it would seem. I haven't stayed at one since and never will. I'll sleep in my car first. And that was why it seemed so odd that I got an offer from them. And that reminded me of the ever expanding list of businesses I boycott. Not one of them cares that I boycott them, but boycott I shall continue to do. Great Lakes Airlines, Geico Insurance, TGI Fridays, Kohl's, Priceline, Firestone Tires, Main St. Grill in Edwards CO, the Avon Post Office, Colorado Mountain Express, Greyhound, Exxon, Super 8, Grand Teton Lodge Company, Vail Resorts, American Express, Discover Card, Wells Fargo, a truck stop on the Wy-Co border whose name I can't remember...and that's just what immediately came to mind. The actual list of places I won't patronize is actually much longer. And I know they don't care. But they will never get any more of business. And they all have competitors who will.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fortune Cookie

A few days ago I was having lunch at a Chinese restaurant. The loudmouth at the table next to me read his fortune cookie to his ladyfriend. "You are going on a long journey." Well, they left and I finished my lunch in peace without any further need to hear about how Governor Romeny will save the world from the Muslims. As I drove down the road I noticed the same guy from the restaurant was leaning on the hood of his car--in handcuffs, whilst some deputy sheriffs seemed to be searching said vehicle. I later learned in the newspaper that said fellow was wanted by the State of Illinois for parole violation. Apparently his traversing the country was not sanctioned by his parole officer. So, if anyone thinks that the forunes in those cookies never come true, guess what--they do. He did indeed go away on a long journey.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Polly Ticks

All we're hearing about in Colorado is The Debate, The Debate. Only a handful of invited people get in. In fact, the press is even having to watch it from another room. So, what's the point? Why have debates in three cities when there isn't any participation in or from those cities? Why not just have it from some TV studio? It doesn't make any difference and there's been a lot of work setting up lighting and the stage and stuff. They could just as easily do it from a TV studio in Burbank and send the savings to the billionaires who are funding all these horrible commercials we've been watching for the past six months.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Reading Stories OMG

Stories. Like so many things, stories are neither good nor bad, right nor wrong. They are what they are. The one thing they’re not is perfect. Many novice writers seem to think there are perfect stories and they keep striving to create one. What a story is or is not is right for a particular project. It amazes me how many so-called writers do not seem to grasp this fundamental concept. They keep listening to people of dubious skill in some critique group tell them nonsense about something they have created. When, in reality, the only person’s opinion that matters at all is the one person’s opinion they seem to avoid. Still don’t know my point? As I was winding down the reading for the latest anthology I’ve been working on, I got the rush of last second stories across the transom at the very last minutes of the reading period. This happens every time. Writers hold their stories, waiting and waiting before submitting. To no avail. My experience has been most of the people advising writers don’t know what they’re talking about. They are rarely editors and do not look at a story from an editor’s perspective. What leaps off the page to my eyes goes unnoticed to theirs. And, where I might’ve been able to suggest a way to fix something, I cannot because time has now run out and I have to move on to other things. Yes, those stories writers have fiddled with for weeks, sometimes months, are usually worse than the stories that come in early in the reading cycle. For all of their fizzing and critiquing and what not, their effort is essentially wasted. Their stories will not be selected. Yet they will go back to their critique group and repeat the process yet again. And, most often, the result will be the same. Oh, how I dread these last days of a reading period.