Friday, November 30, 2012

Another review of Low Noon

There's a new review of Low Noon out. This is shortened hence the . . . that indicate a gap. Why do they do that? Well, Fair Use of Copyright laws allow you to quote brief passages of things like reviews, such as the few sentences here. If I reprinted the entire review somebody could make a fderal csse out of it and that could be a bad thing. So, read the magazine if you want the entire review.






A collection of twelve stories, all of which use the Old West as the backdrop to tell their tales. As you can imagine these stories are filled with murder, mayhem, other worldly vengeance, Native American mysticism and even the old horror stalwart–vampires make an appearance... Low Noon is an enjoyable read. I like mixing the westerns and light horror. All contributions to this collection should be proud. This is the third collection of stories released by Science Fiction Trails, and I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.

- Shawn Oetzel
Tales of The Talisman vol viii no 2

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Copies Away

Well, I've shipped off the copies of the new anthology Gunslingers & Ghost Stories. I always enjoy the physical process of preparing the packages for the contributor and review copies and sending them off. With that one act, there's a completeness of the process that started sometime back with an idea, then guidlines posted, then reading the stories that came in, then sending out contracts, then editing and cover design issues. Then, poof, it's suddenly done. The book is now in the hands of the readers. They can buy it or not, but the power has shifted from me to them. The readers are in control of the fate of the book now.

This book is a little different. It's slightly smaller than its predecessors, Low Noon and Six Guns Straight From Hell. It lacks a story by yours truly. I did not toss in one of my tales this time. I'm just the editor (and publisher). And, I honestly do not know if it will be the last book I publish. The sales of the previous book, Low Noon, have been so bad that I almost didn't do this one. But I've always wanted to do a collection of ghost stories, as opposed to western horror in general, so I thought I'd give it one more shot. Time will tell, I suppose.

Four of the contributing authors, the Colorado contingent, will be doing a reading Saturday, December 8th at 2pm at Broadway Book Mall in Denver. That may prove interesting. All four of the Colorado writers are women. My experience in this weird western area is that it is not nearly as male dominted as librarians, reviewers and bookstore buyers seem to believe. Of the direct buyers who I send copies directly to (as opposed to the ones sold through distributors) are two-to-one women. I don't know if that statistic has any profound significance, I simply mention it.

My western sci fi magazine, Science Fiction Trails, continues. I could use more readers there as well, but it's kind of found its own niche. I believe it to be the only regularly publishing western sci fi magazine in existence. It has different issues affecting its future than the books do. There, sales are stronger but it remains a challenge to obtain quality stories.

The two different products remind me of parallel universes in some ways. They don't seem to feed or support each other. Although ads have featured the books in some of the Science Fiction Trails issues, I don't think they've generated many sales. Nor do I think the books have had any positive effects on the magazine. It's like two different businesses in many ways, with each having less and less to do with the other. 2013 will be a watershed year as far as my publishing endeavors. What future projects are undertaken is now in the hands of the readers more than in my hands.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

One Down, Two to Go

Well, at least Thanksgiving is out of the way. That's a big five days where you can't get anything done. I've come to view holidays as more of a nuisance than anything. Next comes Christmas, where people spend too much money on things they don't need and can't afford. Then New Years hits a week after that. A nothing holiday where you can't get anything done, but at least it's not very expensive unless you make the mistake of trying to travel.

What have all three got in common? Travel is awful. If the crowds and parking hassles at the airport don't do you in, then the weather will get you for sure. I know I sound like a Grinch, but I really do not like this time of year. So, I thought I'd get all of my complaining in one blog entry and I should be good for a few months.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Guest Blogger Karl

Hi, it’s me, Karl.

I’m guest blogging today, too. There’s this show on television about finding Bigfoot. These people go around and stand in the woods at night and hope to find one. Well, they don’t seem to have much luck. Their problem is, I don’t think they know how to hunt. That’s where I have an advantage. I was born to hunt. So, I set off into the Colorado wilderness to find a Bigfoot.

Boy is there a lot of wilderness. No wonder nobody can find one. My first day out, I scared the crap out of some elk hunter. Boy, was he surprised when I can out of the trees instead the elk he was hoping for. He left his horse and campsite behind and everything. Just ran away.

So, off I went in search of Bigfoot. The first night nothing happened. It was just completely boring. Then, the second night I heard some knocking on some tree. I knocked back. I can pinpoint a sound from an amazing distance so I headed for it. Well, the knocking stopped. I couldn’t find anything out there. Then, on the third night, I heard something howling that sounded like a Bigfoot. So, I gave out a loud roar. Boy, after that I didn’t hear anything else all night. These things sure aren’t very sociable. I grabbed myself an elk for breakfast, then headed on home. Maybe I’ll try again sometime, but I’m starting to wonder if there really are Bigfoots. Of course, they’re probably saying the same things about me.

Until next time...



Sunday, November 25, 2012

Guest Blogger Karl

Hi, it's me, Karl.


I'm guest blogging today. Back in the cretaceous it didn’t snow very much. But, every now and then it would. It was kind of fun when I was little. I could slide down hills with my brother. Being a dinosaur, I just had to turn over on my back and go. It was lots of fun.

We didn’t have Thanksgiving back then. But, I remember one year there was a fire and we came along and found some dinosaur that got itself trapped in a canyon and burnt to a crisp. That was my first taste of cooked dinosaur. It was positively delicious. From that day on, if I ever saw smoke, I headed toward the fire, hoping I’d find something mother nature had cooked for me. Sometimes I did and sometimes I didn’t. But there was always that hope. I wish I’d understood more about how fire worked. I would’ve started up a dino version of Denny’s and really cleaned up. Predators would have some from miles away to eat cooked dinosaur that you didn’t have to fight with to get it to die. But, who knew?

Nowadays, folks just drive down to the diner or go to the grocery store and get what they want to eat. It’s great, though I sure wish they sold triceratops at Kroger. Every Thanksgiving I find myself thinking about the fire cooked one I had 60 million years ago. I guess it’s comfort food and we all think back to our youth. For some folks it’s cherry pie. Others think back to that roast or ham in the oven. For me, it’s that smoldering triceratops that I long for. Well, I’m not likely to find any. But I’ve got this catalog full of sausages and yule logs and I guess that’ll have to do.

Until next time.




Saturday, November 24, 2012

Philosopher King



“I bet Einstein turned himself all sorts of colors before he invented the light bulb.”



I often wonder if, say in 10,000 years, future anthropoligists will find the teachings of Homer Simpson and if it will spawn a new religion as future people are amazed at the wisdom of this wise man from the distant past.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Shopping

In addition to Kindle, I've been adding stuff to Nook at Barnes & Noble as well. Right now they've got my novella, The Pirate Dogs; My story collection Grumpy Gaines, Texas Ranger; My new anthology Gunslingers & Ghost Stories; Low Noon: Tales of Horror and Dark Fantasy From the Weird Weird West; and a few issues of Science Fiction Trails. Whilst I'm delighted to have more places people can get stuff, I'm not convinced this will do much good. Low Noon and Six Guns Straight From Hell, my other anthologies, have only sold a couple of copies in print at BN.com. It's striking how much more Amazon sells than Barnes & Noble.

In all honesty, I've given up trying to figure out why people buy on one site and not another. As far as ebooks go, I've come to like Nook better than Kindle.

Over at Science Fiction Trails, we once had it set up so people could buy online and pay through PayPal. Hardly anyone ever did. So, we got rid of that option. It simply wasn't worth the trouble. We now have a link to our entire offerings at Amazon and a few folks do actually seem to be using that option.

And, this holiday season, if you want our print books, which is still my preference, you can pick them up at your local Amazon Store. They're right next to the pickles.

So, on Black Friday & Cyber Monday, we're ready for folks. They can buy print or ebooks. Happy shopping.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cooking turkey

As I've mentioned before, my mesquite grilled turkeys are the best in the world. No one on this earth can cook a turkey better than I can. Still it's interesting how many variations on turkey cooking there are.

When I was young, our family often went to our grantmother's house in Arkansas. Gradma was a really sweet lady, but her turkey's were just dreadful. She always bought turkeys that were too big. They dried out and got tough long before they were done. I hated turkey when I was young because I'd never had one cooked well.

If we weren't going to Arkansas, then my mom would cook one. It would be smaller, but my mom made two mistakes with them. She cooked them at too high a heat and the meat got tough. And, she always put stuffing inside them. This makes the cooking time increase. And the product is crap. My mom really just wanted stuffing and couldn't care less about the actual turkey. It showed.

At some point, after the people at General Foods came up with Stove Top stuffing, I was able to get my mom to try cooking one without stuffing inside. It was a huge improvement. It cooked much faster and better.

Then, God told me to go forth into the world and cook with mesquite charcoal. I started cooking nearly everything with mesquite charcoal. Ribs, steaks, ham and even the plain old hamburger. They were all wonderful--each superbly prepared and absolutely delicious. So, it was a natural progression, that I decided to cook a turkey. I'd never cooked anything so big before. I had to redsign how I laid out the charcoal. More attention was needed to banking the coals and keeping the fire even and hot. Then I lit the fire and soon placed the bird on top of the grill. Now that the stuffing was no longer an impediment, I hoped the turkey would cook thoroughly and not get burnt. Boy, was I on to something. The dog parked himself next to the grill and guarded it. The smell was the most intoxicating thing he'd ever inhaled. And, soon it was done. I carved it and served it to the family members present [and I gave the dog some too. He'd protected it with his life, afterall]. It was simply wonderful. It was better than any variation on turkey I'd ever tasted.

Since then, I've tried fried turkey, solar baked turkey, Chinese style turkey [turkeys are not native to China]. None of them, none of them, held a candle to my mesquite grilled turkey.

So, as you stuff your faces with turkey, just remember that your turkey is not nearly as well prepared as mine is. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Black Ghost Friday

As I've said before, I've been on a ghost kick lately. That's culminated in my new anthology, Gunslingers & Ghost Stories which can be picked up at your local Amazon store. They keep them right next to the pickles.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was talking ghosts with a family friend two days before Halloween. I started to rattle on about the mysterious black ghosts and how there are more pictures of them as there are more cameras capable of low light photography. People didn't used to think they existed. Now there are lots of pictures of them and it's kind of creepy. Well, somehow, she thought that black ghosts are the ghosts of black people. I don't think so. I don't understand ghosts. But I don't see where one's race or ethnicity would have anything to do with it. And that was kind of the end of it.

But, there are black ghosts in my new anthology. And Chinese ghosts. And lots of cowboy ghosts. I hope people like all the ghosts.

So, I was thinking, it would be neat to open a chain of haunted hotels. And then people could check in and get the crap scared out of them. I figure we could send psychics around to recruit the ghosts to come to the hotels and haunt them. Well, that's my latest crackpot idea, anyway. I'm sure the first Paranormal Place will be opening near you before you know it. The ad possibilities are endless: Do you like taking a shower with someone watching--we can make it happen. Want a wake up call when there is no phone--we can make it happen. Like falling asleep to the sound of rattling chains--we can make it happen. Stay at Parnormal Place, the hotels where some of our guests never check out.

And, another great idea is Walmart could save even more money on wages by hiring zombies as cashiers. Wait, I think they already have. More on that idea later.





Monday, November 19, 2012

Turkeys

Well, Thanksgiving is coming up fast. It's everyone's favorite four day holiday. It's really almost a five day fest. You can hardly get anything done from the Wednesday before until the Monday after. No way are you shipping UPS. Nor shall you get any type of medical procedure unless you're wheeled into an ER from an ambulance. All in the name of stuffing our faces. I don't have any plans for the event. I can't say as I really like holidays. I've come to view them as something of a nuissance.

I used to cook awesome turkeys on Thanksgiving. In fact, I think my mesquite grilled turkeys were the best in the world. Alas, I haven't cooked one in quite some time. So, enjoy your holiday or don't. And remember that I can cook a better turkey than you can.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Weird Westerns

I’ve been reading a book called The Encyclopedia of Weird Westerns by Paul Green. One thing that continues to amaze me is how many people seem to have no clue of just how much stuff is out there in this genre. I recently posted a recent review by Blood Moon Rising. I appreciated their kind words concerning Low Noon, though I was disappointed that they seemed to think there was something rare or unusual with these type of stories. I’d like to encourage people to have a look at this book and also look at a site called weirdwestern.com if, for no other reason, to see just how many of these stories exist. I found quite a few things, especially in film, that were even new to me.

And, I noted a brief mention of my Weird Western novel, The Two Devils in the book. [The Two Devils has since been combined with two other books and reprinted as The Devil Draws Two.] I also noted a reference to The Weird Western Adventures of Haakon Jones by the late Aaron B. Larson, which I consider to be the best single author anthology from this genre. The Encyclopedia of Weird Westerns is available from many libraries.

My point here is weird westerns go way back. They’re not new and they’re sure not that rare.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Tejas

Well, Texas wants to seceed from the Union. They don't seem to remember things too well. They should look back around 1861, in particular.

Now, it wouldn't bother me at all if they left. We could move the border patrol to the New Mexico and Oklahoma borders, start charging duties and tariffs on Texas made goods, and wait for Mexico to annex them. It seems like a win win to me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Reading stuff

Lately, I've been getting a lot of free books. Apprently, because I edit a science fiction magazine, I get them. I think it's kind of stupid to send unsolicited books to editors who haven't asked for them. Science Fiction Trails doesn't currently do reviews, so I don't see the purpose other than these people don't have a clue who they're sending them to. I also get them because I'm a member of the HWA--an active member, which means I can vote for the Stoker Awards. I figure I've got at least a year's backlog of stuff to read.

So, a few weeks ago, I decided to thin out some of this stuff. I put up some of the books I'm not likely to get around to reading for sale on Amazon and eBay. I made about $75. Not bad. Now some people may frown on this, but I never asked for any of these books--not one. If I had solicited them, then I'd feel obligated to read them. As I didn't, I do not.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Zombie Hoard

I haven't written about The Walking Dead in some time. I just love that show. I never really liked zombie movies or even zombie stories. Then along comes this TV show and everything changed. I find the show absolutely addictive. I don't think I'm alone. It's become hugely popular. The one thing I'd still like to know is what caused the zombies. Was it some germ warfare experiment gone bad or some act of God? Well two things. I'd also like to know what happened to the guy who saved Rick back in the first episode?

Now advance to reality (sort of).

I've long believed that when the zombies or roving bands or whatever come, those who hord supplies will simply be the victims. They will be targets and they will be hunted down and killed and their supplies taken. Mobile and adaptable people will be the ones who survive, not the ones hiding in the bunkers. Find the bunker's air intake and it's all over for those inside. So, I'll take my chances on the outside.

I once worked at a place where, on the next piece of land over, some guy lived in a bunker. If you went out to your car, a TV camera followed you. I thought that, if the roving hords come, I'd rather be in the hord. This guy would be easy pickings. I'd simply go find a welding torch in the maintenance building, cut open his hatch and drop a homemade bomb down in the hole. Then, whatever supplies were there would be mine.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Enthusiasm

One of the more frustrating things about putting out magazines and books is the fact that so many writers can't be bothered to help promote them. They flat out refuse to even do so much as mention them on a blog or website. And, God forbid, we could never plug them at a con or do a reading. No one is contracted to do anything. My projects, alas, don't pay pro rates and I can't compel anybody to help promote a project. Still, it's nice when they do.

Now, fast forward to the new anthology. Gunslingers & Ghost Stories, which is coming out in just a few weeks. This one has a different mix of writers than the past projects. There's already been more pre-release publicity and various expressions of enthusiasm for this one than the last three books combined. I'm kind of stoked.

I also have a unique situation as far as Denver area publicity that I'm not entirely sure how to harness. I have four contributing writers from the Denver area. That's not unique. The unique part is they're all women. There must be a publicity angle here, though I haven't quite figured it out. In the meantime, we're set up for a reading at Broadway Book Mall on December 8th. I'm hoping we can organize at least one other event. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Weather Wonderland

Well, as I write this, our first winter storm is moving into the area. It's been a mild autumn. I was running around yesterday in a short sleeve shirt. I don't recall it ever being this warm this late in November before. Of course, I live in ski country and most folks are obsessed with snowfall and feel it's high time to get that show on the road. Skiers won't come if there isn't snow on the slopes.

My own personal view is all you can do about the weather is cuss. My father taught me that.

And that leads me to today's writing observation. Weather can be a pivotal part of a story, but it seldom is. A driving snowstorm or broiling summer heat can really impact a story. Yet it's rarey used much as a story element.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Doing Time

I've never been a huge fan of time travel stories, especially as short stories. I guess I've always felt the concept was more of a crutch for a novice writer than a useful story technique. Short stories, unlike dramatic productions such as Doctor Who, just don't make it in this medium, at least not as I see it. That in mind, I got a short story time travel piece the other day that was really good. It had this guy who travelled through time photographing people just as they were assassinated.

Problem was, I'd seen it before. That really ticks me off and it seems to be getting more common--writers fraudulantly misrepresenting their stories as original when they're, in reality, reprints. It's called fraud. I wish I could call up the goon squad and have the guy who sent it to me worked over, but I don't have a goon squad. It's no wonder so many editors get cynical and jaded.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Deficit Reduction Plan

I’ve been thinking of ways to reduce the deficit. This is what I’ve come up with.

Watch your favorite cabinet member sleep. Yep, they can install infra red cameras and people could pay to watch cabinet members sleep.

Instead of hauling reporters around in the back of Air Force One, they could sell tickets and haul paying passengers around.

The Army could sell tank rides. For an extra price, they could let you blow up something.

They could let people log into our spy satellites. At first this may not seem like much, but if you live across the street from some hot looking blond girl who likes to sunbathe nude, this could have some real potential.

Instead of paying Secret Service agents to drive the President around, they could let citizen volunteers do it. (I’d be happy to volunteer).

Instead of using expensive supply ships to bring out food to the fleet, the Navy could issue sailors rods & reels and the sailors could eat the catch of the day.

They could build some fake UFOs and charge the UFO nuts to ride in a bus out to Area 51 and look at them.

The Treasury could charge people and let them put their picture on money. So, you could have Warren Buffet on the twenty and Bill Gates on the five dollar bill.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hey Foreign People

I thought I'd make a shout out to people not living in the USA. At Science Fiction Trails, where I am publisher, we used to get sales from overseas, then that all kind of stopped. We haven't seen a UK order in over a year through any of our distribution channels. It's been even longer for an order from Australia. We've never sold a book in Canada. I think part of that is the rising cost of international mail. And the US Postal Service has announced another rate increase. In many cases, it costs more to ship a book than the books themselves cost. So, I'm not surprised we don't see foreign orders.

However, we have more options through Amazon than ever. Our products are all available from Amazon UK & Amazon Europe just like locally sold books. We now have unprecidented ebook distribution. Some of our titles are available on Nook as well as Kindle and more will be available soon. And, I've discovered a marvelous retailer that actually ships worldwide. It's called the Book Depository and they offer free shipping anywhere.

So, it seems like now is a great time to order little Billy's copy of Science Fiction Trails or a nice horror anthology for Grandma's Christmas stocking.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Reviewz

Yesterday I mentioned a new review of Low Noon, which I am editor. I think reviews are important, as people can't buy your book if they don't know about it. On the other hand, I've gotten a fair number of reviews in the past few years and they really have not generated that much in sales. I think there are reviews and there are reviews. Publishers Weekly and major papers like the New York Times have a lot of clout--especially with libraries and bookstores. Unfortunately, a lot of the small web based outfits seem to have little influence. Even our review of Six Guns Straight From Hell in the Denver Post (a large newspaper) did not really generate many sales (if any at all).

Science Fiction Trails is a case in point. It's gotten some decent reviews over the past few years (and a few nasty ones in its early days) yet I can't honestly say that's brought in very many sales. Likewise, if we were to start doing reviews in our magazine, I can't say that it would really do that much for the publications we reviewed. We do run ads and there isn't much evidence those ads have generated much in sales, either.

I don't have the answer to this. I just note that getting a review is not always that big a help in the sales game. My name's David and I approved this message.

Monday, November 5, 2012

new review

A new review out in the latest issue of Blood Moon Rising
Low Noon: Tales of Horror & Dark Fantasy by David B.
Riley (editor)
This is our second book by Riley and it is the second
collection of horror western to come from them to us. You
would never think of putting westerns and horror together but
apparently there is enough out there to bring us a second book.
It’s a good thing because Riley has put together another suc-
cessful collection (12 stories) that is a must read.
One of the stories I enjoyed was The Five Disciples. This
brings several genres together besides the western and horror
to blend into one action packed bloodfest. It tells the story of
Lone Crow, bounty hunter tracking down a killer when they are both set up by a
bewitching woman. In order to survive now, they must put aside their differences
to fight for survival. Can the good and bad trust each other another to live to see
another day?
I also enjoyed The Temptation of Darcy Morgan. This tells of a young lady
who deals cards for a saloon. A stranger comes into town and beats Darcy every
deal of the cards. Then he makes her a wager with a card game that can lead to
her never worrying about money again but at a cost of her town. Something is not
right and Darcy must figure it out before she loses everything and everyone she
cares about. This is a great story because it is not about action like the last story
but a battle of the mind.
Riley has put together a great selection of authors who give a variety of
stories, each one just as good as the next. They all give you a feeling of the west
while keeping the horror in that time and still making you feel it as a reader. I
recommend this book for anyone who wants something different with a quick
pace. You can get this at Amazon.com.



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ghosts & Gunslingers

Well, there's a new anthology coming soon which I am editor. Just 11 stories about ghosts set in the Wild West. We'll have a signing in Denver on Saturday, December 8th.