Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ah, October

Ah, October. I'd hoped to set up a Halloween reading later in the month.  It didn't happen.  Couldn't find a venue.  People's schedules didn't match up.  Oh well. I guess some things just aren't meant to be.  So much for October.  Move over Santa Claus.

So I came up with something called A Steampunk Christmas.  There will be a reading of steampunk stories at Broadway Book Mall in Denver on Saturday, December 14th. I'll be joined by J. A. Campbell, Vivian Caethe, Sam Knight, Peter Wacks and David Boop.  It's a free event. Those folks who live in Colorado come on down--and bring your goggles.
 
And if somebody wants to do a reading for Halloween and has a venue to do it, let me know.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Are You Kidding Me?

At work last night I was really popular. Why? Because I had a snow scraper.  And the stuff was attached to people's cars like glue.  It's not unheard of to get snow this early, but it is unusual.  I don't know where all this moisture is coming from, frankly.  There's sure a lot of it. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Two Cents Worth

I found two cents yesterday.  They were just laying there on the floor.  My dilemma was in deciding if it was worth bothering to pick them up.  I did just that. What do you do with them?  I could have gone inside the butcher shop and asked for two cents worth of sirloin, but that brought images of some guy with a cleaver in his hands chasing me.  I could hold onto them until Christmas season and drop them in those Salvation Army kettles.  Then, I remembered the automated checkout at Kroger. I bought a bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper, put my two cents in the machine, then paid for the balance with my debit card.  And the coins were gone. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Eye Opener

One eye opener publishing Steampunk Trails was how incredibly tough it was to get artists.  I contacted 12 artists through their blogs or websites because I liked their samples or I'd seen their work someplace--not one of them even bothered to respond.  Of the artists who contacted me through our announcements, of the three I gave assignments to, only two of them bothered to complete them and one of those was late. I eventually recruited another artist.  This was for interior illustrations, not the cover.  In other words, the starving artist seems to be because of his own doing, to botch the phrase a bit. 
 
So, this leaves me in a predicament of what to do with any future issues.  I honestly don't know if illustrating the magazine is worth the grief.  How about it, readers?  How important are interior illustrations to you?  I'd really like to know.
 
 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Nothin

Don't have much to say today.  I'm just sitting around trying to figure out how to get my science fiction novel published.  No one even wants to look at it.  A decade ago no one would read anything I wrote.  In spite of all that I've had published, nothing has really changed.  I'm not important enough to bother with. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Twinkies

Well, Twinkies have been back in the store for a while now. I still haven't had one.  few stores are selling their products. I've yet to see a coupon or even an ad for the new hostess products. What a dud.

I once wrote a short story called "Twinkies from Outer Space."  It never got published. Moving around and what not, I no longer seem to have it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Editor

Melvin Cruddy hoped his bald tires would hold together to get him all the way to Meanville.  It was below freezing and starting to snow.  Finally, there was the turnoff.  He found Jackson Street easily enough, but the houses were poorly marked--he pitied the UPS driver who had this route. Then, there it was--a two story job. He killed the lights and coasted into the driveway.

He couldn't believe his luck. The side door was unlocked. These people in small towns never locked their doors. Try that in Detroit.  There was only one light on, coming from a study at the back of the house. He readied the revolver, then charged into the room. There was no one there.

He heard the unmistakable sound of somebody feeding closed the action on a shotgun. "Drop the gun," the voice instructed.

Melvin did as instructed. 

"Turn around slowly," the voice ordered.

Melvin turned and looked into the face of Amos P. Jackass III.

"Melvin Cruddy, welcome to New Hampshire."

"How'd you know who I am?" Melvin asked.

"From your blog picture.  All you damned writers have blog pictures," Jackass said.

"That rejection letter you sent me was mean, vicious," Melvin said.

"I'm an editor. I was born to be mean.  You think you're the first writer who came crawling in here wanting to kill me?" Jackass asked.

"I guess not," Melvin replied.  "What are you going to do with me?"

"The others made excellent fertilizer for my cedar trees," Jackass said.  "Take off your clothes."

"What for?" Melvin asked.

"For the butt sex," Jackass said.

"Oh, about that.  My car, there's a bomb in it with enough explosive to take out this whole block. Just in case I didn't make. Set to go off about now," Melvin warned.

"Sometimes you writers are rather clever. I'll give you that." The explosion tore through the wall, killing both of them instantly.
THE END

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pay Money Watch

I'm simply astonished at how many of the new fall TV shows look so wretched that the networks couldn't even find any footage to make an interesting commercial for them.  The networks seem to be scraping the bottom of the barrel, even more so than usual. 

One show I was hoping for was Sleepy Hollow, as the commercials weren't as bad as most.  The storyline is bizarre, some dude dies and wakes up alive 250 years later.  And this headless guy runs around killing people. But, obviously, they'd run out of episodes fast if they left it to the original poem for story.  So let's add a bizarre incomprehensible plot about witches and the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.  This show, after just one episode, leaves me wanting for nothing--I do not want any more.  Please don't make me watch any more. 
 
I guess I'll go and watch them reposes airplanes on the Discovery Channel. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

It's here!!!

It's finally here!!!




I am pleased to announce the launch of the inaugural issue of Steampunk Trails.  We're not sure how people will react to this.  There aren't a lot of publications out there that publish this stuff.  There's a difference between the occasional odd story and something specializing in it.  And we've got a few treats beside fiction as well.  Our readers can even learn about dog goggles.  Afterall, you can't take your dog to a steam event without goggles. One sacrifice I had to make is the little white dog with the goggles that's been on our Steampunk Trails blog.  He didn't make it in the magazine. He's too low a resolution to work well in the world of digital publishing. He'll be back in some form--ready for adventure.
 

Steampunk Trails brings the world of steam and gadgets right to your fingertips. In this inaugural edition enter a world of machines with ill intent, hearts of gold, and evil. You will find assassins, unlikely heroes and people just trying to survive in a domain overrun by the establishment. Encounter places where mosquitoes are actually useful and airships dominate the skies. Presenting a special feature from Carrie Vaughn and illustrated stories by O. M. Grey, Quincy Allen, Henrik Ramsager, Lyn McConchie, Vivian Caethe, Sam Knight, Rhye Manhattan, Mike Cervantes and more.

 
An ebook version will be available in a few weeks


  
                    























       
 







 
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wonton Destruction

I went to the store and spent $47 yesterday.  When I got home I wondered how did I spend $47 dollars on this?  I didn't even buy meat.  I guess I should feel fortunate that I'm not fighting off the roving hoards like they are northern Colorado.  Heck, I used to live in Estes Park.  There are only two roads in and out of there and they both look destroyed.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Occupation

Occupy Wall Street celebrates its two year anniversary today.  Back when they were expanding all over the country I went down to Denver to protest with them one day.  I developed a real appreciation for the sacrifices they were making.  They were living in pretty wretched conditions. And standing around protesting gets quite tedious--fast.  After one day I never went back. 
 
Overall, I think they called attention to some things, although the past election makes one wonder if most of that effort fell on deaf ears. Congress barely changed.  An astonishing amount of the wealth in this country is in the hands of just a few hundred people.  These folks are not acting in the best interest of the country.  And that's all I have to say on the subject. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Condemnation

Well, the folks at Leprecon in Phoenix have invited me back next spring.  They were really nice to me last time I went.  So few cons ever seem to want me.  Of course, with my work schedule, attending these things is tough--especially in the winter. It's almost impossible to get weekends off.
 
I know people who go to practically every con they can get to.  It's expensive going to these things.
 
Anyway, I don't have to worry about getting time off for cons as so few of them ever want me.  I've been on a three con rotation, so one about every 4 months is it for me.  I don't expect that to change much in the near future. 
 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hell

Some of the best TV shows these days are on AMC.  One particular favorite of mine is Hell on Wheels.  It's about the people building the transcontinental railroad.  I just love this show.  It's got fascinating characters and lots of people getting killed.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Kalendur

The Calendar that Never Was
This company called Browntrout makes calendars.  They used to make a flying saucer calendar every year. For 2013 they announced one on their website, but it never appeared in reality. No one could order it.  Now, for 2014 there is no Flying Saucer offering at all. I am totally bummed.  I wanted another flying saucer calendar. 

They've even got an outhouse calendar.  A year's worth of pictures of outhouses but I can't have flying saucers. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Typewriter is Dead! Stop this Crap!

One of the most aggravating thing about being a publications editor is the fact so many dingaling writers still have not figured out the typewriter is obsolete. They send in stories that were technically typed on a computer, but they don’t use the features of a computer. Whether you’re using Word, WordPerfect or even one of the open source products, they all have basic features. Yet so many writers ignore these features and continue to pretend they’re using a typewriter. It’s not cute. It’s not quaint. And someday I’m going to create an android army to hunt them down.

Tabs are not how to type on a computer. Computers will start a new paragraph at any indentation you set up, automatically. More than half of the writers who send me stories are still hitting the tab key.

All the major programs have page numbering. They will automatically number pages for you and do so at the top or bottom of the page–wherever you want. So, most writers set up headers. And an astonishing number even try and manually put in page numbers. Headers are tough to reformat. Manually placed page numbers get messed up if you hot a wrong key and create an extra line somewhere.

And I’m not even getting started on things that are embedded into the file to make it look cute.

Stop this!!!!! It is not quaint. It is not cute. It creates serious trouble in reformatting that file, which is what is going to happen to it. Armies of typesetters are not in the basement of the magazine you’re submitting to. It isn’t done that way anymore, excepting certain antiquated publishers who still want a SASE for your form letter. Your computer is not a typewriter. Learn how to use it.

On the last anthology I edited, a writer was using tabs to start paragraphs. I warned him to knock it off. He turned around and sent me another submission the same way. I rejected it without looking at it. If you think ignoring this warning will get you literary success, think again. Retribution is at hand.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Watch the Sky II

Well, I'm pleased to report another day has come and gone and not a single black helicopter in the sly did I see.  That's why it's so easy for people who are a bit paranoid to get carried away with things.  I remember once when I was behind some guy for five or six blocks and I finally get to work and pull in.  Suddenly this guy is standing in the hotel demanding to know why I'm following him.  Instead of denying it, which he didn't seem to believe, I should have told him the whole building was a front for the CIA and we think he's a Mexican spy.  He probably would've believed that.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Watch the Sky

The reality challenged have always insisted there's some secret army in black helicopters operated by the UN that flies around the country spying on people like them. I have remained a bit skeptical of this.  Our own government has plenty of helicopters and they're used for legitimate transportation needs for the National Guard and Army. And, where I live, military aircraft are rare as there simply aren't any military bases in these parts.

Well, yesterday, I went out to my car.  There was a black helicopter hovering overheard.  Okay, it's probably something with the local college or high school which are both  just a few blocks away. So, I drove off to the grocery store.   I was having trouble finding somewhere to park, so I abruptly turned around and looked up.  There were two black helicopters right above me.  Then I went and had a sandwich.  When I came out of the restaurant there were no helicopters, but I now found myself looking up a lot even though I don't believe I' m really important enough for the government to bother to spy on.   No helicopters. 
 
I went back to the grocery store.  I wasn't in there long.  When I came back out there were no helicopters. I thought my paranoia was ridiculous.   Then I headed for home.  I pulled over abruptly and got out of my car.  Right above me was a black helicopter.  I was amazed at how quiet it was.  I got back in my car and continued on. I went home and unloaded my groceries. That took all of two minutes. I went back outside and took off in my car.  I dove a few mile then pulled into a gas station. As I got out, I noticed a black helicopter in the sky.  This is weird, I kept thinking.  I went back home and kept looking out my window.  I saw no helicopters. After a half hour of paranoia, I headed out to take some garbage out to the dumpster. There was nothing in the sky.  As I headed back inside, I noticed a helicopter flying by. I went back inside and did not come back out or look outside anymore that day.
 
One thing about being paranoid is it does make you feel important.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Big Time Fishin

There's a big time fishing derby going on here this week.  A lot of the participants are staying at the hotel I work at.  I guess one can win some big time prizes in these things. 

But, I think the underlying supposition is wrong.  I'm not convinced people actually catch fish when they toss in their favorite fly or lure.  Nosiree.  I think the fish exactly what it is they're biting on.   Yep, I think they do it for thrills. Can I get off in time?  Maybe they'll eat me while I'm still alive?  Fish are always just a heartbeat from death anyway. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mosquitoes

The plural of mosquito is mosquitoes or mosquitos, depending on what reference source you look in. I have come to favor the mosquitoes. We don't have many mosquitoes in this part of Colorado. Other parts of the state have plenty, and even the kind that carry West Nile virus.  I don't know if there's any other insect that has no redeeming value.  They don't pollinate crops or anything but spread disease and make people miserable.  Whether it's malaria, west Nile or canine heartworm, it's mosquitoes that carry it.  And efforts to eradicate them around the world have mostly failed.  If any mosquitoes want to write a rebuttal to this they're welcome to do so.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Big Green Bug

Yep, there was a big green bug in my car yesterday. I suspect I acquitted it on my recent trip to Denver. We don't have bugs that look like that around here.  I set it loose.  I doubt it'll make any bug friends around here and it'll soon freeze to death.  That's what you get by being a bug.  I'm not driving back to Denver to release it.  Maybe it'll catch a ride like it did with me.

No thank you.

I went to Denver two days ago.  Denver is a large city in Colorado.  I can't ever find  anything in Denver. I'm always getting lost.  I wanted to visit a few stores but I couldn't find them. And I even found myself in this really nice park.  People were out jogging and dogs were playing and ducks were quacking and I have no idea where it is.  I doubt I'll ever find it again.  It's just someplace in Denver on some street.
 
And as I struggled to find the freeway I saw this really nice looking house with a for sale sign in the yard. I thought I could move to Denver and buy the house and live there.  Of course, I don't really want buy a house and move to Denver and live on some street where I don't know where it is except it's near some park.  If I bought the house I'd never be able to find it again and buying houses and never going back to them could get really expensive.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Guerilla Book Sales

I went to Denver yesterday.  When in Denver, I go by the Tattered Cover bookstore because they're one of the few places who actually has one of my books.  I take Gunslingers & Ghost Stories and turn it face out so people can see it better.  So far, it hasn't made much difference. People just do not want to buy it.  Still, I do what I can.  Just remember, most stores list anthologies by the title, not by the name of the editor.

I sure wish a mob of 20,000 people would descend on the Tattered Cover and order my book.  I'd even settle for a mob of two people.  That's how many copies they have.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Crossing Guards

Well school is back in session.  As I was driving by one of the many schools in the area, I noticed there were no crossing guards out in front of the school, even though quite a few kids were present.  I went by another school a few minutes later and noticed the same. I don't know if they couldn't hire enough or they've just given up due to never ending budget problems.
 
Back when I was in school we had crossing guards.  But, we never had school nurses. I never saw a nurse in school during the 12 years I attended--not ever. There was no such thing as a school nurse. I've noticed some of the school districts around Denver are debating getting rid of nurses as they claim they can no longer afford them. 
 
This is a roundabout way to say I think our public schools are a disgrace.  It's not about teachers. It's about the environment.  And nothing has improved since I went to school many years ago.  We cut things like art to save money, even though kids who learn art do much better on math test scores.  Whether it's crossing guards or nurses, the fact is going to school is not fun or pleasant.  I sat around for 12 years dearly hating every second of it.  It was so damn boring. And most of what I learned I taught myself.  It sure didn't come from the teachers. Most of them couldn't teach. 
 
At least crossing guards help keep you from getting run over. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Gamblin

I don't play the Colorado lottery because I think it's a rip off.  Still, plenty of others do.  I've never won a dime from any manifestation be it a scratch ticket or the high jackpot games like Powerball. Not one dime have I ever won.  That's why I long ago stopped playing.  It's just throwing money down a rat hole, in my opinion.

Nonetheless I see people buying tickets at the store regularly.  I hope some of them are winning. So, to test my hypothesis that I never win, I purchased a scratch off ticket last Friday. I scratched it off. and I won nothing.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Publications

As I've mentioned before, I have two publications I run.  I've mentioned the challenges  here many times.  Science Fiction Trails is suffering poor sales but rising submissions. Last year it was the opposite where we had falling submissions and rising sales.  I really wish I knew why people buy certain issues and not others. The latest issue is by far the best one. Because it's bigger, I raised the price a quarter. I guess that did it.
 
Then there is the Kindle versions of some of the older ones. We picked up a negative review on a few issues. It's one of those kind where they bash you but give no example. We were attacked for poor copy editing. It's my belief this person is mistaken. The truth is some of our products on some versions of Kindle have had weird glitches that we can't fix. This is formatting, not editing.  I just wish people who write these reviews on places like Amazon and Goodreads would use examples for why they liked or hated a particular book or issue.
 
Alas, then there's the new one. Steampunk Trails has some really nifty content in it.  It will be releasing by October 1.  This one's a little different in that it has a few nonfiction articles as well as fictional stories. It's a different mix of authors from our other projects.  I didn't control the selection process for this one, so I find myself wondering as the writers I thought would submit apparently did not and those I had my doubts about did. I don't know how folks will react to the new publication. I guess time will tell.