Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Highwayman

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 towards 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 female 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.

This story has been reprinted many times. I often post it at Halloween.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Addendum

I noticed on the internet that some lady is going to give kids letters telling them they're too fat instead of candy for Halloween.  I know childhood obesity is a big problem, but appointing yourself God is not the solution. She's not these kids parent. Give out other stuff if candy bothers you. My dad gives out dimes.  I don't know how many they get this year, but I'm sure it's worth more than cheap candy.

When I was a kid, and the crowd I ran with was actually quite tame, we still would've egged the living crap out of her house if someone had pulled that.  I hope the local supermarket is well stocked.


Haunted Yellowstone, Part 4

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. This ain’t fiction--this really happened.

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 called 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 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 29, 2013

Haunted Yellowstone, Part 3

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. This ain’t fiction--this really happened.

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 a Holiday Inn property. It turned out that the general manager of the Holiday Inn 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 28, 2013

Haunted Yellowstone, Part 2

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. This ain’t fiction--this really happened.

Part 2: Early checkout

I wasn’t the regular night guy at the front desk, but I found myself again filling in working the graveyard shift at Lake Yellowstone Hotel. At this point in time, I was primarily doing work with group tours and filling in on the night shift as needed. 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 don 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 27, 2013

Haunted Yellowstone, 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. This ain’t fiction--this really happened.

 

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 described 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 a 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.

Garbage

It amazes me what turns up in the garbage. At the hotel I work at I noticed something that seemed a bit odd. It was a package of cashews. It was unopened.  I debated whether I've sunk to the point of eating stuff out of the garbage compared with letting perfectly good food go to waste. And these were cashews. Cashews are not cheap commodities like peanuts.  So, I ate them.
 
 
 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Coin of the Realm

I found a quarter on the sidewalk yesterday. I'm always happy when I find money--even if it's a tiny sum.
Way back when, I once worked at a place where there was always money in the pay phone coin return. I don't know why nobody else ever checked it, but it was good for at least a couple bucks a week. Nowadays, there aren't any pay phones--blasted cell phones have wiped them out.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bookz

One thing I spend an inordinate amount of time on is books. More specifically, why people will buy one book and not another one.  The subject came up again more than once at the recent con I said I will no longer talk about. Case in point: Six Guns Straight From Hell.  The book was a steady seller. I had to take it out of print recently as the contracts with the authors expired.  Another book, Low Noon, had very similar content with a lot of the same authors, yet it's never sold well.  Why? Hell I don't know why. 
 
I've been submitting to a lot of anthologies the past few weeks.  I don't if my stuff will be selected. And more baffling, I don't know if those anthologies will be successful. I've been disappointed more often than pleased with the sales of the books I've been published in.  And I really don't know why one book sells and another does not. is it cover art?  Is it distribution? Is it price?  I just don't know.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

One More Lament about Mile Hi Con

I’ve been rattling on about Mile Hi Con since I got back.. Well, this will be the last posting on the matter. I already have said I only attended part of the con and had to return home to go to work,which is 100 miles away from Denver. This turned out to be really frustrating because I would’ve liked to have stayed there, and not just because the con seemed especially fun this year.

One thing I’ve noticed over time is the gender ratio at science fiction cons seems to be changing. Ten years ago it was hugely male to female–perhaps three to one. That has changed and the disparity has closed considerably, though I lack any official stats. Heck, at steampunk cons I suspect women actually outnumber men. My point is simply these were not historically places to pick up girls. The numbers have not worked for that. So I was amazed that I met someone I was really impressed with. Although I don’t think she was particularly impressed with me, I could not try to buy her a drink at the bar or stalk her for the rest of the con because I had to leave. And, since she’s from out of state, I’m not likely to see her again. I is bummed a bit about this. More than a bit.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Adventures in the Secret Police

I have a science fiction book that's always been an orphan. It was self published on Kindle because no one would publish it.  The reason, at least in my opinion, was I made the mistake of using Santa Claus as a character.  The second anyone saw that I got "We don't do seasonal material" for a response.  Thing is, the book has nothing to do with Christmas. Christmas is never even mentioned.  Well, that all said, it's available today and tomorrow for free on Kindle if anyone would like to download it.
 
 
 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Night Stalker

Ever hear of The Night Stalker? I'm not talking about the serial killer in California, but the TV show from the 1970s.  I used to love this show.  Like most of the shows I liked back then, it didn't last long.  Reporter Karl Kolchak would ignore his assignments and go off after various paranormal  things that always seemed to be plaguing the good people of Chicago.  Anyway, in a conversation about Halloween costumes I got somebody interested in it, which is available on Netflix. 

There was an attempt to do a remake a few years back. It was unwatchable. Half of the charm was the relationship between Darren McGaven and Simon Oakland. The remake had none of that and flopped badly.
 
As we approach Halloween, do yourself a favor and download, rent or borrow this show.  Most people under 35 or so have never seen it. It's a real treat.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Shoot 'Em Up

I spent much of my effort at the recent Mile Hi Con shamelessly promoting the new Steampunk Trails. And copies were sold--most likely due to the efforts of editor Julies Campbell and not me. People like her.

Anyway, I did make a few pitches for my western horror anthologies.  And a couple of copies of Gunslingers & Ghost Stories did sell.  I also told some folks about my other anthology that's still in print-- Low Noon.  This book has really struggled for sales.  I'm not sure why, but it has.  One thing I've told people about it is that Joel Jenkin's "The Five Disciples" is the best gunfight story I've ever read.  Jenkins has a real talent for doing gunfights with his Lone Crow character.  I wish he'd do more of them. 

[Somebody released a book with the same title this past summer. Mine's the one I edited. If somebody else's name is on it, it's not mine]


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Conz

We had a healthy crowd at Mile Hi Con this weekend.  Even the author reading had a decent crowd and we were scheduled against the opening ceremonies. I've seen these sometimes where there's no one at all there, so it was nice to actually have people to read to.

The mad scientist panel went okay.  This is not my strongest area. There were other things I would've rather done. But I managed to get through it without making an ass out of myself.  The steampunk panel went rather well.  Steampunk fans are really well informed.

My only regret is I couldn't attend a lot of the activities as I had to return home and go to work, so I missed Saturday evening and Sunday,

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mile Hi postscript

Well, I got back from Mile Hi Con intact. Nothing bad happened to me.  I didn't attend the whole con because I have to work.  Still, I had a great time. Got to see some old friends.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Off to MHC

Well I'm off to Mile Hi Con.  I hope nothing bad happens to me. The first four years I always had car trouble such as flat tires or dead batteries. Then I got sick two years in a row--the second time so bad I landed in the hospital. Then I took a year off and didn't go. Then last year nothing bad happened to me. I'll report on any non lethal calamities right here. If I die, then I probably won't have any more blog entries. That would be interesting, but kind of creepy if I did.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Not Much on the Agenda

Not much going on today. I'm hoping to get my car serviced without any major surprises. You never know how that will go. There aren't any car repair places around here that I truly like. I'm going to the Ford dealer, which is quite some distance away. It kind of kills the whole day.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Show Me The Money

I found a dime on the sidewalk yesterday.  That's noteworthy because I never see dimes on the ground--just pennies and quarters.  In fact, I recently lamented that fact in another post here in this blog. You just don't find dimes.  It's like the dime fairy swoops down and takes them.  I don't know what I'll do with my dime. a dime won't really buy much.  I sure wish I could find a twenty dollar bill on the ground. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

They're Back

It's been a long wait, but The Walking Dead is back.   I just love that show.  It's the one show on TV that I can't predict what's going to happen next. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mile Hi Con

Well, next weekend is Mile Hi Con.  They've got me down for an author reading during the opening ceremony on Friday. That'll be a bust. I'll probably be reading to an empty room.  On Saturday I'm on a panel about mad scientists and I'm moderating some sort of steampunk panel. And that's it. 
 
I don't attend a lot of cons.  I've been on a three a year rotation.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Taste Tests

Canned tomato soup.  The store brands are half as much as Campbell's. I doubt anyone could tell the difference in a blind taste test. Yet people all go for the national brand.

I once had a blind taste test to see if I could tell the difference between red bananas and yellow ones.  The red ones are sweeter. I had no trouble telling.  But, alas, I wanted some red bananas but the chain grocery stores ain't got none. People won't buy them.  They're afraid of them.  Back when I lived at home my dad would not eat red bananas. He wouldn't even try one.

When I lived in Oregon (a major potato growing state) I had some red potatoes. No one would eat them.

Also in Oregon I got a hold of some blue corn meal. I made some cornbread. No one I knew would even taste it. They were all afraid.

I wish I knew how to run a restaurant.  I'd make french fries out of blue potatoes.  And nobody would eat them.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Leaves

We're drowning n leaves around my house.  They're finding their way into my car. I guess they burrow in during the night. They're in my house. I found one in my pocket.  They're simply everywhere, plotting how to annoy me and get inside my domicile.  For what diabolical purpose, I cannot really say.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

To Stamp or Not to Stamp

I've been using Stamps.com for about a year now.  It's remarkably convenient. You can print out postage online for just about any type of mail. No more arguing with postal clerks. You even can get discounts on some types of packages. You don't have to stand in line at the Post Office.  It has some real value.  I just used it to send out a bunch of copies of the new Steampunk Trails out to contributors and reviewers. Really convenient. My dilemma is I now will not likely have much mail to send out for quite a few months.  And they charge a monthly fee to use the service. Ergo, I can't really justify continuing to use it even though I sure do like it.  So, I struggle as to what to do.  They even these cool Halloween digital stamps you can get, though I have no use for them I sure do want them.

They've also got a promotion where if I refer people I can get some free postage [and so can the friend], yet everyone I know seems afraid to try it.  So, I fear I may have to drop it as a cost cutting move, though I sure do have a lost of reservations about it as I have liked the service.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Copyright Pages

I've been looking at a lot of anthologies lately, mainly because I'm a juror on the Stoker Awards for the anthology category.  What passes for copyright pages really amazes me.  It seems to be a case of monkey see--monkey do.  The litany of lists of story one copyright author one, followed by story two copyright author two and so on can rattle on for half a page.  A single notice by the rights holder (the publisher of the anthology) has been sufficient since the copyright act of 1976 was passed.  That means this antiquated practice has been obsolete for well over 30 years.  I think it persists because somebody does it that way, so people see it and think they have to do it that way. 

Then the USA signed the Berne Copyright Convention around 1988.  Since then a copyright page has not  been required at all. Nada. Yet authors and publishers fixate and obsess about copyright notices. It is all unnecessary.  I'm not saying there is anything wrong with posting a copyright notice.  But, these lengthy lists of notices are ridiculous. People are doing this mostly because they have no idea what is required and what is not.  And nothing I say is going to change that.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

New Review For Steampunk Trails

Well then, there's a new review of Steampunk Trails out by New Zealand reviewer Steve Johnson. He seemed to like it. And, yes Steve, that is the same Carrie Vaughn.
 

Steampunk Trails issue 1, Ed. J.A.Campbell.

8 October 2013

Very large softcover, September 2013. Publisher David B. Riley.
Reviewed Steve Johnson.
Not usually keen on Steampunk, but there’s some very good stories in this issue. Fade of the Innocent by O.M. Grey deals with a killer for hire who has his own rules and sticks to them, and in doing so finds he has a problem. One that ends up providing him with something he’s never realized he needs and will end up cherishing. Quincy Allen’s Family Heirloom was an excellent ‘going back in history’ with the real kicker as you realize at the end just who is telling the story. Lone Star Jackson – Outlaw is one of Lyn McConchie’s ‘awww’ stories as she puts it and she’s right, it’s also a darn good steampunk tale for someone who writes very few of them. And Moshito Masquine, a Sam Knight and Rhye Manhattan collaboration is an interesting steampunk vampire version that goes unexpected places and takes in some clever new angles on the way through.
The cover of this issue – by Wayne Miller -  has colour, professional quality work, and is wholly appropriate to the theme, something in which some anthologies fall down. And let’s not forget the article – What We talk About When We talk About Steampunk Fashion by Carrie Vaughn. Not only is this very lucid article useful for those of us who weren’t that sure what the term really did mean,  but I’m wondering if this is the Carrie Vaughn who writes the ‘Kitty’ series. If so, then that was a bonus as I have all of the books bar the first and love the series. Yes, for someone who isn’t usually that keen on Steampunk I got a lot of enjoyment and good reading from this issue, and I don’t mind admitting it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Well, then

Well, yesterday's Halloween Haunts has come and gone.  That's an annual event put on by the Horror Writers Association to celebrate every horror writer's favorite month--October.  I'm surprised of the roughly 1000 members, how few of them bother to participate.  I rather enjoy reading my fellow members thoughts on Halloween and stuff.  To each their own.  Stuff will be running all month long at horror.org    And it's all completely free. You can't beat free.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Halloween Haunts

My contribution to Halloween Haunts is scheduled to be on the horror.org site today. I recall some childhood memories of Halloween.  This is a month long celebration of Halloween with various thoughts on the holiday, horror literature, etc.  There are also opportunities to win free prizes. 

http://www.horror.org/blog/halloween-haunts-2013  


Halloween Haunts 2013: The Old Stories Return by James Chambers
 
 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Brrr

Well, our first winter storm arrived. Where I live it's cold, but not all that much snow.  Now I'll hear all about it all week as people are obsessed with how much snow the ski slopes will get this season. Somebody shoot me.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Money From Outer Space

I found a quarter yesterday. It was right there on the sidewalk when I came out of my doctor's office.  Of course, the bad news is I have to pay my doctor way more than a quarter.  There it was, right there.  I'm used to seeing pennies on the ground. I never find quarters. A quarter is still worth picking up.  The one thing you never see are dimes. I wonder why that is.  I never see dimes on the ground--just pennies.  I can put that quarter in a vending machine along with a few of its friends and get some peanuts or something.  Yay!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

New Story Out

I have a new story out in Tales of the Talisman issue 9.1. It's called "Mr. Walker." I haven't yet gotten my copy of it.  I was able to access the first page of my story and the art on Amazon.com with their look inside feature.  All I can say is the story's illustration art is totally awesome. I just love it. 
 
Anyway, "Mr. Walker" is the guy the mob calls in when they're having problems of a paranormal nature.  In this adventure Walker is sent to a haunted house to retrieve some property.  I hope to eventually publish more adventures for Mr. Walker. 
 
 
 
I have a long history with this magazine and have appeared in it often.  It's really a consistently good publication.  I don't think it gets the respect it deserves.  People need to buy things like Tales of the Talisman if they claim to love speculative fiction. If they don't, we may someday have nothing to read but celebrity stories about some guy's drug problem put out by the commercial publishers and the self published crap that is flooding the marketplace.  Semi pro magazines are having a rough time these days.   Trust me--buy a copy. It's worth it.  It's available on Amazon right this minute.
 
 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Halloween Haunts

Halloween Haunts 2013: The Old Stories Return by James Chambers

Once again the Horror Writers Association [HWA] is hosting its Halloween Haunts  event on their Dark Whispers blog.  Now, through the big day, Halloween itself, their members will be posting stories about Halloween, horror fiction and writing horror. My own entry is slated for October 6th where I recount some childhood memories of Halloween.

And there's a bonus: Many of the members are offering free prizes.  Take a moment and check it all out.  Or, are you afraid?

http://www.horror.org/blog/halloween-haunts-2013




Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ah, paperwork

I last tried to refinance my house two years ago.  I sent in the paperwork and nothing happened. I called the company and all I got was voice mail, none of which was ever returned. In short, nothing ever happened.  It amazes me that I can get a credit card in seconds, but home financing is a whole nuther game.  Anyway, I just sort of gave up and now thought I try again.  I'm astonished at why they need my tax returns for the past four years. Past income has nothing to do with current ability to pay. I think some places just like to snoop.  There's other things I don't think they need and some things they seem indifferent to that I think are relevant.  In short, I'd be amazed if this ever closes.  I don't feel at all good about it.