Friday, January 31, 2014

And More

And two more feet of snow.  Can't even get around.

Snow

Thursday my car was so stuck I couldn't get it out from where it was parked as two feet of snow blocked it. I've never had this problem before.   We got two feet of snow in just one day.  I just can't believe how much snow that is.  I even shoveled a path from our building to the parking lot. That path was completely gone in an hour.



Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mail Dispatch

Our  local post office has a final dispatch at 3pm.  I guess that's because we're out in the boondocks and it has to go really far away for sorting and stuff.  Still, that seems awfully early to me.  I missed the deadline yesterday.  The truck was driving away as I drove up to the post office.  So, another day lost.  Not that the package I was mailing was really all that urgent. I knew the time cutoff.  I just convinced myself that somehow it wouldn't really matter.  

I have this love hate relationship with the post office. I love the fact that they're tons cheaper than UPS. I hate the fact that their service is crap.  I wonder, in a few years, when mailmen are replaced by robot drones, what the mail experience will be like. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

This Guy Can't Possibly Be Any Good

Yesterday I went in our local book store. I don't like our local book store, but they have a public restroom and I had to go. This guy was looking at a book. A woman standing next to him said, "That guy's a really good author."  To which, this fellow loudly replied, "He can't be any good. I've never heard of him."

And some writers still don't understand the need for publicity.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Welcome to Goodreads

I've just set up an author page at Goodreads.  Why am I just now getting around to doing this?  I don't really know. It just kind of slipped off the radar.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Adventures in Fried Won Ton

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Chinese food was quite available.  Back in those days I developed a fondness for fried won ton.  Put a little sweet and sour sauce on it and I'm in heaven.  Alas, whilst it was quite abundant back there, I have yet to find a Chinese restaurant in Colorado that serves it. I don't know why that is.  I sure miss fried won ton.  But, I don't yet miss it enough to get on a plane and fly back to California to get some.  Maybe later.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

New Story Out

I have a new story that's just been released.  Martian insurance adjuster Sarah Meadows returns in a story in Tales of the Talisman vol 9 issue 3.  Sarah has now appeared in 5 stories in various places.  These stories are all straight up science fiction.  Sarah is a graduate of the Martian School of Economics and finds the insurance business is far more exciting than she ever imagined.  In this story she has to deal with theoretical concepts of time and space better suited for a graduate of MIT (Martian Institute of Technology). Ripping good stuff.




Friday, January 24, 2014

Ground Hog Day Special

Ground Hog Day Special

Now through February 2, get half off Science Fiction Trails 10 [Print Edition Only].  You must order from our distributor and use the discount code below to get this price.

Enter discount code at checkout:   R3D6R9FP

 Use this link:   CreateSpace eStore               https://www.createspace.com/4268257



There's a similar offer for half off Steampunk Trails. Use the link at the top of the page to go to the Steampunk Trails site for more info.

I Don't Know Where I Live

Over the years I've sold various things on Amazon and eBay.  I often wonder why I do this. The problem is the astonishing rate of undeliverable packages. I just cannot believe how many packages come back as undeliverable. Why somebody would go to the trouble to order something when they don't know where they live amazes me. I actually know where I live.  I have my own delivery issues, as the Post Office won't deliver to my address.  I know this, and get burned when someone promises to use FedEx or UPS, then turns around and mails something.  That's not the case on the 20% undeliverable orders I send out.  I verify each address in the Postal Database as being a valid address. It doesn't help at all.  They still keep coming back as undeliverable because the address people put down is not where they live. What I can't figure out is why they don't know where they live. It's a costly and annoying waste of time. 

Kold

This is the time of year when those of us who live in cold climates start dreaming of warm tropical places.  I booked my trip to Arizona to attend Leprecon.  It's not for a while, yet.  But it let me think about warm places for a bit.  At this point, that may be the only con I attend this year.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Discovering Nothing

I've read most of Jack London's Klondike stories. Heck, I've read most everything Jack London wrote.  So, I was interested in the Klondike miniseries on the Discover channel.  This wasn't exactly London, it was more of a composite inspired by London. Since I turned it off I was unable to read the credits.  I really did not like this show--yet I can't actually say why.  I just didn't care about the location or the characters. Ergo, I dropped out and quit watching it.  Very disappointed.  I sure would like to have a sack full of gold, though. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Finishing Touches

The year is going to be busy for publishing projects at Science Fiction Trails, where I am publisher. I've been trying to organize the parameters of a new horror anthology.  I was reluctant to take on a new project, but the market seems to be getting stronger again.  Last year, my best selling product went out of print--Six Guns Straight From Hell. I think the time may be ripe for a new volume two. So, I've been going over the guidelines and trying to work up a timetable. More details on that soon.

The next issue of Science Fiction Trails, issue 11, is next up in the lineup.  It's basically awaiting a final proofreading and the cover art.  I really like this issue. It may be the best one yet.

And, Steampunk Trails 2 will open for submissions in a couple of weeks.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Callers

It simply amazes me how many calls turn up on my caller ID that I have absolutely no idea who they're from. And no one ever leaves a message.  Ergo, I never do find out who these mysterious callers were.  That used to bother me. Now I don't care anymore.  It's most likely some boiler room wanting money for some bogus charity or to raise money for some lost political cause.  So, it's just as well that I missed them.  

Then there's this number from Colorado Springs. It calls me bout once a month or so. It never leaves a message.  Whilst I know people in other parts of the state, I don't really know anyone in the Springs.  I don't really care who it is, but I still find myself curious.  I somehow doubt it's anyone wanting to give me money, so I guess we'll never know. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Recycling

For some reason, my most popular blogs seem to be when I write about garbage.  Our condo complex has a dedicated mixed stream recycling dumpster.  It's very popular. In fact, it's often overflowing.  Thing is, it need not be overflowing. They say no plastic bags--most of the stuff is in plastic bags. They say flatten cardboard, so most of the cardboard is in its upright position. Yesterday I dumped the stuff out of the plastic bags and flattened the cardboard boxes. The dumpster went from overflowing to having plenty of room. 

People want to recycle, but they sure are lazy.  


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Another Day...

As I've mentioned many times, I publish a few things, including two fiction magazines.  What consistently amazes me is the fact that writers go to the trouble to submit stories, we sometimes actually decide we'd like to publish them, we send out contracts and the writers refuse to sign and return them.  

Well, perhaps it's our terms? No one has ever objected to our terms, which mostly only ask for nonexclusive rights and were spelled out in our guidelines. In fact, a frequent contributor to past projects is a lawyer and he's never objected to our contracts.  So, why is this?  I don't know.  There was one situation where I later learned the submission was fraudulent where someone had plagiarized another writer's story, but I don't think that's the case in most of these situations.  

But, alas, this continues to happen and reared itself up quite recently. The sad thing is, in the meantime, another story might have been rejected that we could've used.  I guess I'll never figure out why people do what they do. A similar problem has occurred with artists. Artists say that want assignment. They say they're okay with our terms and deadlines. Yet, we give them assignments and never hear from them again.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Martians

A couple of years ago we put out a special issue of Science Fiction Trails--our All Martian Spectacular.  I really liked it, but it was a total dud. People just wouldn't buy it.  Suddenly, over the holidays, we started seeing some sales of it which has continued. Nothing overwhelming, but enough to get my attention. Yet, I'm unaware of any reviews or anything new about it. So I am glad people are buying it, but I sure wish I knew why.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Toilet Paper

At work recently I mentioned that I buy store brand toilet paper.  That brought some ews from my coworkers, who all use Charmin. Then a guest who was sitting in the lobby came up and said they use Scott. There, you have it--quality information.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hotel Biz

Well, as I've mentioned before, I work in the hotel biz when I'm not out battling the forces of evil.  I don't really know how I ended working in hotels.  It just sort of happened.  So, I don't know that it matters that much, but I work weekends.  Most author events, cons, etc are on weekends. This is an inherent conflict someone who works a real job during the standard work week doesn't have to contend with.  But it does, at times, prove frustrating. As I plan what cons to attend in 2014, it's always a quandary as I think can I get off then?   I sure wish our hotel had author stuff or a murder mystery weekend. All we ever seem to get are weddings.  I hate weddings, but that's another story.

Anyway, the only con I've accepted an invite to is Leprecon in Phoenix.  So, it may not be a big deal if that's all I go to.  Time will tell. But, because it's a big deal to get weekends off, I haven't been very aggressive at looking for cons to go to.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Snow

Three feet of snow in the past week.  That's a whole yard.  In one week. That's a lot of snow.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Lettering & Covers

Lower on this page you may notice new lettering for the cover of Steampunk Trails, where I am publisher. We thought the original lettering was not quite up to snuff.  Because it's not simple or easy to change a print item with our current distribution, the new cover only applies to ebooks and  websites at this time.

Speaking of covers, I just got back the new cover for issue 2 of Steampunk Trails. It also is a Wayne Miller cover and it's totally awesome.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Cost cutting

A few months ago I resigned myself to the fact that my income is simply not going to increase. Ergo, I went on a cost cutting mission.  In giving up three channels that I liked, I saved nearly 30 bucks on cable TV--those three channels weren't worth it.  I can live without the SyFy Channel--it's mostly crap anyway.

Then I called up the phone company and saved $20 a month there, just by asking for a better deal.

Then I got a big savings this year on health insurance--over $200 a month.

Then I refinanced my mortgage and saved a whopping 2 1/2 points in interest and about $250 a month lower payment.

So, with very little pain, I'm now spending $500 bucks a month less.

If I wanted to turn the heat way down and live in the cold, I could save a lot on my electric bill. So far, I haven't been able to convince myself on that one.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Year of the Anthology

So far I have stories slated for 4 anthologies in 2014.  I just got word that two more are going to be reprinted.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Moviee

There's this new movie out called Her.  This is the sort of movie that's in the "No way in hell I'd ever go see it."   Apparently, this guy falls in love with his cell phone.  So, since cell phones have no moving parts, how does this guy get blow jobs from it? Guess I'll never know.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Artistic talent

Over at Steampunk Trails, where I am art director, we just got the cover art for the next issue.  Thing is, we have not even purchased a single story yet. Heck, it's not even open for submissions.  So, we're a bit ahead of things.  This cover is really neat.  One thing I've noticed about steamounk is a lot of it's kind of dark. Well, this cover isn't. It's really fun.  And, some day down the road, we'll release it.

It's kind of weird, in my role as art director, doing stuff like selecting covers,  since I have no real artistic talent whatsoever.  I told someone recently that it's not that different than being a writer. I have no talent in that arena either.  

So, if you're an aspiring artist, take head. We're still going to need art for interior illustrations. At some point. Down the road. Eventually.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Barking Mops

Some old lady in the area has taken to bringing her little barking mop of a dog into places like restaurants and grocery stores.  She's put a vest on it that says "Service Dog."  Service dog my ass.  No way in hell is this useless creature a legit service dog. Alas, the asst. manager at Kroger agrees with me. And, if they do anything to kick her and her worthless service dog out of the store, they risk legal action under the ADA. So, she's found a loophole to let her take her worthless mutt anywhere she wants. And no one can do anything about it. I suppose I could just stomp the thing into the floor and kill it. That's probably not a realistic solution, tempting though it might be.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Brrr

Super cold. Brrr.  It's days like today when I wonder why God invented winter.  Why couldn't it just be nice all year? It's too damned cold.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Writing Challenge

Over at Steampunk Trails, where I am publisher, they're about to get underway with the new reading period.  One thing new is a 300 word writing challenge.  This is a little different than flash fiction, in that the stories have to conform to a set theme and 300 words, for a complete story, is really tight.  It's based on the success I have had at Science Fiction Trails where we had a 300 word challenge for gunfight stories.  This is not a new shift, the regular story selection continues as well.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

steampunk

Well, I've been dealing with steampunk stuff the past few days.  The cover for the next issue of Steampunk Trails is going to be a lot of fun.  I'm also involved with a charity steampunk anthology. There should be more info on that soon.  We've got the cover art and stories lined up, it's now in the editing stage.
 
The magazine got a nice review from a British review site a few days ago. If interested, one can click on the Steampunk Trails site above for a link to it.
 
I didn't used to be all that interested in steampunk, but I've actually come to find the genre a lot of fun.  We did a reading of steampunk Christmas stories a few weeks ago. I even went and wrote another steampunk Christmas story.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Oh Canada

I note that SF Site is having difficulty and has gone to only an irregular frequency.  This site has been fairly good to me in terms of reviews and such.  I can't say that it's actually generated a lot of sales, but the reviews have been quite kind. This is a Canadian site based in Ottawa.  For some reason, Canadians don't seem to like me.  I had a disastrous relationship with a Canadian publisher. And, of all the products and issues of Science Fiction Trails, the anthologies and now Steampunk Trails--not one copy has ever been sold to Canada that we know of. [Canadians can buy on American Amazon, which we might not know about].

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Simply Incredible

I mentioned how incredibly crowded the Vail area has been.  It's a chore just to get into the grocery store.  Now that New Years is over, I'm hoping these people will go away. 

So, I had this wreath up on a nail outside my front door. I took it down today because it was starting to shed little green needles (I don't know for sure if it was a pine wreath, but it was green).  I found this wire thing on the back. As near as I can tell, it's been hanging upside down. I guess that means I'm in for some more bad luck for the next year.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Be It Resolved

I don't quite know where the concept of New Year's Resolutions came from.  Since people rarely keep them, it really seems like a pointless endeavor. 
 
This coming year I'd like to find a better job. I'd like to publish more stuff. I'd like to sell my house and move somewhere else. In reality, I doubt any of these things are going to happen.